The House Sitter – 450 Word Flash Fiction

haunting house

After turning off the ignition, the wiper blades stopped their rhythmic beat and Megan stepped into the mist. She pulled the mail from the wrought iron box and then shook rainwater from the plastic sleeve covering the newspaper. Glancing at the Victorian home cloaked in a gray shroud, she shrugged uneasy feelings from her tight shoulders. The home was horror movie cliché with its peeling paint and saggy railings propped up around its wraparound porch. Taking care of the Friedmans’ house while they traveled through Europe was easy pocket money, but something about it creeped her out. One more week.

She avoided stepping in puddles on the uneven sidewalk and made her way to the front door under a canopy of ancient oak trees. Megan imagined they stood guard with watchful eyes hidden within gnarled trunks until their knobby and arthritic branched arms reached out with claw-like fingers to snatch a length of her long hair. She shuddered.

Tapping the number into the lockbox, she retrieved the skeleton key Continue reading

Pantsing While Plodding Toward Publication

writing journeyI started writing over four-and-a-half years ago. I had an idea for a non-fiction book, a snarky take on Boulder women. If you’re not familiar with how to assemble a book proposal, non-fiction is skiing down a gentle slope compared to fiction where the writer must plod along the desert and climb craggy mountains with blown out tennis shoes and holes in their socks. I’ll get to that later. At that time, I only needed a query letter, a table of contents, and a few sample chapters. Continue reading

Getting My Creepy On!

Desiccated leaves, dismembered from branches, rot in the dying light and crunch like brittle bones under my boots. The wind whispers ghostly verses of songs sung long ago. Halloween is approaching. It’s time to get your creepy on.

“How do I do that?” you may ask. Sometimes eating candy corn and slaying a few pumpkins isn’t enough. Summerlike weather may defy the season or you feel like you’re too old for the holiday.

Watch thriller movies.

Freaky movies like Single White Female starring Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Steven Weber will get you in the mood. I twitched for hours afterward while sending quick glances over my shoulder. I half expected my husband, Danny, to come home with my identical haircut and color. It’s one of those movies where you want to shout, “Get out of the house, NOW! NO! DON’T GO DOWN IN THE BASEMENT! NOOOO!”

BONUS – It’s a great cardio work out without breaking a sweat.

single white female

Decorate indoors. 

Before I became obsessed with writing, I collected antiques on the weekends. Found objects are perfect for creepy Halloween decor. Old framed photos, black containers, and silver candlesticks highlight the season. Don’t polish the silver! The tarnish adds to the effect. I know. You’re welcome.

creepy Halloween decor

Sticky spider webs are not for me. I don’t want to find them months later. Instead, I use cheesecloth, cut the edges and rip holes by shredding it with my fingers. Continue reading

With or Without a Lover, This Valentine’s Day Is Yours!

Those without a loved one to share Valentine’s Day have more in common with the tradition of sending Valentine’s Day cards than those with a lover.


I thought the Victorians began the tradition with their sentimental, flowery, lacy, and cupid adorned cards:

The couple meets at a soiree where the fine lady’s heart beats like a caged canary. The gentleman wears gloves and even with them worries he’ll leave a thumbprint on the greeting card. He escorts her to a small chamber not far from the ballroom. Her cheeks flush with the touch of his warm hand on her back. It sends a thrill of which she is not accustomed. He pulls the declaration of love from his breast pocket and presents it with a bow. She smiles, rips it open and gasps when she sees two naked cupids complete with jiggly bits dancing in the sky. Underneath are the words “Be My Lover.” She drops the card and trounces from the room.

And that is when the gentleman became acquainted with the florist’s establishment around the corner which he frequented in years to come.

Cupids and heart Valentine

Sending cards began more than 400 years earlier with a French romantic poet, of course! It did not begin with the uptight Victorians, but the English had their part in history.

The French nobleman, Charles I de Valois, Duke of Orleans fought against the English and became trapped in his own armor. (How does that happen? “Help me! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!) In 1415, he took up residence as a prisoner in the Tower of London. Continue reading

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?

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

Gift or Curse? Flash Fiction

Cutting across the yard on the way to school had been a habit for Oscar. But today when he gazed at the caution tape across the old McAllister place, he shivered while memories niggled like dead flies waking up on a warm windowsill in winter. Continue reading

Lurking in Darkness – 150 Word Flash Fiction

He had watched her for days.

Sheila crouched over her rose garden and snipped dead blossoms. She stood and stretched while running her hands along her lower back.

He slipped behind a tree as she crossed the yard.

After laying the shears on the garage workbench, she stepped inside the house.

He followed. Continue reading

Ice Sculptured – 170 Word Flash Fiction

Mary regretted taking the short cut home.

“I’ll give you a head start little girl. Ready? GO!”

She bolted from him, rounding the corner of the old mill as its blades dashed through the frigid water in the cold evening air. Then she passed a stand of evergreens. Snow covered needles fell in her wake. She slid down the embankment onto the ice-covered lake. After reaching the middle, she stopped to catch her breath. He was right behind her. Continue reading

The Shattering – Friday Fiction

With a deadline for a column looming, Samantha had writer’s block.

“See you tomorrow.” she said to her roommate Jack. Grabbing her loaded framepack, she pulled her blonde ponytail through the back of her ball cap.

“Have fun and be careful.” Jack tossed her cell phone to her.

“Don’t worry!” She slipped the phone into her jacket pocket and left the apartment.

She threw her pack in the back of her black Toyota and started the hour-long trip into the mountains. As she drove higher in elevation, the road narrowed. After a series of hairpin turns it ended altogether.

Samantha pulled over next to a grove of Aspens. She closed her eyes and inhaled the fresh pine fragrance.

Throwing the bulging pack over her shoulders, she started up the trail. Shadows crept across the path. Continue reading

A Twisted Tale – Flash Fiction

Alice hurried along the path of the ancient forest in fading light. Listening to her elders and obeying were two different things and now she was hungry and lost.

As night descended, fog slithered like silent serpents through the understory. She stopped in her tracks as it wrapped around her narrow ankles and swallowed the trail. Continue reading

A Leap of Faith – 100 Word Flash Fiction

“Follow me,” said Tucker.

Kristie held the heavy backpack close to her cold body as a shield against the biting wind. The wet snowflakes nipped at her face leaving it raw. She tried to keep up while trudging through the deep snow. Her legs quivered with exertion. Am I ready for this? Continue reading

The Art of Seduction – Flash Fiction

He traced his finger along her curves, only stopping to admire her strength and beauty. They fit together like tailored leather. Her opalescent skin, like pewter in the moonlight, gave the false impression of being as malleable as mercury, but a steely inner strength resonated from her core.

It was dangerous, yet the risk excited him. Continue reading