Writing Wins and Woes: April’s stats

Writing Wins and Woes: April's stats

I have to say it’s good to be back doing my regular blog again. I really enjoyed doing Paint Splashes but it’s nice to be able to say my own thing once more and be back in the groove, sharing my writing wrecks and triumphs, even if the triumphs are few and far between and the wrecks are numerous. If I was a vehicle, I’d be non-salvageable by now.

On with April’s stats:

Submissions: 8
Rejections: 1
Acceptances: 1
Month’s Que (still waiting): 7
Waiting from other months: 8
Publications: 1
Places submitted to this month: UFO, Enchanted Conversation, Photo Flare Contest, Penn Cove, Unfettered, Knowonder!, Guardian Angel Kids and Daily Science Fiction.

Now, for some excitement. The anthology I am a part of is out! You can read it for free, if you have Amazon prime, in digital form, or you can purchase the digital copy for $2.99, or the print version for a little more than $10. Here is the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Alternate-Hilarities-John-H-Dromey-ebook/dp/B00JP035VM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398440951&sr=1-1&keywords=alternate+hilarities

Other exciting news: I have an author interview coming out on May 6th with Strange Musings Press, who published the anthology. I will include the link when it is out.
I also have my author story being published at Flash Fiction Chronicles on May 20th. I will include a link to that as well. May will be a fabulous month for me!

Unfortunately, my writing has slacked off a bit. I’m  working more hours this month and am a bit frenzied, but I need to step up to the plate and keep batting. Good things are happening. I’ll keep you posted.

Thought for the Day: Share your writing story with someone else and encourage them. Good writing friends are inspirational.

Thanks for continuing to read my blog. I appreciate all who do. Share this blog with others, if you please. I’d be grateful.

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Paint Splashes Bonus Story

Paint Splashes Bonus Story

Well, for the last time, I share my husband’s painting, and a little something of my own. As promised, I am sharing my flash fiction piece inspired by the painting. I hope you like it. It’s just for fun. Please return to my blog next week as I resume my writing wins and woes. I’m going to post all my stats for the month. Happy Good Friday and Happy Easter to all! Enjoy. Here is my story.

Cloaked

By Shari L Klase

“Cecily, you’re making me hot just looking at you. Take off that robe, would you?”

Cecily looked disturbed. “I told you no. I’m not hot and it’s important for me to keep it on. I told you before.”

Robert rolled his eyes. “I thought it was kind of funny in the beginning, but now, I’m honestly beginning to wonder if you’re crazy, or maybe you’re in some sort of Satanic club or something.”

“I’m not in any weird club. I just like to wear it, okay? What’s your prob? You’re being all judgmental.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll let it go. It doesn’t matter anyway.” Robert picked up his book and stood to his feet. “I really gotta get to class. I’m sorry I got all uptight about the robe. I mean Muslims wear robes as a part of their religion and I’m very respectful of that. I mean, if it’s part of your religion…”

Cecily smiled. “It’s not a part of my religion, Robert. I just need to wear it, okay? If you did your homework, you’d know that Muslim women wear all kinds of coverings, a lot more than I do. They have hijabs, niqabs, burqas, abayas…”

“How come you know all that stuff? You’re like a walking encyclopedia.”

“It’s my business to know that stuff, that’s all. I like to know things.”

Robert glanced at his cell phone. He grimaced. “Well, I’m late again. Don’t you have class?”

“Not today. I have a meeting.”

“Oh, one of your mysterious meetings. I think you’re a secret agent or something.”
Cecily laughed. “Yeah, something like that.”

Robert grabbed his laptop bag and took off through the library in a run. Cecily watched him go thoughtfully. Robert wasn’t the first person who asked her about her cloak. She frowned. She hated fielding questions about it and decided from the beginning that she would never offer any reason for wearing it. Offering information always led to more questions and more information. That was a slippery slope.

She put down her book on world cultures. It was interesting, but it was more valuable to speak to people instead of just reading books. Authors of books sometimes fabricated facts to match their agendas. Besides, it was time for Cecily’s meeting with Jada.

With her red cloak hugging her tightly and the hood folded over her head, Jada stood out like a sore thumb, sitting on the park bench. Cecily frowned. They were only to wear the hood when necessary, but Jada was an isolationist. She liked her privacy and the hood offered her exclusivity. Cecily sat down beside her.

“What’s up?” Cecily asked.

“Candlelight tonight at eight o’clock,” Jada replied.
“Why?”

“Regeneration.”

“Regeneration isn’t scheduled for two days.”

“That no longer works. There’s a meteor shower.”

“But Friday nights are dangerous. There are too many intolerables and inebriates around. Sunday is better. It’s quieter and nobody thinks anything of our cloaks.”

Jada shook her head. “Can’t be done. Has to be done tonight.”

Cecily sighed. “All right, but regeneration will have to be shortened to twenty minutes.”
“That will give us only twenty days,” Jada replied.

“That can’t be helped either.”

Cecily and Jada were attracting attention. Two men in business suits were staring at them. Cecily looked over, smiled and waved. It was always better to appear friendly. The men looked uncomfortable and turned away.

“I have to go,” Cecily said. “See you tonight.”

Jada nodded.

That night at eight o’clock Cecily hurried to the center of town. Tall buildings and the cover of darkness masked the dark red cloaks as each moved in the same direction Cecily traveled. Some of the cloaked held crosses. Because their cloaks were red, crosses were used to counteract the idea of evil that their garments symbolized to some of the intolerables. All of the cloaked held candles. Candles were necessary for regeneration.
Cecily joined the others nervously. She found Jada among the others. “This was a bad idea. There’s too many people out tonight.”

Jada smiled. “Relax. You worry too much. We’ve never had a problem before.”

The cloaked all looked to each other, and then they closed their eyes simultaneous in meditation; all but Cecily. From the darkness, she saw Robert and his companion. They were laughing and joking until they saw the gathering.
“What the…?” Robert’s companion asked.

“Hey, I’ve seen those cloaks before,” Robert remarked. It was then that he spotted Cecily. He hurried toward her.

“Cecily, what is this? You said you weren’t in some kind of weird, religious group.”

Cecily shifted uncomfortably. “I’m not. It’s just a meeting.”

“A meeting? What kind of a meeting? You all have candles, red cloaks and crosses. Cecily, if you’re in some kind of a cult, I want to know.” He took hold of her shoulders. Cecily could smell the strong aroma of whiskey on his breath.

“It’s not a cult, Robert. Please, we won’t be here long,” and she pulled away from him.
“No, I want to know.” He grabbed her cloak with bravado and whipped it from her body. In an instant Cecily’s girlish form changed to a sleek, greyish alien with bright green eyes. Her skin was translucent and seal-like.

She crumbled to the ground. “Robert, no,” she murmured, before she disappeared.
“We have been decloaked,” Jada said. In a moment they all were beamed aboard the spaceship hovering high in the sky, behind the moon and out of sight of passersby.
Robert and his companion stood there dazed for a moment. Then they continued on their way, laughing and joking. They didn’t remember anything that happened in the last few minutes, nor would he ever remember Cecily or her red cloak.

END

Runner Up Story of the Paint Splashes Contest

Runner Up Story of the Paint Splashes Contest

Congratulations to Lisa Millhouse, who is the runner-up for the Paint Splashes Contest.
Lisa Millhouse has always liked to write. She composes short essays on biblical scripture for her own reflection and keeps a journal. She works as a mental health counselor and attends the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Immaculata University.

Here is her story. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did.

The Vigil

By Lisa Millhouse

The little girl was dying. She couldn’t eat, couldn’t talk, and couldn’t even sit up anymore. Her mother, father, and brother moved around the house with the vacant stare of an absinthe drinker. Throughout the day, the sound of mundane daily life could not penetrate the cold thick silence that hung in the house like fog. The atmosphere was so drugged, so dark, and so muted that it seemed like the house itself was being held motionless by an enormous invisible hand.

Outside the house, everyone was preparing for Christmas Day the way they always do: cooking, shopping, and having long-missed conversations with friends and family. They did most of these things on the internet. The internet helped with all kinds of things related to Christmas, like party invitations, gifts, and recipes.

The first place they saw the story was on Twitter. Then they saw it on Facebook, blogs, and news websites because the story jumped around the internet like a hyperkinetic frog. There was no way to not know out about the dying girl. They found out that she was six years old, that there’s nothing the doctors can do, and that she hasn’t got long. They found out that she’s really ok with dying, at least that’s what the story said. But there’s one thing she wants, one thing that will make her death easier to take for everyone: to hear people sing Christmas carols.

A few days later, right before Christmas, a mob formed outside the dark, motionless house. Women in red cloaks, men in dark coats, holding candles and singing carols with mournful faces. In between carols, they talked in whispers about how tragic and terrible it was to die so young and how difficult it must be for the family. There was only a little almost imperceptible recognition of mutual relief that it wasn’t happening to them.

After the vigil they all went home and when they turned on their computers they saw a picture of the little girl smiling. Satisfied, they clicked on links for cookie recipes and predictions for the football game. Other people who were not a part of the vigil saw the pictures, too, and felt good for having read about it on the internet.

After the little girl died, someone very old heard about the vigil. He remembered a time when neighbors sang soft lullabies into the ears of a dying child that no one else could hear. Sometimes, they tried to talk to the family but their voice got swallowed up by the thick cotton silence. Eventually when death was near they gave up trying to make anyone feel better, including themselves. They laid down and tied themselves to the train tracks right beside the mom, dad, and brother and waited for the train to finally come.

He remembered all of this and thought that maybe that this vigil was for more than the little girl, because so much more has been lost.

End

I really enjoyed hosting this contest. It was fun to read how others interpreted my husband’s painting. Next week I will feature my own story revolving around this particular painting. I hope you all join me. It’s just for fun. On the 25th I will post my stats for the whole month of April since I have postponed doing this for the contest winners. By then, I hope to be able to post better news than I have been getting so far this month in my writing. Thank you for reading my blog and for those who participated in Paint Splashes Contest. I may repeat it again in the future. Who knows?

Contest Winner: Paint Splashes Flash Fiction Contest

Contest Winner: Paint Splashes Flash Fiction Contest

Congratulations to Melinda Moore, the winner of the Paint Splashes Contest. Melinda Moore reads and writes in The Land of Enchantment. She has a handful of short stories published along with a novella: A Sunset Finish. Please stop by her blog and read the winning stories in her Photo Flare writing contest at enchantedspark.com.

Here is her winning, enchanted fairy story:

FAIRY LIGHT PARADE

BY MELINDA MOORE

Clarise juggled indigo butterflies with wafts of air originating from her fingertips. Birds twittered a song in time with the butterfly circles, and Clarise pranced to it above the ground.

“Clarise!” Mother Superior’s sharp voice cut through the delight. Clarise fell to the ground, and the butterflies flew to the shelter of her golden hair.

“Honestly,” continued Mother Superior. “You should be preparing yourself for the Fairy Light Parade.”

“Is it time?” Clarise scrambled to stand up. Unable to do her chores correctly in her anticipation, she’d given up and hid in the garden where she worshiped God in her way—the joyous way.

Mother Superior sighed and softened her eyes. She was very young to be in charge of the nunnery—young and beautiful. She said, “I thought you should know, your parents will be taking you home at the end of the parade.”

Clarise’s eyes bulged. For eighteen years she’d thought she was the bastard child of the unmarried court wizard. “Parents? But I’m an orphan.”

Mother Superior stepped to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “It’s not the custom to tell one such as you ahead of time, but you’re so filled with the grace of God, I—I wanted to at least say goodbye. I know I’ve been overly strict, but I think you would’ve made a wonderful nun.”

“Would’ve? What are you talking about? I plan to enter the sisterhood as soon as you allow me.”

One tear rolled off Mother Superior’s cheek. “Your parents are fairies. They’ll arrive at the parade to take you home.”

Clarise stepped out of her grip. “No. That can’t be right.”

“But it is.” The next words she spoke slowly as if to convey something important. “You are not the first fairy child to be brought up by this convent. Now go. Prepare yourself and go to the altar fire when the bell tolls.”

#

Clarise stood in the sanctuary in a red habit like the other nuns, wishing they wore color more often. Maybe her love of color and flavor and music had been a sign all along that she was a fairy. She narrowed her eyes at the sisters. Had they all known she was a fairy?

She tried to steady her voice as they sang the hymn of preparation. They were to shine the light of God for the fairies to cleanse themselves in, giving them God’s grace. Clarise shuddered. She didn’t want to live amongst those who only sought Him once a year. She calmed her nerves by floating above the ground and to the altar where God’s fire burned on the fairy candle. Everyone stopped singing.

She hovered above the altar, thinking she might see God’s face in the flame or hear his voice. Nothing. Lighting the first candle was for Mother Superior to do, but what did she care of rules anymore—she was a fairy. Clarise pulled the red fairy candle out of her habit and placed the wick in God’s fire. With one spark it lit. She floated above the ground singing the fairy welcome song as she headed down the aisle and out the door. One by one, the sisters followed.

Outside, lamps shone down on empty streets. Light glowed in the windows of the buildings, but Clarise didn’t see any people looking out—the night was too dangerous for those who didn’t carry the light of God.

Above, the yellow crescent moon gave color to the nearby clouds as if they too glowed with the light of God. In an act of defiance against her blood heritage, she dropped to the ground and walked like all the other nuns. Mother Superior caught up to her, but she hardly noticed as she pondered what her parents might be like as well as life in the fairy realm. She might have all the color and flavor and music she could ever imagine, but God would be absent.

She stopped walking and said to Mother Superior, “I can’t go there. I belong here.”

Mother Superior stopped, but the rest of the nuns moved on with their lit candles held close. “Perhaps God intends you to be His light in their realm.”

“Have other fairies gone back and kept his fire burning?”

Mother Superior shook her head. “But you’re strong in his love. You can succeed where they fail.”

Mother Superior’s fire burned brighter, and Clarise saw a silhouette dancing in the flame. She looked to her own candle and saw the same.

“They’re coming,” she whispered. She wanted to snuff her candle out. She could do that. She could blow a gale through the street and blow every flame out all the way to God’s Fire. And then she could remain another year at least.

The figures grew bigger. She’d have to blow it out soon. Mother Superior’s words passed through her mind: maybe she could be their savior in the fairy realm. She held her breath.

Wings unfurled out of the candle flame, and a fairy emerged nude and more beautiful than any human she’d ever beheld. Next to her, a male fairy flew out of Mother Superior’s candle—perfect like she imagined an angel to be. Soon the sky filled with tinkling laughter and ethereal voices. Clarise stood and gawked and filled with dread at living in the realm where fairy glory would overwhelm the grace of God. She was not strong enough. She could not carry

His grace to His lost people. But maybe—she had a thought.

Allowing her fairy impetuousness to take over, she waved her hands high and pushed a gale down the street, snuffing out every candle and God’s fire in the sanctuary. Over the gasps of horror from the nuns, she heard musical laughter roll out of Mother Superior. “Well done.” Something ripped Mother Superior’s habit, and wings opened up behind her back. She flew up and called to the dumbstruck fairies, “Welcome to your redemption.”

END