Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snapshot Prompt

Leanne has put together this week's prompt for us. Next week, my turn, and I announce our new winner for the monthly ad contest! Make sure to check out The Rules and get your stories linked up by 8pm EST next Tuesday to be eligible.


Happy Wednesday, my friends! It's time for the next round of Writer Wednesday Blog Hop inspiration. If you've been following along, we've been gathering the most wonderful stories from the photo prompts and our community is growing! Carrie, Nicole, Tena and I are so grateful to all of you for your participation and creativity in the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop. Thank you!

If you haven't yet joined in, please know you are welcome to hop in anytime. All are welcome!

Before we get to this week's photo, take a look at the stories that came in from last week. They are truly wonderful!

1. Last Train Out by Randy Lindsay
2. Journey to Huge Stone by Christopher Shawbell
3. A Decision For Peter by Scott Taylor
4. A Ghost of Herself Emily Jean Roche
5. Fading Tracks by CK Sorensen
6. Granddaddy's Pocket Watch by Leanne Sype
7. This is Where the Nightmares Started by Nicole Pyles

Be sure to take some time to read these and show some love to the author by commenting on their story. :) 

Okay... a quick reminder of how all this works:
1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

Drum roll please.... badabadabadabada

Car and Mountain big


Photo courtesy of here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snapshot Reveal: Fading Tracks

410 words. :) I was so afraid I'd gone over this time.

This post is in response to last week's Snapshot Prompt. Click on over to read more work inspired by the same photo and words. Or even (gasp) submit your own.


Fading Tracks

Houston Skyline, from Old MKT Railroad Trestle over White Oak Bayou, near Studemont & I-10, Houston, Texas 0330090947BWRoger flickered into sight next to the overgrown rails. He frowned down at them a moment, kicking at the wild vegetable greens. His foot went right through.

These tracks used to run straight into the city, carrying folk from all over to come try their luck under 24 hour lights. Now the living just forgot them, forgot the importance of them, lost in their need for single-passenger cars, clogging up the highways and filling the air with that smoke--

"Good morning."

Roger's frown melted away as he turned to his fellow ghost.

"Well, hello there, Miss. Going somewhere special today?"

"I'm hoping," she said with a toothy smile. The girl had obviously been around a while, dressed in petticoats and layers of muslin, holding a little purse in a white-gloved hand.

"Did it take you a while to get here?" Roger asked politely. The woman's eyes widened.

"Oh, yes. I was tied pretty tightly to my place of death. Childbirth, you know," she whispered. Roger nodded solemnly before pulling out his silver pocket watch.

"Well, my dear, you won't have to wait much longer. The train is due in three minutes precisely."

"Oh, I'm so excited. Where does the train go, precisely? I'm not entirely sure ... " Her voice faded, her hands clutching her purse. Roger sent her a reassuring smile.

"Why, nearly anywhere in the Cosmos you would like to go." Her smile lit the world in that moment.

The wind carried a heavy note followed by a whistling breeze. Roger signaled the passenger to wait a moment. The breeze kicked up dirt and ruffled the vegetables  but didn't do anything to the two figures standing by as the iridescent train materialized before them.

The lady rushed up to the ladder, cheerily greeting the conductor who opened the door for her. She paused on the landing and looked down.

"Are you coming, sir?" Roger hesitated, sharing a glance with the conductor before he answered.

"Not today, Ma'am. Have a nice trip, now."

She didn't waste another moment, slipping onto the train and out of sight.

"You sure, Roger?" the conductor asked. "It's been a long time."

"One day," Roger challenged. "One day they'll remember the tracks. They'll need me, then." The conductor set his lips and nodded goodbye. The train engine pushed the air up again as it disappeared.

Roger sighed and shook his head, looking down at his pocket watch before tucking it away and fading out of sight.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snapshot Prompt

There's something about a holiday weekend that throws everyone off - particularly since everyone doesn't have the same day off.

But, we have the prompt set up thanks to Nicole. It was posted before midnight her time, but it was too late for me. Still, the prompt is good. Check it out.


Goodness gracious, people! Who forgot to tell me it was Wednesday??

I'm not exactly a day late though (although I'm several dollars short, according to my bank account), because it isn't midnight yet.

So, first, let's do a quick shout out to my fabulous upon fabulous co-hosts, Carrie K. Sorensen, Tena Carr, and Leanne Sype.

Also, make sure to grab a blog hop button if you love us as much as we love you!

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Now, let's check out the amazing stories from last week -

Thank You Again by Chris Shawbell

A Bitter Sun, A Hazy Sky by Scott Taylor

Abandoned by Heather

Cloaked by Leanne Sype

Good job everybody!!

Just as a reminder, here are the rules - 

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Wednesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess when you're done via the inLinkz linky.
5) Have fun, don't stress, let those creative juices flow.

Now, here's the fun part. 

Here is the photo for this week (found here)

Houston Skyline, from Old MKT Railroad Trestle over White Oak Bayou, near Studemont & I-10, Houston, Texas 0330090947BW

And here are the five words -

Pocket Watch





When you are ready, submit your link below!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Family Fun: Sebastian's 1st Birthday

The Collaboration Challenge is on pause for the moment. I'll update you when I know more.

I had such a busy fun weekend! And I have pictures. Lots of baby-eating-cake pictures. (So sorry if this page takes forever to load.)

The party was so much fun. We had a good showing. I had Joshua (Big Brother) help open the presents while Sebastian played with the bags and boxes and tissue paper. As the toys were unwrapped, I passed them out to the kiddos watching and gave permission to take them out of the packages. Great for a couple reasons. 1) Kiddos don't get too jealous while watching the present opening. 2) Other parents open all the cardboard and twist ties and other crap for me! Win Win!

Then, there's the cake. We had Thomas the Train cakes (there's a photo somewhere, but not on my phone). A big cake for everyone else with Thomas from the store, then a little cake they copied the frosting on and I put one of Joshua's trains (Percy, if you know the show) on the little one for Sebastian. He got the little cake and dug right in while the rest of us enjoyed the untouched bigger cake.

Here Are the Photos!

I do not have before and after pics of the kitchen yet, simply because 'after' is not finished. Per typical DIY projects, this one had more issues than expected, is taking more materials than expected, and therefore will take more time than expected. But we're hoping to be done by this weekend, so pictures are still coming. Everyone at the party loved the progress, though, so it makes me all the more excited to finish it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Snapshot Prompt

As promised, here's Leanne's post for the Snapshot prompt. :)


My turn! This week I have the pleasure of hosting this week's blog hop. I hope you all are enjoying the challenges as much as I am... the stories that birth from these photos are truly fun to read. And this past week was no different. Check out the stories that sprung from last week's inspiration:

Hunter's Moon by Randy Lindsay
An Invitation from the SECONYC by Scott Taylor
As a Polis Slumbers by Chris Shawbell
Stormy Love by Leanne Sype
Runaway Moon by Cindy

Also, Chris Shawbell was this month's ad contest winner! Congrats Chris! For more about the contest part of the blog hop click here. Show him some love and fellow writer support with this button on your site:

  graveyard button 

 You're invited to jump into the blog hop anytime! Certainly the pictures are thought provoking, but there's something to be said about writers inspiring other writers...

Here’s a quick overview of how it works:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday at midnight to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

Without further ado, here's this weeks picture and mandatory words: BloghopFeb12

Your words:

Yikes! Tough! We can do it though... ready? GO!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Balls of Life - As in, Juggling Them.

First of all - thank you to everyone stopping by for both the Collaboration Challenge and the Snapshot Prompt. I've had a surge in views for both of them these past week and I wanted to share my gratitude before I get into my mini-rant. ;)

I'm juggling too many balls this week, so I regret I won't be posting past tomorrow, and tomorrow Leanne Sype has control anyway, so I'm not sure it counts. But Thursday and Friday will be mute on my part and here's why ...

I'm tiling my kitchen back splash. All by myself. Well, my step-dad was kind enough to cut the tiny glass pieces for me. He comes when I call (well, sometime within the next few hours), cuts what I need and leaves until the next call. Fantastic system.

Did I mention I still have my two boys? Oh, yeah. And that the older one has decided he wants to be a baby again, so isn't using the toilet any more? And the younger one has decided he wants to potty train - in the bath tub?

Yeah. All during the tiling. All while my husband is off on his business vacation trip.

And I'm pushing the tiling because I want it done for Sebastian's 1 year birthday party this Saturday, which will be after we visit the little boy across the street for his 8th birthday party - after swim lessons (which I may not go to because ...) - after taking the dog to the vet because he's torn his ACL ... again.

I still have to clean up after the tiling, after the two boys taking advantage of my split attention and then wrap those presents and get the house party ready for Saturday.

Anyway, I have far too many balls and despite my best intentions, something has to go to keep others in the air. So, goodbye Social Networking and Blogging for the rest of the week. I will miss you, terribly, but I promise to come back with photos of the beautiful kitchen face lift and my baby's very first birthday party. :-)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bridges Burned: Collaboration Challenge Part 2

L. T. Dalin has brought a bit more excitement into Anika's life with her contribution this week. I'm so excited to be able to link you to

By L. T. Dalin

Previous installments:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Planning Stages for a New Story

Welcome to my 200th Post!

Which is cool to note, but I have something else to chat about today. :-)

In putting away my last two projects, both years in the making, I realized something very important. Though relationships inspire me, they also drive much of my plot. This results in us getting to know the characters a lot in the first few chapters, then this leads to events developing in the second half that could have been there the whole time. Or my big problem isn't as strong as I thought it was, because it wasn't thought all the way through from the beginning.

The solution, of course, is to figure out the greater plot ahead of time. I'm, uh, not entirely sure how to do this, though I have some theoretical knowledge about it.

Usually, I just start writing and see what happens. I'm trying something entirely different this time around. This past week I've been getting together my inspirational pieces and jotting notes about characters, location, artifacts, groups and cultures, etc. I'm getting to know the world very well, but I'm still not entirely sure what the problem is beyond the dirty laundry of relationships.

This isn't an issue so far. I'm going to write Fantasy this time so there is a lot of world building, and much of the research I do is balanced with me having to make a bunch of crap up. Not having a 'world is ending' plot point yet doesn't matter much at the moment, but it will once details come into play.

So, here's my multifaceted question. How do you start to plan, particularly the 'Big Problem' piece? Do you pants it? Does it come to you first? Or does inspiration come from somewhere else?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Toddler Tales: Shapes and Colors

"Mommy, I push X."

"Sweetie, you're playing with your puzzle."

"I play my game with you, too. I push the red X."

"It's blue, baby. Red circle, green triangle, pink square."

"Oh. Do I push the X yet?"

How I try to make my guilty pleasure educational. ;-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Snapshot Prompt

This is my third week of having control of the writing prompts. :D Ha! I'm a control kind of girl, so this is fantastic for me.

Of course, I like sharing, too, so I don't fight the co-hostesses when it's their turn. Except for this week. This week is mine because I get to choose the winner of the monthly ad contest!

This month, that would be ....

Congratulations and thanks so much for your contributions to our blog hop writing prompt. We will be happy to take a button you already have, a photo for us to create a button for you, or we can make one from scratch. Just let us know. :-)

Now, on to the fabulous stories from last week.

Summertime Dreaming by Krystal Wade
Oh, Edward by Scott Taylor
Gray View by Randy Lindsay
Discovered by CK Sorensen
Something for Nothing by Heather

And last but not least, we move on to the prompt. It's a new month to get your name in for the contest - remember, one entry per story submission, with up to 4 entries total. Good luck!

The prompt rules are:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Wednesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess when you're done via the inLinkz linky.
5) Have fun, don't stress, let those creative juices flow.

The photo:

architecture,buildings,Chrysler Building,cities,cityscapes,Fotolia,full moons,landmarks,Manhattan,metropolitan,midtown,moons,New York City,nights,nyc,Photographs,skylines,skyscrapers,urban,views

The words:

flea - river - denim - creeper - catastrophe

If you love our hop and want to share, please grab a button for your blog.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Snapshot Reveal: Discovered

This piece was inspired by last week's Snapshot Prompt. My story is 322 words, so well within the 500 word max. The required words are in bold. Inspired to try? Be sure to link up your submission to the prompt post by tomorrow at 8 pm EST and you will also be entered into our monthly ad contest.


Karen looked out her window, shocked to see the world had turned white and grey. George, her husband, had mentioned a storm system was coming in and he might be late home, but he was late so often she hadn't paid much attention.

She shuffled her slippered feet, mulling over the inch of powdery fluff. The slippers did have hard plastic soles, but the tops were knit and she didn't think they would survive the trip to the mailbox. Most likely it was junk mail anyway, she told herself. Or a bill or two. She wondered if they might keep until Spring.

Karen grabbed her cup of coffee and headed downstairs to the basement. A quick check on the washer showed it was still turning, so she ignored the laundry room in favor of her studio. Flicking on all the lights, Karen crossed the tile floor to her latest sculpture. She stared at it a long moment, still a misshapen hunk of wood roughly the length of her 10-speed bicycle and as thick as her hand. Originally she thought she would carve a mural into it, but as she looked at the knots and the waves in the grain, the wood began to speak to her.

An illusion, then, of depth. A frame as attached to the piece as it's picture. Pieces that curved out and away, not just on ... She wouldn't title it yet, though a name already tickled the edge of thoughts immersed in the image of what this wood could be.

Karen had put her coffee down long ago, her pencil marks scattered over the raw wood. She refused to take her eyes from the design, desperate to get it started before this first rush of vision, of discovery left. She grabbed blindly for a chisel, discarded the first and then the second until the right size came to hand. The hammer as well - and it could begin.

Monday, February 4, 2013

For What It's Worth - CC Part 1

We're back and at it again. :-D Welcome to 2013's first Collaboration Challenge starting 5 days shy from it's 1 year birthday. I can't believe how much fun these all have been, and I look forward to seeing what tangled stories this year brings.

Get ready as a story is woven and fought over for the next five weeks. Joining me for this challenge are L.T. Dalin, Gavril Mikhailovich, Yolanda Lane, and Nicole Pyles (in that order). As usual, I get to kick the challenge off (privilege of hosting it.) ;-)

Collaboration Challenge Part 1:
For What It's Worth

The chill from the chair permeated Anika's jeans and soaked into her skin. She slouched a little more so only the tops of her shoulder blades and hips make contact with the chilly metal. She pulled the over-sized hood on her deep purple sweater over the dark stubble on her shaved head to help hold some of the warmth in her body.

The cops could probably pump the heat from hell into this room and it would still be cold. Concrete floors, concrete block walls, and aluminum furniture, all grey, all fresh from the meat locker as far as she knew. There wasn't even one of those two way windows in this room. Anika lifted a corner of her lips with that thought. The windowless room wasn't to hide any abuse to her - but to hide her, period.

The bolt on the door slid open with a deep thunk. The person on the other side had to shoulder the heavy door open, then maneuvering quickly out of the way before it slammed shut on spring-loaded hinges and the bolt slid into place again. Anika's smile grew.

"Anika." Detective Harper leaned against the door that had almost crushed him. His green eyes peered through a fallen lock of his gold hair. He was handsome, charming and was meant to disarm his young female charge. Anika had seen more beautiful.

She raised her brown eyes to his, meeting his gaze to show him she was not trying to confront him, she was not afraid of him, she saw her time here little more than an inconvenient moment.

"I wish you would reconsider." He always spoke first and last and more. He gave away so much with his words he thought would break her into answering.

"You're better than this." A familiar theme. He'd only said she was better than them once. She'd swung the chair around to catch him in the shoulder on the other side of the table she still sat behind. Since then, he talked to her from the relative safety of the door.

"You have an excellent background. A good school, excellent grades. You have your year of volunteering at the very museum you began to steal from - but not until you met Razor's Edge."

Ah. Anika had been about to yawn, sick of listening to her own history over and over again from Harper's cool voice. This time he'd shared a bit more. They knew the name of the group she worked for now. It didn't change anything, really, but she doubted Harper knew that.

She had broken many things - the law, her supervisor's trust, her parent's hearts. It had all been necessary.

"You could help us. If you could tell us who's behind Razor's Edge, what their goals are, where they're hiding, we could help you. If you returned the amulet, your life could even go back to normal. Mostly. Isn't that worth giving up this gang's secrets, to returning the artifact?"

He lied. Anika wasn't sure he realized she knew that or not. He didn't realize a lot of things - like by putting his back to a door in a room with no reflective surfaces, he would fail to see the alarm light pulsing weakly above his head. All she had to do was stay quiet, let him talk himself into his own head.

"We're running out of time, Anika. The D.A. is only willing to cut a deal with you if we get information on Razor's Edge before they commit another crime."

Harper jumped at the hollow sound of the bolt being thrown. He narrowed his eyes on Anika's face when she failed to flinch, looked up to see the red glow and cursed.

"Come on, Anika," he spoke quick, pushing against the door, trying to plant his feet on the polished concrete floor while the door was pushed inward. "I can help you. Don't do this. Don't let them take you back."

The door flew open under Xav's shove. He wore a hoodie that matched hers, though his hood was thrown back to show his mussed brown hair and the anger in his golden eyes. A bruise was forming on his jaw, accentuating the tick in the clenched muscle.

"Let's go, Annie," he ordered. She rose smoothly from her slouched position, watched in disinterest when Harper tried to punch Xav only to catch a hook to the shoulder Anika had already bruised. Harper stumbled to the concrete wall and glared at the boy half his age.

Xav stood in the doorway, holding the door open with his left arm, the right one ready to fly into offence if Harper moved toward him again.

Anika paused, looking between the two males. Harper noticed her hesitation and hope lit his eyes. Had his long-winded words finally reached her? Xav huffed with impatience when she moved closer to the detective.

"I was a good student from a good, loving family. I had my feet firmly on the ground and was headed for the high skies of success. So why would I abandon all that? What would be worth stealing for, lying for? Disappearing for?"

Disappointment and confusion wrinkled Harper' as she left him to watch the door slam shut between them.

Chasing Revery

Friday, February 1, 2013

Writing Update

I'm so far off on my writing goals, and it's only just February! But it's okay. I was struggling with two different stories I was working on, and finally came to the conclusion they need to be filed in the archives as good practice. There were fundamental errors with them that I couldn't overcome - and rewriting them was like pulling teeth. Revising and editing is one thing. Going back to write a story you've already written ... it's not something I can do right now. Maybe later.

Luckily, inspiration struck last night. Originally I wanted to have a lot of the planning for this year's project done by today. I'll just have to adjust the timeline a bit. I have plenty of other projects I'm also working on right now, so it might be better if I'm still in planning stages, rather than in the drafting zone.

So, off to work I go. :) But before I do, don't forget the Collaboration Challenge starts Monday! I'll kick it off here and let you know who the collaborators will be this time around. We have some veterans and a couple newbies, so it's bound to be another exciting challenge.

Is there anything you would like to see happen in this Collaboration Challenge? Leave me a comment and I might be able to fit your suggestion in.