60-Word Writing Prompt

Today is the last day of February and the 60th day of the year (by my count ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). March brings with it so many possibilities as well as responsibilities that winter simply does not. Maybe I won’t be mowing the lawn in March but outside jobs are that much more in your face. It’s the possibilities that are exciting. Outdoor activities, not just jobs, will slowly but surely become available. What I especially love are the birds, their voices and songs, their migrations, and their overall presence. Add to that we’ll soon have flowers poking their little way through the cold soil to greet the sun with the rest of us. I do love spring.

As the weather warms that also usually means I won’t be reading as much and yet, audio books are helping to change that. Besides, I would really love to get some sun, which goes hand in hand with reading. Even more than sun and birds, flowers and warmth a new season alerts me to just where my novel is and isn’t. Where it is is a little stuck, which means it isn’t finished. But okay, I see that and I will act on that.

I’ve had some really great brainstorming sessions as of late. As well I’ve had a few tiny breakthroughs in terms of character and plot details. So far in my progress I’ve only really had to kill one of my darlings, that weren’t already dead. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It wasn’t all that difficult for me. However what I discovered recently is that I have a character I’ve long considered bad, but now the waters are muddying. In other cases a bad character simply became good. In this case however I cannot undo what they’ve done. So it’s not that I’m struggling with having to kill a darling it’s more so the balance or rather juggle of roles this character takes on. In real life we aren’t always good or bad. We’re usually a mix of the two. Even then good people go bad and vice versa.

At first I thought that maybe I would need to change something, maybe this character isn’t all that bad. It would be much easier to know how to judge them than balance their bad against their good throughout the story. Then what? But I recognized my error; in writing as in many arts and things we do in life, the simplest answer isn’t always the best answer. I’ve read/listened to many stories with gray characters. It didn’t stress me out or frustrate me, it was kind of refreshing. It was more like real life, more dynamic. I know that this will not be easy but I’m not trying to write an easy story. Instead I will embrace this new direction as I am spring and all that comes with it.

The theme for today’s 60-Word Writing Prompt Challenge is new. I’m going to keep it just that simple, go with it where you may just make sure it’s in 60 words, no more no less. Please title your tale, post it in the comments or a link to your page with a subsequent link back here to me.

Feel free to revisit my other flash fiction prompts as well as the pieces I wrote for The Carrot Ranch’s Writing Prompt Challenges. You’ll find links to all of these at the end of this post.

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Things Discovered, Things New

It wasn’t a surprise my wings were feathered, but an interesting development. The composition of your wings is an indicator of your position, at least in part.

Feathers meant watchers, messengers, spies, and hunters to name the basics. I could live with that. But I was shocked to find I had a second set of wings. They were not feathered.

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Voila! Your turn. ๐Ÿ˜€

For more of my Writing Prompt challenges follow the links below:

The following links are the pieces I wrote for The Carrot Ranch’s 99-Word Writing Prompt Challenge. She writes some really great posts I highly recommend you check them out, especially if you’re a writer. The Carrot Ranch is a dynamic literary community for sure!

As always, thank you so much for visiting and sharing. I do encourage healthy discussion. If you like what you’ve seen follow me to stay tuned in to what’s going on here. This week I’ll share another flash fiction piece for Carrot Ranch’s latest challenge as well as new additions to my TBR for January and February. That last one might come in the form of two posts, we’ll see.

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Carrot Ranch: Feb 20 Flash Fiction Challenge

I just have to say I really enjoy Charli’s posts. As she works up to the flash fiction challenge details in her post this week, she first shares how her thesis is coming along, the plot and plot outline she’s working on. This comes at a great time for me as I am a pantser at heart but have learned over the last few years that I really need to be a plantser, a mix of both plotter and person who writes by the seat of their pants. I can not survive on pantsing alone. Her words are like an arrow with a message to the center of my story board: plot & plot outline you do need.

Thanks Charli!

More on this later, but for now let’s take on this challenge!

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February 20, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this e=situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads!

https://carrotranch.com/2020/02/21/february-20-flash-fiction-challenge/

The Meeting

Rainbow waited behind the statue of the library’s patron by the door. She hoped Ms. Margaret would not see her tail and know.

When it opened she slipped out the door. The patron spun around alarmed but Rainbow was out and running down the sidewalk.

Two blocks away Rainbow stopped. She looked up and down the street. Then up the building next to her. A small red sweater in a window flapped in the wind. The door read “Phyllis’ Place”.

She waited for that door to open then bolted inside. The woman looked up from the desk and smiled.

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There you have it!

Writing prompts and flash fiction are amazing tools for a writer. I have undoubtedly overlooked these practices in my own writing. Brevity is not my strong point. Therefore it is in my best interest to write more with less. It’s so interesting to learn just how much you can cut without taking away from the story. At first I didn’t know what to write. But when the idea came to me there was a lot behind it. I just started writing. I had 163 words when I stopped. This was the most I’d over-wrote for one of the Carrot Ranch challenges so far (I’ll post links to my previous efforts as well as my new flash fiction challenges).

Having counted 64 words over I thought oh dear how am I going to cut this? In truth, I really enjoyed that part of the exercise because it taught me. If I were to write the story in more detail I would expand on what I have above however it’s not necessary. More so than not, my situational storytelling about Rainbow above conveys just what I need and want it to. It was cool cutting four or five words here, accepting that they really weren’t important. Or turning three words into one.

I keep coming back to the same conclusion: writing flash fiction is really good for me.

I posted the link to Carrot Ranch’s flash fiction challenge above but I’ll go ahead and post her main URL here as well. I encourage all writers especially to visit her page/blog.

The following links are to my entries for a few of Charli’s flash fiction challenges:

The links below are my own flash fiction prompts and works. I started doing this several weeks ago and will continue. You are welcome to join.

Thank you Charli for your inspiration, teaching, and motivation, and thank you readers for visiting and hopefully joining both challenges!

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56-Word Writing Prompt Challenge

Well hello all you fine people out there, happy Tuesday. The last week and a half has just flown by. Friday turned into Tuesday and so has my 56-word writing prompt. At this rate you’ll get two writing prompt challenges this week, or maybe I should be saying at this rate I’ll see you next Friday! Lol, stay tuned to find out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay let’s get to it. So I’ve joined the writing community in doing writing prompts, at least I’m trying. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve also joined by doing a prompt myself. This week, as the previous two – 38-Word flash fiction & 47-word – is based on number of words and a theme I choose. Write your flash fiction piece with 56 words no more, no less because by my math ๐Ÿ˜‰ it’s the 56th day of the year. Post your piece or a link to your piece in the comments below and post a link back to this post should that apply to you. Also, please title your piece and if you decide not to write flash fiction, note that as well.

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This Week’s theme

This week I’d like to reflect on blessings, gratitude, appreciation, and the like. This includes talents that your life has bestowed on you, help or gifts people have given/offered/provided you, good luck you’ve experienced, good people or animals you know, all of it. I’m talking about any and everything you are grateful for, big small, few or many.

Time out, time out.

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Some days, weeks, months, even years are just hard. You might not feel inclined to stop and count your blessings. Things might be so hard for you at that or this time that it just makes you sick to hear people say count your blessings. You might be feeling like your glass is half-empty. And if that’s the case, I’m sorry, I’m genuinely sorry. I do know how that feels. Maybe I don’t know exactly how you’re feeling, or what you’re going through but I have compassion for you and the very fact that you’re struggling.

If you or someone you know needs help please scroll down for a short list of websites and phone numbers you may contact for assistance. Skip the exercise and reach out. You don’t have to be alone in this.

56-Word Writing Prompt Challenge – Gratitude

Please try, just a quick second, try and do this exercise with me and with us. Challenge yourself to find even the silliest thing. The smallest things really can be the best. I have had some really sad days and then I see a joyful thing that reminds me of my deceased brother. Of course the fact that he’s been gone over eight years is horribly sad but a good memory of him is just that and it makes me smile. Through my tears, I think, at least I knew you at all. And sometimes it feels like he’s saying hey, I’m here. I always say, thanks bro.

So let’s do this together, whether your day sucks or not, whether it’s the best time of your life or the worst. Take a deep breath and find the thing in your life that you’re glad is there, be it a memory, a gift, a book, your car, your apartment, the lady at the gas station who knows your name, the sun, a blooming plant, a singing bird, a purring cat, catching the bus when you thought you’d missed it, or a laugh or smile you weren’t expecting. They all count.

Use that thing to craft a 56-word short story. In your title please refer back to the thing you’re happy about or grateful for that has inspired your story, specifically, literally, metaphorically, however. Look in or around for a sneak peek. ๐Ÿ™‚

Being Seen and Seeing

I reached one hand through. The warmth spread across my bleeding hand. Still in the tunnel yet here is the hope I needed. Today I saw light, and touched it.

As I’ve traveled below the war outside and through one inside, I’ve changed. The stretch before me should give me time to finish growing my wings.

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There you go, 56 words! I’m grateful for letting my struggles be known and for the help that has been provided and offered me. I’m grateful for being seen. I’m grateful for having some tools, any really, to carve out a brighter future. I don’t know just what that looks like but I know there’s light and I’m going to embrace it.

If you’re struggling please seek help, be it through a help line of sorts, a group, a friend, family member, doctor, professional, whatever, please know it’s there. Take a deep breath and reach out for help. You have that courage inside you, even if it’s tucked away at the bottom of your old toy chest of childhood, call it forward. Embrace it. Ask for help. Ask for help like poking air holes in the tunnel that may surround you. Keep looking until the light you need shines down. Use even a little bit of that hope to hold you a float, it’s worth it. That light may be light, or a beautiful sound or sensation or voice. Don’t give up. Don’t always doubt yourself. Don’t over think taking a second to say for this I am grateful. Fill your heart up. Breathe. Try on a tiny tiny smile at the corners of your mouth. It might be hard or feel stupid, just try it for a quick second. How was that?

Keep scrolling for a list of websites and hotlines you can use. Keep looking. Keep trying. Stay breathing. Share your story.

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SAMHSAโ€™s National Helpline โ€“ 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSAโ€™s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

Top Helpline Resources from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – 800-950-NAMI or Text “NAMI” to 741741

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-HelpLine/Top-HelpLine-Resources

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to trained crisis counselors (800-273-8255)

The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning and information on domestic violence (800-799-7233)

HelpWhenYouNeedIt.Org over 350,000 lisitng for social services, mental health, substance use, legal and financial assistance.

The above is not a comprehensive or even exhaustive list but I wanted to provide you some places to start should you need it. One step forward. Be proud of yourself that you took a step at all.

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We Pledge Allegiance to Our Vanity…

**This post is the second in a series I will continue about aging as a woman today and related stuff. It’s a bit of a rant so bare with me. I don’t take issue with wearing makeup in general, just for the record. :D** You can read my first HERE about having graying hair.

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My novel (tentatively scheduled for publication later this year) features a woman in her mid-30s, like me. ๐Ÿ˜€ The reason I’m using this character besides being similar to me in age is because I’m a little exhausted with YA saturation. That’s not to say there aren’t stories out there about full grown adults, of course there are, but it seems that everyone is driven to young adult characters. Again, that’s fine. There are so many awesome books and characters who are young adult. I understand the appeal to write young adult characters but I’m also interested in the lives of other age brackets.

In addition to feeling uncomfortably saturated with young adult novels and movies all around me, I’m really really tired of all this focus on looking younger. I get it okay I do, guys I’m a woman eeking her way to 40. My skin is not perfect and fresh and my body gets irritated by a lot more stuff than it ever used to. I might not be old but I’m not young. All I’m saying is I do understand the appeal to still look young. I’m curious about what anti-aging lotions might actually be worth buying. I’m interested in prolonging my youthful looks. I might be embracing my grays but I’m not going to let them perform center stage, yet. So it’s not that I’m saying what the heck people, who cares. What I am asking is, why are we obsessed though?

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More and more women and men it appears are getting plastic surgery. Just when you think your favorite actress will not yield to the pressure you see her under the lights looking different in some way that you just can’ put your finger on. From Jada Pinkett Smith to Nicole Kidman, they just can’t leave their f&*%ing faces alone!

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I can only imagine the immense pressure women in Hollywood are under to look good and stay young. It’s real and it’s true that older women have a harder time than older men getting work. How come Marvel recast X-Men but Patrick Stewart still got to play the old Professor X? Why did Famke Janssen just get booted all together? No cameo roles for her? What about Halle Berry? I liked her as Storm even though I don’t think she’s a great actress she fit. And Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique? Oh God they killed me with that one! But even as men still seem to run Hollywood and so much more it is my belief that we are all overlooking our own roles in carrying on the toxic environment. Women are carrying on these ideals that aren’t real. Women are running every chance they can to get this or that plumped up. And we’re apparently okay with that!

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Have you ever seen those infomercials about that magical make-up air brush device contraption machine thingy? How it covers your face perfectly with makeup, it just smooths away the blemishes? Transforms your look in seconds? Why are we okay with this? Do they talk to men like that? Now people, I’m not dissing makeup okay? I wear mascara, once in a great while I’ll put on some eyeliner or eye-shadow, lipstick even gloss. I love the way mascara looks. But I like makeup for occasions. I think you don’t wear your party dress to work or to the park so why wear your party face everywhere you go? That’s fine though, you like to dress your face up for the day, hey high five to you for rocking your thing. But if we look beyond the surface we are perpetuating a toxic mentality that somehow less than perfect needs to be covered. Your skin tone should be even. I’m not saying who cares about blemishes, good Lord I do not like zits and pimples and blotchy skin and the rosacea I now have. I’m not attacking makeup wearers or lovers, I’m attacking the industry and society’s overall mentality on it. That it’s this thing that women NEED to be whole. We’re supporting showing each other that it’s okay to hide behind false perfection just as long as you look good. And yet sometimes people wear so much makeup they really don’t look good at all! Your face is different from your neck! I like the character you’re trying to play but you’re trying too hard when I just want to dig my fingernail into your cheek just to see how thick it is. It’s too much!

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There used to be a barista at my local coffee shop who painted her face every day in the kind of 50s style I’m sure you’ve all seen. It’s a cute look when done right and in the right context if you ask me. But every time I pulled up to the window and saw her I just wanted to take her to the bathroom and hand her a washcloth. Why the mask? Why not just some highlights or little bit of this or that? Why are you trying so hard to not have your face? I wanted to be one of her friends and say hey, I love you but stop, it doesn’t look good. Girls we can do better by each other than sitting around not saying anything about how we act like we hate our natural selves.

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I know I might be being a jerk here but I’m frustrated people, I’m really really frustrated. Everyone wants to play the hero. Everyone wants to put nice sayings all over their social media and get thousands of likes. Everyone wants to be a humanitarian, as long as they look good doing it. To me it seems that we have all lost a piece of our humanity because we do not want to embrace age. We do not want to hold it up and say, look our elders are people, they are relevant. Why can’t we embrace the process of becoming them? If you’re getting married you embrace the act of being the bride, the soon to be wife right? If you were going to be a princess you’d probably go through some bad ass ritual. So why is it we’re all running and hiding from aging? Sure it sucks but it’s real. It’s one of the most real things about life. You’re going to get old, God willing, and it’s going to show. Why is it more acceptable to physically transform your face and look plastic than bear the wrinkles that say, I have amassed wisdom?

It’s not easy for me to look in the mirror, get all up and personal with it, and see all these fine lines on my face. A close up with the mirror at the dentist does not make me feel good. Yes I have pushed my skin back to a more taut day just to see the difference. I have a worrier’s forehead. I have laugh lines and they don’t go away when I’m not laughing. You don’t think I’ve imagined putting some fancy powder on my face and just looking like I’m 25 again? You don’t think with my small lips I can imagine the urge to just give em a little extra? I have used SnapChat in all its fun and glory and I see the difference between my face and my SnapChat filtered face. It’s not healthy. Everyone wants to put these pictures up of themselves that aren’t them and so we teach each other it’s okay to not be yourself even as we plaster our walls with the glorious idea of embracing who you really are.

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I want to be a part of a wave of people who are actively learning to accept the changes that come with aging. I want to stop looking in the mirror and almost hating older me, almost, almost but no. I want to stop being afraid of how old I may or may not look. I want us all to truly embrace ourselves and the process of aging, to discuss how we cope with it. I want to grab a hold of this thing and say I’m okay with it because I need to know how I can use all this time I’ve got under my belt! I love older people and all their knowledge and I want them to know that they are still people. All the older people I know don’t think they’re as old as they are. Mentally they’re back 20 years. There’s so much life in them! It’s like we’re missing the point here; it’s not that there’s no life left in the old, it’s that they have magically absorbed it into their bodies!

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My grandpa is 100 years old, 100 freaking years old, and he’s still walking and smiling and cracking little jokes when you don’t expect it. He’s kind and steadies himself to hug me and kiss me on the cheek. He’s stubborn and refuses to use two walking sticks no matter what my dad tells him. He just gets up every day to make it through another day. He does not quit. He has absorbed 100 years of life on this planet. He’s a pilot, a World War II veteran, a father, a husband, an athlete, a businessman, a friend, and an oh so bright soul. I’ll be damned if that man had time to be obsessed with his looks.

My grandpa doesn’t believe he’s 100 years old. That started the year prior, he didn’t believe he was 99. Wasn’t sure how old he thought he was but not that. It was kind of funny, and worrisome, but shit after 99 years you can have that one. I’ve been thinking about this more lately. Our bodies it seems age faster than out minds. Maybe he’s reached a place where he feels like it just doesn’t make sense that my mind and body would be so far off in age. Maybe it just doesn’t matter anymore. What if we became obsessed with what our minds are doing instead of what our bodies aren’t?

Have I frustrated you yet? Then let’s chat.

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My Review of A Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, narrated by Tanis Parenteau

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Info from Goodreads:

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinรฉtah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinรฉtah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is its last, best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the reservation, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

Audible audio book – August 7th 2018 by Audible Studios – Listening time: 8 hours and 58 minutes

My rating: 5/5!!!

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I found this book thanks to SilverWolfReads and her post My Great American Book Haul in which she shares the 30+ books she picked up during her visit to NYC. She got the sequel to this book, Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World, #2) but of course you gotta start at the beginning right? So I did and I’m so happy.

This is why it’s not great to write reviews so long after the fact because it’s difficult to keep track of all your thoughts on the book. This is also why I said I was going to start taking notes. Lol. Anyways, I had been thinking a little while ago that I would change my review format to Pros/Cons of the story/book/narration/style etc. I likely will do that in the future however for this particular review I will not.

Reason being, I was really happy with this story as well as the overall narration. It starts off all in the action. Being post-apocalyptic you would expect just that, for a lot to have already happened and happening. But I don’t always love post-apocalyptic stories because they’re so much the same dreary burnt up world. There’s definitely some dreary world stuff going on here but the flavor, I found, to be different. I like how right from the start you know there’s some weird stuff going on underneath it all. That makes me feel like I need to sit up and pay attention.

Much of that is thanks to the story being built around Native American lore, which I admittedly do not know but find fascinating all the same. This story stands out among the crowd of post-apocalyptic stories centered around white culture. Out of respect I believe we ought to all be paying more attention to all the histories of our nation, including the stories, mythical and factual.

Not to get all political or politically correct or incorrect or passively political or pascifistically politically corrected!

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This telling is fabulous and provides a stimulating albeit rather unknown to me, background. You do spend a fair bit of time wondering and waiting for just what happened to the world. However, I think Roanhorse is clever with her writing and gives enough for you to hold on to the reins and stick with the story without falling off as a result of impatience. There’s a lot, I hear, that will continue to unravel about the world and the underlying story in the next book. Which I agree with a review I saw that that makes for some great storytelling and world building when done right. Which it is, IMHO.

I don’t know if it’s worth noting but I will agree with some other reviewers about almost (in my case) being annoyed at the part where Maggie the MC has to get dressed to go to this place which would of course require that she be a little provocative looking. But I mean, I don’t know, it’s not terrible in this context considering she has to do so to fit in (not a spoiler btw). So I have to give it a pass but I can see where people might feel that way. Because of course many of us can’t help but wonder why bad ass women are always half-naked? But Maggie doesn’t get “half-naked”. Moving along…

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I’ve also heard people say that some of the paragraphs are long in description which is not something I typically enjoy. However, I listened to this as an audio book so I can’t say it bothered me, or at least I don’t remember if it did! Lol. Which says a lot about the story. If it’s fast moving and interesting I don’t tend to get too hung up on specifics that might normally annoy me. Basically, slow me down long enough to think a lot and I might likely get frustrated. Okay not always but you get the point. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This book is first person, present tense and I think it all worked for the most part.

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If you like post-apocalyptic urban fantasy for sure check this out. If you like bad ass female characters check this out. If you’re interested in Native American lore check this out. And if you want all of that wrapped up with a bow, yeah this is the book for you. She might fall into some of the bad ass female tropes, including her relationships, but it’s worth it. This story is super unique and well worth the time it takes to enjoy. Rebecca Roanhorse is on my radar now.

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My debate then was do I read the next one to get a feel of the writing, the words or do I continue on with audio? My answer: I will continue listening to this series. The reason I will go with Audible Audio again is because I like Tanis Parenteau and her reading of this book. The next book as noted above is Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World, #2).

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I will add here as well that SilverWolfReads is responsible for my reading/listening to Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor. Read my review here. Great story also!

Okay, your turn! Read this? Reading it? Want to? Feel free to agree or disagree with me here, albeit respectfully please. ๐Ÿ˜€

If you want to read some of the other things I’ve had to say about books I’ve read then go to THIS PAGE and read what reviews I have available. If you want to know what i’m reading CLICK HERE.

I would so love and appreciate if you’d like to follow me (there should be a button around the bottom right corner somewhere…) as well as your feedback. I am a chatty Cathy although I am not a Kathy or a Cathy. And if I write those names a few more times I will swear that is not how they’re spelled!

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47 Word Writing Prompt Challenge

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Back again for my new weekly writing challenge. This week we’re doing 47 words. I might be a day behind or I might be right on time, maybe it’s Friday, maybe it’s Saturday or Sunday! But I am late in getting it out even for Sunday delivery so here we go. The theme is breaking habits.

Sometimes I put so much thought and emotion – okay all the time – into my writing that I wind up avoiding it all together, even if not intentionally. Writing this makes me think twice about my theme, maybe it should be focus? See? Too much thinking. Sure focus is another thing I need to work on but let’s do one theme at a time. Since my writing can take so much mental energy I become easily distracted. And I give in a lot, especially to over-thinking which is the killer of doing!

Part of the reason I give in a lot is because I have bad habits, things I can turn to instead of ___________ I like to run the TV in the background for distraction. Isn’t that very idea counter-intuitive? I’ve discovered that a lot of us do this. There’s just this need for some kind of noise in the background. Even then it’s not just the noise but the activity. I’m plenty happy if there’s at least something moving, running around on the TV, while I keep it mute or very near so. Still I make sure to put something on that is at least a tiny bit interesting. Ugh…no…that means there’s always something to fall back on.

There are times where I’ll write in spurts. I’ll write some 1,500 to 3,000 words then just kind of sputter to a stop. This is normal I know, I’ve heard about the method of writing for 20 or 25 minutes at a time then take a break. My bad habit here is that my break winds up taking WAY more time than it should. A break at work is like 5, 10, 15 minutes if you’re lucky. The other night I chose to play logic puzzles on my phone. I picked hard (doh, you know that’s going to take longer whereas medium will take under 5 minutes, oh but my reasoning was let’s see if I can’t be awesome and do a hard one super fast) and 45 minutes later I gave up on the puzzle mad that I’d abandoned my writing which is something I actually care about. Guess what? Then I was tired as it was well passed bed time.

I have bad habits. I love to eat, plenty of bad habits right there. I like to watch TV and movies. More there. I like to play games. Oh gosh… These are not wholly bad things. They themselves are not bad habits but in the context of my life they become bad habits. Just like reading is not bad, no no, but reading when you should be working or cleaning or maybe you read for fun when you’re supposed to be reading for school? You see my point.

So along with this prompt let’s break a few bad habits, at least on my end.

  1. If I’m not gonna watch it, no TV. (Not only will this help my writing practice but it’ll save energy and money! And yes there are gobs of other points we can make and habits we can break with regard to the TV but we’re keeping it simple, for now.)
  2. Breaks are to be no more than 10 minutes between writing sessions.
  3. Don’t eat just because you can and/or are bored.

I’ll check in next week with how this went. For now, here’s my 47-word flash fiction piece centered on breaking habits. By the way, you can translate this how you wish for your piece. If you decide not to write fiction please don’t forget to mention that. And now here’s my piece:

That Day

I don’t know what I was thinking, that day. When I look back, I don’t think I was. I was fed up. Tired of not doing anything and doing everything the same.

First thing, I started doing, not doubting. When the magic came, I went to work.

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There we have it for this week’s flash-fiction prompt, 47-words no more no less. If you have a website/blog please link back to this here original post and post your story and/or link in the comments below. I may eventually use photo prompts as well seeing as I like to dabble in photography. I’ve got some cool images we could have fun with. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can expect another flash fiction prompt next weekend.

Thanks so much for visiting and/or participating!

38-Word Writing Prompt

Hey hey there folks & happy Wednesday! How is your week thus far?

One thing, or rather a couple things I’m adding to my goals is writing more short stories and attempting more writing prompts, my own and those provided by others. It’s not news that writing is an art, a skill, an exercise that requires practice. I think an issue I run into is being too strict in my thinking andd approaches to writing. Not across the board, no, I’ll write anywhere anyhow I can. I will find something to write about if I feel like it. However, while I can do all of that it doesn’t mean I do.

Much of the time when I set up (mentally physically and both) to write I’m thinking WIP WIP WIP, which right now means work on your novel Elpy! And that’s good because that’s what I should be doing; there is a lot of work to be done on that front. But a couple weekends ago my partner inadvertently reminded me that I can work on other projects. Which in turn reminded me that I should.

Some days I’m inspired to write about something that is not related to my current story, or work in progress (WIP). I usually shelve it as for the future project or I forget to make note of it swearing eventually I will. The other week I was reading Popshot (Quarterly), a great illustrated literary magazine (UK based I believe) that still publishes in print. The current issue’s theme is fantasy. I read some pieces and it just hit me. Damn I would like to write a short story, yes I would. So yes I did, okay I started it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And it’s good to flex these little muscles. In a recent yoga class (video) the instructor took us through an unalignment class. She talked about how we reach plateaus after doing things for a while, and that sometimes we even regress. It’s good to do things differently to train the body differently, testing yourself in new ways, reawakening the parts that don’t always get used. Really great stuff.

The point is probably obvious, this applies to all facets of life not just exercise. At least I know it applies to me and my writing. I’ve been in a kind of slump with my novel. It’s not that I can’t write, I do, but I’m just not finding that natural flow with my story that I’ve had so many times before. I’m feeling a bit stagnant and not allowing myself to open up and let the story come.

Twice now I’ve done the 99-word Flash Fiction Challenge at Carrot Ranch Literary Community. (Thank you Charli. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I’m so happy to have found Charli Mills & the Carrot Ranch (thank you Ritu at But I Smile Anyway for sharing your posts based on Charli’s challenges). Charli Mills has some awesome posts (some because I haven’t read that many, yet) in which she talks her life and/or writing as well as providing these prompts. My 99-word prompt about a mail carrier comes from her fabulous post about writing characters. She truly provides a dynamic literary community as her title says and I look forward to using this resource to improve my writing.

Inspired by writing challenges in the past (by the way, Charli’s is not the first I’ve seen of challenges I just tend to fall away from them), I’ve written a few blogs saying I might start writing my own prompts and/or writing exercises but then I don’t keep up with these ideas. What I’d like to do for real for real is once a week – probably Fridays – I’m going to create a prompt, a writing challenge of my own. I do this not to replace my use of Charli’s, nope I’ll continue with hers, but rather to increase my writing practices. I want to challenge myself with different parameters, push myself and my creativity. Committing myself to blog challenges can help this as well I get to share some of my writing with you all. Seeing as you can’t read my novel until it’s out this is another way to share. Plus I see that other writers like to get in on the challenge and it seems there can never be too many. So I figure, why not join the community of challenges and prompts by inviting others to follow along? Right? Lovely.

So every Friday I’ll have a new prompt for you. PAUSE [I wrote this post and intended to publish it on the 7th of February. But it needed to be edited, links added and I was too tired to finish. Then I didn’t have time. Then another day passed and another. But I like what I did hear so I’m going to go ahead and post this on a Wednesday. Feel free to write your own 38-word story for the challenge. This Friday, the 14th, I will post a new one.) RESUME from the 7th: Today’s is 38-words. Yes I said ONLY 38 words for your story. I will tell you the story behind my number. It will often be the same as today, meaning it will increase. I do believe we’re in the 38th day of the year right? There you have it. In addition to only using 38 words (no more, no less) I want you to follow the concept of doing things different. Interpret that as you may, new ideas, different habits, etc. Please do title your piece.

And in case you don’t already know, a 38-word story would be considered flash fiction. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post your piece in the comments and link back to my post on your site should you have one you’re posting on. Or you can just post your link back to your story. Let’s get started!

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Believe me, I will

Two more feathers today. I flex them, I think I do. It took a lot for me to believe. Then they grew.

If I keep believing I’ll have a full set. I will believe, I will do new.

via GIPHY

Sweet! There you have it, my 38-word story on doing things different. Whatcha think and whatcha got for me?

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My Review of Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor, narrated by Steve West

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Audible Audio edition

Info from Goodreads:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundโ€”and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old heโ€™s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteriesโ€”including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazloโ€™s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Audible Audio – Published March 28 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton

My Review

Ok how do I rate this after being so conflicted at the beginning? Easy!!!

5/5 stars

I discovered this book thanks to SilverWolfReads and her giant book haul from her trip to NYC. I believe I added these in June 2019, you can find these additions in TBR New Additions Part 1. There are a whole host of other books I added to my TBR thanks to her blog, including Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse which I listened to before this book and loved. That moved a lot faster from the start and made it that much more difficult to survive Strange the Dreamer’s slow start. But thanks so much for sharing what you read!!!

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Funny thing is I’m listening to the last chapter as I write this or at least start writing this. That’s how impressed I am with where this story went and ended. Some endings can change how you feel about the whole story, be it book or movie. I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and was all wrapped up in it until…the ending. Then I was pissed because I did not think it was a satisfying end to such a movie. This book however just kept getting better and better.

In my post Currently Reading (which will change as my reading does) in January/early February, you might have read that I was not enjoying the beginning of this book. Here’s what I said:

I’m in about Chapter 10 I think? So far I’m disappointed because this book is taking so long to be interesting. Lazlo, the main character (MC), really feels flat to me at this point. Given the number of roaring reviews I’ve discovered there to be (saw, didn’t read just glazed over a few) I have faith that this book improves but if I was given an ultimatum I’d be tempted to DNF this.

You know a book is taking too long to really grab you when you almost forget you’re actually supposed to be paying attention to what you’re listening to and you struggle to want to.

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I wish I could remember exactly what chapter it was that changed things for me. I know what happened in the story that did it but I don’t want to tell you anything more than what the summary from Goodreads does. My reviews will not contain any more of a summary than that because I don’t want to spoil the story. Some people like the standard review in which people provide their own summary, the kind we were taught in school. However, I have found that I don’t usually want to know too much more because I like the surprise of discovering the details myself. I know that people warn you if they’ll be spoilers but sometimes just knowing too much before you start is a spoiler, not unlike a movie trailer that shows you all the best parts of the movie.

For instance – the following example is made up and has nothing to do with this book – let’s say a summary tells you the story is about a mystical mountain covered in fog all year long except for two weeks in the summer. No one has visited the mountain ever since a hiking party of 10 disappeared save one individual who came back mute and blind. But then a small boy gets lost, last seen walking in his sleep towards the mountain. Who will brave the mystery to find him? Then let’s say I write a review that doesn’t “contain spoilers” per se, but I tell you that the people have rumored there’s a herd of magical ponies that live midway up and that’s what they’re afraid of. That might be a common detail but you wouldn’t have known until you read the story or someone’s review. I wouldn’t have minded discovering the ponies for myself like a fun little prize in my cereal box; I know it’s in there but if my brother gets it out and shows me, the surprise is done.

That said how I feel about the book now does not change how I feel about the beginning. Don’t like, not gonna like it but this story is a testament to the power of word of mouth. Were I any less patient with books, quicker to DNF I would have quit this early on. But I can thank all you lovely fellow readers out there for letting us know it gets better because HECK YEAH it does!

It took a long time for me to get into Lazlo as well. I still think he kind of feels flat, not the most dynamic and fleshed out of characters, in my humble opinion but he grew on me. There are other characters that appeal to me and appeal to me more. But I can almost promise you (almost because I don’t know you so I could be wrong) that once this story gets going you’ll find it hard to resist.

I respect Laini Taylor’s creativity and imagination. This book could do without a lot of the information – IMHO – especially in the beginning but the story (I think I’ve said that enough) as a whole is emotionally intense and magical with themes true to real life. You might start off uninterested or less than interested but you reach a point where you have to know what happens next. Then you can’t put it down or push pause. The progression this story takes is like climbing a mountain, once you get to the top it is breathtaking. There’s plenty of tension and mystery, wonder and perceived terror. And there is heart ache and super cool twists and turns. Yes there is violence and talk of horrible acts, including rape and murder. However, I absolutely recommend this story and will without a doubt continue with this series. The next book is Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2).

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While I can’t complain about the beginning enough, I also can’t tell you enough how much I like the ending. Great cliffhanger but also so grating! AH! Laini, you have a new fan. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Hardcover edition (cover)

Have you read this? Are you planning to? Let me know if I introduced you to this book or tipped the scales for you, maybe even give me a nod on your own blog if that applies. Giving credit to my fellow bloggers, aka sources, when they’ve introduced me to a book or books is super important to me. I do my best to take notes when I add books thanks to them. In fact I have a unpublished post draft that is just for notes of this kind.

Thanks for your visit, please come again! Follow me if you like what you’ve read here and elsewhere because there’s plenty more to come. ๐Ÿ˜€

99 Word Flash Fiction Prompt – 30 January Prompt

This prompt is from January 30th and while I missed the February 4th deadline to post at The Carrot Ranch Literary Community for Charli I’m doing this regardless.

She wrote a great post about writing characters and paying special attention to their core traits. I have added the books she recommended to my TBR. Dynamic characters are crucial to a good story. It will not hurt me to learn how to improve my character development. If you’re a writer or just interested in the process of writing definitely visit the above link and read her piece.

By Any Means

A woman hustles children from the car to the house. She doesn’t look at me. I am a fixture in the background. I am just their worker bee.

The black clouds above me don’t fit at 2:38 in the afternoon. The rain is pelting my face like it has something against me. Lightning scolds a nearby tree. None of these people care about this mail right now. They will pay me no mind but they will watch and wonder about my safety in secret. They’ve been taught to fear what they see.

This too shall pass. My family waits.

There you have it. My flash fiction piece of 99 words no more no less about a postal carrier in an extreme situation. What extremes do you see?

2020 Currently Reading

Okay here’s another new thing. Instead of having my TBR page (like I did in 2019) telling you what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what I plan to read this year, I’m going to have this post “sticky”. Here, always found at the top of my blog, you’ll see what I’m currently reading and/or listening to and what I just read. If I know for sure I’ll tell you what’s next. There might also be some notes about how I’m feeling while reading/listening. Feel free to comment.

Recently Finished:

  • What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra – hardcover
    • I’ll have to get back to you on how I heard of this book because I’m certain I heard it from a blogger or podcaster. I went right ahead and bought a copy and I’m really happy I did. My jaunt into long, long books, audio and one paperback, has been great (I am still listening to The Name of the Wind, epic fantasy), has left me satisfied, dissatisfied and longing for a shorter more fast-paced story. And I found it here. I’m about 60 some odd pages in and really really enjoying it.
    • I like the little insert pages that seem to imitate copies of letters, notes, and articles. They add to the story and are unique. There’s a lot of mystery here both to the reader and the main character. I don’t see this being a disappointment. I’ll bet it’s a 4-5 star reader, not ready to commit to 5 yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    • And I finished it in just over a week (I think that’s good, at least for me). Yeah! I am going ahead with a 5-star rating. There’s not currently a sequel but from the sounds of it it’s not out of the question.
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  • Lady Midnight (Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare – Paperback
    • This has been on my list since March of 2019. Ms. Victorious over at Victorious Pages is how I came across The Dark Artifices but I know I’ve also seen it elsewhere. I happened to see it for sale at Barnes & Noble, knew it was on my list and well I had to take a good deal. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    • I’m about halfway through. It’s interesting. Cassandra Clare is a talented writer however this isn’t really my speed. So much time is spent on the day to day of the characters it just feels too drawn out. In my opinion this book would not have suffered from being shaved down. Of course it doesn’t help that I’m reading this and listening to Strange, the Dreamer, both books that…are…d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g. Maybe I should put ellipses in between each of those letters…
    • Upon finishing: I will not be continuing this series at this time. There are some sample chapters at the end of the book for the next in this series, the first in the ShadowHunters series, and the first book about the characters Tessa & Jem. Of those samples I almost like the first in the whole series but for now I’m moving on.
    • I give this book a 3 because I do not like the pacing. There’s a lot of repetitive thinking going on in terms of character relationships. By this a mean, a lot of talking about how much one character cares for another though we already know this. This is a character driven book, even then I think it would be better served with a little bit more weight put on the overall plot, the thing that keeps it moving. The reason it doesn’t really feel like it moves enough for me.
  • The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons, Audible Audio edition narrated by Feodor Chin, Vikas Adam, Soneela Nankani
    • So I went back through my notes to see how I found this book. It does not appear I learned of it through any book bloggers. Honestly I don’t know how I found this book! I think she was on a podcast but I can’t find the one. It could have also been NPR but I don’t think so. Maybe it was a fellow blogger and I didn’t write it down…? Ugh…notes are great…
    • This is an epic fantasy, which means it’s a really big book. Which is also part of the reason I chose to listen to it: not a heavy book and much cheaper because I used the book “credit” I get from audible for the month. I’m in Chapter 26 and still have 19 hours to go. So if you need a big long story, here you go.
    • It is a long drawn out storytelling that’s for sure. But I don’t say drawn out in a bad way. It’s getting more and more interesting. I won’t be surprised if in the end I say it could have done without being this long but we’ll see. So far I like it, not super in love with it, but it’s cool. ๐Ÿ˜€
    • Upon finishing: What I said above came to be, I really liked this book. However, I don’t feel that it would necessarily be served by cutting it down. This is a journey and taking the journey makes for a complete story. Could some sections have been shorter and the story still great? Sure thing. But it’s still an excellent book. I’m giving it 4 stars. I do recommend it and I will continue with the series THAT I DIDN’T KNOW WAS A THING! ๐Ÿ™‚
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Some of What I’ve Read this Year

  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor , narrated by Steve West- Audible audio book
    • [Here’s what I said before:] I’m in about Chapter 10 I think? So far I’m disappointed because this book is taking so long to be interesting. Lazlo, the main character (MC), really feels flat to me at this point. Given the number of roaring reviews I’ve discovered there to be (saw, didn’t read just glazed over a few) I have faith that this book improves but if I was given an ultimatum I’d be tempted to DNF this.
    • You know a book is taking too long to really grab you when you almost forget you’re actually supposed to be paying attention to what you’re listening to and you struggle to want to.
    • This book I found thanks to SilverWolfReads after her trip to NYC and her giant book haul. Please do visit her blog (click the link above) and read my review of this book. I most recently finished this book & after what I’ve said above you’ll be surprised to know I’m rating this 5/5 stars.

Currently Reading/Listening to:

  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss – Audible audio book, narrated by Nick Podehl
    • I won’t get into how this was an accidental purchase, because I do somewhere else. But here we have another epic fantasy. It reminds me a lot of Lord of the Rings. My patience for long long long stories is just not there. This is a good and interesting story, for sure, well-written and all that. But it’s really super long and probably, again I say this, wouldn’t be hurt if a lot of scenes were cut out or cut down.
    • All in all it’s no where near DNF, but when I think about how everyone complains that the third book in this series (this first book published in 2007!) has not yet even been ANNOUNCED, I get nervous. What if I love these first two and have to just sit empty handed? Okay maybe not empty-handed because I have so many books to read. Stay tuned…
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  • Thick: and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom – Hardcover
    • This find is thanks to the podcast Reading Women. Do check out my page about the podcasts I listen to, mostly about reading and/or writing. Those lovely women raved about this book. There have been others talking about it as well and then I saw it on display at a local bookstore. I said okay, let’s go, you’re coming with me. It’s been looking at me ever since and well, today I figured what the heck, they’re essays so I can read them as I please. So far, so good. I’m looking forward to seeing the life of a person so different than me through their lens.
  • Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee – paperback
    • I don’t typically read contemporary fiction but this sounded interesting to me in part because of the mental health aspect. One of the main characters, one of the sisters, has a mental illness. One hundred pages in I’m intrigued even if it’s not my usual fare. So I’ll be mulling this over with a different set of eyes.
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That’s what I’ve most recently read and am currently reading. I desperately need to finish Voyage of the Basilisk – The Memoirs of Lady Trent #3 by Marie Brennan (started, oh, forever ago last year). So I’m kind of also currently still reading that though admittedly I keep forgetting about it…hm…what does that say about this series that I’ve liked but…ugh…

We’re just getting into February but I don’t have any idea what’s going to come after I finish these. I’m predicting it could be another two weeks before I pick up a new book. I’m thinking I need to pick something awesome and intriguing and not a million pages long.

Thoughts?