Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Southern Gothic, Post-Apocalyptic, Sick Little Excerpt For You Sickos

After steadily working on my southern gothic, post-apocalyptic story, I've chosen another excerpt to post. The MC is sick, so this entry is special, because... duh duh duh... I actually wrote it while I was sick last week! It's amazing how creative I can be when I'm running a fever and blowing snot rockets out my nose, but y'all don't want to hear about that, I'm sure. *snort*

Anyway, enjoy the following uber depressing journal entry from the main character who shall remain nameless for now and maybe forever. 

* * * * * * * *

I have no strength. I have no will. I’m sitting in front of the fire, cold to my bones and scared out of my mind. The last time I remember being this sick was a few years before the impact. I was about seventeen, and I knew I didn’t feel good when I woke up, but mom told me I had to at least try and go to school. I threw up all over the hallway between classes and everyone backed away from me like I had the plague. The laughter was the worst part of it. I was so humiliated. Thank God Kelly was there. She wrapped her arms around me and walked me to the bathroom, then went to the office to let them know what happened so they could call my parents.

I ended up having the flu and missed six days of school. Every night my mom made me drink this nasty crap, some concoction that grandmother had come up with that supposedly was an instant cure, probably got it from one of the Sunday School ladies. They were always swapping secret recipes, and I swear one of those women had this twitch in her eye that used to drive me crazy. I was convinced that she was possessed by the devil and that the demons were trying to escape through her eyeballs the moment she entered the church.

Anyway, that disgusting drink didn’t instantly cure me, but it did make me feel a hell of a lot better. I think mom spiked it with some cheap whiskey, but she swore it was mostly tea, ginger, lemon, and honey. It pretty much knocked me out cold, so she either put liquor in it or crushed up some of her Xanax and loaded me up. That’s probably a more likely scenario. Mom was always trying to get me to take her pills when I wasn’t “feeling good.” She never had a shortage of pills to pop, and to this day, I wonder if she wasn’t running some sort of drug ring out of the house. She had more pill bottles than the Sweet Serenity Retirement Home in Lexington. What I wouldn’t give for one of those nasty drinks right now.

Being really, really sick does suck a ten-foot pole, big time. I had this girl I went to church with. Her name was Roberta, and she had Hodgkin’s disease. She had to go through chemo, and all the meds they put her on made her look bloated all the time. Even her face looked like a puffer fish. She wasn’t very pretty to begin with, so you can imagine the after effects. Nobody wanted anything to do with her, like she was contagious or something. I think it’s shitty how some people won’t have anything to do with someone who has cancer. If this world gets rebuilt, I will hug all the cancer patients and make sure they know I’m not afraid of catching their disease.

Anyway, Roberta stayed off and on sick for as long as I can remember. She had said she wanted three things before she died: to graduate from high school, to go to the prom with a boy, and I can’t remember what the third thing was. So my friend’s brother (who was half Mexican AND his name happened to be Robert, imagine that!) took her to her senior prom.

Everyone just thought that Robert was some sort of hero. And to be honest, everyone looked at Roberta a little differently, too, like maybe she wasn’t contagious after all. Rumors started floating that Robert and Roberta might be a couple, and even made jokes about what they would name their kids if they got married. I think it was Robertini for a boy and Robertina if it was a girl or something stupid like that. Anyway, they didn’t become a couple.

I remember my mom going to her house one afternoon to talk to her mom about some Meals on Wheels stuff, and I asked Roberta if she had a boyfriend or anything. She told me that she didn’t and then this really sad look came over her puffy face. Then all of a sudden she looked at me, smiled, and said, “I’m glad I’m single, though.”

I asked her why, and she said that it would be easier to leave this earth if she didn’t have someone special she was leaving behind. I didn’t respond. What could you say to that? There’s really nothing you could say.

She died a few weeks later. One of her last requests was to have the youth choir sing at her funeral, and I couldn’t do it. I stood up there with the rest of the choir and I moved my lips, but I couldn’t make any sounds come out. I think I was on the verge of hyperventilating. I kept thinking, “I wonder if it was easy for her to die?” Isn’t that weird? I don’t know why I was so obsessed with that.

I know what she meant, though. I love Jake, with everything in me. I don’t want to leave him behind. I wonder if it would be easier to die if he wasn’t with me.

* * * * * * * *

Friday, April 25, 2014

Post-Apocalyptic Southern Gothic Fiction-Does This Work?

A couple months ago, I wrote a flash fiction piece titled, "Then Death Spoke and I Listened." This particular post received more traffic than any other post to date. I have since pulled it off of my blog for a couple of reasons, one of which is I plan to continue the story. 

If you didn't read it, I'll catch you up. It's a post-apocalyptic story about a young girl who finds her boyfriend, Jake, dead in a field, some time after an asteroid has hit the earth. She is forced to come to terms with her own mortality, which one would presume she has already done since "the impact" that she refers to. However, there is some psychology at play here, at least in the MC's mind. Since she survived the impact, she thinks that she is untouchable, and we see her struggle with this continually.

I made the decision to further "Then Death Spoke and I Listened" in a journalistic style, and will weave elements of southern gothic into the work. So basically, it will be a post-apocalyptic southern gothic collection of flash fiction. Has this ever been done before? I have no idea. Am I going to do it anyway? You betcha! The following is an excerpt from the MC's journal:

They say time heals all wounds, but time isn’t the healer. It’s circumstance. Many suns can rise and fall, but if your circumstances remain the same, you will never heal.

For us, time has lost all meaning. Time was for when you had something to measure it against, for the days of setting alarm clocks to get up for work and for knowing when to cook dinners of fried chicken and potato salad and when the best time to leave the gym is so you can beat rush hour traffic and for sending out birthday party invitations early enough so people have time to RSVP.

Time is shit.

Years ago, Jake had taken me to this place way up in Stokes county. It was part of the Yadkin Valley trail, and there was this seemingly endless gravel drive you had to navigate just to get to the parking lot that was big enough for about two compact cars. He took me by the hand, leading me through the woods, and we walked along the river, following the train tracks for about forever. Every once in a while, the trail would take us deep into the brush where the water was completely out of sight and the tree canopies hid the sunlight so much that it looked like night in the middle of the day. Complete mind trickery. You almost felt like you were lost.

As I stepped over a tree stump, Jake had grabbed me from behind and pushed me to the ground. Laughter exploded from both of us before he fell on top of me and swallowed me whole with one of his kisses. Out of the hundreds of times Jake kissed me, that one is sealed in my memory. I remember how his tongue searched for mine, like he was kissing me for the first time, discovering me like a first date, and falling in love with me like a stranger. I didn’t care that there could be spiders in my pants or that snakes could be dangling from the branches above waiting to fall on us. I didn’t care that it looked like night in the middle of the day. I didn’t care about anything, really.

His hand slipped down my pants and grabbed my crotch that was sticky with sweat--squeezing it like he had a point to prove--and the look he gave me at that moment stopped my world. He was claiming me. He knew it and I knew it. Within seconds, my pants were down around my ankles and Jake was inside of me, moving in and out, making me his. His ownership swept over me like a warm blanket over a child coming in from a storm.

Every time we made love after that was different. Letting him take me in the woods on top of the sticks and over fallen trees changed things for me, for us. I looked up to him in a way I never had. Before that, he was my equal. After that… well, I sent him the message he could have me anywhere and anytime he wanted.

We made our way back to the car, covered in dirt and sweat and lost in love for each other. I felt safer with him then. I felt like nothing could ever hurt me. And for a while, it couldn’t. But not for long enough.

I wish I could go back to that day and relive just one minute of his penetration. I wish I could freeze that frame, hold it steady, and just watch it until my eyes bleed. I wish I could go back and tell him I love him over and over and over…

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you….

Yeah, there is no such thing as time anymore. And my circumstances today are the same fucked up circumstances as yesterday’s. The Yadkin Valley trail day is gone, and so is today for that matter, and I don’t know if tomorrow will even come.

Fuck you, time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I Wanna Be a Webcam Model

Yep, I want to be a webcam model, but first, a little background. There have been a lot of changes in my life over the past month. My husband and I agreed to separate and he moved out rather fast. I really couldn't blame him, what with the whole we're-broken-up-but-still-living-together awkwardness that exists when you're broken up... but still living together. Plus, just look at me. Who can tolerate that?

Since I have spent the past few years as a full-time writer and stay-at-home mom, I'm now busting my butt to find a regular paying job. It sucks. I wish I could say that I make enough money with my writing to support myself and my daughter, but the reality is, indie publishing has become a fiercely competitive business. I'm not giving up, but I am being realistic for the interim.

I have been searching through available jobs in my area, and today while touching up the roots in my hair, I got to thinking - maybe I can find something to do from home and still make enough to pay the bills. The best thing I could come up with is webcam model. Did you know that some of them make several thousand dollars per week?

It occurred to me: I kind of have an edge. I'm pretty goofy and we all know there are lots of guys who like goofballs, right? I can also play the part of MILF. I can put ponytails in and be the little innocent girl who just needs a ride to cheerleading practice, Daddy! I can imitate people, do phony accents, cry like a baby, make a piggy face, and some of us know just how beautiful my morning face is pre-coffee. I can "play" the part of dumb blonde bimbo and in an instant throw my glasses on and be a scientist. Or a librarian. I'm versatile and shit. There's just one problemo:

I could never take my clothes off for a stranger. Do you think that would be a hindrance to my career? Could I get on camera like this while completing the simple act of bleaching my hair completely clothed and still make thousands of dollars weekly? C'mon!! Who wants to hire me? I'm loads of fun! Just call 1-800-LB-Shaw! Yo!

P.S. Don't call that number. It's not real and I'm not either. In fact, this entire post was written by a bot.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Not-So Reluctant Parent (that's me)

In the process of job hunting, I came across this webpage. Don't ask me how. One job led to another which led to another which led to some photographer who would be taking nude photographs of women and Ba-da-Bing-Ba-da-Boom!!! Here I stumbled upon the site of this amazing photographer. It made me think. And it made me cry. Doesn't take much these days...

From the time I was 17 and my brother was born, I knew I wanted to be a mom. The moment my daughter emerged from within me and out into the world, my whole life took a gravitational shift. Not one thing and not one person is more important to me than my girl. I've had people come in and out of my life and hers, for good, including her father. Yet here I stand right beside her as a testament to the fact that no matter how tough it seems or how hard it is, some people will never, ever abandon you.

If you are a new father, a veteran mom or dad, a soon to be parent, or don't have kids at all and absolutely abhor or adore them, this article (with beautiful accompanying pictures) is for you:

The Reluctant Father

P.S. Bring tissues.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I have had the pleasure of forming some great relationships with others via social networking, some of them indies and some of them just plain crazies like me. Ha! I suppose all of us indies are a little crazy in our own special way.

Recently, I was invited to participate in a writing process blog tour. I believe it's making the rounds quite heavily amongst indie authors, and Suzy Ayers was gracious enough to include me.

Suzy writes in the erotica, erotic romance, and fantasy genre. She is extremely prolific with her stories and publications. I would love it if you would take a look at her blog by clicking here and show her some support.

Suzy asked me to answer the following questions:

1. What are you working on?

Most of my regular followers probably know that I am no longer writing erotica. Several months ago, I began exploring dark fiction and immediately knew that it was the right genre for me. I AM finishing up a time-travel romance infused with a D/s (Domination-submission) spice that I hope to have published during the Spring. I'm also in the midst of a paranormal gothic fiction short story, a horror micro-story with elements of implied incest, and I plan to crank out another micro or flash fiction piece to submit to a writing contest for Glimmer Train magazine this week. As usual, I have my hands full with more than I should.

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

All gothic fiction writers have their own pain they bring to their stories, and mine are no exception. I write from the heart, from deep inside that cavernous, dark place, and I draw not only from personal experience, but from the pain of not knowing, from the regret of what could have been, and from the fear of the unknown.

I also like to inject something of a spin off to the anti-hero in my fiction, the character who goes against the anti-hero, AKA, the villain hero... that really sick and sinister bad guy who has one redeeming quality that makes him likable, lovable, whatever. You forget he's a really sick fuck because of that one thing he does to make him a hero of sorts. He's not always the main villain, but he IS demented and is ultimately a source of conflict. In the end, he saves the day. Think of someone like Dexter, but darker, more dangerous. He is the Dexter who kills the good guy for the thrill, but comes home to violently protect his wife and daughter. You won't know that he's the villain until the end when he saves the day. By then, the reader has fallen hopelessly in love with him, and this will cause a split amongst readership. Some will be furious that he's the bad guy and immediately reject him, and others will support him and every ounce of his mad but sexy vileness.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I can't imagine not being able to write gothic and horror. I have been drawn to dark, creepy, and psychologically twisted things for as long as I can remember. Since I am a masochist, I enjoy writing deeply painful stories that don't always have a happy ending. Life is full of pain and hardship, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Pain and hardship bring about personal growth and can lead to new opportunities.

Many of my stories involve death, but often this organic death is symbolic of other things: the death of a relationship, death of a job, a major life change, etc. Every day, we experience death in some way, even something as seemingly insignificant as the death of the day, when we close our eyes at night and go to sleep assuming that tomorrow will come.

4. How does your writing process work?

I typically come up with a story idea from a single line. This line will start the piece. From there, I simply begin writing and the story tells itself as I move along. I rarely plan each scene from start to finish. I'll have an idea of the basic plot, but the characters reveal themselves and their actions to me as I write.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read. And now, this girl has work to do!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Girl Collector

His silence was a slammer
the swing of an iron hammer
the impact hard
the hole it left
it really didn’t matter.

Few words were ever spoken
he treated her like a token
a trophy slut
an ego boost
at last he left her broken.

Although she was a little
she healed from being brittle
and on her own
she found her strength
in becoming a fucking riddle.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Liebster Blog Award

I was recently nominated for the Liebster Blog Award. Thank you Stephanie! I'm really excited about this because it's a wonderful way for us fresh, new bloggers to network with others and gain recognition for our hard work. Stephanie is a really cool person, a southern girl like me, and you can check out her blog here at carolinakel.blogspot.com. She is also a writer in the romance and paranormal genre and has a book called Shadows Rising available on Amazon kindle. Go and check her out and show her some love, ya'll!


1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

The following are the questions Stephanie asked me to answer:

1. What brought you to blogging?

I started working on an erotic romantic suspense series in 2011. I started my blog soon after to post updates about my work and to have a place I could write freely about whatever I wished.

2. Do you wish you could blog more than you do?

Yes. In many ways, it's liberating to be able to write without worrying about sales or sticking to the plot. I try to post at least one blog post per week, but occasionally I get behind then post two to three days in a row.

3. So far, what’s been the best thing to happen to you in 2014?

I submitted a dark flash fiction piece to a writing contest in a popular journal . I have a writer friend who encouraged me to submit it, and while just the act of submitting might not sound like that much, it was a big deal for me. 

4. How do you take your coffee?

In my mouth. And it must come from a Keurig first, followed by a heaping dose of CoffeeMate and sugar. Or Starbucks is a good substitute, but I don't go there much anymore cause what writer has $20 lying around for coffee? Not this girl!

5. Did you watch the Super Bowl? If not, what did you do instead?

Nope, I don't do sports, plus I don't have cable. When I do watch sports, it's baseball, and even that is rare. I think I was having sex during the Super Bowl.

6. How do you like spending your Friday nights?

I spend my Friday nights the same way I spend every other night: writing, editing, or reading and hanging out with the hubs and kid.

7. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve ever learned?

What other people think about you does not matter. Yes, I'm just now figuring this out. 

8. This cold weather, love it or hate it?

HATE! UGGHHHH. But... I LOVED the snowstorm that came through and dropped a foot of snow on the ground. It brought back epic memories of playing in the snow as a kid.

9. Your dream retirement spot?

Los Angeles.

10. Favorite movie of all time? Why?

Napoleon Dynamite. I've watched it probably a dozen times and every day I spout off one-liners from the movie. From start to finish, it's so ridiculous, and I love the way it's kind of hard to tell what era it's in. It has that 80's feel to it and has such a funny ending. 

11. Which genre do you prefer to read for fun?

Okay this seems like a trick question. If it's for fun, I would have to say humor. However, I've recently discovered J.D. Salinger and really enjoy his work. My other favorite genre is horror and suspense. I've always loved reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz. As far as classics, I enjoy Edgar Allan Poe and Ambrose Bierce. In the non-fiction genre, I like a lot of subjects but am particular to Sam Harris. 

11 random facts about me:

1. I am a little and a masochist. (If you don't know what that means just google the terms with the keyword "BDSM" and read your freaking heart out 'bout it).

2. I'm on a gluten-free diet and not because it's a trend. I experience excruciating abdominal pain if I eat too much bread.

3. I have a pet rat. Technically it's my daughter's, but she wouldn't have it if I hadn't opened up her eyes to the glamorous world of rat ownership. They rock!

4. I have a dark soul and an even darker mind. But... (see #5)

5. I love to make people laugh.

6. My first car was a 1974 Toyota Celica. It was red but everyone said it was orange and I used to get really mad, then I thought I was color blind but then I learned that only dudes were color blind and I thought that maybe I had a mute gene because I seemed like such a freak in every other way, but never mind all that.

7. My favorite musical artist is Stephen Wilson, and if you haven't listened to his works, you really haven't lived.

8. I chased my very first boyfriend around the playground in the third grade, and my friends held him down while I kissed him on the cheek. To this day I am mortified that I would do such a thing because I am so incredibly shy around men I like and am NOT sexually aggressive. At all. I actually think my friend dared me to do it.

9. Most of the time I would rather be alone than with others. But... (see #10)

10. Sometimes I get so lonely I think I will die if I don't experience human contact with someone other than my family. That's when I go to my friend's house. I just call up and invite myself over.

11. I took horseback riding lessons every week from the time I was 8 until I was 18. 

Many people I contacted about the award had already participated at some point in the past, so the following are my two nominees for the Liebster Blog Award: 

John Satisfiction
Suzy Ayers
Carrie Anne Ward

And my 11 questions for you are:

1. What inspired you to write? Or has it always been a part of you?
2. What do you do when you're stuck in a particular scene or experience writer's block?
3. Favorite book of all time?
4. Do your family or friends know that you're a writer or what genre you write in?
5. If you could take a trip anywhere, where would you go?
6. Coffee or tea?
7. If you could meet a famous writer, who would it be (even if they are dead) and what would you say to him/her?
8. Do you think you could survive a week without using social media?
9. What's your favorite hobby?
10. Do you view your writing as an art form, a unique expression of your perspective and thoughts, or do you sometimes feel as though you are just churning and burning to get out as much content as possible?
11. What is one piece of advice you would give a new writer just starting out?

Thanks for stopping by!