Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Toddler Tales: Helping

"Mommy, can I have something to duh-wink?" Joshua asked, trying so hard to pronounce his 'R.'

"What would you like?"

"Apple juice, apple juice. I get it!"

I had his cup rinsed and already half-full of water so I got out the gallon jug of juice and handed it down to him.

"Thank you, Mommy," he says, then presses it against my legs. "Here you go."

I topped off his cup and screwed on the lid.

"Thank you, Mommy," he squeaks, happily walking away.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bravado - Snapshot Reveal

I had so many different ideas with this week's writing prompt. I made doubly sure not to read any one else's submission so I could sort through my own first. (So I'll be making rounds today to see what everyone has come up with so far.)

I finally settled on this scene below. My sister and I used to walk the streets as teens. It was what made us close, just walking and talking. Then we would go home and play Tetris for hours ....

So, this scene isn't an exact copy, but the inspiration is there, along with Tena's chosen photo and the 5 words (in bold).

If you want to join in, be sure to link your story to the prompt post. Also, don't forget we're looking for photos, drawings, any kind of original image to help inspire our stories. Information on that is a few posts back.

345 words.



Emily walked down the street, peering at the girl next to her without being obvious. Janelle was watching her feet, scuffing the toes of her sneakers with each step. Her arms were crossed tightly over her lower belly.

Head rising suddenly, Janelle looked around at the quiet scenery with judging eyes.

"Do you think you could live here forever?" she asked.

"I hope not," Emily answered.

"No, not at your parents house. Here. With the quiet streets, the perfect lawns. The clean cars in all the driveways. Counterfeit paintings on the wall and plastic gems in the safe."

"I don't know. I guess."

"It's not for me. I'm not the yard and kids type. I would take too much devotion, you know? I think I would like an apartment in the city. Maybe a small dog I can hire someone to walk."

"So you can avoid the crazy people on the streets who would heckle you?" Emily teased.

"I could handle it. It wouldn't be personal."

Emily's chest ached for her friend. Janelle had never talked like this.

"Really?" she asked quietly. "Is that really what you want?" Janelle looked up at the sky.

"It's better than being here."

"I would miss you too much. Who would do karaoke with me?"

"Come with me. There will be bars in the city to do that. No more video game crap."

Janelle had always loved that video game crap.

"If you want to move to the city, we can," Emily promised. "As soon as we graduate."

The lump in Emily's throat was painful, but she knew it wasn't as bad as Janelle's pain. If Janelle could only hold out a few more months they could be gone, lost in anonymity where no one would care. They would go somewhere no one would know about Janelle and the boy who had pretended to love her just so he could take everything away.

"Yeah," Janelle choked, reaching up to wipe her face, leaving a wet smear across her cheek. "Thanks."


Where you wanted to escape to just out of High School if you could have gone anywhere and done anything?

I always thought I wanted that loft apartment in the city complete with a claw foot tub and a big cat that came in and out through the fire escape while I sat at my desk and wrote all day. Looking back, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the reality, but I am still drawn to the romantic image of it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Toddler Tales: Nap Time

We've been struggling with nap time, lately. It's taking longer to get Joshua to sleep than he actually sleeps.

"Daddy," he called from the top of the stairs. My husband let out a sigh and went up.

"What is it, baby?"

"It's not dark outside, Daddy. I don't have to sleep anymore."

"It's nap time, Joshua, not nigh-night."


Thursday, July 26, 2012

You'll Know It When You See It - Part Four of the Collaboration Challenge

Tena sends our story another spin with this week's installment as she introduces Gnat to Tyler's new home purchase. Do you remember how we got there?

Read Parts One, Two and Three to catch up, then travel on over to

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Snapshot Reveal

This week, Tena Carr has taken a crack at putting together our prompt. Her photo looks ... normal. The words look ... interesting. I can't wait to see what those twisted writing minds of yours come up with. :-D


First, let's take a look at last week's offerings.

As you know I have joined Carrie Sorensen of Chasing Revery and Nicole Pyles of The World of My Imagination for the

writing, writers, blogs

Click and copy this code

Don’t forget  Carrie’s & Nicole’s new incentive if you join in the weekly writing prompts, so make sure you go by and check out what prizes they’re offering! And if you are photographer, make sure to check out this post on how to submit your photographs.
I am honored to be able to choose this weeks Photo and Five Words, which I will be putting below – But First the RULES (hey even us returners need reminders)

1) There will be one photo, and five words - both of those elements must be a feature in the brief story you create.
2) There is also a 500 word maximum.
3) You have until the next Wednesday to create your post.
4) When you have finished your post, come back here and link up below and let me (or whoever your blog host is) know in the comments that you have done so!
5) We were going to tell you to not take this too seriously, but reconsidered it because we know full well that asking writers to write something means that they will take it seriously. So, take it seriously, but don't fret/panic/pass out/hyperventilate/lose sleep/run in fear over it.

Here is this week's photo taken by Tena Carr:

Here are your five words:


Good luck, and don't forget to connect your story by clicking the little blue guy. (Note - the name section is what appears as the link name, so you can add your story title along with or instead of your name.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Blogging Award!

*Note: All misspellings of Leibster to Liebster fixed. I think. ;)

I have been gifted a Liebster Blog Award by Anne at Writer's Space that I am so very excited about. Thank you, Anne!

Of course, I had no idea what a Liebster Blog Award was, so I found my answer at iScribble. The author of that blog says Liebster means dearest in German (Google says it means favorite) and that the rules are to tag 5 other bloggers who are up and coming with less than 200 followers.

Anne says I am to share 11 facts about myself, answer her 11 questions, come up with my own 11 questions, then pass on the award to 11 other blogs (with no limits on how many followers they have).

Of course, Anne is the one who sent me the award, so I suppose I should follow her rules. I think I'm going to compromise, though, and find as many blogs I love with under 200 followers to include in my 11.

Okay, so let's get this blog award rolling.

11 Facts About Me -

1) I turn 30 this year and am so excited! I've always secretly wanted to be 30. I guess because I associate 30 with adulthood, so it's like an "I made it!" coming of age moment.

2) My 3 year old was just put in intro to swimming class at our local pool. After a week in, the graduated him to Level 1. >>>Proud Mama.<<<<

3) My 5 month old had a 90th percentile head and 40th percentile body when he was 4 months old. We think he's catching up, but his poor head still flops every now and again. (Wait, does that really count as a fact about me? Oh, sure it does ...)

4) I do not like to wear make-up. I have super sensitive skin and man-made products can cause a bad rash. I do wear it on occasion, but I always wash it off ASAP.

5) I love dogs. Definitely a dog person.

6) The only comic books I've ever read start to finish are Manga.

7) I want a PlayStation 4 for Christmas. My husband says we have to wait until the bugs are worked out. I mean, really. What tech company doesn't test all their stuff before -- oh. Never mind. I still want one, though.

8) I'm very gullible. I don't always know when someone is joking, or if something is farce. I've learned to wait and see what the crowd's reaction is, just so I can say / do the right thing.

9) I thought I had lost a bunch of ultrasound photos of my youngest, but I just found them yesterday, tucked safely away in my wedding album. :P

10) For some reason, I'm more patient when I'm out and around people than I am at home by myself with the kids and dogs.

11) I do not like to cook. I leave that to my husband while I do the baking.

Anne's 11 Questions -

1) What gives you a lot of energy during the day?
Sleep. No, seriously. It works so much better for me than caffeine. If I'm too tired, I try to fit in a nap, then I manage the rest of my day.

2) What place would you visit if money or time were not a problem?
Santorini. Hopefully I would learn to Scuba dive first.

3) What is your most embarrassing moment?
The one that always comes to mind is in middle school. We were sitting at lunch, and my friend loudly announced that I would like my crush's oreo (meaning something else, of course). I think I was bright red for the rest of the day.

4) What would you consider your most prized possession?
My wedding ring. I adore it, even years later.

5) What is your worst pet peeve?
Eating noises - banana noises, chewing like a cow - basically, if your lips separate while you eat, I can hear it and it drives me nuts.

6) What is the ONE thing you CANNOT leave the house without?
My sunglasses. I have extremely light sensitive eyes, so I would not have a very fun day without them.

7) Do you have a daily mantra or life philosophy? What is it?
I guess it would be, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

8) What is your favorite time of the year? Why?
This is tricky, particularly since the seasons have been re-discovering themselves lately. I like warm days with a cool breeze or a cool day with a warm breeze, with just a few fluffy clouds in the sky, no matter what time of year it is.

9) Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Yes. I bet you want to know what it is, too. I love tween / teen movies. I cannot get enough.

10) What do you prefer? Flowers or chocolates (for women)? Tools or gadgets (for men)?
Chocolate. Dark, organic chocolate, to be specific.

11) Which book would you pick up at the bookstore? Self-help, Romantic novel, Sci-Fi, Poetry, Business?
Currently, a self-help book on how to keep my dogs from barking when I can't get up to re-direct them because I'm (insert activity) with the baby.

My 11 Questions -

1) What is your favorite movie from the 1950's or before?
2) Which band do you most wish would come back after 'disappearing' or retiring?
3) What is your favorite book that you don't think many people would know?
4) What song is stuck in your head right now? (Because you know I just put one there - sorry.)
5) How many animals do you have? How many do you wish you had?
6) What is your favorite type of cookie?
7) What place do you never want to go back to because it's so perfect in your mind you don't want to ruin it?
8) How many paces from your computer place to the fridge?
9) Did you actually have to count, or did you already know?
10) How old were you when you no longer believed in Santa Claus?
11) Did someone spill the beans or did you figure it out on your own?

Passed On to These 11 Bloggers -
1) Scotty Watty Doodle All The Day
2) Chessny Silth
3) Page After Page
4) Clouds and Daffodils
5) Confessions of Pixel and Ink-Stained Wretch
6) Laws of Gravity
7) Reading, Writing and Everything In Between
8) Landa-loo, Where Are You?
9) Jottings and Writings of Tena Carr
10) Official Website of Gina Marie Long
11) And ... I'm out of under-200-followers blogs that I follow (who haven't already received the award - trying to spread the love).  :-)

I think I've just run out of steam.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Calliope - Snapshot Reveal

What a photo this week. I can't wait to see what our blogging friends writing serial stories do with this one. We'll know by Wednesday, though, when a new prompt goes up.

Add your own Snapshot story to the original post. And don't forget, we are also looking for photo submissions to help inspire.

Just don't leave before reading what I've come up with.



"Oh, this is perfect!"

Lily hissed in pain, glaring at Nana as she nursed skin pricked by the brooch she'd been admiring.

"Lily, come here. I've found the perfect thing for your room." Lily put pressure on the wound in her finger, crossing the cluttered isle.

"What is it?"

"This!" Lily gaped at the huge thing her grandmother was presenting to her, arms open as wide as her smile

Colorful Calliope in Asbury Park"Nana, no." The smile collapsed.

"Why not?"

"It's a calliope. A noise-maker - a loud one. And there's no way it will fit in my room."

"Oh, of course it won't, not as it is. But look at how pretty it is, Lily. It even has flowers on it. We'll just take this front piece. You can hang it on your wall. And see all these holes? Perfect for photos of your friends."

Friends I won't have any more if you put this in my room, Lily thought. Honestly, her pride was at stake.

Nana was running her hands over the carved wood, peaking behind it and muttering to herself about how to take the front panel off. As she shifted it, a disturbed cockroach scuttled across the floor. It had probably just laid eggs in the thing.

"You know Mom would throw a fit," Lily tried, jumping out of the way of the insect.

"You think?"

"Oh, yeah. She won't want you to spend so much money on me, especially on something like that. I'm going to college soon. It's not exactly something I can take to a dorm."

"No," Nana frowned, running her fingers down the row of bright flowers. "No, I guess not. It's a shame, though. It really is perfect, don't you think?"

Lily shuddered. "Come see the table of brooches."

"Ooh, anything good?" Nana asked, linking her arm with Lily's to go look at the jewelry.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Reading: Nurture vs Nature

As my kids and my sister's kids grow, I take a look at our kids and their preferences to reading. Her kids do not like to read. My mom and I have worked to try and find books to pique their interest, but the unfortunate bit is, if there are more words than pictures, they are not interested.

My kids are younger than hers, but my 3 year old absolutely loves books. When my husband's parents are here, he takes them book after book because he knows they will read to him for hours. Nap and bed time must have a story or two. Or three. Then, of course, every time I write something or are reading something, he wants to sit on my lap so I can read it to him.

So reading is nurtured. Right?

Mmm, I don't buy it. Here's why.

My mom, as interested in she is in getting her grandkids to read, is not a reader. With my sister and I, she didn't read to us. She got us books on tape, though, so the opportunity was there. I became an obsessed reader. I read every book my librarian handed to me. I was part of a book club. Heck, I would read road signs if there was nothing else.

My sister did not like to read unless it was very specific - teens with attitude, dystopian environments, Edgar Allen Poe. It wasn't until she was much older that she began to enjoy reading more, but it's still not a love an definitely not a priority.

So, in that case, was I just wired in a way that made reading easy and fun? As I grew, I wanted to write, too, finding stories in everything, so maybe it was something in my make-up that made me more apt to be able to suspend belief and dive into all those different worlds.

This is a debate that could go on for a while, but I think I'll leave my post where it is and open up the comments.

Do you think reading is more nature, or nurtured? Why?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Estate - Part Three of the Collaboration Challenge

Dark HallwayYolanda Lane has joined us for the first time and has put together Part Three of our story. So now I know who was at the door and what they wanted! But now I have to wait for Tena to answer the next unanswered moment. To find out what I'm talking about, head over to

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Snapshot Prompt

Nicole has put together another great prompt for us this week. Another new announcement, and a few reminders will lead you along the way. We're also trying a new link-up system this week, so let's see how it all goes.


Hey all! We're back with a new writing prompt this week!

And remember, last week we added details about a new incentive if you join in the weekly writing prompts, so make sure you go by and check out what prizes we are offering! And if you are photographer, make sure to check out this post on how to submit your photographs.

Here are some of the amazing stories from last week:

A Rain Gutter? What? by Scott William Taylor
Escape by Heather
An Excerpt from her Current Novel In Progress from Carrie K. Sorensen
Untitled Piece by blog My Unpublished Life
Cult of the Fang by Randy Lindsay

Everyone has such awesome imaginations and creativity! So thank you everyone!

As usual Carrie is hosting with me and we are proud to introduce another member of our team (Jane has been out due to personal reasons!) Tena Carr, a faithful submitter to the blog hop and becoming an awesome blog friend. Make sure to check her blog at Jottings and Writings.

Now, as a reminder, here are the rules to submitting to the writing prompt:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Toddler Tales: Watch Yourself

"Watch yourself," Joshua said when he rammed his tricycle into my ankles. I was standing at the back door, watching the two big dogs and holding the leash for the little one. They've been barking a lot, and running out of their yard if there was an animal or person in sight, so I've been taking a more active roll in their outside time to get rid of those behaviors.

This isn't my favorite time(s) of day, particularly when it's been so hot and so humid out. So, when my 3 year old told me to watch myself, my irritation levels rose a little bit.

I took my deep breath and reminded myself he's just trying out something new he heard me say. So, I decided to teach him what it meant; As in, the particular meaning I want him to have when he says it to me again.

The conversation went something like this.

"Watch yourself means to be careful. So what do you want me to do?"

"Move, Mommy."

"So what do you say to get me to move?"

"Um. Excuse me, Mommy."

"Oh, okay, Joshua. Thank you for asking so nicely."

I moved so he could role his bike out another foot and a half to be stopped by the grass. All he wanted to do was get in front of me so he could watch his puppies, too.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Snapshot Reveal from my WIP

I'm going to cheat a little bit this week. The photo prompt is so close to a scene from my WIP, I can't think of anything else. Truthfully, I don't want to, because I don't want to contaminate what I'm already working on. So, with a few alterations to include the mandatory words, here is an excerpt from (currently untitled) Branna's story.

Don't forget we've expanded to a photo submission and contest along with a contest for the writers. Check out the new rules and submit your story here.


(From Chapter 13)

A sound downstairs groaned with a quiet squeak at the end. That would be the door from the mudroom into the kitchen. My eyes hardened. I looked at the red numbers of my digital alarm clock. 11:59. The stairs creaked. Heavy footsteps entered the hallway, muffled by the carpet before the door across the hall from mine was opened, then shut. Edan was finally home.

I yanked the brush from my hair and slammed it on my nightstand, causing the scented candle to gutter out. I pulled the pillow up around my ears, holding it with one arm while pulling my comforter up with the other. I needed a padlock for the anger scratching aggressively at my nerves. Closing my eyes, I told myself to go to sleep. Right now.

It worked. I was asleep, relief chilling my brain like the cold breeze on naked legs swinging off a branch that twisted and bent away from the trunk. I was very high in this unclimbable tree, bare beyond its flaking bark and standing charcoal against the eggplant colored sky.

The tree snagged my skirt and held it above my knees. It was costume party elaborate while sacrificial in color. I began to wonder when the dragon would be coming to get me.

I stopped breathing when I realized the birds were there. There were dozens of them lined up on the arthritic limbs of the tree. Each one watched me expectantly. Balancing on to my feet, I curled my toes around brittle bark. Below me I could just make out the shape of an elaborate headstone set at the North side of the tree’s roots.

One raven called out, the herald of the others. The air grew darker with so many wings lifting in tandem. My own arms rose and I stepped off the branch.

How melodramatic, I thought dryly. Only, I didn’t fall. The ravens were taking flight around me with a frame-by-frame feeling. My arms were spread beside me, then slightly behind me. The dress became silkier, more a part of my skin than covering it.

Feathers shimmered softly, the tips of white wings flashing in my eyes. I was a bird again, a raven whose feathers were so pale they reflected moonlight. Time resumed. The ravens surrounded me, crowding me as they flew through the air. I flapped my wings convulsively, wanting to use them like arms to cover my head while trying to remain aloft.

It took a moment to understand the ebony birds weren’t attacking. They were jostling with each other, struggling to contend with the crowd. Once their wings brushed mine, they left, opening up space for the next one to fly in.

One minute passed and they were all gone. I was alone in the night, gliding over the cemetery.

Casa Encantada-Haunted House


Okay, a little afterward. This scene originally took place on a building (see picture). When I decided to grab it for this week's post I forgot I had changed it to the tree. The tree is actually much more significant to the story where the building was pure imagery. I'm also aware of the hard transition between being awake and being asleep. I am working on it. One day, it will be fixed. Somehow. Yeah.

Question time. Do you turn into an animal when you dream? Which one(s)?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Nervous Without My Boys

My friend took my boys for me for a few hours the other day. I was told to relax and enjoy myself. It was a sound idea in theory.

I decided to go shopping. I haven't been shopping by myself in ... years. It has to be. I can't remember the last time I even ran to the local shopping mart on my own.

I kept checking my purse, looking around me. I was incredibly nervous and anxious. It was that, I forgot something really, really important feeling. I knew it was because I was by myself, that my little ones weren't with me, but I could not shake the feeling.

My girlfriend called me to ask me how to make the cereal for my 5 month old. I told her I was on my way out of town, I could swing by and show her. I was not allowed, so I had to go home.

There was a movie on TV. I hate TV movies, but it was one I had been wanting to watch. I couldn't just sit still. I felt guilty, lazy. So I made myself watch the movie - while doing some housework at the same time.

Finally, it was time to pick up my boys. Finally, I could relax. After a day of so many emotions, I was exhausted and it was nice to be back to normal.

Of course, the obvious conclusion is that I need to drop the boys off somewhere more often. I need to be more comfortable than that out by myself. I was also taking mental notes the whole time, hoping I'm a good enough writer to be able to instill those emotions in my characters, setting up situations where they would have to feel that way.

Okay, so your turn. What makes you nervous now, that didn't used to in the past? Do you know why? Do you have plans to change it?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shall I Turn On the Lights - Part Two of the Collaboration Challenge

She did it! Nicole has posted the next leg of our collaboration story! And it's crazy, because it makes me super excited to see what Yolanda comes up with next week so I can know .... well, you'll have to read it, first.

Remember to read the first part, Two Doors. (Link updated.)

Caught up? Memory refreshed? Here's Part Two:


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Snapshot Prompt - New Contest

Welcome to the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop (otherwise titled, "Weekly Snapshot Prompt"). Now, both Nicole and I have been trying really hard to figure out how to improve the engagement of the prompt. We are so grateful for those who have contributed their creativity and we really want them to benefit in some way for getting involved each and every week. It is a lot to ask people to contribute their creative self each week.

By the way, here are the awesome stories from last week -

A Sign by Yolanda at the blog "Where's Landa?"
Chasing Rainbows by Chasing Revery (Me)
The Corner of Vine and 85th by Scott Taylor
Two Weirdos Are Here to See You by Nicole

So, how can we reward our entrants?

Well, we had an idea.

There will be brand new incentive to enter in your response to the writing prompt each week. You can win one of the following: 

1) Blog Ad Spot on my side bar (and I would be happy to create a blog button for you) for an entire month on Nicole's blog as well as my blog.


2) A link to anything else of your choice on our sidebar - your book, an etsy store, twitter account, facebook page, etc. Pretty much anything that needs promotion can get a spot on Nicole and my side bars.

How do you win?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Calling for Image Submissions

We are sending out a huge thank you to everyone who participates in our Wednesday Creative Writing Blog Hop (Or Snapshot Prompt, as I like to call it). Over the past few days, we've been discussing different ways to encourage involvement. So, we're changing up the Snapshot a bit. Nicole will tell you about the contest. I'm here to tell you about the images.

We want to use your photos or art to help inspire our stories.

I know, crazy, right? What are we thinking?

Well, we love all things creative and would like to help promote photographers and artists along with our writers. Now, our writers could be photographers, or maybe you photographers would like to take a stab at writing. But first, we need the photos.

All art must owned by you, the submitter, so we can have permission to use the work. It also must be PG13 or we won't be able to post or use it.

Our deadline for photos every week will be Sunday. Starting this Sunday, July 15. You can link up your image (just let us know what it's for) or email it to us. On Sunday, we'll post the artwork or photography and vote! Whoever wins will not only have their photo featured in our Wednesday Snapshot Prompt, but we will also help promote your work by connecting to your blog or website with a button and by offering a guest post/interview spot on the participating co-host blogs (optional for the shy ones).

So get those creative juices flowing. We'll see you on Sunday.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chasing Rainbows - Snapshot Reveal

Just to let those who are curious know - choosing the prompt photo and words does not make it easier to write. That being said, of course I still wrote it.

I hope you're finding ways to enjoy your beginning of the week. Here's a little something to help you along the way.


Chasing Rainbows

Leon's tie flapped in the wind over his shoulder as he came into the drive. He slowed the motorcycle gradually until he could put the sole of his boots on the ground to walk the bike to where she waited.

"You know you have helmet hair," Juniper teased when he peeled the black shell off.

"It's a good thing I have hair wax, then," he countered with a smile.

"Where is it?" she asked in doubt, looking at the wind rough suit and the tie that wasn't quite ready to fall back into place.

"In your bathroom." Juniper blinked in surprise, then laughed at his cheeky grin. Long legs took Leon from his bike and into the narrow townhouse.

Juniper's hand fluttered while she considered going after him. Instead, she folded them together over the gem embellishment on the waist of her satin dress, looking up at the sky. What had been a white froth of cloud cover most of the day was darkening into something more ominous.

"Don't be seeing omens where there aren't any," Leon charged. She glanced over at him to smile. He was impeccable, of course.

"It looks like a warship," she ignored him. "No one will come to the gallery show in this weather."

Leon looked up at the sky, twisting his head. "A warship? See, that's why everyone will come. Your art is going to show them the world they don't know how to see themselves."

Juniper shrugged, rubbing her trembling hands over the goosebumps on her arms. "Well, we have to be there regardless. Let's go."

"Happy thoughts," Leon whispered, opening the waiting car door.

Juniper stared out the window at the city she loved. Little store fronts littered the streets, interrupted by a stretch of posh apartments, or a historic hotel that catered to those who chose to visit the dream, rather than go for it. Juniper was beginning to understand them for the first time, her stomach in knots the closer they got to the Arts District.

Leon chuckled and grabbed Juniper's hand. She squeezed it, intending to let go, but found she couldn't.

"Look, June," he pulled her attention to the front window. "Look at your gallery."

Juniper gasped at the sight, tears welling in her eyes. It was beautiful.

A rainbow cut across the sky, and at it's end was the glowing stone of the museum that was also the site of her first gallery opening.

"Let's go get your pot of gold," Leon murmured, threading his fingers with her. Juniper nodded. Though her smile trembled, it stayed on her face as they chased her rainbow.


What would be at the end of your rainbow?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Two Doors - A Collaboration Challenge Story

The Collaboration Challenge has begun! Let's see what I come up with, then check out who's joining in.


Part One: Two Doors

The sound was sharp as she clenched the soft paper. Light filtered in through gossamer drapes of a perfect hotel room. She hadn’t known places this nice existed outside of a little girl’s imagination. Her lip twitched up, though there wasn’t much humor in it. If my friends could see me now came to mind, but she hadn’t had any of those in a long time.

There was a soft warning knock before the door opened to admit Freddy. When she had seen him for the first time last week, she’d thought he was a cop chasing her out of her roost on Second Street. It was just an architectural detail with enough crunchy leaves to make something of a pillow. After five years on the streets, she wasn’t picky.

The best part of her Second Street spot was no one else seemed to know about it. She wasn’t sure how, but she’d never had to fight for it. The only drawback was Second Street was a pretty classy neighborhood so she could only use it if she was damn sure she wouldn’t be seen. When Freddy had poked his big, gray-haired head in, it had appeared as if a black and white had finally caught her.

“How are you, Miss Naomi?” he asked her now as he had then. A week ago the question had shocked her cold. Today she was so used to the question she almost answered.

“Where did you get this?” she demanded, showing him the bow-tie-shaped piece of crumpled paper. He stood tall and composed in a crisp black suit. His ties were the only exciting thing about him. Today he wore a laser blue stripe tucked neatly under his buttoned jacket.

“I told you. Mister Tyler asked me to give it to you once I found you. That was not an easy task. It took me three days to connect Naomi with Gnat,” he muttered, his tone letting her know he did not approve of the nickname.

Gnat ignored him. She had already asked how he’d made the connection when no one alive knew her as anything other than Gnat – small and black from head to eyes to skin. He’d answered her question by stating he was resourceful before returning the conversation to Tyler.

She held the piece of paper a little tighter. It was a note a fourteen year old girl had written to the first boy she’d ever loved after he had told her he was leaving. It was a letter of forevers. “I’ll love you forever.” “I’ll think of you always.” They were things that seemed possible before her house burned down, killing her brother with flame, then her parents later in the hospital.

It was a sad story, one she had survived. She’d survived the foster system she ran away from, her first knife fight, her years on the street with all its unexpected darkness. Her existence might not be much, but she’d survived.

Then this old guy finds her and somehow gets her to this hotel by telling her an old 8th grade crush was trying to find her. She kept looking for the catch when the hot meals came along with gifts of clothes. What was behind the trip to the hair dresser where they sheered off all her dreads, smoothing what was left into a short bob? The only answer was crumpled in her hand.

“Alright, Freddy, why hasn’t Tyler come to see me himself?”

“He wanted to, Naomi, believe me. He simply could not.”


“The trip Tyler made can only be made once.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

Freddy’s voice was soft. “I recognize you have had a hard life since you last knew Tyler. He has had many difficulties, too, though of a greatly different variety. He thought ... he was hoping you could help him with them.”

“What, like as in a job?”

“Of a sort,” Freddy confirmed. Gnat felt her recent meal threaten to make a return trip.

“So that is what this has been about?” she asked, gesturing around the lush room. "Getting me ready for some job interview with an old friend?"

“No,” Freddy countered firmly. “This is because you needed it. I could have taken you to Tyler last week much easier than it will be today. As it is, we are out of time. I will be going home today. Will you be accompanying me?”

Did he know what he was asking? She only had rosy memories of Tyler, few of them probably accurate. She'd since learned of a darker world under all that pretty glamor and wasn't willing to take anything at face value.

Still, it was a choice. Wherever Freddy was going, he was going today. Did she want to take her chance with him, or go back to the streets?

“Where exactly are you going?” Freddy studied her for a moment, then seemed to make a decision of his own. He walked to the door between this room and the next, opening it to reveal the other closed door leading to the adjacent room.

“Why not let Tyler explain?” He stepped toward the closed door and simply disappeared.

Gnat blinked. The life she’d lived this past week had been worlds away from what she was used to. What she had just seen was …

She was jaded, basic, beaten down. She’d lost everything.

The soft paper made sharp sounds in her hand. Her choices were not what she wanted, but were something she probably would have seen as romantic before the streets, before the fire, back to when she’d told a brown-eyed boy she would love him forever.

“Well, if I’m going to disappear,” she muttered, walking toward the door, leaving her world of nothing behind, moving toward something


I wonder where that door leads .... We may find out next week when Nicole Pyles takes control. Along with Nicole, we have Leonard Suskin rejoining us. Our first timers are Yolanda Lane and Tena Carr. With everyone taking two weeks, this is a long one. Join us for the ride and let us know what you think along the way in the comments.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Snapshot Prompt

Happy Fourth of July! Between fireworks and BBQ, have a look at our prompt. If you don't have time today, no worries. It will be here all week along with these stories inspired from last week's photo.

Caffeine Cure from Hygge Man
Lost Hopes, Lost Dreams from Tena Carr (who is joining the Collaboration Challenge starting tomorrow)
You Sound Like A Dying Peacock from Nicole Pyles (also joining the Challenge)
Paper Thin from Me

If you enjoy the blog hop and want to help promote it, feel free to grab a button:

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If you want to take promoting the hop a bit further, come be a co-host for the blog hop. Let us know if you're interested in the comments! It's fairly easy, just making sure you are posting the blog hop post each week - there's not even an obligation to write to the prompt each week if you host. We just happen to love to do it. :-)

As always, here is a reminder of the submission rules:

1) There will be one photo, and five words - both of those elements must be a feature in the brief story you create.
2) There is also a 500 word maximum.
3) You have until the next Wednesday to create your post.
4) When you have finished your post, come back here and link up below and let me (Or whoever your blog host is) know in the comments that you have done so!
5) We were going to tell you to not take this too seriously, but reconsidered it because we know full well that asking writers to write something means that they will take it seriously. So, take it seriously, but don't fret/panic/pass out/hyperventilate/lose sleep/run in fear over it.

The Photo - Taken by Kristoffer Sorensen

Five Words - Generated with this generator.






Okay. Once his has all mixed up in your story blender and spat out a story, be sure to link it right here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Paper Thin, Snapshot Reveal

Happy first Monday of July. This week is going to be crazy with posts. Wednesday will bring another photo prompt. Thursday we'll be starting the newest Collaboration Challenge story with 5 writers, including myself. All of this while celebrating the 4th of July week with family and friends.

Of course, we have to start with Monday, though, and Monday brings my Snapshot story reveal. Check out the prompt post and the other stories attached to it.


Paper Thin

"Do I have to?" I grumbled, looking at the small bungalow my mom had driven to.

"Zip it," she answered, her hands gripping the wheel as she ordered me out with her eyes.

Aunt Stacy was in the attic when I walked in, so I hollered to let her know I was there and plopped on the couch. Humming my favorite hymn, I pulled out my phone to take my aggression out on some pigs who would need false teeth when I was done with them.

When Stacy came into the living room, she was covered in dust from her pinned up hair to her peacock print tank, all the way down to the dragging hem of her washed-out jeans. She had a box propped up on a curvy hip, tipped out away from her body as if she didn't want to touch it any more than she had to.

"Do you want to help me with something?" No, I thought, but got up anyway.

Outside, a bonfire had been started. Stacy dropped the box onto a small table, giving me a shaky smile before she ripped it open and started throwing the contents into the flames.

I took small steps toward the box. It was filled with glossy photos, some in their full 3x5 size, others just a thin piece, obviously cut from the bigger photo.

"There were some I wanted to keep," Stacy explained when she saw me with one of the thin pieces. Uncle Steve - now just Steve, was the object of each piece of kindling. "Go ahead. Throw it in."

We threw piles in, flipped a few in, then had contests on who could get the most in Frisbee-style.

"I have to figure out what to do with the ones on my computer," she sighed.

"I'll help you Photoshop them," I offered. Stacy's grin was brilliant. I was beginning to be glad I'd come.

I reached in to grab a photo with Uncle - I mean, just Steve in a car, head in his hand with a pair of dolls in the back seat. I showed Stacy, raising my brow in question. Her lips pursed.

"Steve always thought he was smarter than everyone else. He put these dolls in his back seat so he could drive in the carpool lane. This is the day he got caught." The photo fed the fire.

"This is kind of cool," I announced as we watched what was left of the photos curl and ash. "I don't have any photos to do this to. It's much more therapeutic than just pressing delete."

Stacy's laugh started with a startled squeak, then settled into a desperate chuckle. I put my arm around her waist and leaned in. Though she took my weight, I had the feeling I was holding her up.


Do you still print your photos? What part of having to print photos do you miss most?