Thursday, March 31, 2011

Micro Fiction

Expressing myself in a concise manner has never been one of my skills. Often friends suffer my long-winded rambles about whatever I’m going through on any given day. My hands will move about for emphasis, or my voice may go up higher in pitch and if I’m really excited, I will throw in some jumping up and down or pacing back and forth. Not that I’m an extrovert but being verbose at least with my closest friends prompted them to suggest that I blog. The bottom line is that it’s difficult for me to get to the point succinctly.

So what was I thinking when I signed up for Twitter? Twitter is all about micro messages that convey a lot with a few words. Can I do this? The only way to find out is to try it, which I did. I’ve only posted a few messages because I find it very difficult to say anything with the allotted 140 characters. 140 characters – really? That includes spaces and punctuation!

I read some of the micro-fiction that writers post to Twitter and found them fascinating. They use the same 140-character max to create their mini-stories. I’m just amazed that they can do this so I want to try to do it too. Okay, here we go:

First Draft

“Henry, a gnome broke into the house!” He opened bleary eyes “It’s your turn. I took care of it last time.” Alice reached for the cleaver she kept under the bed. (164 characters – this isn’t good. It’s 24 characters over the max.)

Second Draft

“Henry, a gnome broke into the house! He opened bleary eyes “It’s your turn.” He went back to sleep. “Fine” she said and reached for the cleaver that was under the bed. (168 characters – this is worse. It’s 28 characters over the max. I have to do better.)

Third Draft

“Henry, a gnome broke into the house!” He opened bleary eyes “I took care of it last time.” “Fine,” she said “I’ll kill it – you cook it.” (138 characters - Yay!)

I struggled with this because I kept trying to expand instead of condense the story. Wow, micro-fiction is hard but I had fun with it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cat Lady

A three month old kitten followed me home yesterday. He was so hungry that he kept crying and climbing up my legs as I walked. I already have two cats at home and although my heart was melting with this little cutie, I knew I couldn’t keep him. My plan was to give him a little food and send him on his way. There are plenty of stray cats in the neighborhood and he was probably one of them. I pulled out my cell phone and called my daughter but she didn’t answer. By the time I took the keys out and began to open the front door, he was standing with his front paws against it meowing. I yelled my daughter’s name but you know how teenagers are, they never hear their parents calling. I opened the door and he zoomed in while I tried in vain to push him back outside. My concern was that my adult cats would lash at him. My daughter dashed over (guess she did hear after all – the kitten’s cries – that is) and immediately started to coo at the kitten, whipped him up into her arms and disappeared into the house. Oh boy, here we go again. You see for some reason, cats are attracted to us. I first started out with two kittens: Loki & Nicole. Later, I found Jade (she was about 3 weeks old) in my backyard making bird sounds while stuck up a tree. To this day she makes those bird-like sounds – almost like the way pigeons coo. Shortly thereafter a ginger tabby followed my daughter home. She fell in love instantly, named him Angel and that made four cats. There was no way, I could handle a fourth cat so her father came to the rescue and adopted him. Down to three cats now, but still it gets hairy with that many cats so my friend adopted Nicole leaving only Loki and Jade. Two cats, that’s better and easier to handle – still too many hair balls but what can you do? So as you see, I couldn’t build up the count of cats again. The kitten had to go. But he’s so friendly and loves people. Clearly he’s not a feral cat and had lived with people because he never stopped purring. When you held him he relaxed into you and purred even more loudly. He’s playful and curious and constantly wants to be picked up just like an infant. Aww…! So, in a moment of weakness I said “Come to mommy Jake” and that’s when my daughter said: “Oh no, you’re not doing that again. That’s exactly what you did with Jade.” She took the cat from me and put an alert on Facebook. She sent pictures & videos of Jake (I mean the kitten that I shouldn’t give a name to so that I don’t get attached) to her friends and found a home for him. One of her friends offered to take him and my daughter assures me that he will do a good job of it. As I write this, she’s delivering cute little Jake to his new family. Jake has been purring the whole way in the soft carrier (I don’t use the hard plastic ones). He’s so adorable and I will miss him!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mini-Scenes Keep Popping In My Head

Sometimes when I’m going about my day, mini-scenes pop into my head. My Muse is having a lot of fun with me lately. Anyway it happened again today so I decided to share. She feigned sleep, her hand under the pillow as he laid next to her. “I love you” he said “And I you” he kissed her, she plunged the knife into his heart. I’m thinking that he cheated or abused her in some way, and this was payback. Or she’s an evil black widow that married him for his money and was now set for the kill. He picked up the phone on the first ring; “Hello” he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. “Who is she?” demanded the anguished voice of his wife. He turned perplexed to see his wife asleep beside him. This one has the feel of the paranormal. How could his wife have called him when she’s sleeping next to him? The voices spoke to her, she knew what to do. The dagger lay heavy in her bag. He let her in; she felt the cut, her head fell to the floor. The paranormal strikes again. Obviously, the voices were telling her to kill him but he killed her first. I wonder if it was the same voices that were speaking to the both of them. This one is about 140 characters.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Science of Love

Is there such a thing as a scientific formula for love? What defines the essence of love? There are different kinds of love but in this case, I will focus on romantic love. Take a journey with me to investigate this phenomenon as I play Scientist.

Give me a second while I put on my lab coat…

The first thing I did was research on Google and all the answers relating to Love were drowning in formulas like this one – boring!

Not what I had in mind. So, I kept trying. I asked myself “What do people need to feel love for another person? Hmm…

So, I looked up the definition of Love: a strong positive emotion of regard and affection.

What do you need to evoke a strong positive emotion of regard and affection? Well, there are different attributes that people look for in a partner. Some of those are:

Physical attraction or chemistry – How “hot” you find him/her
Commonality – all the wonderful things you and you’re special someone have in common e.g.: music
Understanding – you really get what the he/she is about
Appreciation - for their qualities, the little things he/she does for you, accomplishments, etc.
Security – feeling safe whether by physical protection, financial stability or both
Affection – expressing fondness via words, touch, etc.
Sense of humor – he/she makes you laugh
Compassion – sympathetic of others
Respect – he/she treats you with esteem and dignity
Trust – you can rely on him/her
Honesty – truthful

But I’m thinking that based on chemistry, a new can of worms is opened, like lust and sexual compatibility. Questions arise like is he/she a good kisser and then it gets too complicated. Although, these traits should not be at the forefront, they do impact on how a person feels for another and whether they’ll fall in love or not. So I have to consider them.

I used the basics of numerology to determine the number value for each of the attributes mentioned. In the case where two attributes had the same numerical value I added the first letter of that attribute as an identifier e.g.: 7h is the value of HONESTY.

After all my calculations I created the Love Table of Elements. By referring to this table, you can identify the numerical value of your relationship or the total numerical value of attributes you’re looking for in a partner.

It’s hard to say what total value should be reached in either case. It depends on the individual and what is important to them but my advice is to get the highest number possible.

For example if you add up:

Chemistry + Sexual Compatibility + Sense of Humor + Affection + Commonality + Respect + Honesty + Security = 46 (3c+11+5h+7a+5+5r+7h+3s=46)

So, if I were to meet someone with these attributes I would like them A Lot! Just saying…

The table is color coded so it would be good to find someone with one or two attributes of the same color e.g.: Honesty & Trust

I don’t have the answers but I had fun playing Scientist. This was just my take on the research of love and I’m sure there were many things I didn’t consider. My mathematical skills are non-existent so I couldn’t provide you with a more scientific formulae but I welcome anyone to provide one based on the values I’ve established.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Like most people who dedicate themselves to writing, I have a small network of friends that I trust with my work. Sometimes we are so busy with day-to-day life, our writing projects, and our daytime jobs that - although it’s ever present in our minds & hearts - we don't get the opportunity to say thanks. Today, I'm taking a little time from my busy schedule to say Thanks to a few special people in my life.

First and foremost, I want to say Thanks to:

Paulette Bennett: Screenwriter, Novelist & good friend. She was the very first person to encourage me to write; who believed in me even when I didn't, and still does. Thank you Paulette.

Joyce Pillot: Friend and Beta Reader. Joyce is always willing to put her work aside and make time to read the latest chapter of my novel or Flash Fiction I've written. She connects with the characters and always asks me to write more! Thank you Joyce.

Tom Newsome: Friend, Beta Reader and Copy Editor. Tom is my guy-best friend and has been there for me for a long time. He listens to my ideas, counsels me when I'm not sure in which direction I should go with my writing, and edits my work helping me make my writing stronger. Thank you Tom.

Melissa Cohen: Friend. Melissa is very practical in her approach when it comes to me and my writing. When I cry that I have writer's block, Melissa says: “Don't stress about it. Just Write”. When I complain about plot or characters and what to do, Melissa says: “Write, just write. Stop stressing. Write about your day. Whatever you do, just write”. Thank you Melissa.

Maria Holland: Friend, Avid Reader. Maria is a good friend who sends me e-mails with words of praise and encouragement. She appreciates a good story and I’m happy that she likes the ones I write. Thank you Maria.

All of you have consistently been supportive of my writing and I’m glad you’re all in my life.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dark Savior - A Mia Kiehls Story

In a previous post I spoke about a character which isn't connected to any of my current projects, but continues to nag me. Her "voice" is very strong but I didn't have a story for her. I needed to wait and hear what she had to say. So, today's post will be her introduction.
His lungs burned as he ran, panting, through the deciduous forest. It was the middle of November and the trees had begun to shed their leaves. The ground was littered with them and they crunched with a roar while the undergrowth was a mass of knotty roots that tripped him as he ran. He didn’t dare look behind him so he kept running; willing himself to go faster - pushing through the sting of the barren branches that whipped him. He knew he was making a lot of noise but speed was more important than silence at this point. His life depended on it.

With no memory of how he got there (all he remembered was waking up to red eyes), he shook his head trying to clear his thinking. They must have drugged him, he concluded. If they hadn’t squabbled over who would get to eat him first, he might not have gotten away. The sun was due to rise in a couple of hours but that still gave them plenty of time to catch him. He sprinted forward but his legs burned with fatigue and he could barely breathe.

The crescent moon didn’t provide enough light to judge in which direction he was headed. “God, if you get me out of this, I promise I’ll be a better person! Just please help me!” he prayed as he slowed down trying to determine which way to go. The sound of a cracking twig renewed his fear. He pushed blindly through some bushes and slipped down a ravine, flailing and grasping at whatever he could get a hold of. But he only got a hold of loose roots and earth on his way down and he landed in a heap bruised and bleeding.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I‘ve been writing a bit of late. Some of it has been for the novel, some of it has been for a novelette and in the middle of all that, I’ve been nagged. Nagged by a character that demands to be known. She has a strong personality but isn’t connected to any of my stories so I’ll have to see how she will develop. Who knows, perhaps she may have more than one story to tell. We'll see soon enough.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


He’s late; the speedometer read 70 mph. He jammed his foot on the brake as the light turned red. The traffic congestion stretched endlessly up ahead; trapped, he couldn’t exit the intersection. The call came in 15 minutes ago while in the middle of a business negotiation. It didn’t matter now whether he got the client or not, his primary objective was to get there on time. He had to keep his promise at all cost. The car’s engine revved, his heart raced and he flexed his fingers; his knuckles white from gripping the steering wheel. The panic set in and he considered getting out of the car and running instead. Even if he ran, he couldn’t run fast enough to get to Bedford Medical Hospital.

As the light changed he stepped on the gas, flashing his hazard lights and honking the horn while swerving to avoid a collision with the other cars. Disgruntled drivers blasted their horns in retaliation. The silence of his cell phone screamed at him. His eyes fixed ahead, only veered to count the exits. He passed Exit 34; drops of sweat glided down his back, the ticker on his watch drumming the count of time. A few more miles left before he could exit and get on Main Street.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Word Play

I’m playing around with words today. Don’t know why - guess I’m bored. Anyway, I’m typing away at the office doing routine work stuff and random words popped into my head. tea, lush fields, nature, tepee, Native American, shaman, sweat lodge, spirit walk I don’t know how I went from tea to spirit walk but I cleared my head and focused on work. The girls at the office are chatting away about bowtie pasta. So... pasta, pasta salad, Italian, Venice, masquerade ball, gowns, leather masks, masked man follows me with his eyes… It’s interesting how one simple word can start to snowball accumulating other words along the way and evolving into what can be the seeds for a story.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blog Maintenance

I spent a couple of hours working on the blog today. I didn't work on any stories. Instead I spent most of the time trying to figure out the Html coding. I was trying to add a widget to the blog and it's not working. So far all I have accomplished tonight is getting a sore neck and shoulders from hunching over the laptop and I think I got a little cross-eyed. So, I'm going to take a nice hot shower and then go to bed. I will try again tomorrow.