Saturday, February 3, 2024

Hello Again!

Hello everyone! Long time no see!

It's been a little over a year since my last post on here! My life has been busy with work and family obligations, and that unfortunately means I haven't written anything in a long time. I'd like to try to change that this year.

I know I can't make grand promises about writing prolifically. My work and family life is still quite busy, and consistently failing to meet my goals will only discourage me. My goals need to be small and reasonable. 

Goal 1: I will blog a minimum of once a month.

Goal 2: I will write at least four pieces of fiction this year.

That's where I want to start. Hopefully making this pledge public will help motivate me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

WEP December 2022


It's time for the final WEP Challenge of the year! Where has the time gone?

I know that December is a busy time of year for many of you, so I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in this month's challenge.

This month's challenge is The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. My entry morphed and changed as I attempted to write it. This is the final result.

Seeing You

I’ll never forget the first time

I saw your face, your grace.

The world paused, your light

warped time and space.

I couldn’t look away.

You danced with all your heart,

dominating the dance floor.

I didn’t know where to start.

Again in the park,

your skin soaked in sun.

When I saw you I felt

as if my world had just begun.

From afar I watched as you

dined with your friends.

You are the foundation on which

my whole world depends.

You invaded my dreams,

you haunted my soul.

Without you in my life

I shall never be whole.

Your beauty knows no parallel

and your laugh delights.

I want you at my side

during endless days and nights.

I saw you again in holiday luster.

The lights twinkled in your eyes.

I didn’t know how to approach,

so I hid, in disguise.

You danced and swayed,

and I looked on in wonder.

Your time beneath mistletoe

tore my world asunder.

That’s when it hit me.

I must act to make you mine.

Fear could not dissuade.

My passion could not resign.

My charm was lacking,

that much was true.

Wooing you wouldn’t be easy.

Then I knew what to do.

In a room filled with suitors,

I stood no chance at all.

That knowledge has brought

me here to my downfall.

Time was all I needed,

time you surely wouldn’t give.

I simply had to take it

and find a space for us to live.

Getting you here was easy,

despite your constant screams.

They disheartened me a bit.

It wasn’t like my dreams.

The first time you saw my face,

you tried to run away.

The shackles held you down.

You’ve no choice but to stay.

And now, I see your face,

frozen with abject fear.

It’s not the reaction I wanted,

but I must persevere.

In time I’ll make you mine.

I promise you, you’ll see.

Soon you’ll love me too,

and we’ll both be free.

Word Count: 331


Tagline: The line between love and obsession is easily crossed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

WEP October 2022 Challenge: Thriller

It's time for the October WEP Challenge, and this is always a fun month to write for. This month our prompt comes from the famous Michael Jackson song "Thriller." If you'd like to join in, you can learn more about the challenge here.

I hope you enjoy my take on the prompt.

Only a Prank

The rhythmic thump of music reverberated through the metal walls of the warehouse. It had to be nearly midnight, and the company costume party was still in full swing. It was the week before Halloween, and people wanted the chance to have a good time before dragging their kids around the neighborhood in the chilly fall air.

Martina tried to focus on her rolling cart of parts that needed to be put away. Not everyone could have time off for the festivities, after all. That would be ludicrous.

Besides her, there was a forklift driver and one other person on duty. Three people on duty in such a large warehouse meant that the workers seldom saw each other. It had been more than two hours since Martina had seen any of her coworkers. The lighting in the area where she worked was about half as bright as it would be during a normal shift. Shadows fell across the aisles as she worked, but she still had just enough light to perform her tasks.

She’d be lying if she said she wasn’t annoyed that she had to work while so many others played nearby, but she reminded herself that if she were at the party, she’d only be lingering awkwardly in a corner anyway. While she’d been at this job for more than a year, she hadn’t truly made any friends amongst her coworkers. Part of her wanted to blame it on them, but she’d always struggled with social situations as a kid. Adulthood hadn’t made things much better.

Martina stopped her cart and started to put away some boxes of O-rings. A hushed shuffling sound brought her activity to a halt.

She looked up from her task, expecting to see a coworker approaching her with a question. Instead, she was greeted by a werewolf. It loomed at the end of the aisle, bathed in a pool of light from one of the illuminated lamps overhead. The werewolf cocked its head to the side as it studied her. Blood graced the tips of its long fangs.

Once the initial shock of the sight wore off, her surprise turned to annoyance. “Shouldn’t you be at the Halloween party? No animals allowed on the work floor. You know the rules.” She smiled a little at her own wit. 

The werewolf didn’t reply. It continued to stare.

“Fine,” she muttered. “Be creepy then.” Martina returned her attention and resumed her progress down the aisle, her back now turned to her werewolf stalker. She emerged at the other side, expecting to carry on to the next section. Instead, she found two other creatures of the night waiting for her. One was a vampire, dressed as Count Dracula. It loomed in the middle of the large walkway she’d just emerged into. The other stood slightly further in the distance, partially covered in shadow. It lumbered forward slowly, and its movements helped Martina realize it was supposed to be a zombie.

The sound of footsteps from behind alerted Martina that the werewolf was on the prowl.

“What is this? Are we about to have a dance number? Are you trying to recreate Thriller?” The irritation in her voice must have been evident to all of her companions, and she was perfectly fine with that. “If that’s what you want to do, feel free to go back to the party. I have work to do.”

She turned to go down the next aisle, hoping that these pests would listen and go back. When the sounds of footsteps continued to stalk her, she felt her face flush as her blood boiled. How dare they? What were they trying to do? Were they just trying to scare her? Or did they plan to do something worse?

A memory of being thirteen and surrounded by classmates who’d decided they had a problem with her resurfaced. Martina would never forget the blinding pain that came from having handfuls of her hair ripped out by the roots and her ribs breaking from repeated kicks to her sides.

She whipped around and snatched a long screwdriver from her cart. “Leave me alone!” she yelled. It briefly occurred to her that she could lose her job over brandishing anything as a weapon, but she also had to defend herself. She was not going to let herself be victimized again.

The vampire, which was nearest to her, jumped back in response. It put its hands up, as if about to surrender.

Then a heavy hand landed on her shoulder from behind, and she screamed as she twirled to see what had grabbed her. What followed next happened so fast that Martina couldn’t make sense of it. She saw the white face and wild red hair of a clown mask. Then she saw something odd sticking out from the clown’s head, and only a moment later recognized her own hand gripping the object.

The screwdriver.

She gasped as the clown fell to the floor. Her hand released its grip, and the screwdriver remained firmly embedded in the clown’s head. Blood immediately began to stain the floor.

“Colin!” The vampire had ripped off its mask to reveal Steffan, one of the warehouse’s forklift operators. He rushed over to kneel at the wounded clown’s side.

Colin. The name sank in. The clown must be Colin Schrieber who worked in the shipping department.

Steffan was staring daggers at her now. “You psycho! What’s wrong with you? It was just a prank!”

Martina couldn’t focus on Steffan and his rage. Her attention was affixed to the blood pooling on the concrete floor. Screams to “call 911” echoed distantly in Martina’s ears, as if she were hearing them from beneath the water. The sound of her thudding heart mingled with the thump of the music still playing nearby. Soon there would also be the wail of ambulance sirens.

It was a prank. That was all. It was only a prank.

Word Count: 988


Tagline: Pranks can have unforeseen consequences.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Insecure Writer's Support Group-September 2022


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has assembled a great group of co-hosts for this month: Kim Lajevardi, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguirre, Olga Godim, Michelle Wallace, and Louise-Fundy Blue.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for lots of great writing resources!

First of all, I would like to congratulate all of the authors involved in the latest IWSG Anthology, which is available now. It's called First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts. It sounds sweet, right? Why not check it out? You can find links to this anthology and all past IWSG anthologies using this link.

The optional question for this month is: What genre would be the worst for you to tackle and why?

I've tried writing plenty of genres over the years. Science fiction, fantasy, humor, and some horror. I feel more confident with some genres over others. The one genre I've never felt fully comfortable writing is historical fiction. Why? There's a ton of research involved, but that in and of itself isn't intimidating. I love research. However, in creating a realistic historical tale, I'd be afraid of messing up too many details. The occasional idiosyncracy might be one thing, but if I were to make too many mistakes, readers might judge me harshly. I might look careless and incompetent. Weaving history and fiction together can be a daunting task, and I deeply admire those who do it well.

The one short story I wrote that could be considered somewhat historical is "Felix Was Here," which appeared in the first IWSG Anthology. It takes place between the 1920's and the 1940's, but it isn't truly historical fiction. It lives more in the realm of alternative history, which is science fiction. It's also less than 6,000 words long. I was comfortable enough writing it due to the length and the liberties I could take with history. Yes, research was needed, and I had to understand enough about history to make the setting believable, but I also had a lot of freedom to play around with events. That made it more fun, and I second guessed myself less.

So, that's my answer. I just find the idea of writing historicals intimidating. If you are a historical fiction writer, I'd like to tip my hat to you. You need to pay meticulous attention to historical details, norms, and customs while also crafting a compelling story. That cannot be easy.

Which genre intimidates you? Which genre can you not see yourself writing in the future?

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

WEP August 2022 Challenge: Moonlight Sonata

It's time once again for another Write...Edit...Publish challenge. This month's musical prompt is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. If you'd like to join in, feel free to visit the WEP site!

At first, I wasn't certain how to tackle the prompt this month. I've been busy getting my kids rady to go back to school next week, so that's had my mind preoccupied. Then I got an email from the school district, and the contents of that email provided me with the inspiration I needed.

This wasn't an instance of being joyfully inspired. In fact, the email left me feeling sad and worried. The United States has been struggling with a shortage of teachers over the past few years, but my children hadn't really felt the effects of that shortage like the will be this year. My two boys are in middle school, and this year they have yet to find a science teacher and a band director. They plan on having a long-term substitute teach science until they can find someone permanent, but who knows how long that will be? The position has already been open and advertised for months. As for the band director, there is no real solution. The school is trying to find people willing to teach some private lessons for interested students, and they're still searching for someone to fill the job. As of now, though, there will be no band. My oldest plays the saxophone, and my other son plays the drums. They were so excited to start learning how to play, and they enjoyed playing music with their bandmates. Now they're disappointed that's not happening this year. I'm hoping the school finds someone so they can start band back up partway through the school year, but with the number of teaching positions left unfilled across my state right now, it's feeling bleak. 

Teachers are so important, and they have such a tough job. We need to find a way to draw more people to this vital profession and to keep them in it. So much of the future depends on it.

Anyway, thank you for tolerating my brief rant. I hope you enjoy this piece.


The tinkling of a piano cut through the air. The high, trilling notes floated down the hallway on the warm August breeze. 

Lorraine knew she should simply return to study hall, but surely the teacher wouldn’t care too much if she took another minute or two longer to return from her restroom break? She clutched the hall pass in her hand as she let her feet carry her the wrong way down the hall.

As she approached, the musical sounds paused briefly. She also halted in her tracks for a moment, waiting to see if the unknown piano player would continue.

The notes began again, haltingly, and an octave lower than they had previously been. The melody formed with each note played, and while the execution was hesitant and awkward, she soon recognized the song. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. She’d know it anywhere. Beethoven used to play in the background while her mother sat on their front porch, painting landscapes to her heart’s content. Painting was her favorite hobby for many years, and she used music to guide the strokes of her brush and the colors she selected.

Her mother hadn’t painted in more than a year. Financial strain drove her to work longer hours, and she no longer had the time. And when she did have a spare hour or two, she hadn’t the inspiration.

Unfortunately, Lorraine knew what it felt like to lose an artistic outlet. The music room should have been utterly silent during this hour, hence why she was drawn to the unexpected melodies. She crept forward and, reaching the door, peered inside.

She didn’t know who she expected to find, but she was still surprised to see Henry Phipps. He hunched over the piano, guiding his fingers across the keys, the depth and beauty of the notes discordant with his torn, faded t-shirt. His shaggy blond hair fell into his face as he played, and Lorraine wondered how in the world that didn’t interfere with his ability to read the music.

An inharmonious sound marred the moment as Henry’s fingers faltered. He paused to compose himself, and Lorraine took that as her chance to make her presence known. Lingering for much longer would only feel creepy.

“What are you up to?” she asked.

Henry turned from the piano to look at her. “Oh, I got permission to practice here. I mean, the room is free now, so…”

“Yeah. That makes sense.” A pang of sadness twisted her stomach. The room shouldn’t have been free. Wouldn’t have been free, except the school didn’t have a band director anymore. Not because the position had been eliminated, but because no one had applied for the job. She’d heard parents talk about the shortage of teachers before, but this was the first year she had been directly impacted by the problem. She thought of her clarinet and how it had been sitting in the corner of her room for far too long. The school band had been, in a word, disbanded. The silent joke failed to lighten her mood.

“I just asked Principal Robbins. She thought it was a great idea. Better than letting the room go unused.

Lorraine nodded. “It didn’t occur to me to ask.”

Henry’s smile brightened. “Maybe you could. There’s plenty of time in the day, and after school. If we got enough people interested, we might even be able to practice together.”

“Start our own band, you mean?” Lorraine laughed to herself, but not because the idea seemed ludicrous. In fact, it could be fun.

He shrugged, perhaps taking her laughter for mockery. “Just a thought.”

She offered a reassuring smile “A good thought. I’ll think about it.”

He smiled in return and turned back to his music. As the notes filled the room once more, Lorraine knew she should be thinking about going back to her classroom, but the melody kept her feet planted to the ground while her mind took flight, giddy with new possibilities.

Word Count: 662


Tagline: Even in dark times, music can provide you the light you need.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Insecure Writer's Support Group-July 2022


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 assembled a great group of co-hosts for this month: J. Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for great writing advice!

On a quick personal note, I'd like to wish my husband a happy birthday. He turns 35 today. I haven't told many people about this, but he had a health scare over the last few weeks. He was recently diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer this week. He had surgery last week to remove the cancerous tissue, and the good news is, the surgeon was able to successfully remove it all. Now he just needs to finish healing from the surgery itself. It may be a few weeks before he regains full range of motion of his arm, but we're past the worst of it.

Now on to the optional question for this month: If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

This is a difficult choice. I can think of so many! In the realm of fantasy, it would be amazing to spend some time in the Harry Potter universe. I'd also like to spend some time in the world of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. In that book, the protagonist Richard discovers there's an entire society of people living below London. The culture and magic of this world is so fasinating that I would love to explore it.

In the realm of science fiction, I'd love to spend some time in the universe of The Expanse series by James SA Corey. Granted, there are a lot of dangers, political and otherwise, that I'd prefer to avoid, by the prospect of being able to access various solar systems through the system of ring gates would be irresistable to me. I'd love to snag my own little ship and do some traveling.

Which book world would you like to live in?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

WEP June 2022: Please Read the Letter

It's already time for another WEP Challenge in our Year of Music. This month's musical inspiration is "Please Read the Letter" by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. For more information or to join in on the fun, check out this post. If you need additional inspiration for this prompt, be sure to check out the Challenges 2022 page.

Here's my take on this month's prompt. I hope you enjoy.

The Letters Left Unread

Ingrid wrote a letter every day. It was a habit she started early in her childhood. Her first letters were written to Santa. She didn’t write just one like most kids her age. No. Her anticipation in the lead up to Christmas was so intense that she found herself writing to him daily. Her spelling was less than perfect, her childish scrawl filled with inverted letters, but she poured every bit of feeling she could into those letters. 

Dear Santa,

My name is Ingrid. I want a pony. Do your elfs like makking toys? Do you like flying around the wurld?

I love you.


She wanted him to read them. She wanted that so badly, but she never got a reply.

Then Ingrid got older, and she learned the truth of things. She also learned that her parents, who had promised to mail those Santa letters, had instead kept them in an old trunk of keepsakes in the attic. They were a treasure, something her mom and dad valued dearly.

So she kept writing. These letters weren’t meant for anyone to read. They were more of a diary of her feelings. A way to say truths she wouldn’t dare say to anyone’s face.

Dear Miss Potter,

I don’t like you. I liked Mrs. Brown better. She was nice, and you are mean. I wish I could go back to 4th grade so I don’t have to be in your class. No one else likes you, either.


Ingrid Pearl Nelson

That was her first angry letter. It stuck out in her mind years later. That was how she learned she could release her anger and frustration on the page and feel better afterward. So of course, that became her favorite way to vent about problems and frustrations.

She wrote letters to her family members. Friends. She wrote them to her exes after a breakup. 

Dear Brad,

I trusted you. That was a mistake. You kept telling me I was paranoid. You flirted with so many girls, often right in front of me. The rumors I kept hearing. You kept changing plans last minute with minimal explanation. Every time I tried to talk to you about my concerns, you kept twisting my words and using them to make me feel crazy.

There’s no denying the truth now. I saw you and Debbie with my own eyes. We are over. I wish I could push you into traffic, but you’re not worth going to prison. You’re not worth another minute of my time. To hell with you.



On and on, she grew and accumulated stacks of letters. She placed them in shoe boxes under her bed. When she moved out to go to college, she brought them all with her. She stacked them in the bottom of her cramped closet where her shoes could have gone.

The small frustrations often made it into her collection.

Dear Random Stranger,

You drive like a moron. How dare you cut me off in traffic then dare to flash a rude gesture at me as if I’d done something wrong? Yes, I stopped in time to avoid an accident, but maybe I shouldn’t have. Maybe I should have rammed into your rear end and damaged your precious Mustang. You’d have deserved the resulting damage.

Please take some driving lessons.



Heartbreak made it into her letters, too. Two months after she wrote that last angry letter, she had reason to write another relating to a car. Unfortunately, an accident actually happened this time.

Dear Random Stranger,

Why did you have to do it? Why did you have to get in your car after a long night at the bar? Why did you have to drive down the same road my mom takes home after a long shift at work? Why did it have to be her?

Damn you. I wish I could tell you how much I hate you for taking her away from me, but I can’t because you died too. Maybe some would call your death a just punishment, but you don’t get to suffer for what you did. You got the easy way out as far as I’m concerned.

Bitterly yours,


That letter went in a box, never to be seen by anyone else. The next morning, after a restless night of tears and hardly any sleep, she sat down to pen another letter.

This one didn’t go into a box. Instead, she slipped this one into an envelope, and when the funeral took place two days later, it accompanied her in her purse.

After she watched her mother’s coffin being lowered into the ground, she lingered until the crowd had thinned out enough to give her some privacy. She gazed down at the shiny box that would soon be covered in dirt. There was so much she wanted to say, but her voice wouldn’t work. Instead, she pulled the envelope out of her pocket and tossed it in. She wanted her mother to read the letter, to tuck it away somewhere to be reread and treasured as she had with the Santa letters. The best Ingrid could do was leave it here with her.

Ingrid walked back to the car, her body numb as her mind relayed the words she’d written.

Dear Mom,

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you how much I love and appreciate you every single day. I wish I hadn’t fought with you over so many tiny, pointless things. None of them mattered. Not really. I can see that now.

I wish I could have one more day with you. I wish I could find a way to fix everything. It all feels so broken now.

I feel broken now.

I’ll always love you.



Word Count: 962


Tagline: A young woman writes letters to cope with the difficulties of life.