Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things-October 31, 2014

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I am a co-host, and so are these other wonderful bloggers:

Diana Wilder
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

Happy Halloween!  Let's do a happy dance to celebrate!

My celebrations this week all follow a Halloween theme.

This year, I carved a total of five pumpkins.  Five!  I carved little pumpkins for my boys. They had standard Jack-O-Lantern faces, and the kids seemed to love them!  Then I carved a pumpkin at my dad's house.  I did a regular face for that one too, except I also gave it vampire teeth.  I'm sad I don't have a picture of that one, because even though I didn't plan it out before I started (I just grabbed a knife and started cutting), it turned out amazingly symmetrical.  My dad even said he liked my pumpkin better than the one he did.  I can't tell you how amazing it is to hear that kind of praise.  I'm proud of myself!

The next pumpkin I did was a skeleton.  It didn't turn out as well as I hoped, but it was also a complex one and I don't have the best carving tools in the world.  I need to invest in better tools for next year.  Anyway, I do have a picture of that one.  It's not a great picture, but it does have a sinister feel to it.

The next pumpkin was supposed to be carved by my husband, but he didn't feel like doing it.  So, reluctant to let a perfectly good pumpkin remain uncarved, I decided to do a space-themed pumpkin.  The theme emerged when my husband suggested I carve a Saturn pumpkin, and I thought "Hey, I can do that!"

So, on this pumpkin, you'll see Saturn, a moon, and a rocket.  I also carved a small sun and assorted stars, but they don't show up well in photos.  If you were to see it in real life, you'd see them.  I promise.

Aside from celebrating pumpkins, I also want to celebrate making pirate costumes for my boys.  There was some sewing and creative re-purposing involved.  I'll share pictures of my boys wearing them next week.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Something Wicked Blogfest

It's time for the Something Wicked Blogfest!  This one is hosted by Krista McLaughlin and Krista Wayment.  What happens when two Krista's get together to coordinate wicked things?  Chaos!

Anyway, the rules for this one are simple.  You have a maximum of 400 words to share a villain.  The villain can be real, or created by you!  They don't have to be evil or murderous, either.  Villainous things can be small, as well.  Remember the kid who used to pull your hair or try to trip you when you were in school?  You would have labeled them a villain once, right?

This is a piece of flash fiction I wrote.  Here I wanted to show the villain that resides in all of us.  Through the realm of fantasy, we can explore all those villainous deeds we'd never dream of doing in real life.  Enjoy!

“The troops are in position, Dom.”  Stan Wilcox’s voice came in clear through the headset.  He’d been Dominic’s best friend since preschool, and they did everything together.  They even went to war together.  Stan was his right hand man, the one he could count on to make sure the job was done.

“Our enemy took the bait,” Dominic observed.  The map before him illustrated the troop placements, and he saw the opposing forces outnumbered theirs 3 to 1.  Gilderblue was an important town, after all.  This was a center of commerce.  The person who controlled Gilderblue controlled the supply lines to half the country.

The fight would be gruesome.  If it were allowed to take place, that is. 

The plan will work, Dominic assured himself.  The thought of sending anyone to their certain death would normally leave a sour taste in Dominic’s mouth.  What kind of person would he be if it didn’t?  Yet, here he was, poised to do just that.

This is war, and it will be won that much more quickly if we do it this way, Dominic reminded himself. 

“Ready to do this?” Stan asked, his voice gleeful.  He always got worked up at times like this.  Seeing plans he helped devise unfold before his eyes ignited something in him, and that kind of excitement was contagious.

Dominic’s hand hovered over the button that would end the battle before it began.  “Let’s do it.”

One keystroke later, the deed was done.  The explosives they’d planted in the cliffs above Gilderblue unleashed an impressive volley of boulders upon the town.  Dust obscured the screen for several long moments, but the stats soon blazed across the screen.  Gilderblue was rubble, most of the men from both sides were dead, and a crucial supply line had been severed.

“All in all, a good day’s work,” Stan declared.

Dominic smiled, then glanced at the clock.  “I have to go.  If the dishes aren’t done by the time my mom comes home, she’s going to flip.”

“That’s cool man.  Want to get ice cream later?”

“Yeah, I’ll text you when I’m ready to go.”  Dominic shed the headset and shut down his computer.  He’d return to battle later, but for now there were chores to do.  He hoped that he might even get an extra hour to play later that night if he folded the laundry too.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Spooktoberfest: Infection

For those who would like to read my post for Celebrate the Small Things can find it HERE.

The awesomeness that is Spooktoberfest is made possible by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

For those who are interested in joining up, here are the details!


1. Follow Cover Girls blog if you don’t already. It will be reciprocated!
          And on Twitter: @covergirlsdj
You can also follow our individual accounts: @jackiefel & @danibertrand
If you have a Twitter account, please feel free to use the hashtag #spooktoberfest14

2. Your Flash Fiction piece cannot be any longer than 300 words. Sorry… that’s part of the challenge.

3. You must use the MANDATORY 5 words listed below…
      (You may use any variation of these words as you like.)


4. Post your Flash Fiction piece any day from Friday Oct 24th thru Tuesday, Oct. 28th.

5. It’s a blog hop, so… hop around to other participating blogs and leave them some awesome comments.

6. Have fun.

Your flash fiction piece can be scary, comical, romantic, or whatever you choose, just be creative! You can use pictures to set the scene and/or a song to set the mood.

The winners will be posted on HALLOWEEN, Oct. 31st!

Jackie and Dani will each choose a winner. That’s right – two winners!PRIZES: Each winner will receive a $25 e-giftcard of their choice.

My entry is exactly 300 words.  What can I say?  I have a hard time restraining myself sometimes.  It took longer to cut my story down to 300 words than it did to write the first draft, but since that's part of the challenge


It’s dark because I can’t open my eyes.  I try again, but they’re stuck shut by some kind of slimy goop.

“The test subject Amy Rohan is 10 years old.  She will henceforth be designated as Patient 8347.”  The voice is deep.  It’s a man, and he sounds even more unfriendly than my neighbor Mr. Horace.

There’s a commotion to my left (commotion was our vocabulary word in school last week).  It's the rustle of fabric.

“The injection’s ready.”  This voice is softer, a woman’s, and her words send a chill through me.  They’re going to give me a shot.  I hate shots.

A pain in my left arm makes me jump, but I can’t move far.  Straps are holding me still.  My eyes are watering, but the tears can’t get out.

“The experimental serum was administered at 1430 hours,” the man says.  “8347 started exhibiting symptoms of the Hillson virus 48 hours ago.  We hope to ascertain whether the serum, in combination with immersion therapy, can be effective at this stage of infection.”

My heart squeezes painfully.  Mom's called Hillson virus a curse since it took Daddy away.  If I’m sick now . . . is Mom sick too?

A piercing squeal startles me, and I’m moving.  My stomach flutters, and I know I’m going downward.  Something cold and wet hits my skin.  It’s too thick to be water, and it smells like floor cleaner.  My eyes are still closed, but it’s getting darker somehow.  My heart speeds up as the wet stuff flows over my face.

Holding my breath, I wish I was cocooned in my blankets at home.  Mommy would read me a story.  I’d be safe there. 

Soon my lungs are burning.  I need to breathe, but if I do . . .

I gasp and the icy sludge fills my chest.

Celebrate the Small Things-October 24, 2014

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Viklit!

I love being a co-host for this weekly blogging event.  I also enjoy the company of these other lovely co-hosts:

Diana Wilder
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

This week has been eventful.  I had a short story rejected from a pro-rate magazine. Not necessarily a happy thing, but this is the second time this story has made it to the final round of judging before being rejected.  It must, therefore, have some kind of merit.  At least, I hope so.  Though I was admittedly bummed, I submitted it somewhere else within a couple of hours of receiving the rejection notice.  Either I'm determined or a masochist.  I prefer to think I'm determined.

My son Jude is going on a field trip today to the pumpkin patch.  He's been talking about it all week.  He's also feeling much better this week.  You can't tell at all that he was ill recently, and I'm grateful for that.

There's going to be a lot of pumpkin carving going on this weekend, and I'm looking forward to it!  My hand may be sore by the end, but I love carving pumpkins!  It wouldn't be Halloween without it!

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Express Yourself: Halloween Costumes

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The prompt for this week is: What's a Halloween costume you wore as a child?

Unfortunately I have no photos of the costume in question, but when I was in Kindergarten, my mom made me a ladybug costume.  She made the shell out of cardboard, painting it orange with black dots.  I wore a black turtleneck with black pants.  My antennae were made out of a headband with pipe cleaners and little fuzzy balls.  It was a cool costume.  I can also say no one else in my class had a costume like it.

What was a Halloween costume you wore as a kid?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bucket List Blog Hop

It's time for the Bucket List Blog Hop!  Sherry Ellis and Suzanne Drazic are our wonderful co-hosts.  The goal is simple.  Write up a list of what you'd like to do before you kick the bucket.  Life is short, after all, and you've got to fit in all the awesomeness you can!

Here's my list.  It is by no means complete, and I'll undoubtedly keep mentally adding to it.

1. Take a commercial flight into space.  (This is contingent upon many factors, but if it's possible, I want to do it.
2.  Publish a novel.
3. Go skydiving.
4.  Ride in a hot air balloon.
5.  Learn Klingon.
6.  Visit Stonehenge.
7.  Visit the pyramids of Giza.
8.  See the Great Barrier Reef.
9.  Visit the Great Wall of China.
10.  Go bungee jumping.
11.  Learn to fly a plane.
12.  Finally learn how to dance like I'm not just having a massive muscle spasm.
13.  Take an awesome family vacation.
14.  Learn how to do a podcast.
15.  Go to Ireland and have a drink in a pub.  I'll probably loudly and obnoxiously sing a pub song while I'm at it.

What would be on your bucket list?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things-October 17, 2014

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

There's another round of illness ravaging my house.  My son Jude developed some swelling in his neck, and out of concern, my husband took him to the emergency room in the middle of the night last night.  Fortunately, after two CAT scans, the doctors determined that it's just lymph node swelling caused by a generic virus (which is what I thought it was all along, so I'll happily accept my medical degree right now, thank you).  Though he didn't get home until 3 A.M. and was clearly sleep deprived as a result, Jude managed to have a good time at the hospital.  The doctors and nurses thought he was the cutest thing ever, and they entertained him by dressing him as a doctor.  There's even photographic evidence.

Adorable, right?  He even got to take the gear home, so he can play doctor while he recovers.

We're planning on carving a pumpkin with my dad on Sunday, so that should be fun. We'll also be carving more pumpkins the following weekend.  I may eventually share some pictures if they turn out okay.

What would you like to celebrate?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Express Yourself: Halloween Plans

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: Do you have any Halloween plans?

Most of my Halloween plans are pretty standard.  My boys are planning to be pirates for Halloween, and I'll take them trick-or-treating like usual.  I have to finish making their costumes soon.  We'll also be carving pumpkins.  I've already worked on coming up with a cool design to carve this year.

The weekend before Halloween, my husband and I might go to a haunted house.  We probably won't take the kids this year.  In the years to come, we'll bring them along, but it might still be a bit too spooky for them at this age.

I also plan to participate in this year's Spooktoberfest, which is a great way to get into the Halloween mood.

What are your Halloween plans?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Zombie Apocalypse: Survival Kit & Crew

If you're here to Celebrate the Small Things, you can find that post HERE.

In celebration of the return of The Walking Dead, a triad of lovely ladies are hosting the Zombie Apocalypse: Survival Kit & Crew Blog Hop.  Let's thank Jackie @ Bouquet of Books, Dani @ Entertaining Interests, and Mina @ Some Dark Romantic for making this possible.

To help build your zombie apocalypse dream team and survival kit, you'll need to pick ONE person and/or ONE item for each of the topics listed in the below categories.

(Items you already have on your person: undergarments, shirt, bottoms, socks, tennis shoes & a backpack. If you want special shoes and/or boots, jackets, belt, etc., those are extra and will need to be listed for one of your items below.)

And since this bloghop is all about having fun, if you have kiddos and/or pets, we can assume they are safely tucked away in a safe haven while we’re out in the world fighting off zombies, so do not worry.

With the characters below, please include the book, movie, & TV show they stem from.

The Walking Dead character (crew member #1) is the only one that needs to be from a zombie themed entertainment outlet, but please feel free to choose characters from your other favorite books/movies/tv. They may or may not be zombie related. It's all up to you. Just let your imagination flow!

Now we know the basic rules.  Here is my zombie survival kit and crew!  It may not be perfect, but it will at least be interesting!

1 TWD Character-
     Daryl Dixon.  He's badass and you gotta have those crossbow skills.
1 Book Character-
     Hermione Granger (from Harry Potter in case anyone didn't know).  She's smart, she's well-prepared, and she's good with logic and planning.  You need at least one person in any group who's good at that sort of thing.  She can also do magic, so she's essential to our team.
1 Movie Character-
    Captain Jack Sparrow (from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies).  He's unpredictable and frequently lands himself in sticky situations, but he always finds crazy, unconventional ways to get himself back out again.  That could be useful.
1 TV Character-
     Lyta Alexander (from Babylon 5).  She has wickedly powerful psychic skills.  You definitely don't want her working against you.  Plus, she's a redhead.  Don't get on her bad side!
1 loved one-
     My husband Jamon.  The kids, by some stroke of luck, hidden away somewhere safe.  He'll be good to have around for company, and he's well-versed on all things zombie related.
1 friend-
     Josh.  He's a friend of Jamon's from high school, and he is also well-versed in all things zombified.  I've seen him kill zombies in video games enough times to know that he would be useful.  You should see how many zombies he can wipe out with an auger.
1 freebie-
     Susan Ivanova (also from Babylon 5).  She's tough, smart, and she doesn't take no for an answer.

1 comfort item-
     Notebook.  If you can count a notebook and pencil as one item, then I claim the pencil too.  However, if I can't, I'll use blood or mud or something.  Gross, maybe, but I can't give up writing altogether.  Just not happening.
1 weapon-
     Sword.  I always wanted an excuse to learn to use one.  It's quiet, and it has better reach than a knife.  The second I have to get too close to a walker to kill it, something bad is going to happen to me.  I just know it.
1 luxury item-
     Coffee.  Can't give that up.  It may not be easy to brew coffee while on the run from walkers, but I'll figure it out.
1 food item-
     Chocolate covered raisins.  If I'm going to be facing death every day, I have to be stocked up on this one.  I have a weakness for them.  Don't know why, but I do.
1 medicine/first aid item-
     Medical masks.  The illness that has been causing zombification seems to be airborne, so this seems like a practical way of dealing with it.  Zombie bites will become infected and kill you, but a sneeze in the face will also do it.
1 hygiene item-
     Toothpaste.  Sure, I don't want to reek, but having my teeth rot out during the zombie apocalypse seems like a bad move on my part.  It would complicate eating far too much for my taste.
1 freebie-
     Duct tape.  They say it can be used for anything, right?

     We've been using a castle as our homebase.  Castello di Amorosa in California, to be specific.  It's a good location with solid stone walls, and there's a lot of wine here.  That makes our evenings more tolerable, for sure.
Image courtesy of Jim G./
     We're not sure how widespread the outbreak is, but we haven't seen any signs of civilization for awhile.  We heard rumors that it's been contained to the western half of the United States so far through a strict quarantine, but we have no way of being sure at this point.
Cause of it-
     An unknown illness seems to be the cause.  The initial symptoms are odd.  The infected person's skin first turns an odd greenish hue, and profuse vomiting soon follows.  Clinical death is closely followed by an insatiable hunger for human flesh.
     Interestingly, zombies seem to be going for the neck of their victims first.  This has complicated dating, as we're now wary of letting anyone's mouths near o
Cure (if applicable)-
     There is no cure for the illness itself, though I hope someone truly is out there searching for one.  As for the zombification part of it, the only sure cure for that is an axe to the neck.
1 item you NEED to find-
     A new chess board.  The one we have here has 3 missing pieces.  Hey, you may think that doesn't count as a need, but without adequate entertainment, people start messing with each other.  And nothing is more irritating than a game with missing pieces.
1 item you WANT to find-
     I want a gallon of chocolate ice cream.  Sure, it may not be necessary for survival in any way, but lack of refrigeration has left me deprived of yumminess for far too long.
Method of travel-
     When we need to go for supplies, we sometimes go by car, though we also have some horses for reversing rough terrain.   Hermione uses her broom and a borrowed invisibility cloak for covert trips when needed.

Celebrate the Small Things-October 10, 2014

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I'm proud to play co-host, along with these other lovely bloggers:

Diana Wilder
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

I'm celebrating the fact that my birthday is tomorrow.  I'm going to bake myself a cake, so I've been searching for good recipes.  My husband originally offered to bake it for me, but his culinary skills are somewhat limited.  Instead, he's agreed to wash the dishes that result.  I'm more than happy to take that trade-off.  I enjoy baking anyway. I also need to figure out what I want to eat for my birthday dinner.  Decisions, decisions.

I'm enjoying the weather.  There is a fall-like chill in the air, but it's still warm enough to enjoy time outside.  I'm hoping it sticks around for awhile.

What would you like to celebrate?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Express Yourself: Scary Movie/Book

The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The question for this week is: What's the scariest book/movie you've read/watched?

That's a tricky one for me since movies and books don't scare me all that easily.  I enjoy them, but I don't necessarily find them scary.  There are, however, some stories that have a particularly frightening premise behind them.

The film A Nightmare on Elm Street takes away one of the most fundamental requirements of life: the ability to sleep.  A killer unleashing himself upon your dreams is, thankfully, not possible, but it makes for a scary story. How long can anyone go without sleep without going insane?  How can you protect yourself while in such a vulnerable position?

Any strong horror story knows how to tap into those vulnerable parts of being human, and this film did it well.

What movies/books scare you?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things-October 3, 2014

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I am one of four co-hosts.  My fellow co-hosts are:

Diana Wilder
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

The weather is getting colder here, but along with that comes the beauty of falling leaves.  I also plan to have some hot chocolate or hot apple cider (possibly both) soon to welcome the season.  My birthday is next week, and Halloween is coming up soon, so there's a lot to look forward to.  My boys have school pictures next week as well, so I get to have fun deciding what outfits they're going to wear for that.

I had a fun day out with just my dad last Sunday.  As much as I adore my kids, it's good to get away from them from time to time.  We went to a musical performance at a local winery, then we had dinner at an Indian restaurant.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: October 2014

Is it the first Wednesday of the month already?  That means it's time for the next meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!  Thanks to our wonderful leader Alex J. Cavanaugh for making these monthly gatherings possible.

His co-hosts for this month are Kristin Smith, Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue.

This is a special month because the IWSG website has now been in existence for one year! Woohoo!  To celebrate, the writers of IWSG are getting together to create an ebook-The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond-as a resource for writers.  This is a worthy project, and I knew I wanted to contribute something.

Then my insecurities started nagging at me, hence why I'm posting so late today.  No matter what I wrote, I questioned whether I had anything worthwhile to contribute. At the end of the day, this is what I came up with.  I think I wrote this particular entry today because it's what I needed to remind myself of to get my confidence back.  I hope it works.

*     *     *

Title: You Are a Writer
Topic: Marketing
Name: L.G. Keltner

So you love writing, but you haven’t yet achieved publication.  All writers start out this way, and there are bound to be moments of serious doubt.  Lingering doubts can make it difficult to put words to paper or hold us back from sharing those words with the world. 
Here’s something important that all writers should bear in mind.  Being a writer isn’t just something you do.  It’s an identity you inhabit.  Even when you’re unpublished, or struggling with the confidence to produce good work, you can still very much be a writer.
Do you see every strange situation you encounter as a potential story?  Do you find yourself looking at people who catch your eye and wonder about the story of their life?  Do you feel like something is missing from your life if you aren’t writing?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may in fact be a writer, regardless of your publishing history.
Writers spend a lot of time learning how to market themselves and their work to the world.  Social media and blogging are excellent tools for this.  However, many people seem to forget one crucial element.  You need to market yourself as a writer . . . to yourself.
If you know you are a writer, then declare that to the world.  When you say that you’re aspiring to be a writer, you’re telling yourself that you’re not yet worthy of that distinction.  You may aspire to share your writing with the world, but the seal of approval publishing provides does not make you a writer.  You do.
In those times of uncertainty, tell yourself “I am a writer, and I can do this.”  Convince yourself, and you'll soon convince everyone else around you.

(I give permission for this to be used in the IWSG anthology)