Sunday, August 30, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I have been honored with the Honest Scrap Award by fellow #fridayflash enthusiast, Dan Powell of dan powell – fiction. Thank you so much, Dan!

The award is meant to be passed on to bloggers who post from the heart. The rules are simple: pass the award on to seven worthy blogs and list ten honest things about yourself.

My list of seven ‘honest’ bloggers who post from the heart:

Tomara Armstrong of This, That…The Other Thing

JujuJuniper of We Can All Use a Little More Juju

Stef from 52 Weeks of Wordage

Carol Kilgore of Under the Tiki Hut

Laura Mercurio Ebohon of Laura Mercurio Ebohon

Lisa Gurney of My Life As a Daughter

Angel Zapata from A Rage of Angel

Now on to the ten honest things about me –

1. Hate coffee, but love coffee-flavored ice cream.

2. Have always wanted to live on a space station.

3. Love to travel, but not around the U.S.

4. Don’t like to cook, but haven’t found a chef willing to work for free yet.

5. Love cats.

6. Like to watch snow fall, but then it needs to go away – which is why I live in the South.

7. Am a native Californian.

8. Don’t watch TV.

9. Was pushed aside by Princess Leia in the battle for my 5 yr old son’s affections – I guess she was Hot Woman, hair buns and all.

10. Detest phones.

Many thanks to dan powell – fiction for giving me this award. And to my awardees, please pass the award on so that we may all continue to meet new people.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Teacup - #FridayFlash

“Don’t touch that. You might break it.”

Kelly jumped at the sharp admonition from her grandmother. If she had been holding the cup right then, it would have slipped from her hand for sure.

“I’m sorry, child. I didn’t mean to startle you, but it mustn’t break.”

Grandma stared at the teacup, wrung her hands in her apron.

“Why? It’s just a little pink cup. It doesn’t even match anything else on the shelf.” At ten, Kelly now had the privilege of entering her grandmother’s parlor, a place off-limits to the younger kids. The antiques lining the shelves were just odds and ends to her, but grandma said they each had a story to tell.

“That pink teacup has been in the family for over one hundred years,” her grandmother said, settling into the overstuffed chair to wait while the cookies baked. “Would you like to hear the story?”

When she nodded, her grandmother’s eyes took on a faraway look. Kelly sat on the floor next to the chair to listen. Grandma always told good stories.

“The woman who originally owned it was said to have evil powers. Family members recorded that right before she died, she asked for that cup. They said that tears flowed down her face as she held it and several drops fell into it. As she drew her last breath, she muttered an incantation and smoke filled the room for a moment. After she died, the tears in the cup formed a black stain that wouldn’t wash out. After that, people swore that the cup whispered to them.”

“Like it was haunted or something?” Kelly watched the muscles in the old woman’s right cheek twitch, a pained expression cross her face as she fell silent. She looked unhappy.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing – nothing at all.”

Grandma spoke quickly, tried to smile but her lip trembled now. Kelly didn’t understand the woman’s nervousness, but it had something to do with that dumb old cup.

“Why don’t you get rid of it if you don’t like it?”

“It won’t let me.”

The muttered words were so faint that Kelly imagined she heard wrong. The timer rang in the kitchen, announcing fresh-baked cookies waiting to be pulled out of the oven. Her grandmother left to attend to them, reminding the girl not to touch anything.

Kelly tiptoed over to the teacup, peering into the bottom of it while clasping her hands firmly behind her back. The black stain rested in the bottom, just as grandma said it did.

“What?” Kelly whirled, sure that someone had just spoken to her. Off-balance, she stumbled into the shelf, causing it to rattle. A low laugh emanated from the cup, its sound pitching into a screech as it became louder. Unnerved, Kelly picked up the offending cup and threw it onto the floor where it shattered, silencing the brutal sound.

Her grandmother entered the room and moaned, collapsing to the ground in utter despair. Kelly didn’t have time to wonder about grandma’s well-being, as a cloud of smoke rose from the broken pieces to claim the young girl.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

On Monday, I received this Kreativ Blogger Award from Helen Ginger of Straight From Hel. To say that I am surprised and flattered would be an understatement. Thank you, Helen! There are two parts to this award. First, that I pass it on to seven other bloggers:

Alan W Davidson, Conversations From Land’s Edge
Angie Ledbetter, Gumbo Writer
Kevin J Mackey, KjM – on the web
Jameson T Caine, Lacuna Ex Obscurum
Jon M Strother, Mad Utopia
B T, Musings of an Aussie Writer
Hope101, Tartitude
Anton Gully, The Black Dogs of Despair Ate My Novel
Pippa Hennessy, The Old Bat

Some of these blogs are fairly new to me, others I’ve read since I first started blogging. All have kept me informed and entertained.

No need to point out that I can’t count, either. It was too hard to cull the list as it was.

The second part of this award is to list seven mystery authors. Err…I will save that for another post. I can also guarantee you that they will be dark fantasy/horror authors. But then, you already knew that, didn’t you Helen?

Please provide a link back, pass this award on to others whose blogs you enjoy and notify your recipients. My hope is that each of you will continue the tradition of this award so that we may all find new treasures out there to follow.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Down the Rabbit Hole

I first became aware of the “One Lovely Blog Award” when Helen Ginger of Straight From Hel received it for her fabulous blog. It features a dainty teacup with flowers and lace, living up to its Lovely name. The premise of the award is that the recipient passes it on to another worthy blog. Helen gave it a spin down the rabbit hole and into the world of horror writers. I followed its dark journey into night with fascination.

Let me assure you that the following recipients were quite pleased to receive it. The humor of the situation is solely from my own perspective. (Although, I swear I heard the teacup rattling in its saucer while sitting next to the ferocious-looking dogs.)

Helen passed one of the three awards to Anton Gully of The Black Dogs of Despair Ate My Novel . From there it journeyed to Alan W. Davidson's Conversations From Land's Edge, Aaron Polson's The Other Aaron, Catherine J. Gardner's The Poisoned Apple, Jameson T. Caine's Lacuna ex Obscurum and, as of today, to K. C. Shaw of The Knotted Thicket.

I expected the pink teacup to drip blood and sprout black roses along the way, but that hasn't happened as of yet. Regardless, I've enjoyed the delightful path of exploration. Thank you, Helen, for allowing me to find new treasures.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Proof of Life - #FridayFlash

Harry stood in the customs line at the L-1 docking station, trying to contain his excitement without much success. The broad grin on his face let everyone know that this was his first visit to Earth, the cradle of civilization. Even the old lady behind him, bumping her suitcase into his legs at regular intervals, couldn’t dampen his spirits. The line snaked around the spaceport in an intricate weave; he kept meeting the same bored expressions at each turnstile as they inched toward their goal.

The customs inspector seemed robotic and Harry thought that maybe he was, before remembering that the Unfair Employment Act of 2263 had banned robots from civil service jobs.


The monotone voice caught Harry off-guard, but couldn’t suppress his enthusiasm.

“Yes, sir. I have it right here.” He handed the chip to the agent with a flourish.

“Planet of birth?”

“Mars—the Clinton Colony.” Harry was rather proud of the fact that he came from such a famous colony. They were all named after dead Earth presidents, but some were more notorious than others. The agent gave him a cold-eyed stare.

“Birth certificate?”

Harry sputtered briefly before regaining his composure.

“They didn’t tell me I had to bring it. I had to present it in order to get the passport. It’s all in the scan there on your reader.”


What? “Human.”

“How do I know that, if you don’t have your birth certificate? Only humans are allowed to go down to Earth.”

“What else would I be?” The line behind Harry grew restless with the delay. The old lady shoved her bag into his legs again.

The agent shrugged, the first human gesture Harry had seen him make.

“You could be an Orion.”

“The Orions are the only aliens we know and they have purple skin and three eyes! Of course I’m human.” Harry broke out in a sweat, the grumbling behind him increasing in volume.

“I don’t make the rules, just enforce them. You have to present your birth certificate.”

“What rule is that?”

“The Birthers Act of 2025.”

“What? That was between countries, not Human vs. Alien.”

“The Space Agency decided to apply it here. Not my call.”

Shouting broke out in the line, calls of “go back home” audible within the mob. The agent motioned to a security guard standing off to one side.

“You’ll need to step out of line, Harry…,” he glanced at his screen, “Townsend. Please go with the guard to the deportation area.”

“But I’m human. I was born on Mars.” Harry panicked as the burly guard with no neck pushed his way next to him.

The agent frowned at Harry in suspicion now. “Without your certificate I don’t know that. In fact, how do I know that you were even born at all? There’s no proof. I’m sending you to the interrogation center instead. Mars might not want you back, either. Next in line…”

The last thing Harry saw was the old lady stepping up to the counter and presenting her birth certificate as she waved goodbye to him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Interview up on Mad Utopia

I've just participated in my first 'virtual' interview with J. M. Strother, of Mad Utopia.

Jon is the founder of #fridayflash, a group of writers who participate in the weekly posting of flash fiction on their blogs and spread the word on both Twitter and FaceBook with the hashtag. Participation is open to all writers and, of course, readers are especially welcome!

To learn more about the group, please visit the Mad Utopia website or look for the #fridayflash.

Oh, and remember to come back on Friday for another story.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finale - #FridayFlash

As soon as she heard the noise outside, Cassie demanded to go sit on the porch steps and watch the show. Elaine couldn’t deny her little girl these few moments of happiness and watched as her daughter clapped her small hands in delight at the fireworks in the sky.

Months ago, Elaine had allowed the five-year-old to stay up until midnight to see the spectacular New Year’s display on TV. She’d talked about it ever since, even though the television no longer worked.

Back then, the world had been a far better place. A world that held light, laughter…and a father for Cassie.

The tracers shot through the air in many directions. Elaine sat as silent witness while her daughter ooh’d and aah’d.

“When will the colors start?” The innocent question of a child, full of hope and bright promises.

“Any moment now.”

When the finale mushroomed blood red in the darkened sky, Elaine hugged her daughter close and waited for the end.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grandma - #fridayflash

“Grandma, my teacher says I have to write a story about what life was like when you were a kid.” Jessie looked at the old woman expectantly. Sometimes it took a minute before Grandma started speaking.

The old woman made a noise, like she was clearing her throat. Her eyes grew animated as she began to speak.

“When I was your age, we had to walk to school. You’ve got it easy, learning from home from computer teachers.”

“They’re netbots, Grandma,” Jessie corrected her.

“I don’t care what you call them. We didn’t have all of that fancy stuff. Had to actually talk to real people back then to find something out.”

Jessie sighed. Grandma was in one of her cranky moods today. Hopefully, she’d answer enough questions for Jessie to get the paper done.

“What kind of music did you listen to?”

“None of that psychotic stuff you feed right into your head! We had real music, with musicians playing it.”

“You mean real people?” Jessie could hardly credit what she was hearing, but Grandma was old. Maybe her memory was going bad.

After a few more questions, Grandma started to sputter. Jessie wasn’t sure if it was out of anger or something worse. Maybe she should go to the RX tomorrow. Her father came in to tell her goodnight just then, rescuing Jessie from a diatribe.

“It’s time for bed, sweetheart. Tell Grandma goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Grandma.” Jessie reached over and flipped a switch. “I think Grandma needs to go to the Reality Xchange tomorrow. Some of her data seems corrupted.”

Roger eyed the 2.0 version of his mother with envy, savoring the silence. Too bad the original version hadn’t had an ‘off’ switch when he was growing up.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Comment Whores

Something’s been bothering me lately…people who take over someone else’s thread in a forum.

We all know the type in our physical existence—‘you think that’s bad, wait until you hear about my…’—but the cretins are worse in the virtual world, often not even pausing to acknowledge the thread owner.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for self-expression, promotion, personal rants—but start your own thread, please. Direct your comment towards the question/achievement/whatever that was originally posted. Don’t latch onto it as your personal platform. The courtesy won’t always be reciprocated, but people do notice. In the end, you’ll gain more followers.

In case you’re wondering—no, this hasn’t happened to me personally. If it had, I would have skewered the offender with my pitchfork. Just saying…

Do you have a ‘comments’ pet peeve? Tell me. (Pitchfork currently locked in the closet…I swear)