Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turkeys and families

(This one gets a Pg-13 rating)

Turkey Day!

Five words:
cranberry sauce

This is what my deranged brain came up with:

Jamie put her hand in the turkey and wondered how many secrets she could jam up its ass along with the stuffing.
Gosh, she hated holidays. A day spent with her family was about as appetizing as congealed cranberry sauce. She glanced at her kitchen counter, littered with flour, bits of chopped celery, and a glob of pumpkin. She had wanted to cancel this year, but no, Mike wouldn’t hear it. Wanted to carry on as usual. For the family. For tradition.
Jamie scoffed. Her family would dish up as much dysfucntion as they would green bean casserole tomorrow. If they only knew what she and Mike were hiding…
Her phone buzzed in her back pocket. Jamie stopped mid stuff, her heart drumming inside of her. This was it. One glance at the number calling confirmed her worst fear. She flipped it open and swallowed past the nausea creeping up her throat.
A voice crackled on the other end. “It’s done.”

A little holiday detention


'cause who doesn't love a bad boy?

my words:

I never had any intention of landing in detention.
The clock above Mrs. Kierson’s desk reads 3:18. Eighteen minutes I’ve been here, my anger simmering. I slouch in my chair and tap my pencil on my desk. My calculus book stares back at me, but who feels like doing homework? I shouldn’t even be here.
The door to the library opens and Walker Collins strolls in, his backpack thrown across his shoulder. He nods to Mrs. Kierson, who merely waves him on, then dips her head over her book again. I can’t make out the title from here, but Mrs. Kierson is plump, single, and in her forties. She’s probably got her nose buried in a tacky romance, the pages dog eared over the steamy scenes. I glance at her pantsuit, circa 1996. What sort of underwear does the woman even wear? Immediately my brain answers my question with a detestable image and I fight down the rising nausea.
Walker slides into the chair beside me. “Hey.”
I glance to Mrs. Kierson. Is talking even aloud in detention? I turn back to Walker. “Hi.”
He leans back in his chair and puts his foot up on the table, like he’s at home on a sofa and not in detention. Has he been here before? He’s not a delinquent, unlike Mark Andrews, who sits behind us. I think that guy lives in detention. Walker faces me. “Never seen you in here before.”
I smile. “Never been.”
“Maddie Dryer in detention. Definitely a shocker. You’ll probably end up the front page story of the Wildcat Gazette.” A shock of black hair slides of his forehead. I’ve only had one class with Walker since Middle School. I’m surprised he knows my name.
“Maybe even the Jefferson County Times,” I tell him.
He grins. “So what are you in for?”
“I got into a tiff with my biology lab partner. Made it late to Calculus.”
“Mr. Jinks?”
“Yes.” The man is ridiculous. Most people in class hadn’t even pulled out their books when I showed up. I told him I had been discussing an assignment. He looked at me like I had burnt books and cursed education on my pilgrimage down the hall, then handed me a pink detention slip and shut the door in my face. Jerk.
Walker nods his head knowingly. I wonder how many times Mr. Jinks has sent him to detention. I turn to face him. “What about you? What’s your crime?”
"My little sister freaked out this morning because she got to school without something for show and tell. By the time I dropped her off and got here I’d missed first period."
I shake my head. "Such a truant."
The right side of his lip quirks up and he narrows his gaze at me. "It’s not the worst of my crimes". He reaches into his bag, his gaze still on me. His eyebrows arch as he snaps his hand back, flourishing an apple and a bottle of Dr. Pepper.  
My stomach grumbles, envious of his snack."What are the worst of your crimes?"
He takes a swig of his soda and smiles. “Well, being late isn’t what got me in detention.”
My brows arch up. “Oh?”
He chomps into his apple, juice spraying my arm. I wait while he swallows. "I didn’t have time to take my sister back home, so I improvised, and gave her something for show and tell from my car."
Geez, a joint? A condom? My brain imagines the worst. 
He grins. “I gave her my gym clothes. Told her to wear them and tell her class they were from an official member of Morris High’s basketball team"
Ew. Gross gym clothes for show and tell? "She bought it?"
"Sure, Lily’s quirky. She’ll do anything."
I chuckle. “Ok, but how did that get you in detention?”
"Well I’ll tell you Maddie Dryer." He sits his soda bottle down and crosses his arms, leaning on them, as if he's about to confess his greatest crime to me. "I have gym fifth period. Didn’t have my clothes so showed up in this." He glances down at his jeans and t-shirt. "Coach Marsden told me I couldn’t wear jeans and that I had sixty seconds to change or else run suicides all hour."
Brutal. "So what did you do?"
"What could I do? I skulked off into the locker room and came out in my underwear."
I don’t blink. "And Coach didn't like that?"
He grimaces. "I think it was more the fifth period Girls Gym Class had a problem with it."
"I can imagine."
His eyes meet mine, and he grins. I realize the slip of my words. Darnit!  But without permission my eyes skim over his body. He’s cute. Not super ripped, but not scrawny like the art guys who look like they haven’t gone through puberty yet. Too bad I didn’t have gym for fifth. Walker Collins in his undies? Savory.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Getting closer!

Two years ago this January I put the first word of my novel down on paper. Now I have four books under my belt. Isn't that crazy? Man oh man, I love this writing thing!

I've been hard at work getting my fantasy story ready to send out to agents. It's going through the wringer with my critique partners, and I have been busy with all the other 'stuff' that comes along with trying to get an agent to notice your work. The query is pretty much set. And it's good (I think). I had an epiphany this week where I realized that the query for my first novel wasn't that good. It was ok. But it told too much. I didn't know how to make it zing. This one zings. (I think/hope/pray). The synopsis just needs some minor tweaking and other than the really random things some agents want included in a query, that stuff is good to go.

I hope to get all my chapters to my critique group by mid-December, then go through the manuscript with a fine tooth comb, making final line edits. I have 35 agents on my list to query, carefully researched, selected, and rated. I've decided to send queries out in batches of 7 and have already arranged agents into groups, because this is what my type A mind loves to do. It's so satisfying to see things come together to the point of being ready to send stuff out.

Hopefully, queries will start going out just after the new year. Ya'll, I'm so stinkin' excited about this story. I'm getting great feedback and sometimes I'll just sit and read it and think "holy smokes, I wrote this?". Great characters in this one. I had no intention of writing a sequel when I first wrote it but now? Holy smokes. So many places this story could go *cue goose bumps*

I have my fingers crossed that this one will catch someone's interest. And maybe, just maybe, you'll see this story in print some day. It's a lot of hard work to get there. Because, as the Fairy Godmother said, "Even miracles take time." ;)

We'll see what happens. In the meantime, I leave you with some teasers of pictures I had in my head when I wrote this story.





Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Prom and worms? And Transformers?

Five words:


Callie peered up at the white board, Aimee's loopy script glaring back at her. Was she kidding? Aimee turned to the group, face beaming. The eyes of everyone in charge of advertising for prom peered past her. Ancient Greece.
Callie scrunched up her nose. Aimee would do to prom what Michael Bay did to Transformers: destroy it. No way in heck was Callie going to let that happen. “I don't like it," she said.
Aimee pinned her with a glare. "It doesn't have to be Greece," she said. "It could be any ancient culture."
Callie swallowed. "That's ridiculous. We might as well name it “Magic of Mesopotamia.”
"You don’t have to be so snippy, Callie. The committee liked my idea."
Like hell they did. Callie stared at her. How could she tell such a flagrant lie? Callie’s heart thudded inside of her chest, her anger sizzling through her veins like hot lava.
Aimee capped her dry erase marker and put it down. "We'll start planning next week. For now, let's get the fliers finished." She nodded to Callie and Ben. Everyone else filed out of the room. Callie wrenched open her laptop.
Ben shot her a look. "Hate to open this can of worms, but what’s with you two?"
Callie sighed. "Friends since sixth grade, then I accidentally tipped her canoe over at summer camp summer of eighth. She’s hated me ever since."
"Really? Over something that small?"
Callie nodded. "I've tried apologizing. a gazillion times" She shrugged. "Finally gave up." So what if she lost her best friend? Callie scoffed. Not just lost her. Aimee had made it her mission to hate Callie. Always assume the worst. Always paint her in the worst possible light.
How did that ever happen? "Hey." Ben nudged her shoulder. "We can do this later. Let's go get a milkshake or something."
She shook her head. Fliers for Ancient Greece. "We should get these done."
"We can finish tonight."
Callie's fingers hovered over her keyboard. Why did Aimee hate her so badly? "School closes the doors at five."
"We can finish at my house tonight. My parents won't mind." Ben snapped her laptop shut.
A heartbeat passed before Callie realized he'd closed it. She'd been too focused on Aimee. Fixated on her. Not just today. For all of freaking high school. What all had she missed?
Ben stared down at her. Callie blinked. She wasn't going to miss any more. Especially what was right in front of her. She smiled. "Sure."

Legos and an unexpected twist

First in today's 5 word stories. A little YA babysitting story. Five words compliments of my lovely coworker, Cheyenne.



Brady clutched her foot, hopping on the other one. Pain pulsed through her toe. Scowling, she glanced at the floor and the pile of stray Legos Luke had left on the carpet. Darn kid. As if getting paid eight dollars an hour was worth a dinner of cheap pizza and hours spent cleaning up a living room that looked like it had been the landscape of a war launched by Mattel. Gosh, she hated being here.
It's more money, Brady. And time you don't have to be home. She scooped up the Legos and dumped them in their bright yellow tub. The other toys littering the beige carpet were quickly tossed into the wicker hamper Ms. Collins used as a toy chest. Because heaven forbid toys be seen in a living room. Brady crammed a stuffed Ewok into the hamper, then wedged the lid back on as she glanced at the clock. Of course. Because Ms. Collins said they’d be home by 9 at the latest. 
Brady cursed under her breath and plopped onto the sofa. She couldn’t turn on the TV. Luke was a light sleeper, and even if the volume was down so low she could barely hear it, his sonic ears would pick up on it. Unlike Will Carter who she babysat on Saturdays. That kid could sleep through an alien invasion. His parents paid nine dollars an hour, and she was free to scour their fridge. Which she did, shoving Capri suns and piles of string cheese into her backpack before she left each night. That way on Sundays she didn’t starve at home, despite her stepmom’s best attempts to be an ass and make it otherwise.
Headlights danced across the living room curtains. Finally. Brady stood and fluffed the pillows on the couch, then grabbed her bag off the floor. She dug her keys out and was standing by the door when the Collins’ walked in.
“Hi, Brady,” Ms. Collins cooed. “So sorry we’re late.” She flipped her platinum blond hair over her shoulder. “We lost track of time!”
Of course they did. Brady smiled. “No problem. My dad’s expecting me home in fifteen, so I’ve got just enough time.”
Mr. Collins pushed his wife gently up the stairs. “I’ve got it, honey.” He took out his wallet as his wife crept up the stairs.
Brady shifted on her foot, the sting from the Lego flooding her. Grounding her as memories flashed through her mind. Mr. Collins took a few bills out of his wallet and took a step toward her. Brady snatched the cash from his hand and opened the door before he could so much as breathe her direction. No way in hell she’d let that bastard ever touch her again.
Dark ending, right? *shivers*

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Star gazing and ball busting

Here's two stories today for Five Word Wednesday! First, some star gazing.


My friend Kelli's list today was very ambitious:

triskaidekaphobia *What?? Let's see if I did a good job working that one in:

Caitlin squinted and scooted closer to Matt. “Which one is that?”
“Ursa Minor. See?” He traced the constellation with his finger. His other hand was busy fingering the hem of her skirt.
Oh gosh. She’d told herself anything covered by clothes was off limits, and here her morals began to evaporate with a mere touch of her clothing. Heaven help her. Caitlin swallowed and kept her eyes and thoughts trained on the starry sky above them. “How long have we been out here?”
Matt used his non-exploring hand to swipe his phone. “About half an hour. Should you be getting home?”
Yes. She definitely should. Her mom thought she was here studying. Which she was. Stars, for example, she was well versed on. She’d learned a slew of other things since coming to study at Matt’s . His mom got home from work at exactly 5:15. He liked to snack on chocolate milk and grapes, a combination she found oddly endearing. He wore boxer briefs, something she’d never had an intention of finding out but had discovered when Matt’s little brother tore through the house with a pair on his head. That was also the day she’d learned that Matt flushed the exact color of magenta when he was embarrassed, and that, despite her best attempts at just being his friend, she was half in love with him.
It was impossible. Her mom would flip her lid. She seemed hell bent on making high school miserable for Caitlin, waging a crusade on dating and boys. Caitlin's phone buzzed in her back pocket. Probably her mom, wondering exactly what she was doing. Caitlin ignored it.
Matt sat up, then reached for her hand and pulled her up, too. “Let’s get a snack.”
She should leave, but instead found herself sitting at his kitchen counter.
Matt shoved a Twinkie in his mouth. “Want one?”
Ew. How many molecules away from plastic was high fructose corn syrup? Caitlin shook her head. “No, thanks.”
His brows rose. “You scared of junk food?”
Just about. Snack food was just another thing her mother was adamantly opposed to. “Maybe.”
The corner of his lip twitched. “What else are you scared of? No wait, let me guess.”
Caitlin crossed her arms and leaned onto the counter. “Go for it.”
“I bet you’re scared of public bathrooms.”
She laughed. “That’s what soap is for.”
Matt cocked his head to the side. “Snakes?”
“Try again.”
“Snakes on a plane?”
She giggled.
Matt took a step around the counter, closer to her. “Arachnophobia?”
She turned toward him, her hands falling into her lap. “I kill them with a shoe.”
He came closer, right in front of her. “Triskaidekaphobia?” His leg pressed into hers, the rough denim of his jeans rubbing against her bare leg.
She took a shaky breath and stared into her lap. “Thirteen is just another number.”
“Definitely not that one.” She raised her head, a smile already forming, but he was there, his lips on hers before she knew what was happening. She closed her eyes, shocked. Matt’s hands came up to her face, brushing against her jawline and sweeping her hair back. He tasted wonderful; like boy and sweat and Twinkie all at the same time. He was kissing her. A tiny moan escaped her lips. Her eyes popped open. Oh gosh.  She did not just do that. Matt’s eyes were still closed, his lips still moving against hers. Leave it to her to make a mess of what could have been the most perfect kiss ever.
Matt pulled away, his eyes on her. “Ask me my fears.”
What? His face was serious, no smile on his lips. Caitlin swallowed. “Ok. What are your fears?”
He shook his head. “I don’t have any. Not anymore.” He brought his thumb up and rubbed it over her chin, and smiled. “My worst fear was never getting the chance to do that.”
Sweet mercy help her.

And then my adorable husband gave me these words.


Yes, they are all German. Except for the last one, which I do not think is a word at all. He is very much a smart aleck. ;)

Lyla copied the word down in her notebook. She glanced at the clock above Frau Rice’s desk. How could this infernal class last so long? Thirty two more minutes, and then still two classes to go after that. Lyla turned her attention back to her homework.
Zug, Magen.
German wasn’t her favorite. She had signed up because Drake was taking it. Three classes together. She didn’t think she’d like German, but Drake’s grandmother was fluent. She counted on him helping her. Extra study sessions together. His grin when she told him that she had made an A on a really hard exam.
What she hadn’t counted on was them not being together.
Lyla tilted her head to the right, where Drake sat one row and one seat in front of her.  White hot anger flooded through her veins just looking at him. She gripped her pencil tighter and turned her eyes back to her textbok.
The word appeared dark and thick on her paper. Stupid Drake. Lyla looked at him again. His fingers traced circles on the shirt of the girl in front of him. Presley Marsden. Ugh. His homework abandoned, Drake continued swirling his finger on the back of Presley’s shirt. Lyla scoffed. That wasn’t the only part of Presley he’d had his fingers on when Lyla had walked in on them at Tyler Sutton’s homecoming party two weekends ago. Bastard. Didn’t he know you should at least cheat on your girlfriend when you weren’t in the same building with her?
Lyla’s feet tapped onto the floor, a staccato message of absolute blinding fury. Look away, Lyla. She dug her pencil into her paper.
What the hell? That wasn’t even a word.
Lyla erased it, her eyes roaming to Drake again. What was the German word for piece of scum?
“The greatest revenge is a life well lived,” her mom had told her. Well, the best way Lyla could think of living life right now was ramming Drake’s man parts with a baseball bat.