Saturday Stories 7/9/16

This past week was a doozy in the world of words I like to surround myself with and snuggle down in to.

First of all, I joined a Buddy Read/Group Read of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which began for most of us on Monday, June 27th and is continuing on as people read and discuss at their own rates (One of the readers set up a thread on an existing Goodreads group) and so we are all still delving into the book even if we’ve finished as more of our compatriots comment on the different sections. I, myself, completed this book around Wednesday and absolutely adored it (rating around 4.5 stars, but I bumped it up to a full 5 or Goodreads). I own the beautiful floppy paperback version and also borrowed the audio book from Overdrive. It was fabulous, though the physical copy makes it a bit easier to follow the fluid and jumping time frames.

In the middle of reading The Night Circus, a read-a-thon started up…one that I have been anticipating and refining my TBR list for over the past 2 months. The #SmoresandMayhem Middle Grade Read-a-thon ran from July 1st – July 8th and had only one ‘rule’: each book must focus on a story that takes place during/in/around summertime.

For #SmoresandMayhem I managed to read 5 1/2 books (and DNF 1 more).

I re-read The Babysitter’s Club Super Special 1: Babysitters on Board (By Ann M. Martin) and High Wizardry (By Diane Duane). I haven’t read either of these books in so long that it was almost as though I read them for the first time. I remember loving the BSC book and feeling a bit MEH about the wizarding book and..my feelings haven’t really changed, except that I’m more outspoken about them now.

Along with those two I also completed Deep and Dark and Dangerous (By Mary Downing Hahn), The Wish in the Bottle (By Morna McLeod), and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (By Chris Grabenstein) (this was read on audio book and it was AMAZING. Listen to it!). I quit on The Girl who Circumnavigate Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (By Catherynne M. Valente) within the first two chapters. I have handed it over to my mother in order to determine if this is a book that I really do need to try to read again later, when I’m not still on a high from reading a couple of 5 star books prior to picking it up. I’m having the same issue with my 1/2 read book, The Westing Game (By Ellen Raskin)

The cool thing though, is that all the only physical library book I checked out for all of this was High Wizardry…meaning that I knocked out 6 books from my little TBR bookshelves. I’m down to about 45 now!

With all of that reading going on, I did kind of neglect my #HotandSticky Summer Writing Challenge work. I’m still a bit ahead of the game, but not by much with three days of 0 word count so far this month. Today’s (Friday, July 8th) ending target total word count 19,032 and my total current word count is 22,169. I definitely need to get my booty in gear again!

Unfortunately, I’ve lost over half of the original Sylvester outlines and have changed the story so much I’m now stalled in it trying to remember what I wanted so I know what to change (I hate it when I get all switch happy and forget what happens!). So I switched to writing the new children’s chapter book, a sequel to the recently finished Paulonious Punk (which hasn’t even been properly edited yet!) but the past couple of days has just felt like trying to pull cold taffy so all the myriad of picture book ideas, the children’s book, the 5th in the dragon series, the 2 NA/A fantasy stories, and the 2 rewrites are all just being left to their own devices. Normally one will speak to me and the rest get put aside for a bit but right now, right now I’m woefully falling behind. I better get over this soon, though, because I get CRANKY when I don’t write. It’s worse than PMS…it’s SWS (stalled writing syndrome)..and Midol does NOT help! (Coffee, Coke, Dark Chocolate, Chips and Salsa, 90s alternative music, and Netflix binges…these help. Please send some and save my poor family).

All that being said, here is a clip from the children’s chapter book. I’ve only just begun but I really enjoyed this scene, I hope you do too!

That afternoon Pauly called an emergency meeting of the adventuring club. With Fredrick and Mark Finkle still out of town at their lake house for the summer, Pauly, John, and Grandpa were the only official members available, but a quick vote allowed Sarah to tag to along too. If she got too annoying they could stick Grandma with her and ask them to bake cookies or something.

“This is gonna be SO GREAT,” Pauly exclaimed before remembering his role and sheepishly banging his small gavel on the president’s podium (a miniature dinosaur with flat top hair do and a mouth that would open and burp bubbles when you tickled its left ear). “I officially call this meeting to order! Is there any new business to attend to?”

“Yes,” Grandpa Punk solemnly raised his hand and waited to be called on. “Thank you, President Pauly,” he cleared his throat. “THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME!!!!!!!”

This caused the entire group to dissolve into a laughing it that was so loud and long it disturbed Grandmother Punk, who was in the process of baking and became afraid that her desserts would fall apart if the laughter continued.

When they had sobered up and managed to settle down a little, Pauly posed a serious question.

Fetching the club’s brand new “adventure notebook” (a pleather bound journal with the picture of a mountain on the cover) from its place of honor on top of the cluttered old desk in the corner, he began, “I think that we should each write down what’s going on and our thoughts and stuff about it from now until the end of the trip. That way we have a…a….a.”

“A reckoning of events for posterity,” Grandpa suggested with a smile.

“Exactly, a whatever it is that Granpa just said,” Pauly straightened his spine and schooled his facial expression into one of solemn thoughtfulness, “All in favor?”

Two ‘ayes’ and a ‘yupyup’ rang out among the many inventions and tools of the fort/shop.

“It has been decided,” Pauly intoned seriously, “So it shall be done.“   He passed the notebook and feathered pen to his second in command. “Johnny, will you start us out please?”

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#HotandSticky Survey

I am participating in the #HotandSticky Summer Writing Challenge put on by the boys over at Stripped Cover Lit, a fabulous and sassy YouTube channel you should all check out!  If you have ever wanted to write something, this 4 month writing challenge might be right up your alley.

In my announcement video (here)  I mentioned trying to decide between something I had already started or coming up with a new idea. Since everyone who responded offered the opinion that I should work on something old, I am here today with a list of synopsis and excerpts…and a survey. Please participate and let me know what you think I should be working on this summer!

 

My House:

The story of a woman who thought she had left her mofia-like family behind, until her father’s final papers are found. Now she must contend with her thug brothers, a new romance, and emotional scars in order to find her place again.

Excerpt –

It was a nice date, if you like going out with the gorgeous, smart type. He took me to a nice local restaurant with a homey atmosphere and just enough city spice to make it sophisticated. During dinner we talked about everything from politics to TV shows. I discovered that Nikolas isn’t just gorgeous, he’s smart, well read and has a great sense of humor. He has a degree in both literature and history and is only working in realty until a good job opens up in one of those fields. I also gave him my pertinent information; I graduated from a college in Ireland with degrees in Music and Literature and teach at a daycare (although I did not tell him that I go by my mother’s maiden name so that people won’t be afraid to leave their children with me). Although we had so much in common, and the conversation was very stimulating, my mind kept creeping back to the house.

I had made the visit that day to try and finally close that chapter in my life, but instead of closure the visit was bringing back memories long locked away in the recesses of my mind and making me want to revisit the past.  As I looked across the table at Nikolas I was transported back twelve years to a family dinner held in honor of Billy’s college graduation. We were all gathered around a table in a restaurant very similar to the one I was in now, sipping our drinks and catching up when Billy raised his wine glass (which held sparkling water, Billy couldn’t ever relegate himself to the taste of wine)…”Attention everybody, I have an announcement to make.” He boomed, effectively quieting our group. Billy took a sip from his glass as he looked around to make sure he had everyone’s attention.

He looked so handsome in his dark blue dress shirt that I had bought him. With his sleeves rolled up and the first few buttons undone, he looked just like one of those mobsters from a 1920s club scene.

“I’ve chosen a job,” Billy announced proudly, looking around to catch everyone’s expressions.

“WHAT??” “WOW!” “WHERE??” “WHAT IS IT??” We were all exclaiming at once, the words almost indiscernible in the cries, but the next thing that Billy said sent a deathly quiet over the family.

 

Vincent:

The story of teenaged almost loves meeting up again in college. She is single, always looking for that special feeling. Always not quite choosing the right guys. Always more comfortable with her books and best friend. He has a serious girlfriend and roommate majoring in psychology. (This is a step away from what I typically write…more contemporary)

 

Excerpt –

 

 

“There is sadness there, just behind her eyes. The look of something lost a long time ago. She wears it well, almost as if she has forgotten the depth of feeling there. For some reason the look deepened when she first saw you. Like a black hole expanding to take In everything to nothingness, then it all disappeared in a dazzling smile of happiness when she realized you were there.”

 

Vincent slowly tore his gaze from the girl whose heart he had yearned for since childhood and who was currently talking to his girlfriend, to look at his friend. “Sanji, have you been reading those psychology books again?” he teased, trying not to peak his old friends curiosity any more. Anne was the one thing in his life that Sanji didn’t know all of the details of. “I wouldn’t have any idea about her losses, we haven’t even seen each other in years. I only just began to talk to her again.”

 

Sanji took in his friends intense look and decided to let that strain of thought go for the moment. “Ok, so what’s for dinner? Its your turn to cook, remember?” Vincent’s laugh was the only answer he received as they began walking toward the girls.

 

 

Sylvester:

Seeing a nameless threat looming over the future of Earth, Sylvester’s true love sent herself to a different world in order to rescue people she doesn’t know. She has no memories of her fiancé, is re-born (literally) as a baby on Earth, and grows up without memory of why she came to be there…not that she thinks there’s anything odd about that.

Excerpt –

As a child, Brianna had dreams of another world. One where magic was as natural as air and people watched and waited for her. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, Bri knew these people. Sometimes she could remember their names, and would excitedly turn to them, but she would always wake at this point, dream memories niggling at her brain until she pushed them aside. As she grew the dreams became more in depth, more real. She would wake smelling the scents of otherworldly kitchens, feeling the softness of otherworldly grass.

 

She began seeing the people from her dreams out of the corner of her eye, in broad daylight. She would sense them watching her, urging her to something she couldn’t understand, or rather, felt as if she couldn’t remember. In defense, she turned to the things all teenage girls find interest in: sports, music, books, friends, and, of course, boys.

 

A children’s story or MG to be named later

Possibly the 2nd in the adventure stories featuring Paulonious Punk or something along those lines. (If you have requests, feel free to leave them in the comment section!)

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite now! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WFQKTN5

Girl in a Box – A Story Prompt

I had a half sleeping dream last night, a blur of images that seemed perfectly odd and delicious…something that might make a great story, short or otherwise. The problem, then, is that I’m not sure where to go with it and I think that one or two of you guys might create something more interesting with this so….I’ve decided to throw the prompt out there! YAY!!

Here are the guidelines…

  1. If you choose to use this prompt and post a short story or excerpt…please link back to this post.
  2. Let me know that you’ve used the prompt and leave a link to your post so we can all go enjoy it!

 

Writing Prompt:

Jenny paused outside of the large glass windows of the first store she came to. Inside, there were enormous pastel colored triple helixes slowing twisting and turn all around each other as if they were suspended in an antigravity tank, or that video on DNA they’d watched in science class. This was clearly not your average mall. She was beginning to grow concerned about what would come next. Maybe, she mused, I don’t actually want to turn in my application to Girl in a Box!

*Free*Short Stories

I just wanted to let you guys know that two of my short story compilations are free for Today (November 17th) and Tomorrow (November 18th)

Short Story Sundays is the first in the Short Story Supposition series. I challenged myself to write one short story a week in the year 2014. Ray Bradbury said you could not write 52 bad ones in a row…I was either going to prove him right or terribly wrong! Most of these short stories are also archived on my blog, but I compiled them into 4 month segments…the final book having not been released as of yet.

SSSundays

Short Story Sundays includes such stories as The Fixer Upper: you may be fixing the house but is it changing you too?, The Cat/The Yarn: have you ever thought about that game from a different perspective?and Leaving: A young woman’s struggle to get on the train. 

Summer Sundays is the second compilation of the Short Story Supposition series. The stories contained in this book were written in the hot sunshine of May, June, July, and August 2014.

summer Sundatys

Including stories like The Inscription, a story about a a book changing lives, Mad Monday: a teacher makes important decisions with homonyms, and Trees, the story of a little jealousy and a lot of tree hugging genius, Summer Sundays is a quick read to delight your many moods.

 

*I typically don’t warn you about things with these give aways…but the formatting on Summer Sundays has been a problem for me. Some of the e-readers showcase it perfectly and some of them have the stories smashed together in an almost unrecognizable rush. I am working on it, but for this give away the changes will not have taken affect. Thank you!*

The 7/7/7 Writing Challenge

Welcome Everyone! Today’s post is being brought to you courtesy of Eliesha at SharpeningtheQuill who nominated me for this 7/7/7 challenge.

The RULES of the challenge are:

  1. Find page 7 of your WIP
  2. Find Line 7 of page 7
  3. Share the next 7 Sentences
  4. Nominate 7 other writers

Since I have several WIPs at the moment, I wasn’t quite sure which to use for this. After much debate (and an internal about ‘tweaking’ line 8 into the mix…thus making one of my WIP sections incredibly exciting) I’ve chosen to give you two sets of lines. That’s right…TWO. Because I’m stubborn, difficult, and couldn’t decide between my two current favorite ‘babies’.

The First comes from Dragons in the Deep. Since this is the fourth book in the series some of the characters may be known to you. Don’t get too comfortable though, this book has a few sections that will put you on your ear. I know first hand how wobbly this deck can be!

A Quick Section Intro: Jane and Anna were excitedly discussing the possibility of someone having done something and creating the illusions that something devastating had happened. They got caught. Oh, and they’re on a ship in the middle of the Caribbean with several people who don’t know their secret(s).

She grabbed Anna’s arm and raced away as a desperate Jason grasped after their retreating backs, yelling “Traitor” as they slammed the door. Nickel, Joshua, Flynn, and Garron moved to stand between Jason and the exit, their inquisitive gazes burning into him as he searched for an answer.

“So, let’s start with that sea serpent…”

The Second excerpt comes from Paulonious Punk… a children’s chapter adventure book that is doing it’s best to keep me on my toes!

Background for the scene: Two 9 yr old boys are on the search for an adventure and decide to begin at their ‘clubhouse’, which is also the workshop for Paulonious’ super cool Grandpa. John, Paulonious’ best friend, has just identified the song on Grandpa’s radio as the Dizzy Gilespie classic, “Salty Peanuts.”

“Oh no,” Grandpa, busy with his tools again, winked over the project at Pauly, “Grandma Punk did bring in some fresh raisin cookies for you though.”

After snagging few, the boys took up their usual places, one on either side of Grandpa, watching his intricate movements that were always timed perfectly to the music. Without ever raising his eyes or missing a beat, the old man snagged a cookie from Pauly, shoved the entire thing into his mouth, and went back to tweaking the nuts and bolts on an odd looking wooden seat.

I Nominate:

  1. @cyallowitz
  2. @brianawrites
  3. @AuthorSamBritt
  4. @andrea_heckler
  5. @MissBenison
  6. @AgathaChocolats
  7. @MaddieC123

I can’t wait to see what you guys are working on! However, if you don’t wish to post, I will not hold it against you in the future! Just know, that it’s sad for those of use waiting to see what 7 lines you’ll post for us to drool over.