2018 Flash Fiction Challenge

Okay. So. My naughty muse has been whispering some very creative things in my ear. She has persuaded me to host my very own Flash Fiction Challenge for 2018. And it’s going to be a doozy.

I’m trying to figure out the best way to schedule it, and my OCD will not let me be anything less than absolutely perfect when it comes to design and follow-through. So keep your peepers open and start looking for it around mid-December. Trust me. You’ll want in on this. I’m even planning on some free giveaways for those who partake on the journey with us.

Fo’ shizzle my nizzle.

 

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Apocalypse: Babysitter

The sun was just beginning to set as Roxy Bresner stepped through the apartment door, the sky awash with bright pink and orange streaks. Cold swiftly enveloped her, its chill stopping her in her tracks and she almost turned around to grab a different sweater. Already later than usual, she decided against it. The Gupta’s had specifically asked her to be there by seven thirty. Fridays were “date night” for the young couple and Roxy had been watching their daughter, Riley, for nearly a year now. Tonight, their plans were of a special nature – they were attending an art exhibit in which a portrait of Mrs. Gupta herself was a main attraction.

The walk was a short one, less than three blocks, but a glance at her wrist showed Roxy she had less than five minutes to make it. She wrapped the plush scarf around her neck a third time and picked up the pace, the crunch of her boots on the asphalt echoing in the eery quiet. , she thought after passing several unlit homes, one after the other silent and still.

In Dreams

He purposely turned as I started to move past him, blocking most of the hallway with his body. I stopped. I could feel his gaze on me, heavy and lidded, waiting for me to make my move. I slid past him without looking up and the seconds rolled into eternity. My stomach rubbed against his arm, heat from his bare flesh burning me even through the fabric of my shirt.

“Where are you going?” his voice was low and gravelly.

I didn’t meet his eyes, didn’t want to see the satisfaction in them. “Back into the living room.”

The Beginning of My End

I remember the first night he spoke to me. It was a usual Friday night at the Rodeo. For months I had been frequenting the country bar on a weekly basis. It had become my secondary home, a place where the bouncers and the bartenders knew me by name. My friend, Jennifer and I were making our rounds when I spotted him again. I’d noticed him weeks before but had never worked up the nerve to talk to him directly. For us regulars, it was like high school all over again. Cliques existed. But instead of  touchdowns and toe touches it was mechanical bulls and line dancing. Everything was a competition and he was the Quarterback. I didn’t have the guts or the glory.

From the swarm of ladies near the back corner it was obvious he was on the bull again. As much as I pretended not to notice, I couldn’t help but watch as I waited for Jennifer beneath the deejay booth. He was smooth, I’d give him that. How he managed to make bucking wildly on an inanimate object look so graceful I’ll never know, but he did just that. For those 8 seconds every female in sight kept their eyes glued to him.

His ride was ending when Jennifer walked up beside me. He was jumping down from the platform and to my surprise walked directly to Jenn and gave her a hug.

“Hey cowboy,” she said, wrapping her arms around him in acknowledgement. “Nice ride.”

“Yeah. I think I pulled a muscle in my stomach,” he said, wincing as he drew back. Up close he was even better looking. Everything about him screamed pure country, from the Wranglers to the Justin boots and straw hat. That night he had on a yellow and blue plaid long sleeve button up shirt and believe me when I say it fit him well.

“I’ll nurse your wounds any day,” I blurted. Holy shit, I remember thinking. Had I actually just said that out loud? I had never said anything like that in my life. At least not in front of people. I wasn’t that girl. You know, the one who could pull of sexy double entendres with a guy she’d never met. Or anyone for that matter.

Jennifer shot me a what-the-hell look as she introduced us.

“James, this is Bree,” she said.

“And obviously I’ve had one too many lemon drops,” I tried to play it cool, giggling nervously instead.

“Ma’am,” was all he said, tipping his hat in my direction with the hint of a smile. I was sure he would never talk to me again.

Before I could do or say anything else, Mike, the deejay’s, voice shot out and they centered the lights on the dance floor.

“It’s that time again, people. Line up under the bartender for your free shots during this song only…! ” His voice drifted off as the music got louder and everyone on the outskirts started to whistle and cheer at anyone dancing in the line.

The rest of the night went by in a blur. I drank more. I line-danced. Before I knew it, it was almost closing time and the lights began to dim as they did at the same time every night. Everyone cleared the floor except for couples as the first in a line of slow songs played over the speakers. Standing by the foot of the stage, the last thing I expected was to hear a newly familiar voice.

“Hey girl. Wanna dance?” James asked as he offered me his hand. He’d taken off his long sleeved button-up, revealing not only the orange Abercrombie & Fitch tee shirt he wore but muscular arms that had been hiding underneath.

“Sure,” I shrugged, although I was freaking out inside. I was fun. I was outgoing. I had a great personality. And yeah, I dressed really cute. But I wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t the girl who got the guy. So although I was cool as a cucumber on the outside, the fact that he asked me to dance had my little heart fluttering a hundred miles an hour.

Then the song was over. And the moment was gone. The lights eventually flicked on throughout the entire bar and everyone started trudging to the front door. I found Jennifer and we walked out into the parking lot. It was 2am but that night instead of going our separate ways, we waited for all the shot girls, bartenders and bouncers to close up shop and followed them along with a few of the other regulars to Denny’s. It was the start of something new.

I don’t know why, maybe because it was the first night we spoke, but I’ll never forget that stupid orange shirt. I was already in love.

Three generations of Crossett’s lined the king sized mattress like packaged sardines; first grandmother, then mother and finally the granddaughter and youngest of the bunch at thirteen years old. Those three sets of eyes, all similar in shape and same striking aqua were glued to the latest news broadcast.  Their arms were linked and bodies nestled tightly together under the covers like children hiding from the boogeyman, as if doing so would protect them from the horrors of the outside world.

Wisteria Lane

I didn’t realize how much I missed Desperate Housewives until I was watching the first episode in the second season of Body of Proof and Dana Delaney made a reference to the fact that she used to live in a cul-de-sac like this… It was absolutely perfect. Only fans of the show would’ve caught it and it had me pining for the good ole’ days of Wisteria Lane.

Just Sayin’.

Tune-In Tuesday

 

I know its been awhile since I’ve posted at all let alone one of my prompts, but I’ve been in another of my occasional funks. It seems that the second everything evens out in my life, something happens to send me spiraling right back down again. This song is very fitting for my mood. Maybe it’ll spark something in your inner psyche.

Brain Tumor Diagnosis….

This guy is an amazing talent. I’ve fallen in love with many of his works and if I could afford to buy art, his would definitely be the first I would get. I’m keeping him in my thoughts and will pass this along, hoping those of you who see it will do the same.

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

Hi Friends and Fans of Ray! This is his wife, Rhian Ferrer….
Tuesday morning I found Ray in bed having a seizure (he has never had one before) I brought him to the hospital and he is stable but has a massive baseball sized tumor in/on his brain.  He will be undergoing surgeries, radiation and chemo therapy in the upcoming months.  

I have set up a Go Fund Me page for Ray.

Here is the link. http://www.gofundme.com/rayferrer

Please share and be sure to check out the links on the page, including the Etsy link where you can get get great art prints of his that will also help contribute!

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you and our family thanks you. He holds his fans in such high regards and will be updating everyone as things progress.

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Dream Project: Full Cast Audio Books

I’ve said before that I’ve recently become addicted to audio books. I remember the first one I ever heard. I was in my late teens. It was, of course, a Stephen King novel, as were so many of my firsts. First horror novel (Carrie), first movie that truly scared me (It), and first audio books (Desperation & The Regulators). They were so superbly narrated, adding music & noises for effect. They were actually released under Richard Bachmann, supposedly found by his wife after his “death”. Now, of course, everyone knows he is one and the same. I only wish I could find another audio gem. They are few and far between, let me tell you.

Audible has a few dramatized audiobooks, I listened to a couple. The first was “The Child”, which was very well done in my opinion. It was more of a psychological mystery, but there were a couple parts of it that were beyond eery. There is a character, “the Voice,”  that when you are listening to it in the dark is enough to give anyone chills. Lots of twists & turns, but its about some dark subject matter so be aware. I also listened to Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere”, which was super cute and had a full cast of very familiar actors; Anthony Head (Giles from Buffy, who I know VERY well), James McAvoy (Filth, Wanted, X-Men), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Natalie Dormer (Anne Boleyn from the Tudors & now Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones).

I was also lucky enough to stumble upon “We’re Alive“, a full cast zombie podcast. I became immediately obsessed with it and listened to the first 3 seasons (each about 10 hours long). If you are a fan of zombies or apocalyptic events in any form, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s free on their site, or you can get the audiobooks on Scribd, audible, or itunes. I think its available on the Stitcher app, too.  I thought it was amazing. And I went on a search for more like it. There aren’t any that I can find.

After listening to a ton of audiobooks, I found myself thinking, “Sheesh, I could narrate better than half of the crap they have on here.” I even started reading some of my books out loud, seeing how I sounded. I felt really stupid when it came to reading the different characters. I mean, how many voices can a normal person make? And then I started thinking of ways I could make money from reading out loud. I could be a good narrator…… And then a light bulb went off. Ding! Ding! Ding! I know what I want to be when I grow up! (Yes, I know. I’m already grown up). However, I have done absolutely nothing but wasted my youth meeting the wrong person and then spending the last 5 years of my life eating ice cream and feeling sorry for myself.

I have an idea, but it’s not realistic. Not for someone like me (your average plain jane – no money, no originality). But I’m still going to share it: I wish I could start a company that took books and turned them into full cast dramatizations. With music, and sound effects and different characters. Like, a movie in your head. I know its something that I wish I could find more of, so I know there HAS to be other consumers out there like me.

Getting the rights to work with the stories would be my main problem. The fees alone would probably be crazy. Not too mention all the legal mumbo jumbo. And I don’t have any “free” stories to work with. Plus, I don’t know what I’m doing, anyway. It’s not like I have access to sound effects or good music. Or an editing program. Or people to read the different parts for that matter. So, like I said, I know its not a realistic idea. But its definitely a dream worth having.

 

 

WANTED: Challenges & Weekly Prompts

Searching for recommendations.

Last year, I was part of a weekly challenge to write a story a week based on a weekly prompt. Although I didn’t participate every week, I loved being a part of the small community of writers. I’ve searched for other weekly challenges and prompts, but it’s hard to find the good ones. So I figured I’d ask here to see if anyone could recommend good sites that have weekly/monthly challenges. Flash fiction, micro-fiction, poetry, short stories….

If you know of any, please make a list in the comments.

“From the Sky”

Like a truly crazy person I stood outside in the storm, my face tilted up to the cascading water as it fell from the sky. I watched as lightning zig-zagged across the blackness of night, filling the space around me with an eery white glow. It was amazing. Amazing how something that was considered so dangerous was so beautiful and calming.

I was soaked to the bone. My clothes weighed down upon me, stuck to my now cold and clammy skin. My long curly hair ran down the length of my back, dripping onto the concrete sidewalk. I was cold and wet and dirty. And I enjoyed every moment of it. How many people could say that they have stepped into the rain as I did, bare-footed with shorts and a t-shirt and just felt it with every sense on their body? How many could say they’ve felt beads of pure water drop as if in slow motion onto their arms and legs and face. Could say that they’ve shut out every thought in the world except for the rawness of brilliant silver lightning?

I could barely see the moon. It stood low; half hidden behind clouds of darkness that matched the deep black of the night sky.

I stood there until my body went numb with the cold and my eyes refused to open. I was so relaxed, so peaceful, so calm that I didn’t want to move. Didn’t want to go into the warmth, the dryness of the house. But I realized that that moment, like everything else in life, would sometime come to an end. And so I went, soaking and shivering, into the confines of my home where I soon drifted off into a deep sleep.

 

[Found this in my stacks of old writing. I remember writing it… I was still in high school so it was around 20 years ago. Can’t believe its been that long!]

Saturday’s Daily

Your character wakes up and doesn’t know where they are or how they got there.

I chose this scenario because there are so many directions you could go with it. I wanted to see how many versions the same situation could bring about. I say it all the time, but its amazing how different each person’s mind works. Some might go thriller, some might turn it into a comedy of errors, some might even swing a romance. The rest is up to you….

Friday’s Daily

Drowning

This week I’m going to ask for something specific. I want 1,000 words by next Friday based on this image. I came across it last week and something about it inspired me, I’m hoping it will do the same to your creative sense. See ya when you pingback. 🙂

Unconditional Love

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was so mean to my dog, Snooki, a moment ago that it made me cry. Before you throw paint on me in fits of protest, understand that it was not abusive in any way, shape or form. I could never do that to her, she is quite literally the love of my life. A cuddler by nature, she always has to be touching me in one way or another. She spoons me when we sleep, she lays her head on me when we watch TV, she is never more than a foot away from me at all times. Tonight, however, I’m uncomfortable in my own skin. The kind of uncomfortable that has me questioning whether I want to wake in the morning. The kind that is bothered by touch, by sight, by smell. Snooki, with her innate sense of empathy, jumps onto the bed and circles around me in her usual fashion, pushing her body against my leg and laying her head across my arm. It was harmless, loving. She was doing nothing more than offering me solace. In my growing annoyance, I snatched up my leg and barked at her to get away from me. I felt immediately horrible and wished I could’ve taken it back. She looked at me with those sad eyes and floppy ears before scurrying off the bed and into the other room. Guilt only furthered my depression and made me feel worse. But that’s another discussion altogether.

Some people think its crazy to be so attached to a pet… after all, its just an animal, right? For me, its almost like having a child. One who is always there for you in your time of need, who will protect you and who will love you loyally and without question. It’s a shame that some will go through life without having that.

Thursday’s Daily

I finished “The Fall” last night. If you’ve seen it, you will understand where both the Truth and the Dare stem from this week. I won’t spoil anything for those of you who may watch it, but I will say that I was baffled at the end of the series. Watching it really made me think about a few things. Like, how well do we really know the people in our lives? How well do we really know ourselves, for that matter. It amazes me how genuinely different people can be; that there is such a thin line between fantasy and reality.

That’s why this week I’m going to ask you to dig deep down into your inner psyche. Whether it be physical or emotional, evil or good, wild or tame …. is there something that you think about in the deepest recesses of your mind that you would want to see or do or make a reality if it were possible? Something magical, perhaps? Or does the heart of a killer lie dormant in the darkest of your dreams?

TRUTH: What is your darkest fantasy? Tell us outright or turn it into a work of fiction.

DARE: Mirror a person you have a conversation with. Repeat everything they say, imitate everything they do.

Wednesday’s Daily

mon·i·ker

or mon·ick·er  (mŏn′ĭ-kər)

n. Slang

A personal name or nickname; a familiar name for a person (often a shortened version of a person’s given name);
synonyms: appellation, appellative, designation, denomination – identifying word or words by which someone or something is called and classified or distinguished from others
[Probably from Shelta munik, name, possibly alteration of Irish Gaelic ainm, from Old Irish; see nō̆-men- in Indo-European roots.]

I came across this word when I was reading the beginning of a book I ran across online. I have an apocalypse fetish and this is just another in a long line of the zombie sort. In the first pages, we find out that Australia has been taken over by zombies and humans are being cloned to produce food for them.
Evols, zombies, the walking dead. Early on, when TV still worked and we thought we had a chance, some geek labeled the risen dead as Extremely Violent Lucid Organisms. Evol was easier to Tweet and the moniker caught on around the world.
I had a general feel for the word, having heard it before but wanted a deeper grasp on its full definition. That of which I’m also sharing with you, my lovely followers….

Tuesday’s Daily

 A sign of a great trailer is when it makes you fall in love with the movie before you ever even see it. That’s what happened to me back in 1998 when I saw the trailer to Ever After for the first time. I remember hearing the music and thinking, I have GOT to see this movie. Not only the music, but the scenes mixed with the music rolled together perfectly and to this day, it still remains the movie trailer that I’ll never forget. Ironically, neither of the songs (“Fable” by Robert Miles or “The Mummers Dance” by Loreena Mckennitt) appeared in the movie at all, but I didn’t know that at the time, and honestly it didn’t matter, the movie was great all on its own. Still, I’ll never forget the goosebumps that ran up & down my arms when it played. New Age and Trance music were already a part of my preferred genres anyway, so I bought both albums almost immediately.  It just goes to show how different we truly are… how some things that affect me greatly have no affect on others at all.

 

Monday’s Daily

I watched the Legend of Hercules last night which led me to the decision of going Greek this week. I love me some Greek mythology, its the only time I ever paid attention in Humanities.  Although, with so many offspring, family trees get confusing…. I’ll start this week out with a simple legend. Ever heard of the minotaur and the maze? Here’s how the story goes:

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a king named Minos. King Minos lived on a lovely island called Crete. King Minos had everything a king could possibly want. Now and then, King Minos sent his navy to the tiny village of Athens, across the sea.

The king of Athens did not know what to do. He was desperate. He figured if he had some time, he could build a strong navy, strong enough to send King Minos packing the next time he attacked Athens. The king of Athens offered King Minos a deal. If he would not attack Athens for 9 years, Athens would send 7 boys and 7 girls to the island of Crete to be eaten by the awful monster that King Minos kept as a pet, the dreaded minotaur.

The minotaur lived in the heart of a maze on the island of Crete. King Minos loved that old monster. King Minos only attacked Athens when he was bored. He really didn’t want anything. This way, his beloved monster could look forward to a special treat every 9 years or so. King Minos took the deal.

Although Athens did build a navy, King Minos did not attack as the king of Athens had expected. In fact, King Minos kept his word. And now it was time for Athens to keep theirs.  Everyone in Athens was crying.

Prince Theseus of Athens knew the importance of keeping your word. He knew that a deal was a deal. But, he was also quite sure that it was wrong to send small children to be eaten by a monster. Prince Theseus told his father (the king) that he was going to Crete as the seventh son of Athens. He was going to kill the Minotaur and end the terror.

“The Minotaur is a terrible monster! What makes you think you can kill it?” cried his father.

“I’ll find a way,” Theseus replied gently. “The gods will help me.”

His father begged him not to go. But the prince took his place as the seventh Athenian boy. Along with six other Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls, Prince Theseus sailed towards Crete.

When the prince and the children arrived on the island of Crete, King Minos and his daughter, the Princess Ariadne, came out to greet them. The Princess Ariadne did not say anything. But her eyes narrowed thoughtfully. Late that night, she wrote Prince Theseus a note and slipped it under his bedroom door.

Dear Theseus (Ariadne wrote)

I am a beautiful princess as you probably noticed the minute you saw me. I am also a very bored princess. Without my help, the Minotaur will surely gobble you up. I know a trick or two that will save your life. If I help you kill the monster, you must promise to take me away from this tiny island so that others can admire my beauty. If interested in this deal, meet me by the gate to the Labyrinth in one hour.

Yours very truly,
Princess Ariadne

Prince Theseus slipped out of the palace and waited patiently by the gate. Princess Ariadne finally showed up. In her hands, she carried a sword and a ball of string.

Ariadne gave the sword and the ball of string to Prince Theseus. “Hide these inside the entrance to the maze. Tomorrow, when you and the other children from Athens enter the Labyrinth, wait until the gate is closed, then tie the string to the door. Unroll it as you move through the maze. That way, you can find your way back again. The sword, well, you know what to do with the sword,” she laughed.

Theseus thanked the princess for her kindness.

“Don’t forget, now,” she cautioned Theseus. “You must take me with you so that all the people can marvel at my beauty.”

The next morning, the Athenian children, including Prince Theseus, were shoved into the maze. The door was locked firmly behind them. Following Ariadne’s directions, Theseus tied one end of the string to the door. He told the children to stay by the door and to make sure the string stayed tied so the prince could find his way back again. The children hung on to the string tightly, as Theseus entered the maze alone.

Using the sword Ariadne had given him, Theseus killed the monstrous beast. He followed the string back and knocked on the door.

Princess Ariadne was waiting. She opened the door. Without anyone noticing, Prince Theseus and the children of Athens ran to their ship and sailed quietly away. Princess Ariadne sailed away with them.

On the way home, they stopped for supplies on the tiny island of Naxos. Princess Ariadne insisted on coming ashore. There was nothing much to do on the island. Soon, she fell asleep. All the people gathered to admire the sleeping princess. Theseus sailed quietly away with the children of Athens and left her there, sleeping.

After all, a deal is a deal.

Sunday’s Daily

 

Unfortunately, I’ve had little interaction from any of my prompts. Either I’m not reaching a wide enough audience or the prompts themselves are lacking inspiration. So, I’m asking for your feedback. Are the prompts unique? Are they not specific enough? Do they spark your interest or do they fall flat? Is there something I could add, change or do to invoke more of a response?

If you have any thoughts, ideas or suggestions then comment away…. I truly want participants to have just as much of a voice as I do. Otherwise, whats the point?

Saturday’s Daily

An accident shatters the protagonists life but at the same time brings a new friend/love (nurse, doctor, witness, counselor, lawyer, etc.) into it. Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen to you is the best thing that can happen for you. For every door that closes, another one opens. This week I want to know what’s behind your protagonists door….