Gut Roiling

As promised, here is the link to Literary Mama – newest home to my odd little piece, “Gut Roiling”.

One of the things people often ask regarding certain stories is how much of my own reality are they based on. This one is no different. When it comes to fiction, I like to take elements of truth and play with them. Twist them into something beautiful, or sad, as the story requires. But fabrication is a core definition of the term ‘fiction’, which means it has been manufactured; a creation of my mind, fashioned from half-truths, and far fetched ideas. You want to know the truths of this piece? I’ll say only this: the ocean is an extraordinary holder of secrets.

Under A Purple Moon

Well my friends, its been a while, and there’s been lots of changes happening in my life since the last time you heard from me. I won’t bore you with all the gory details; suffice it to say that sometimes the things we thought we’d never want, are exactly what we need.

A song that I adore: “Changes” by Langhorn Slim & The Law. There’s a line that goes:

Maybe it’s too soon
Under a purple moon
But I’d ride off with you in a big balloon

So my moon is glowing brilliant, I’ve chosen my balloon (it’s gorgeous I tell ya!) and whoever it is that’s going to join me on my next big adventure still remains to be seen. But I can tell you this, dear Reader, that this adventure in writing doesn’t stop here. It just can’t. Someone I consider to be a mentor recently said this about me, and I think he hit the nail on the head, “Writing is integral to her understanding of and engagement with the world.” Oh, all the warm fuzzies! Ahem…anyways. The point is, this isn’t the end. Not even close.

That said, keep your eyes peeled! I have another story being published in the next few weeks over at Literary Mama. I’ll share the link once it’s live.

In the meantime…for your enjoyment:

 

If I Know a Song of Africa

The Story Shack published my flash fiction piece yesterday, which means I can finally share it with you here!

This story is very dear to my heart, as it reflects thoughts of my own time in Africa.

For those who are curious about the title, it connects to the line that speaks of Karen Blixen, of songs and lost lands. The quote itself is one of my favorites, and perhaps that it why I’m overly attached to it. Below is the full quote.

“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”

If you’ve never read Out of Africa, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy.

Enjoy.

Reading From the Other Side of the Tracks

I’ve never been one to suggest reading books that don’t appeal based on genre, subject, or synopsis. But, if you choose not to read certain books just because they fall under one of those genres—sci-fi, fantasy, or romance—then you are an elitist snob, and we don’t want you in our club. Yes, we name call here, and if you can’t handle it you likely wouldn’t enjoy these genres anyways.

To deny yourself the pleasure of these genres based solely on how it makes you ‘look’ is to deprive yourself of some fabulous reading material. Some of my favorite quotes have come from these genres, and some of them are downright brilliant. And of course, the context in which they’re found is sometimes both ironic and hilarious. Case in point: a friend recently asked for everyone’s favorite quotes on love, and I sent her this line,

“Love is rarely flawless…Humans delude themselves by thinking it has to be. It is the imperfection that makes love perfect.”

She adored the quote and asked me what it was from. I told her Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead. My ears might be bleeding from her screeching laughter.

“Are you actually giving me love quotes from a Succubus?”

“Well, yeah…”

Anyways.

But seriously, good portions of those quotes you share on social media are from authors in these genres. Next time you repost a quote from an author you’re unfamiliar with, I dare you to immediately look that person up and then march yourself down to the library for any one of his/her books. If you like the quote, you’ll probably like the rest of the book too. Just sayin’.

Don’t rob yourself of the joy that is American Gods, Solaris, or Practical Magic (This is totally the safe stuff, guys. Message me for the really juicy, campy goods.) If the title or cover art doesn’t do it for you, take another look. I will admit that I’m guilty of judging a book by its cover, I mean who doesn’t like to look at pretty things? And damn, some of those covers are just gorgeous (I’m looking at you, Euphoria.) But sometimes the packaging is deceiving, and it can go both ways. I’ve read some horrendous books that had a fab title and cover art, yet that book on the bottom of my pile, the one with a title that made no sense and a cover that had me sighing in disappointment, turned out to be my favorite of the haul. I often think that the artwork of these genres does a huge disservice to their content. I mean, can we get any more stereotypical with the busty broads, galaxy shots, and broadswords? Don’t answer that. Although the fantasy genre does seem to be making a greater effort lately—Have you seen the cover of The Golem and the Jinni? Total eyegasm.

The point is this, step outside your literary box. Jump the tracks to the not-so-literary side and you might surprise yourself with how many crossover novels you find. Exploration of character isn’t limited to 19th century Russia. Sometimes it’s found in a place outside of time and space, and sometimes it’s found on the moors of Scotland. And if you happen to get lost in another world, is that really so bad?

Publishing News

I’m thrilled to announce that the Story Shack has picked up my flash fiction piece, “If I Know a Song of Africa”. I’ll be posting the link once it goes live, June 17th. Additionally, I’ll be working with an illustrator to create accompanying artwork, which is quite exciting in my opinion. Waking up to such news was enough to make me hallucinate consider for a moment that I didn’t need my morning java. Sadly, even the best surprises can’t replace liquid life. But they sure as hell offer a euphoric kick!

Onward!

 

Sometimes, it’s OK to be a follower.

Tonight I find myself sipping a Long Island iced tea instead of my usual hot beverage, in hopes that a loose mind might meet loose fingers. And let’s face it, despite the love and devotion one might hold for caffeine, every now and then we need a different type of buzz.

The past few evenings I’ve found myself engaging in something that my favorite Prof. calls, “Playing the keys.” Now I’ve heard of this technique before—usually termed something like ‘Free Writing’, but there’s just something about his verbiage that makes it so much more appealing. For those not in the know, this procedure involves writing for a set period of time with zero regards to spelling, grammar, and subject matter. In essence, you’re writing absolute nonsense. The general goal is to clear the mind, get past perfectionist tendencies, and hopefully find some thread of thought that can develop into more. It’s something people like me need use to get out of their own heads. My first reaction to the concept was very open-minded and full of writer-ly enthusiasm. OR, it might have ended in a sniff as I reached for my Thesaurus.

But sometimes, even synonyms get tossed in disgust. So I surrendered and gave it a try after reading yet another lovely experience had by people who know more than I do. And I have to tell you, it’s fun. Of course, it’s also weird and nonsensical, and full of grating errors, but it’s a reflection of your brain, and the way thoughts develop; no longer floating around in the think-tank but in visual, tactile form.

Added bonus: You discover new things about yourself. For example, apparently I prefer an oblivious death, such as the sun engulfing the earth. A bit macabre perhaps, but true.

I was also surprised at some of the lyricism found in my thoughts; some of which were quite pretty (I swear I’m not a pompous person). Here are just a few—and do remember it’s not meant to make sense:

“The ice cold lakes below beckon with temptation and call for a life that is not my own. I dream of you, of pain and sorrow, reactions and moves that are not reality, but a message to myself that I must let you go.”

“A strange taste of copper has overtaken my tongue and my eyes long for the rosy blush that slides over bright metals in fake visions.”

“There is music in the whispers of your lips and songs hovering in the strands of your hair as you giggle and paint your love gold. “

I can’t honestly say that anything has inspired me in one direction or another, but I do feel more creative. And yes, we get touchy-feely here. So as someone who has jumped on the bandwagon, allow me to add my voice to the masses. Let go, play the keys, and dance with your words. You’ll feel better. I promise.

Waiting…

Waiting has never my strong suit, but apparently that’s the name of the game. You pour your heart and soul into every piece you write, you send it out into the literary world, and then…you wait. I have several short stories out for submission, which sadly means I can’t post them here. But in the meantime, I continue to write and caffeinate. This combination is really the only thing that keeps my mind off the question of whether I’ll be adding a lovely little ‘A’, or a glaring red ‘R’ to my submission log. In this constant nervous state, I’ve produced two new flash fiction pieces – “If I Know a Song of Africa” and “Living Imagination”. I’m rather attached to the first, because its in reference to one of my favorite Karen Blixen quotes from Out of Africa (the book, not the film). It’s a marvelous little read, and I always snag another copy to share whenever one crosses my path. If you happen to discover this little gem in your own journey, I strongly suggest you give it a go!