Fool Me Once

Prompt provided by Writer’s Digest! I promise my next post I’ll switch things up…perhaps.

After arriving at your favorite lunch destination and eating your favorite meal, your waitress rushes to your table. She looks panicked. She grabs you and looks into your eyes, but doesn’t say anything. Finally, she turns toward the wait staff, who is all gathered just outside the kitchen, and yells, “We only have 6 minutes until he dies! We need to save him.” Write this scene from your perspective.

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“I’m sorry, what?” I stare at the waitress, whose complexion is as tomato red as her hair.

“Six minutes,” she rasps, “six minutes until you die!” Despite my best efforts my laughter clamors through the awkward silence of the restaurant, stunning the waitress.

“Where is she?” I ask, scanning the room. I know she’s behind this. Annie always was one for dramatics. Price you pay for straying from the marriage bed.

“If I were you,” the waitress pleas, “I’d be in the next cab to the hospital, mister.” Ignoring her again I stand up and walk back through the kitchen towards Annie’s office with the waitress on my heels.

“I wouldn’t go in there!” She wails, “Seriously, sir, you need to get to a hospital!”

“Listen, you’re obviously new here,” I warn her as I hold my hand up. “Annie is a close friend of mine. So if you’d be so kind as to get out of my way.” Niceties have never been my strongpoint.

I push open the office door and there’s Annie, leaning against her desk, looking perfect as usual. Her slender legs go on for miles and her hazel eyes take a man’s breath away. But beneath all that gorgeous perfection is a hailstorm waiting to strike.

“Enough with the nonsense, Anne,” I say to her. “Your little friend is making a scene and I’d like to eat in peace if that’s alright with you.” Annie smiles exposing two rows of flawlessly straight pearly whites. She laughs her rich sultry laugh and for a minute I’m almost swept up in her storm once more.

“Ezra Kane,” she says, “what a way to spend your last six minutes. Tell me, how was the milkshake?”

“Annie, I’m tired,” I begin, “it’s been a long day. I thought we agreed to leave well enough alone.” I see her left eyebrow begin to rise like it always does when she’s about hurl a lightening strike.

“Maybe you should have thought about that before you wasted three years of my life, Mr. Kane,” she hisses at me. “And of all the diners in this city, you still come to mine? You had it coming.” It’s as if she has said the magic words. A searing pain slices across my lower abdomen as a burning sensation tingles in my hands. My vision blurs at a rapid pace as my heart booms in my chest .

“Goodbye, Ezra,” Annie bends down and whispers. Through the pulsing in my ears I can hear Annie’s favorite soundtrack playing on her computer. It’s “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago. Just as my world is going black she sings the words, “You know some guys just can’t hold their arsenic.”

Aunt Edna

Writing Prompt provided by Writers Digest ! 500 Word Max.

Your wealthy Aunt Edna has died and left you all of her money. At first you’re excited, as you’ve been living paycheck-to-paycheck your whole life, and this newfound money offers you endless possibilities. But, in her will, Aunt Edna left one big catch—and, if you don’t do it, all of the money is to be given to your most unlikable cousin, Wilfred.

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“So you’re telling me if I don’t do this, all five hundred mill goes to Wilfred?” I clarify incredulously.

“Yes, Mr. Hardy,” croaks the Lawyer. Once again the grin cracks across his aged face, reminding me of an old toad.

“I guess we better get going then,” I sigh. I follow Mr. Hale down the hall and out into the parking lot. We climb inside his vintage Jaguar and set off for Aunt Edna’s house in the woods. I haven’t been back since I was a kid. All I really remember is her weird obsession with vintage glass soda bottles. She’d buy them by the dozens wherever she could. “A soda a day can add up,” she would say each time she bought one. She was always missing a screw or two.

We turn onto the long driveway leading up to the house. From the mailbox at the end of the drive, stretching out over at least an acre of yard is an enormous mosaic of soda bottles. There isn’t a blade of grass to be seen between the shimmering green and clear colored bottles. She seems to have been inspired by her Dutch roots, making a picture of a windmill and a pair of clogs.

“There must be half a million bottles here,” I groan to Mr. Hale. “I’ve got to wash, dry and polish every single bottle? Just to throw them away?” Mr. Hale nods once again smiling like bug eyed toad.

“Well make yourself comfortable,” I sigh as I push the car door open. I realize that there are a myriad of worse scenarios in order to get five hundred million dollars. I’d clean a billion bottles if I had to. I just don’t get why I have to go through all the work just to throw the stupid things away.

Back at the mosaic I’ve set up a cleaning station on the front porch of the house. I pull a couple of dark green Sprite bottles. Just as I’m about to dunk them in the water I see that they each have something inside. I flip two bottles over and two tightly rolled wads of twenty-dollar bills fall into my hand. I unroll the wad and each one has a hundred dollars worth in twenties. I flip over the other three bottles and inside each is a wad of one hundred dollars. I grab ten more bottles from the yard and dump them out onto the porch. Every single bottle holds a hundred bucks. I collect the money and stash it under the porch steps before running over to Mr. Hale.

“Is the entire five hundred million in the bank?” I ask him as coolly as I can.

“Yes,” He replies without looking up from his book. Pure jubilation rises in my chest. I’m going to walk away today with at least another fifty million.

“A soda a day can add up, Mr. Hale,” I tap on the car door and run back to the porch.

The Secrets of Sally Thorne, Part IV

(Click the links for Part I , Part II , and Part III )

Sally was stunned. Staring back at her in the salon mirror was a gorgeous brunette. Her once tumbleweed-esque mane had been replaced by long silky raven layers. Bold brows, deep berry colored lips and lush lashes framed her vibrant green eyes. The navy blue frock picked out by Francine cinched her waist and hugged in all the right places.

“I don’t know what to say,” Sally whispered in disbelief. Lucy, the red-headed hairstylist, smiled warmly as she continued to play with Sally’s hair.

“Whoever permed your hair did you no favors,” said Lucy. “Your high cheekbones were made for sleek layers. You remind me of a brunette Kate Winslet.” Sally couldn’t help but laugh. She did look like Kate Winslet. She also wasn’t about to admit that she had been perming her own hair for the last twenty years.

Sally paid for her new dress and makeover then walked over to the salon door. The bustling sidewalk paid no attention to her. Clint was nowhere to be seen.  Even if he was, Sally was convinced that he wouldn’t notice her. She didn’t recognize herself. Taking a deep breath Sally pushed the salon door open and stepped into the crowded city.

Sally arrived at Tutus fifteen minutes early. She hoped that Barnabas would show up early too. She’d rather deal with the shock of her new appearance between the two of them and not in front of Xander. Butterflies began flitting through her stomach as the minutes ticked closer to six o’clock.

Five minutes till Sally could see Barnabas’s large body parting the crowd on the sidewalk, a grizzly bear of a man. She’d always found those types attractive. He caught her eye as he got closer to the restaurant and it was obvious he had no idea who she was.

“Hi Barnie,” Sally said quickly. There was no disguising the absolute confusion on Barnabas’s face. If it wasn’t for her purple glasses he would have never guessed who she was.

“Sal?” said Barnabas. His eyebrows locked in a state of shock. “Wha — why–You look amazing.” He finally sputtered. Sally’s cheeks glowed against her pale skin. Normally she’d brush off such a comment, but tonight she did look amazing.

“Just wanted something different,” Sally said as coolly as she could. “I’ve been meaning to do it for a while.”

“Well, words fail, Ms. Thorne,” Barnabas said cheekily, holding open the restaurant door. “Shall we?”

Sally followed Barnabas into the restaurant and waited as he spoke to the hostess.

“Xander’s already here,” Barnabas said surprised. “He’s normally fashionably late. Likes to make an entrance, if you know what I mean.” Sally and Barnabas followed the sharp featured hostess. The enormous room was speckled with silvery glowing lights contrasted by the pitch black walls. An electric blue waterfall cascaded down from the fourth story ceiling landing into three perfectly circle pools. Glassware clinked all about the room mixed with muffled conversations. Idyllic for the modern elite of the city.

Finally they arrived at their table, a semi circular booth secluded from the rest of the tables. Obviously Xander must be a man of money to be able to afford such a space. As Barnabas turned to introduce Sally to Xander her blood ran cold. Sitting across the table in a three thousand dollar Armani suit was her estranged brother-in-law: Ray Alexander Savij.

To be continued…

Book Reviews

Hello hello!

I just flew through my latest read, and so I thought I’d throw a couple of book reviews out there.

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyardd1427aa51475d87c08a90994aae4e59f So this Young Adult piece of brilliance was fantastic. It definitely has a Hunger Games meets Divergent meets X-men kind of feel so it. I’m a HUGE fan of the Hunger Games so I was taken with this from the get-go. Can I just be honest and say that Young Adult fiction can be so addicting? I don’t fully understand it but I kind of do. They make me feel like I’m 19 again with the whole world at my fingertips. It’s fun to watch characters fight for a cause and to fall in love for the very first time. It’s magic stuff. But it’s also kind of dangerous. Fictional characters have zero flaws, ya know? And even if they do have flaws, in books there are always good reasons behind them and in some bizarre way it makes them even more attractive. Books are strange and beautiful things. I don’t want to give a detailed review as the whole story is so fresh in my mind (I just finished it today) and I’m in that post-book depression funk. I need to know what happens next! Fair warning, the first and second books are out but the third isn’t due for publication until February 2017. So I’m not letting myself read the second until I’m able to have the third at the ready! Just know that if you like dystopian stories with a gritty but likable female lead, a cutting edge story and a couple of dreamy guys thrown in the mix, this is a good one.
  2. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)b6fead7f2cb31dee63f2954ba44bd396.jpgThis series isn’t new, although the third novel “A Career of Evil” came out within the last year. These books are phenomenal. If you like dark suspense these are for you. “The Cuckoo’s Calling” is the first, followed by “The Silkworm” and lastly “A Career of Evil”. I’m an avid Harry Potter fan and when I heard that this series was actually written by JK Rowling I was intrigued. I was nervous to read an entirely different genre because I so dearly love her style of writing and language, but couldn’t imagine it working for me outside of Harry Potter. I was wrong. I will also add that the narrator for the Audiobooks does a wonderful job. I’m so picky about narrations for Audiobooks, but with these I was far from disappointed. JK Rowling is brilliant at whodunit’s. I’m on the third book now and cannot wait for the next!

I normally review more than two books, but my daughter has been asleep for an hour and if I don’t follow suit I’ll regret it in the morning. Sweetest of dreams my blogging friends and happy reading!

P.S. As an aspiring author, I hope one day to read another aspiring author shouting out my new novel. So if you are a newly published author and would like another pair of eyes on your novel or novella drop a comment or send me an email! You can find it in the “about me” tab at the top of the page.

Greetings

Hello world of WordPress,

Obviously I’ve taken a bit of a break from writing since my cousin passed away. Anytime I sat to write it just didn’t feel like the timing was right. I couldn’t think of anything worth writing and my heart wasn’t in it. Not to mention I’ve been bouncing between California, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and South Carolina since May with my 15 month old. But mostly, I couldn’t muster the motivation.

I want to say thank you to all of you who wrote encouraging words on my last post. It was so kind and appreciated. Your prayers and kind thoughts towards my family, particularly my aunt, uncle and chase’s brothers, have made an impact to be sure. The power of prayer and love is an amazing thing.

I’m still not sure what I want to accomplish with this post other than setting my writing routine back in motion. I’m excited to sift through and read posts from you guys that I’ve missed the last month. In the meantime I thought I’d share some pictures of Scout and my’s adventures so far this summer. Happy to be back in the world of writing.

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Murray #5

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My cousin Chase died today. The words taste foreign. My brain can’t reconcile what has happened. I’ve never lost someone close to me before. I had hoped that we’d be one of those unicorn families that are never struck with sudden death or disease. This morning I realized that I had been completely and immovably convinced that my family was under the protection of unstoppable forces; that horrid things didn’t happen to us. They couldn’t.

I was wrong.

Chase was born just a couple of months after my younger sister Emma and at the time our families lived together. My mom’s side of the family has always been extremely close. The cousins are more like siblings than cousins. Loosing Chase this morning has been a whirlwind. Grief comes in waves and in different ways. Mostly I still don’t believe this has really happened. A huge part of me feels like this is some tactless cruel joke and Chase will come walking through the door any minute. My brain and my heart can’t seem to communicate or come to terms. It’s been a long day to say the least.

Chase was killed in a car accident early this morning. My stomach churns typing out the words even though I’ve heard them a hundred times today. He was only 21.

I’m a Christian and when things like this happen the world seems to watch you extra closely. While I’ll never in a million years claim that Christians have it all together, I will still proclaim that Christ does. I don’t understand why God allows the things that He allows. I don’t understand why good things happen to bad people or why bad things happen to good people. I don’t understand why some cars can roll and people walk away unscathed while others are taken from us. I could go on for hours about the questions I have thrown at God’s feet, sometimes screaming at Him while I’m at it. All I do know is this, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.

The strength and grace that I have seen in my aunt and uncle today surpasses all understanding. Not to say that they aren’t broken and grieved beyond belief. They are angry, but they have peace. They are crushed, but there is hope. They believe to the depths of who they are that God has overcome the grave, and that Chase lives in and with Christ. I’m in awe of the beauty they have shown today. They are, truly, beautiful people. My heart is shattered for them and Chase’s three younger brothers. My heart is shattered for the rest of us cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends that will miss Chase for the rest of our days. Chase loved God with all his heart, all his mind and with all of his strength. He is very much alive. He is very much loved. He is very much missed.

I love you Chase.

Commitment to Writing

I read an article today titled, “Make a New Commitment to Your Writing” by Elizabeth Sims via Writer’s Digest Yearbook magazine. It was an absolutely fantastic read. I grabbed it at Barnes and Noble should you wish to snag it.

This post will in no way, shape or form do the article justice. However, some of the things she had to say stood out to me and I wanted to share.

The 10 steps of commitment to your writing are:

  1. Take leaps of faith
  2. Unleash your passions
  3. Relinquish control
  4. Obsess
  5. Accept that nothing is perfect
  6. Muster your optimism. You can do this!
  7. Trust the path
  8. Take a vow of faithfulness — and keep it
  9. Devote yourself to unconditional love
  10. Believe that everything will work out right in the end

I fully stand behind her steps and the reasons she gives for them. In some ways they will look different for every person. For instance, in step 8 (take a vow of faithfulness — and keep it) she tells readers/writers to give writing your best and utmost time and attention. I can’t and won’t do that because I have a 13 month old at home. Scout needs my best and utmost attention, but nap times and post-bedtime I have utlized for writing and it’s worked out great thus far.

So, without any further ado, here are my favorite quotes from said article:

  1. From Step 1 (take leaps of faith), “Whatever you doubt you can do on the page, choose that thing.”  I LOVE this. I am going to frame it and stick in on the wall of my writing area at home.  When I am working on short stories or flash fiction I will have an idea and immediately nix it because I am worried about what readers will think of me. DUMB! Isn’t that the point? If you want to make it as a writer, you have to bring something fresh. You need to stand out. You need to push the envelope. Choose that thing. You know what that is.
  2. In step 7 (trust the path) she says, “Don’t worry if you feel lost. We all feel lost sometimes. We all are lost, sometimes.” I know it sounds silly, but when I feel lost while writing I start to believe that I am wasting my time. What good writer gets lost? Surely J.K. Rowling never felt lost, Stephen King would never get lost, Francine Rivers for sure never struggled with feelings of lostness. Right? Wrong. Instead of viewing authors I admire as super-humans I am choosing to remember that they are who they are because they walked through the fog and came out on the other side. Being lost is okay. Staying lost is not.
  3. The third and final quote from the article is my favorite. I know we’ve heard this in a billion different ways but it’s important stuff. Also from Step 7 she says, “Only one thing is absolutely certain: If you quit, you’ll never succeed.”  I’m new to the game of seriously pursuing a writing career. The dream had been on a dusty shelf for many years. As I’ve mentioned in numerous other posts I’m a new(ish) mom. I had my firstborn in April 2015 and starting chasing my dream of writing when Scout was 11 months old. Now, I’m not willing to sacrifice my role as a stay-at-home-mom. It’s a role I take very seriously and I gladly give it my best hours. But that’s a choice. At the same time, I really feel like there is a plan for me in the world of writing. It will look different from what I had initially envisioned. But, dedicating 4 good hours a day to writing (two naps and after her bedtime) is better than no time at all. Little by little one travels far. Make it happen!