Autumn Haiku

I was doing some research on literary agents, and one of them posted a challenge to write an Autumn Haiku. My first thoughts were (1) What a cool idea! (2) What’s a Haiku again? Ha! My 11th grade Creative Writing teacher would be mortified if she knew I’d forgotten. So, here is my extremely rusty take on a Haiku. It was fun to tackle the 5-7-5 syllable rhythm. I actually found it a little therapeutic; got my creative juices flowing a little bit. Happy Autumn, everyone!

Fall has awoken
Crinkled leaves flutter and dance
Beneath the clear skies.

Majesty painted
Golds, crimsons and greens abound
God is an artist.

Soft cozy sweaters,
And my favorite old boots,
With a book in hand.

Cinnamon breezes,
Pumpkins, warm soups and flannel
Autumn, I’m ready.

 

Three’s A Crowd

Writing Prompt provided by Writer’s DigestAfter months of planning, you and two of your friends pull off a major scam and steal $10 million dollars from a Vegas Casino. Your tracks are completely covered, there’s no way they can track it to you guys and you’ve escaped to a far away country. While you lay in your bed, dreaming of spending your share, you overhear your friends in the next room—plotting to kill you! Write this scene and what happens next.

********************************

Webster defines a sucker as, “A person who is easily tricked or deceived.” Lucky for me, I’m no sucker. But as for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in the next room? Suckers.

While my “accomplices” praise themselves over our victorious thievery I have packed away every piece of paperwork, their passports, credit cards, debit cards, identification cards and all ten million (in various checks) into my backpack. It wasn’t difficult, as I’ve insisted from the start that I’d keep track of all the logistics. In fact the whole thing was my idea. I got them safely out of the country with a little over three million each. They were simply the muscle. Without me they’d still be scraping off buffet plates by day and mopping bathrooms by night at the Mandalay. I have to admit I find amusement in imagining them trying to work their way through the Latvian countryside. They barely speak English, let alone Latvian. Thanks to Craigslist, I’ve been taking lessons from an old Latvian lady the last nine months. Atvainojiet zēni! (Sorry boys!)

As they bicker over the details of my imminent and, apparently, brutal murder I am finishing up the last knots of my bed-sheet rope. A little medieval I know, but when you’re in a creaky old hotel and there is only one door in and out, you improvise.

“Do it now before she wakes up,” I hear one of them growl. Thank God the old man at the desk downstairs gave us the suite with the extra room. There’s no lock on the door, but I didn’t sleep anyway.

I pry open the window and fling out my makeshift rope. There’s not a soul in sight on the dimly lit cobblestone street. I double check that it’s secure on the wrought iron bed frame and begin shimmying down as quickly as I can. Three stories seems a lot higher when your only lifeline is a rope made of ancient sheets.

“She’s climbing!” one of the idiots shouts. I still can’t really tell them apart. Better to not get too personal with people you’re committing criminal offenses with. Thank God they don’t have guns. I stashed them when they went downstairs to eat in the lobby, thinking I was asleep.

Just as my toes touch the pavement I’m knocked off my feet with impressive force. My head feels like it’s splitting in half. I push myself up and rub the back of my head. Blood. I turn back up to the window and see the two buffoons staring at me, hoping their little stunt worked. It didn’t.

“You’ll need more than a bedside bible to do me in, boys,” I sneer at them. I couldn’t feel more elated to see their idiotic dumbstruck faces.

“Your money’s on the table,” I cheer before turning to run down the street. I laugh to myself as they’ve undoubtedly read my note; next to the $6.60 in US dollars I left, by now.

“T & H—spend it wisely, suckers.”

Confessions from a Boulangerie

This is a random little shout out, but if you head over here, you can read 25 one-liners to lift your spirits. I had a couple of good laughs going through the list! One of my favorites, “The early bird gets the worm, but the late worm gets to live.” Ha! I don’t know why I find that so funny but I do.

I’m sitting in a picturesque boulangerie on Division Street in Portland. We’ve been in this city about a month and I’m finding so many quirky places with fantastic food. I’m partial to this little french spot because, not only does the food taste like a cafe straight out of Strasbourg but it feels like it’s smack-dab in the middle of Strasbourg.

I’ve lived overseas a couple of times and my heart has never really left Europe. I’ve been blessed to visit so many extraordinary places, but France has always moved me. It gets down into my bones and stirs my desire for adventures. I can’t explain why. It just does. I’ve never been a fan of that phrase, but I can’t figure out any other way to describe it.

My heart has been yearning for an adventure. I know we’ve traveled a lot this summer. It was mostly for my sanity’s sake while Grady was away. My family and inlaws saved me and Scout in so many ways. However, traveling solo with a very active baby in new times zones, new beds, new places is no easy feat. Poor thing. All things considered, Scout handled this summer fairly well.

I also know that my cousin passing is a big reason I want to get the heck out of dodge. When trials come my reaction is to run. I can confront them only for so long before everything within me needs to hop on a plane and get a new view for a little while. Also, moving to Portland has been a big transition. Grady has been working all day every day with hardly a break in between. It’s been a couple of very long, lonely weeks. To quote a movie that I don’t even like, “I need a vacation from my problems!” (from What About Bob).

Sometimes I feel like my only adventures will be out smarting my 16 month old into taking her naps and cleaning up four thousand piles of dirty clothes and dishes and then doing it all over again the next day. The weight of the redundancy of my days overwhelms me a bit at times. It’s hard work. It’s repetitive work, but it’s good work. C.S. Lewis said that, “Children aren’t a distraction from your most important work. They are your most important work.”

Don’t hear me wrong, I’m not blaming Scout for my struggles. Her high energy and strong-willed ways and all, she’s a phenomenal little human being. I love her with everything I have within me and I wouldn’t trade my position as a mother for anything in the world. And goodness knows she is so gracious with her tired mama. Even when I lose my temper she meets me with hugs and kisses. This has been a very long, very difficult summer and I’m struggling with sifting through my feelings and exhaustion. Sorry for the whiny blurry post, but writing it out has already made me feel a little bit better. Life is unfairly difficult at times, but good always finds a way in, little by little.

Happy Sunday, everyone! I challenge you to find your own little haven in the midst of life and all the craziness it brings with it.

 

 

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.

**********

“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.

*******************

“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.