Tag Archives: fiction

It’s All About Passion

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My first banner seemed wild enough until summer arrived and the snow melted.

This week marks my 2nd blogiversary. First of all, I think it’s funny that bloggers are primarily writers and they can’t decide how to spell it. Is it with an i or an a? Google corrected it for me, so blogiversary it is.

I never thought I would be a writer. I am an artist and was a medical illustrator before becoming a full-time mom, but have always loved telling stories. Maybe it’s the Irish in me. After spinning one of my yarns almost three years ago, a friend of mine said, “You should really write these stories down.” Her words shocked me and a light bulb turned on in my head.

This happened at a time when I was often introduced to random strangers who asked, “What do you do?”

I never had a proper answer. I had been out of a job since my kids went to college and had been searching for a way to express myself.

You see, I had never really found my passion. I enjoyed creating through different mediums like illustrating, painting, gardening, cooking, decorating, and even sewing, but when thinking about turning any of these into a career, I would moan and groan and grumble. I enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labor, but didn’t enjoy the labor part of the experience.

I took my friend up on her idea. While outlining a snarky and satirical non-fiction book about women and life in Boulder, I plodded along. I was such a slow typist and changing anything was excruciating. Navigating the minefield of not being offensive to anyone while trying to avoid blowing up my relationships, took forever. It was hard enough to find the letters on my keyboard.

Then, I was told that no one would publish my book unless I started blogging to build a writer’s platform. I only knew blogging as a diary form of word vomit. I wasn’t that thrilled about journaling, but I read a few posts and realized I could choose my own focus – hence the Wild Ride!

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I loved this second banner, but I got bored, opted for vibrant color and cut off my hair.

When I started blogging here at WordPress in May of 2011, I could not figure out how to get views. Just when I was about to give up, I discovered the home page and realized tags were crucial to being visited. Remember, this is two years ago, way before WP created the Reader.

After writing blog posts for a couple of months, I reviewed my book proposal with anxiety. I found my voice and writing style right away since I write the way I speak, but the genre was wrong. I could feel it in my gut. Non-fiction is tricky. It involves real people, places and events. I had to be careful not to alienate any of them.

I was falling in love with fiction through writing 100 word flash on Fridays. The freedom of writing whatever I wanted allowed my vivid imagination to explore all kinds of exotic places and different types of characters, some of whom I admired, a few who made me laugh and others who came from nightmares and dark places in my mind. I loved this new creative medium.

Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I found my obsession and my passion.

I shelved my non-fiction project with a huge sigh of relief and had to choose which fictional idea to expand. Looking back, I could not have picked a wilder or more challenging story for my first book. What was I thinking?

I had to stop writing flash fiction on Fridays since the characters in my book would start partying down with the new ones in my flash and they would wreak havoc in my pea brain. I needed a split personality to deal with all of them and keep them separated. It was hard to stop writing 100 word fiction for my blog, but once I did, my book flowed.

Now my paranormal thriller is done and I am very excited about it!

Third try's a charm

Looking back on the last two years, my blog has changed how I define myself, the stories I want to tell, and the focus of my life. I am in the throes of embarking on a writing career which is challenging, humbling and more exciting than anything I have ever experienced professionally.

I am looking forward to querying an agent and getting my story out there. Will I take a break? Hell no. I have eight more books I want to write. Two more in this series, three which took a back seat when I drew straws for which one to write first, a screenplay, a historical fiction, a compilation and that’s off the top of my head!

Now when someone asks me what I do, I have an answer.

Have you found your passion?

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Leaping for Love, Lust and Lulu on Valentine’s Day

Along with bushy eyebrows, Lulu had been burdened with helicopter parents. She never had a moment alone with little Harold. They had dated for two years without a single kiss.

Towering over him had been a turnoff. Sitting down put him at ease.

Harold came a-calling on Valentine’s Day. Electricity shot between them the moment he entered the room. She had to have him.

the date 1 Continue reading

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Oh Thrill Me Baby!

October arrived at midnight like a blanket of fog cloaking the twisted path. I woke to this first day with a rekindled primal need deep down inside my core. Lust and longing permeated my senses. I needed an adrenaline rush.

Flooded by memories and covered by goosebumps, I realized there was only one cure.

I had to make a list of my favorite spine-tingling thrillers of all time. Continue reading

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The Christmas Wish – 250 Word Flash Fiction

As Carol scrawled her signature inside the Thomas Kincade Christmas card, a chill sent a shiver like the touch of a cold fingertip along her spine. She buttoned her red cardigan and folded the greeting card. While studying the picture of the artist’s painting, Carol smiled at the warm glow emanating like amber from the windows of the cottage nestled in the snow. She imagined the home filled with friends and family. She glanced through the window above her desk at the dense fog and ice collecting on the gnarled oak trees. Her heart ached with the familiar sense of loss. “I miss you John.”  Continue reading

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A Warm Welcome – 100 Word Flash Fiction

Jane’s special day had come again and she bounced through the house with renewed vigor.  It seemed like a lifetime had passed since she felt this strong. Her illness had dissipated. An old memory skittered back to her like flipping to a page in her blue velvet album. Continue reading

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Vanished – 100 Word Flash Fiction

Tricia had wasted time choosing a costume and now darkness swallowed the winding country road. The party ended long ago while she lost her way. Fog enshrouded cornfields came to life as aged stalks resembled zombies. Continue reading

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Is Anybody Home? 100 Word Flash Fiction

Justine pulled into Mr. Hanson’s driveway as the rain fell down in sheets. She retrieved the casserole from the passenger seat and then splashed through puddles to the door. She turned the knob and let herself in.

“Mr. Hanson? I brought your dinner!” A smell of mothballs and Lysol hit Justine like she’d been slapped. Continue reading

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The Cutting Edge – 3 – 100 Word Flash Fictions

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I.

Joanne finished typing the last line of tomorrow’s post, saved it, and closed her lap top. She rose from her desk in the now empty office. So seldom was she ever there alone with only the quiet humming of the overhead air filtration system.

The lighting seemed queer tonight, shining a pale shade of green. She nervously looked over her shoulder while waiting at the elevator. When it arrived, she entered. As the doors began to close, a hand gripped one side of the door and it reopened. The blonde handsome man towered over her with a knife and lunged.

II.

Springing up from her sound sleep, the rolling chair banged the cubicle wall behind her. “What a nightmare!” She gazed around the empty office, grabbed her laptop, and headed for the elevator. She took a deep breath when the door closed behind her.  She entered the basement parking lot and sprinted to her car. Once inside she locked the doors and drove home.

Her black Labrador Rex laid down outside the shower while she soaped up. She heard him growl and then bolt out of the bathroom. “Is someone there?” Searching for a weapon, only shampoo bottles lined the shelf.

III.

He crept up the stairs, hearing the water pounding in the shower. He smiled knowing she wouldn’t see him enter. He took care of the dog and then stepped onto the tile floor.

Her mind flashed to the movie Psycho. She tried to keep looking through the glass shower door as she rinsed off and couldn’t help visualizing Rex lying in a pool of blood. She stepped out of the shower, swung around, and gasped.

Her husband Richard handed her a bouquet of white roses. “Congratulations! Sliced made the best seller list! We’re celebrating!”

“I need a vacation,” thought Joanne.

Have you ever woken up from a dream that completely unhinged you?

Have you ever dreamt you were running away, but your legs felt as though they were under water?

Photo by S. Lindau

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The Mistresses of Mayhem

As the days grow shorter, I begin to feel autumn’s chill through the drafts in my house which seems to penetrate the floor and slip up my pant legs then settle down deep in my bones. While running upstairs to retrieve wool socks for my cold feet I am reminded of the time of year and begin to long for All Hallow’s Eve and a month of ghostly tales. When I was a teenager, my girlfriends and I would gather around the television at midnight and dare each other to look at the spectacle originally written by Edgar Allen Poe or Mary Shelley. I would peer between my fingers which covered my eyes as my heart quickened and my stomach clenched in the inescapable mix of shock and horror. After a sleepless night of hearing the water trickle through the pipes in our family room thinking one of the undead crept around our scattered sleeping bags, I would rouse myself and smile looking forward to next week’s episode

Wikipedia defines Gothic fiction, sometimes referred to as Gothic horror, as a genre or mode of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. When I think of authors of gothic horror the first to come to mind is Edgar Allen Poe. The Fall of the House of Usher(1839), The Pit and the Pendulum (1842), and The Telltale Heart (1843) are a few examples.

Many years before Poe was born, some of the early masters of the macabre were actually mavens. Ann Radcliffe first wrote The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. This tale of a lonely woman included paranormal conventions interwoven with the very first vivid descriptions of nature. She gave natural explanations for the supernatural occurrences in her book making this genre acceptable for the first time in English society. She ended her chapters with cliff hangers keeping her readers flipping through pages.

1816 was known as “the year without a summer” for many in Europe. Mount Tambora erupted on an Indonesian island obscuring the sun for more for many months and creating a mini-ice age. Mary Shelley spent that summer in a villa on Lake Geneva, Switzerland with her husband Percy and friends including Lord Byron, and John Polidori.  Since the days were cold and nasty they spent many of them indoors reading ghosts stories. One day Lord Byron challenged each of them to write their own. Polidori created the vampire genre with the book, The Vampyre and Mary wrote Frankenstein.

Each author wrote gripping tales of suspense and terror keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. Speculation over their fascination with death and the supernatural in some cases seems obvious and in others not so much. Edgar Allen Poe’s mother was an actress who played Juliet when he was a young child. He found it confusing and upsetting to watch her die on stage every night. Eventually she succumbed to tuberculosis and died back stage. At 25 five years of age Poe married his 13-year-old cousin who died of the disease when she turned 25. Many historians believe that Poe’s tormented mind originated from the dread of contracting this white plague. He died mysteriously -most likely alcohol poisoning- at age 40.

Mary Shelley endured horrible headaches and passed away of a brain tumor at age 40 as well. Maybe that is why she came up with a monster made of bits and pieces from other bodies. She may have felt like getting a brain transplant!

I love that researchers couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary about little Ann Radcliffe.  She lived quietly with her husband and worked as an editor of The English Chronicle. She seems to have created these twisted tales without any documentation of torment, living until age 58. Her husband continued to support her writing by having the last of her work published after her death.

I have my own theory as to what motivated these authors. I began writing my own Gothic Fiction recently and can say that the thrill of writing them comes from being inside the character as I go through the process of typing out the words. No sooner have I set down the first sentence, does my own heart begin to race along with the story. Regardless of the personal fears the author may have had, I think they all enjoyed writing these thrillers just as much as their readers enjoyed reading them.

It is written that Ann Radcliffe passed the lonely cold winters writing her Gothic tales near a warm fireplace most likely feeling the grip of winter through the icy fingers of chilly drafts. My guess is she would have enjoyed our sleep-overs where we peeked out from our sleeping bags and glimpsed old black and white films of Frankenstein and Dracula. I wonder if Ann would enjoy Stephen King and what she would write if she were alive today.

Do you enjoy Gothic Fiction?

Who are your favorite authors today?

Illustration from Google  - Poe’s “The Raven” 

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Filed under Fiction, Inspiration, Life

Stolen Regret

I

The biting wind struck Maeve’s frail body with force so she drew her mother’s thin red shawl around her shoulders tighter. She shivered remembering what she had done. The stunning ring had been lying on Mrs. Carver’s bedside table along with her yellowed false teeth which floated in a glass of water. She moved the tumbler and dusted, then slipped the ruby ring into her pocket.

Trudging home on the icy path through the shadowy forest, the weight of the stone spun the ring around her thin finger. When the vagrant grabbed her from behind, it flew into the gloom.

 II

After a long cold winter, sun-filled days thawed the frozen earth and birds migrated back from their winter respite. A squirrel sprung from his warm leaf-lined den in the trunk of an ancient oak. With pangs of hunger he dove to the forest floor and dug for buried acorns. A bright glint like crimson berries caught the attention of his black beady eyes and he hopped through the decomposing leaves hoping for an edible treasure. Cocking his head to one side he gazed at the ruby ring. An ebony crow swooped down and snatched it up with its hooked beak.

 III

“What are you afraid of Chelsea? Ghosts?” Jack taunted. Mary and Thomas giggled, but the tales about the woman in the woods and the thought of meeting down there at midnight to have a séance made her flesh crawl.

The moon hung like a fingernail clipping over the old Carver house where the remaining shards of glass in the windows seemed like a menacing grin.

The rhythmic crunching of their footsteps on the path into the dense forest kept time with the banging in her chest. Jack found an old oak and the four friends settled underneath its gnarled branches.

 IV

Maeve floated through the forest on the wings of the gust’s frosty breath twisting with the wailing wind. Like so many nights before this, she found herself on that muddy path with the ruby ring heavy on her finger like the weight of guilt on her soul. Sometimes she caught glimpses of others completely unaware. Other times they seemed alarmed then faded into the gray snowy night.

Tonight the pull at her core caused a ferocious velocity of writhing. She whipped towards the foursome dislodging something from the old oak which fell between them.

Return it!” Maeve howled with wind.  

 

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