Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 23 – Season

Well, May is shaping up very nicely. And busily, especially in that my fledglings will be leaving the school-nest in a few weeks and flying home. Let’s hope they don’t peck each other to death. (Only kidding! Okay, partly.)

The lovely Hugh, via his able and charming stand-in host Ronovan, has a photo challenge once again that sparked my interest: Seasons, which I interpreted as Nature. You’re shocked, right? [In any case, I do encourage you to visit blogger & author Ronovan’s blog, right over here.]

Here are a few views of the season here in the Northern Hemisphere, North American style.  Oh, I’m told I should put a warning/caveat of sorts here. These photos will feature wiggly squiggly critters from outdoors.

There was one decent photo of a cute little toad(let), but I’m having a problem converting it from the phone. Besides, you’re saying “oh my glob, does she not know when to stop?” And so, I shall.

Hope you enjoy these nature photographs of the spring season.

Two blue eggs

Robin’s eggs. They should hatch soon.

Powerbox Nest & mom

Same nest, same avian ingenuity.

Baby grapes

Tiny grapes a’growin.

Introducing Charlotte

The kids call her Charlotte.

Sick tree

The fungus that looked like a flat rodent.

Balancing nest

Avian ingenuity, part 2.

Crow watches

Hey, human, you talkin’ to me?

Snake-front 2

Ssssstay away from me, lady!

Snake-above

Yesss, I’m colorful, but didn’t I tell you to get losssst already?

 

Friday Fictioneers: Deanna’s Laundry (Fan Fiction)

FF_mary-shipman1_laundry_store

Photo by Mary Shipman. Please visit her blog!

Deanna’s Laundry

GENRE: Fan fiction, Humor

The last sound Will Riker remembered clearly was Data babbling something about women’s underthings. For his part, the android, in a brown checked cape that offset chalky skin and cat-yellow eyes, was baffled by Commander Riker’s absurd reaction: gasping, then fainting.

Picard was the first to arrive. Data and Riker had tracked Professor Moriarty

captain-picard-facepalm

We’ll never catch Moriarty–or Jack the Ripper–this way!

to Whitechapel, circa 1888, re-created to perfection on the ship’s Holodeck. The dastardly existentialist had already been on the lam for some time.

In evenly measured tones betraying nary an emotion (all being secreted away on a chip in his nape), Data spoke. “Captain, all I said was that the garment 2.2 degrees perpendicular to the south-southwest rafter has a 97.761% probability of being Counselor Troi’s underwear.”


Written expressly for the weekly Friday Fictioneers challenge. As I hope you can tell, I’m a Star Trek fan. Even if I did do some (mild?) Trek-wrecking here in this #TNG fan fiction. All in good fun. Check out the other Friday Fictioneers, graciously hosted as always by Ms. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Also, do stop by and see Mary Shipman, who contributed the photograph; she writes, too, including about her grandson, Brett, who has autism.

Prince: A Rave Un2 the U Fantastic

Prince_PR_watercolor

“u better live now” from “Let’s Go Crazy.” Watercolor filter applied.

No one who has listened to and loved rock music, as have I, from the last 30 years can ignore what happened on April 21, 2016.

Following is my brief tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson. Continue reading

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 21 – “Fresh”

Hello, fellow Hugh-go-nauts! Hope I’m not too late for the weekly photo challenge.

Whereas Hugh rustled up a scrumptious and delightful photo of tropical fruit, here’s a different bit of freshness I’ve experienced of late.

A freshly laid (lain? egads, those are hard to remember!) duck egg. Yes, no matter how hard you try, they are never completely clean, when you retrieve them. This one was still warm.

And a luxurious duck-spa visit amid a fresh pool of water. This is what ducks love to do as soon as you fill or refill their pool with tasty, new, cool water.

Not much time to write this morning, but I hope to be back blogging some fiction and/or poetry this week. So stay tuned!fresh splash

 

Fresh Egg

Monday Markets: The Taxing Spring Edition

April—what some say is the cruellest month—might also be one of the busiest.

See what you think, poets and fictionists and essayists (oh my). . .

  1. April 15: WordPress poet Bob Okaji and friends will be reading their works in Austin, Texas, at Malvern Books. Here’s the full scoop on how you can make Tax Day (better than) great again by injecting it with some lively  lines.

    Lawn Needs Trimming

    Fortunately, I love purple. As for mowing grass, not so much.

  2. April 15: Earth’s Daughters, which might be the longest-extant feminist literary arts journal in the United States, is seeking poetry and prose on the theme of Ebb, which itself includes themes of “cycles, rhythm, continuation, or cascades.” Up to 3 poems and/or one 500-word fiction piece; they harvest first rights only, but it might take upwards of 2 months for them to read all submissions. Make sure you peruse their complete guidelines—or, better yet, subscribe to them if you like what you see on their site, including poets Denise Levertov and Marge Piercy and those whose names you don’t know (yet)!
  3. April 15: This is a popular date for submission deadlines, and I’m not even including several Hungry birdother good ones. Whortleberry Press, who thrive on speculative fiction, are looking for sci-fi, fantasy, and light horror works for their “Strange Mysteries #7” anthology. Short stories must be 4,000 words or fewer. You’ll also want to read their brief stylebook with your full attention.
  4. April 22 deadline: If you’ve got something to say about Mother’s Day, then you might like to contribute to the 200 CCs story site stewarded by writer Paul A. Hamilton. So, you need a story of +/- 200 words, that’s “punchy, memorable, and complete if possible rather than vignettes.” This is a paying market, but it does request some rights from authors, so familiarize yourself with that, as well as what he has already published. Then, good luck!
  5. Starting April 30 (multiple deadlines): The people who do the Chicken Soup books are looking for a bevy of stories, from tales about dogs and cats to blended families to teachers and teaching. Wouldn’t it be fun to make it into one of these well-known branded books?
  6. May 12: If you’ve got a completed dark manuscript lurking about, with strands of ambitious saliva dripping from its fangs, then the #PitDark Twitter contest/party could be right up your menacing alley. Writers of dark literature, including fantasy, horror, YA, and murder mystery, this note’s for you. Check out writer Jason Huebinger’s site for the specifics on how you can pitch agents and publishers in the genre and—one lives in hope—receive a request for a partial or full manuscript afterward.

AND NOW: I see you, but do you see me?

Peekaboo

Humans are such meddling, nosy creatures.

Limerick Challenge: Week 14

Pear tree

Our pear tree, minus partridges.

This is for the latest limerick challenge at Mind & Life Matters, which I’m having trouble linking to (Inlinkz-wise) just now. So, go read ’em, and thanks for reading mine!

Resilience

Within every green or gravid thing,

something rests on sublime wing.

One sapient heart can never know

the pain of the taproot, or the furrow.

“When I’ve light,” says the coal-trapping girl, “I sing.”


 Oh, also, I’m sorry for the “Daily Fail” link about the coal trapper (ignore all that celebrity junk in the page gutter); that’s the place I found the quote, hanging there as it is. As you can perhaps intuit, I’ve been doing research on child welfare/child labor in the 19th century, and from this, I’ve concocted a “soft” horror story. (It’s out for submission . . . wish me luck!) Also, I #amwriting something in the Steampunk vein; it’s been an education so far. How about you?

Pear close-up

I’m ready for my close-up.

April 15 Tupelo Press Poetry Reading

The inimitable poet Robert Okaji and a few literary friends are providing some enlightenment on April 15; if you’re in the States, you’ll probably want all the light you can get that dread day! Check them out if you’re in the Texas neck o’ the woods. #poetry #amreading #NationalPoetryMonth #NPM16

O at the Edges

30 30 Reading
Celebrate Tax Day with poetry! Featured readers include Christine Beck, Katy Chrisler, D.G. Geis, Robert Okaji, Pamela Paek, D. Ellis Phelps and Ronnie K. Stephens.

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Submission Saturday: The Under-the-Weather Edition

Fairy Tale Manuscript

The fairy tale that wasn’t. At least it looks like a bird!

Well, well, I’ve been busy editing, trying to write a (interesting) fairy tale (here is a helpful, little primer on fairy tales, folklore, etc.), and just living, including a good deal of Nightingale-ing. Now that the kids aren’t sick and the husband is healing, of course it strikes me. Today, I’m digging out of the aftermath.

In any case, doing these market/submission articles really gets me jazzed, and I haven’t done one in at least a couple weeks. So, in other words, you’re due. Hope you find something fruitful here!

  1. Due April 1. You’ve got dreams. I’ve got dreams. We’ve all got dreams. Why not put them down on paper and submit them to Bop Dead City? For their current issue (Issue #15) contest, they choose one poem and one fiction piece (otherwise, one genre takes it all). The Issue 15 contest is themed “dreams”; regular submissions guidelines here.
  2. Due April 1: No joke! The annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry competition is open to writers of poetry in English, with a maximum of 250 lines (1 poem only) sought. But with this contest, the object is to write badly. Very, very badly. The art is in writing so badly, it crosses over into good-writing terrain. Can you do it? Like to try? Check out Winning Writers for all the specifics on this free-to-enter contest that promises big prizes for the best “worst poem” you can craft.
  3. Due officially April 15 (but actually June 30): Staying in the humor-writing vein, let’s move over to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC) for superior shoddy sentence–writing, not to be confused with the Lyttle Lytton annual contest. Here, your mission, if you choose to accept the challenge, is to pen the very worst opening line to a novel ever conceived—and there are genre categories, too, including romance, science fiction, crime/detective, and historical fiction. Bad for poor Edward Bulwer-Lytton; but good for us. More details here.
  4. April 15, Austin, Texas, 5:30-9:30 p.m. If you’re fond of small presses, visionary writing, poetry, or some combination of the aforementioned (and will be in Austin, Tx., in April), get yourself over to Malvern Books for the Tupelo 30/30 project Poetry Night. It will feature WP staple poet Robert Okaji, as well as several other T30/30 poets: Christine Beck, Katy Chrisler, D.G. Geis, Pamela Paek, and Ronnie K. Stephens.
  5. Opening May 15, 2016 (closing August 15): Enchanted Conversation, a fairy tale magazine, has its eyes peeled for your best stories about Krampus, the dark alternative to Santa Claus, for its Krampusnacht Two anthology, to be published in conjunction with World Weaver Press. Kate Wolford is the editor. They are looking for fiction submissions from 1,000 to 9,999 words. You will greatly benefit from reading their first anthology on this topic, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, and following the newest anthology guidelines to the letter. Good luck!
  6. A sixth-grader wrote this flash-fiction story and it was published online by SmokeLong Quarterly. Wow! SLQ, a leader in the flash fiction genre, publishes only flash (no poetry or nonfiction) of under 1000 words—one submission at a time, please!—and you must include a print-ready third-person biography. Give them a whirl if you enjoy flash(ing) your fiction!

And, in the meantime . . . enjoy your Easter/spring (or autumn) weekend! Happy writing and art-making!

 

Limerick Challenge, Week 12—Dream

Long time, no see, dear readers. I hope spring (or autumn, if you’re in the Southern hemisphere) is treating you well.

I’ve just come out of editing land for a brief fly-over of this blog, and a limerick has settled in my mind. So that’s what you get for this posting. You have the Doc to thank (or not!) for inspiring this limerick. It’s part of the Limerick Challenge, week 12, orchestrated by the wonderful Rashmi at Mind & Life Matters. Do follow her for limericks, novel updates, and much more, and be sure to read the limericks she has on offer.

I don’t deviate too far from the ‘original’ limerick idea—insulting, bawdy, etc. But that’s my impression.  What do you think?

bottle2

A genie or?

Limerick for the Loveless

I once met the man of my dreams

But what he was, was not what he seems

Said he’d grant wishes

(Including doing the dishes)

In retrospect, I shoulda reached for Jim Beam.

 

FF: Don’t Feed the Black Dog

Don’t Feed the Black Dog*

 Genre: Realistic fiction, (dark) humour

Word count: 151 (sorry, Rochelle, I tried!)

 

She sends a photograph skittering across the caramel-colored desk.

emmylgant-friday fictioneers. 3.11.16

This beautiful photograph is by Emmy L. Gant; sorry I took it in a different direction, Emmy.

“What do you see?”

“What’s this, some new version of the Rorschach?” I crack a joke about Welcome Back, Kotter, conflating Horshack and Rorschach. Ah, before her time. Shouldn’t have said that.

“Jennifer, basically I just want to gauge how you’re feeling before we start the assessment.”

“Okay, but I think musically sometimes. Heavy cloud, but . . . no rain?” I offer my best Sting impression.

Silence.

Another flopper. Why can’t I get this right? Fecking feck. She probably thinks I have multiple personalities now.

“Unh-huh.” She scribbles down something I can’t see. “In your own words, what’s your mood today?”

I find myself counting the indentations on the ceiling. 23-24-25.

“Uhhh? I’m a resilient mess. Most of the time. I guess.” You indecisive moron!

“I see. Can we proceed to the PHQ-9 now?”

“Sure. I got nothin’ better to do.”


*Note: I much prefer the metaphor and idea of “miasma” for describing depression to that of the “black dog,” because I love dogs, but many people do connect with it. Hence the titling.

This short story/flash fiction was crafted for March 11th’s Friday Fictioneers, which is lovingly curated by Rochelle as always. I hope you’ll stop by her post(s)—this lady’s got novels and short stories galore—and take some time to read other FF posts. With the variety of stories, it’s easy for me to make this promise: you’ll be amused, surprised, entertained, moved, and, very possibly, shocked. .