Monday, October 24, 2016

Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People Blog Tour Stop #6

Hello friends!  I have a couple of things for you.  First of all, if you'd like a short little Halloween scare, my entry for Spooktoberfest is now available for your entertainment!

Secondly, Laura over at My Baffling Brain has been kind enough to host me today as part of my Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People blog tour. Today I'm talking about why I, as a writer, love Halloween.  If you're interested, please feel free to stop by!

Thanks everyone, and have a great day!

Spooktoberfest 2016: Truth Or Dare

Halloween is fast approaching, and you know what that means!  It's time for the 5th Annual Spooktoberfest!  Thanks to Dani and Jax for hosting this fun event!

Truth Or Dare

“No way!” Terri cried.  “The closest I want to come to a graveyard on Halloween is a Tombstone pizza!”
Annabelle giggled, the flickering firelight playing across her alabaster skin.  “This is truth or dare.  If you’re not willing to take the dare, you shouldn’t be playing.”
Austin kicked a log deeper into the campfire with a work boot.  “Maybe you should pick better dares, Annabelle.  There’s nothing fun about going to a graveyard.”
Annabelle rolled her eyes.  “The point of a dare is to get someone to push their limits.  You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable.  You only object to my dare because you want to use your magic powers of seduction to woo Terri.”
Terri’s eyes widened.  “Is that true?”
Austin choked, his hand flying to his chest.  A moment later, he cleared his throat.  “Don’t listen to her.  She’s jealous because I turned her down.  Messing with people’s feelings makes her feel better.”
Annabelle grinned.  “Lie to yourself if it makes you feel better.  It only proves truth is more frightening than dare, especially if you’ve lived a somewhat interesting life.”  She turned back to Terri.  “Would you rather have truth?”
Terri nodded.
“Fine.”  Annabelle took a drink of her beer, her black hair falling back to expose her pale throat.  “Okay, Terri.  Do you think Austin is attractive?”
A moment passed before Terri nodded, her cheeks flushed.
Austin sat forward.  “Really?”
Annabelle slugged him in the shoulder.  “It’s Terri’s turn to ask now, not yours.  You’ll have to wait.”
“Okay,” Terri said.  “Annabelle, truth or dare?”
“Truth, of course.  I love living on the wild side.”
Terri smiled shyly.  “What’s your deepest, darkest secret?”
Annabelle stood, brushing the dust from her jeans.  “Follow me.  I’ll show you.”
Austin looked hopeful as he stood to follow.
The three of them soon stood behind a dilapidated barn.  It was too dark to see more than fuzzy outlines.  “How are you going to show us something when we can’t see?” Austin asked.
He never got a verbal response.  Instead, he felt the blinding pain of something solid colliding with his skull.  He collapsed in a heap, groaning.  Austin struggled to focus, and he was barely able to make out the shape of a machete in Annabelle’s hand.
“Don’t worry.  We won’t kill you right away,” Terri said reassuringly.
Annabelle nodded.  “She’s right.  I like to play with my food first.”

Word Count: 399

Friday, October 21, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things-October 21, 2016

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

Last weekend my boys carved pumpkins and helped us build a scarecrow.  They had a great time doing it!

The kids also got their school pictures back this week.  I may be biased, but I think they look pretty handsome.

I finished a flash fiction piece and submitted it this week. Whatever the response, I'm glad that I'm pushing myself to keep submitting.  I still have two more stories I'd like to submit by the end of the year, and I also need to finish and release my final Self-Help 101 novella.  Oh, and I'll be having a baby soon.  The end of 2016 is definitely going to be busy!

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People Blog Tour Stop #5

Hey there!  Today I have a couple of exciting things going on. If you're interested in reading my creepy WEP entry, which uses both the constellations and Halloween prompts, you can find that HERE.

Also, I'm over at Fiction and Film with Kate Larkindale talking about my latest Self-Help 101 novella and how important it is for a writer to be open to inspiration as much as possible.  If you're interested, you can find that HERE.

Have a great day everyone!

WEP October Challenge-Gazing Into the Abyss

It's time for another WEP Challenge!  A big shout out to Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey for making all this possible!

I couldn't resist using constellations as my inspiration, and I guess Halloween leaked in as well, because this tale turned out pretty dark.  So I guess I used both themes at the end of the day.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this decidedly sad and twisted tale.

Gazing into the Abyss

The chill of the evening has permeated my skin, reaching down to the bone.  I’m not wearing a jacket, because I hadn’t planned on being outside for this long.  It figures, though.  My life seldom goes according to plan.  It only makes sense that I’ve found myself in this situation.
The scent of burning leaves reaches my nostrils, but I can’t move enough to see where the fire is at.  Not that it matters all that much.  I focus instead on the stars above me.  The big dipper is enormous.  I imagine it turning upside down and pouring out the Milky Way that currently stands out so clearly above me.  Far from city lights, far from any hint of civilization whatsoever, I can see more of the universe than I’ve ever seen before.
How long was I in the car that brought me here?  And where is “here” anyway?
Next I find Orion.  Do you even have a clue how it feels to be hunted, Orion?  Would you even care?
“Enjoying the view?”  The voice is more chilling than the crisp October air.
I’m enjoying it as much as I can given the circumstances, which isn’t all that much.  On a clear, moonless night like this, I’d typically pull out my telescope and look at the stars with my best friend Matt.
Matt.  I’m never going to see you again, am I?
“Let me guess.  You’re speechless?  You should be?  There are no words that will make your betrayal okay.”  A fuzzy face moved into my field of vision.  Chester.
My betrayal?  I start to laugh at the audacity of it all, but my laugh turns into a choked cry as pain flares in my gut.
“You hurt me, Melissa,” Chester said, his voice hard.  “You have no idea how badly.  I love you.  Don’t you realize that?”
I can’t focus on him.  My vision is starting to blur, and he’s pacing now.  I could never explain how much worse he’s hurt me.  And to think I actually felt bad for hurting him.  I didn’t make the decision to break off our relationship lightly.  The feelings that were once there began to fade ages ago, at least on my end.  I also didn’t intend to fall in love with Matt.  Things like that just happen sometimes.  While Chester is quick to anger and overly critical, Matt is gentle.  He listens.  I try to picture his warm brown eyes and easy smile.
I’m sorry, Matt.  I’m sorry I can’t come back home.  I’m sorry that I’m going to die out here, and I’m sorry my death with erase the smile that I love so much.  I knew Chester would take it hard, but I never imagined he would go this far.  The blood staining my white T-shirt proves I was wrong.
My eyes can scarcely make out the Pleiades.  The seven sisters.  They managed to outrun Orion for seven years before the chase was immortalized in the stars.  If only I could have run as fast as they did.  If only I had more time.  I wasted so many hours worrying about silly things that didn’t really matter.  If I had a chance to do it all again, I could do it so much better.
“He’ll never have you, Melissa.  No one will.  There won’t be anything left of you by morning.  He’ll never know what happened to you.  How does that make you feel?”
That has to be a rhetorical question.  I’m far beyond the ability to talk.  He can probably read the answer in my eyes, anyway.
With a cold smile, Chester steps away for the final time.  “Good-bye, Melissa.”
The sound of dry grass crunching beneath his feet is nearly drowned out by the crackling of the fire.  It must be closer now.  I can see something bright in the periphery of my vision.
Most of the stars are too faint for my tired eyes to distinguish now, but I still spot the familiar shape of Cassiopeia.  The queen on her throne.  I don’t suppose you could lend me a hand, could you?  No?  I didn’t think so.  I doubt you’d even care about what’s happening to me right now, but I’d rather you be the last thing I ever see.  Not Chester.  He doesn’t deserve to be the last person I think of before my life ends.
Or I can pretend Matt is here, and we’re lying on a blanket as we gaze at the stars.  I may be so cold and weak that I can no longer shiver, but that delusion almost makes me feel normal for a moment.  I clutch it tight, holding it firmly in my mind.  I can’t stand the thought of letting it go.
The heat of the fire soon licks my feet.  The shroud of smoke now obscures my view of the sky.  Rather than lamenting this fact, I pretend I’m one of those stars.  I’ll soon burn as bright as they do.  How many people can say that? Maybe one day someone will write out my story in the constellations, rendering me immortal.

Word Count: 854

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People Blog Tour Stop #4

Hello!  Today I'm continuing my October blog tour for my latest Self-Help 101 novella with a stop by Lori MacLaughlin's blog.  In my post, I talk about the challenges of writing a novella series in a year and offer you an excerpt from the book.  Please stop by and check it out!

Have a great day!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things-October 14, 2016

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

My kids helped me make a chocolate cake for my birthday, and as you can imagine, it was a messy but fun experience.

I got my print copy of Circuits & Slippers this week.  I think it looks amazing!

I'm feeling much better after that nasty cold I had last week. I'd feel almost normal if I weren't nearly 34 weeks pregnant and waddling like a penguin everywhere I go. :)

Writing is going better now that I'm feeling more like myself. I'll definitely celebrate that.

What would you like to celebrate?