Monday, November 25, 2013


What an incredible writing challenge Terrible Minds has offered this week.  Actually, it is only Part One of a five-part challenge.  This week, we are to write the start of a story (200 words max).  Next week, we take someone else's 200 words and add 200 more to continue it.  Then, the following week, do the same and so on until a 1,000 word story is complete.  Here's the link to the challenge so you can join in.

My offering for Part One of this challenge comes in at 198 words.  It is only a beginning, and I really hope someone picks it up and continues it.  I'd love to see where this could go.  But, for now, here's Reunion.  I hope you enjoy.


They are waking up slowly, one by one.  It has been so long since we have been together--so much time and distance between us.  Fate stepped in and assisted with my plans for our ten-year reunion.  Their surprise will be my sublime pleasure.  I will greet them with a smile, as they often did me.  Mine will be counterfeit.  Too.  As I watch and wait, I remember.

Our childhood games.  Simon Says go play in traffic.  Hide and Seek, and I am left for dead.  Scrabble dictates slit your wrists.  The promise of friendship broken as it was pledged.  Rejected, abandoned, deceived.  Ah, the sweet memories of my youth.

These three companions, these three acquaintances, these three schoolmates, these three abominations.  I did not fit with them.  Or anyone.  They still pulled.  And pushed.  And tormented.

The bars and floor of their cage are wired.  In my heart, I know they will be pleased with this game I have selected.  It will be so familiar.  So typical.  So fitting.

Wake up, my friends.  My very dear friends.  Let us share one last stroll down memory lane.  One more, before I flip the switch and turn on my hose…


Sunday, November 17, 2013


Last week, the Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge was to write an opening line of 15 words or less. This week, the challenge is to write a 1,000 word story based on one of those.

I didn't participate last week--my current work in progress was holding me hostage.  It has since loosened its grip, so I thought I would select one of the openers and slide in a story after it.  Brennan's opening line (set in bold type) was what I chose, and it worked beautifully to begin my twisted little tale.  Please enjoy.


The sun shone down as it always had, and for a moment, everything was perfect.  Oddly, this had seemed a good idea at the time.  Wearing nothing but a black cloak to mock the darkness of the world we were departing, and to pay homage to the darkness of the world we would be joining.  Our eternal bond sealed with a last kiss as we leapt from the cliff to be impaled on the jagged rocks below…

Yeah, I know.  Sounds like an old B movie, but I figured it was all some kind of mystic symbolism.  At sunrise, Willow and I would strip down in the parking lot by the observation area, put on long black capes, and walk to the edge where she would chant some nonsense while waving around some foul-smelling incense.  After she was done with all that crap, we would head over to my beach house and she would screw my brains out.  Not a bad way to start the morning, huh?

My name is Ralph Mobo.  Not exactly a made-for-Hollywood moniker, but I’m not exactly a made-for-Hollywood guy.  I’m a semi-pudgy, 66-year old retired CPA, widowed close to 4 years.  With the firm’s retirement package and my 401(k), the oceanfront condo was a steal.  The house on Morning Glory Drive belonged to the old me--the one who was married 41 years to a well-educated, socially accomplished, not-too-hard-on-the-eyes woman I had met in the stacks at college.  I found myself in a bit of a fog after she passed, but once it cleared, I decided to grab life by the horns and take it on.

I was walking through the park one afternoon when I saw her by the fountain.  White gown, long blonde hair, humming, and splashing paint on a canvas.  I wondered what it would be like to do it with an artist.  She noticed me watching, dropped her brush and pallet, ran to me, and said I was her destiny.  Okay.

“I am Willow,” she whispered.  “Unlock your shackles and live with me on the wind.  Let us unite our souls.”

I was all for that ’uniting our souls’ bit.  I took her to my condo and we did it on every surface in the place.  She said it was important to cover everything with our spirits, to aid the wandering dead with their quest for solace.  Whatever.

Last night, after a particularly rigorous one-on-one, from out of left field this 19-year old wild child springs this ‘we need to jump off a cliff tomorrow morning’ thing on me.  Naturally, I didn’t take her literally.  She always spoke in metaphors and tried to create elaborate illusions with her stories.  I never understood any of it, but, since she’d be all over me while she told her little tales, I’d smile and nod.  Every time.

So here we are.  The point’s deserted most mornings.  Good thing, because we’re both stark naked, doing it on the hood of my Mercedes.  When we’re done here, I’ll run it through the car wash on Fifth and Delmont.  If nothing else, they’re discreet.  The cloak she made for me looks like a black bed sheet with ties.  This is definitely not something I would want to be caught dead in.  Good one, huh?

“The time has come for us to surrender,” she says.  “We shall seek darker regions still and remain forever in torment, punished for the sins of humanity.”

She dons her cloak, takes my hand, and moves us closer to the edge.

Wait a minute.  All I wanted to do was try to break out of my mold and maybe unclog an artery or two, but this kid‘s serious.  She releases my hand and leans in for one last smooch.  I give her a slight nudge.  She just a wisp of a gal; drops like a stone.  The mist-covered shoreline obscures my view, but I’d heard the thud.  I quickly put on my jeans and sweatshirt.  A fella could freeze his woo-woo’s out here.

As I pass the old fairgrounds on my way home, I notice the circus is back in town.  I pull in and watch the high-wire gal rehearsing.  I wonder what it would be like to do it with a…

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NaNoWriMo Time--Yay!

Here we are in November again, and that means NaNoWriMo.  I always look forward to this time of year.  Of course, it's time for Thanksgiving, being together with family and eating until you can't move.  Too, once Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is just around the corner.  Then again, time with family, eating wondrous meals, sharing gifts, and looking forward to the new year and lots of new beginnings.

There is also that terrific event that occurs each November, and that is National Novel Writing Month.  I have participated for years now, and will continue.  Thirty days to write 50,000 words?  Is it stressful and do you end up putting a great deal of pressure on yourself?  Definitely.  Is it an incredibly enjoyable way to push yourself into creating something you may not have created otherwise simply because of the timeline factor?  Absolutely.

NaNoWriMo is time-consuming and requires dedication and a lot of work.  But there is nothing negative about the experience.  It's a personal challenge that is so fulfilling at the end of the month when you look back at what you've created.  This novel you've written does require major editing since during NaNo time, you only write.  And write.  And write.  There's an editing event through NaNo too, but I've never tried my hand at that one.  Not yet, anyway.

One of the novels I wrote during NaNo was able to be divided into a six-part children's/young adult's fantasy series, Choices, which I had published.  I'm currently in the process of completing the editing process on another one of my NaNo projects, and it will be ready to send to my publisher in the very near future.  There is another that requires completion, and of course, major editing, that was a NaNo project and then, we have the one I am currently writing.  Do I take NaNo seriously and follow through on all my projects?  You bet I do.

My point being, while NaNo is a wonderful experience and as far as I'm concerned, great fun, great things have occurred for me as a writer as a result of my participation.  Not only has my work been published, but writing 'with abandon' I believe has helped me to be a better writer.  The first time through, while I am mindful of sequencing, spelling, grammar and all the basics, I'm not obsessed with those things.  My obsession is directed at the story, the characters, and continuously moving it forward.  Isn't that where a writer's focus should be directed?

I would encourage anyone, regardless of where you're at as a writer, to participate in NaNo.  It's interesting, fun, and it makes you crazy for 30 days, and you'll be so glad when November is done.  You will be holding in your hand a creation of yours.  Perhaps not complete, perhaps a grammatical nightmare, but there's plenty of time to go back and fix.

Use November to simply write.  Give it all you've got, and when you're done, be very proud of yourself and treat yourself to some reward.  Go to a nice restaurant and have your favorite dinner.  Buy yourself that outfit you've been admiring in the store window.  Order that season's worth of DVDs of that television show you watch every time it comes on.  Pat yourself on the back and award yourself a prize.  You've earned it!