Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WEP: Dark Places

It's time for more fun with Write . . . Edit . . . Publish.  Thank you Yolanda Renee and Denise Covey for making this possible.

It's October, so that means we get to have a spooky time with this month's theme of Dark Places.


A Dark Man in a Dark Room 

The light bulb burned out days ago, but Ray didn’t bother with it.  A trip to the store would’ve involved interacting with people in the street, and his insides twisted at the thought.  He couldn’t risk temptation so close to home.
You could go out at night.  The convenience store down the road is open 24/7, the little voice in his mind whispered.  You’d be less likely to be caught if you slipped up.
Ray shook his head so violently the muscles in his neck twinged.  He couldn’t obey the impulse.  Going out would only end badly.  He’d already added light bulbs to his online shopping list, and the delivery service would bring them by the following morning.  He could survive another 12 hours or so in the lightless room.
The faint illumination cast by his laptop screen was enough to navigate the tiny studio apartment.  He hopped from website to website, reading articles that barely interested him.  He needed to keep his mind busy.
You know where you want to go, the voice hissed.  There are so many websites that could bring you pleasure.  No one needs to know.  Why restrain yourself?  Looking at images online won’t hurt anyone, will it?
Ray tried to push those inklings deep inside.  Maybe he’d eventually be able to bury them so deep they’d no longer plague him.  It seemed an impossible dream most of the time, but he continued to hope in the face of futility.
A sharp knock on the door made him jump.  He set his laptop on his musty comforter and slid off his bed.  His heart thumped loudly enough in his ears to mask the sounds of his socked feet on the hardwood floor as he crossed the room.
The delivery wasn’t due yet, and family members stopped dropping by for visits two decades ago.  The neighbors tended to give him no more than a hurried glance before sidestepping him in the hallway.  His wild eyes and unkempt hair were more than enough to guarantee such a reaction.
Maybe you should try being more approachable.  Aren’t you lonely?  Don’t you want to get close to someone?
Ray shivered as he reached for the doorknob.  He should have pretended he wasn’t home.  That was the only option that made sense, but the logical part of his brain was drowning.  He’d soon lose touch with it altogether.  Nevertheless, he pulled the door open.
“Hello, sir,” a young girl with blond hair and brown eyes said cheeffully.  She was slender and came up to his shoulder.  She couldn’t be any older than thirteen or fourteen.  A cardboard box rested in the crook of her arm.  “I’m selling candy bars to raise money for new marching band uniforms.  Each candy bar only costs $1, and they’re really delicious.”
This last part of her spiel sounded so enthusiastic that Ray knew she must have sampled one for herself.  He pictured her holding an unwrapped bar in her hands, the chocolate melting over her fingers, gooey and sweet.
He licked his lips, and finding his voice, replied, “I shouldn’t.”
The girl’s smile widened.  “Who says you shouldn’t?  Come on, it won’t hurt you too much to give in this one time, and it’s for such a good cause.”
Yeah, you heard her.  Give into the temptation.  One more time.  Remember how it made you feel before?  Those were the only times you ever felt good.  Let her help you feel good.
Ray felt like he was quaking beneath the surface.  He could shatter at any moment, and he couldn’t imagine how he looked to this girl who had no idea the type of monster she was dealing with.
Invite her in.  See that perfect skin?  You know what you want to do to her.
He did know.  He couldn’t help imagining it.  Running his hands over that creamy flesh.  Replacing his hands with a razor blade.  Dragging that blade along the skin, pressing just hard enough to create a valley in which it could rest.  Then pressing the extra little bit that would breach the skin.  Crimson liquid bubbling forth around the metal before cascading toward the floor.  Watching it pool around his feet before using it to paint a picture on his floorboards.
You could paint flowers.  Or other pretty girls to stare at.  All you have to do is invite her inside.  Say you need to get your money.  She won’t suspect anything.
Except he was at home, and other people may have seen this girl going door to door.  If she disappeared, people would come looking for her.
“All right.  I’ll buy one.”  He bit down on his lower lip as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the dollar.
Her face lit up.  “Thank you, sir.  I appreciate your help.”
When he accepted the candy bar, he purposely brushed his hand against hers.  The contact lasted only a moment, but something deep inside him roared to life.
His toes bumped against the shoebox stashed beneath his bed.  He froze in place, savoring the memories of how each of the photographs contained within came to be.  The torn flesh.  Subdued cries for help that went unheard.
If only he had a light bulb.  He’d have pulled them out and perused them for an hour or two, reliving the moments since he could make no new ones.
Except he could, in a way.  He closed his eyes and envisioned new scenes of gore and torment.  He thought up new ways to make it beautiful.  The room might’ve been dark, but nothing rivaled the dark recesses of his own mind.

Word Count: 938

Friday, October 13, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-October 13, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

My birthday was on Wednesday.  It was a low key day, but I'm cool with that.  I recently learned that Michael J. Nelson of MST3K and Rifftrax fame shares a birthday with me, which automatically makes the day that much more awesome.

The boys (this includes my husband) had a good time making homemade Halloween decorations.  Here are a few pictures of the results.  (Note: the ghost isn't homemade, but the kids still wanted their picture taken with it.)

Happy Friday the 13th!  My husband and I always celebrate the day since we met on a Friday the 13th.  We've since considered it a good luck day for us.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-October 6, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

This week has been a stressful one.  Zoe got a bad cold this week, so she's been really grouchy.  She's been getting better, though, so I'm grateful for that.  Unfortunately, she's passed her cold on to me, but it hasn't been too bad so far.

Even with the stress of caring for a sick baby, I've still managed to get some writing done.  It hasn't been a lot, but it's better than nothing.

My birthday is next Wednesday.  I don't have any fancy plans, but I am looking forward to the excuse to eat cake.  Bring forth the cake!

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: October 2017

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has assembled another great group of co-hosts: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan.

Be sure to visit the IWSG website!

The question for today is:  Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I think it's common for bits and pieces of ourselves to slip into our characters.  After all, they're born inside our heads.  We build them piece by piece, and the ways they behave are informed by our own experiences with humanity.

For example, I find myself writing characters telling jokes that I'd tell.  Or another character may share my love for reading.  I do try not to make them too much like me, though.  It would probably be boring if I denied myself the opportunity to look at the events of the story from the perspective of someone different from me.

Some authors may use their writing as a way to deal with a difficult event in their lives.  Perhaps in giving their protagonist a struggle similar to their own, the author can work through their own feelings.  I've done something like this before, though I never shared that story with anyone outside of a small group.  It felt a bit too personal to put out there.

Have you ever injected personal information into your characters?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-September 29, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

It's been one of those weeks where I've been busy, but I don't feel like I've gotten a lot done.  I'm sure most of you can relate to that.  In my case, this failure to finish anything is largely due to the projects I've tackled this past week.  I'm working on two separate short stories, jumping between them as inspiration allows.  Doing this means that the work I've gotten done is spread out, and that makes it feel like I've accomplished less than I actually have.  I'm choosing to celebrate the fact that I've gotten some good writing done, even if I find myself feeling I should have done more.

I also did more outlining for my novel in progress.  I'm happy with the story I have in my head, at least so far.  I have a long way to go on it, of course.  Hopefully my enthusiasm for the project will keep me going.

I'm also celebrating the fact that October is almost here.  October means Halloween is almost here, and it's absolutely one of my favorite holidays!  My boys are already excited.  They can't wait to go trick-or-treating.  They've been making lots of homemade decorations and hanging them up around the house.  I may be biased, but I think they're pretty good artists.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-September 22, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I submitted another story this week.  I have four out on submission right now, which is a record for me.  Granted, two of those submissions are super short, but I'm still proud of that accomplishment.  I've now made ten submissions so far this year, and I plan to make two more before the year ends.  This would be the first time I managed to make twelve submissions in a single year.  I really hope I pull it off.

My husband took the night off work.  Tonight is the homecoming game, and my boys have been begging their daddy to take them to the football game.  They're really excited about going.

Zoe is ten months old today.  I don't even know how that's possible.  I haven't lost as much pregnancy weight in that time as I'd have liked, but I'll choose not to focus on that for now.  That would just ruin my good mood.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-September 15, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain!  Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I've finished the first draft of a new short story, and I'm hoping to finish editing it by the end of the day today. Fingers crossed that I don't succumb to procrastination.

Procrastination has been a problem this week since my husband and I have been re-watching Game of Thrones.  It hasn't been good for my productivity, but it's been too entertaining for me to care too much.

Zoe learned to wave.  It's so cute when she does it, too.  She's also getting more teeth.  Five in total have popped through now, and a sixth is visible just below the surface.  She bit my shoulder the other day, and I have to say, it really hurt.  She seemed to think it was funny.

What would you like to celebrate?