Category Archives: Fiction

Staring at a Blank Page

As many of you know, I have been working on my novel now since June. The ideas for the story came fast and furious, flowing with little effort. Every day I would write 500 to 1000 words, sometimes more. I used the word of the day for inspiration, and I was happy with what I came out. The pieces had been written out of order, but I had put them together in one document in order. When I started to read through it I realized it still needed a lot of work – a full rewrite instead of just an edit as I’d hoped.

A few months ago I stopped responding to the word of the day prompt so I could focus on my masterpiece. I started the rewrite and what I wrote the second time was so much better I was motivated to turn it into something truly great. Pretty quickly I got about 20,000 words into the new story, and it was good. Really good. Better than I thought I could write.

And then I got stuck.

Life happened. My mother passed away. While we weren’t close, I didn’t handle this well (does anyone?) and suddenly I felt other areas of my life starting to unravel. I disengaged from WordPress. I missed time with my kids. I had issues with my rental. And although I have great friends, I didn’t get the support I needed (largely because of how I was dealing with the situation).

I spent a week in NH dealing with the practical things that need to be done when someone passes away. It was exhausting both physically and emotionally. I took the week off from writing – there was no time and how could I justify writing at a time like that? I came back and still had a week off from work to get myself together. I went away to Savannah and Charleston – a trip I’d planned before my mother passed away. I was alone and had fully intended to spend the time writing. I did everything but write. I ran. I wandered around the towns. I read. But I didn’t write. Not a word.

And still I made excuses. I was healing. I would get back to it.

It has now been 2 months, and still I struggle to get back to writing. I don’t post to WordPress. I have added some to the story but I keep getting distracted – emails, texts, dinner with friends, running. I spent 4 days at the beach where I finished my last book and still I found other things to do. I ran on the beach. I hung out at the bar down the street and met some interesting people. I listened to music. I did yoga. But I didn’t write.

And now I’m adding to my excuses. Work is busy. It’s Christmas and I need to buy presents. It’s cold and I don’t have any clothes that fit so I need to go shopping.

Plus we’re fostering 3 kittens and one of them – even after a week – hisses at me when I enter the room and any time I go near her. She needs socialization or she will never be adopted.

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And so I play with the kittens instead of writing. Or I have dinner out. Or I go running. Or I go to yoga. Or shopping. Or I do anything but write.

And so the page remains blank. I miss the days when I could write for hours, lost in the story. Some day I will do that again. I just don’t know when.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Masterpiece.

It Amazes Me How Much Can Happen in a Year

As 2018 comes to a close I have been reflecting on all that has happened this year. This more than any other year has been one of dramatic personal change and growth in all areas of my life. It has been absolute proof that real change is not only possible, but completely within our control.

Physical Fitness: This year I lost over 40 pounds, took up running (I can now run between 4-5 miles), and have been practicing yoga. Now that the cooler weather is here I will put away my paddle board (I’ll miss you!) and get back out on my bike. The key for next year will be maintaining what I’ve achieved.

Writing: As my loyal followers know I self-published my first book (click the image below to find it on Amazon) this spring. I set an ambitious goal and I published ahead of schedule. I’ve been working on my novel that was conceived through the Word of the Day, although much to my chagrin I am months behind where I had hoped to be by now. That being said, what I’m writing now is so much better than what I was writing just a few months ago the extra effort will be well worth it. Look for it to be available in 2019!

Travel: My kids have been asking to travel more and in 2018 I made this happen for them. We took an amazing trip to Georgia with their friends, a trip that will be one of those lifelong childhood memories for them. I took them to Washington DC which was someplace they had wanted to see. Although they didn’t particularly enjoy the city there were a lot of first for them on that trip, including their first train ride which they loved. We also vacationed in the mountains in NH and hit many of the tourist destinations those who live in NH often forget about. As much as I love being with my kids, I take time for me as well and traveled without my kids: hiking on the Appalachian trail, camping outside of Savannah and Charleston. Where will we go next?

Emotionally I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, even though I’ve had a few tough hits this year, including the recent passing of my mother. Financially I’ve recovered from the purchase of the rental property last year. And I’m once again on a writing retreat at my friend’s beach condo in the hope of getting back on track with my novel…something I seem to be avoiding even now.

I would like to be more involved with WordPress once I figure out a new purpose for this blog. In the meantime, I will be working with my sister on her blog Accessible ABA, in some capacity. And I will continue to work on my novel.

What will 2019 bring?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Chagrin.

A Whiff of Hope

Today has given me hope, just a whiff but there nonetheless. After weeks of stress piling on top of stress today was surprisingly normal. Some problems got solved, progress was made. No huge strides but for the first time in a while I have a vague memory of what life was like “before.” Memories of feeling grateful and at peace, excitement about the future, confidence in myself.

It’s starting to come back. It might take time but I can feel it, see it in the haze in front of me, smell it like the whiff of burgers on a grill somewhere in the distance on a hot summer day. It’s there, waiting for me.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Whiff.

What Happened When He Got Me Alone on the Beach?

I have been spending a lot of time these days reading about how to write better. I like the way I write, my voice, but there is still a lot to learn. As I am learning I am also working on the rewrite on the Clay/Caleb story. And when I say “rewrite” I mean just that. I am essentially rewriting the entire story but I think it’s coming out great.

Today I have been working on the scene where the main character (now named Jessica) meets Clay. Below is the part of the story where Clay and Jess are dancing. This is the main reason I haven’t had as much time recently to post on WordPress.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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The people dancing around us began to blur, like I was in the center of a carousel that spun ever faster around me. I stumbled, unaware I had moved until I almost fell. Something kept me upright and I sank against what was either Clay or a randomly placed telephone pole.

A thought slogged through the mud and muck inside my brain but couldn’t come to the surface. There was something I was supposed to be doing. What was it? Think!

A breeze hit the sweat on my neck, sending a shiver down my spine. I looked around and realized I had made my way to the water. How did that happen? The waves kissed my ankles as they ran up to greet me.

The horizon tilted like the labyrinth game I had as a young girl. How I had loved tipping it one way then the other, careful to keep the marble from falling in the holes. The game was less fun when you were the marble.

“Whoa. Easy there. Why don’t you sit down for a few minutes?” The voice came from above.

“God?” I asked.

Laughter.

Okay, not God. Still, sitting sounded like a good idea. I landed awkwardly with a splat, my elbow stuck up by my shoulder until it was abruptly released. The water receded, then came rushing back. I kicked my feet, sending a spray of water sailing into the air.

Suddenly I couldn’t stop giggling. As the water continued its attack I hit it with both palms, scaring it away. I dug my feet into the soft sand and gazed up at the stars twinkling like the fireflies I had tried to catch by the pond on my grandparents’ plantation.

I felt as carefree as I had when I was that little girl. Where had she gone?

I felt a weight being lifted off of me. The burden of trying to live up to my parents’ expectations eased. The crushing loneliness I’d felt since their death receded with the next wave and floated out to sea.

“Feeling better?” asked the voice from above that I now knew wasn’t God.

Looking up I saw Clay’s face, one half illuminated by the moon, the other half still cast in shadow, giving him an almost sinister look. All he was missing was the mustache. The moment passed as he crouched down beside me. Up close he was stunningly good looking and I found myself wondering how it would feel if he kissed me.

“Do you think you can stand?”

I nodded.

He held out his hand but I just stared at him. As he waited, a flush swelled from my chest and up my neck, warming my cheeks. He’s waiting. Do something!

Why Was She Doing This to Me?

Rummaging through the top drawer of my dresser Lily finally found what she had been searching for. She brandished the tiny bikini she had made me buy while we were on vacation in Key West.

“No.” I shook my head for emphasis. “Absolutely not.”

“This is why we bought it. You’re wearing it.” There was no arguing with her. I caught the scraps of material as she flung them at me.

Heading to my closet she flipped through my dresses, looking for something scandalous I was sure.

“Perfect!” She turned holding a black spandex halter top dress.

I grabbed the hanger from her, rolling my eyes. Heading into the bathroom to change I asked, “Why do you hate me?”

“I don’t hate you.”

“Then why are you doing this to me?” My tone was whinier than I had planned.

“You never know. “ Her grin was apparent in her tone. “Tonight could be the night that changes everything.” Her pithy comment might have been more premonition than speculation.

“I don’t want things to change, Lily. I’m happy the way things are!”

“No, you’re not,” Lily replied, knowing me all too well.

“Well I was until you decided to make me go to this ridiculous party!” I was yelling but I wasn’t angry. I knew she was looking out for me. She truly did want me to be happy. And so I would humor her and go to this party. I would give it an hour then beg her to take me home.

As I stepped back into the room she gave a low whistle. “You’re hot stuff!”

I swatted at her, embarrassed as always by the compliment.

“Do we have to go?” I tried one last time.

“We do. We’re already late. I’ll drive. Tonight is about you returning to the living. Just relax and try to enjoy it.” Although her words had been resolute she knew how hard I had taken the failure of my one and only significant relationship. She knew how anxious I was about social situations in general.

She looked me straight in the eye, one hand resting on each shoulder. “It will be okay.”

I nodded. “I believe you.” But I didn’t, not really.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Pithy and is part of something longer I’m working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after What Would I Do for My Best Friend?

What Would I Do for My Best Friend?

“I’m pregnant!”

This unexpected announcement came from my best friend Lily as she pushed her way into my apartment.

“You’re WHAT?” I was stunned. She had been with her boyfriend, Mike, for 6 months. They were perfect together but they weren’t ready for the marriage and kids talk yet, I would have known. Lily told me everything.

“Okay. I don’t know I’m pregnant, but I’m late and I’m never late.”

I didn’t know what to say. How should you respond when your unmarried best friend just announced she might be having a baby? Congratulations? From the terrified look on her face that didn’t seem right.

“Wow,” is what came out. I should have been able to do better but that’s all I managed.

“I know. I’m in shock.”

And so our afternoon began with a long heart to heart full of hopes, dreams, and wishes. Not without a few tears from both of us, but the kind of deep conversation you can have with the person you have known for years, who knows you better than anyone else. In the end, we agreed that if she were pregnant the baby would be a blessing and would most certainly be spoiled rotten by our close network of friends.

It was a foregone conclusion.

Ryan would teach him – or her – how to throw a football. He had been the high school quarterback after all and the game still held a special place in his heart, right next to his girlfriend Emily. Emily would buy more clothes than any child would need, making her the best dressed newborn on the east coast. Liz, another member of our friends-turned-family would teach him to use sign language before he ever learned to speak.Her step brother was deaf and she had become quite proficient at speaking with her hands. And then there was Abby. Abby would probably teach her algebra while most kids were learning how to count. She had taught high school math for 10 years. She lived and breathed numbers.

We were a family, and that’s what family did.

“Enough of this!” Lily exclaimed. “We have a party to get you to!”

“Really, we don’t have to. Let’s talk about how you’re going to decorate the baby’s room,” I said, attempting to distract her.

“Oh, no! You’re not getting out of this! You have been in isolation long enough. It’s time for you to get back out there. Jack told everyone at the office this was going to be the party of the summer. There’s going to be all kinds of rich, good-looking men there,” she said, a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

“I am soooo not interested in finding a man!”

“You dumped what’s-his-name years ago. It’s time.”

“I didn’t dump him. He was married for Christ sake. “

“Details. You know not all men are like him. I want you to be happy.”

“I am happy,” I replied defensively.

“Really? When was the last time you went out?”

“We had dinner Saturday.” I knew what she was asking but I had no intention of cooperating.

“No, I mean with someone besides us.”

“What difference does it make? I have you guys. That’s enough.”

“You’re going. End of discussion.” With that she pushed herself off the couch and headed to my bedroom.

Reluctantly I followed, knowing it was pointless to argue.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Unexpected and is part of something longer I’m working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes at the beginning of the story, before she meets Clay.

Friendship Is More Important Than Being Right

My hand ached, my fingers cramped from from gripping the pen as I filled page after page with thoughts, questions and ideas. The writing was cathartic, even if I still didn’t feel closer to knowing what to do. At least I was beginning to understand the things that had been troubling me so much.

I felt lighter than I had in weeks, only then realizing that these problems had been weighing on my mind even before I found the room with Clay’s photos and journal.

I looked up from the notebook for the first time in what might have been hours. I tried to ease my tension by rolling my shoulders, then tilted my head to the left, stretching my neck, repeating this for the right. I needed a break from all this introspection. One thing was crystal clear. I had to go see Lily. I had to do something to repair things with her.

Heading back toward the inn I ran into Lisa who was humming while pulling a weed from between two rocks near the pond. When she saw me she stood and smiled.

“Well hello! What do you think of our little garden?”

“It’s beautiful. I could spend all day out here.”

“You go right ahead, dear. That’s what it’s here for.”

“I wish I could, but I have to go see a friend.” I wasn’t normally someone who shared personal information with strangers but somehow I found myself opening to this kind woman.

“Oh my. Shouldn’t that be a good thing? You look like my kids did when they were going to see the doctor.”

I smiled at her perception. “We had a fight. Well actually, she’s not speaking to me, to be honest. If I could just get her to listen I think we could work it out, but I haven’t had much luck.”

“My late husband was a parsimonious old coot, rest his soul. He wouldn’t spend a nickel to make a dollar. When we first took over this inn he would get so angry with me when I bought trinkets to decorate the rooms. He would have left the walls bare if I’d let him. Sometimes he wouldn’t speak to me for days. In the end he was hurting himself by staying mad, but he never really did see it that way. It was always up to me to calm him down. I loved him and that was more important than any argument. I have faith you and your friend will work it out.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“You’ll see. Everything will turn out right in the end.” Pulling a small pair of scissors from the pocket of her dress she snipped some blushing pink roses from a nearby bush. “Take these to her and apologize, even if you have nothing to be sorry for. Friendship matters more than being right.“

This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Parsimonious and is part of something longer I’m working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after My Relationship Was the Root of All My Problems.