Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PhotoPrompt Monday

Photo submitted by Delores at thefeatherednest

I've been a slacker with PhotoPrompt Monday for the past few weeks so I thought I would give this one a go.  This is an excellent picture Delores!

Alice felt sick as the train approached the station.  She was so excited that Warren was finally returning home, but after all these months she wondered if things would be the same.  He couldn't have taken that temporary job at a worse time.  He had been gone for about as long as they had been together.  Would he still love her?  Would he accept his newborn son?

She held the baby close, rocking him to help relax them both.  She had wanted to tell Warren about him, but she didn't want to give him a chance to run before he could meet his son .  Hopefully he wouldn't be able to turn away once he saw that sweet, innocent face.  He unmistakably looked like his father, that wide nose and scrunched eyes.  

As the train came to a halt, she thought about leaving.  It would save her a lot of trouble in the long run.  
Just as she started to turn, Warren came running off the train, stopping when he saw her holding the baby.  She looked into his eyes, not knowing if she should reach out to him or turn away.

"Who's this?", he asked as he approached her with a smile.

"He's your son, Warren Jr.", she answered, watching for his reaction.

"Well, hi Warren", he cooed as he took the baby into his arms.

Alice instantly relaxed, handing over the baby and giving him a hug.  Yes, everything was going to be ok.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review of A Work in Progress

Last week I posted about Brad Cotton's new book A Work in Progress.  If you missed it, you can find it here.  The post includes a giveaway of the book, as well as Amazon gift cards.  Check it out!

I can't even put into works how much I enjoyed reading this book, but I'm going to try.

A Work in Progress is the story of Danny Bayle, a 28 year old writer who has not been able to connect his thoughts to paper in a long time.  Now, he finds himself having to rebuild his life after his girlfriend, Carah, ended their relationship and his grandfather passed away all in the same week.

He tries to move on in new relationships, meet new people, and learn new things in an attempt to build a different life for himself.  Each of these experiences brings a new understanding.  He joins a therapy group, learns how to play drums, and tries his hand at a couple other relationships along the way.  His new friends include a free-spirited friend of his best friend, another writer, a young artist,  and an elderly caretaker.

Will he be able to get over Carah?  Will he ever have the inspiration to write again?

A Work in Progress elicits a realm of emotions, from sorrow and pain to love and understanding.  The characters are all very unique but much can be learned from each one of them.  With various challenges in their own life, the rawness of their portrayal digs deep into the psyche in a way that can’t be explained.

This is a novel that can be read over and over and will show new aspects each time.  I definitely recommend it!

To find your copy on Amazon, click here

To check out Brad's website, click here

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Magic 8 Ball MeMe

I was honored to be tagged by Julie DeGuia in the Magic 8 Ball MeMe.  Thanks Julie!

The rules are:
1. Post the button and link to Jaycee deLorenzo (following would be nice, but not required).  Jaycee was the creator of the Magic 8 Ball MeMe

2. Share an excerpt from your current WIP, perhaps something you're struggling with, are stuck on, or just can't "get right." 

3. Ask a question about your excerpt. It can be something easy such as "What do you think?" or something more in-depth, such as "Can you suggest a better way to word such-and-such," or "How can I make the emotions in this scene more realistic?"

4. Tag 8 people.

I have to admit I've never shared any excerpts from my WIPs before.  I'm nervous!!!
I started my first novel a couple months ago and ran into a dead end.  While waiting for inspiration, I started 2 others with new ideas that came to me.  Currently, I seem to be bouncing between the 3 with whatever I come up with.  

This is an excerpt from the first story which takes place in a small mountain town in NC.  Josie just graduated from college and is working at a diner in her home town over the summer because she can't find a job.  Rick is the nephew of a local, Tom, who is in town for the summer to help renovate an old lodge in town.

“Good morning”, Josie called as non-chalantly as she could when she heard the bells ring on the door.  Her pulse began racing.  Tom and Rick walked in and headed to the corner booth.  Now, she could see why everyone in town seemed to be talking about Rick.  He was gorgeous!  

Josie had to concentrate to keep her knees from knocking out of control as she took each step towards their booth.
“What can I get for ya?” she forced, trying to calm herself down by first asking Tom. 

 “I’ll just have the special today”, Tom answered, looking up at her with a slight smile.    He seemed to find it amusing that she was losing control.

Rick, however, didn't seem surprised by her reaction.  He was apparently used to being admired.  She usually hated guys like Rick, full of conceit, but there was something about the way he looked at her that sent her over the edge.  Those green eyes sparkled, bringing out his tan, marking the hours he must have spent on the beach.  Under his t-shirt, she also noticed every rip of his muscles.  

What am I doing?, Josie thought, feeling a bit stupid.  TAKE HIS ORDER!, she demanded herself.

“And for you?” she asked, voice shaking as she looked at Rick.

“I’ll have the same”, he said gently, looking up at her.  For that second, she immediately got lost in those beautiful eyes.  She felt as if she had to physically pull her eyes away from him.

“Coming right up”, she said, stumbling as she moved back to wobble back to the kitchen.

Can you feel the tension come across between them?  Do you have any suggestions?

And now, I am going to tag...

Andrea Teagan at The Enchanted Writer

Suzanne Furness at The Word is...

Laura at My Baffling Brain

Laura at Stranger Than Writing

Crystal at The Heart of a Writer

Loralie Hall at Apathy's Hero

Tonja at Tonja's Musings

Friday, July 27, 2012

Three Things You Could Have Done Better

It's time for our challenge, Three Things You Could Have Done Better. 
This is a prompt to challenge you to write of feelings, emotions, reconciliation, acceptance... Are you going to write a letter to your love? Or do you think you should visit someone, explain yourself.
The prompt suggests First Person POV, but it's up to you.
GUIDELINES: 400 words of prose or poetry. Must contain a romantic element, small or significant.

When you told me that you wanted to leave, I thought it was just another one of your childish games.  The idea seemed to have come out of nowhere.  We had just celebrated our anniversary.  There was no reason for the sudden shift that I could see.  Nothing had changed between us.  But then again perhaps that was the problem.  Maybe I should’ve listened.

When you started childishly pushing and prodding my emotions, doing anything you could to upset me, I probably should’ve handled it differently.  My hurt turned to anger when instead I should’ve looked for ways to turn things around, to make things better.  I didn’t know how.  I was  lost.  I couldn’t believe this was happening, and it seemed to spiral out of control so fast that I didn’t know what to do.

When you asked that morning if I still wanted you to leave, I was so emotionally spent that I couldn’t even open my eyes.  I should’ve gotten up, if only to watch you leave.  I thought you would stay. When you didn’t, I thought you would come back…but you didn’t.

Looking back, I could’ve swallowed my pride and tried to help you.  I could’ve tried to really talk instead of fight.  I could’ve tried to stop you instead of dismissing you so easily… OR, maybe things worked out just the way they were supposed to.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Work in Progress promotion with Brad Cotton

A Work in Progress is a new literary fiction novel by author Brad Cotton. The book has received great reviews and is on sale from July 23rd to August 3rd! Download your copy here.

In addition, Brad is doing a big giveaway, including a $100 gift certificate to Amazon and signed copies of his book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tweet, like, follow, share, blog and grab a copy of his book to enter.

Get your copy of A Work in Progress today! On sale on Amazon only.

About A Work in Progress

Writer Danny Bayle’s life is in shambles. His true love has left him and his grandfather — the last and most important influence in his life — has just passed away. Danny has spent the last few months languishing, unable to write a single word, but at the urging of a friend ventures out into the world in an attempt to jumpstart a new life, befriending in the process an interesting assortment of characters including an author, a musician, an artist, and an elderly retired nurse. Garnering the attention of more than one woman, Danny sees his new friends unwittingly begin to shape what could just be the story of his life. But will he ever let go of the girl that got away?

About the author

Born and raised in Toronto, Brad Cotton has been writing professionally for over a decade. An average guitarist, a subpar painter, and a horrible juggler of anything larger than a tangerine, he is currently married to a woman, but does not have a cat, a drum set or any children. A Work in Progress is his first novel.

Learn more about the author and his work at:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Failure to be Unrealistic

I hate to fail!  If I decide to do something,  I want to do it well.  Be the BEST!

Every year at my job, an agency comes in to review our files.  It is well known that their expectations are unrealistic but it gets to me every time.

Don't get me wrong.  On the outside, the requirements make sense...until they are put into practice.

This year has been no exception.  The review did not go well.
The difference is that this year I'm looking at it almost proudly.  I still hate to fail but when I step back and look at the reasons that I failed, it makes me feel good.

One of the requirements is to educate the individuals that we serve and their families about medical issues and medications.  Since I work with individuals with various disabilities, their comprehension varies too.  The two girls that I was reviewed on this year don't communicate verbally and one of them is also blind.

So no, I didn't educate these two girls or their parents on their medical conditions.  First of all the facility where they live has 3 full time nurses on staff.  What can I say that they can't or don't already say?  Neither of them would understand what I was saying anyway and their parents have lived with these conditions all their lives.  They already know and don't need to be reminded.

Instead I have been working with the girls' staff to come up with ways to keep them and those around them safe from their self-injury.  The girl who is blind did it to herself by hitting herself in the face so frequently and so hard.  This year she broke her own nose.

Ironically she hit the reviewer when she was met her.

Instead of trying to do the impossible, I have spent my time with her trying to find ways of keeping her safe and engaged in activities that she enjoys, per her mom's request.  Her quality of life is critical to her overall well-being.

So, shame on me, but I think that is more important!

I still hate not doing well at something but in this case, I'm over it.

Have you ever been asked to do something that you don't believe in?  How did you handle it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WRiTE CLUB returns!

DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0 is bringing back WRiTE CLUB, whose inspiration was born from the movie FIGHT CLUB is ready to go another round with some significant improvements.  

The essence embodies simplicity, good-natured competition, and a lot of fun.  Over the course of twelve weeks he’ll be holding weekly bouts to determine winners that will advance to the play-offs, which will ultimately lead to a single champion.  Anonymous 500 word writing samples can be submitted by anyone who wishes to take part.  The submitted samples should be identified only by a pen name of your choosing (be creative) that nobody has ever seen before.  The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction.  It’s a way to get your writing in front of a lot of readers, without having to suffer the agony of exposure.  He's starting to accept submissions now and will continue to take them during the entire twelve week preliminaries, but beginning on July 30th, the first WRiTEwill be held.  

To submit, first you need to sign up to be a member of WRiTE CLUB on the Magical Linky Tool at the bottom of DL's post linked above, then send your submission to  His wife will be monitoring that email address and assigning a number to each one we receive. He will never see who authored any sample, other than by the pen-name.  On July 30th DL will randomly select two of these anonymous entries and post them for head to head competition.  The winner will be selected by his readers via their votes left in the comments.  Ties will be decided by DL (if necessary).  The victor will automatically be eligible for the playoffs that will begin October 22, 2012, and the runner up will be placed back in the open pool for possible selection in another round.

Here are the tenets (with explanation) that guide the competition.  For those of you who took part last year you’ll notice that a few of them have been tweaked.

1st RULE: You MUST talk about WRiTE CLUBSpread the word far and wide so we can involve as many writers as possible.  Display the WRiTE CLUB banner prominently on your own blog.  Write a post about it.  Tweet it.  Mention it on Facebook.  Encourage people to submit or vote.

2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about WRiTE CLUB – Once the competition begins you are not allowed to solicit votes.  All of the writing entries are anonymous, and we want it to stay that way.

3rd RULE: If someone taps out, WRiTING is overTapping out means a WRiTER can decide at any time during the 12 week competition to withdraw their name from the pool.

4th RULE: Only two people to a WRiTE - This is a head-to head competition, no ganging up allowed.

5th RULE: One WRiTE per week - No matter how many submissions I receive, there will only be one WRiTE per week.

6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes - Come on, tell me you didn't giggle at that one.

7th RULE: WRiTES will go on until Oct5thOn that date the 12 winners will be matched up against one another on daily posts until the ultimate WRiTER is chosen.

8th RULE: If this is your first week at WRiTE CLUB, you HAVE to WRiTE Each week newsubmissions will be placed in a "newby" pool from which one half of the WRiTE will be made up.  The other WRiTER will come from the existing pool.  If there are no "newbies", both WRiTERS will come from the existing pool less the previous winners.

Don't forget to add your name to the Magical Link list below, officially becoming a member of the WRiTE CLUB.  Not on the list…no voting or submitting allowed.  The second change is that we’ve increased the word count for submissions up to 500 words.  And the most exciting change of all….

The winner of the final round will be picked by a panel of publishing industry professionals!  Agents, Editors, Marketers, and published authors!  Check out DL's link for the list

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Greener Pastures

This prompt is about long-term love; perhaps suffering a mid-life or 7 year itch crisis. The couple recognizes it is time for a change; but how drastic does the change need to be to rekindle the relationship? Who wants the change; husband, wife, mutual? Who would suffer the most from either a break up, or from the status quo?

This is a special challenge, so it has special guidelines:

To be in the judging for Featured Writer, you must be a member (sign up on the thumbnail linky) and follow these guidelines:

  • Word limit is 600 words
  • Any POV - first, second, third person
  • Prose/prosetry
  • Judging will be based on the FIRST WRITING ONLY; meaning, if you edit or revise based on initial feedback, the re-write will be disqualified. Only the original will be entered into the competition. Once the link is up, it is the final submission version. It is fine to improve your piece for publication elsewhere, but for judging for FW just leave your original post up.
Check out the youtube video for further inspiration...

I'm a little late posting this week and I had debated on posting at all.  We just returned from vacation yesterday.  My post this week gives a different view of Greener Pastures.  Here it goes:

I couldn’t wait to get out of Florida.  The summers down here are almost unbearable unless you sit in the air conditioning.  I was ready for a change in scenery and a break from reality.

I needed a vacation.  It wasn’t a desire, it was a necessity.  On the verge of a mental breakdown I felt completely empty.  It was time for a refill, a recharge.

In the days before I felt a mixture of anxiousness, nervousness and excitement. 

As we drove up the familiar roads, excitement built.  It was an annual tradition to come up to the North Carolina mountains. The crisp mountain air smelling of various summer blooms, the lush greenery of the trees, and the rivers running off the winters’ snow seemed to do wonders for the soul.

It felt like home, except for the last turn.  Where we usually make a left to go to the familiar river, hiking trails and campground, this year we made a right.  Winding up higher and higher the excitement turned to anxiety and nerves.
I am not comfortable to say the least on those winding roads up the mountains.  I felt as if I was going to fall off at every turn.  My heart pounded and I felt every muscle tighten as the car seemed to go in circles.  I felt myself getting hot, not from the heat but from the fear. 

As we drove up through the fog, it became even more of a challenge to continue breathing.  I didn’t know which was worse – not being able to see off the mountain or looking down at the drop thousands of feet below.  My head began to pound from the increased elevation too, not something to be concerned with in Florida. 

Pulling into the campground, it was nothing like we had pictured.  The site itself was typical, but all I could think was “I can’t see the forest for the trees”.  The lake and the park that were supposedly here were only accessible by car and the river was barely noticeable behind all the trees.  So much for fishing in the evenings.

Driving into town, the roads were lined with fancy restaurants and fancier shops.  Where were we?  What are we doing here?  Get me off this mountain!

I started to feel as if we should’ve made that left instead of a right.  That left always took us to familiar places full of adventure and like people.  The right seemed to take us to a reminder of everything that was wrong with the world.  Greed and judgment filled the beautiful mountain air.  I wished I could turn around right then and there.

For the next week, I felt trapped at the top of the mountain, the only escape leading down the same winding road that sent me over the edge (almost) coming up.  No matter what I tried, I couldn’t escape.  I didn’t realize that such a beautiful place could be changed so much by people.  People who didn’t care at all about the land, but boasted about the elevation in a place where they could spend their money and be waited on hand and foot.

This was not the change that I was looking for.  Maybe next time, I should have made that left or simply be thankful for what I already have. 

It is nice to be back home.  Although it wasn’t the vacation I was hoping for, it was good to get away and be reminded that sometimes the greener pastures aren’t always so green.

588 words/FCA

Monday, July 2, 2012

This one band camp

I've been really bad about posting lately.  My inspiration has disappeared.  I think it has to do with my overwhelming job and vacation looming.  My brain is already there!

I have one more day of work before a 12 day break.  I will be away for half of the time but I will try to get myself back on track.

In the meantime, I'm leaving you a fun flash fiction contest to check out

Christa Desir is hosting an awesome Band Camp Flash Fiction contest this month.  The entries can all be found here.  Stop by to read some funny stories and don't forget to vote here