Monday, January 30, 2012

Microfiction: Choose How You Cruise

What's up with Google? First the commenting on my blog was hinky, and now my email is being inundated with comment notifications from "anonymous." Yes, Blogger is catching the kooky comments and sending them to the spam file, for which I am grateful, but I'm collecting them by the dozens. Until about two weeks ago, my spam file remained blissfully empty most of the time. Now I'm forced to purge it daily.  At first glance, the comments appear to be valid, but they end up hawking Cialis or Viagra which---unless that stuff will beef up my submission rate---is of no interest to me. Has anyone else seen an upswing in Blogger spam?



Welcome to today's microfiction!  

Grandma's Goulash graciously hosts Succinctly Yours, the wonderful meme for those of us addicted to microfiction. The trick is to write a story in 140 characters or less using the photo below as inspiration. To add to the challenge is the word of the week, "hibernate."  My stories are below.




Cruise Control
(135 characters)



Unlike his cousin, Capt. Schettino, Luigi refused to abandon his vessel. Sinking in quicksand, he prepared to go down with his Schwinn.



*          *          *          *



Choose Control
(134 characters)



Hibe R. Nate, the famous Zen master regaled as the Guru of Calm, instructed his students in the divine art of Transcenpedal Meditation.



To read the microfiction stories of others participating in this meme, please click HERE.

Thanks for visiting! See you on Wednesday for the naked truth about . . . Submitting.

Have a great week!
Lisa

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Blurb #48: The Perrywynkle Posse

TGIBBF!

Welcome again to Book Blurb Friday.  If you're a newbie, here's the scoop so you understand what follows.  Please click HERE or click the tab under the blog header for details of the Book Blurb Friday meme.  This is the shortened, abridged version:



Write a book jacket blurb (150 words or less) so enticing that potential readers would feel compelled to buy the book.

Below is this week's "book cover," generously offered for our creative blurbs by the talented writer (and photographer, too!)  Tammy Goodsell at Message in a Bloggle.  My book blurb follows.



The Perrywynkle Posse
(149 words)

The Perrywynkle Periwinkle is a groundcover developed by Penelope Perrywynkle, successful fashion maven-cum-botanist. When not in her greenhouse she is reinventing the world of fashion, one accessory at a time. The color of the Perrywynkle Periwinkle is Penelope’s signature shade, and she never leaves home without it.

When Penelope turns up missing and then reappears two weeks later without even a dab of her classic pink, octogenarian triplets Rose, Lily and Daisy, founders of the Perrywynkle Garden Club, become suspicious. And when the ladies discover the new Penelope doesn’t know a peony from . . . well, a periwinkle . . . they know there’s real trouble afoot.

Dubbing themselves the Perrywynkle Posse, the sisters set out to find the real Penelope and expose the imposter. They’ll use every weapon at hand, from knitting needles to support hose, to save their friend and bring the dastardly doppelganger to justice. 

This week's blurb was such fun to write! Rose, Lily and Daisy would be lots of fun if I ever turned this into a real story. I should fess up, also, that I have no idea if the bloom in the photo is a periwinkle. It looks like it to me, but then I'm a serial plant killer, so I can only claim creative license on this.  Is it a periwinkle? Tammy? Anyone else recognize this lovely flower?

To be sure that others can read your blurb, please put your name and link in Mr. Linky, below, if you are participating in Book Blurb Friday. If you have no blurb to share, please do not install a link. It will be treated as spam and removed. Thanks.

Please scroll past the Linky widget to see our "book cover" for next week.




Here is our "book cover" for next week's Book Blurb Friday #49, provided by the multi-talented and oh-so-generous-wth-her-photos Kathy Matthews at Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy.





Thanks for participating in Book Blurb Friday. If you have any photos you think would be appropriate as a "book cover," please send them to me via email (writinginthebuff@hotmail.com).

See you next for Monday's microfiction. Have a great weekend!

Lisa

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Laundry List

Photo courtesy of kokabella via morguefile.com


As it happens, I know a few facts about laundry.  I do so much laundry in the course of a week that I’ve considered adding the skill to my resume.

Laundry is never-ending. Empty the hamper today and it will be full again tomorrow.  I’ve always considered laundry the perfect metaphor for a recurring nightmare, but lately I’ve put a different spin on it.  While sorting and soaking last week I passed the time, as I often do, thinking about writing. You may be surprised to learn that writing and laundry have a lot in common. Not enough to elevate laundry to the exalted level of writing, mind you, but enough that I have a new respect for washing clothes. Here are a few examples of my reasoning:

  • A laundry hamper is like a writer’s brain—it is always full or filling up.
  • Some story ideas are like grass stains on a little leaguer’s britches—you better learn to deal with them because they aren’t going away.
  • Laundry items are like characters in a novel—different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. And some are dirtier and harder to save than others.
  • Folding freshly dried laundry is like editing—it gets the wrinkles out.

To be fair, I spend so much time writing or thinking about writing that I can probably compare almost anything to it; but consider the laundry comparisons to be akin to a lifeline tossed to a desperate woman.  As an optimist, I knew—just knew—that doing laundry had to have some redeemable attribute other than the obvious benefit of clean clothes in the closet.  Score one for the power of positive thinking.

Is there any chore you detest that can be made better by comparing it to something you love to do? Give it a try. You may be surprised what spins out.

See you next for Book Blurb Friday!
Lisa

Monday, January 23, 2012

Microfiction: Horse Sense

Welcome to today's microfiction!  

Grandma's Goulash graciously hosts Succinctly Yours, the wonderful meme for those of us addicted to microfiction. The trick is to write a story in 140 characters or less using the photo below as inspiration. To add to the challenge is the word of the week, "bluster."  My stories are below.  



 


Horse Sense #1:  The Payoff
(136 characters)

Thunder sang his heart out to Farmer Bill at every opportunity. “Forget a trainer,” Thunder blustered. “What I really need is an agent!”

*          *          *          *

Horse Sense #2:  The Payback
(139 characters)

Pokey regretted his decision to heckle Farmer Tom. His noisy bluster, mistaken for illness, resulted in an unfortunate treatment for colic.



To read the microfiction stories of others participating in this meme, please click HERE.

Thanks for visiting! See you on Wednesday for the naked truth about . . .Laundry.

Have a great week!
Lisa

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Blurb #47: Kiyodee King

Since renovating Writing in the Buff I've had a couple of blog pals complain that Blogger is being uncooperative when they attempt to leave comments.  I'm not sure how to fix the problem, but I'll keep trying  to get assistance. Sorry if you're experiencing difficulty. Please feel free to email me directly at writinginthebuff@hotmail.com.




TGIBBF!

Welcome again to Book Blurb Friday.  If you're a newbie, here's the scoop so you understand what follows.  Please click HERE or click the tab under the blog header for details of the Book Blurb Friday meme.  This is the shortened, abridged version:


Write a book jacket blurb (150 words or less) so enticing that potential readers would feel compelled to buy the book.

Below is this week's "book cover," generously offered for our creative blurbs by the talented and generous Sioux Roslawski at Sioux's Page.  My blurb is below.






Kiyodee King
(147 words)


George and Meredith Briscoe’s young, wheelchair-bound son has endured numerous illnesses and surgeries due to his spina bifida. The Briscoes see their lives as an endless stream of disasters, so neither is surprised when, while driving home from a doctor visit, they become lost in an unfamiliar part of the city.

Engine trouble forces them onto a seedy side street, the tow truck never arrives, and their cell phones stop working.  Afraid to separate after dark when the squalid streets come alive with violence, they opt to pass the night locked in their vehicle in fearful watchfulness.

Taunted by gangbangers and assaulted by thieves, the Briscoes want only to pass the night in safety. But a chance encounter with a vagrant named Kiyodee King will bring them through the dark night and into daybreak on a journey they never imagined, with an outcome they never dared dream. 




To be sure that others can read your blurb, please put your name and link in Mr. Linky, below, if you are participating in Book Blurb Friday. If you have no blurb to share, please do not install a link. It will be treated as spam and removed. Thanks.

Please scroll past the Linky widget to see our "book cover" for next week.







Here is our "book cover" for next week's Book Blurb Friday #48, provided by the funny and talented Tammy Goodsell at Message in a Bloggle.






Thanks for participating in Book Blurb Friday. If you have any photos you think would be appropriate as a "book cover," please send them to me via email (writinginthebuff@hotmail.com).

See you next for Monday's microfiction. Have a great weekend!


Lisa

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Procrastination Station


“Procrastinate now! Don't put it off.”  Ellen DeGeneres






Procrastination is a writer’s bane. It is the monster that stands in the way of our creative genius, blocking the road to completed short stories, edited manuscripts and market research. If personified it might look like Agent Smith from the movie The Matrix. He was a real badass, but he looked like an angry accountant with light sensitive eyes.

Like Agent Smith, Procrastination appears benign, if sullen. It sneaks up on us in ways we not only allow, but cultivate. Our internal dialogue invites the beast to lumber up to the table and dine with us. Here’s an example.

“I’ve got the whole afternoon to myself to write! Wow. Well, it’s only noon, so I have time to start the laundry and do the crossword puzzle while I eat lunch. I’ll write after that. As soon as I’m done walking the dog.”

Old Procrastination takes up residence in the recliner of our brain, pops a beer and puts his feet up. He’s smelly, and we don’t want him there, but we can’t bring ourselves to give him the boot. Once he’s settled in, it’s tough to evict him.

A little trick I’ve resorted to lately is to grab a pen in the middle of my date with Procrastination and jot down the first sentence that comes to mind, because even if I continue to procrastinate, that sentence might just simmer into the soup of a story over time. For instance:

“I was fourteen when my sister was murdered and fifteen when I saw her ghost for the first time.”

It’s only a single sentence, and not even a great sentence at that. But it was enough to launch a short story when I finally put my fingers on the keyboard. It didn’t pummel Procrastination, but it helped me work around him until I was ready to post that eviction notice.

If you’re interested, there’s an article at pickthebrain.com titled “Seven Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing,” by Seth Baker. You’ve probably heard it all before, but some things bear repeating.

Does procrastination visit you? How do you combat it? Do you give in until it passes, or do you practice avoidance like a toddler at bedtime? 

See you next for Book Blurb Friday –
Lisa

Monday, January 16, 2012

Microfiction: Impossible!

Welcome to today's microfiction!  

Grandma's Goulash graciously hosts Succinctly Yours, the wonderful meme for those of us addicted to microfiction. The trick is to write a story in 140 characters or less using the photo below as inspiration. To add to the challenge is the word of the week, "dream."  My stories are below.





Impossible Dream
(138 characters)

An uninterrupted day of relaxation was but a dream to Ann. The mother of eight considered even a private potty break the height of luxury.

*          *          *          *

Impossible Beam
(138 characters)

Mia’s friends wondered about her sly smile after a day at the park, but Mia wouldn’t share her dirty secret: sunglasses with x-ray vision.



To read the microfiction stories of others participating in this meme, please click HERE.

Thanks for visiting! See you on Wednesday for the naked truth about . . . Procrastination.

Have a great week!
Lisa

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Blurb #46: Simple Lies

TGIBBF!

Welcome again to Book Blurb Friday.  If you're a newbie, here's the scoop so you understand what follows.  Please click HERE or click the tab under the blog header for details of the Book Blurb Friday meme.  This is the shortened, abridged version:


Write a book jacket blurb (150 words or less) so enticing that potential readers would feel compelled to buy the book.

Below is this week's "book cover," generously offered for our creative blurbs by my hubby Joe.






Simple Lies
(132 words)

Three friends. Two secrets. One summer . . .

Amy, Ben and Julie comprise an unlikely trio, thrown together when their families vacation at neighboring lake houses. Just as they never expect to be friends, neither do they anticipate what unfolds in the last days of summer.

Amy, the drama queen, found her.

Ben, the scientist, realized what she really was.

Julie, the film buff, documented every moment . . . every decision . . . every lie.

For three young teens, a boring summer turns first exciting and then horrifying as lies told have far-reaching effects that create consequences they could never have imagined. What appeared harmless becomes dangerous, the innocent becomes deadly. Secrets that should have remained buried will rise . . . born from the foundation of simple lies.



To be sure that others can read your blurb, please put your name and link in Mr. Linky, below, if you are participating in Book Blurb Friday. If you have no blurb to share, please do not install a link. It will be treated as spam and removed. Thanks.

Please scroll past the Linky widget to see our "book cover" for next week.






Here is our "book cover" for next week's Book Blurb Friday #47, provided by the talented Sioux Roslawski.






Thanks for participating in Book Blurb Friday. If you have any photos you think would be appropriate as a "book cover," please send them to me via email (writinginthebuff@hotmail.com).

See you next for Monday's microfiction. Have a great weekend!


Lisa

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Whoosh Zone

Photo courtesy of Keven Connors


Have you ever entered the Whoosh Zone?

The Whoosh Zone is that place where words bubble up from a writer’s brain and flow onto the page with an ease not normally present. No staring at a blank page. No writing a paragraph then deleting half of it. I'm talking about the Whoosh, when the story just happens. The journey to the Whoosh Zone is impromptu, like the opening of a trap door beneath one’s feet. There is the breathless fall and then the giddy excitement, followed by the sheer joy of accomplishment.

I didn’t have a name for the Whoosh Zone. It came from my critique partner and friend, Deb Mayhew, at our Saturday meeting of the Inklets. There are four of us who meet at Barnes & Noble every other Saturday to partake of the Big Three C’s—Coffee, Cackling, and Critiquing. My offering for critique was a short story, and the ladies asked me where the idea came from. I explained that I began with an opening line and the story just burst open wide from there, and Deb said, “Oh! The Whoosh! Don’t you just love it when that happens?!”

The Whoosh. What a perfect description of that feeling, that place. Oh, yeah. I do love it when that happens. In the Whoosh Zone I channel my characters with a depth that any psychic medium would envy. I only wish there were a formula for making it happen more often.

Have you experienced that Whoosh, been in that Zone? Are you surprised by the product of your effort, or just pleased to be so focused and aware of your characters? Do you experience the Whoosh Zone with something other than writing? Does it apply to anything else in your life, like cooking or painting or parenthood? What takes you into the Whoosh Zone?

See you next for Book Blurb Friday!
Lisa

Monday, January 9, 2012

Microfiction: So You Think You Can Dance?

Welcome to today's microfiction!  

Grandma's Goulash graciously hosts Succinctly Yours, the wonderful meme for those of us addicted to microfiction. The trick is to write a story in 140 characters or less using the photo below as inspiration. To add to the challenge is the word of the week, "drift."  My stories are below.




 
Dancing Rule
(136 characters)

Chef training at the Hokey Pokey CafĂ© entails putting one’s right foot in and shaking it all around, because that’s what it’s all about.

*          *          *          *

Dancing Fool
(137 characters)

Poor Jim was destined to drift from job to job. He just couldn’t understand why he got fired every time a boss told him to “shake a leg.”


To read the microfiction stories of others participating in this meme, please click HERE.

Thanks for visiting! See you on Wednesday for the naked truth about . . .The Whoosh Zone.

Have a great week!
Lisa

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Blurb #45: Living Her Dreams

TGIBBF!

Welcome again to Book Blurb Friday.  If you're a newbie, here's the scoop so you understand what follows.  Please click HERE or click the tab under the blog header for details of the Book Blurb Friday meme.  This is the shortened, abridged version:

Write a book jacket blurb (150 words or less) so enticing that potential readers would feel compelled to buy the book.

Below is this week's "book cover," generously offered for our creative blurbs by Tammy Goodsell of Message in a Bloggle. My blurb is below.





Living Her Dreams
(145 words)

Journalist Annabeth Morton saw it in her dreams, night after night. The house shimmered through leaves, a siren calling her name.

While doing research Annabeth finds a drawing of a plantation house in North Carolina. Recognizing it from her dreams she digs for information and discovers the original house burned to the ground during Sherman’s march through the South. Rebuilt on the original site, the house is now a bed and breakfast. Annabeth visits, determined to exorcize the dream once and for all.

The longer she stays the more realistic her dreams become. Annabeth is drawn in deeper as the dreams become more vivid, an eerie bend in reality making the line between dream and wakefulness fine indeed. People and events from both worlds meld until Annabeth is left grasping for the truth. Because if she’s not living her dreams, then reality is certain madness.


To be sure that others can read your blurb, please put your name and link in Mr. Linky, below, if you are participating in Book Blurb Friday. If you have no blurb to share, please do not install a link. It will be treated as spam and removed. Thanks.

Please scroll past the Linky widget to see our "book cover" for next week.







Here is our "book cover" for next week's Book Blurb Friday #46, provided by my hubby Joe.  I thought we could all use a little summertime in January.






Thanks for participating in Book Blurb Friday. If you have any photos you think would be appropriate as a "book cover," please send them to me via email (writinginthebuff@hotmail.com).

See you next for Monday's microfiction. Have a great weekend!

Lisa

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Scary Near Miss


Have you ever experienced a “near miss?” A car accident you avoided at the last minute, a relationship that ended in time to save you from years of misery?

I experienced a near miss on New Year’s Eve, and I don’t mind admitting it scared the crap out of me.

Just after midnight we donned our coats and headed out to my friend’s front lawn to watch the neighbor set off fireworks. He did a great job and gave us a pretty good show.  Shortly after he finished his boom-boom-booming, another neighbor came out with Roman candles.  He set these off with little regard for onlookers, and the things shot off in all directions. Before I fully registered that the blast was headed straight for me it zoomed past, a mere 6 inches from my face.

I’m terrified anew every time I consider the consequences had I been standing only 6 inches forward. There were teenagers there who also might have been hurt when the thing hurtled past.

I got lucky, buttercup. Fate was with me on this one, and instead of a 911 call and a trip the hospital, we instead hightailed it indoors and continued our festivities.

After such a “near miss” I’m sure you’d forgive me if I admitted to downing a few extra alcoholic beverages; but no, that isn’t my comfort. I noshed on lemon-pepper wings and triple-chocolate cake. Nectar of the gods. Yum!

I’ve thought a great deal about that Roman candle and the fact that 2012 might have started out quite tragically for me. I’m grateful that it didn’t, that I got lucky this time around. I've been sending ooh-gobs of thank-yous out to the Universe every day since.

I won’t be watching home-presented fireworks again, either. One near miss is quite enough.

Have you ever had a “near miss?” Something that made you grateful from your head down to your toes?

See you next for Book Blurb Friday!
Lisa

Monday, January 2, 2012

Microfiction: Tales of Rex

Welcome to today's microfiction! Hope you had a wonderful New Year celebration!


Grandma's Goulash graciously hosts Succinctly Yours, the wonderful meme for those of us addicted to microfiction. The trick is to write a story in 140 characters or less using the photo below as inspiration. To add to the challenge is the word of the week, "memories."  My stories are below.







Hide-asaurus Rex
(139 characters)

Rex loved to play hide & seek.  Buzz and Woody kept to the playroom and would never think to look for him next to Grandma’s special elixir.


Not-So-Tyrannosaurus Rex
(139 characters)

When Big T asked to be reincarnated as a soft, benign creature, this wasn’t his intent, prompting the warning: Be careful what you ask for.


No Rex At All
(140 characters)

“Memories . . . blight the corners of my mind . . .” sang Rex into his bubbly. Clearly, he was still bitter over the whole extinction thing.



To read the microfiction stories of others participating in this meme, please click HERE.

Thanks for visiting! See you on Wednesday for the naked truth about . . . Near Misses.

Have a great week!
Lisa