Monthly Archives: November 2012

Third Thursday Flash Edition Six: “Tribe”

It’s time for the sixth edition of Third Thursday Flash!

Every three weeks, I craft a 500 to 1,000 word flash piece with a theme suggested by my fantastic blog readers. This week’s theme is based on a few sentences a reader sent in to me. Something about them hooked me, and they were: “I’d run into the forest to collect my thoughts. What he’d told me was shocking, unimaginable. Finally still, in the midst of the forest, streaming filters of light scintillating through the dense canopy above me, I began to break it all down. Except, I realized, I was not alone.” So, using those sentences from anonymous reader (thank you!), here’s…

Tribe

I ran into the forest to collect my thoughts.

What he’d told me was shocking, unimaginable—and in the midst of the forest, streaming filters of light scintillating through the dense canopy above me, I began to break it all down.

Permanent.

Survival.

Contagious.

He’s sorry?

My knees buckled beneath me. I collapsed to the earthen floor, digging my fingertips into the soil and burying them like the weight that crushed my lungs and pushed the air from my chest in slow, shallow breaths.

I stared up into the trees, the tears escaping from behind my eyelids and streaming down my cheeks. The green above blocked the sky. It rustled with the wind and blew away all I’d known as I tried to understand the truth he’d whispered into my ear.

Except, I realized, I was not alone.

From the wall of trees around me, their faces emerged. One after another, all of them covered in the same pattern he’d shown me in secret, the swirling designs that spread over their skin as they arrived into this world and before they left for the next.

“Alison.”

His voice came from behind me and I shuffled to face him, the last of those who watched from the trees.

Run.

I couldn’t.

He reached out his hands, turning his palms up in a show of apology. “You know I didn’t mean to.”

“You did,” I whispered. I pressed my forehead against the ground, sobbing as he stepped behind me. The others buried me in their stares while he rested his hands on my back. His touch came hotter than I’d ever felt from him, in all those months together…

“Maybe I did.”

“Why?” I snapped my head up. His eyes, like those from the trees behind him, were the only ones that would ever understand what had happened to me.

What he did to me.

“Because I love you, and I don’t want to be alone anymore,” he said. He grabbed my elbows and stood me up, propping me against the warmth of his chest. “Neither do you.”

“You aren’t alone,” I said. I pointed at the trees. “You have all of them.”

He shook his head. “They’re not real, Alison. Ancestors. They’re only a whisper now.”

“Which we’ll be too!” I tried to tug myself away but he held firm. “You could have offered me the choice.” I squeezed my eyes shut.

“It will be a lifetime until we’re like them—and I did offer you the choice.”

His words echoed, filling the space around us and ringing in my ears. Had I said yes? Every hint, every conversation, every time I told him I couldn’t stand the world around me and I marveled at his life, and what he was. Every time I told him this world had nothing for me.

“I did,” he repeated. “Many times. And you said you wanted it to be different. You wanted to feel something different.”

I froze. A tingle spread across my skin, starting cold and turning hot, like a gentle lapping of bath water against my arms and legs. He saw it in my face and nodded before I looked down.

“You’ll be happier, Alison. I promise. We’ll be together, not living in two separate worlds anymore…”

My skin changed then, lines of brown and red etching themselves starting at my elbow. The trails ran like veins up and down my arms, swirling into patterns like the ones on his ancestors. He took my hands and stretched out my arms, smiling as the colors spread against my tanned skin. A similar etch traced his own arms.

“We can be together if you really want this, Alison.” He ran his finger along my cheek. “And if you don’t want it, there’s only one way to stop it. But you have to do it now.”

He drew a knife from his pocket, aiming the tip at his chest and nodding at me. His eyes shined as bright as the day we met, and his cheeks flushed the rose tint they always did just before he said the words.

“I love you,” he said, “and I did it for you. Choose to be with me, like this, or…”

The pattern spread to my hands. Beneath my clothes, I felt it spilling further across my flesh, changing me into a mirror image of what he was. I stared at the intricate lines along his arms and face as he began to pull away, to dissolve. Behind him, the ancestors disappeared into the trees, camouflaged, airy beings that no one of this world would ever see.

Except me?

My body began floating, leaving with him—two creatures who would never fit here.

“Alison?” He held the knife out.

I grabbed the handle. The smile in his eyes changed to fear.

Then it washed away.

“Go ahead,” he said. “Whatever you wish. I love you, and I respect your choice.”

The warmth stretched across my stomach and down my legs, and as I peered at my arms they began to match my surroundings, camouflaging me as I became one with the air. The sunlight breaking through the trees shimmered over us, lightening that which became so much harder to see.

I tossed the knife to the forest floor.

“I love you,” I said.

And then we vanished.

***

Thanks for reading the sixth edition of Third Thursday Flash!

 


Chapter Length

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’m convinced I have mild O.C.D. It usually centers around the door to my house or my car being locked, or even the oven being left on, but occasionally certain organizational things will kick it into gear.

So what on earth does my O.C.D. have to do with chapter length?

Perhaps it’s my little obsession, but chapter length fascinates me. It’s more prevalent when I’m acting as a reader as opposed to a writer, but chapter length is something I’ve thought about more often than I should probably admit. Still, I wonder if others have the same question on the topic as I do…while there is no official “perfect” chapter length, is there a perfect chapter length for each individual reader?

Scene breaks tend to come naturally to us as writers, each segment carrying the action forward until a pause between high points is used to pace the story’s momentum. In much the same way, we use chapters to break our tale. They are a transitional tool carrying the story from one incident to the next, and ideally, they end with at least a small cliffhanger that drives readers to turn the page. Sometimes a chapter will run longer than others, and for some writers, the chapter breaks occur at surprisingly regulated intervals. In reality, the lengths are completely arbitrary.

Let me assure you—when I write, I do not count out each chapter’s pages and launch a tantrum if I’ve missed the mark, nor do I keep count and call “Chapter break!” when I’ve hit the requisite number of pages. Both scenarios would be ludicrous. But when I finished Kyresa, I did spend some time counting pages in each section and chapter, seeing if in changing the story’s order a tad I could also balance out the chapter lengths. Surprisingly, in most cases my chapter fascination and story flow worked in a fairly collaborative manner. (Math brain meets English brain moment? One will never know…)

I’ve learned I’m more particular about chapter lengths as a reader. Long chapters frustrate me. I have only small windows of time to read, and while I can put a book down at a scene break, I’d rather pause at a more dramatic and memorable intermission. Shorter chapters are fantastic because I can read one, check the clock, and get that rush of staying up too late in order to read just one more!

Will I throw a book down because of chapter length? No. I’m not that OCD. But it’s definitely something ticking away in the back of my mind. Short chapters with similar lengths and natural breaks seem to lend to my enjoyment of a book (the icing on the cake of plot and writing, of course).

So what about you—do you have an opinion on this? For those of you who write, do you try to find balanced page lengths in your chapters, or does it come naturally? Or do you not even think about it?

What about on the reader side of things—do you have a preference?

Please share your thoughts below. I’d love to know!

I’ve included some links on chapter length and transitions below. Be sure to check them out, and don’t forget to send your Third Thursday Flash idea submissions in by 8 p.m. PST tonight!

In the meantime, happy reading and writing, everyone! 🙂

Other Articles Related to Chapter Breaks:

How to End a Chapter, via The Editor’s Blog

Chapter and Novel Lengths, via All Write — Fiction Advice

Chapter Length, via Wen Spencer on Goodreads


Third Thursday Flash Postponed Until…Next Week

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

By now I imagine many of you are stretched out on the couch, digesting the delicious and large meal that we all tend to indulge in for the Thanksgiving holiday. I know I’m still recovering myself, but after stuffing my face I came home to tackle my [extremely late] blog post. Last week, I put out a call for ideas and mentioned that this week’s edition would be the “Turkey Edition.” It sounded fun at the time, but it didn’t stir up many ideas.

In truth, this morning I toyed around with the turkey idea a bit, but what I came up with ended up feeling like it needed far more time and attention than a 500 to 1,000 word blog post. I decided maybe Third Thursday Flash, The Turkey Edition needed to be chucked out the window.

So instead of writing a turkey piece today, I will be holding off on Third Thursday Flash, Edition Six, until next week. I am putting out another submission call for anyone who would like to participate, open until 8 p.m. PST on Monday the 26th. Please send along a couple of words, a first line, or a theme that you would like me to use to craft a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece for next week’s post. You can send this idea to evariederauthor@gmail.com.

Sorry for the delay, and in the meantime, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, ate lots of food, and spent lots of good time with people they adore. I know I did—and now I’m pretty sure it’s time for my tryptophan-induced coma. 🙂


Giving Thanks in Thirty

There’s been an awesome phenomenon going around Facebook lately: the Thirty Days of Thanks posts in honor of Thanksgiving. I think it’s important to remember all that we have and are blessed with in our lives, and unfortunately, I didn’t catch on to the trend until too late to join in.

However, with Thanksgiving in a few days, I decided I’d do my own Thirty Days of Thanks in one post! The following are things in my life that I am incredibly thankful for, and they come in no particular order except the very first one. 🙂

I am grateful for…

  1. YOU, my blog readers. Thanks for joining me as I meander along in my writing journey, and for sharing your thoughts back!
  2. Parents—all four of them!—who love and support me.
  3. Outstanding friends that do the same, especially
  4. Two dear friends who have put up with me for 19 years. You two are the best! XO
  5. A sister I grow closer with each day. (Love you, sisser face!)
  6. A niece I adore that makes me laugh with her adorable 5-year-old ways.
  7. Two mischievous yet ridiculously cuddly cats. (One is sleeping in my lap as I type this.)
  8. A roof over my head in a safe neighborhood.
  9. Food in my belly, always. (And I mean always, since I seem to eat every five seconds.)
  10. Wonderful colleagues, many of them friends at
  11. A job that I enjoy, and which provides me an income to do the things outside of work that I like to do, such as
  12. Vacations around the world and
  13. Going out and having fun. Then there is…
  14. The safe birth of my friend’s way-too early baby (so glad she got to the hospital early enough! Rooting for you, little one!).
  15. A second credential in English, which just made work twice as fantastic.
  16. A working, healthy body that allows me to live my life and stay active.
  17. Creativity, and the ability to use it.
  18. Rediscovering my passion for writing after ignoring it for far too long.
  19. Connecting with other writers both on the blogsphere and in person, especially
  20. Superb writing mentors and friends and
  21. People who are excited about my writing. Then of course, there are the little things, but as an “I have a glass! Yay!” kind of optimist, they make me happy too—things like:
  22. An organized bulletin board of writing projects.
  23. A gym in my condo complex, as well as a pair of hot tubs and a beautiful running trail.
  24. An antenna that lets me watch my favorite shows in high-definition without having to pay for cable.
  25. A hallway full of family and friend photos.
  26. A new housecleaner who rocks my world.
  27. A super fast typing speed that makes writing a breeze.
  28. My spiffy new Macbook, which paired with my desktop computer, gives me maximum writing options!
  29. My expensive but comfortable bed, and of course
  30. Books!

Thanks for reading the short list of things I’m thankful for in my life. I could go on, truly, because I don’t think that a list of thirty things is long enough to cover all that I appreciate. Especially my #1—thank you for you, readers! 🙂

I hope that all of you have an opportunity to find at least one thing you are thankful for this week, and that you all have a happy Thanksgiving. In the meantime, don’t forget, the submission call for Third Thursday Flash Edition Six: The Turkey Edition, is still open until 8 p.m. PST tonight. Can’t wait to see your ideas…gobble gobble! 🙂


Liebster Award…Take Two!

***See end of post for information on the theme call for next week’s Third Thursday Flash: The TURKEY Edition!***

A little over a week ago, I was honored with two awards in one day. Wow! Today I’d like to discuss the second of the two, the Liebster, which comes to me from the wonderful Katherine Checkley—thanks so much, Katherine! Katherine runs a beautiful and informative blog called The Intrinsic Writer, which deals with all sorts of writerly topics. Katherine’s is a great voice, and this is why it’s such a compliment that she nominated me for my second Liebster Award. 🙂

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

  • Post eleven random things about you.
  • Answer the eleven questions provided by the giver for you.
  • Create eleven questions for the people you nominate.
  • Choose eleven people to award and send them a link to your post. Go to their page and tell them.
  • No tag backs.

Eleven Facts About Me:

  1. I eat cold sweet potatoes almost daily as a quick snack, and I keep them pre-baked and grab-able in my fridge.
  2. I “run hot” most of the time. Fortunately, I prefer tank tops.
  3. I own enough high-heeled shoes to fill a small closet—and I have a small closet actually filled with said shoes.
  4. I am addicted to Trader Joe’s apple/pumpkin/cranberry-apple butter. Yum!
  5. I’ve been getting up between 4:45 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. almost every weekday to squeeze some writing in before work. (I’m still not entirely sure why this is working for me, but it is.)
  6. I like the smell of paper. In fact, I worked at a print shop for two years in college, and I used to love to smell every type of paper and report a scent description to my colleagues. They thought I was weird. Go figure.
  7. I love baking cookies for friends and colleagues.
  8. I have an impressive Venetian mask collection hanging around my house. (I might have as many masks as I have heels, come to think of it…)
  9. I have only been in eleven U.S. states: California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Florida for a day or more, and New York and North Carolina for under twelve hours each. How sad!
  10. My favorite show is Vampire Diaries. An extremely close second is Fringe. They have clever writing, fascinating topics, and beautiful casts on both!
  11. I love candy, and I have since I was a little kid. It’s kind of a problem…

My Eleven Questions to Answer:

  1. Have you ever seen a ghost/spirit? If so, tell me about it. If not, do you believe in ghosts/spirits? I haven’t, but I do believe in them.
  2. What’s your favorite movie from the 1980s? That’s easy—Who’s That Girl. I’m a crazy Madonna fan, and that was one of my first Madonna memories.
  3. What do you wish you knew in high school that you know now? So many things! Mostly, that if it seemed like people weren’t telling the truth, then no amount of convincing could make it any different.
  4. What’s your favorite cocktail or alcoholic beverage? A lemon drop floated with Chambord. Yum!
  5. What’s your favorite vegetable? I’m fond of just about every vegetable other than asparagus. However, I eat spinach and brussel sprouts the most. This is hilarious if you know me, since I grew up hating brussel sprouts but “trained” myself to like them. Now I actually really enjoy them!
  6. What’s one band or artist you love that goes against your normal range of musical taste? My normal range is pretty much all over the map, so I don’t know that there’s anything against normal for me. Though, as a huge Madonna and pop fan, I suppose mentioning I also love Tool, Stabbing Westward, and some Metallica might be unusual…
  7. What’s your favorite Disney movie? No hesitation: Sleeping Beauty. Whenever I read it to my niece before bedtime, there is inevitably the moment I bust out singing “Once Upon a Dream.” To which she usually rolls her eyes and says, “Auntie Eva, the song is not in the book!” 🙂
  8. What do you think was the most interesting news story of 2012? That women are able to prevent pregnancy during rape by willing it so. News to me. (And horrifically ludicrous news, I might add.)
  9. List all the major cities of the world that you’ve visited. Which was your favorite? Since I haven’t been out of California much (see random fact #9), I also haven’t made it to many major cities. However, if you look at Wikipedia’s List of U.S. Cities, I have apparently been to more than I thought (seriously, Oakland made it on this list?). I’ve been to every major city in California, as well as Washington D.C.; Charlotte, N.C. (though it was an overnight hotel stay only); Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Reno, NV; Henderson, NV; Las Vegas, NV; and Honolulu, HI. Okay, that list is somewhat depressing. I’m not sure I have a favorite. I love Las Vegas but not for the traditional reasons people love Vegas—I have family there, and stay far away from the Strip—but I also love San Francisco. Er, scratch that. I love Honolulu. I love Hawaii! (Excuse me while I go book a flight back!)
  10. Who is your favorite figure from history? Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, and Mata Hari. Everything about Queen Elizabeth’s era fascinates me (I worked the Renaissance Faire for many years when I was younger), as does her entire life story. Cleopatra intrigues me more for her romance with Antony, but I also love the time period. Mata Hari has captivated me since I read a book about her in my teens—a seductress spy whose failing was to fall in love? Intense.
  11. What current song can’t you stand? Kesha’s “Die Young.” I try, try, try to appreciate Kesha, since I know my kids are listening to her—but I just can’t pretend on this one.

Phew. Those were surprisingly challenging questions by Katherine! 🙂 Now on to…

Eleven Questions for Those I’ve Nominated:

  1. What is your favorite musical decade?
  2. List your travel destinations of the past. Which one is your favorite?
  3. Do you live where you want to reside, and if not, where would you move?
  4. If you had to go back to school today to follow a new career path, what would you study?
  5. What is your favorite wild animal?
  6. If you could board a time machine and live in any place and time, where would you go?
  7. What is your favorite song of the moment?
  8. What genre do you prefer reading that is distinctly different from what you write?
  9. You and your laptop are on an adventure to write in the most blissful setting possible (free of charge). Where do you go?
  10. What is the book you read (or were read) as a child that charmed you the most?
  11. If you pick an actor or actress to play the lead role of your most recent work, whom would you choose, and why?

Okay, on to the nominees…Having just nominated five fantastic bloggers last week, and having discovered that all of my favorite bloggers are people I nominated the last time I sent a Liebster around, I have decided to break the rules (for shame, Rieder!)…I am nominating only two people. While I am issuing an honorary Liebster to the five people I nominated for The Illuminating Blogger Award, the following are two people whose blogs are full of great information, and whose posts I always look forward to reading!

Thanks for the engaging posts, you two! Well done, and keep up the outstanding work. And of course, thanks again to Katherine Checkley for nominating me! 🙂

Before I wrap this post up, I want to remind everyone that next week is the sixth edition of Third Thursday Flash—meaning theme submissions are open now until Monday the 19th at 8 p.m. PST! Since this particular edition will fall on Thanksgiving, I’m officially entitling it Third Thursday Flash, the Turkey Edition. That’s right: The TURKEY Edition! Interpret as you like, and send along an idea, pair of words, sentence, or theme that you would like me to craft into a flash fiction piece for next week’s Third Thursday Flash. You can send your ideas to evariederauthor@gmail.com.

Thanks for participating and reading, everyone!


Why Aren’t I Doing NaNoWriMo?

It’s November—the month of writing mayhem! 🙂

If you’re a writer, you are well aware of NaNoWriMo. For those who aren’t familar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which rolls around every November. It’s a time when many writers take on the challenge of crafting 50,000 words of a novel (broken up over 30 days, that’s an average of about 1,667 words per day). For experienced and new writers alike, this month is a popular one to dive into the challenge—and to help keep authors motivated and on task, the NaNoWriMo website hosts special day challenges, word counts, forums, and lots of support. In many ways, it’s a great banding together of the writing world.

So as many writer friends (and non-writer friends alike) have asked, why aren’t I doing it?

For the last two years, I’ve intended to participate in NaNo. While 50,000 words is only the start of a novel, I liked the idea of a camaraderie with other writers involved. Writing is a completely independent art—which is why we often encourage one another to attend conferences and workshops, or to start critique groups so that we don’t disappear in the confines of our offices and forget to share our work with one another. With this collaborative spirit in mind, it seems I should have signed right up.

Last year, I was heavy in the throes of finishing my first real novel, Kyresa. I toyed with the idea of stopping to create something new during NaNo, but doing so would have stalled my momentum on a book that had to finally be finished. I’m glad I held firm on that.

This year, I considered the idea again—especially because this time, one of my closest friends (a romance writer) decided to go for it. Cheering each other on like we did in high school sounded superb.

But again I had to pause and take a deep breath while I thought about the possibility. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I just started my new gig as an English teacher—which I’m loving—but it’s still taking some adjusting (read: paper grading) as I try to also maintain my writing life. In addition, I’m still in that unpacking stage of my recent move (read: curtain rods remain on the floor!).

And of course, there was the bigger issue: I promised myself after my July writing conference that I would take some time to craft shorts and finish editing another piece until the month of February. I made this decision with the goal of learning how to start and finish, over and over, so that I would never drag a novel out like I did with my first one again. Thus, February has long been set in my head as the month I intend to start my next full-length piece. 

I am a woman of strong conviction once I make up my mind, but until then I’m as indecisive as they come. So I wavered back and forth on this, between the lure of the “team,” the best friend, and even multiple blogger pals getting involved…plus those nifty word counters sure are fun…

And then I put my foot down. My enthusiasm over building a collection of shorts is high, and some small semblance of sleep is important to me in this adjustment period to my new house and job. So…no NaNoWriMo for me, and I’m okay with it!

Instead, I’m opting to stand on the sidelines and cheer all my fellow NaNo writer pals on. I’ve been the biggest cheerleader for those I support for as long as I can remember (which is funny, since I never was a real cheerleader), and there’s no reason I can’t do that for all of my NaNo-ing peeps. Go team! While all of you are working away at creating the awesome 50,000 words you’re aiming for this month, I’ll still be writing alongside you. I’m not counting my words, and I’m not building a novel just yet, but I’m excited for every one of you. I’ve got pom-poms in the air, foot kicked high, and pigtails swinging in the breeze. Ra-ra. Yay-you. Goooooooo Team Writers!

Keep up the good work, everyone! Can’t wait to hear about your NaNoWriMo progress. 🙂


The Illuminating Blogger Award!

Today I’d like to share exciting news—I’ve been nominated for two blog awards! Wow! These nominations come from fellow bloggers Michelle Ziegler and Katherine Checkley. Michelle nominated me for a new one, the Illuminating Blogger Award, while Katherine nominated me for my second Liebster Award. Thanks so much, ladies, I’m honored! 🙂

Since each of these awards has different requirements—the Liebster’s are quite thorough—I’ve decided to address them in separate posts. For now I’ll say another quick thanks to Katherine Checkley for the Liebster, and I’ll elaborate more on it next week! Now for…

The Illuminating Blogger Award

The rules for the Illuminating Blogger Award are as follows:

  • Visit the award site at http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/ and leave a comment indicating you were nominated and by whom.
  • Thank the blogger and include a link back to their site.
  • Share a random thing about yourself.
  • Select 5 or more nominees and notify them that they’ve won the award.
  • Put the award on your blog somewhere.

Michelle, my nominator, is a romance writer who posts as she makes her way along the writing path. Her posts are fun and informative, whether about writing or the world in general. Thanks for the nomination, Michelle!

Time for a random fact about me…hmm…I love fun socks! This is particularly random since I’m always warm and wear flip-flops most of the time—but around the house I love short or knee-high socks with some variety of silliness on them. I own a lot of striped, polka-dotted, and zebra-printed ankle socks. I have knee highs with stripes, others with skulls and crossbones, and some with both! I also have pairs that tote some verbal hilarity all over the feet that I’ve owned for many years (“Diva,” “Sassy silly flirt,” etc…seriously, who buys these for me?!). My new house has bamboo floors, so I have an excuse to wear my socks more—and slide across the surface a la Risky Business!

My five nominees for the Illuminating Blogger Award are:

  • Jessica Vealitzek at TrueSTORIES: this award is intended for illuminating, informative bloggers, and Jessica is just that. Her posts involve real stories from real people, and they’re all beautifully written. I love finding her posts in my inbox!
  • Mike Manz at Stories for the Masses: Mike restructured his blog to focus on his fiction, and it’s exquisite. In addition to posting his work, he creates a companion podcast every time (wow!) and has a special feature showcasing other story-based blogs. Love it!
  • Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland: Anna runs flash fiction contests and posts her own work. She is a social media guru, managing to rile up participation like none other! The themes she creates for her contests are inspired—I plan to enter more!
  • Rebecca Lane Beittel at Rebecca of Tomorrow: Rebecca’s posts are playful and clever, often full of facts about authors of the past or present. Sometimes she sheds light on the season (she posted a fun series on Halloween), and others on writing in general.
  • Shay Fabbro at Dr. Shay West aka Dr. Shay Fabbro aka Dr. Fab!: Shay posts author interviews and book reviews, but also posts about fabulous science topics! Shay is a Biology Professor with expertise in the field, and as a former biology student, I get a kick out of her posts.

So there you have it—five awesome nominees. Great work, everyone! And thanks again to Michelle for the nomination! 🙂


New Digs, New Desk, New Dreams

Over the last month and a half, I’ve been moving. It’s a slow process—this is the first time I’ve ever moved during the school year in a long while, and I am now officially in awe at the rest of the working world for doing this all along. While I moved my bed in three weeks ago, it wasn’t until this weekend that the place started to feel like a real home. Sure, there are still curtain rods and picture frames that seem to come to life and jump right where I’m stepping every time I walk down the hall, but for the most part it’s coming together! 🙂

My running trail along the bay!

In this short time, I’ve also already fallen in love with the place. I lived in my old house for seven years, so it was hard to leave. Sadly, the neighborhood had grown increasingly more uncomfortable (read: neighbors breaking into condos in the complex, a jewelry store hold-up at gunpoint two blocks away, and various other violent and/or creepy oddities) and I had also become the fishbowl for the neighborhood (bottom floor, center unit; gazebo smokers watching the Eva Show daily). It was time to go.

I found a condo in one of the safest neighborhoods in the vicinity, a beautiful space that almost feels like an entirely new county. It’s filled with trees, clean areas, and neighbors who so far seem to look out for one another in a respectful way. A bonus to this whole event is that the place is along the water where I’ve come to run for the last seven years. Just a two-minute walk through the complex and I’m on my favorite trail, breathing in the fresh smells of the ocean and observing the beauty of the waves as they roll into the shore…and if I turn right instead of left out of the gate, I get to watch the sailboats coming into the port!

Score for me, right?

Now, when I packed up my old place, I decided it was time to give up my desk—the desk being a beat-up old table I picked up on the side of the road when I moved in. It served its purpose, for sure, but I wanted to buy an actual desk for my new office. Nothing fancy and certainly not expensive—I have no qualms with buying furniture at Target at this point in my life, honestly, if it looks nice enough and does the job—but something that would make me feel at home and ready to pursue my writing goals in my comfortable new condo.

So, I did. I bought a lovely little desk and assembled it last weekend, and while I still have yet to fill the drawers, I plopped my computer right on top of it with a delighted squeal. In addition to the desk, I bought two (more) bookcases so I could officially begin forming a wall of books (more squeals). It finally feels like I have a real office, and I’m looking forward to spending every day writing in here!

Sometimes a change of location means the world. For me, the change signifies safety, happiness, and a new boon in creativity. And with this great new desk under my computer—well, I think some new dreams are about to form. If you could see me now, you’d find a big smile plastered across my face!

I’m off to continue my unpacking bonanza now. Next post, I’d like to talk about the two awesome blog awards I received from Michelle Ziegler and Katherine Checkley. Until then, have a great week, everyone!

—Brought to you from the new desk in the new place of one newly happy Eva Rieder 🙂


Third Thursday Flash Edition Five: “Spider”

Happy belated Halloween! I hope yours was filled with spookiness and fun!

Before we dive in, I’d like to send out a quick thank you to Katherine Checkley and Michelle Ziegler for nominating me for two blog awards—thanks so much, ladies! I’m honored. 🙂 I’ll post more information about these awards next week…but for now it’s time for the fifth edition of Third Thursday Flash!

Every three weeks, I craft a 500 to 1,000 word flash piece with a theme suggested by my fantastic blog readers. In honor of yesterday’s holiday, I requested Halloween-esque type themes. The charming and talented Jessica Vealitzek over at True STORIES suggested today’s idea. Jessica apparently had a creepy spider dream [shiver] about one giant spider crawling off a branch and onto the web of another giant spider before eating it. Ew!

Despite my intense arachnophobia and various screams emitted from one little ole me as I looked up a couple spider details, I went for it. So, thanks to Jessica for helping me creep everyone out this week! 😉

Here’s…

Spider

Spider crawled along the branch, his limbs aching and tired. It had been so long since he’d fed.

Yesterday? The day before?

Too long in a spider’s world, and his felt too soon to end, too far traveled to go much further.

The wind kicked across the marshy field, threatening to pry his legs from the bark on which he balanced. Only under the jagged wood edges could he hook his legs to this tree, the one he’d climbed since the cursed wind blew his web apart two falls of night before.

So hungry. The wind smacked at him again, a tremble humans would only faintly notice but which he could feel all too well. Not as much as the lesser spiders—the Wolves, the Widows, or the Tarantulas. He was far bigger than all of them combined, a distant cousin to the Daddy with his long legs.

Spider’s legs were long, of course, but it was his size that left him traveling alone as the biggest predator. Always fed.

Not this time.

Spider weaved down the branch, the wind threatening him like Death itself. If he fell the marsh would swallow him up, and he knew this because the mud below wrapped its clutches around items even smaller than him, things that humans called fruit and squirrels, and boxes and dolls; each of these things stared up at him now, their size half-buried beneath the muck and sinking slowly under the shriek of the wind until no being would know they existed.

“Mama, mama look!”

Spider directed his eyes at the child, the tiny blonde thing that tugged the female’s hand and pointed up into the tree. His quiet cry would be lost to any others, but Spider could hear it.

He heard it all.

“Mama, is that a raccoon?”

“No baby, it’s a—oh my god! Stay away from that!” She scooped the child up and ran. “Arnold! Honey, in the tree! We need a rake or…I don’t know! Eek!” She barreled through the marsh, its moist tentacles hardly catching her feet as she ran.

But it would catch me if I’m weak enough to fall.

The wind hit Spider again and he struggled to crawl forward. Then, he saw her at the end of his branch. She huddled on her web as if she thought herself impervious to the wind. Her thin layer of fur rustled against the blows, shaking her on the web until she bounced with the orchestra of sound that howled across the marsh. She was the reason he hungered. She was the one who stole his prey, catching the rat in her web and wrapping it with the same care he would—a feat considering it was one-third her size.

And she let the wind carry him away.

Spider snuck to the end of the branch. Somewhere within him he knew it was wrong, that what he would do next would break every code of their kind. They were the last two, but he was hungry. So hungry.

And she’d stolen his food.

Spider waited on the edge of the branch and watched her. She’d looped her silk to the web in an attempt to hold on during her slumber, and while she’d prepared for the wind’s attack, she hadn’t prepared for his. When the gusts subsided he scurried forward, creeping off the branch and onto her web. He lifted his fangs before she woke and sank them into her.

She cried out as his venom coursed through her, traveling around her large belly and down her legs. She was almost as big as him, but not quite. He remained the largest spider of all.

The last of his kind.

She shivered while his toxin softened her body, but he couldn’t wait.

He swallowed her whole.

***

Thanks for reading the fifth edition of Third Thursday Flash!


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