Friday, July 31, 2015

Anyone Else Out There...

Image courtesy of fanpop.com


Who absolutely loves old black and white movies?

I just love them. I watch classic movies whenever I get the chance. I even stay up later than I should to watch a good movie coming on TCM. Some I've watched over and over again. 

These old movies used lighting, direction, talented actors and intriguing plots instead of gore, profanity, and special effects to attract an audience. 

And how could anyone resist a movie with  Bette Davis, Joan Fontaine, Orson Wells, Cary Grant, Cary Cooper, Barbra Stanwick, Shirley Temple and all the other greats? 

If you love the oldies, join me here for Classic Movie Mondays each week and talk about the old greats. 


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Where'd You Come Up With That?! Wednesdays "The Weed Whisperer"

"The Weed Whisperer" is a short story about a man, Simon Parker, with a prickly, weedy secret. 

Simon is a gardening guru. Weeds never dare to grow in his garden or flowerbeds, but Simon learns that weeds will attack if provoked. 

I actually thought of this story while pulling weeds in my own garden. Wouldn't it be nice to keep weeds out for good? I thought. It seems like no matter what I do, they always come right back and bring their friends!

So, with that in mind and the fact that people do talk to their plants, I came up with The Weed Whisperer. A man with a secret that has been passed down through generations about how to deal with weeds. And it worked for him for years, until a young couple bought the property behind his. 

Here's an excerpt: 


Simon Parker kept the most beautifully tended gardens in all of Jamestown. It was as if weeds were afraid to enter his humble grounds. Simon refused to tell anyone his secrets and became known around the neighborhood as a gardening guru. The town’s admiration of Simon and his  magnificent  grounds  would  have  changed  if  they only knew  his secret.

Simon had built a privacy fence around his entire yard. Neighbors failed to see a portion of his property behind the fence in his backyard. There were no houses behind Simon’s place, only a wooded area, so the neighbors had no idea his yard extended past the fence. This was where his green, prickly secret hid. Directly behind the fence and extending to the edge of the wooded area lay Simon’s ultimate disgrace. Weeds of all varieties grew rampantly. Crabgrass stretched the entire length of the area, poison ivy twisted and climbed and yellow dandelion heads poked up between the cloverleaves.

Simon’s secret remained hidden until the day a young couple, Bill and Susie Danforth, decided to buy the wooded area behind his home. The couple came to Simon one warm summer morning to request he kill the patch of weeds growing behind the fence.

Simon looked the young man in the eyes and said, I’m sorry, cant do that.”

Sir, were building a new house, we don’t want to look out our lovely bay window and see your ugly weed patch.

Simon shook his head. That weed patch is not even on my property.”

Bill pulled out a map. Look, your fence is not even on the property line.” He pointed out the difference in distance. You can move your fence back a good six yards, and then you can keep weeds on your side.Simon looked over the map. He knew his property line extended beyond the fence, but he had his reasons for it. I see what you mean, young man. Simon scratched this prickly chin. I will see what I cado.”

Bill offered his hand. Thank you, sir. And by the way, you have lovely gardens. You’ll have to give Susie some tips.”

Simon glanced at the fence. I don’t give away my secrets.” Simon lumbered up to his house and went inside. He climbed the stairs to the attic and took out the book of gardening secrets that had been handed down through generations of the Parker family. Let’s see, how do I reason with these earth loving creatures? He thumbed through page after page describing the personality of each weed. Ah, yes, we have something. He scrunched his nose and squinted, trying to read the worn passage. Ground ivy is the most rational of the weeds. If a problem arises, explain the problem to the ivy and ask them to help in reasoning with the other species.” Simon placed the book back in its hiding place. That was the answer, after dinner, he would go visit the weed patch and find the ground ivy.
###

You can read "The Weed Whisperer" in Flashes of Fiction: Volume 3
You can also listen with Audible and iTunes.

Happy Reading! (And Listening!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Where'd You Come Up With That?! Wednesdays "The Crayon Box"

The Crayon Box is a very short horror story about a little boy who looks innocent, but he's not. He's evil. 

I wrote this story for a flash fiction contest on Writing.com. One of the words to use in the prompt was crayon box, so I tried to think a little outside the (crayon) box. Kids are usually what comes to mind when I think of crayons, and so does just about everyone I'd guess. But not everyone thinks of a little boy who uses his crayons to illustrate his victims. Do they?

Why no! So that's where I took it--to the dark side. I also wrote it in second person because I had recently read a story that Ray Bradbury wrote in second person,"The Night," and I loved it. So, I tried it. 

Anyway, it won the contest, and you can find it now at MicroHorror.

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Flashes of Fiction: Volume 5 Excerpt "Time"




Enjoy this excerpt from the short story "Time" from Flashes of Fiction: Volume 5




Time
When I was young and naive, I saw myself as indestructible. I didn’t count every minute. I wasted precious moments every day without realizing that once they were gone, there was no going back.
Why was I so naive to think it was a good idea to know the age I would die? It’d been hell watching the years fly by taking me closer to the end. My brother Tom warned me not to play with the Ouija board. Convincing myself it was just a harmless game, I sat there on the last day of my life thinking back to that night, wishing I could change the past— wishing I didn’t know my fate.
I was fifteen, and it was Halloween. The guys and I were too old for trick-or-treat, so we came up with the bright idea of summoning a spirit through that wicked board. It was a unanimous vote to ask the spirit how long each of us would live. Placing our fingers on the planchette, it began to move around the board. I remember the words yes and no in the top corner, the alphabet written in two rows in the middle, and a row of numbers beneath them.
Jim went first. “At what age will I die?” The planchette glided across the board, showing us the number one and nine.
I was next. “What age will I be when I die?” The spirit moved our fingers to the number two and nine.
I remember thinking our little game was ridiculous. We all laughed as each took their turn. Ron would die at twenty-five, and Leon at forty.
The next few years, I never gave the board another thought, until Jim was in a car accident and died at the age of nineteen. I told myself it was a coincidence. An eerie one, but it didn’t prove anything.
Then Ron died at twenty-five. He committed suicide, probably because of all the strange voices he heard in his head. Tom told me that once you got involved with the demon spirits, not even God Himself could save your soul. That’s what he believed happened to Ron; he was possessed by demons.

So, on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I waited. I didn't know how I would die, only that by midnight my soul would be taken. I wrote goodbye letters to my son, my ex-wife, and Tom, the three most important people in my life.

Read the rest in FOF Volume 5!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Where'd You Come Up With That Wednesdays?! "Sofa Monster"

"Sofa Monster" is a short story for kids published in 'Magination Magazine. 


In this story, Sammy is scared when a creature emerges from the couch cushions. The monster is a hodge-podge of things lost down the sofa cushions, like loose change, candy, toothpicks and old shoe strings. 

Sammy tries to tell his parents about the sofa monster, but they don't believe him. Later, the monster is hiding under the dinner table, and he helps Sammy get rid of his peas, so he can have dessert. Then he finds the monster hiding under his bed. The monster is nice, so Sammy crawls under the bed with him and is surprised when he finds out what the Sofa Monster wants. Together they make a deal so that both he and Sofa Monster get what they want. 

This story came to be as I was cleaning underneath the couch cushions and in the cracks. I really don't know how all that stuff gets in there, but I never know what I'm going to find. That got me thinking about what happens to the "stuff" that gets lost in the cracks. There could be a whole different world in those sofa cushions!

I think anyone with kids can relate to finding "stuff"  in odd places. You never know what kids will do when you're not looking. 

And from there the Sofa Monster was born. This is a great story for kids, and you can read it for free at 'Magination online. 

In other News...

Flashes of Fiction: Volume 5 is now available on Kindle

Flashes of Fiction: Volume 4 is now available on audible and iTunes


Happy Reading! (and listening)!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Excerpt of "Existence" From Flashes of Fiction: Volume 5

Flashes of Fiction: Volume 5 will be released on Amazon Kindle July 15th. 

Today I'm sharing an excerpt from one of the 5 short stories in this book--"Existence"

Anyone who has read my short stories in this series knows they can be a little bizarre, but that's what makes them fun to read, right?

Of course!

Existence is a bit bizarre, too. It's a story about a psychiatrist who is working with a married couple. They seem to see their lives differently. 

The wife thinks they husband is seeing an imaginary dog, but the husband thinks the wife sees an imaginary child. So, who's right and who's wrong? And in the end, you'll end wondering if the psychiatrist himself needs a little help. 

When I told my husband about his story, he said I was insane. What do you think?

Here's a sample of Existence:

Janet barged into Dr. Pence’s office. Doctor, sorry for just walking in, but I saw your patient leave, and it’s imperative that I talk to you before Mark arrives. I want you to know this appointment is really about Mark. I only told him it was about me, so he’d come. Janet said breathlessly.
Dr. Pence glanced at this watch. We have a few minutes before your scheduled appointment, so what’s on your mind?
Mark doesn’t acknowledge the existence of our six-month-old son Jacob. He ignores the poor child. He thinks I’m crazy because I get up in the  middle  of  the  night,  make  bottles,  and  change  diapers.  It’s  so upsetting to be told Ive had a breakdown when it’s so obvious he’s the one losing it.” Janet clutched her purse and leaned forward in her chair. He thinks we have a dog, a Golden Retriever named Duncan. He puts a bowl of food out for it every day and takes it for walks. It’s embarrassing.
Doesn’t he realize the food isnt eaten?
To tell the truth,” Janet’s top lip curled up as she spoke, I think
Mark eats it. I know, disgusting isn’t it?
Dr. Pence started to respond, but a knock at the door interrupted him. Yes?
The door opened and Mark peeked in. Hi, I’m Mark, Janet’s husband.”
Come in and have a seat, join us.” He motioned for Mark to come inside.
Janet stood and wrapped her arms around her husband. Im so happy you actually showed.”
I wanted to be here to support you, Dear.
             “Why dont we all have a seat and begin.” Dr. Pence said.
Actually doctor, I was wondering if I could have few moments alone with you?” Mark said.
Janet winked at Dr. Pence. That’s sounds like a good idea, right Dr. Pence? I’ll be right outside.”
Mark scooted his chair closer to Dr. Pence’s desk. I don’t want
Janet to hear me, it might send her over the edge.”
Dr. Pence raised his right eyebrow. How so…?
Well, first Janet thinks we have a baby in the house and weve never been able to have children. I think her maternal instincts, womanly hormones or whatever is messing with her mind.”
Has she suffered a loss?
No, no. We’ve been unable to conceive. That’s why I adopted Duncan. He’s a great companion, but she wont even acknowledge him.” He looked toward the door and lowered his voice. She thinks Im the one whos crazy, and she even accuses me of eating dog food.
That is quite strange. I think we should have Janet join us.”
Mark sprang up. I’ll tell her.” He opened the door. The doctor would like you to join us again.”
Janet slinked in and sat beside her husband. The two held hands and smiled at each other.
Dr. Pence rose from his chair leaned on the front of his desk in front of the couple. This is quite a strange situation. Janet, you say there’s a baby in the house. He looked and Mark. And your husband tells me youve been unable to conceive, so he got you a dog. I think there is an easy way to see who needs help in this situation.”
Janet jumped up. What do you mean who?She pointed to her husband. He’s the nutcase is this whole situation.
Mark pulled her down into her chair. Quiet, dear. Let the doctor speak.”
Do either of you have a photo of the baby or the dog, maybe a
family photo? Dr. Pence waited while they both searched for a photo.

Janet rummaged through her purse. Yes, I’ve got it right here. This is a picture my sister took at Thanksgiving. She handed the picture to Dr. Pence. There I am and Mark, and Jacob is on my lap.”
Dr. Pence studied the picture. Janet, there is a baby in this picture, but look by Mark’s feet. Dont you see the dog?
What? Janet snatched the photo from his hand. There is no doin this picture. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Mark leaned over to have a look. Right there...” He pointed. That large brown hairy entity lying next my feet is Duncan.

***

You can read the rest in Flashes of Fiction: Volume 5
;)


Happy Reading! (And Listening)