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Boundaries: Trust and Privacy

One of the most important aspects of any relationship, for me, is trust. For me, it’s the foundation and reaffirmation of love and respect. Sure, good people lie, sometimes. “No, honey, of course that dress doesn’t make your ass look fat,” is not the same as lying about an affair or a criminal act or blowing your shared retirement savings at the dog track. There are harmless little... read more

Rules for Blogging? NEXT TOPIC!

The 1990s are calling. They want their Internet back.  Sitting here, enjoying a warm cup of coffee from my “RTFM” mug, I realize some of you aren’t even old enough to remember a day before “blogging” was a thing. Back when the Internet wasn’t free, but we had freedom. Back before a quick Google search for rules blog* netted “about 551,000,000 results.”... read more

New Guidelines for Reviewers

Maybe you’ve heard “reviewing is dead.” It’s not. For authors, book reviews are more crucial than ever. But it’s also important to understand a little bit about applicable laws, truth in advertising, and how that applies to “endorsements” of a product or service. Once upon a time, only sales and advertising professionals had to have any real familiarity with... read more

Keep Voting Till They Shut It Down!

I was wrong. I said that June 5 was the deadline for the 250 votes needed to keep 4RV Publishing in the running for a Chase small business grant of $100,000. It turns out that June 5 was the deadline for submitting applications for the grant. Whew! It would have been tragic to be out of the running ONE vote shy of the 250 needed! As of this morning, 4RV is still in the running for one of 20 small business... read more

How Did You Do It?

That I was able to pick myself up off the sidewalk, hobble up the stairs, lurch over to the chair, and ask my niece to bring ice should have reassured me that there was nothing too impressively wrong with my ankle. But on that personal pain scale – not the standard “scale of 1 to 10″ with varying degrees of frowny faces – it hurt worse than birthing a ten pound baby. Worse –... read more

In a Parallel Universe…

1984 My husband and I were officially engaged on May 26, 1984, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was the eve of the historic “Memorial Day Flood.” Worst on record. We set the date for our wedding on June 9. We celebrated with a delectable leg of lamb, new potatoes, and champagne. My mother had said, when I pulled out all the bridal magazines: “Please – I do not want to hear all your planning... read more

You Are Getting Sleeeeeepy

You want this to work. At least that’s what you tell yourself, because you know that if, deep down, you have any reservations about it, it can’t work. You will yourself to want it. “Sit here,” the hypnotherapist says. “Make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes. We’re going to start with some deep relaxation exercises.” He has you tense all your muscles, from your... read more

One Bright Spark

Lydia woke to the sound of raindrops plinking against the metal chimney in syncopation with Dad’s snoring. Her little brother Ronald called it “snorting” and set an alarm, once, to wake himself at two in the morning to see if he did it, too. He was disappointed. Lydia assured her brother he had no reason to be. She managed not to giggle at his sad, earnest expression or the teardrop on... read more

Jelly Beans for Mother’s Day

Jack came home from kindergarten with his pants pockets stuffed full of candy. He ran inside, kissed his mom, gulped down a glass of milk, and ran out the back door to the garden calling, “Hi, Mom!” over his shoulder as a happy afterthought. His mother, Emily, watched him from the kitchen window, grinning. Mrs. Bard had already called her to explain that she had given Jack the jelly beans. They... read more

Spam Café

Now and then, I don a HAZMAT suit and dive into the spam bucket to see if anyone I know fell in. (I won’t name names, and I won’t always throw you a rope – kind of depends on the depth and stinkiness of the bucket on any given day.) I miss the days when spammers – sometimes – put forth a little creative effort. You know, the ones that could almost pass for human, and provided... read more

The #2 Pencil

I broke the yellow, #2 pencil in half. Looking down at its jagged ends, I felt an invisible fist close on my heart like a squishy stress ball. Such a silly memento – just a little, used, wooden, pock-marked pencil. But it was all I had left of Jenny. I could picture her struggling over math homework, gnashing her teeth against the soft wood. Sometimes, little yellow flecks of paint would stick to her... read more

Old Whiskey Nose

Lana leaned back against the sloping concrete, listening to the sound of water leaping over rocks and discarded tin cans in the rain-swollen creek. She lifted the camera and photographed the huge nests nestled between the beams and girders overhead. She carefully photographed last night’s graffiti, noting the distinctive artistic styles and color choices of her favorite local artists. She wished she... read more

What Else Could Go Wrong?

“Why can’t you be more spontaneous? Live for the moment? It’s just a weekend cruise!” Frustrated with Laura’s constant worry and obsessive planning, Jack ran his hands through his hair and stalked off in search of coffee. He flipped off the TV, cutting the meteorologist off mid-dire-prediction. It had been raining, non-stop, for a week. The dreary gray drizzle occasionally... read more

10 Worst Things That Can Happen to You on the Way to Work

So, my friend ZLite over at CHTTRZ.COM wrote “10 Worst Things That Can Happen On The Way To Work” – and all I could think was that these were either the worst things that could happen, period, or merely a sign that you were about to have a pretty crappy day. Quite literally, in the case of #2. Hah, #2. Cute, Z. Without some actual constraints – things that could really ruin the... read more

The Placebo Effect

When Marci came down off the experimental ghrowlenexofang pills, she felt like she’d been run over and mauled by a truck-sized armadillo. Her heart was worn out after running its own marathon without her two left feet, and her brain felt frowsy. She grabbed a liter bottle of Coca-Cola and downed it in under seventeen gulps. Pressing ice to the back of her neck, Marci doubled over the kitchen trash... read more

Show, Don’t Tell

Angela popped open the trunk and pulled a large cardboard box from it. At the top of the box was a terracotta pot with a curling vine, the sort of vine that grew easily under the cold glare of fluorescent lights in stuffy, airless office cubes everywhere. The carbon-dioxide rich air of P.S. 120, redolent with pheremones and football sweat, would doubtless be the saving of it, if the hourly bell-buzzing and... read more

What Cella Saw

Cella slid around the bed, reached out, curled an arm around the large, plastic box. She explored it, this foreign thing that had magically appeared in her room while she slept. She could see through parts of it, but it bent the light and distorted the parts of her room that lay beyond it. Photophores and chromatophores responded to her touch, to her strange mix of curiosity and anxiety, lighting the room... read more

Breakfast of Roadkill

“Hey, Charlie! Charlie!” Fat Huey glanced left, then right, as he ambled across the highway like a small tank. “Wanna grab a bite to eat?” Charlie squinted into the rising sun. He’d been basking in its warmth, enjoying the solitude. Dinner still rounded his belly, but at the mention of food, his innards rumbled slightly. They were always up for it, just like Huey. Charlie... read more

Collecting the Debt

Determined to write more fiction, and inspired by the OWFI Writers’ Conference and the example set by Marian Allen (who, annually, writes me into her stories, much to my delight!), I signed up for Story a Day in May. My chosen prompt? I visited Creative Copy Challenge #382 for ideas, where the latest prompt is to use the following ten words in a short story:... read more

Quell the Quest

Quell the urge to fight against the hours; Relent, give in, admit defeat – move on. Such is life, and there are worthier pursuits – Truer aims, more meaningful challenges Ubiquitous — Vanquish those. Waste not one precious moment Xerescaping the page. Say to what grows in imagination, “Yes!” Embrace the strange, exotic, foreign fruit – wring out its Zest for Life, and... read more

Parasailing

Is it cheating to say, “I’ve done this – more than once – but I wanna go again!”? Not just parasailing, of course, but parasailing upside down. Is there any other way? I can’t believe my mom had to twist my arm to do this, initially. She loved parasailing, and asked if she could take her granddaughter, Katie. She invited me to go along, of course, but I wasn’t... read more

Ocean Dreams

“The ocean is the lifeblood of Earth, covering more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, driving weather, regulating temperature, and ultimately supporting all living organisms. Throughout history, the ocean has been a vital source of sustenance, transport, commerce, growth, and inspiration.” And yet, “To date, we have explored less than five percent of the... read more

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