New Beginnings

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Coming in just under the wire for Thain in Vain’s week 39 challenge.  This week’s prompt: A public relations (PR) firm’s newest client is a PR nightmare.  I went in a different direction this week, for me anyway.  Coming in at 503 words, I hope you enjoy.

New Beginnings

Brent remembered when sitting at a bar meant surrounded by smoke haze and mystery. Everything nowadays was just too glaringly clear. He was itching for a smoke the way a kid craved ice cream; it hardly mattered that he’d stubbed one out just before walking into the too-bright bar.

He stared down at his sweating glass, ice melting around the half-drunk whiskey. He started when his phone rang, buzzing up his leg and into his groin.

He glanced at the name and answered on the second ring. “Hiya Boss. What’s up?”

“It’s tonight, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. Just waiting at the bar for her to show up. She’s late.” Just as he said it, he glanced at the opening door and watched her walk in.

“Speak of the devil and in she walks. I’ll call you as soon as it’s done.” He hit the button to end the call without waiting for a reply and continued to stare, drinking in the sight as smoothly as a shot of Johnnie Walker Black. She was even more stunning in person. Tan legs that went on for days, long black hair that framed a baby doll face, stunning green eyes and full red lips.

After combing through the firm’s dossier, there was only one person he knew would be a problem and he was looking at her. He’d seen the news, heard the gossip. They were a Fortune 500 top ten, after all. He was positive his boss had seen and heard the same things, but he had chosen to go ahead with the acquisition and then passed the account off to him to deal with the mess.

Tonight was about dealing with the mess.

It was hard to reconcile the things he’d read with the woman walking toward him, but one thing was certain. There would be no more passing out in hotel elevators; no more leaving behind blood splatters in bathrooms after shooting up; no more blackmailing the board members she had slept with to keep her quiet.

For Brent, public relations meant late nights in bars and deserted alleyways. He did what needed to be done. It’s probably what had taken him to the top. He knew the company they worked for would be better off without the beautiful woman walking in his direction, smiling her lazy, captivating smile in a way that made him notice, as it was meant to.

He had a lazy smile of his own; knew the effect he could have on women. He used it now, drawing her in, gaining her trust, guessing correctly that she drank gin and tonic and ordering it from the bartender as she brushed against his shoulder and took a seat next to him.

“My, my, you are presumptuous.” Her smile could have melted stone.

He winked at her and waited for her to pick up her drink. She raised an eyebrow as he lifted his glass to hers in a toast.

“Here’s to new beginnings and a fabulous evening with a beautiful woman.”

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Football is Life

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This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill where our prompt this week was to use an ordinal number, i.e. first, second, third and so on.

Football is Life

My son plays football for the junior high school league, meaning that he can move up to the high school team when he starts next year if he so chooses.  He loves it and it is so amazing to see him so passionate about something.  A few weeks ago, he had been sick when I dropped him off at his Dad’s and I texted him Friday night to see if he was going to play in the game the next morning.  His response, “I’m going to have to play.”  Being the concerned and loving parent, I asked him, “Why do you have to play, buddy?”

“Football is life, Mom!”  That’s the answer I got back and I laughed out loud.

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I don’t think it was the same game, because the past month or two, days have blurred one into the next, but it was a Saturday morning, their third game, I believe.  The boys were pumped and ready to play.  They were coming off of a win the week before and were ready to take on a team that had beat them pretty badly in their only pre-season game.

During the first quarter, our boys had the other team contained.  We weren’t doing a whole lot more than they were on offense, but our defense was solid.  We were holding them, our boys were pumped and it was showing in how they were playing.  By the second quarter, the other team had been called for at least three personal fouls, there was a lot of talk on the sidelines about “dirty” playing by the other team and you could really see it taking a toll on our boys.  I can’t tell you how many times one of our boys rose up slowly off the ground and limped to the sidelines, only to go back in a few plays later.  By the second quarter, the other team was also starting to score, but we weren’t.  I think they were doing their best just to hang on.

I don’t know what the coaches said during half time.  I know one parent went to a league official and complained about the other team and their tactics.  Their was almost a fight between parents on our sideline and parents from the other.  It’s crazy how much parents can get into this whole football thing.  Any sport really.  I wish sports was more about the journey for the players and less about the final score.  But, apparently, for that other team, that final score was all that mattered and they were determined to be on top, no matter what it took.

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The third quarter started and our sideline was supportive, giving our boys much needed good jobs and “Go Grizzlies!”  I honestly believe our boys played one of the best games they’ve played on that day.  They kept their heads up under what seemed a merciless onslaught.  Now, I like football.  I watch football.  I can tell you certain penalties and I could explain the game pretty solidly for anyone whose never watched it before.  But I don’t know the ins and outs of what happens in the middle of the game, on the line and between the players.  I couldn’t tell you what a dirty play is – only that I don’t think boys of this age need to be making personal fouls at the rate the other team was getting them against our boys.  The third quarter was more of the same, our boys just barely hanging on and the other team laughing and joking and catcalling our boys.

By the fourth quarter, I just wanted it to end.  Perhaps a mother can understand what I’m about to admit, but I actually cried at one point.  There was no reason for our boys to be hurt as much as they were and to have the looks in their eyes that they did.  I can’t even imagine what they went through on the field that day.  I can’t even tell you we pulled it out and won, because they didn’t.  But what I can say is how terribly proud I was that day.  They each went back into that game and gave it everything they had and fought to the bitter end.  The score could have been outrageous, but as it was, they only beat us by two scores.

I love that my son has passion for the game.  After the game ended, he patted guys on the pads and said “good game” and walked around being an overall boost to them.  Or, at least, that’s what I saw him doing.  It was probably the most natural thing for him because he is truly a loving person and I think he felt what happened on a deeper level than most.

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There Is So Much Love Here!

It was almost two years ago when I was working a job I hated that included almost daily tears, and I was in a pretty horrible can’t-even-call-it-a-relationship thing after ending a three-year relationship with someone I really thought was “the one”.  I felt stuck in so many ways.  I felt manic, like my world was falling apart and I remember thinking to myself, something has to change.  Amazingly, wonderfully, my life completely changed within a period of about six months.  I ended the disastrous “relationship” and embarked on a new partnership with the wonderful man I’m sharing my life with now.  I quit my dreaded job not really knowing what I was going to do or where I was going to end up.  I spent two months without a job which was scary as hell for me, but I found something I am much happier with.  It took another year for my life to settle into itself and that’s when I really decided to start writing again, with the love and support of those closest to me.

It is almost unbelievable to me how quickly life can change.  One minute you are sure that things are hopeless and you feel helpless to change anything, and the next minute you are flying.  It takes effort.  It doesn’t always just happen.  It took some major steps on my part to change what was happening in my life, but I did and I am happier today than I’ve been in a long time.

When I decided to start this blog, I really had no earthly clue what I was doing or how it was going to help me.  I’m not one of those people who stands on a mountain proclaiming my own worth, so the idea of blogging was difficult.  Here I was, about to throw my writing to the world to let it be judged and scrutinized and who knew what else!  But I have to say, I am humbled and amazed at the community I have found here.  I couldn’t have asked for more and I am so thankful I pressed “Publish” that first time and started down this path.

I am so grateful to Emily Louise Heard over at My Creative Journey for nominating me for the Liebster Award.  It means the world to me.  Thank you!  Thank you!

Liebster award

The Rules:

Firstly, if you have been nominated for the ‘Liebster Award’ and accept it, you are required to follow a few rules.

  1. Write a post about the Liebster Award.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you.
  3. Post a link to the person’s blog who nominated you on your blog.
  4. Answer all the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you.
  5. Nominate 11 deserving blogs, who have a follower count of less than 1000. (You can also nominate who has already received this award.)
  6. Create a new list of 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  7. List out all the rules in your blog post.
  8. Do not forget to inform the nominees. You can do this by commenting on their blog post. Most importantly, give a link for them to your post.

The questions Emily asked:

1. What inspires you?

This was a tough one to answer because there are so many things that inspire me.  But lately, I’ve been completely inspired by my sister (I know she’s a who and not a what, but I couldn’t help myself).  I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this… A few months ago, she was told she had a blood clot in her brain.  She was in the hospital for a few days and is luckily okay, but the recovery has been a slow uphill progression.  I’m inspired every day watching her positivity in the face of a debilitating illness.  She moves a little more each day and is more often than not the one who tells me everything is going to be okay rather than the reverse.  It could have stopped her.  It could have done so many things, but she’s integrating it and learning to live with it in a positive and healthy way. Some days are harder than others, but she constantly inspires me with her bravery and hope. 

2. What is your biggest pet hate?

I wasn’t sure exactly what this question was asking.  If it’s what pet do I hate the most, it would be a cat.  There’s a story there, because I don’t dislike things without cause, but this post is about other things.  If it’s the thing I hate the most, well, I’m not sure I necessarily hate anything, but the thing that bothers me the most is probably arrogance, or an over-inflated ego.  I think we all have so much to learn and the thought of acting like I’m better than someone else for whatever reason is just ludicrous to me.

3. If you could pick one day of your life and relive it, what day would that be?

I’m a firm believer that the past is in the past.  I honestly don’t think there is a day I would relive.  There is so much living to do here and now.

4. If you could pick a talent for yourself, what would it be and why?

I’ve always wanted to paint or draw pictures.  There is some beautiful artwork out there and it always bothered me that I couldn’t draw something and have it turn out looking like the reference. 

5. What motivates you?

I’m motivated by doing my best.  Sometimes your best isn’t enough, but it’s something and as long as you keep trying, you will eventually find what you are looking for – whether that means letting it go or finally doing it.  I love that feeling when you look at a completed project and think, Wow!  I did that!

6. What do you enjoy reading about the most on WordPress?

I love reading the responses to flash fiction challenges.  I’ve read some pretty amazing things since I started blogging and most have been short works of fiction.

7. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

I would love to fly because who wouldn’t?  I mean, seriously! 🙂

8. If could live a day in the life of another person for one day, who would that person be?

This is a tough one and I’m not sure I have an answer.  Okay, after deleting several different ideas, I’m going to say Eckhart Tolle.  I can’t even imagine the peace that guy has.  The thing that strikes me whenever I see him in interviews is when he laughs it is a real laugh and he always seems to be laughing at something he knows we all don’t really get!

9. What is your aspiration in life?

I believe life is a constant journey and even when we accomplish something, there is always more learning and growing to do.  I hope I never stop learning and growing.  I want to love with all my heart and do as little harm as possible.  I love writing and would love to be published, but if that never happens, I hope I can enjoy the journey along the way. 🙂

10. If you could pick a colour to match your personality, what colour would that be and why?

My favorite color is purple, so that’s what I will choose.  The reasons: It’s not your everyday color.  It’s bright without being ostentatious, but it’s also brooding and dark.  It has soulful depth. 

11. If you could jump on a plane tomorrow to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I have always wanted to visit Scotland.  Really, that whole area, including Ireland.  (I guess that’s technically more than one place, but I think you can do it all in one trip…?)  The pictures I’ve seen are so breathtakingly beautiful and there is so much character and history.

This is turning into a long post! 🙂  Okay, on to my nominees:

  1. Naomi at http://traineeauthor.wordpress.com/
  2. Willow at http://willowdot21.wordpress.com/
  3. Shanjeniah at http://shanjeniah.com/
  4. Mark at http://thewoegman.wordpress.com/daily-blog/
  5. Pavowski at http://pavorisms.wordpress.com/
  6. Queenofallevil at http://thebiggirlsguide.net/
  7. Kate at http://kateloveton.wordpress.com/
  8. Sadie at http://justsomethingiwasthinkingabout.com/
  9. Martha at http://boringbroadruns.wordpress.com/
  10. Louise at http://fabricatingfiction.wordpress.com/
  11. C.E. Coburn at http://februaryst.wordpress.com/

The 11 questions to my nominees:

  1. Who or what inspires you?
  2. If you could go back in time, which time-period would you live in and why?
  3. What is your favorite animal?
  4. Who is your favorite author (besides yourself, lol) and why?
  5. Which superhero best describes you and why?
  6. If you had a genie, what would one of your wishes be?
  7. If you could live anywhere in the world, other than where you currently live, where would it be and why?
  8. What is your favorite game to play? (Board game, card game, video game… whatever is your favorite, or you can list one from all types!)
  9. What is your favorite season of the year and why?
  10. Apple or Samsung? I was thinking of phones since I just switched from Samsung to Apple this year, but you can answer it however you would like. It was a pretty big debate in our house for a bit. 🙂
  11. What brings you the most peace?

I enjoy the WordPress community and look forward to reading many more amazing posts and participating with all of you.

I hope you all have a fabulous week in whatever you are doing.

Curious

This was written for a Flash Fiction Challenge hosted by Thain in Vain.  I’ve been following entries for this challenge for a while now but was already signed up for three challenges and was a bit overwhelmed.  At this point, however, two of the challenges I follow haven’t posted anything for a while and Chuck started something I was in a funk for and it’s still going on.  By the second week, I wished I’d done it, but oh well.  Sometimes its better not to fight the creativity.

TiV’s challenge has been going all year, so I’m pretty late to the game.  She provides a prompt each week and its up to us to write 500 words or less.  500 words is tough, but I’m rather happy with how this turned out.  The prompt this week:

Week 38
Prompt:  Your main character finds the skeleton of a baby in an old curiosity shop and decides to buy it.

This came out at 502 words, so I’m technically over, but I’ve edited it quite a few times, and I either end up with more words or nothing changes.  I hope you enjoy!

Curious

The ringing above the door announced her arrival as she stepped into the overheated muskiness that swelled with items packed in too-tight spaces.  Curious was as unoriginal as the names of other shops she’d been in, although this one was perhaps the smallest.

Mira had little hope of finding what she sought, but the faint glimmer still flickering despite the onslaught of disappointments kept her going. She forced herself to walk around the small store; forced her eyes to scan everything, assessing and discarding. It didn’t take long. She used to spend hours, moving things around; retracing steps, hoping what she’d seen would become what she wanted. Now, resigned and weary, she went through the motions quickly so she could move on to the next one.

As she was turning to leave, one of the images floated into sharp focus through waves of despair and she stopped, her head quickly turning back.

The room spun as the hair on the back of her neck tickled to attention inciting a shiver throughout her body.

She’d found it.

Womb-like, the miniature skeleton was encased in a glass dome sitting on top of a lacquered wood disc, the bones twisted and curled into a fetal position. Its head was alabaster white, angelic and shining while its body was a sickly yellow, aged and chipped.  The mage’s description was exact, down to the last detail.

Without taking her eyes from the treasure, she walked over to the counter. “I would like to purchase the baby skeleton in the glass dome, please.” Her voice shook as she reached into her purse.

The genteel shopkeeper turned to look where she had pointed. His head quickly swiveled back to look at her, his eyes heating with tension, swimming with unasked questions and fear. “Are you sure, madam?”

“Quite.” She placed all the money from her purse onto the glass counter.

He looked down at the money and back at her, raising an eyebrow and taking a deep breath. “But, this is too much!”

“Please. I insist.” She waited patiently, her unwavering eyes back on the keepsake.

“As you wish.” He reached up and gently took the memento from the shelf, holding it quickly away from him and toward her.

She reached for it with trembling hands. Their eyes met when their hands touched briefly during the exchange, and the moment sizzled with hesitation and doubt before she finally took it and held it to her breast.

“Thank you.” The whispered words floated through the heavy air and before she turned to leave, the shopkeeper noticed a single tear slide down her face.

**

The sun was setting as she kneeled in front of the headstone and placed the recently purchased item in the grass. She picked up a knife and quickly sliced her palm, blood immediately oozing out and dripping down on the form. As the thick red liquid slowly coated the small bones, she began to chant memorized words.

It was time for her baby to come home.

Average Writing Can Lead to Better Writing

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This is written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill where this week we were prompted to write about the word “average”.  The thing that never ceases to amaze me is how the SoCS prompt always seems to tie into a thought I had or a post I was thinking of writing about.  So, thank you, Linda, for having a fabulous intuition. 🙂

Average Writing Can Lead to Better Writing

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately, a lot of different books to put it more accurately.  I spent a few years only reading one or two authors and not really expanding or breaking out of my comfort zone.  I’m not necessarily qualified to say whether this author is good or that one is better, but as a reader, I know what reads better, and some books definitely read better than other books.  As a writer, I’m constantly doubting myself and questioning my ability and I know I’m not the only one.  That seems to be a consistent theme with writers.  It’s a lonely road we’ve decided to travel, which I suppose makes it less difficult when you join a community like WordPress and receive the feedback and love that I have since I joined.

I didn’t really consider myself a writer until this year.  I knew I liked to write, but I wouldn’t have called myself that.  So I never judged the books I read against my own writing.  This year, I’ve actually done that.  I read things and ask questions and wonder.  I’ve read some fantastic books this year; books that blew me away with technique and voice and atmosphere.  I’ve also read some average shit where I kept saying to myself, I can write better than thisIf this author can get published, so can I!  I’m honestly not someone who has an over-inflated opinion of myself, so it isn’t easy for me to admit that, but I don’t believe I’m the only writer around here who has thought it.

I just finished reading a book that blew me away with how many different moving parts the author had going and how he resolved them.  I started reading another today that was jarring in how (dare I say) average the author writes, especially when I compare it to what I just finished.  I know some of it is style, but some of it is just how someone puts words together.  I know some of it can also be different tastes – what I like as a reader might not be what a different reader will like.  To put it a different way, what I think is average, another reader might think is amazing.

Maybe that’s why this is such a tough thing.  It’s all so subjective – the things we write and the things we read.  But I think it can also be a huge boost.  I can read someone’s writing and think, holy shit, how did she do that?  There is no way I could ever write like that, but damn do I want to be that good.  Then there are times when I’ve thought, how the hell did he get published.  This is the worst piece of crap I’ve read in a while! (Okay, so maybe I haven’t been that harsh, but I think we’ve all read things like that and it does give my writer brain a boost to think, to know, that I can write better than that guy that was actually published and is on a bestseller list.)

I wouldn’t ever shoot for average, but it isn’t such a bad place to be when you think of all the real estate in front of you.  I hope I never get stuck in average but can use it as a place to get better.  I also want to thank all the books I’ve read that I considered average.  They gave me a boost and helped me think of how I could have done it better.  (I apologize if that comes across sounding egotistical.  I don’t mean it to.)

Finished Tattoo

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll remember this post where I talked about my tattoo and the meaning behind it. I also included pictures of the not quite finished product.  I was pretty bummed it was only half done and that I had to wait two whole months before the next appointment.  I can’t tell you how fast the last two months have flown by.  And September is almost over!

Anyway, tonight, I finally had it finished.  I have to say that I am absolutely and without a doubt in love with it!  I don’t have much else to say, but I wanted to share the picture so you can all see the finished product.  I’m not sure this picture quite does it justice, but it gets the point across.

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Now, I’m off to relax because it hurts like hell and is making a mess. (After-care is a pain in the ass for those of you who don’t have a tattoo)

I will tell you to sit tight, though, because I have an almost finished story that I’ll be posting in the next few days.  It’s been a while since I posted one and I was missing the creative juices and the feel of a story pushing its words around inside my head.

I hope you all have a fabulous evening!

A Little Bit Funny

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This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday.  This week we were prompted to write about funny.

A Little Bit Funny

I must admit that the word “funny” either haha or weird didn’t immediately jump out at me and I was considering skipping this week of SoCS.  One thing I can say is that my boyfriend tells me I need to lighten up.  I suppose I am a pretty serious person and I’m not sure why, but lately I feel like I’ve been jumping back and forth between completely unhappy and over-the-top happy, sometimes in the matter of hours.  (Which, I guess, tells you a lot about my emotional state.)  It’s tiresome and I, of course, don’t want to talk about that.

So, in thinking about funny, the one thing that did come to mind were song lyrics.  I’m not a huge Elton John fan (yes, I just admitted that) but one of the songs I do happen to like is Your Song and the lyrics:

It’s a little bit funny this feeling inside
I’m not one of those who can easily hide
I don’t have much money but boy if I did
I’d buy a big house where we both could live

And in thinking of this song, it brought to mind an even better song (in my humble opinion) – Elephant Love Medley from the movie Moulon Rouge.  I remember when I sat down to watch that movie for the first time.  I can tell you I almost turned it off, it was so crazy and over the top.  But, I kept giving it just a few more minutes and I’m so happy I did.  The love story completely took a hold of me and I fell in love with it.  However, it isn’t one of those movies I can watch over and over again.  It’s just too damn sad.  My daughter, on the other hand, LOVES the movie.  I have no idea how many times she’s watched it, but she loves it and her favorite song is the one mentioned above.

(Okay, so I have to admit when I sat down to write this, I really thought parts of Your Song were in the Elephant Love Medley, but it isn’t.  Your Song is all by itself in the movie, completely separate from the Medley.  But, I don’t think it takes away from this post.  I guess that can just be another Haha moment we can all laugh about.)

If you’ve never watched the movie or heard the music, Elephant Love Medley is a mash up of quite a few different love songs.  It is brilliantly and sweetly written, and it is sung in the movie by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

Which leads me to one of my favorite memories from North Carolina.  We decided to take a four hour drive to Wilmington so we could see the beach.  Adelle was playing music from her phone and I think she got tired of our normal fare because all the sudden she broke out with the Disney tunes and the musicals.  Before I knew it, Elephant Love Medley started playing and she cranked that song probably as high as it would go and we both sang it at the top of our lungs with hand movements and facial expressions.  We put on a pretty amazing show for whoever happened to glance our way, and you know what, I didn’t care.  I had so much fun and was laughing so hard.

I love moments like that where it is fun and endearing and you laugh not because it’s funny necessarily but because it’s wonderful and you never want it to end.

If I can figure out how to get the video that was taken, I will happily post it so you can laugh and enjoy our silliness.  But if I don’t happen to get it to work, perhaps it’s for the best.  Moments like that are priceless and beautiful and hard to recapture.  I hope we have more moments like that, Adelle and I.  I love my baby girl.