Friday, November 16, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-November 16, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

Earlier this week, I was having serious computer problems. My computer suddenly started running so slow I could hardly get anything done on it. That certainly didn't help with this week's writing goals, but I can make up for that later. My husband, who knows a ton about computers, took a look at it and guessed I probably had a virus hidden away somewhere. I had to back everything up so he could reformat it for me. It was a pain, but my computer is running normally again, so I'm happy about that.

Zoe's birthday is next week. I can't believe she's turning two already! Her birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year, so that makes it an extra special day.

To all of my blogging friends in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-November 9, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I just started writing a new short story this week. There's a part of me that feels guilty for not participating in NaNo, but I'm still writing and I'm excited about the story I'm telling. That's certainly worth celebrating.

I also started outlining an idea I had for a middle grade sci-fi novel. I'm not sure when or if I'll write it since the idea is in its beginning stages, but it's always exciting to have a new idea fresh in your head.

We actually got a lot of Christmas shopping done this past week. We're usually the type of people who wait until the last minute to get that stuff done, so I'm kind of proud that we're on the ball this time around.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: November 2018

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group! Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has rounded up another group of fantastic co-hosts: Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman.

Be sure to visit the IWSG website!

The optional question for this month is: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Being a creative person means learning to seek and embrace inspiration from all aspects of life. Painters, sculptors,  architects, musicians, writers, and people in countless other professions use their creativity every day. Their art evolves and changes over time as they navigate the world. They allow the world to shape and mold them and inspire their art, but their art also shapes and molds how they see their world.

I've always wanted to be a writer, so I've been exercising my creative muscles for a long time. The stories I wrote as a kid were simplistic and fun, mostly because that was the way I experienced life as a child. The older I get and the more I mature, the more experience I have to draw from when it comes to creating stories and characters. I learn more about how people think and feel from both interacting with them in real life and writing them on the page. My experiences in the world help me create more complex characters and explore the nuance in situations that I once thought were black and white.

Most importantly, though, my evolving creativity has allowed me to empathize with people who are different from me. Through my experiences in writing characters, I've learned to place myself in their shoes and attempt to understand how they see the world. This translates to daily life, and having the ability to empathize with others is something the world truly needs.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-November 2, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain. I am her co-host.

First of all, I'm celebrating the fact that I'm having a good writing week. That's always worthy of celebration. While I'm not participating in NaNo, I still want to get a lot of good work done this week if I can.

We did pumpkin carving this week, and I have photos of the results. I'd say they turned out pretty good overall.

The kids had a great time trick-or-treating, and the weather was great for it. We were able to stay out the entire two hours, and they enjoyed every minute of it. It's always fun seeing all the great costumes. Speaking of kids in costumes, here's a picture of mine all dressed up and ready to go.

I also have some pretty big news to announce, and I've been sitting on it for a little while. We're expecting a new baby in May. I'll admit that I'm a bit intimidated by the idea of having four kids to wrangle, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. The boys were over the moon when we told them the news. Zoe doesn't understand what's happening yet, but I have the feeling she'll make a wonderful big sister.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-October 26, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

First of all, I'd like to say Happy Halloween to those of you who are planning to celebrate! We have decorations and costumes ready to go. The kids can't wait to go trick-or-treating.

It's been a bit of a crazy week. I'd never thought rock-paper-scissors could be a dangerous game, but my boys found a way to make it hazardous. They were leaning too close together, and Lyle accidentally scratched Jude's eye. He could barely open it for more than a day, and it still looks completely bloodshot. The good news is, he has eye drops to prevent infection, the pain has gone away at this point, and the doctor says it's healing. It shouldn't be too much longer before he's back to normal.

Zoe also had an accident this week, too. She was playing and ended up smacking her head on the corner of the table. She ended up with a big gash over her eye, and we ended up making a trip to the emergency room that kept all the kids up past their bedtime. The doctors got her patched up, and it doesn't seem to be bothering her. 

So yeah, I'm celebrating that my kids are healing from their injuries. I'm just hoping it's going to be awhile before something like this happens again. And after the stress of the week, my husband had a dozen roses and chocolates delivered to the house for me. That was a lovely and unexpected surprise!

And finally, the boys got their school pictures back, and I think they turned out quite handsome.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-October 19, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

After a wave of downright bone-chilling weather and some snow, we've had a slight warm up. I know it won't last, but it's been kind of nice, and I'm going to take advantage of it. I'm hoping it hangs in there through at least part of the weekend so we can finish putting up some Halloween decorations and get some family time outside.

I've found some fresh writing inspiration this week, and I'm excited about that. Hopefully I'll be able to set aside some time to get this new story idea written in the next couple of days.

I'd also like to celebrate a great turnout for October's WEP Challenge and to thank everyone who participated. We had lots of fantastic entries this time around, though I can't say I'm surprised about that. There's a lot of talented writers out there.

What would you like to celebrate?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

WEP/IWSG October Challenge-A Matter of Principle

Hello everybody! I hope you're having a wonderfully spooky October. My boys sure are. My husband has been taking them out to haunted houses on the weekends, and they've been loving every minute of it!

Here's my entry for the joint WEP/IWSG Challenge, and I hope you enjoy it!

A Matter of Principle

The doll lay spread eagle on the oak, its plastic blue eyes reflecting the light from the golden swing arm lamp. It wasn’t the same kind of illumination one could expect from an operating room, but Hazel supposed it would have to do.

The porcelain face, made to look just like someone Hazel had once called her best friend, sent chills down her spine. The level of resemblance was uncanny. She didn’t know how the doll’s creator did it, and frankly, she didn’t care to find out. There were a lot of details surrounding the manufacturing process that both bewildered and terrified her. The price also came quite high. A year’s worth of salary, in fact. However, having spent so much money on this endeavor didn’t unsettle her quite so much as the sense that she’d also given away her soul in the exchange.

Hazel had a voodoo doll when she was a kid, though it looked nothing like this one. It came in a box of assorted items that her parents picked up at an auction. She tested it by swiping a piece of hair from her older sister’s hair brush and tying it around the doll’s neck. After she inserted a tiny sewing needle into the doll’s knee, a shriek tore through the house. The sudden pain had caused her sister to tumble down the stairs and tear a ligament. Surgery and months on crutches followed.

The power of that moment astonished her. She placed that voodoo doll on the shelf, and there it gathered dust. Years passed before she pulled it down again. A boy got too handsy at a party, leaving her to run out crying with a torn dress and a whirlwind of rumors to follow her remaining days of high school. That boy spent months going through physical therapy after an intense pain caused him to crash his car.

That doll helped her inflict suffering when needed, yes, but this time it wouldn’t have been enough. Not for what Hazel had in mind. The pain inflicted this time had to be deep and permanent to match the betrayal she felt. Friends didn’t go behind your back and steal your husband from you. They didn’t try to lay claim to the family you’d worked so hard to build. They didn’t smile, offer flaccid apologies, and flaunt your children around town as if they had birthed them instead of you.

No. Friends didn’t do things like that, and such traitors didn’t deserve any mercy.

“It’ll all be worth it,” Hazel whispered to herself as she took the X-Acto knife in hand. She brought the knife’s sharp point to rest against the doll’s chest. She took a deep breath before pushing it in. The soft material that composed the doll’s torso parted easily beneath the blade, revealing the stuffing within. It looked like the typical cottony substance that could be found inside many children’s toys, except this stuff had been dyed beet red. She continued the single deep incision, bringing it all the way down to the groin.

Hazel was shaking when the lifted the knife again. She hesitantly grasped some of the soft red stuffing and rubbed it absent-mindedly between her fingers. Would that be enough? It had to be, right?

She shook her head. There was no sense in coming this far to leave any room for uncertainty. One quick flick of her wrist cut the dolls neck. She jumped back when the head separated from the body entirely and landed with a soft thud on the brown rug.

*     *     *

The local news was awash with the horrifying details the next day. A woman was brutally disemboweled and decapitated. A frantic boyfriend woke to find her dead and called the police.

Hazel watched those news reports with rapt interest, though she ensured her daughters never saw them. Knowing that the woman who’d they’d affectionately called their Auntie Karen all their lives had died was traumatic enough. It got even worse for them when no fingerprints other than their father’s could be found at the scene. Though his story never changed, and no murder weapon was ever found, police concluded that he was the only one who could have possibly committed the crime.

Sure, Hazel hated to see her girls cry, but she couldn’t simply lie back and take it. It was a matter of principle. Her so-called friend had to pay for what she’d done, and her ex-husband would suffer in prison for what he’d put her through.

Hazel locked the doll away in her safe beside all her other most valued possessions, hoping she would never have need for such dark magic again.

Word Count: 781