Tag Archives: painting

Writing Wins and Woes: Do you have an unpublished novel?

Attention writers!!! Do you have an unpublished novel that you haven’t moved forward with? Don’t let it gather dust. Here’s a great opportunity to send it in for a chance to be published, plus earn $5000. I wanted to promote this last week on my blog, but I forgot. Shame on me. But you still have until Friday to send it in. Here is the link for Black Balloon Publishing.

http://blackballoonpublishing.com/fiction-prize

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Also, another of my husband’s paintings for your perusal.

Writing Wins and Woes: What a writer’s house looks like

Writing Wins and Woes: What a writer's house looks like

I don’t know if I should have captioned this “What a writer’s house looks like” or “What a reader’s house looks like” but anyway, this is a painting my husband did of our bedroom. It does justice to the stacks of books “we” have accumulated because we are both readers. I am a writer, so I read. Writers should be readers. The only way to write well is to be well read. Studying great writers helps us to write great.

Hopefully your house, if you’re a writer, isn’t quite this bad, and maybe you have Kindle now and don’t need all this, but I think there is nothing so satisfying as holding a book in your hands. I have such contentment reading a book I love and feel such disappointment when it’s done. I can’t be involved in those character’s lives anymore. I usually go away wanting more.

As writers, we need to strive to make our characters come alive so our readers want more when the stories over. Hopefully, our audience isn’t saying, “Thank God, it’s over.” That’s a little private joke in our family, but it can be so true of a lousy book or story. We don’t even want to finish it. I’ve filed a few books into the round file.

Well, I didn’t submit a thing this week. It’s the first I haven’t in a while, but it was a very busy week, and I’ve had a few upsets. So…next week. I also got a rejection from Untied Shoelaces of the Mind. I know you’ve been waiting to hear how they raked me over the coals, but oddly, they didn’t say anything. Rejected, without a word. So I guess, it was even worse than usual.

Happy Memorial Day to all the veterans and service people out there. We appreciate all you’ve done and do. God bless everybody and here’s to good writing successes in your future. The odds are never in our favor, but we write on.

Thought for the Day: Build characters that live and breathe. And don’t collect as many books as we do.

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?

Writing Wins and Woes: A Writer’s Blog

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Okay, the wait is over! Paint Splashes Contest has concluded and the winners are: Melinda Moore as the winning entrant and Lisa Millhouse as runner-up. Congratulations to both of you! Their stories will be featured here on my blog, April 4th and April 11th. So excited to share them with the world.

I also thought I’d like to share another of my husband’s paintings. Hope you like it. As I don’t ask people to do what I can’t do myself, I’ve written a story also for the Paint Splashes painting. I can’t win. That would be unethical, but I can still share my story. I will share that story on April 18th. It’s just for fun.
Now for the unfun part. I received two rejections this week: one from Knowonder! where I can’t seem to sink that magical fifth story that will start me on my own short story collection. Sigh! Also, I got a rejection from UFO, another sci-fi humor anthology. I submitted to two places this week, UFO and Guardian Angel Kids. My writing tallies have really slumped lately. I had a disappointment with a job last week and been working lots of hours on my substitute cleaning job this week. If I had more consistency with my hours, I could plan my writing better, but I don’t so, I have to work with what I got.
Thought for the Day: Try your hand at something new when writing. Be an editor, or proof read somebody else’s writing. I really enjoyed doing the Paint Splashes Contest. I didn’t get as many entrants as I would have liked but what I did get was quality. Thanks to all who participated. Kudos to everyone! You are all winners because you write!

Paint Splashes Flash Contest

Paint Splashes Flash Contest

For today, I thought I’d reblog info on my contest, Paint Splashes. A month has gone by and I’ve not gotten many submissions, so I’m replugging.

The contest is based on my husband’s painting, as pictured. Please make your story pertinent to the painting. It is a flash contest. That means all submissions should be 1000 words or less, please.

Winner will receive $10 paypal money. Runner-up will receive $5 paypal money, so please have a paypal account. It is free to set up the paypal account. Both winner and runner-up stories will be posted on my blog around the beginning of April. Contest ends March 25th, 2014. Winners will be notified by April 1st.

Please mark your subject line with Submission and story title, at least. Please put all submissions in the body of the email, no attachments, please. I’m wary of viruses.

I will send out a confirmation email that I have received your submission within a few days of submitting at the very least. Please send submissions to: paintsplashes@comcast.net. If you do not receive a confirmation email, I did not get your submission. Resend, please.

I will notify all entrants whether they win or not, by April 1st. I hope I haven’t missed any necessary information. Any genre is accepted. Format is not important. Just please keep grammar errors to a minimum. I reserve the right to edit those, but any changes will be approved by the author. You have all rights to your story.Please keep submissions PG. My daughter and husband will choose the two finalists and then, I will decide the winner. Thank you in advance for entering. Now, please, send your entries soon.

Paint Splashes

Paint Splashes

Announcing the unveiling of my contest, now called Paint Splashes. This contest is based on my husband’s painting, which is pictured on this blog. Please involve this painting in an integral part of your story. The story must be a flash story. That means 1000 words or less. Please send your stories to paintsplashes@comcast.net. in the body of your email. No attachments, please. No indented paragraphs, single spaced. Other than that, I have no requirements. Please keep your stories PG. Because this is my husband’s painting, he and my daughter will be judging your stories. When they’ve narrowed it to two and hopefully, I get more submissions than two, I will pick the winner and runner-up. The winner will receive $10 paypal money and the runner-up will receive $5 paypal money. The contest begins immediately and will end March 25th, 2014. That is my husband’s birthday. I’m looking forward to receiving your stories. Please tell a friend and feel free to share this post. I’d like to receive lots of submissions. Please mark your subject line with Submission:Title of Story. Thanks. Winner will be announced by April 1st. Paypal money will be awarded upon notification of winning. Winning stories will be posted on my blog. All rights remain with the writer. Please keep grammar mistakes to a minimum. I do reserve the right to edit but will okay any and all changes with the writer. As this is my first contest, I hope I included all necessary information. Please comment on any missing pieces I failed to consider. Again, please share with all your writing friends.