Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Character Profile Questions: Halloween

I'd like to start by saying Happy Halloween everyone!

We did our trick or treating last night.  My husband requested the night off work so we could take our kids out.  Jude dressed as a robot, and Lyle dressed as a dinosaur.  The robot costume was obviously homemade.  We initially made to decision to build the costume in our kitchen to save money, but it sure didn't work out that way.  Oh well!  He sure got lots of comments on it.

Dressed up and ready to go. It's too bright outside to see that
the robot costume lights up.

Here's a picture of what the costume looks like
in the dark.
In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd post something related to this most spooktacular of holidays.  After much thought, I decided to address the subject of holidays in fiction.  With that in mind, I thought I'd add a new character profile question and go over why said question might be an important one to ask.

As writers, we all need to ask ourselves certain questions about our characters. Some may seem simple yet fundamental, while others seem strange.  Yet these weird questions can be just as fundamental.  You only need ask them to see how valuable they are.  Here's a list of questions (with links) to some questions I've addressed in the past.

Question #1: Time Travel
In a time travel scenario, how would this character react if they met an older version themselves?  How would the older version react?

Question #2: Weapon
If your character is faced with a situation where they have to fight, what weapon would they choose?  (This can include any real or fictional weapon.)  And when they fight, do they fight to kill, or merely to wound or frighten?

Question #3: Ultimate Questions
If your character could ask any question, no matter how big, and get an answer, what would he/she/it ask?

Question #4: Organization
How does your character organize their personal space?  The space in question can be a desk, backpack, purse, or briefcase.  Are they meticulous, or are they sloppy?  Have they always been this way, and why?

Now for the question.  Are you ready for it?

Are you sure?

Okay.  I'm just kidding.

Question #5: Holidays
What holidays does your main character celebrate, if any?  How do they choose to celebrate them, and why is the holiday important to their lives?

Today's question may not be bizarre, but it might be essential, and some people may not think to ask it.  It's easy to assume that a character will have a similar cultural background to the writer that created them, but those assumptions aren't always correct.  And even if the background is similar, whether a character chooses to celebrate a particular holiday has everything to do with who they are as a person.  It can say a lot about a character's religious affiliation, family history, feelings regarding tradition, and many other things.

Holidays are an important part of who we are.  They celebrate our culture, and they give us a sense of tradition that both grounds us in who we are and lets us enjoy a day out of the ordinary routine.

Since we come from different backgrounds, we don't all celebrate the same holidays.  When you're creating an alien race, choosing holidays for them to celebrate can say a lot about their cultural values.  Klingons, for example have robust holidays focusing on honor.

Now, as it is Halloween, I figured I'd give some examples of questions we could ask about whether our characters celebrate Halloween, and how the different responses might reflect who they are.

Image courtesy of digitalart
First off, if a character lives in the United States during modern day and chooses not to celebrate Halloween, we can ask why.  Perhaps religious beliefs dictate that they cannot participate in such a holiday.  If that's the case, it says a lot about what is most precious to them, and indicates what some of their other beliefs might be.  Or maybe it's something else altogether.  Maybe this character thinks that costumes and trick-or-treating are stupid.  It's possible (though I personally don't understand how) for a person to see such activities as a waste of time. This also gives valuable insight into who they are.

For the character who does celebrate Halloween, there are plenty more questions to ask.  How far do they go in their celebration?  Do they decorate their lawns, do they go to Halloween parties, do they host Halloween parties, do they like haunted houses? Do they play practical jokes for Halloween?  What kind of pumpkin would they carve?  Does your character prefer cute Halloween movies or terrifying ones?

Costumes are also invaluable.  Though we supposedly wear costumes to be someone else, I think we're more ourselves while in disguise than we might be on a normal day.  The costume choices say a lot about how creative we are, what kinds of movies we like, who we look up to, or how scary we like to make ourselves look.  Scientists may dress up as a favorite scientist or physical law (I've seen this happen), or someone may also dress up as an obscure historical figure, thus exposing their love of history to the world.  For those of us who choose to play along, Halloween is a great opportunity for self-expression.

So feel free to ask this question of your characters.  I've asked mine.  Even of my extraterrestrial characters.  In addition to creating holidays for them, I've also asked myself how they would react to Earthly holidays.  Trust me, the results are both fun and informative!

Spooktoberfest Runner Up!

Happy Halloween!

Now, this is just a quick post.  I have another post I'm working on that's also Halloween-related, but I wanted to stop in to say something before I move on to what I was doing.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  It's just a wicked fun atmosphere of scary things, vivid imagination, and a great excuse to eat candy!  Even as an adult, I don't think I'll ever tire of the fun.  I get an excuse to go trick-or-treating all over again now that I have kids, and it's always interesting to see all the neat costumes people come up with.

In the last year, though, I found something else to love about this holiday.  The blogfests!  Bloggers just love to celebrate with awesome themed posts and contests, and it's been awesome.

I think Spooktoberfest was some of the best fun I had with Halloween blogging this year.  Thanks to Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests for hosting it!  Writing my entry was especially fun (in a demented sort of way), and I was delighted to learn today that my entry "Carving" was selected as one of Jackie's runners-up. Woohoo for me!  With all the not-so-good luck I've been contending with, it's good to have such a great Halloween surprise!

The talented winners and other runners-up deserve acknowledgement, so I'll also mention them here.  Von L. Cid @ The Growing Writer was selected as Dani's winner for his chilling story "Randomness."  Seriously, I had this story in my head when I took my kids trick-or-treating last night.  Scary!  Jackie chose Mina Lobo @ Some Dark Romantic as her winner for the fun and clever story "Crocked."  It's seriously funny stuff!

Dani's runners up were One Magic Bean Buyer for "Veil Hill" and Tiffany Reads for "The Dare."  Jackie also awarded Von L. Cid with a runner-up position.  What can I say?  "Randomness" tapped into something terrifying!

Congratulations to everyone!  Keep up the amazing writing!

I'll be back later today with my Wednesday post.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What is Your Geek Quotient?

There is no post for the Express Yourself Weekly Meme this week. Spooktoberfest is still going on, so be sure to check out as many stories as you can!

I thought I'd just share a couple of little things with you for my Tuesday post. We all have a little, or a lot, of geek in us.  When we embrace that geek, we truly shine.  So, dig deep and determine your Geek Quotient.  Just be warned, finding your inner geek is not for the faint of heart!  It takes dedication.

I already shared this next video on my other blog, but I thought I'd share it here as well.  For those of you who don't know, math (while not everyone's cup of tea) can involve a great deal of creativity and fun.  This video shows just how dedicated and excited some math geeks get about their subject of choice.  I'll admit, math wasn't my favorite subject, but I made it through Calculus 3 in college.  In those years, while I didn't develop this kind of love affair with math, I came to appreciate its elegance and the role it plays in the world around us.

That being said, there are three videos in this series, and you can find the links to the following videos at the end of this first one.  I recommend you find the time to watch them all, because they are entertaining.  The woman in the video has a great sense of humor and presents this subject in a fun way.  I promise!  My three year old son loves watching these!

Monday, October 29, 2012

As Bad Luck Would Have It

My main post of the day was done for the Monstrous Monday Bloghop.  This fun event is hosted by Tim Brannan.  If you would like to read my entry, click HERE!

It's been an odd week to say the least.  Pleiades is being difficult with me since my mind has been scattered.  I told all of you that our car caught fire more than a week ago.  Then, last Thursday, after the car fiasco was dealt with, our washing machine broke.  And it didn't just stop working.  It dumped water out everywhere, soaking the carpet of our laundry room.  It took several hours of sucking water up with a carpet shampooer and four days of drying with a fan to take car of the problem.  Plus we had to have the windows in that room open the last couple of days to deal with the mildew smell.  It was lovely.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles
Then, this past Friday (a week after the passing of our car), my youngest son Lyle took a running leap into a corner in the living room.  That's what happens from time to time when you have two boys who love to chase each other everywhere.  Anyway, poor Lyle ended up with a serious gash in his head.  It was deep enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room.  The doctors glued the wound shut (stitches in an 18 month old are difficult and they seemed eager to avoid that kind of struggle) and now Lyle has a bandage over his head to keep him from picking at the glue.

Since all this started, I don't think life has truly settled down to seem normal again.  I hate this string of bad luck for many reasons.  It makes it hard to get anything done while you're dealing with a string of disasters.  It's becoming more and more clear that my goal of self-publishing my short story collection by the end of this month is not going to be achieved.  I still think I can get it done by the end of this year, but it's always disappointing to admit that your original goal isn't going to work out.  It's easy to feel like a failure.

Still, I cannot let that happen.  If I let myself feel like a failure, I might be tempted to give up.  That mustn't happen.  I have to keep telling myself this:

I have only failed if I quit.

This conviction will get me through.

Monstrous Monday Bloghop

I love Halloween and all the ways bloggers are choosing to celebrate in the blogosphere!  It's been so much fun participating.

This is my post for the Monstrous Monday Bloghop that Tim Brannan is hosting. For those of you who might like to hop in while you can, here are the rules.
  1. Hop over to Tim Brannan's site to sign up.
  2. Grab a button and link back.
  3. Post your Monster on Monday October 29th 2012!
  4. Be sure to enter the linky code at the end of your post.  It makes it easier to hop from blog to blog.  Why else would we call it a bloghop?
Now, isn't that easy?  There are no real rules beyond that.  You can post about anything monster related, whether it be about a monster you love or hate, a monster you've created, or a rambling dissertation on the nature of monsters. The point is to simply celebrate monsters in some way.

When I thought about what I wanted to do for this, I realized I wanted to choose a monster from a science fiction show.  I love the genre, and it comes up with some interesting beasts.

I decided on a monster that I saw in an episode of Star Trek Voyager.  The episode is entitled "Bliss" and it's from the fifth season.  In this episode, the crew are subjected to telepathic control and false readouts on their instruments, which leads them to believe they've found a wormhole that will take them straight home.  Only Seven of Nine, The Doctor, and Naomi see that all is not what it seems.  Once the ship passes through the supposed wormhole, all the crew members under this unknown influence are rendered unconscious.

Seven, Naomi, and The Doctor meet the alien Qatai.  They learn they've entered a space dwelling beast who consumes space ships for food.  This creature uses its telepathic influence to show unsuspecting travelers what they want to see and lure them inside where it slowly digests them.  The story is similar to Moby Dick. Qatai is obsessed with killing this creature and has been after it for a long time. Over the years, he'd grown mostly immune to the creature's tricks, but one day it got the better of him.  Qatai knew where to strike to kill the creature, so it used that goal to lead him astray and trap him.

That's a scary monster.  While under its influence, you can't trust your senses. How can you coordinate well enough to get anything done when no one knows what's real and what's not?  The beast is massive and you can't reason with it for your release.  All it needs or wants from you is for you to die to it can feed off you.

After thinking about this particular monster for awhile, I began to wonder what a monster really is.  This creature killed only to feed.  It didn't kill for personal enjoyment.  It didn't kill for sport.  It did what it did for survival.  When you look at it like that, the creature looks less monstrous.  We kill animals for food too, and we hardly consider ourselves monsters.

Yet, when something threatens our lives, regardless of motivation, it seems like a monster.  It's dangerous, and regardless of what its reason for killing us might be, we're still dead if it catches us.  I guess the label of monster depends on its relation to us.  We label it as such because our life, and our security, is endangered by its existence.

So, what makes a monster a monster?  Here's a list of characteristics that I thought up to inspire discussion.  I will not claim this list to be complete.  There's always more to add.
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick

  1. Inhumanity: A monster is typically other-than-human in some way.  It may be a different species (xenomorph), it may be a former human who's changed (zombie, vampire, werewolf, etc), or it may be a human who lives without any semblance of a moral code.
  2. Unreasonability:  The monster is typically someone with whom you cannot negotiate.  This can be the beast who cannot understand you or views you only as its next meal, or the psychopath who simply does not care what you have to say.  Either way, you're dead if you're not quick or smart enough.
  3. Unknowability:  The supernatural threat is scary because we can't predict it.  If it's too powerful, we can't fight it.  That's why people fear demons and the devil.  If you believe in such things, they must seem to be the ultimate threat.  They're evil, they revel in the idea of causing you pain, and on your own, you stand no chance against them.
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick
This is a short and general list, and I'm sure I missed something important.  So feel free to contribute your own idea in the comments.  What makes a monster frightening for you?  Are inhuman beasts the most frightening?  Or does a human with no regard for life more of a monster in your view?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blogspiration 23:Writing As An Identity

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.
Writing is a verb.  It is an action that many of us engage in from time to time, some more often than others.  As an action, we may stop and start.  Sometimes we may not write for a long while.  Yet, if you are a writer, then that is part of your identity. Being a writer is a way of life, and the act of writing is only a part of that.  An important part, yes, but there is more to being a writer than simply writing.

Image courtesy of maple /

Writers see story potential in the everyday, mundane things.  Writers create narratives surrounding people they don't know.  Writers see the world through different eyes than others.  We see the imaginary laid over the real world, enmeshing the two to create something new and bizarre.  That's how we draw inspiration from all we see and experience.  Our daily lives provide us with the thread from which we spin a new tale.

If you are a writer, that part doesn't ever really go away.  When we write frequently, we become more efficient at generating new stories.  However, even if we don't write for a long time, that doesn't mean that creative spark dies.  It's always there, waiting to be rekindled into radiant new life.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Memoirs From the End of the World: Entry #8

Follow the links to read prior installments.

Whole story HERE.

Memoirs From the End of the World
Entry #8

Dear Romero,

I don’t recommend spending the night clinging to the underside of a bridge. 

It seemed like I was down there for hours while the patrol searched the area for remains.  Even after the flashlight beams disappeared and I couldn’t hear them chatting, I was still afraid to move.  It wasn’t until I saw hints of sunlight on the horizon that I realized I waited too long.  If they’d placed a watch on the bridge, I would’ve stood a better chance with the darkness on my side.

The water below looked just as dangerous in the early morning light.  My arms hurt from the aerial gymnastics that got me to safety in the first place.  My palms were split from where the metal dug into my skin, so I couldn’t open them all the way without it feeling like I was being cut all over again.

Let’s face it.  My plan was insane.  Getting there was impossible enough, but I had no idea how in the world I was going to get back to solid ground.  When I thought about climbing back the way I came, I shivered.

The movies I watched with my brother were misleading.  This was the point where the hero, who’d already been wounded in a way that should have been instantly fatal, miraculously musters the strength to swing their way back onto the bridge and karate chops twenty armed assailants.

Even in peak physical condition, I didn’t have the raw strength to pull that off.  I guess that was the advantage of being a Hollywood actor with special effects teams to back you up.  You could get paid to look like a god.  There in the real world, clinging to that beam like a scared animal, I found myself hating those false images.  I resented those actors even more when I remembered they lived far beyond the borders of the reservation and were still making millions to look amazing.  I could have used a little of that magic.

Okay, Romero, you know I made it back safely.  How else would I be writing in you, after all?  Let me tell you, it was a close thing.  Looking around, I was encouraged that the understructure was as extensive as it was.  In theory, I should have been able to carefully crawl my way along the slanting beams until they came out above dry land.  I’d have to drop from there.

The moment I started to crawl, I realized just how stiff my muscles were.  The cold wasn’t helping, though the numbness that settled in overnight courtesy of the chilling winds at least dulled the pain.  In spite of the damage done to my hands, which caused them to curl uselessly in on themselves, I shimmied along.  I shimmied up, made a dicey transition around a vertical support before shimmying down along another beam.  The downward slope got my heart racing as I tried not to slide too fast along the damp metal surface.  Then I did it all over again.

When I finally looked down and saw dirt instead of a curtain of water, I sighed.  The drop from that point was only about ten feet.  I took one last look around to make sure there weren’t any patrols closing in on me.  Then, sucking in my breath as if it could be my last, I let go.

The ground was even harder than it looked.  When I landed on my back, the world exploded with stars.  Though the fall knocked the wind out of me, I rolled to my knees and forced myself to move.  It was far too dangerous to wait around.

Rule #12: If a patrol follows you, never assume you lost them.  They know how to hide just as well as you do.

Yes, I’m making more rules now, and I know what you want to say, Romero.  When I helped Alyx and Ollie, I broke most of my rules.  Why should I bother to write any more of them?  Well, rules are supposed to be flexible.  That doesn’t make them invaluable.

Rule #13: Inflexibility can get people killed.

I limped along, avoiding streets as I made my way toward the rendezvous point.  There was no hope of getting warm, though the trees and houses mercifully blocked the wind as I went.  My stomach growled, and my mouth was horribly dry.  That’s kind of funny considering how damp my clothes were.

I didn’t see a single soul on my route.  When I finally saw the drugstore, it struck me how much had changed.  It had been months since I last stood on that particular street.  There were a couple reasons for that.  It violated my rule about sticking too close to the familiar.  My grandma lived less than a block away, and I used to visit her all the time.  Then, when the overlords instituted their cleansing programs to get rid of older people with medical issues, she disappeared.  We were never told whether those people were shipped out or killed. 

Grandma Luci was one of them, and it hurts that I’ll never know what happened to her.  That’s the real reason why I never come back.

The front windows of the drugstore were broken out.  Shards of glass crunched under my feet as I approached.  I didn’t see any signs of life at all inside.

Then Alyx crashed into me from the side.  I jumped, almost sure something had to be wrong.  When I realized that his arms were around me, squeezing me in a hug of relief, I relaxed.  The noon sun had started to dry me out, but I still wasn’t warm.  Yet an unexpected sensation warmed me from the inside, and I hugged him back.  It was the strangest thing.  I barely know him, yet I was so happy to see him there, and alive, that I almost forgot about everything else.

Whatever you do, Romero, don’t say that I’m . . . Gotta go!

Go to Entry #9

Spooktoberfest Entry: Carving

Today is the first day of the Spooktoberfest blogging event!  My thanks to Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests for hosting this.  These girls know how to concoct a  good blogging time!  

This event lasts from now until October 29th.  I'm posting today because my enthusiasm was simply too much for me to wait any longer than that!  I encourage anyone who hasn't signed up to take on the challenge.  There's still time to whip up something sinister!

What are the rules?


1.  Your Flash Fiction piece cannot be any longer than 300 words. Sorry… that’s part of the challenge. It can be scary, comical, romantic, whatever you choose. Just be creative!

2.  You must use the MANDATORY 5 words listed below 
3.  Post your Flash Fiction piece on your blog anytime between ...
Friday Oct. 26 - Monday, Oct. 29th.  The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday.

4.  Follow Dani and Jackie if you don’t already. They will follow back.

5.  It’s a blog hop, so hop around to other participating blogs and leave some awesome comments when the stories are posted.
6.  Have fun!

I wanted my story to be scary.  Halloween is just around the corner, after all!  So here you go.  I hope you enjoy it!


Jaclyn emerged from the chloroform fog.  Cold leather straps dug into the skin on her wrists and ankles, pinning her to a hard wood table.  Darkness crept into every corner of the room, so she couldn’t get a clear view of anything.  What she did see, though, was a row of shelves to her right that identified it as the old storage room.   Cobwebs clung to the boxes, proving their disuse.

Off to her other side, she spotted a faint red glow.  Turning her head, she could hardly believe her eyes.  “Is that . . .?” she whispered, unable to finish the sentence.  Yet her eyes didn’t deceive her.  A small cauldron was boiling on a hotplate.

A face hovered into view above her.  The twisted smile enhanced the features of her colleague, Dr. Lessner.  He had the typical mad scientist, gravity-defying white hair.  She felt the look made him look more like a caricature of a scientist than a scientist.  Jaclyn assisted him in creating plant hybrids.  Pumpkins were the latest project.  With their alterations, a carved pumpkin would last much longer, prolonging Halloween enjoyment.  

“What are you doing?” she asked, unable to steady her trembling voice.

“Taking care of a problem.”  He pulled a razor blade from his pocket.  “The pumpkins showed me our error.  They’re in pain, you see.”


“The ghosts of the slaughtered will haunt us in hell,” Lessner growled.  He lifted her shirt and pressed the blade against the soft skin of her stomach.  “Jaclyn, have you ever been carved like a jack-o-lantern?”

Jaclyn looked on in horror as the blade punched through her skin, releasing the blood beneath.

Lessner laughed gleefully.  “Afterwards I’ll boil your innards and make you into a pumpkin pie.  You’ll know their anguish, as I now do.”

299 Words

Thursday, October 25, 2012

FSF: Healing Hands

It's time for another weekly installment of Five Sentence Fiction.  Thanks to Lillie McFerrin for making this possible with the wonderful word prompts and pictures!

I'm on to the third chapter of my story.  For those who haven't read the first two, the links are below.

Chapter 1: Detour
Chapter 2: The Token

Chapter 3: Healing Hands

“There’s a lot of magic in this universe, but there are still no potions to fix the most agonizing of ailments,” Nara said softly as she stood at the galley counter, carefully stirring a cup of assorted wild berries and herbs that was supposed to cure a variety of infections.
Photo prompt taken from Lillie.
Originally obtained from here.

Ylana watched from her seat at the table, marveling at the level of expertise Nara exhibited in her work, along with the other traits that distinguished them from one another.  These women were from such different worlds, which could easily be determined by comparing Nara’s braided white hair and green skin with Ylana’s lack of body hair and light brown skin.

Nara was Hyposian, which meant she grew up learning herbal cures and how to apply a healer’s hands to everything and everyone she met.  She traveled the stars and delivered her cures to those who would have none otherwise, and Ylana silently wondered what contribution she could make to the universe now that she had so much open to her.

Go to Where To?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fiction As a Way of Life

Why do we read?  Why do we write?  What does it mean to write?  For me, these are critical questions.  I also have an answer to these questions.  It's the answer that works best for me, and I thought I'd share it with you.

We interpret everything we see.  Without our ability to interpret, we wouldn't have the ability to understand anything.  We interpret art, the content of the daily conversations we have with others, and written texts we encounter.  All we see, hear, or know, passes through the senses and is decoded by the brain.  And in that process, all we've learned from before helps us to make sense of new data.

We read because we're creatures of imagination.   As children, our parents read us fairy tales that teach us lessons in life.  It's how we learn about the world, and it's how we begin to engage with the things in life we've never directly experienced.  We continue to grow, and every once in awhile, we read something that resonates with us.  These words wiggle their way into our brains and become a part of who we are.  Our view of the world is steadily built, word by word, scene by scene, feeling by feeling.  These moments of building and connection to a new way of seeing the world are rare and precious.

I find that writing is a similar exercise.  In the end, I write more for myself than I do for anyone else.  I create a world, and I create people to inhabit it with me. We explore it together, and I feel their struggles and triumphs.  I learn alongside them.  By walking in their shoes and seeing their world through their eyes, I learn more about myself.

Image courtesy of adamr /
No matter who we are and whether we recognize it or not, fiction is a part of our lives.  And for writers, one can even say that fiction is a way of life.

Everyone has curiosity about the world around them, and when we don't know all the facts about something, we often fill in the blanks and create our own fiction to explain.  Who hasn't seen a fight break out in a public place and wondered how it started?  Regardless of whether or not it's any of our business, we can't completely shake that sense of curiosity.

We engage with fiction for the same reason we occasionally find ourselves watching a pair of people in the middle of the mall arguing.  When we watch real people that we don't know, it's like tuning in to a movie halfway through.  Given the way they dress and the words they use, we can make educated guesses about who they are and what they may be upset about.  But that's all it is: a guess.  In order to be sure, we'd have to delve more deeply into their lives, but as casual observers, we don't have the ability to do that.  Given those limitations, our picture of that moment and of the people in it is only a fiction.  It's the fiction that we can't help but write in our heads.

People engage with fiction, because it renders those tricky parts of life more comprehensible.  While we may not be able to learn everything from books or the things we write, it's a crucial piece of the puzzle of how we learn and grow.

Then, there's also the obvious answer to my questions, and one that I think is also as valid.  We read and write because it's fun.  It gives us an outlet from which to escape our lives and explore something new.  Of course, when I put it that way, it sounds an awful like what I said earlier about exploring the parts of the world that we can't see for ourselves, thus learning from the reading experience. Did I accidentally prove that learning is fun?  If so, I'll have to remember this line of reasoning for the days when my kids are older and don't feel like going to school.

I'll end this post with a quote that I believe exemplifies the importance of living a life laced with creativity.  Feel free to interpret it in whatever way feels right to you.  That is, after all, part of the joy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Express Yourself: Five Monsters

Time for another installment in the Express Yourself Weekly Meme!  As always, this meme is brought to you by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

Week #4 (Oct 22-25): List 5 favorite monsters throughout history.

Wow.  Monsters are an appropriate subject for late October.
  1. The Xenomorph: The creatures from the Alien movies are creepy. What could be more terrifying than the idea of something monstrous growing inside you against your will, just waiting to burst forth into the world.  It doesn't help that, as the host, you're killed in the process.  The acidic blood and singular goal of killing everything in its path doesn't help either.  You can't negotiate with it, and the thing is extremely difficult to kill.  Who wouldn't feel uncomfortable with one of those on your spaceship?  In a spaceship, there's nowhere to run.
  2. Frankenstein:  When I say this name, most people think of the monster created in the laboratory, but no, I'm referring to Victor Frankenstein, the mad scientist.  Sure, the creature wasn't exactly a looker, but for a guy who was stitched together from the body parts of dead people, he wasn't that bad.  His appearance, however, set him apart from everyone else. Thrust into a world filled with those who would judge him with no real guidance, it's no wonder he ended up where he did.  His creator didn't even give him a proper name, and he only addressed his creation with derision.  The problem was this: Frankenstein was unprepared to take responsibility for his creation.  He brought the monster to life, then quickly washed his hands of it.  Science is awesome, and scientists understandably explore the world.  Unfortunately, in this situation, Frankenstein was irresponsible.  If he wasn't ready to take the responsibility of caring for his creation, he never should have created him in the first place.
  3. Id Monster:  Growing up, Forbidden Planet was one of my favorite movies.  In that movie, a long-dead alien race had built a machine that could produce anything its creators desired.  All they had to do was think about it.  As it turns out, the power to create anything with a mere thought is quite a dangerous one.  Dr. Morbius is now the only one whose mind can harness the power of the machine, but his subconscious mind fuels it.  The result is a beast with a limitless power source behind it. What's terrifying is the idea that our subconscious thoughts could be unleashed on the world, and the knowledge that we have that kind of destructive potential inside us.
  4. Zombies:  What is there to say?  Zombies are mindless, relentless, and they sneak up on you, never allowing you a peaceful moment of rest.  And in a world like we see in The Walking Dead, everyone who dies turns. That means the onslaught will always keep coming.  You never have any hope of returning to the life you had before.  All you can do is adapt and try to stay alive as long as you can.
  5. Weeping Angels:  Of course I had to include a Doctor Who monster. Why wouldn't I?  The Weeping Angels are terrifying.  They look like ordinary statues, and they sneak up on you when no one is looking.  They can displace you in time, then can snap your neck, they can take over your mind if, in your attempt to keep them from coming after you, you look at them too long.  That's seriously scary stuff.  Who could look at a statue the same way again?
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick
Anyway, there's my list.  Which monsters do you like?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Welcome one and all to another Monday!  They come around so quickly, don't they?  After the weekend we had around here, I feel like we need a second weekend to make up for the craziness of the first.

So far today, I haven't done a whole lot of writing.  I posted my entry for Kyra Lennon's "Letting Go" Bloghop, though I did that before going to bed, so that doesn't count for today.  Either way, if you haven't already, hop on over to her blog and check out some of the entries!  Mine is the post directly below this, in case you're interested in checking it out.

Though I can, in part, blame Kyra for my lack of writing so far today, though by no means in an angry way.  I downloaded my copy of If I Let You Go this morning, and I started to read it while my youngest took a nap and my oldest was occupied with a movie.  I got through it all in one sitting.  The characters were believable, easy to identify with, and I genuinely cared about their struggles.  It's a quick and engrossing read, and I highly recommend it.

Anyway, in regards to my own work, my brain has been tragically overwhelmed after the events of this weekend.  We finally got the car towed away after selling it to a salvage place.  There's still broken glass and things to be cleaned, but it's something else that we don't have to deal with.

After I do some much needed housework and get the kids a bath (they played in the leaves and made a mess of themselves!), I'll settle in to write and schedule tomorrow's post.  Then I'll make myself some coffee and work on a story.  Come to think of it, I haven't had any coffee yet today.  How am I even still alive? 

My goal for the week is to finish the story I'm working on while keeping up with my blogging and everything else that's going on in my life.  I also need to polish up my Spooktoberfest entry, which I plan to post Friday.  If I pull that off, I'll be okay.

Sometimes life pulls us in odd directions, but that doesn't mean we should get discouraged.  I won't let myself get discouraged by the insanity we've been dealing with, because I can't afford it.  Luckily, writing and coffee ultimately work hand in hand to help me maintain my sanity.

Image courtesy of mistermong

Letting Go Bloghop

Today is the "Letting Go" Bloghop.  Kyra Lennon is hosting this awesome event to celebrate the release of her novella If I Let You Go.  The story sounds great, and the blogging event sounded fun, so I decided to jump in and give it a go.

The demands are simple.  You merely need to describe a time you had to let something go, or if it feels too personal, compose a piece of flash fiction about letting go.  The limit is 500 words.

Simple enough, right?  If you haven't decided to join in yet, there's still plenty of time.  We don't bite.  I promise!

Anyway, I decided to do something a bit strange.  I felt compelled to write a poem.  I hope that's okay with everyone involved.  I just felt poetic when I sat down to do this.  The finished poem came out in four parts, so I decided to put the words to pictures.  Maybe it's odd, but I feel like pictures add so much to the meaning.  At least for me they do.

The poem, in a nutshell, is about the doubts I've had as a writer and how I struggled with them.  Then, when my mother died last year at 47, I knew I had to let go of my doubts because none of us know how much time we have left.

I hope you enjoy it!

Image Credits: 
Picture #1: Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /
Picture #2: Image courtesy of zirconicusso /
Picture #3: Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /
Picture #4: Image courtesy of xedos4 /