fantasy · Short Story

Friday Flash: Snake Woman

This didn’t turn out quite like I intended, but here it is.

He heard steps and turned. A woman’s light yellow scarf fluttered outside his window and vanished.

Just a passing woman, he thought. No one was inside.

He turned back to his sketch. His wife had long black hair, large, lively eyes and a faint smile. Her laughter was a balm to his heart, like cut roses floating on water. Pretty, delicate and, he thought now, dead.

He squeezed his eyes shut at the thought. His last sight of her floated into his head. Wrapped in a white sheet, eyes closed, she was very still on the wooden pyre. The warmth licked up his face. His tears dried from the heat of the fire even as the flames consumed her.

The sound of light footfalls and the tinkle of silver ankle bells filled the air. He looked around. A light yellow scarf flickered, but this time kitchen window. That was his wife’s garden.

Frowning, he set the sketch aside and rose. How dare a strange woman enter his wife’s space?

He walked out the kitchen door and – stopped. There was his wife, smiling, standing next to the basil, skin glowing like black pearls. Too much time gardening, he thought dimly. She’d spend months gardening. How had he missed it?

He strode forward, arms wide open. She rushed to him, laughing, rubbing her rounded belly.

The pungent smell of crushed basil leaves teased his nose. No . . . that wasn’t . . . it couldn’t . . . He blinked. Why had he thought he smelled basil? His wife grew roses here. She liked to use the blossoms to decorate glass bowls.

Later that night, he rose above her. She opened her mouth. He gaped at her thick, black tongue. She grinned – and kissed him.


The townspeople found him in bed. The sheets twisted about his body. His eyes stared and he yelled strange things. Black snakes curled up in his lap; he cuddled them like they were his own.

They sent a message to his family and left him be.  

flash friday · Short Story

Friday Flash: Escape

This isn’t quite what I hoped it would be, but it’s done now. 🙂


City lights gleamed in the distance. They were pinpricks of   life, of hope.

He automatically searched out the building with the spire made of stacked metal gargoyle skulls. Even obscured by wet and fog, it was beautiful. His family lived there, walked and worked in its rooms. He’d spent the best part of childhood there.

His lover’s home was a couple dozen blocks past it. He’d thought it was his home, too. He was wrong.

“Come on.”

He looked over his shoulder at his friend. His friend’s dark clothing was wet from the rain and his hair was slicked back. But his gaze held only rough sympathy.

“You knew it would end,” his friend stated.

He nodded. He knew. It still hurt. He took a deep breath of the cool, rain-scented air. “Time to go.”

The both walked to the edge. He placed his hands on the wet railing and looked down. The river below was dark and the waters roiled in the storm.

A small boat bobbed in the water. It was barely visible. He swung his legs over the railing and jumped.

The splash he made was lost in the storm’s fury. The water was numbingly cold. A moment later, his friend dropped beside him.

They looked at each other, than started swimming.



Response to Joyce Carol Oates Writing Advice

Joyce Carol Oates tweeted writing advice on twitter in the middle of July:

Yes, this, please.

This is probably true, but I suspect I have difficulty with it. Something to work on.

Stephen King says to have an ideal reader, but I’ll admit I never picture one. Or have one, either. (Picturing an ideal reader would no doubt be easier if I actually had one.) But I interpret this to mean: write for yourself. That is, write with yourself as the ideal reader.

Yes, this, please.

Yes, this, please. Especially when writing for the web. (I believe experimental writing can be done while experimenting with things other than form. These other forms of experimental will likely have paragraphs.) I have a deep love of paragraphs, I do, yes, as a reader and write.

I feel like this is saying: if you are baffled, end on a cliffhanger. I don’t agree with that. If you decide to end on a cliffhanger, it’s ought to be because you planned it that way. Not because you can’t figure out to end the chapter.

Also, I feel that this is the thriller way to plot a story.  It works for me, because if my WiP didn’t have magic and werewolves and such, it could maybe fit into the mystery/thriller category.

This . . . I think I am confused by this. The work shouldn’t have too much sincerity? Too much truth? Why not?

Well, it’s the contemporaries that will read any piece, so it’s hard to argue. You can’t write for the future (future trends, future fashions, and stuff like that).

Yes, this, please. Mostly because I am not a linear writer and even when I write the first scene first, I usually only manage to figure out what the first scene ought to be after I finish the whole thing.

Yes, this, please.

reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Living Dead in Dallas

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Tease:

Glass shattered, vampires roared, humans screamed. The noise battered at me, just as the tidal waves of scores of brains at high gear washed over me. When it began to taper off, I looked up into Eric’s eyes. Incredibly, he was excited. He smiled at me. “I knew I’d get on top of you somehow,” he said.

“Are you trying to make me mad so I’ll forget how scared I am?”

“No, I’m just opportunistic.”

I wiggled, trying to get out from under him, and he said, “Oh, do that again. It felt great.”

– Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris


The Munsters’ Mansion

I’ve been watching The Munsters’ on Netflix. My favorite part is the house. I am not sure what that says about the characters and the plot-line.

I love the gigantic, gloriously bare tree out front. I love how the stairs open and the family pet breaths fire. I like the dusty furniture and the cobwebs framing all the little pretty pieces. The electric chair in the living room is really the perfect grace note.

The house is practically another character in the show (as all good set pieces should be!). I am not sure if I should consider the family pet Spot as part of the setting – we hardly ever see him, but he has a rather blistery presence.

The Munsters’ might almost be a normal 60’s family without the house. After all, the father worked all night, the kids went to school, the grandfather forgot where the phone was, and the mother took care of them all.

I loved it when the Munsters’ went a hotel for a night and came right back because the room sucked; i. e. the room had no dust and the air was fresh.

Also, supposedly, the family’s morning is everyone else’s evening. Though I do wonder how that worked when the kids went to school. Most schools are only open during the day.

Someone in Texas even made a replica of the house and it is now a tourist attraction.

I would love to go!




Friday Flash: Glass Cabin

She stopped and stared. Someone had built a glass house in her sister’s garden. The   door was black. It stood ajar. There was a bed inside, covered in white sheets, and it resembled a white rose.

She circled it slowly. It sparkled in the sun like a rare jewel.

She trailed a finger on the glass, caressing. It was warm and smooth and so pretty. She ambled inside.

The door closed gently behind her. She ran a hand over the sheets and sighed. Soft as a feather.

She stood staring out the back wall; the garden looked magnificent. Large white, pink-tinted and palest yellow roses grew. She had done a good job. It was the perfect backdrop for her wedding.

Time to go back. She turned and walked the five steps to the door. The door didn’t open. She rattled the knob; the door stayed stubbornly closed.

Her sister walked out of the shrubbery. She wore the casual green habit of female wizards, not her formal robes. “Trouble, dearest?”

“Help me, sister. The door must be stuck. I must not be late.”

“Your darling fiancé must wait.” Smiling, she waved a hand and whispered a word.

Her stomach roiled and her vision went black. When she could see again, she found herself staring at the gigantic mole on her sister’s forehead. “You’ll make an excellent ornament, dear. Don’t try to break the glass. You’ll only hurt yourself.”


Teaser Tuesday: Fantasy in Death

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

“Do you think the penis ever gets tired?” As she drove, Eve turned her head toward Peabody, tipped down the shades she rarely remembered to wear. “Whose?”

“Anybody’s. I mean anybody with one. Does the penis ever just think: For God’s sake, pal, give it a rest? Or is it all: Woo-hoo! Here we go again!”

by Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb

Short Story

Friday Flash: I Have

I wrote this as a challenge: write a one-page nonfiction story like the first page of this piece by David Foster Wallace.

I have some (a lot!!) doubts as to how well I did. So . . . tell me! Don’t hold back. I can take it.
I’ve seen many people push themselves into a small box. I’ve squished myself onto trains so crowded there was hardly room for one more mouse. I have seen a man give   up his seat to an elderly woman. I’ve felt a woman’s sweaty, skirt-covered groin pressed against my butt – and wished her miles away.

I’ve seen rain splatter against the windows like a hundred spiders crawling across clear plastic. I’ve marveled at the confusion the subway map inspires in strangers. I’ve been puzzled by women wearing very high heels on wet platforms. I’ve had random conversations with clowns, a man who used to teach in India and a suburban housewife shocked to hear the city has no Walmarts.

I’ve seen rats scurry across the tracks ahead of a train thundering in. I’ve smelled a homeless man in the close confines of a car – and been grateful for a plastic orange seat. I’ve spent an hour reading the same beer advertisement over and over again. I have become sticky from no AC.

I have heard announcements over the overhead speakers: This is the last stop on this train. Everyone please leave the train. I’ve seen water pumps struggle to pump water. I’ve been forced forward by the push of a relentless crowd. I’ve walked inches from the edge – and come close to falling.

I’ve held fast to poles. I have stomped on the toes of dissipated men. I’ve tried not to see tear-stained faces. I have heard the announcement overhead: The train ahead of us has mechanical problems, only to be told later someone jumped onto the tracks.

I’ve seen boys turn cartwheels in a half-empty car. I have averted my eyes from public displays of affection. I have heard musicians good enough to make you weep. I have seen a flock of geese relaxing on the subway platform in the fall. I have witnessed the tenacity of grass growing in the middle of the train tracks. I’ve felt a baby tug at my fingers, attracted by sparkling nails – and been content.


Hugo Awards 2013

The Hugo awards were announced last night. I found out when I saw this tweet:

Than I discovered that the ceremony was going to streamed live. That never worked for me, by the way. It apparently worked for other people, but also had a habit of conking out. Maybe I was too impatient and didn’t wait long enough for it load when it was working. Don’t know.

Too bad the Hugos aren’t big enough to get TV coverage. That would be nice.

Instead, I found a place where someone was transcribing what people were doing in text. That was interesting. More amusing than the twitter #hugoawards hashtag, which I was also following. Too bad I found it when the ceremony was half over.

So . . . the awards. Redshirts by John Scalzi won best novel, which does not surprise me all that much. I haven’t read it, but it is pretty popular.

No, according to the Hugo statics, Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed placed fourth. I thought it would be closer to the top. Maybe second place.

I am also really happy Writing Excuses won a Hugo, too, for Best Related Work. The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature is good, too, the little I’ve read of it (only snippets here and there.) It placed fourth, which makes me wonder. But Writing Excuses is really good, too. And less expensive. LOL

I read hardly any graphic stories, but when Saga won, twitter really exploded. It felt like it exploded. It felt like people were more excited than when the avengers won the long form dramatic award.

Also, Dr. Who was nominated three times in the same category? What’s up with that? So they are three different episodes, but still, it’s the same show!!!