Can You Vague That Up For Me?

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Archive for the tag “Jessica Jarman”

Promptly Penned: Rock Bottom

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Prompt: Well, apparently, Rock Bottom has a basement. 

I looked around the crowded bar. There wasn’t another server free. “Motherfucker,” I muttered under my breath. I’d have to take his table.

Sighing in resignation, I pulled the hairtie off my wrist and quickly pulled my hair up into a sloppy bun. I turned toward the bar where Veronica, one of my fellow waitresses, was loading up a tray with drinks and plucked the hot pink, prescriptionless glasses off the top of her head and shoved them on my face.

She glanced at me as she lifted the heavy tray off the scarred bar. “Got a creeper?”

“Something like that.” I grimaced and adjusted the glasses as I walked to his table.

He glanced at me then back at his menu. There didn’t appear to be any glimmer of recognition. Sometimes, a different hairstyle and ugly glasses were all it took.

“Are you ready to order?”

He did a doubletake. “Samantha?”

I didn’t respond. Unless glaring at him balefully could be considered a response.

“I haven’t seen you in class lately.”

I tilted my head to the side and just stared at him. The sheer magnitude of his douchery exerted a force too great for me to keep my head upright.

“No,” I finally answered. “I don’t suppose you would have. I dropped out.”

He sighed in seeming disgust. “Well, that was stupid.”

It was then that I noticed the hot, young blonde in the booth with him. I’d been so distracted by my dread of having to interact with this man, I hadn’t even seen her. She was a beacon of golden perfection, I honestly can’t understand how I’d missed her in the first place.

Something inside me snapped. I turned to address her. “Look, I know he’s hot. Smart is sexy and all that. But take it from someone who knows, he’s completely void of any kind of moral compass and has no business being an educator.”

I could hear my voice getting louder, but I couldn’t quite manage to quiet myself. Conversations around me in the capacity-packed restaurant sputtered to a halt. Too bad I couldn’t make myself do the same.

“He doesn’t give a shit about you,” I continued as the girl stared at me, eyes wide and lips parted. “He’ll fuck you, and then he’ll steal your research, slap his name on it, and when it comes time to defend your dissertation, you’ll have nothing. And you know what? The sex wasn’t even all that good.”

He blinked at me as I saw the night manager barreling my way from the corner of my eye. She looked pissed. 

I glanced back at my former advisor.

He cleared his throat and turned to the blonde. “Chloë, this is my former student, Samantha.” Then he looked at me. “Samantha, this is my daughter, Chloë.”

Well…apparently rock bottom had a basement. Fucking fantastic.

That’s it for me today, be sure to read Jess, Gwen, and Kris‘ stories!

Top 10: Quotes I Say from Movies/Shows/Songs

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It’s time for another top ten post, and this month is quotes. In our house, we quote stuff allllllll the time.  Also, this is probably going to be more than top ten–it might even be top ten from each thing I quote regularly.

Top Ten Labyrinth Quotes: 

10. ) “Say your right words.”

9.) “Goblin King! Goblin King, wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me!”

8.) “I wish the goblins would come and take you away. Right now.” (It never worked.”

7.) “You remind me of the babe.” (This inevitably turns into a sing along.)

6.) “Oh, please. I haven’t said it in such a long time.”

5.) “Well? Laugh.”

4.) “No, no, no. Of course, not!”

3.) “Nothing? Nothing? Nothing, tra-la-la-la?”

2.) “Ohhhhhh, what a lie!”

1.) “It’s in the rules.”

Top Ten Buffy Quotes:

10.) “This could be mathier.”

9.)  “Lie to me.”

8.) “Button, button, who’s got the button. My money’s on the witch.”

7.) “It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.”

6.) “Right. Wasn’t here. Didn’t see it.  Couldn’t have stopped you.”

5.) “A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend.”

4.) “Can you vague that up for me?”

3.) “Bored now.”

2.) “What is your childhood trauma?”

1.) “It sucks beyond the telling of it.”

Top Ten Princess Bride Quotes:

10.) “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.” (Said any time a wedding invitation arrives. But, I also got to open a wedding I officiated last year just. like. this!)

9.) “I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped. ” (Said often when I’m on deadline.)

8.) “Life is pain, Highness!”

7.) “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

6.) “Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much.”

5.) “It’s for posterity.”

4.) “Good night, (insert either child’s ur husband’s or house guest’s name). Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

3.) “Murdered by pirates is good.”

2.) “Jesus, Grandpa, what’d you read me this thing for?”

1.) “Have fun storming the castle!” (Said almost anytime someone leaves the house.)

Top Ten Hamilton Quotes:

10.) “Here’s an itemized list of 30 years of disagreements.” (Sweet Jesus.)

9.) “Uh, do whatever you want. I’m super dead.”

8.) “I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”

7.) “Take a break. Run away with us for the summer. Let’s go upstate.” (Sung while we’re getting ready for our family vacation in the UP.)

6.) “When you knock me down I get the fuck back up again.”

5.) “We gotta go, gotta get the job done, gotta start a new nation, gotta meet my son!”

4.) “Pick up a pen, start writing.”

3.) “Write day and night like you’re running out of time.”

2.) “I’m not sorry.” (I sing this whenever someone complains about pretty much anything.)

1.) “I’m not here for you.” (I sing this whenever I enter the office I share with my son and all of his art supplies and gaming rig.) 

Top Ten Miscellaneous Quotes:

10.) “I could talk about industrialization and men’s fashion all day, but I’m afraid work must intrude.” Die Hard

9.) “She doesn’t even go here.” Mean Girls

8.)  “Flames…flames…flames on the side of my face!” Clue

7.) “I use antlers in all of my decorating.” Beauty and the Beast (You’d be surprised how often this one comes in handy.)

6.) “Then go ahead and STARVE!” Beauty and the Beast (What I said when someone dares express discontent with what’s for supper.)

5.) “If you don’t let me gut out this house and make it my own, I’ll go insane, and I’ll take you with me!” Beetlejuice

4.) “I have a permit.” Parks and Rec

3.) “I know what I’m about, son.” Parks and Rec

2.) “C’mon! We have a playdate with Banjo and Wingspan!” Baby Mama (My sister and I say this whenever we hear an especially hipster name. Since she works in an infant room at a childcare center, we say it a lot.)

1.) “In this parade of dumb and stupid, I’m the one twirling the flaming baton.” Gilmore Girls

Yeah…I know. Total overkill, but a lot of quoting goes on over here. What about you? What do you quote regularly? Be sure to check out Deelylah, GwenKris, and Jess.

Halfway Through the Year—2017 Goals Check-In

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So…it’s come to this. The halfway through the year goals check-in. Things aren’t…going as well as I’d like.

These were my goals at the beginning of the year:

Get a handle on the negativity that’s seems to be plaguing me.

Do what I can to affect positive change in the world–even if they’re only small things.

Write day and night like I’m running out of time.

However…this is how I’m currently feeling.

nervous-breakdown

Because everything is chaotic and scary and I’d like that shit to stop now. So…I’m looking for volunteers for this:

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I’m desperately hoping that my end of the year check-in is a hell of a lot better. And I’m also hoping Deelylah, Torrance, and Jess are having a better time of it.

Promptly Penned: Nancy Drew Shenanigans

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Prompt:  “Just call the police. No one has time for your Nancy Drew shenanigans.”

It was only day one of an entire month with my Uncle Joe, Aunt Tami. Hell, I hadn’t even seen my cousins, Joey and Tiffany yet, and I already wanted to scream. I understood that my mom wanted me to have the same kind of close relationship she’d had with her cousins growing up. In theory, it was a great idea. However, reality left much to be desired.

Maybe her aunts and uncles had made better choices than my mom’s only brother had. Even seeing my Aunt Tami for the occasional family dinner made me want to grind my teeth, but an entire month? I hoped my mom was prepared for the dental bills. Or to pay bail money when Aunt Tami had me arrested for throat punching her obnoxious children. I wondered if I’d still be allowed to start tenth grade if I had a record.

We pulled into the drive of their summer home. It was nice enough. And big enough that I had my own room when I was here. And I did like being on the lake. Though, I’d like it better if I didn’t have to constantly babysit Tiffany. She was awfully whiny for an 11-year-old.

We got out of the car and I followed Tami and Tiffany into the house, stopping short when my aunt gasped. It was trashed. There was broken glass and red plastic cups everywhere. Not to mention puke and the occasional candy wrapper and passed out teenager. In fact, Joey was lying on the couch, clutching a mostly empty bottle of booze.

“We’ve been robbed!”

I looked at Aunt Tami, and my mouth hung open for a second or two. “I don’t think so.”

“There’s broken glass everywhere and the whole place has been ransacked!”

I glanced around the room. “There’s empty bottles and puke everywhere. It looks like Joey had a party.”

She glared at me. “He would never!”

Shrugging, I said, “The red plastic cups and and the fact that he’s sleeping with a bottle of whiskey would suggest otherwise.”

“If he’s drunk, it’s because the robbers made him drink it.”

“I don’t–”

“Just call the police. No one has time for your Nancy Drew shenanigans.”

I pulled out my phone and stifled a smile. No cop in their right mind would believe the house had been robbed and Joey was a victim. This month of forced family togetherness just got a lot more interesting.

Okay, that’s it for me. Be sure to see what Deelylah, Jess, and Kris wrote!

Top 10: Ways I Procrastinate

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How do I procrastinate…let me count the ways.

10.) Clean. If I need to do something I really don’t want to do, cleaning is a great procrastination technique. Granted, I’m just exchanging one hated thing for another, but that’s usually when my house ends up being the cleanest.

9.) Surfing stock art sites. I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I actually spend looking for future character models for cover art.

8.) Menu planning. It’s a necessary evil because it makes our life run smoother, but it takes forever to do (because I loathe cooking  and shopping) but sometimes I use it as an avoidance technique.

7.) Twitter surfing. I use Twitter like a normal person, and then sometimes I fall into the hole of no return–especially during heavy news days. But then, aren’t they all heavy news days lately?

6.) Tumblr. Dear god…I love Tumblr, but I know that whenever  I get on, I’m not getting off anytime soon.

5.) Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. Please see above.

4.) Reading. I love stories. All kinds of stories and diving into a particularly good book is a fab way to avoid doing other stuff.  I like to call it market research.

3.) Words with Friends. Despite my children actively lobbying for me to join them in the land of video games, I’ve resisted…except for Words with Friends, though, they’ve informed me this doesn’t count as a video game. But I still probably spend too much time playing it.

2.) Netflix. Though, to be fair, I usually only watch it while I’m doing something else–usually something crafty because I’m incapable of just sitting and watching something. Like it’s a biological impossibility. I just can’t do it. I’m annoying as fuck to go to the movies with, because I’m a foot jiggler. I  jiggle my foot because apparently movie theaters frown on people using their phone for a flashlight to check their stitches while watching movies. Whatever.

1.) All the crafting ever. Sewing, knitting, cross stitching, pottery–I love being crafty, and if there’s something I’m looking to avoid, getting my craft on is the way to do it. I’m not actively trying to avoid anything at the moment, but I am making a wedding dress and a flower girl dress. For a July 1st wedding. Because I’m stupid.

You know…sometimes it’s hard to know whether it’s procrastination or just poor time management skills…

What are you favorite forms of procrastination? And be sure to check out Jess, Kris and Deelylah’s lists, too.

Flash Fiction #59 – Witch

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38479482 - dark witch calling thunder powers . fantasy and surreal studio shot

Tansy’s cell phone vibrated, and she pulled it out of her pocket. After reading the text, adjusted the countdown clock.

This was it.

It was really happening.

They were going to do it.

Nervous excitement built in her stomach making her feeling vaguely nauseated as she laid out her supplies in the middle of her living room floor. Salt, crystals, candles, herbs, and her athame.

She glanced at at the countdown clock again. In three minutes and thirty-three seconds, they’d attempt something that had never been tried. Witches from every country–covens, solitary practitioners, would join together with a single purpose–saving the world.

When her alarm chimed, she took a deep breath and  moved to the center of the room and lit the candles.  Gripping the hilt of her blade tightly, she cast the circle, calling to the four quarters and raising the energy she’d need to complete the spell. As soon as she felt the power surging through her, she closed her eyes and focused on the subject of her spell, visualizing him clearly while reciting the words she’d spent the last three days memorizing.

As she held an image of him in her mind, the power swelled as it spread and joined with that of every other witch in the world. The magical current raced along her limbs, leaping from nerve ending to nerve ending, raising hair and goosebumps over her entire body as her heartbeat fell into rhythm and joining her consciousness with the rest of the spellcasters. And still the energy gathered and grew. When it was too vast to be contained, they all released it at once—sending it hurtling toward their target.

Tansy collapsed, breathless to the floor, pressing her palms to the old wooden floorboards as the lingering remnants of magic dissipated. After she’d caught her breath, she closed the circle and extinguished the candles. Before she’d even gotten her supplies put away, her best friend, Diana, had begun texting.

OMG – that was amazing. Did you feel it? Are you as pumped as I am right now?

Yawning, Tansy responded: I’m exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open. When do you think we’ll know if it worked?

Diana texted back almost immediately. No clue, but you sleep. I’ll call you if there’s any kind of movement. 

Tansy thanked her and curled up on the couch. When she opened her eyes a few hours later, pinky-gray lighted filtered through the window and her phone was vibrating and and ringing loudly, Diana’s name flashing on the screen.

“Hello?”

“We did it! Turn on the news! Hurry!”

Tansy rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “What channel?”

“It doesn’t matter!” her friend crowed. “It’s on all of them!”

Fumbling for the remote, Tansy turned on the TV and squinted at the news anchor. “In a historically unprecedented move, the United States has thrown itself on the mercy of Canada, granting Prime Minister Trudeau governing responsibilities until the results of the 2020 election are in.”

The camera cut to a smiling Justin Trudeau. “Okay, healthcare’s been sorted. Now, let’s see what we can do about that climate agreement.”

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ takes on this image. Siobhan, Deelylah, Kris, Gwen, and Jess.

An app mysteriously appears on your phone and does something amazing. What does it do?

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Any time a politician betrays the ideals of our nation, (points if you heard that in Daveed Diggs’ voice) the app updates with one of those annoying little red numbers. In order to make the number go away, you have to open the app and hit the eject button. This jettisons the greedy, self-serving, treasonous assholes deep into into space where they’ll get exactly what they deserve.

Let’s see what kind of apps the other bloggers discovered on their phones. Deelylah and Kris (and Jess, too!)

Monthly Goals Check-In: May 2017

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This month…

I am so done with it, and I don’t even know where it all went. Much of it has been lost to stress, anxiety, and depression. This does not make for good goal fulfillment.

Let’s take a look at the goals I set for May, shall we?

Revise and re-release at least one of my stories that I have the rights back on. (Nope. But I did get an utterly gorgeous new cover that I can’t wait to share.)

Progress on RP. (Yes.)

Progress on TFAD (If we can count progress as I have more of an idea for this thing than I did last month, we can call it yes.)

Complete 7 client edits. (4 down, 3 to go – but I still have a few days left.)

Complete all May blog posts. (Yep.)

Progress on 4 client websites. (3 out of 4.)

Complete the 7 sewing projects I owe people. (1 out of 7, but I still have a few days.)

Begin deconstructing and reconstructing wedding dress. (Dress is deconstructed and is in the process of being reconstructed.)

Read some more. (Yep. Holy shit, Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell is bizarre but delightful. 

Okay, for June I’m going to:

Do all the June blog posts.

Finish the wedding dress and make a flower girl dress.

Progress on RP

Progress on TFAD

Revise and re-release at least one of my stories that I have the rights back on.

Go on our annual writers retreat and laugh myself stupid and write all the words.

Write a wedding ceremony.

Go check out the other bloggers and see how they did. Hopefully, it was better than me. Jess and Deelylah.

Favorite Writing Advice

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Advice is a lot like music. Or styles of underwear. Use what works for you, and leave the rest behind.

Obviously, I can’t tell you what’ll work for you, I can only share what’s worked for me, but look around. You might find something you like. Try it on. See how it fits. If you like it, it’s yours.

So, these are my favorite bits of writing advice.

Emotional Meat Grinder – The first book I ever finished had zero conflict, and my very wise forever-friend, Alex Kourvo told me that it doesn’t matter how much I love my characters, I still have to grab them by the back of the head and shove them face-first into an emotional meat grinder and make their lives hell. Then, when it’s really bad, I need to make it worse.

Write What You Love – There are some people who advocate writing whatever’s popular in hopes of riding genre coattails to fame and fortune. Here’s the thing about that. If it’s not a genre or subgenre you truly enjoy, it’ll show. I saw it often in when I edited for small presses, and I still see it now with my editing business.  If you’re writing something in hopes of a paycheck instead of writing it because you love whatever it is, it’ll never be as good or satisfying for you or the reader than if you’d written something you were passionate about.

Who Has the Most to Lose? – Someone in a long ago and far away critique group had some brilliant advice about POV (point of view) that’s stuck with me to this day. When you’re writing a story with multiple narrative POVs, you’ll have to decide whose POV each scene should be in. Ask yourself who has the most to lose. Who has the most to lose physically? Who has the most to lose emotionally? (Especially emotionally.) Nine times out of ten, the character with the most at stake (in the moment) is the POV you’re going to want to write that scene from.

If You Want to be a Writer, You Need to Make Writing a Priority. – (Full disclosure: I can’t remember who said this to me–in reality, lots of people–but I have to remind myself of it on the regular. Sometimes daily. Sometimes all day long.) This isn’t to say that life–the busyness that comes from living and interacting with other people, a day job, and the world at large–can just be ignored. But if you’re finding it hard making time to write, you may have to take a long hard look at how you’re spending your time and decide where you can cut back to make room for more writing time. Also, make use of whatever tiny pockets of time you have.

Please note, I’m not including depression or other illnesses in the list of busyness. Those are a whole n’other ballgame. But as someone with multiple mental and physical health bullshit going on, I’m reminding you to be gentle with yourself. Constantly beating yourself up isn’t going to suddenly make you more productive. Trust me…I know intimately of which I speak. Be gentle with yourself. Accept help when it’s offered. Ask for help when you need it.

Trust the Story. – Background to this. It’s a paraphrased Neil Gaiman quote. More backstory. Jess Jarman, Kris Norris and I have had a three way text chat going on for almost four years, now. It’s incredibly rare that a day passes that we don’t text each other. I came across this Gaiman quote: “Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” and shared it with them because I loved it so much.

While we were all working on newer to us genres and sort of stepping into the literary unknown (for us anyway) of self-publishing, we were having a lot of of doubt. Certainly, self-doubt, but also story doubt. We’re all mostly pantsers as opposed to plotters, and we’d often find ourselves second-guessing where the characters and the plots were heading because it wasn’t where we’d thought they’d be going. When that happened (and still, today, when it happens) we always tell each other, “Trust the story.”

Thus far, trusting the story and going with my gut has worked beautifully, and it’s brought me to places I hadn’t had any intention of going, but the books are better for it. I’m sure that one day, it might backfire and I’ll end up with a mass of revisions, but so far, this works for me, and I’m going to keep doing it.

Do you have any writing advice you swear by? What is it? Be sure to go check out the other bloggers’ favorite writing advice. Jess, Gwen, Jessica, and Deelylah.

Promptly Penned: Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

 

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Heads up, guys. This promptly penned is probably going to to be super short. I’m heartsick (and terrified) at the latest (continued?) political shitstorm facing this country. But I’m going to give this a go anyway.

Prompt: Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For example, there are 20 spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.

I stood in the richly appointed penthouse office, my feet sinking into carpet so plush, I wasn’t sure it wasn’t the entrails of enemies or something, and forced myself to maintain eye contact with this guy.

He laced his fingers together beneath his chin and stared up at me–charming smile firmly in place. “I’m surprised to see you. Our business has been satisfactorily concluded.”

“Maybe for you. I want it back,” I choked out.

He leaned back in his chair. “You know the rules: no refunds or exchanges. All sales are final.”

“You misrepresented the product.”

He smiled. “That’s called advertising.”

“There’s a difference between advertising and lying.”

“Tomato. To-mah-to.”

I sighed. Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “There are twenty spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.”

“So, stay away from cliffs.”

“Funny.” I glared at him. “That was just an example.”

“Look, you sold your soul. You got the ability to do magic. I don’t know what else you’re expecting.”

“I expected to be able to fix the government. I thought I could make all this,” I gestured toward the morning’s newspapers spread across his desk, “go away. I thought I could make things better for people.”

He was laughing before I’d even finished speaking. Asshole. “There’s not enough magic in the world for that.” He made a shooing motion with his hand. “Off you go.  Why don’t you go make yourself a spot of tea.”

He burst into another fit of laughter as I stalked from the  room, stepping aside as his assistant headed toward him carrying a cup of coffee. I muttered a spell under my breath as she passed. I may not have been able to save the world from certain destruction, but I’d managed to manipulate a couple of the tea spells to include coffee. I hoped he had a padded toilet seat. He was going to be there for a while.

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out Jess, Siobhan, Deelylah, Kris, and Gwen’s stories, too.

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