2020 Goals

I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start.

I typically use January to take a break and decompress after the holidays. I spend the month getting my plans together for the year. I know some people don’t like new year’s resolutions, but I like to set personal goals for each year. I don’t always accomplish all of them, but they give me something to focus on. Sometimes I add to the list throughout the year, and sometimes I take goals away, depending on how things are going.

This year’s goals:

  1. Read 40 books
    • I try to read at least 4 books a month, but I don’t always hit that goal. This year, I am picking the 4 books I’m going to read on the 1st that way I can see them to remind myself that is my current to read pile. I sometimes read more, and during NANOWRIMO I usually only finish one book.
  2. Write the 2nd novel in my series
    • I have been brainstorming this month. I actually wrote the first 50,000 words last November, so I need to pick it back up and get with it. I have a pretty good idea of how I want it to end. If you haven’t read the first one, you can buy it on Amazon. The second will hopefully be completed by this fall.
  3. Sell the house we own
    • We haven’t lived in it for years and our current tenants are moving out, so it’s time to let it go.
  4. Stop drinking soda
    • The struggle is real with this one. I can’t even tell you how many years in a row this has gone on my list and not been accomplished. I drink regular Coke, not diet, not zero. I drink the real stuff, and I love it. That being said, I know it’s bad for me.
  5. Write 12 short stories
  6. Finish the Grimm Fairy Tales SAL
    • This is a cross-stitch-a-long that I am doing. I didn’t do one last year, but in 2018 I did the harry potter SAL, and it was super fun. I already love this one.
  7. Finish my gift for Mindy
    • This is another cross-stitch project of mine. It’s almost done. I just need to put the border on it and get it framed. It’s a gift for my sister.
  8. Finish my flower needlework
    • This is a needlepoint project that I started years and years ago that has been sitting in my closet unfinished. I am determined this year to get it off my big frame so that anther long term project can take its place.
  9. Move
    • This is not optional. Because of my husband’s job, we will be moving in May or June. We just don’t know where yet. I am actually really excited about this and can’t wait even though it’s a lot of work.

I don’t know what everyone else is up to, but whatever it is, I hope things are going well for you. Happy reading and writing this month!

December’s Prompt

Running behind this month? Welcome to the club!

Here is the final short story prompt of 2019:

Sometimes kids are the only ones willing to say what’s really on their minds, and our family needed a little dose of honesty. We almost never said something straight out. My mother was the worst. All she would do was…

Well, that’s just in time for family holiday drama… Keep in mind this will be a work of fiction.

Happy reading and writing this month!

Skip, my lovely assistant

June’s Prompt

It’s that time again — time for another prompt! This month’s short story will be based on the following prompt:

We took turns guarding the door, neither of us sleeping very much. Ricky looked nervous, and suddenly I felt bad about getting him involved. I shouldn’t have…

Complete the Story

If you write a story using this prompt, I would love to share it on my blog!

Happy reading and writing this month!

May’s Prompt

AHHHHHHHHHH! How is it already the 20th? This month has been worse than last for me as far as being productive. But, that changes today… so even though it’s late… here is the short story prompt for this month:

He sprinted away, not daring to look back, his footsteps echoing down the hallway like distant gunshots. He just had to get to the back stairway and up to his office on the second floor, where….

Complete the Story

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

March’s Prompt

March always starts as a busy month for me; my daughter’s birthday is the first week. And now, she is on spring break from school, so I am trying to keep her busy. (Today she cleaned and organized the toy room).

Without further ado, here is this month’s prompt:

Harry shuffled the deck of cards and pushed it across the table. “Deal,” he said. “One more hand,” I agreed. It was a way to pass the time. More importantly, it was a way to avoid talking about…

Happy reading and writing this month!

Practical Joke

February 2019 short story

Today…

It began as a practical joke. But by the end of the day, nobody was laughing. It seemed innocent enough at first, because Jerry and I have a history of playing practical jokes on one another. He was the one to start the whole thing, if I’m not mistaken. He had pulled a prank on my very first day at the office. It made me like him instantly, and it made the last five years bearable.

Five years ago…

I was escorted to my cubicle by an assistant to someone that I wouldn’t remember the name of after this morning. My cubicle was in a room filled almost wall to wall with rows of more cubicles. Each and every one of them looked exactly the same. The walls of the cubicles even went up high enough to block the view of the windows.

Perhaps they were trying to make it so no one had a better view than anyone else, or maybe they didn’t want their employees contemplating windows too much.

The woman who walked me to my desk asked me a question, but I hadn’t heard her.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Did you ask me something?”

“I asked if you needed anything else?”

“No,” I added. “Thanks for showing me in.”

I sat down at my desk and for the next several hours, reviewed and edited chapters for next year’s text books. This is what four years of college and three years of grad school had led up to. I was now an editor for a large textbook company. The job wasn’t glamorous, but I was tired of eating ramen. Too many of my classmates were still working minimum wage jobs and barely getting by, some of them with more education than me.

I didn’t need glamour. I needed money.

I worked steadily until lunch when I followed everyone else down to a cafeteria with grey walls the same color as the grey of the cubicles we’d just left behind.

I ate my packed lunch and didn’t speak to anyone. I was almost finished with my fruit cup when someone moved the chair in front of me and sat down.

I glanced up from my sugary syrupy peaches and looked at a man who reminded me of my brother. He was grinning from ear to ear.

Today…

Everyone spoke in whispers and hushed tones, but I still heard snippets of their conversations.

“Claims it was an accident.”

“They are reviewing the video now.”

“Cops said not to leave.”

They actually thought I killed him. They didn’t understand. I couldn’t kill him. He was my best friend; in fact, he was my only friend.

Every day when I left this place, I went home and read until I fell asleep. I got up the next morning and did everything on repeat. The only deviations to my very routine, mundane life were my interactions with Jerry.

Five years ago…

I went back to my desk after lunch and sat down in my chair.

Pffffffffffft!

Every person in the office broke out into raucous laughter.

WHOMPT!

I actually fell out of my chair and hit the floor. The laughter started over again.

As I righted myself, I noticed there was a well-placed whoopee cushion on my chair that was the same shade of black as the chair fabric.

Jerry came around the corner and helped me up off the floor.

“Welcome. Now you are one of us,” he said.

Today…

The coroner had come and gone. The cops were asking everyone questions.

I was sitting in my cubicle, but I hadn’t done an ounce of work.

Did I kill him? It was just a practical joke. We did things like this all the time. How could it have killed him?

My mind was frantic and I was trying to recount my steps for that whole day. What did I do? I didn’t get much time to dwell.

“Come with us,” a cop said to me barely above a whisper.

I didn’t resist or argue. I gathered my things and went with the police.

Traitor Fairy

January 2019 Short Story

She believed in me in a way no one else ever has and no one else ever will, and I betrayed her. The worst part is she doesn’t know. She still thinks I remained neutral. I don’t have the heart to tell her I chose a side.

My mother and father always stayed out of the politics of the fairies, but I couldn’t do it. And what’s worse is I’ve sided with the fire fairies, not the water fairies. My betrayal would kill her. So far though, she hasn’t found out. Now if I can just get through this lunch with my sister without dying from boredom, I can get back to my assignment.

The not-so-cold war between the different fairy factions has been going on for centuries. Humans don’t know about it, but it’s going on around them every day. San Francisco happens to be one of the more active fronts at the moment. In particular, the water and fire fairies fight over the city like it’s the only thing that matters to them. The other factions, earth and air, fight over other places, more in the middle of the country.

At the moment, I am working with the fire fairies to make it look like the water fairies have become lax in their duties. Last week, I made an oil tanker spill, damaging water and wild life. That kind of incident gives the fire fairies an advantage in the political arena. They can claim the water fairies are not capable of protecting this city the way it needs to.

I am actually a water fairy, but I can’t stand by and let them ruin the place I love because it turns out the fire fairies are right. The water fairies don’t have control of this city, not even a little bit. Crime is at an all time high. Pollution is out of control. Those humans who are supposed to protect the other humans, don’t care. Police, doctors, firemen, and most of the other civil servants have stopped trying. Disease is running rampant. The bottom line is, something must be done.

The only other problem is that while the fairies are jockeying for control of the city, they don’t seem to care what harm they do to it. If we aren’t careful, there won’t be a city left when the battle ends.

My sister, who is droning on and on about her job, is oblivious that there are larger problems at hand than her regular dry cleaners closing down.

I have a lot on my plate right now. I am trying to work out how to sneak into a water treatment facility, and at the same time, go about my business without my mother noticing my comings and goings.

The latter is easier said than done. Ever since my mother retired from her job, she wants to know my every movement. I still live with her. Unlike my other sisters, I never moved out. She would be so disappointed in me.

“And that’s why I think I’m going to try the new store on 10th street,” my sister said.

I honestly had no idea what she was talking about. “Sounds like a good idea,” I said.

She got quiet for a minute. “What’s going on with you? You are quieter and more distracted than normal.” She squinted her eyes and looked me up and down.

“Nothing is going on. I am fine.” I gathered up my cell and put my purse over my shoulder. “Thanks for lunch, but I really should be getting back to mom. I don’t like to leave her alone too long.” I used our mother as a means of escape as often as I could. My sisters probably knew that’s what I was doing, but they weren’t going to call me on it because then I might ask them to help out with our mother.

I left the restaurant feeling frustrated. I needed to keep my life and my other life separate but I didn’t know how much longer that was possible. The real question was whether I should go ahead and tell my mother that I was working for the fire fairies or let her find out on her own. Either way, that conversation was not going to go well.

In fact, it could be really, really bad. When fairies get emotional, they can have trouble controlling their emotions. My mother, in particular, was prone to control issues anyway because she had Alzheimer’s. She sometimes acted like a young fairy first coming into her power; she would forget to reign in her magic once she started unleashing it. And to make matters worse, my powers were no match for her.

State of My Novel Address

I originally started this blog for two purposes:

  1. to discuss with others my struggles with writing my first novel
  2. to post short stories

If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I post short stories once a month, but you may be wondering…. How is that novel coming?

As of right now, January 26, 2019, I am FINALLY nearing the end of my first draft. I pushed myself during NANOWRIMO last year and added 50,000 words to my draft. Since then I have been editing and reworking everything that I’ve written so far.

At this point, I only need to write the last part of my book (my novel is broken into 3 sections). You may be thinking, “Doesn’t that mean you have 1/3 still to go?”

Actually, no. I don’t think the third part is going to be quite as long as the first two sections were. My goal is to have a completely finished first draft by mid-February. Then I would like to read and edit one more time before I send it to my beta-readers.

My goal is to get them copies and give them 2-3 months to get back to me. (They have lives). After that, I want to use their feedback to run through it at least once more, probably twice.

When all is said and done, I would like to have a polished copy ready for the world by October 1, 2019. At this point I am planning on publishing ebook style via Amazon. (If you have any suggestions and tips on that route of publishing, let me know).

This year is it. I will have written a book. It’s happening.

Happy writing and reading this month!

2019 begins…

As you are all aware, 2019 is in full swing now. I have had a mixed year so far. My family recently got some really good news, followed quickly by some really depressing news. It’s hard to focus on the good when all I can think about is trying to survive the depressing part.

Despite that, I am trying to focus on things and figure out what I want to get done this year. I am one of those people who sets resolutions every year. I like them; I know some people don’t. I like to have goals and a plan, even if sometimes I don’t accomplish it all.

Here are my goals for 2019 that I don’t mind sharing with the world:

  1. Read 45 books (last year I read 39, so I am trying to go a bit beyond that this year).
  2. Complete the draft of my novel and edit it. (Believe it or not, I am dangerously close to having a complete first draft).
  3. Write 12 short stories on my blog again.
  4. Finish 4 large cross stitch projects.

I am trying to pick a goal to focus on each day to distract myself from the other life stuff going on right now.

Anyway, if you follow this blog, you know that each month, I post a prompt for a short story that arrives at some point later in the month. For January, here is the prompt:

She believed in me in a way no one else ever has and no one else ever will, and I betrayed her. The worst part is she doesn’t know. She still thinks….

from Complete the Story

Happy reading and writing this month!

December’s Prompt

It’s time for my final short story prompt of 2018! 

If you want to write a short story too, here is the prompt for this month:

The music drifted out of the club like a vibrating pulse. I could feel it in my bones. The night was alive with possibility. I could even imagine myself…

Happy writing and reading this month!! 

Skip, my lovely assistant wishes you and yours Happy Writing and Reading this month!