Writing Wins and Woes: Winning story and my story

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Even though it’s not Friday, I realized that I didn’t reveal the winning story of Enchanted Conversation’s flash contest. The theme was a dinner with Santa and Krampus. Here is the link to the winning story.
http://www.fairytalemagazine.com/2014/12/come-winter-by-ace-g-pilkington-flash.html

Even though mine wasn’t the winning pick, I enjoyed writing a story for this contest. Because all entries were included in the comment section of the blog, I thought I’d include my story in my blog as a farewell to Christmas issue. Here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

Interviewing Krampus (533 words)
Santa lifted his foot with the gouty toe up onto the chair next to him and groaned. He shifted his weight carefully so as to ease the pain. He fiddled with his spectacles and examined the resume. He cleared his throat.
“Of course you realize this job requires quite a lot of deliveries on one night.”
Krampus nodded. His horns clacked together when he bobbed his head. “Yes, yes. I’ve been doing the same routine myself for years. So many nasty children around.”
Santa frowned. “I have a list. There are actually quite a lot of children on the nice list.”
Krampus laughed. He lifted his wine glass to his nose and savored the aroma. Then he drank. “Yeah, I’ll bet those parents paid a pretty penny to get the names of their bratty kids transferred. Not that you’re at fault here, Red, but some of your elves…well, you know what I’m saying.”
Santa took a bite of his Seafood Alfredo. “My elves have always come with the highest of recommendations.”
“Of course they have. Mommies always give their kids high fives, don’t they? And Santa, confidentially, you’ve always been known as an old softie. I think a pair of fresh eyes on that list might be prudent.” Krampus took another gulp of wine and sighed. “This is darn good stuff. All mine comes in a box. Better yet a keg.”
Santa grimaced as he shifted his foot. “The doctor says if I could stay off the rich food, but oh well…What do you have in mind for these children?”
Krampus stroked his chin. “It’s true I beat their butts, but not that hard. No child has ever needed medical intervention. I use softwood, Santa, not hardwood. Sure, they cry out but kids are all about drama. Ask anybody.”
Santa’s toe throbbed. “It’s the stress of the Christmas season. I try to be fair but there are always complaints. We do have a toy shop, you know. The kids expect toys.”
“I’ll throw in some toys. But you don’t really believe kids are all nice, do you? No kid’s 100% nice. Not even 50% nice. If you want fair, give them all a beating, and a consolation prize. That’s what I say.” He took another swig of wine.
“That stuff about you stuffing kids in a sack, that’s not true, is it?” Santa winced.
“What would I want with a sack full of kids? Kids are loud, obnoxious and annoying. A bunch of kids all bawling for their moms? No sir, I got no need for a sack of rotten kids. Beat and run. That’s what I do. Beat and run.”
Santa cleared his throat. “But you’ll deliver the gifts, right? I want to be clear on that.”
Krampus raised a hand. “Waiter! More wine. Yeah, I’ll deliver the goods.”
“No drinking and driving, Krampus.”
“Really? And you’re telling me that red nose and rosy cheeks came from the cold, huh? And what about Rudolf? I’m sure he’s got a snoot full. Whatever! I’ll try to keep it under the legal limit. I’m pretty sure those reindeer drive themselves. Am I hired or what?”
“You’re hired. Now, where’s that dessert menu?”

Hope your Christmas was great and have a very fulfilling New Year!By the way, the painting is by my very talented husband.

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Writing Wins and Woes: Everlost series

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For this special after Christmas day, I thought I’d share a little review on a book series passed on to me by my daughter. This is probably the only way I end up reading YA books. However, I really liked this trilogy. Everlost is a place where kids go when they die. It’s not the final destination. It’s a place where they sometimes get “side-tracked” into when they are on their way to where they are going. The book never mentions Heaven or Hell, but I would say strongly suggests Heaven is the final destination. Nobody knows what that is like, though, because nobody sees the end of the tunnel. This is all beside the point. All the adventure happens in Everlost, where two kids start out after a car accident in which they accidentally end up in Everlost. Everlost has sinking ground that pulls you to the center of the earth, that is unless you find the “places” that are so dear to the living people that they resurrect in Everlost. For example the Twin Towers are in Everlost. There are also trains, trees, small patches of ground and even the Hindenburg. The series follow Nick and Allie as they discover how to live in Everlost and how to get out of it. Along the way, they find some friends and a villain, Mary Hightower, who wants to make sure everyone who comes to Everlost stays there. I read all three books of the trilogy and really enjoyed them, particularly the first and the third. This series is called the skinjacker series. Skinjackers can inhabit real living human bodies, but only a few of the people in Everlost can do this. To find out why, you have to read the books. I hope you do.

Although I am discontinuing whine box and brag box, I am happy to relate that I sold three stories to Guide recently. I wrote a story for them, and I got a reply. This is no good as it is. It needs to be a three part story. How often does that happen to a writer?

The new year is coming. What are your goals? I haven’t figured mine out yet. Last year, I made a goal of writing 3000 words a week. Sometimes I made the goal, but often I didn’t. Since I won’t be submitting as much this next year, I will have a goal. Keep tuning in to my blog to find what that is. In the meanwhile, share your own writing goals. Hope you make some.

Thought for the Day: Make a realistic New Year’s goal but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always reach it. It’s the struggle that makes you strong.

Writing Wins and Woes: Merry Christmas

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This is just a brief post to wish everyone a merry Christmas. If you didn’t catch my reblog the other day, please check it out. It’s all about Twice Upon a Time, a fairy tale anthology I am included in. I’m very happy my story which is a retelling of a little known fairy tale, The Enchanted Canary, is in it. I will include a blog post about the book myself in the near future.

I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season. Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year for inspiration if you are a writer. I enjoyed writing my Krampus and Santa story for this year’s Enchanted Conversation Flash Fiction Contest. If you’d like to read my story or any of the others for the contest, they are already posted in the comments of the website under the contest rules and such. I’ll let you know who wins. Here is the link again for the contest, so you can enter(you still have until tomorrow) or read the stories.
http://www.fairytalemagazine.com/2014/12/krampus-and-santa-flash-writing-contest.html There are stories and poems included. So check it out.

So…Merry Christmas again to the readers of my blog. I’m so thankful there are a few of you out there. And Keep writing.

Twice Upon A Time: Fairytale, Folklore and Myth – Reimagined and Remastered.

Just reblogging this because I have a story in it and it’s coming out for Christmas.

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I am so thrilled to be a part of this spectacular fairytale retelling anthology. Twice Upon A Time was put together by editor and blogger Joshua Allen Mercier as a launch for his new publishing house, The Bearded Scribe. Having previously been featured on Joshua’s blog (Aversion review), I was approached earlier this year with an invitation to submit a short story for the launch. Since I’d already tackled Cinderella’s story in my YA novel, The Other Slipper, I figured I would try to come up with something darker for this. About six months later, I submitted my  wacky take on the Sleeping Beauty story, which was accepted (phew!) and now sits alongside about 40 other stories . I hope new and old readers of my work will enjoy the stories, and share your thoughts on them online.

The anticipated release date is the 23rd of December, just in time for a Christmas…

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Writing Wins and Woes: Facing Failure

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This is kind of a personal post. Actually, many of my posts are personal. I’ve always felt like a bit of a failure, or maybe more than a bit. That’s probably why I like Charlie Brown and the Peanuts comics. Charlie Brown is always saying he feels like a failure. I’ve felt that way much of my life. I dropped out of college in my second year even though I was doing well. I was on the road to being a teacher. I satisfied myself with teaching kids in church and in Good News Clubs. I taught my own kids at home. Sometimes, I did a lousy job at it. Again, I felt like a failure.

We had this kid I taught in church. His name was Gary. Gary hated to behave. He was a constant distraction in class. We (my husband and I) tried to remove him from class and he grabbed both sides of the metal folding chair. He had to be carried out chair and all. After he was out, he proceeded to crawl under a table. We visited his parents and asked them to not send him for a while. When he came back, I started a reward program. Gary got a whole candy bar if he behaved in class. The entire class cheered when Gary got his candy bar. Not one said, “Where’s my candy bar?” They were just too glad that Gary actually shut up.
It was right after that Gary stopped coming to church. I felt like a failure again.

Now, I’m a writer. And I fail. I’m not going to do the whine box this week, but I had two rejections again this week; one from Daily Science Fiction and one from Kids’ Ark. Writing provides me with failure after failure. In between, I get a success here and there. I am in Heaven when I get acceptances and publications.

What is the point to all this? It’s that I continue to write. I face my failures every day and I write more. That’s what writers do. That’s what people do when they fail. You don’t have to be a writer to fail, do you? You can fail as a parent. I’ve done that. You can fail as a worker. I’ve done that. You can fail as a student. I’ve done that, too. You can fail and fail and fail. Guess what? If you haven’t given up, you’ve succeeded. So, go ahead and face your failures. Sometimes you must fail before you win.

Thought for the day: A failure is only a stepping stone to victory.

Writing Wins and Woes: Strange Dreams

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Writers have strange dreams. One of my dreams was to visit the home of one of my favorite writers, Pearl S Buck. Recently, I got to realize my dream. Why do I say it’s strange? Well, I guess because when I mentioned it to people, their reactions were like “Who is Pearl S Buck? I’ve never heard of her.” To me it’s strange that people have not heard of a Pulitzer Prize winning author who has published nearly 1000 works of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays and articles.

My visit was kind of strange in itself. I’ve been wanting to see the Pearl S Buck house for years. But every time my husband and I talked about it, we said, “Really? Two hour trip for a house tour?” This weekend was my husband and I’s anniversary, 31 years. Now, everybody knows I’m old, right? We were shopping at a local antique store when my husband casually asked a vendor if he was from the area. “No, he said, I’m from Bucks county.” “Oh,” my husband replied. “Have you ever been to the Pearl S Buck house?” “Have I been there? I’ve played basketball there with her kids. I’ve met Pearl S Buck. She’s a very nice lady. You have to go there.”

So, of course, we did. The next day. Two hour trip through many back roads we never heard of in very back woodsy towns to a town called Perkasie, or if you follow the Google Maps, Hilltown. We weren’t sure which one it actually was. I’m so glad I went. The picture in my blog today is a view out the window of the room where Pearl S Buck sat and wrote many of her books. It was awesome to realize Pearl S Buck sat there writing in the spot I was in! She said the view reminded her of China, where she lived many years and wrote about.

I could say so much more, but I pen a short blog, or I try to. I was ecstatic to buy three more Buck books in their gift shop that had donated used books by her for piddling prices. Since she wrote so much, I always find more I haven’t read yet.

Okay, that was fun. Now for the bad news:

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Yes, another Whine Box

I had two rejections this week, both on the same day. Bully for me. One was from Fireside and another from Guardian Angel Kids. I also received a critique of a story I submitted to a contest a little while ago. The critique was very fair, and I’m satisfied with what the readers said. This is all the whining I will do because I whined far too much last week.

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I also submitted to Enchanted Conversation’s new flash contest. Krampus and Santa Claus. Yes, it is a weird contest. If you want to have some fun, submit to it. Here’s the link:
http://www.fairytalemagazine.com/2014/12/krampus-and-santa-flash-writing-contest.html

Thought for the Day: Get a inspiration kick by a literary vacation. Visit the home of a favorite author or places where writers wrote. It might inspire you on the way to your next selling story.