Posted in April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, CampNaNoWriMo, Just for Fun!, Novel Excerpts, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

The Key to Freedom: #SoCS and #CampNaNoWriMo


Passive-aggressive behavior was something Serrah felt she’d elevated to an art form – but Donovan Nash didn’t leave her any openings to use her craft.  He just offered her options, without seeming to have any stake at all in how she used them.

While it appealed to her, the way he was, and the peace he seemed to feel, it was also frightening. What would it be like, to have that kind of freedom? To not be trying to find any little way she could to get out from under the iron-willed control Mom and Dad held over her? To stand braced on her own two feet, the way he was standing, and hold herself tall beneath the ocean sky?

Was she strong enough?

That was a question she’d avoided asking herself. It was easy, back home – other than the crazy risk she’d taken in running away and coming here to find out about the dead baby who belonged to her hostage heart, she’d never really had the chance to find out whether she was strong enough to make a choice for herself.

She’d thought she was trapped; but now, Serrah thought maybe there was a strange kind of freedom in it. With Mom and Dad making all the decisions, all she’d really had to do was decide if she was going to go along quietly, or complain to herself and find tiny, inconsequential ways to rebel. Or, as was more often the case, just dream of rebelling.

She’d been wasting her life, and she’d told herself it was Mom and Dad’s fault.

But it was her life, and there was a lot she could have been doing that she hadn’t, until she came here.

Now, she was responsible for herself, and for her own decisions, and that was a trap she’d never seen coming – because Serrah Eleanor Reed, whose middle name was for a woman who hadn’t waited around for permission to do things, even though she lived in a time when women weren’t allowed to do nearly what men could, had almost no practice in the art of living.

“Will you show me, Donovan?” Suddenly, learning tai chi seemed to be the key to freedom and power in her own life.

“All right. The first thing you’ll need to know is how to set your stance. This first one is called the bow stance.” He stepped out with his right leg, and turned his left foot out at an angle. “Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your tailbone should be tucked. If you can imagine a string connecting the top of your head to the sky, your posture will be better.”


The above was a snippet from the rough draft of Still Nameless, a Kifo Island Chronicles novel I’m working on for this month’s April CampNaNoWriMo.

It’s also my entry into this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday blog hop, where the prompt is “passive/aggressive”, with bonus points for beginning the passage with one of those words.

Learn more about CampNaNoWriMo here.

Find other SOCS posts here.


Posted in Life Writing, Parenting, Short Stories, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

Fairy Tales for #SoCS, February 10, 2018

“Hey, you little maniac! Stop biting the dog’s tail and get your ass over here!”

My throat is paying me back for all the screaming I’ve done tonight, but Finlay doesn’t even seem to hear me. Or, if she does, she’s flat-out ignoring me.

I wonder for a second whether wishing the dog was less good-natured about being chewed on makes me a terrible mother. But I don’t have time to follow through -we’re already fifteen minutes late for the baby’s doctor’s appointment, and his cough sounds croupy.

I shake Fin’s at her, but she keeps on chewing on Rascal’s tail as though I don’t even exist.

She’s going to make me come after her.

I take one step, trip over her shoe, and fall flat on my face. I open my eyes and I see a book – Fairy Tales for Little Princesses.


This post is serving double duty – something I’m doing as often as I can in these days where I am both navigating a path forward for my two teens and I, while at the same time negotiating  the reams of administrative details that go along with Jim’s illness and death.

As for this little passage, it’s both my entry into this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where the prompt is tale/tail; and the rough draft of a story start for Holly Lisle’s Writing Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck workshop. I’ll be revising this bit and eventually expand it into a complete tiny story of about 500 words…

But, for now, this is all there is to it, and, since that can soon be said of today, as well, I’m going to wrap this post up before Saturday shows me its tail, and I end up telling you all a tale of woe tomorrow.

Until next week, may you be well, and all your tales be happy ones that – well, set your tail to wagging!*


Gently down the Stream of Consciousness….


Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Just for Fun!, Kifo Island Chroincles, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Samples

“Mr. Carstairs”: Kifo Island for #SoCS

“Mr. Carstairs”

“Take your medication, Mr. Carstairs.”

“In other words, give my power to you, choke it out while I’m swallowing your control – “

“Mr. Carstairs – “

“My name is Zeke.”

“I’m required to call you Mr. Carstairs.  We’re not allowed to be too familiar with our patients.”

“In other words, they control you.”

“’They,’ Mr. Carstairs?”

“They. The ones we never see. The ones who control everything – only most people never even notice their strings being pulled and twisted.”

“Mr. Carstairs, this is a psychiatric hospital – “

“In other words, a control center. A brainwashing facility. A torture chamber – “

“Mr. Carstairs, you’re alarming the other patients – “

“They should be alarmed! We’re all prisoners here!”

“You’re not. You were homeless and hungry. You’re safe here – but if you alarm the others, I’ll have to isolate you.”

“In other words, I’m a prisoner.”

Will Zeke take his medicine?

Will the hospital employee ever call him by his first name?

Is Zeke right about the purpose of the hospital?

Any guesses?


The above freewriting ties into my rough draft novel, Tsunamis, from my as-yet unpublished Kifo Island series. It may or may not ever become a permanent part of Zeke’s story.

  • To “meet” Zeke, read here.
  • To read more from Tsunamis, click here.
  • To read more Kifo Island excerpts, go here.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G. Hill’s blog, Life in Progress. This week’s prompt is the phrase , “In other words,” used at least once. Dip your toes in the #SoCS waters here.

Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, fantasy, Life Writing, slices of life, Weekly Features, WIPpet Wednesday, Writers' Resources, writing, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

The Ways of Mirth and Joy for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Wrayburn.

Hi there, fellow WIPpeteers – and, to those just along for the ride – welcome! Hop in, get comfy…and enjoy the journey!

I wasn’t here last week. On Tuesday, we had our first appointment with my husband’s oncologist, and the social worker who will help us on the journey that comes after a terminal diagnosis.

We’re still wrapping our minds, and our lives, around this.

And, with all of this, I still have stories I need to create and tell. It’s a constant in my life when so much else is changing.

So, here’s a days’ old segment of Among the Firestars, my epic fantasy NaNoWriMo novel-in-progress.

I’m roughly at the midpoint, and my MC is having a riddle-laden conversation with an old woman with a most surprising story to tell…

And that’s all the context I’m giving for today’s snippet.

On to the WIPpeting!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is November 22, 2017.
  • I have 5 sentences for you today. My “fuzzy math” is: 2+0+1+7=10. 1=1+2 (for November0. There are 2 2’s in the numeral 22; I’m using that as a sign that the 10 must by divided by 2, equaling 5.

The Ways of Mirth and Joy

Synnis laughed her rich laugh; this one bounced around the corners and reached out into the sky in the same breath. That seemed to swell it within her; she laughed all the longer and harder, until she wiped at eyes that had grown wet with it, and her breath sounded as a hunter back from a threeday’s hard running.

Mayhap it meant something that she could be witness to this woman’s laughter, and yet nay even smile. Mayhap it was Kaivelt’s echoes within her; he had nay the knack of easy smiles or simple laughter, they must be coaxed out of him with great effort.

Or mayhap it was that she herself had lost the ways of mirth and joy.

Who is Synnis?

Who is the observer?

Has she lost the ways of mirth and joy?

If so, can she find them again?

Any guesses?

If you’re missing my TnT fan fiction, and want more before they return from shore leave next month, you can pop over to my page anytime and stock up. =D


And, as always, clicking the little blue froggy above will carry you on to other WIPpet offerings from our talented and diverse group of writerly folks. You can even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined!

Posted in Challenges and Contests, fantasy, NaNoWrimo, Novel Excerpts, Weekly Features, WIPpet Wednesday, writing, Writing in Freedom, Writing Sample

Tangled and Useless for WIPpet Wednesday


Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Wrayburn.

Hello there, fellow WIPpeteers  and friends!

I’m so glad you came along for the ride – welcome! Hop in, get comfy…and enjoy the journey!

It’s been an – eventful week. I’m not ready to discuss, but events have led to some serious shuffling of priorities and timelines – and I don’t see that changing much for the near future, at least.

So, while I was going to bring a brand-new segment of Among the Firestars, my epic fantasy NaNoWriMo novel, I’ve yet to add any new words today, so far. So, instead, I’m sharing 8 sentences of my main character’s fever-dream…

I could give you context for this story…but I think it’s more fun if I don’t, so…

On to the WIPpeting!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is November 8, 2017.
  • I have 8 sentences for you today, for the day.

Tangled and Useless

It was he, in Kaivelt’s guise, taking from her that which she meant only for her Solemate. He was a Usurper; he took what was nay his and seeded her with his poisoned blood, so that she produced nay the beginning of her Line, but instead a tiny, twisted babe who never drew breath, never roused for his Welcoming…

Tacivaar had usurped her. As the talons and fangs of the Usurpers’ machines rent the world-mother’s skin, and drove in their anguish, so had Tacivaar pierced her while wearing Kaivelt’s guise, leading her back to the maze each time she found some hint or shadow of his true form –

Was it Kaivelt, or Tacivaar, who wanted her now?

Which of them was coming for her? She saw both, intertwined as the pattern of one of Rachyl’s weavings. What if to pull them apart was to undo her, and leave her as nothing but the strands, tangled and useless to all, even herself?

Who is having the dream?

Who are Tacivaar and Kaively?

Why is she having these dreams?

Any guesses?

If you’re missing my TnT fan fiction, and want more before they return from shore leave next month, you can pop over to my page for an all-hours buffet. =D .

And, as always, clicking the little blue froggy above will carry you on to other WIPpet offerings from our talented and diverse group of writerly folks. You can even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined!


Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, NaNoWrimo, Round 4 2017, The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year #1, The 12 Week Year 2017, Writers' Resources

November Foundations: #ROW80 #12WeekYear Midweek Update 5

Hey there!

As we bid farewell to October, I was sitting at a local Denny’s with several members of my local NaNoWriMo region, beginning the new month and the new challenge with a writing sprint.

It’s a good way to start a month, and a good way to pile up some early words as an insurance policy, since life inevitably happens until it doesn’t.

There have been some months when I’ve made it my goal to surge through those 50,000 words as fast as I can (once in just 10 days, which was at once exhilarating and exhausting)

This year, I have a lot of things going on. Since I’d like to close out both my first 12 Week Year and 2017 with a cleaner slate and more breathing room, I’m aiming for a maintenance word count most days…somewhere between the 1,668 I need to make my goal, and about 3,000, which is an amount I can do in a less than three hours if the words are there, but which won’t make me unavailable for the rest of life.

I’m making a few exceptions. I’ll be attending two writing sprints each Sunday, so I may top 3K those days. Also, this Saturday is NaNo’s Double Up Day, with a goal to double donations and word counts, and I’ll be attending a four-hour write-in (and trying for the double). And on Tuesday nights, our fantastic, forward thinking Municipal Liaison, Shannon Kauderer, has set us up with NaNo’s new chat feature, so we’ll be having online sprints then.

So Sundays and Tuesdays will be my only high-NaNo-intensity days.

If all goes well, that should leave me with five days a week to focus more on other parts of this Action Plan, and those that follow it.

I should have some idea how it’s going by the end of next week, when I hit the halfway mark in my inaugural 12 Week Year, and take stock of my overall progress toward my goals. If necessary, I’ll make adjustments then.

Are you participating in NaNo?

If so, why?

If not, are there other writing challenges you enjoy?

Relationships, Family, and Home:

Beta Readings:

Complete two chapters Stained; one Spellfire, until both are complete. Weeks: 5-12.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%


Complete five hometending rounds in study; three in bedroom; and one on porch: Weeks 56.

  • Study: 2/5 completed.
  • Week 5 Progress: about 25%


 Facilitate Jeremiah’s driving practice thrice weekly, weather dependent: Weeks 5-9.

  • Jeremiah drove from our home to the nearest large town 10 miles away, by night. Gaining confidence on state routes and 4-lane highways. 1/3
  • Week 5 Progress: 33%

Draft Lises’s first quarter report: Week 5.

  • Arts, Practical Arts, Music, Health and Safety, Physical Education, and Attendance completed; 10/10
  • Realized at this point it’s not due till Dec. 1; but close enough to done that I’m going to proof, revise,  and submit.
  • Week 5 Action COMPLETED!

Draft Miah’s first quarter report: Weeks 5-6.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%


Ongoing Learning:

DIY-MFA Pixels to Platform:

Complete Module One:  Week 5.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

Complete Module Two: Week 7.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

Slaying SEO:

Spend 3 hours/week on class materials: Weeks 5-7.

  • 15 min/ 3 hours.
  • Week 5 Progress: About 8%

How t0 Revise Your Novel:

Complete three hours of lessons, using “On Any Tuesday Night.” Weeks 5-12.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

New Writing:

Among the Firestars:

Complete Plotting elements through Act One Beat Sheet (can skip steps as indicated): Week 5.

  • Antagonist Sheets: 5/5 sheets completed; 6/22 sections total; skipping 7 for now.
  • Character Arc: 5/7 sheets completed; Section 8/22 in progress.
  • Week 5 Progress: About 35%

Complete 6,668 words of rough draft: Week 5.

  • Although I have words written, my cutoff for Wednesday’s update is 12AM, so they’ll appear on the next update.
  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

OctPoWriMo 2017:

Complete poems 29-31. Week 5.

  • Poem 31/31
  • GOAL COMPLETED! Time to celebrate!

Chef Bluebeard:

Adapt media schedule: Week 5.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

Find/contact holiday venues as indicated; contact total of 4 businesses for POS sales. Weeks 5-6.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

Health, Fitness, and Spirituality:

Samsung Health:

Complete 5K Week 8: Week 5.

 Made up run from Monday, Oct. 30. Struggled with the 20 minute jogging interval.

  • Week 5 Progress: 33%

Tai chi, yoga, and reiki:

Tai chi: Attend class  at least weekly; either Monday evening, or Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons: Weeks 5-12.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

Attend a drop in yoga class at ReVibe: By Week 7.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

Mindful Eating:

Eat two vegetable based meals/snacks; Wednesday/Friday: Week 5.

  • Week 5 Progress: 0%

Personal Expression:

Purchase snow gloves: Week 5.

  • I don’t have gloves yet, but I have possibilities. I’ll need to go to a large local mall to return the Torrid bra, and there is an LL Bean store in the same mall. I’ll look for gloves there, or, alternatively, I can use a Kohl’s gift card that came in the mail this weekend.
  • Week 5 Progress: 10%


The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On! 

We’re On Facebook, Too!




Posted in "Monday Morning Coffee", #8Sunday, Blog Hops and Fests, Blogfest Entries, Marketing my Writing, Published Works, Short Stories, Weekend Writing Warriors, Weekly Features, Writing Sample

One Short Syllable for #WeWriWa #8Sunday

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday – the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! We’ve got a variety of genres and talented writers just waiting for you to come sample our wordy wares.  Come read one, or all!

If you’re inclined to share your own 8-10 sentence snippet, follow the link and sign up. It’s a great community to be a part of! =D

“Monday Morning Coffee”  has been with me since I was sixteen. A local boy with schizophrenia wandered away from his family at a large outdoor event. Several days later, he was found, deceased.

From that story came this one – the connection might not be clear to anyone but me – but it’s there.


Rose is at work on a Monday morning, feeling inspiration in the form of a newspaper rose.

 One Short Syllable

I’ll put Jeremy’s rose right by my lamp, to inspire me…

Above, in the livelier parts of the library, students and faculty mingle with the other librarians – the ones I’ve never paid much attention to.

Up above, right now, is life, and possibility.  That’s something I can tell Jeremy when I see him on Friday, before I ask all the questions already boiling over in my mind. The flower, and the story of how it came to me, are things I can talk about, with the others…

I pick up Jeremy’s paper rose, and head upstairs, humming “Red Rubber Ball”.  I see one of my colleagues wiping down tables – Fred? Brad? Matt?  I only know that it’s one short syllable.

What does Rose intend to do now?

Will she remember her colleague’s name?

Where will the rose lead Rose?

Any guesses?

 “Monday Morning Coffee” was originally published in the 2015 edition of World Unknown Review.  Since I retain all rights beyond first publication, I intend to revise the story and use it as my initial self-published offering.

As I type this on Thursday evening, NaNoWriMo is figuratively breathing down my neck, looking over my shoulder, and I’m still in the planning/early plotting stages of my WIP-to-be.

I’m not overly concerned, though. Each step in my hybridized process yields new insights and inspirations, and gets me a little more into the story world, so that my mind is priming itself for the journey ahead. I’m a discovery writer, anyway. Even when I have a well-developed plot, at some point the characters will just decide to go their own ways, and – poof! Before I know it, everything is different, and almost always for the better.

I’ll keep on going until November 1 – and then we’ll see.

Until then, may you and yours find joy!

Looking for more #8Sunday?