Monday, July 28, 2014

Why I Write 7: Time = Practice

Writing takes time.

The more you write, the more you realize it takes time away from doing other things.

So, why do I do it?

For one thing, writing is part of that creative spark in my brain that pulls on my dendrites until it comes out as a story. It’s a very nagging feeling.

Second, writing is work. I like to stay busy and writing is one way I can accomplish that.

Third, any aspirations to become a well-known author begin with sitting down and writing. Again, letting those creative sparks flow out of my fingers and onto the keyboard, are what’s needed to get better. Reading lots also helps.

Giving up is not an option (though considering it doesn’t make you a bad person, just make sure to get off this ride).

Finding time to write is important. Whether it is thirty minutes or an hour, it’s all worth it at the end.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Short Stories & Such 12: Celebrity Fender Bender

I always wanted two particular actors to come together and do a fun skit on screen. So, when Writer’s Digest added the writing prompt about choosing your favorite actor in a car accident with you, I decided to write a short story with Nathan Fillon and Bruce Campbell. It’s actually a fun exercise.

Celebrity Fender Bender

Lulu had just pulled out of the building she attended traffic school for the second time in two years. One full day of attendance and the ticket would be cleared off her record… again. If only the responsibility of driving weren’t such a chore, she wouldn’t have to enroll in any more.

She drove a beat up Volkswagen beetle with the top almost chewed to bits. A job at Coffee Express wasn’t going to enter her in the best dressed hostess contest, but like her dear Daddy always said, “Lulu, you’ve gotta save, save, save, ‘cuz nothin’s free in life.” Except Daddy didn’t know about the new purse she spent her paycheck on or the new smartphone she eyed at the mall and now had stuffed in her back pocket.

Those were the thoughts that staggered her mind the minute her car was hit by the rear bumper of a black Cadillac up front- a light fender bender which caused their trunk to pop open. The tinted windows spelled out R-I-C-H and she knew this would not bode well on her car insurance.

Lulu clutched the steering wheel and bit her lip, “Get a grip.” She turned off the engine and unbuckled her seatbelt, “Emergency lights.” She reminded herself to press the button and told herself, “Make sure and assess the damage.” She stepped out of her car and at the same time, a tall man came out of the Cadillac.

Lulu covered her mouth, “Oh, man, oh man oh man.” She lifted her finger from her free hand, “You’re… you’re…”

The tall man sprinted over to her and lowered her hand, “Shh, young lady. Don’t you know it’s not polite to point?” He looked around as drivers glanced through their windows at the accident. He waved them away with a smile.

“But… but you’re Nathan Fillon from Firefly… and Castle!”

Nathan wiped his forehead. His eyes shifted left and right, “Okay, tell you what, I’ll let this slide -”

“What?” The shock of standing in front of her favorite actor began to wade, “This was not my fault…” she gulped saliva down her throat, “You backed up into me during a green light.”

“I know, but we don’t have to call the police… Here,” he handed her a card with his name and contact information, “Why don’t you swing by and we can talk this over, hmm?”

Lulu got hold of the card and stared at it blankly, almost melting. Was this an invitation to his next television episode? She felt dizzy from being this close to Nathan Fillon and she let the card slip.

Nathan caught her before she collapsed.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, yes, it’s just…” and that’s when she saw it. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?” Nathan put his hands in his side pockets.

It being the body lying inside the trunk of your car,” she pointed.

Nathan smoothed out her blouse’s shoulder ruffles, “What?”

“That!” Lulu pointed to his trunk.

“Oh, that that.”

She leaned closer and yelped, “That’s Bruce Campbell from Army of Darkness… and Burn Notice!

Nathan nodded nonstop, “Yes, yes he is... let me explain.”

“You killed him?”

“No, but let’s get this straight,” he placed his hand on the top of the Cadillac, “I’ll let this slide, hey, why not?” He shrugged his shoulders, “But on one condition,” he raised his finger.

Lulu’s eyes widened, “What?”

“You forget about this thing and I’ll pay for any damage to your car.”

Lulu noticed Bruce’s famous profile and dark hair, and he seemed to be without ropes. "I always thought he was great."

“Oookay,” Nathan closed the trunk door, “Bruce’s last wish before his heart attack was to take him in the trunk of my car to the hospital.”


“Yes, we’re on our way… you know… gonna pay my respects there.”

Believe me when I tell you that Lulu was confused. “Why would anyone make a dying wish like that?”

“Ahh, Bruce was kind of… hmm… eccentric.”

Lulu caught sight of Nathan’s fingers tapping the trunk. Was she on some sort of show already or was she daydreaming this? But if she could avoid the penalty from the car insurance…

“Well, in that case, you have nothing to worry from me.”

“I knew you’d understand. I knew the minute I saw you.” He brought his fingers to his lips.

“Yeah, well…”

“Here,” he handed her four hundred dollar bills. “This should be enough to cover any expenses. If not, give me a call… um?”


“Lulu. Thank you.” He smiled, picked up the card on the floor and handed it to her, then, walked back in to his car and revved up the engine. He waved goodbye as he drove off.

Lulu stood with mouth gaping. She still held the card with Nathan Fillon’s personal number. “Wow.”

“So, did she buy it?” Bruce stuck out his head by pushing the seat cushions open from inside the trunk.

“I think so.”

“Maybe you went a little overboard with the whole dying wish thing.” Bruce crawled out of the trunk.

“She would have freaked out if I told her I killed you.”

Bruce nodded. “But the cash?”

“We did hit her car.”

Bruce placed his hand on his chin. “You think next time I should grumble?”

“Nah, we’re not doing the zombie thing.”

“Maybe you should be the dead one.”

Nathan chuckled and turned on the GPS, “Where to now?”


You can see the original draft posted on Writer’s Digest Daily prompts under November 27 (or 28), 2012 at

Monday, July 14, 2014

Books I’m Reading 9

Puertos Abiertos: Antología de Cuentos Centroamericano (2011), edited by Sergio Ramírez. This is a collection of Spanish stories from Central America.

Dear America: the Diary of Anetka Kaminska, A Coal Miner’s Bride by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. This is a fictional story about a Polish thirteen year-old girl whose fate is to emigrate to America and become the bride of a coal miner.

The Boss by Victoria Chang is a poetry collection with the themes of ‘boss’ in terms of having a boss, being a boss, and wanting to be a boss. It is an interesting style of poetry, too.

The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars is a coming of age story about a girl named Sarah. She has a brother with a disability who gets lost and she starts to see things differently. Great book.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Writer’s Workshop 9: In a town in the Old West

In a town in the Old West
Here was a fun writing prompt. You choose a person and a place. Include a problem, story events, and resolution.

The person could be an astronaut, cowboy, captain, veterinarian, doctor, teacher, or sales manager.

The place could be a state, house, office, or vehicle. For example, the veterinarian could work on a mobile clinic or the teacher is at the circus. Maybe you can write about a boat captain going down the Mississippi River.

There are many possibilities you can mix up, too.

I chose the cowboy and a saloon. Here’s my attempt:

Cowboy Leroy walked into the saloon, tipped his hat at the young waitress, and waltzed over to the bar. His eyes scanned the room. He recollected the last time he entered this town he was framed for the murder of the trusted sheriff. Even though, he was cleared, most folks held a grudge against him.

He lifted his finger to order the only drink necessary: whiskey with lemon. His other hand strayed to his gun belt. He unfastened the holster and cocked his gun. He didn’t want to take any chances with his back turned the way it was.

Leroy downed his drink and a tall man behind him said, “You ain’t welcome here.” The man raised his gun, pointed it at Leroy. The other men moved back against the wall. Leroy set his glass down and turned. He fell on one knee and pulled the trigger. The tall man fell. Leroy had shot him as swiftly as he spit.

“I ain’t never liked bullies,” Leroy said.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Death as Metaphor 11: Speaking with the Dead through Symbolic Play

Dealing with loss is a form of meaning-making; of making the unfamiliar familiar; of nourishing the future to be less frightening. Writers make use of this phenomenon in poetry and their writing.

As children, we construct meaning as we use symbolic play to make sense of our world: the past, the present, and the future. We learn to appreciate things and recreate others. Through this ‘pretend play’, our imagination plays a key role in our development and formation of ideas about the world.

For instance, children engage in dialogue with inanimate objects. Picture a child pretending to talk to a doll. Can adults pretend to speak with the dead?

It’s possible some adults create dialogues with the deceased. Inanimate objects such as the grave, or skull, or ash function in the same way as the doll.

Through this literal context, real life situations and the dead are being emotionally dealt with non-literally.

According to Ingrid E. Josephs*, the formation of ideas assist in our anticipation of our own death since we shape our imagination, we construct our world by building metaphors, building fantasy, and transforming the self in relation to the world throughout our life time

Therefore, the metaphors and symbolic play help us build meaning of our world.


source * Josephs, Ingrid E. “Constructing One’s Self in the City of the Silent: Dialogue, Symbols, and the Role of ‘As-If’ in Self-Development.” Human Development 41.3 May-June 1998; 180-195. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 November 2010.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Quote 8

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life,
it’s about what you inspire others to do.”

When I read this quote, I stopped to consider the many times I asked myself whether what I’m doing in life is worth it. Then, I realized that if I could change or inspire or affect someone in a positive way, it was.

This goes for our many roles. Some parents feel success when their children grow up to be wonderful citizens. Some teachers feel success when they see students utilizing what they have learned in their life. Some dog trainers feel success when they find pet guardians adopting the techniques they taught. Some dentists feel success when patients return to their offices with a better hygiene routine. Some writers feel success when readers come up to them and say the book helped them deal with an aspect of their life.

Whatever the accomplishment, you know there’s someone who’s inspired by what we do and say. And it has nothing to do with money or material things. The best things in life have to do with what we build, communicate, and share with others.

It’s important to take the time to think about the good things we have done and how others have used it to better themselves. Success is that feeling you get when you wake up and know your actions have touched someone’s heart and soul.

Now, that’s something worth accomplishing.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Pet News 8: Emergency Kits

If you have pets, it would be a good idea to have an Emergency Kit available for your loved one/s.

Some of the things we need can be used for your cat or dog such as water and food. If you have two or three gallons of water for yourself, then, your pet does too.

Also to keep in mind are snacks, nail clippers, combs/brushes, toys, portable water bowl, medication, health records, veterinarian phone numbers, eye wash, pet license information, Benadryl, sweaters, blankets, flashlights, doggy bags, styptic powder, leash/harness, catnip, gauze, Neosporin, and pet carrier.

I’ve listed a few things to get you started, but there are a lot of other things to take into consideration for your pet based on their needs and the area you live in.

There are pet emergency kits sold at pet and online stores.

Here are a few of the many websites that have Preventive and Disaster Preparedness information: