mission statement in wood type

Hmmm… I guess I never really thought of individuals having personal mission statements, but let’s go with it.

I write because I have these stories in my head, filled with quirky, delightful people I adore (and some that I super loathe – looking at you, Nigel) and I want to know how their stories end. I share them with you because I want to give us both an escape hatch into other lives because I not only need a break from reality, but I also need hope, and I figure you might, too. Sometimes life can be pretty depressing, and I want to create worlds where, even if it’s a struggle getting there, good prevails over evil, and love wins–and wins fucking hard. Ultimately, I guess I just want to make the world a little better–even if it’s only temporary and make people smile.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ statements.

Jess  *  Paige  *  Deelylah  *  Siobhan  *  Kris

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Don’t panic…you’re in the right place. I just did some remodeling over the weekend. What do you think? Anyway, on to the post.

This month’s song fic was inspired by “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine. You can read the lyrics or watch the video and listen to the song. Or both. Or neither. Totally your call. But anyway, here’s the story it inspired.

Lizzie’s phone lay on the couch between her and Cilla, vibrating almost constantly with missed calls and ignored texts.

“What do you mean you told him no?” Cilla stared at her best friend in amazement. “Literally all you’ve been talking about this past year is how you couldn’t wait for Grant to propose. You were going to be so upset if he didn’t. I can’t believe you turned him down.”

Except that she kind of could. She’d had a feeling this would be how it would go if Grant ever asked Lizzie to marry him.

Lizzie  wiped her her eyes and nose. “I don’t know. One minute we were having dinner at that little pub down on on Cherry, and the next, he gets up and starts singing, and a bunch of diners got up and started dancing–”

“Wait,” Cilla said. “He proposed with a flashmob?”

She sniffled and nodded miserably.

“But you love flashmobs. You…you have a whole Pinterest board devoted to them.”

“I know.” She sniffled again.

“What happened then?”

“He did the whole getting down on one knee thing.”

Cilla covered her face and peered at Lizzie through her fingers. “I’m afraid to ask,” she said, her voice a bit muffled. “but then what happened?”

Lizzie grabbed a throw pillow off the couch and wrapped her arms around it, doubling over as she leaned forward. “It’s awful. I don’t even want to tell you.”

“Too late now,” Cilla muttered.

She buried her face in the cushion. “Mraphaffal nramd.”

“What was that?”

Lifting her head partway, she repeated, “I hugged him, and then I ran.”

Cilla’s mouth fell open. “Oh, honey…”

She felt bad for Lizzie, but goddamn, right now, she felt worse for Grant. Normally, Cilla would be going down with the ship of sisterhood, But it wasn’t like Grant had just proposed out of the blue. Lizzie had been dropping hints for months. Showing him flashmob proposals and talking about how Art Nouveau was the most gorgeous era for jewelry.

“Did he also happen to propose with a nineteenth century style ring?”

“Actual antique from the looks of it,” she murmmured, staring at the floor. She look up at Cilla, eyes swollen and red from crying. “Why do I do this? Why can’t I just be happy? That was everything I ever wanted.”

Cilla scrubbed her hand over her face, dread and frustration tightening the muscles in her shoulders. “How long have we known each other,  Lizzie?”

“What?”

“How long have we known each other?” she asked again.

“Since freshman year of college, so…what–nine…ten years?”

Cilla nodded. “Okay, I need to know…do you want comfort? Or do you want the truth?”

“I want a big cup of do-over.”

Cilla frowned at her. “But would you really change anything if you could do it over?”

“I don’t know–yes, I do. I would have canceled lunch today.”

“That’s not making a choice–that’s avoiding one.”

Lizzie scowled at her. “Fine. Since you seem to know all about what’s in my head, give me the truth.”

Wondering if their friendship would survive this, Cilla took a deep breath. It was too late to stop now, anyway. “You don’t want to be happy.”

Lizzie opened her mouth, but Cilla cut her off.

“Before you say you do, I want you to think for a minute about every relationship you torpedoed. It’s like once you start feeling comfortable with a guy, you start picking fights with them until they break up with you. Except Grant didn’t go anywhere–so you had to.”

Lizzie didn’t say anything. She just stared.

“I love you, Boo, but it’s like you’re afraid to be happy. You want it, but you hide from it. And if that doesn’t work, you kill it however you can.”

Lizzie sat there for the longest time–not speaking, not crying, not moving. Finally, as if she were a living marionette and someone else was pulling the strings, she grabbed her phone and stood then walked toward the door. Cilla watched her go, wondering if her calls and texts would get answered or if they’d just vibrate into nothingness on someone else’s couch.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories.

Jess  *  Kris  *  Siobhan  *  Deelylah  *  Gwen

PromptlyPenned

Prompt: “Take a step closer to me and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”

From the corner of her eye, Laura watched her older sister, Katy, slowly navigate the perimeter of the room, mingling with the twenty or so guests who’d chosen to spend their Saturday here, in hell. Though, none of those people had heard her sister bitch about the centerpieces. Apparently, reusing the ones from their sister’s wedding last year made Katy feel like no one really cared about her impending marriage. Nor had they heard her complain that only a quarter of her guest list had bothered to RSVP.

Laura was still baffled that this many people had decided to attend yet another bridal shower for Katy. Of course, Laura was just as baffled that she’d agreed to host another bridal shower for her. But after their youngest sister had bailed, Laura didn’t really feel like she had a choice. Well, not one that wouldn’t warp their family dynamic even more than it already was.

She carried the oversized punch bowl back into the room and set it on the table, barely avoiding Katy’s sister-in-law-to-be, Tina,–or was it Gina?–as she wove drunkenly into her path. Laura envied the woman’s foresight to drink heavily prior to this exercise in self-torture. But, at least the meal and present opening were over–the only thing left on the agenda was cake.

She carefully arranged the color coordinated napkins and plates Katy had insisted on and darted into the kitchen to get the cake. The sooner she got this cut and served, the sooner she could get the hell away from her sister before she said something she really regretted.

Lifting the cake from the counter, she turned and nearly ran into Katy who stood there holding a napkin. “What is this?” she asked, waving the offending paper product in front of Laura’s face.

“Normally, I’d say it was a napkin, but I’m guessing it’s about to become an objet d butthurt.”  She tried to step around her sister, only to have Katy move in front of her.

“I thought I told you my colors were cashmere and apricot. This is peach.”

Laura counted to ten before opening her mouth. It didn’t help. “Cashmere isn’t a color. And those are  the apricot napkins. You can check the trash for the label.”

Katy sniffed. “Well, it was mislabeled, then.”

“It’s not a big deal.”

“Maybe not to you! But this is all part of my special day!”

“Oh, my fuck. Are you serious with this? They’re just napkins. You are forty-three years old. This is your fourth special day. You need to get a goddamn grip.”

Shh!”

“What? Your new inlaws don’t know that Greg–”

“Craig,” she corrected.

“–is about to become husband number four?”

“Shut. Up.”

“Just get out of my way, and we’ll get this over with–you know, before the napkins ruin everything.”

Katy lunged toward her.

“Take a step closer to me and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”

Katy never did listen.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories!

Jess  *  Siobhan  *  Jessica  *  Deelylah  *  Kris

WordlessWed

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This week’s project.

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Gift from my daughter.

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Another gift from my daughter.

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Morrighan and Willow – two little loafs.

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Pretty berries out by the garage.

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Oh look. More snow.

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More berries and snow.

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My daughter wanted quiche for supper, so she got a crash course in pie crust, and sharp white cheddar, gruyere, bacon, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot quiche.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts and see what they’re up to.

Jess  *  Kris  *  Siobhan  *  Gwen  *  Jessica  *  Torrance

FlashFicPHOTO

Rural winter snowy landscape

Welp, it’s the first flash fiction of the new year, and I’m staring at this picture that looks entirely too much like it looks outside and trying to come up with story that’s not me whining about how cold I am and how much I hate to drive in the snow. Both of these things are true, but me whining doesn’t make for good fiction.

*  *  *  *  *

The snow blushed pink under the glow of the early morning sunrise as Ruby walked in the tire ruts of the rarely used road that led to the farthest edge of her family’s contested property. Her boot prints from last night were still clear in the tracks, heading in the opposite direction. She supposed she could have spent the night there at the farmhouse and saved herself the trouble and strain of walking the five miles back and forth from the motel. After all, she had a key to the house.

But the estate had been tied up in probate court since her grandma had died four years earlier, and the gas and electricity had been shut off while the lawyers tried to sort out who got what and when. It was far too cold to stay there in the winter. Besides, it was a little too haunted for her tastes.

Ruby climbed the wide, but rickety, front steps and unlocked the front door. The house smelled like it always did. Old grease, stale cigarette smoke, and underneath it all, old mothballs and decay. The decor hadn’t been updated since the forties, and the whole house looked like a time capsule. Whichever relative ended up with the house could probably make a killing on antiques in this place.

Swallowing thickly, she pulled her supplies from her bag. Just like she’d done every New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, she sprinkled holy water and salt around the perimeter of each room, taking care to lay extra at the threshold of basement stairs. Making sure the dead stayed buried.

It wasn’t just that her grandfather had died down there, it was all the people he’d killed down there. Farm hands. Migrant workers. People from the halfway house looking for work. And she was doing her part to follow her grandma’s wishes–making sure the dead stayed buried.

But this was it–this was the last time she’d do it. The case would finally get a hearing sometime in the spring, and the house and its dead would be someone else’s problem. She’d be on a beach in Mexico, living off the money she’d found hidden in the back of the cupboard last night when she was looking for a can of anything edible and non-expired.

If the ghosts followed, at least she’d be warm while they haunted her.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. 

Siobhan  *  Kayleigh  *  Gwen  *  Kris  *  Jess

Dear 2017,

You’ve been an absolute twatwaffle, and we’re all sick of your shit. So, from the bottom of my heart,

fuckoff

Yes, it’s that time of year–time to look back and plan ahead. And 2017 has been an utter clusterfuck personally and professionally and definitely politically. But I’m not giving up.

On the professional front, here’s what I accomplished.

  • I wrote 76 scheduled blog posts (36 of those posts were flash fiction stories) + 29 unscheduled blog posts = 105 total posts and 56,817 total words.
  • I edited 36 client books for a total of  1,417,190 words.
  • I audio prepped 26 novels.
  • I wrote and published a novel that I truly love and am really proud of plus a short story and progress on other books for a total of  108,452 words.
  • I read 39 books that were just for pleasure/education.

It wasn’t what I’d hoped to accomplish, but it rarely ever is. However, I’m not giving up, so there’s that.

For 2018, my goals are pretty simple. Some are tangible and some are less so.

Write more. I’d like to publish more than one book next year. I’m aiming for 3-4.

  • Complete all my scheduled blog posts.
  • Complete all scheduled edits and audio preps.
  • Be kinder and more understanding.
  • Be far gentler with myself than I have been.
  • Work to find the positive in situations instead of immediately succumbing to negativity.
  • Work  harder to be a positive force in this world and help when and where I can.
  • Take actual breaks and veg once in a while.
  • Remember to regularly appreciate all the fucking awesome things I have going for me.  Highest on that list are my amazing family, friends, and readers. And, of course, my kitties.

Thank you to all of you who stop by the blog or social media to chat, send me email, read my books, review my books, send me t-rex videos and cats in Christmas tree pics, and all of the rest of the wonderful things you all bring to my life. You’ve made 2017 far more bearable, and I have to believe that together, we can make it through 2018, too.

Be sure to check out Jess‘ yearly wrap up and goals, too.

It’s no secret that Jess and I aren’t the most organized people in the world, but we’re getting better all the time. Bullet journals have been a huge help in that respect.  The great thing about bullet journals—or bujos, if you will—is that you can organize them in whatever way works best for you.

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My layout is super simple, but it works well for me. Jess’ is a little more complicated, but again, it works for her. Some people have elaborate layouts with intricate drawings. Some people use stickers, and Jess and I really love washi tape. We love it a lot. Like…probably an unhealthy amount.

To celebrate our love of washi and bullet journals, we’re giving away three of our favorite Piccadilly lined journals with handmade covers (by me), and three gift bags full of washi tape—twenty-seven rolls each! Each journal cover features an external pocket for pens and markers (pictured pens aren’t included, though) and two large internal pockets for loose papers, rulers, stickers, stencils, etc. When the journal is full, you can put the cover on a new one. Oh, and it also comes with a matching bookmark.

Please note, you don’t have to use this as a bullet journal. It can be whatever you want. A dream journal, a travel log, a place for story notes or lists or recipes.

For a chance to win, please enter our Rafflecopter giveaway. Contest is only valid in the US. (The Midwestern girls in us feel we should apologize for that, but we can only ship prizes in the US, right now, so there it is.)

Click below to enter. (My blog won’t show the nifty little Rafflecopter widget because either Rafflecopter or WordPress hate me.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway