Category Archives: Right Back at Ya!

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!

 


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!


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!


Third Thursday Flash (Halloween!) Submission Call!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Well, Evie’s pointer fingers are still pressed tightly together until next week (see my last post, I’m Putting My Pointer Fingers Together And…, for more info), but that can’t stop the Third Thursday Flash idea submission call!

As a reminder, every three Thursdays I’m posting a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece I’ve written based on your idea! Submissions are now open for theme ideas you’d like me to craft from for next Thursday’s post—but this time, Halloween themes and monsters are encouraged! Please pass along whatever idea you like (a theme, a sentence, a prompt, a couple of words you’d like me to incorporate or use as background—your choice, but ghouls, goblins, ghosts, vampires, witches, and other creatures of the night are HIGHLY encouraged). Send your suggestions to me by email at evariederauthor@gmail.com; submissions will remain open until Monday the 29th at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, when I will pick one of your great ideas and craft a Halloween-themed piece! Also, be sure to let me know in your email if you’d like to remain anonymous; otherwise, you’ll be getting a shout out for your great idea if it’s chosen!

I can’t wait to hear your ideas! In the meantime, you can find out more about Third Thursday Flash and read past editions here.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Third Thursday Flash Edition Four: “Bathe Me Away”

Welcome back! It’s time for the fourth 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. A theme submission call will come around again in about two weeks if you’d like to participate.

Today’s theme is dedicated to and inspired by…my mom! 🙂 She sent along the following: I was looking forward to a bath in my spa tub, long day, boring conversation. As I leaned over to turn on the fountainhead, I noticed there was a vine growing out of the drain… A bit of a writer herself and an illustrator and designer, my mom definitely struck an idea with this one. So, without further ado, thanks to my mom for inspiring…
 

Bathe Me Away

Arianna fell back in the tub, the water splashing around her body as she dipped herself low.

“Dear gawwwdddd….” She closed her eyes and pressed the wet cloth over them, the scent of cinnamon candle filling her nose in the tiny apartment bathroom. She’d been looking forward to a bath in the spa tub after a long day at work with her troll of a boss, and as if that hadn’t been enough, her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend called her the moment she got in the car—commencing forty-seven minutes of boring conversation.

I really have to dump that guy. Stat.

“Tomorrow,” she muttered aloud. She frowned and sank deeper under the foaming bubbles. It had been a while since she’d cracked open the lid to the bottle, but she remembered loving the scent when she was a kid. Her mom ran her a bath almost every night of her elementary school years, the gesture accompanied by a dramatic reenactment of the 80s soap commercial.

“Take me away!” Arianna said, giggling. The sound echoed off the tiles. “Seriously, anytime. It’s all a little intense right now.”

Pressing her palm against the washcloth, Arianna shoved her foot on the fountainhead. Her five foot nine inch frame surpassed the length of the tub, so as usual she slipped her calves out of the water to make the most of it.

Maybe a new apartment, too?

Something scratched her calf and Arianna jerked her leg back. She tugged the washcloth off her eyes and examined her skin—no mark. A quick glance across the edge of the tub revealed her childhood paranoia of floating spiders was still not anything she should take seriously.

“Phew,” she breathed. But as soon as she did, something green snaked its way beneath the surface. Arianna swept the bubbles aside. “What the—”

A small vine traced a path from the drain and up the edge of the tub, coiling itself around the fountainhead. Flowers broke from its stem as it spread across the metal and along the rim, and as the vine grew out and down the support legs of the tub, the drain snapped with a loud pop. The plant sucked the water straight out from under Arianna, leaving her shivering.

“You’ll like it here, Arianna.”

The voice bounced off the tiles of the bathroom, belonging to no one she could see and yet continuing in the most melodic of tunes. “Away from it all,” more voices said. Arianna yelped, the vines growing behind her back. She tried to lift herself but they slipped around her ankles, circling them like soft hands. They reached her hips and covered her body, soothing her skin as warmly as the bath water had done moments before, and enough to make her want to melt deeper into it.

“What is going on?” she whispered. She fought for a moment, but the texture felt so warm, so gentle…

The vines grew higher. They traveled up the tile of the bathroom walls and back down the corners of the room. They spread over each other, the flowers covering stems, the stems covering flowers, and the voices chiming in together as Arianna sank into the tub.

“Away, away, away…”

The vines laced themselves into her hair, then caressed her shoulders. They embraced her in foliage as she slipped lower, nothing but green comforting her skin, filling the tub, and overtaking the room before Arianna gasped aloud.

“But I—”

The vines circled her neck and crossed her face, smothering her in the green burst of plant life before it took her away.

***

Thanks for reading the fourth edition of Third Thursday Flash. We’ll return to The Art of Narrative series on Monday, and in the meantime, have a great weekend! 🙂


Third Thursday Flash Edition Three: “Pages”

Welcome back! It’s time for the third 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. A theme submission call will come around again in about two weeks if you’d like to participate.

Today’s theme is brought to you by Nathan Payne over at The Writers Codex. Nathan suggested the phrase The pages fell open to start the piece, as well as the closing of a book at the end. Without further ado, thanks to Nathan for inspiring…

Pages

The pages fell open and Becca clapped her hand over her mouth. Beatrice told her it would do this, but she hadn’t imagined it would have so much power, as if the book had a will of its own.

“Woah,” she whispered.

A steady breeze filled the room and Becca swept her gaze over the closed window.

Did that come from the book?

She laid her hand on the pages. The crisp linen bond felt hot against her palm, warmer than any book should ever be—and right as she touched it, a beam of light shot across her ceiling. Becca tilted her head up, watching the light change from red, to teal, to orange, then into the brightest of yellows. It flickered across the ceiling like a rainbow mobile for a child.

Except this is for me!

Immediately the voices started, small chants of excitement as the creatures began to unstick themselves from the pages. Becca yanked back her hand, uncovering the squirming Princess character. She peeled herself off, her flat, colored body rolling up like an untacked sticker—first her head of long hair, her pink ‘o’ shaped mouth, and her shoulders, arms, and waist.

“Oh my,” Becca said.

“What are you doing up there, Becca?” her father called.

She straightened in her chair, her back in the rigid pose they’d practiced with her through her home-schooling years. It was the same posture they emphasized with Beatrice and her at the New School for Girls.

Thank goodness I met Beatrice!

“Nothing, dad!” She traced her finger over the meadow in the picture while the Princess released a soft huff and tugged her legs and skirt from the field. Becca couldn’t believe her eyes. “I’ll be down soon!”

“Ten minutes.”

“Okay…” She faced the pages, biting her tongue to suppress her squeal. The Princess ran her hands over her skirt and gave a wiggle, her paper-doll body tapering out into the miniature form of a real being.

“Who are you?” she said. Becca strained hard to hear her.

“I’m—”

Before she could answer, the pages flipped to another story. Several fairies and dwarves pushed and pulled against the crisscrossed fibers of the pages. They popped to the surface with grunts and whistles.

“Hey little lady! Thanks for the free pass!”

Only one scowled at her, shaking his cardboard body like a dog out of water until his flat self burst into a berry-shaped man of no more than an inch high.

“Yeah, thanks,” he muttered. He grabbed the hand of the embedded Queen by sinking his fingers into the paper—Becca’s jaw dropped open at that—and tugged her right off the page. When the Queen rounded out to a small human, she ran over to the Princess. They giggled before embracing one other.

“We’re free again!” they said.

“Well, for now!” Becca hoped they realized she had to go soon. The thumping in her chest echoed in her ears while the rest of the characters started coming to life. Princesses, princes, and creatures of all types unrolled from the pages and formed an army of characters on her bedspread. My own personal fairy tale! “Only until dinner time, guys…”

“That is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard,” the tiny centaur said. He threw his hands on his furry hindquarters, then pawed at the ground.

The lights on the ceiling started to shimmer and dance, mimicking the movements of the figures. They ran across the pages, high-fiving one another and squealing so loud that Becca’s dad called up to the room.

“What is going on up there, Becca?”

“Nothing, dad!”

Her mom chimed in. “We expect you in your dinner chair in two minutes!”

“Okay!” Becca looked around the room. No box, no chest, no drawer could contain the abundance of characters removing themselves from the pages. “Um, I have to go. I’ll come back later. I didn’t realize how many of you—“

“Becca! Right now!”

“Sorry!” Becca said. She scooped all the figures up as best she could, then shoved them into the crease of the open book.

“Wait, what about us?”

“Hey, we’re people too, you know.”

“Little miss, this isn’t very nice—“

She slammed the book shut. The lights disappeared from the ceiling and the noise of the figures fell quietly from their confinement within the pages. Becca leaned her mouth close to the binding.

“I’ll be back in an hour,” she said. “Can’t wait to see you all again!”

“Becca! Dinnertime.”

“I’m coming!” She shoved the book under her bedspread, pressing her hands to her cheeks in an attempt to calm the excitement that brightened her face. She ran to the door and cast one last glance at the lump under the covers. “I promise, you guys!” she said.

Then she left for dinner.

***

Thanks for reading the third edition of Third Thursday Flash. Have a great weekend, everyone! 🙂


Third Thursday Flash Submission Call and the One Lovely Blog Award!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I’d like to start off my thanking the wonderful Nathan Payne over at Writer’s Codex for nominating me for another award, the One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks, Nathan!

I’ll go into more detail on the award in just a moment, but first—drumroll please!—it’s time for another call for submissions! As a reminder, every three Thursdays I’m posting a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece I’ve written based on your idea! Submissions are now open for theme ideas you’d like me to craft from for next Thursday’s post. Please pass along whatever idea you like (it can be a theme, a sentence, a prompt, a couple of words you’d like me to incorporate or use as background—your choice), and send your suggestions to me by email at evariederauthor@gmail.com. You can also use the handy contact form on my website. Submissions will remain open until Monday the 17th at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, when I will pick one of your great ideas and craft a piece! In your email, please let me know if you would prefer I keep your name anonymous should I pick your idea, otherwise be prepared for me to shout out your awesomeness for providing a swell idea.  🙂

You can click here or here to read the first two installments of Third Thursday Flash. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your suggestions thus far, everyone—it keeps me writing and I love having your input. So, I welcome more ideas and themes for next week’s edition!

And now…back to the One Lovely Blog Award!

The One Lovely Blog Award is another of those fun blog awards circulating at the moment. While some bloggers consider them chain letters just by the nature of passing them along to more bloggers, I find the mention by my esteemed peers quite flattering. There are about 80 gazillion blogs out there, so being nominated as one of a small group that someone likes to read is not only encouraging but a real highlight of the day. So, thanks again, Nathan!

The One Lovely Blog Award suggests that I should: thank the nominator (done—you rock, Nathan!), post the picture (done!), mention seven random facts about myself, and nominate fifteen other blogs.

We’ll start with the seven random facts. (Dun dun dun…this could get interesting.)

1. One of my favorite foods is a pot pie with popcorn in it. This is a holdover from childhood, when my mom loved to eat popcorn for dinner (why, mom, why?), and we’d grab handfuls and sprinkle it over our pot pies. For some reason, the butter flavor mixes quite well. I have to get crafty with this now due to a double whammy of lactose and gluten intolerance (random fact number 2!), but I sure do love that combo.

2. See last sentence of #1. Fortunately, this is a pretty bearable issue now that it’s 2012 and there are delicious substitutes available.

3. I’ve become addicted to getting up at 4:45 to squeeze in 45 minutes to an hour of writing before I leave for work – so much so that I have to remind myself to sleep in a little on the weekends. (Why waste a perfectly good day?)

4. I’m a clean person but I have a tendency to drop mail and shoes as soon as I come in the house. Mail on the counter (which I leave, often, for a week at a time) and shoes by the door. This results in (a) no counter space and (b) random bouts of tripping over shoes while heading into my kitchen. My kitchen, by the way, is inconveniently placed as the opening to my apartment. This leads me to item #5.

5. I am giddily, delightfully, and over-the-moon excited about the fact that I will be moving in the next month to the area I’ve dreamed of living in for the last seven years. (Please review #3. This is the only writing time happening for a while since I’m packing.) The new place is on the water, beside my favorite running trail. Tranquil, safe, and beautiful are three words I would say best describe my new neighborhood, and I can’t wait to move!

6. I use an exercise ball as a desk chair half the time. It’s only half the time because my cats have a tendency to pop every exercise ball I acquire (the current tally is cats: 3, exercise ball: 1), and so I’ve been hiding this one in the tub of my guest bathroom with the door closed to prevent their access. This also means that I often sit down and start writing before I remember to grab the ball, and then I’m too immersed in what I’m doing to grab the darn thing. Sorry, abs.

7. I now consider myself a former theatre brat, Renaissance Faire girl, and circus freak. I acted a bit in my teens and first year of college, and hope to do it again one day (you know, when I have more time). I sold garlands at Renaissance Faire for seven years (I was there, but flighty, for my eighth and ninth years), which was fun and formative, but now I have a strong dislike for dusty, dry areas, as well as camping.  And the circus part—if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve heard this fact. If not, you can read more about my circus life here.

All right, there are some random facts about me for you! Now, since Nathan was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster Blog Award just a couple weeks ago, I recently nominated several blogs that I love to read and follow. The list often does not change as I follow these blogs because I think the writing is either informative, superb, or both, and for that reason, I would like to redirect you to my formerly posted list of blogs here. However, there is one blog that I’d like to add to the list, since her blog had already been nominated the last time around and thus I couldn’t renominate her. (Yes, I’m breaking all the rules in only technically nominating one person, but there you have it.)

That said, I nominate Katherine Checkley over at The Intrinsic Writer. Her blog boasts not only great writing but helpful writing posts, and I consider her a veritable fountain of clever writing information. She is also one of the first bloggers I ever started to follow!

I’d like to say thanks to Nathan again for the nomination. He’s running a fascinating blog with lots of good insight, and I’m enjoying following him through his writing journey.

And to my readers, I’d like to say thanks again for being a part of my journey. I look forward to reading your theme suggestions for Third Thursday Flash, and I hope everyone has a wonderful and restful weekend!


Third Thursday Flash Edition Two: “Beneath the Waves”

Welcome back! It’s time for the second edition of Third Thursday Flash!

Every three weeks, I am crafting a 500 to 1,000 word flash piece with a theme suggested by you, my fantastic blog readers. If you’d like to participate, keep an eye out for a theme submission call in about two weeks.

Today’s theme is brought to you by Sue W., a wonderful woman I know not only as a blog reader, but also as a friend and colleague. Sue watched a Discovery Channel show on the potential reality of mermaids, and the effects of naval sonar on their existence. I thought the idea sounded great! I’m also a little bummed I missed the show!

But without further ado, thanks to Sue for inspiring…

 

Beneath the Waves

Annie swept her hair aside, letting it float around her shoulders. The strands followed her like a gentle mist, waves of color that drifted within the lull of the ocean’s whisper. The only break in its sweet hum was the echo of sonar in the distance.

“Will he find us, mama?”

Annie ceased her strokes. She kicked her fins just enough to roll onto her back, then floated in the cloudy depths while Kata took her hand. Her daughter had started to form in the subtle ways of a young woman, her torso growing shapely and her cheekbones more defined. Kata’s lips puckered as she watched the whale pod swimming nearby, their small grey eyes pained by the sonar vibrations that increased each passing day. It would not be long before the noise grew close, driving them from the water as it had the creatures of the past.

Annie tugged Kata’s hand, then used her tail to drive them forward and up. They broke the surface beside the ridge, where the waves crested against the algaed rocks in a white roll of foam. This spot was safe, a place that only she and Kata knew.

And of course Davad.

Day-vad, he’d told her then. His name, like his story, was a mystery that swayed her whenever he reappeared.

Kata folded her arms over the rocks. She laid her chin on her forearms, her eyes bluer than the ocean as she gazed across the endless water surface. “He will, right, mama?”

Annie trailed her hand along Kata’s shoulder. The girl’s chest heaved slightly until her gills tucked themselves closed, allowing her to breathe the salty sky air.

“I hope so,” she said. She remembered the day Davad’s giant ship arrived. The moonlight had shined high above them while they anchored, and when he peeked over the edge, she’d known that he was hers to hold.

Once his mates fell to sleep, he’d crawled down to the surface of the reef. There he swung his feet in the ripples of the water, singing a tune so foreign and sweet that Annie had been compelled to surface alongside him.

“You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen,” he’d said.

Under the moonlight, they told each other stories of their lands—or in her case, of the deep waters, the others of her kind, and the torturous sounds of the sonar that ripped through their ears, threatening to send them to the surface.

Where we would not survive.

Davad swore he would find a way. He had promised it every time he came to her, meeting her in the moonlight until her belly swelled high and slowed her strokes in the water. She’d been vulnerable at the depths, but she had survived, as had their beautiful daughter, Kata.

They returned when Kata was old enough to swim the distance and found a bottle caught in the rocky ridge. The note within bore five simple words that she could read.

“I will find a way.

“We’ve come here every week for years. How many weeks until he comes?” Kata tilted back her head and stared into the sun. “What if he never comes? We will need to find a better place, away from the—”

“He will come,” Annie said. She peered at her daughter. The girl deserved to know the human who had stolen her heart from the warm watery depths.

She flicked her tail repeatedly, sending a spray over their heads until Kata’s stern frown broke into laughter. The sound came out a lovely melody, the same pitch that Annie once used to draw Davad into her arms.

Kata ceased her laughter and pressed her hand to Annie’s cheek. Her eyes reflected the sun setting far away on the horizon. Nothing floated around them save for the driftwood that bobbed as quiet as the looming night sky.

“We will wait as long as you like, mama. But if I have you, I could live beneath the water forever without him.”

Annie squeezed her daughter’s hand.

Together, they waited for the ship that never came.

 

***

Thanks for reading the second edition of Third Thursday Flash. The next edition will be in three weeks, so start thinking of your suggestions. In the meantime, have a great Labor Day weekend! 🙂


Last Call for Flash Fiction Topics!

Just a quick interim post…

Haven’t had a chance to get your theme suggestion in before tomorrow’s 8 p.m. (PST) deadline? Don’t miss out!

This Thursday is the second edition of Third Thursday Flash, when I’ll write a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece based on your idea or suggestion! Send an idea, a couple of words you’d like mentioned within the piece (or tied together for a topic), or a prompt. The idea may be zany, cute, fun, wild, comedic, or intelligent—whatever you wish, and I’ll try to put a sci-fi or fantasy twist on it! The person whose theme I select will also get a shout out to celebrate his or her awesome theme (unless you prefer otherwise).

Please send your suggestions to me by email at evariederauthor@gmail.com, or you can also use the handy contact form on my website. Submissions will remain open until tomorrow (8/27) at 8 p.m. PST. Also, be sure to let me know if you would prefer I keep your name anonymous.

You can click here to read the first episode of Third Thursday Flash.

I can’t wait to hear your idea suggestions! Thanks for participating. 🙂


Roller Coasters, School Starts, and Call for Flash Ideas!

They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade, but this particular week I’m working on my one-woman ten-lemon juggling act. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me (start of work, blown head gasket on my ten-year-old Honda, gluten allergy testing, apartment hunting madness, insomnia, and terminal illness of a family pet, just to name a portion). As usual, I’m trying to see the bright spots in a bizarrely heavy last three days.

So the good news: work has been a breeze! Even better, I taught English for the first time on Wednesday—three wonderful sections of Freshman English and you know what? It felt completely natural. Hurray! I enjoyed my Math sections, of course, but I have to say I’m pretty excited to continue on this big English teaching journey!

Other fun news—Nathan Payne over at The Writers Codex nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. I’ll share more about it in my next post but in the meantime, thanks so much, Nathan! 🙂

And now…start your engines! There is exactly one week until the second edition of Third Thursday Flash, when I’ll post a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece I’ve written based on your idea! Please pass along whatever idea you like (it can be a theme, a sentence, a prompt, a couple of words you’d like me to incorporate or use as background—your choice). Send your suggestions to me by email at evariederauthor@gmail.com, or you can also use the handy contact form on my website. Submissions will remain open until Monday the 27th at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, when I will pick one of your great ideas and craft a piece! In your email, please let me know if you would prefer I keep your name anonymous should I pick your idea. You can click here to read the first episode of Third Thursday Flash.

Thanks to everyone who participates, and of course, to all for reading!

And don’t forget, when life gives you lemons… _________ (Fill in the blank in the comment section below!)

🙂


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