Posted in #STaD 2017, Blog Hops and Fests, Fan fiction, Kifo Island Chroincles, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, The IDIC Romance, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

The Doll Maker for #StaD May; Day Three

Hello there, and welcome to my Story a Day May “Show My Work” post! This is where I give you a sneak peek into how I’m creating two (very short) stories, every day this May (yep; less than 24 hours from my first reading of the prompt to a committed story, even if I’m not quite that fast at posting them!

Ready to read?

Well then, what are we waiting for?

The prompt, by writer Kylie Quillanan. 

People called him The Doll Maker. Nobody ever wondered aloud why every doll had the same face.

Main Project Premise:

  • Ophelia sits with Marilyn through a hallucinogenic trip.

Fleshing Out the Premise:

  • Ophelia finds Marilyn sitting in the middle of a pile of Raggedy Anne dolls, tearing and cutting at their faces with scissors she’s jabbing into their faces. Only she’s high on something, because she’s stabbing herself without even knowing it, the blood smearing on the fabric of the doll faces, and she’s singing and muttering about some invisible man. “They call him the Doll Maker. No one ever talks about it, but – shhh! It’s a secret!” She goes still and strange, then whispers, “They all have the same face. Every. Single. One!”

Favorite Bit of Still and Strange

The sounds are more distinct; she can follow them through a vast room with wine-red walls and marble trimmings. It makes her think of an empty heart. She hurries through – she doesn’t like this space, or this house. But it’s where her sister lives –

And something about Marilyn’s message says that she’s in trouble.



Side Project Premise:

  • Admiral Forrest and Ambassador Soval speak candidly about a sensitive topic or two.

Word List:


  • platitude

  • perfidious

  • kerfluffle

Anonymous Donor:

  • sewage

  • waterfall

  • wolf-pack

  • clemency

  • bog roll (Aussie for toilet paper)

  • side-effect

  • privacy

  • eyebrow

Fleshing Out the Premise:

  • Admiral Forrest and Ambassador Soval are discussing “matters of great pitch and moment”: that Soval has heard himself referred to alternately as The Doll Maker, Mr. Pointy, and That Perfidious Vulcan Bastard. Forrest’s attempts to excuse or explain with human platitudes are weak; that when Soval learns there is a deeper concern for his friend.

Favorite Bit of Put Your Eyebrow Down”:

Put your eyebrow down, Soval. Vulcan hearing confounds human privacy. This kerfluffle is a side-effect.”

Your platitudes are insincere, Maxwell. You’re troubled.”

To see this story in full, as it posts, visit my page

And, if you’d like to learn more about Julie Duffy  and Story A Day May, click the links and learn away!

Posted in #itswritingreearch, Blog Hops and Fests, Fan fiction, fantasy, Kifo Island Chroincles, Short Stories, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, The IDIC Romance, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

Latchkey Children for #StaD May; Day Two

Hello there, and welcome to my Story a Day May “Show My Work” post! This is where I give you a sneak peek into how I’m creating two (very short) stories, every day this May (yep; less than 24 hours from my first reading of the prompt to a committed story, even if I’m not quite that fast at posting them!

Ready to read?

Well then, what are we waiting for?

The Day Two prompt, by writer Jerry B. Jenkins

A socially awkward girl in her early teens is a latchkey kid, alone at home after school as usual. Flipping through channels she lands on one she soon realizes only she can see—and it’s from the future.

Main Project Premise:

  • Marilyn, who has been emotionally abandoned by her parents, has a shattering and life-changing experience when she sees her own future death on television.

Fleshing Out the Premise:

  • She’s home alone, “after” school, although she’s skipped for the last week without anyone seeming to notice or care. She’s gotten ahold of [a hallucinagenic drug TBD] and is watching television, rolling through the channels as she starts her trip. She sees what she knows is herself, but older – seventeen, eighteen maybe? – in a hospital, with a black-haired girl she doesn’t know, and an unmoving baby she knows is hers – and dying. And that baby dying means that she has to die, too.

Favorite Bit of The Story: Messed Up”

Marilyn sinks into the couch. She used to think that was just a saying…but then, she’s never been on a trip like this before. She’s literally sinking into the couch. She thinks she might even be becoming a part of it, its plaid pattern flickering over her skin, shifting to match her coloring, then back…she was a couch-girl, and the couch was a girl-couch.

That makes her giggle little crystal gems that shatter into a million gentle singing shards when they hit coffee table or floor.

Side Project Premise:

  • T’Pol is using her independent assignment to gather all the information she can about humans, which leads to some startling dreams she can’t control.

Word List:


  • disco

  • Ferris Wheel



  • hypnotic

  • deep waters

  • lifeline

  • omitted

  • new worlds to conquer


Fleshing Out the Premise:

  • At last allowed to be alone and move more or less freely on this world, T’Pol begins to collect human entertainments, and spends many of the hours when she’s not working absorbing these items. They intrude into her dreams, where she is a young girl back home on Vulcan, in the time between the end of her day’s schooling and the time Mother will arrive home, and the entertainments she views in rapid succession present the image of herself, and a blue-eyed smiling human who compels her as no other being ever has, while discordant, exhilirating music binds them together.

Favorite Bit of  “The Music and the Man”

Music – hypnotic, like the human male with ocean-blue eyes, smiling at her. “New Worlds to Conquer!” He laughed.

To see the story in full, as it posts, visit my page!

If you’d like to learn more about Julie Duffy and Story A Day May, click the links and learn away!



    Posted in Fan fiction, Kifo Island Chroincles, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, The IDIC Romance, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

    Letter from a Dead Friend: #STaD 2017, Day One

    It’s the first day of a brand-new May, which means Story A Day is ON!

    There’s a reason I plan much of my annual creativity around this challenge. Every year, creator, coach, and host Julie Duffy offers up a series of prompts that expand my writing horizons and make me a better writer.

    Even better, this challenge lends itself to exploration, so I often use it to “get to know” a project, or expand one…

    And this year, I’m doing both.

    • For my main project, I’ll be exploring the characters and world for my eighth Kifo Island  novel draft. I’m delving into backstory, what-if’s character sketches – wherever the daily prompts take me. The resulting stories will be flash fiction – around 333 words each (because I love that number).

    My secondary project will be a series of 100 word fan fiction drabbles. It won’t come as a surprise for regular readers that I’ll be playing with Star Trek: Enterprise  (my favorite Trek, because Trip and T’Pol!) My theme will be my Cowled  arc – clicking the title will take you to the original story.

    And, for the record, here’s the standard disclaimer. I don’t own them, I don’t profit from them, but they insist on telling me their stories, so I’m sharing them with you.

    How this works:

    I will share each day’s prompt, my planning, and my favorite bits of both stories.

    There will also be a link for each project that will transport you to the complete story. Don’t worry if you miss one or more; I’ll be setting up a page for each project for easy reference at any point in time (hopefully, I’ll get to that in the next day or so; there was a lot of prep to do today).

    So, without any further ado: The Dead Friend:

    Prompt from Gregory Frost:

    You attend the funeral of an old friend.

    Afterwards, in the mail you receive a postcard. It’s from the friend, and it reads “I’m not dead. Meet me Tuesday night at 8 at ____________.” And signed by him/her.

    Reasons Someone “Might Not Be Dead” When We Thought They Were:

    • It could be a dream

    • An insurance scam

    • A case of mistaken identity

    • A pure coincidence

    • Mail delivered to the wrong address

    • Witness protection program

    • Abduction

    • Alien impostor

    • April Fools’ prank

    • Revenge for a wrong

    • Emotional manipulation

    • Attempt to uncover a crime

    • It’s a TRAP!

    • It’s a rendez-vous!

    Premise for Main Story: “False Memory” (click the title to read the complete 340 word story): 

    • The main character dreams of receiving the postcard from her infant niece, who died ten years before.

    Fleshing Out the Premise:

    • Ophelia Martin dreams of attending the funeral of her dead infant niece Lavender. It’s been ten years to the day since the baby died, and Ophelia’s half-sister, Marilyn, had overdosed. But when she reads the postcard, she can feel the truth it holds….somehow, somewhere, Lavender is alive…and wants to meet her.

    Favorite bit:

    It didn’t matter that she knew it was just a dream – a dream she’d had at least three times every week for the last ten years. The truth is, it was more than that – it was the false memory of how things ought to have been, if little Lavender had had to die.


    Premise for Side Story: “Your Starfleet Career” (click the title to read the complete 100 word story:  

    • Trip Tucker receives a video postcard after attending what might have been the last rites of his career in Starfleet – but why (and how) is his career sending him mail?!

    Fleshing Out the Premise:

    • Trip was having a hard enough time with Elizabeth’s effervescence in the face of the death – no, make that the murder – of his Starfleet career, and the reverse serendipity of those five men willing to lie about him. Jon treating him like he was either a deviant or prematurely senile wasn’t helping, either. But when he got the ochre-inked, stenciled -letter envelope, things look like they’re headed for a warp core breach.

    Prompt words (these come from fans of my previous Loveuary drabbles):

    • stencil

    • ochre

    • senile

    • murder

    • death

    • effervescence

    • serendipity

    Favorite Bit:

    He’d gone from incredible serendipity to a warp-core breach with that court-martial. He was innocent – but he couldn’t prove it.

    OK – that’s it until tomorrow! If you want to play along and write your own stories – just click here, or the icon above. And come back tomorrow, when I’ll have more snippets of planning and story to share!

    Posted in CampNaNoWriMo, Story a Day May Challenge, WIPpet Wednesday

    WIPpet Wednesday: A Taste of Sole?

    Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It is hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengelmaven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

    Hi there! This month, I’m participating in CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve finished one WIP, The Stars are Fire,and have made it to the halfway point in another, Perchance to Dream. Neither of these are ready for public consumption, yet, so…

    I’m continuing with snippets from my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip, in a project titled The IDIC Romance.

    Disclaimer: T’Pol,  Trip, and all the rest of Star Trek are property of Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

    A bit about the challenge:

    Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered throughout the month.

    The stories are roughly sequential, with various tones, POVs, and voices, due to the particular prompts that were in play during the writing.

    For those keeping track:

    This is the first installment of Story #4, Tigress T’Pol . The prompt for this story

    was to write a story of exactly 2000 words. An additional guest prompt from Heidi Durrow invited us to explore passion in this story.

    WIPpet Math:

    Today is July 9, 2014.

    Today’s math…

    • 16 sentences, adding the month and day.

    This snippet is told from Trip’s point of view. The wounded Klingon, Klaang, had been abducted from Enterprise. In an attempt to find him and bring him home, Captain Archer has ordered them to Rigel 10 – the first populated alien world Trip has been to. It doesn’t help that he’s paired with T’Pol, who clearly knows her way around, and seems to think she’s in charge. And then there’s that little matter of the odd history they’ve shared…

    This is an add-on scene for the pilot episode: Broken Bow Part 1. I‘ve done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon.

    “Hey, T’Pol, how long are we going to pretend that nothing happened between us?”

    I was a little shocked at myself; I’d planned to wait her out, see if she ever brought it up. But then, I had a long history of sticking my foot in my mouth, and I was apparently hungry for the sole of my boot.

    “I know of another merchant. Stay with me, and attempt to restrain yourself.” T’Pol acted like I hadn’t said anything, or maybe like anything I said was beneath her notice. Where was that alluring temptress she’d been in Fusion? She was as full of surprises now as she’d been in that club – I’d give her that much. Too bad they weren’t at all the ones I’d been hoping for ever since she walked into the Capn’s Ready Room.

    Maybe she’d forgotten all about that night – but, if she had, why had she looked at me that way when she first came in? For a second or two, it was as though we were back there, with the music flowing through us. Even now, I could feel it – a deep awareness of her, more than physical desire, something I’d never felt before. I wanted more.

    But maybe she just wanted to forget. She was as damned arrogantly superior as all Vulcans, like she knew more than any human ever could. Probably thought it was way beneath her to do something so primitive as to feel desire, or anything else, for some human male she saw in a club.

    Will Trip get a reaction out of T’Pol? Will he regret it, if he does? Who’s really in charge here? Will they find the missing Klingon? Come back next week for the next excerpt!

    Story A Day commentary…

    Full version of the story…

    These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. Already, new stories are weaving themselves into the fabric. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun ..for the most part.

    Want more WIPpets?


    Posted in Blogfest Entries, Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Story a Day May Challenge, WIPpet Wednesday

    WIPpet Wednesday: Breathless

    Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday –K.L. Schwengel’s weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

    For those keeping track:

    • This is the second installment of Story #3, Vermilion Threads. The prompt was to write a story of about 640 words. An additional guest prompt was to write a story that incorporated the words “vermilion” and “musky” (that one’ll be in a future WIPpet).

    WIPpet Math:

    Today is June 18, 2014.

    Today’s math…

    • 18-6=12(subtracting the monthfrom the day).
    • 12 sentences, this time.

    I’m offering up a taste of my Story A Day May Challenge: my fanfiction concept for Star Trek: Enterprise, and the interspecies relationship between T’Pol and Trip, in a project tentatively titled The IDIC Romance.

    T’Pol and Trip , and all the rest of Star Trek are property of Paramount; no copyright infringement is intended.

    A bit about the challenge:

    Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered, throughout the month.

    The stories are sequential, but they will have diverse tones, POVs, and voices, due to the particular prompts that were in play during the writing.

    I like the effect, and the way the stories stretched me out of my comfortable writing spaces, and took my stories with them. It would be best to read each story without expectations that it will match those before or after it. I will let you know when I shift to a new story, to help ease any pangs the transitions might bring.

    This snippet is an extrapolation of what T’Pol might have experienced upon learning of her compulsory assignment to the human starship Enterprisein the pilot episode:Broken Bow Part 1. Her unsettled state has led her to seek balance and control through meditation – but she finds herself immersed in memories, instead…

    “I am unqualified to serve upon a human vessel,” I objected logically, while trying to sufficiently suppress the tingle of emotion that roused itself at the thought. Neither apprehension nor anticipation could be allowed to surface in my demeanor.

    “The High Command has determined that Vulcan interests must be insured, and that the humans must be guided to avoid the disastrous consequences their impetuous, volatile natures are otherwise likely to incur. You are a scientist, Subcommander T’Pol, with considerable experience in the areas of spaceflight, combat, and diplomacy. Your explorations of homo sapiens are no longer irrelevant; they will no doubt prove invaluable in this mission. You may lodge a complaint, if you choose; however, your assignment as Science Office, and chaperone, is compulsory. The needs of our people supercede your discomfort at the prospect of serving amongst this species, and I expect you will return with valuable insight.”

    I took the three prescribed cleansing breaths taught to all Vulcan children; the first and most essential key to emotional control; they didn’t entirely provide the calm I needed to adjust to the reality of the assignment, but they allowed me to find an acceptable level of outer impassivity.

    Soval waited unti I had completed the breaths, and then handed me the Starfleet datapad containing the ship’s specifications and the service records of the command crew. I scrolled through the personnel files – and my breath hissed out in a harsh, uncontrolled gasp.

    “Subcommander, are you well?

    Dimly, I knew Soval awaited my answer – an answer I could not give, for I was pulled back to that restaurant; the music pulsed, my gaze locked to the blue eyes of a human called Trip, Awakening me to him, binding me to the man who now stared back at me from the screen – Enterprise’s Chief Engineer, Charles Tucker III.

    Ah…memories. So now we know that T’Pol knows she’s going to meet Trip again, in a professional capacity this time. How does she respond to this surprising turn of events? To Trip, when she officially meets him for the “first” time? How does Soval respond to her lapse of control? Will T’Pol’s Awakened status, and the secret of her breach of protocol, be discovered? Will she be able to maintain her control during this mission?

    Yup, you guessed it…you’ll need to either read below, watch,  or wait for next week, to learn more…

    Story A Day commentary…

    Full, original draft version of “Vermilion Threads”…

    These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun ..for the most part.

    Want more WIPpets?


    And let’s finish up with a little random silliness! =)

    Posted in Blogfest Entries, Challenges and Contests, Coffee and Conversation, Flash Fiction Pieces, Life Writing, Story a Day May Challenge

    Coffee and Conversation: Up for a StoryFest?


    Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

    It’s Monday again – time for Coffee and Conversation.

    When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

    I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own...

    After you achieve a long-term goal, do you take time to celebrate your accomplishment? Do you reflect upon its meaning? Do you find that it’s changed you in some way?

    Hooray! Confetti Time! =D

    It’s been over two weeks now since I completed the Story a Day May Challenge, and I’ve been rereading, pondering, and growing as a result of having undertaken this project.

    Participating in this challenge stretched me, in several ways:

    • I wrote in different voices and points of view than I typically do. I wrote to musical prompts, word lists, and images.

    • I got to play with two beloved characters, and their story netted me almost 70,000 new words.

    • I discovered several amazing writers.

    • I have a new passion for reading others’ Enterprise fan fiction, and this is feeding my imagination, adding to the stories I created.

    • I got to indulge myself and my imagination.

    • I found that I was not only capable of following the prompts and my own framework, but that the results were often unexpected and better than I’d thought they could be.

    So, in celebration, I offer, a little belatedly, the StoryFest. I missed the “official” window, because I was away, but I can still share these stories, for your enjoyment.

    And, hey, why I’m sharing, here’s, “The Logic of Emotion” one of my own favorites from my Story A Day WIP, The IDIC Romance.

    Do you participate in organized creative challenges? How do you benefit from the experience? Pull up a chair, enjoy your cuppa, and let’s converse!


    Posted in Challenges and Contests, Story a Day May Challenge

    Story A Day May 31: “Views of a Wedding”

    Hello, and welcome to my 2014 Story A Day Challenge,Day 31(and done!)If you’d like to read today’s story without commentary,click here.

    I am basing my stories uponStar Trek: Enterprise, and the intriguing interspecies relationship between T’Pol of Vulcan and Trip Tucker, who is very, very human.



    This story is a fan fiction extrapolation of an unwritten scene based upon the  Star Trek: Enterprise episode, Home.

    T’Pol and Trip are property of Paramount; no copyright infringement is intended.

    Today’s Story A Day prompt is to write a story focused on “An Ending and A Beginning ”.

    Home is a pivotal episode for T’Pol and Trip, as T’Pol is herded into the marriage arranged when she and her fiance, Koss, were children. She’s come to Vulcan with Trip, who remains to support her as she makes a choice that hurts them both.

    On her way to kneel with Koss for the ceremony, T’Pol clasps Trip’s hand, pulling him back for a moment, so that she can stand on tiptoes and kiss his cheek.

    I extrapolated a story that explores the ceremony and the immediate aftermath, and proposes that T’Pol gave Trip a small gift in remembrance.

    The prompt was open-ended; the wedding itself is an ending, and a beginning…experienced by three people deeply affected by it.

    This story is long – over 6500 words, and I think it wandered more than it will. I did some moderate revision, and know that it could have been 10,000 words or more, if the day had stretched longer! =D

    It was a great place to end this story – for now. But I will be back, to begin the next phase, before too long!

    And now,an excerpt of my story,Views of a Wedding”. For the full version, click the title.

    A young woman knelt upon the pressed sands of her homeworld, her fingers lifting to cross to the precise center of the table. The man across from her mirrored the first posture, but their fingers hovered just at the range at which the bioelectric pulses could be sensed – the prelude to the joining. He felt – strange. Too calm; too still. She was required to meet the man’s blue eyes, but it was difficult to do so. She was aware of a deep, illogical desire to refuse, to rise, to flee…to burst into tears that would be understood by only one person here.

    She was a Vulcan. She would not cry.


    A little off, a man stood in borrowed finery, watching. He watched her fingers lift, in concert with the man. He wondered what she felt; was it different than what she felt with him? Was it better, with a Vulcan man – a man of her own people? He could only see her face in a thin slice of profile, made misty by the sheer cowl. She’d worn a cowl the first time he saw her, too – but he’d known. He was aware of an almost desperate need to charge across this damned sand garden, grab her, run away, pull out a communicator he didn’t have and demand a beamup from a ship that was 16 light-years away, in Spacedock. Instead, he stood there, and watched her preparing to sacrifice herself.

    He was on Vulcan. He wouldn’t cry.


    Aesthetically, she was beautiful. Almost, illogically, he could imagine that she had been sculpted by a master. He was privileged to have the chance to combine her genetics with his own. So his parents had declared, since they were children, and chosen for one another. He, however, was uncertain it was enough. Ought children not be raised in a home where a certain affection – or at the least regard? – existed between their parents, where both were available to them? He could feel the resistance, the distance, that separated them; she would never feel other than a stranger to him, and she wanted nothing more of him. In truth, she wanted this as little as he did. Perhaps he should end this, now, before the next posture began.

    They were Vulcan. They must try.

    You can find all of my May Challenge stories at my “official” Story a Day blog. My commentary on the process of creating these stories is here.

    Interested in reading more Story A Day offerings?