Last month I entered NYC Midnight’s Micro-Fiction Contest and yesterday night I found out that my piece, “Among the Things We Lost That Night” placed 2nd(!), which means I continue to round 2.
The genre I received was “thriller” and I had to incorporate “a home renovation” and the word “cover”, into my one-hundred word piece. The first thing that came to mind was a tornado and the juxtaposition between the stubborn mindset of trying to make things work (or trying to repair something broken) when it’s inevitably going to be destroyed, which is what the father in this story is doing. In the midst of it, the mother and her son finds him dead in the wreckage of the family home.
So, without further elaboration, I give you “Among the Things We Lost That Night”:
Among the Things We Lost that Night
After Momma plucked me from the dinner table and took off for the cellar, she paused to shout up at Daddy. “Les! Get down from there—tornado warnin’! Take cover!”
“Ain’t nothin’ gonna come of it! Gotta get these shingles on!”
From the concrete cellar, I swear I heard the thump of the nail gun, wind, Daddy’s cursing. When it was safe to come up, I pointed to a mess of scattered boards. “Momma! Daddy lost a boot!”
In all my nine years, I ain’t never heard Momma’s wails—louder than the tornado sirens. That night, our lives collapsed.
As I wrap up the final touches on “Cocky-Tales” anthology, I can’t help but be grateful–not for the situation of #cockygate and the inane need to monopolize words–but for the experience. I am thankful that life challenged me with a project that I never thought I would be a part of.
In the end, it wasn’t actually me. It was all of the wonderful authors and poets from a gamut of writing backgrounds coming together and sharing their talents that made “Cocky-Tales” possible.
A few observations–I have a sincere appreciation for publishers who piece together anthologies. People, this is not an easy feat. There’s advertising for submissions, reading those submissions, writing acceptances–and sadly, rejections…I’ll pause…rejections were difficult, because having received many myself…I know the let-down, contracts, edits, the cover–Created by Leslie Safford who doesn’t have any social media links–…and gosh darn-it (!!) making sure the author bios and links were correct with no spaces (spaces within links was a thing…I don’t get it).
Anyhow, kudos to people who compile anthologies on the regular…and that formatting tho…I could write a blog post about nothing but formatting. *Deep sigh*
The feeling of completing “Cocky-Tales” is awesome! I’m not sure if enough celebratory cakes exist in the world to honor the release tomorrow.
The majority of the excitement comes from the opportunity to not only learn but to give back. I think that #cockygate is a situation that could have impacted any genre; it just happened to take place in the romance community. But more so than looking at creative writing as an art that contains the genre-centric borders, the writing community is just that: community, and it is imperative that we view it from that lens.
Talk to any two authors and we will not have the same process when it comes to creative expression, and that’s what makes art so interesting–the ability that artists have to impact a variety of individuals, to express just how each person perceives the experience of life in a different way!
Don’t get me wrong–I believe in marketing and creating a unique brand. I also believe that it can be accomplished without attempting to own common use words. Words such as “cocky”, “forever”, “quantum”…are building blocks with which we create our worlds, and it’s a scary thing to believe that one person would strive to “buy” those building blocks to eliminate competition.
It happened. I hope that it won’t happen again. But I would also hope for an apology from “she who shall not be named”. (I also hope for a million dollar check, a Caribbean cruise, and a beach home–all of the above might be more likely than a simple “I’m sorry”.)
I hope that “Cocky-Tales” encourages those who have taken part in it and those who read it to continue to create and to support all forms of art.
My biggest wish is that through this anthology we illustrate the definition of coming together as a community for an important cause.
To snag your copy of “Cocky-Tales, click here! And Many Thank You’s for supporting our project!!!
The second novel in award-winning author, Erin Crocker’s highly rated ‘Sync’ series.
Now in the captivity of Sullivan and the FDRA, Lila must negotiate her freedom, but at what cost?
This book is personally shipped by the author and autographed. Shipping is included in the price!!
Lila was normal. At least, she tried to be. Plagued by nightmares about the quiet, new guy in school, she struggles to focus on her senior year. When Wesley reaches out to her, she discovers the life she had was never hers to lead. As the only world she’s ever known shatters around her, she’s on the run, with a boy she hardly knows. Is Wesley really the only person she can trust? He has all the answers, but what are his true intentions?
Each novel is personally shipped by Erin and comes autographed! Shipping is also included in the price.
Other Confession: I’m a wee bit taken aback that I began a blog post with “Confession”. But, I did. So…
Growing up in the rural area of southwest Missouri, I spent a lot of summers watching the evening begin with a few stars speckled throughout the sky like a rainy day connect-the-dot game.
As the cadence of crickets crescendoed–along with ravenous mosquitos–the sparkling dots in the sky thickened. With hardly any lights to drown them out, layer after layer, appeared.
those glitter-drops of angelic magic beckoned to me–telling me secrets of peace and healing, promising me that everything, indeed, would someday work out to my highest good.
Often, I would lay in that empty lot next to my childhood home and ask the lighting bugs if they, too, were stars–tiny floating fairies or angels, coming to earth the promenade in the humid Midwestern night.
Those opalescent, brilliant hints of mystery were the source of healing, laughter, and positivity.
So, when I say I try too hard, I suppose it’s because sometimes–I won’t lie…most of the time I believe I don’t do enough. And it’s those times when I start to overdo it. I pay so much attention to others and trying to help them, that I neglect myself.
Essentially, I lose the balance between lending a hand and taking time to work on myself.
So what was the answer?
One night in meditation, I heard exactly what I needed to hear: The stars don’t try to be. They simply are.
In other words, stars don’t necessarily go out of their way. For eons, they have been beacons for healing, guidance, wisdom, and knowledge. They have inspired iconic paintings and caused words to stream like the embrace of eternal lovers.
And they have never, ever tried.
What I have learned from this on my journey is to simply shine from where I am. stop trying and just be. Just know that I am enough exactly the way I am–hell, who am I kidding? I am more than enough.
I am so much more than enough I am just a super-sparkly firework bowl of unicorn Lucky Charms, and that is spectacular!
I think that before we are born, we help choose the mountain we want to climb during our life—I think we help select our unique path.
Some pick the bunny slope, there’s nothing wrong with that. Even bunny slopes have their hang ups, and they will learn and grow regardless.
Others pick hills, that’s just fine as well, because each soul must grow at its own pace.
I’m convinced I picked Mt. Kilimanjaro. And, not only did I select this feat, I said, “let’s start early. Send the boulders down when I’m five, six, and so on. Let’s compose those boulders with death and emotional abuse. Send me down as a unique gift from Heaven itself, and let’s see how many people in my life run from that Divine gift.”
That’s the first thing everyone who has ever felt rejected needs to say to themselves. Say this, “I was actually never rejected. Those who turned away from me or abused me, were actually running from themselves. Not me. I was never the ‘problem’. I was never a ‘burden’. I am a Divine gift.”
But not only did I ask for this treacherous feat, I said, “when I start reaching the top, throw up some more obstacles. Make sure they’re disguised well because eventually, I’ll wisen up to the illusion.”
Second, realize that all of these struggles that feel very real are illusions, scenarios that your soul selected to help wisdom and growth. You’re not alone, you have guides, Angels, members of your soul group placed in your path to lift you from your darkest times. Take the help. Realize who you are—a Divine being. You Are A Divine Being.
You will face nothing that you are unable to handle. You are wise and strong; never forget that you are a piece of the Divine.
Finally, I’m fairly certain as of late, that I said, “not only do I know I’ll heal and grow from my own struggles as I make this journey. Please, give me the opportunity to reach my hand out to others who are making their journeys and allow me to use what I’ve learned to help anyone who would like to listen. Because, in the end, they help me right back.”
We have to stop the “I’m taking on the world” mentality. It’s a lovely thought. But, it’s a deflection–It’s what we do instead of working on our own fears and healing our own judgements and scars.
This goes back to what one of my very wise mentors says to me almost daily, “We heal the world by looking deep within and healing ourselves first.”—Jenny Heflin. Now, I think that’s beautiful.
I think life is beautiful, and I want to just put this out there if you need it: You are never rejected.
You are Divine, wise, and special. You are not your past decisions. You are worthy of everything you desire in life.
I think no matter how tall we pick our mountains, once we get there…once we arrive at the top. Wow! WOW! We look down…all the clouds clear…WOW! Take in a deep breath of the freshest air and LOOK! Look at that view…there’ll be nothing like the beauty of that. What a moment that will be.
NO! It’s author Linette Kasper’s debut YA fantasy novel “Daimon“! Linette may reside in Northern Virginia, but her I’m-gonna-love-you-forever-no-like-literally-forever-tale-of-romance-gone-dark type novel weaves its mysterious tale around the historic city of Richmond, Va.
Megan, our scrumptious and sometimes sarcastic, female protagonist is still coping with the loss of her mother when– in true Cinderella fashion– her dad decides it’s time to move on. That’s right– he’s ready to tie ye ‘ol knot again.
Moving on– it’s a good thing, right? “Onward and upward.” That’s what they say. Perhaps forward motion is optimal– well, that is if you’re not planning to marry a half-crazed psycho– Erin, remember to edit this and take that out– you can’t belittle the anti-social personality disorder community by comparing Megan’s stepmom to a psychopath.
When Megan’s crazy-bitch-ass stepmom, Vanessa decides to physically abuse her in public by slapping her at a bridal shop, Megan takes off. Who can blame the girl? And I’m not even going to start on the employee who kinda just watched and didn’t really do anything… you know… like telephone DSS. Did Kasper mean this as a sly critique of the social system in the United States? You be the judge… like maybe, literally… Megan’s dad, Jack, is a lawyer… Okay, not funny… moving on.
I don’t have the answer to that question, BUT I caught up with Linette and her crazy schedule to ask her, “If you put a dollar in a claw machine and it broke down, would say nothing or complain?”
Her answer? “Depends on if that means it’s broken or faulty. I may grumble to myself, but I’m not one to complain or make a scene, so I would chalk it up to not being meant to be and move on with my life. If the machine were broken, I would report it so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
So maybe the claw machine isn’t meant to be, but I know what is– “I know what is” can be read in one of those over-used-I’m-gonna-do-a-high-pitch-sing-song-voice type deals. When Megan takes off, she drives to the cemetery where her mom is buried, and it is there that she meets a dark figure in the night.
Who could it be? Does she live? Does she die? Did Vanessa follow her? Who is the mystery stranger?
“He was stunning, like an otherworldly being, with beguiling eyes that took me in as I was taking him in and bow lips that naturally turned at the corners into a slight smile. Tall and lean, he was dressed in khaki pants and a pinstripe shirt that opened to a fitted black t-shirt” (Daimon).
He had me at khaki pants– swoon. There’s just something about an ironed inseam that gets me every time kinda like the hot fudge melting the ice cream on my sundae…
Oh, book review– forgot. So, we know our mystery guest is a “he“, but who exactly is that?
Cue 1970’s jazzed out theme show song, lower psychedelic backdrop: “Meet David, he’s a mysterious hot n’ sexy dream boat whose hobbies include, lurking through cemeteries, cryptic dialogue that deflects any questions about himself, and being cryptic in general.”
That wasn’t a quote from the book, by the way.
So, who is David, really? Megan wants to know, I want to know, you are sitting on the edge of your seat right now– leaning in– because you want to know…
But, like any good novelist, Kasper doesn’t tell us right away, however I managed to garner a few answers out of her about what she’d do in a cemetery if she came upon a smokin’ hot stranger.
“I’d definitely be leery of him, keeping my distance until a I felt a little more comfortable. I’m not a social person and people are not apt to approach me, so I’d wonder if there’s an ulterior motive.” — Linette Kasper.
Ulterior motive would be the perfect time for me to introduce Brian, David’s scrumptious, frightening nugget of a roommate, along with Odette, Madeline, and the shy, quiet Cary.
I hesitate to spoil much about Brian, other than to say he’s got all the girls swooning– including Vanessa. The only one who’s uncomfortable seems to be Megan, but why? Could there be more to find out about Brian?
Yes, why yes there is… want to know what he’s up to?
Whatchya scared of? I don’t bite…
Now lean in!
If you want to know, read the book!
Got you, right? No?
Next, I bet you expect me to tell you that Megan is the melodramatic-loner type that lurks the high school and narrates her lack of friends–
but I’m not! Wow, you’re thinking… maybe this is exactly what “Twilight” should’ve been– no, not linking “Twilight”. I’m lazy and you can Google it.
Megan has friends– even if they fail to question her hanging out with strangers in cemeteries late at night. David’s hot, right? He can’t possibly he dangerous– the ever so bubbly Claire, sporty no-nonsense Erin, and the-boy-next-door-who-Megan-should’ve-ended-up-with-instead-of-some-spooky-cemetary-stranger-but-didn’t-and-now-the-reader-will-feel-sorry-for-him-through-the-whole-novel… oh, I was talking about Ben.
Ben? A love triangle, you say? Oh, the plot grows jucier and jucier and we haven’t even gotten through the first couple hundred pages.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where the hell is my coffee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Immaculately edited and polished, “Daimon” is a five-hundred-ninety-four-page, action-packed, supernatural, thriller, mixed with a touch of chic-lit and sentimentality ATOMIC-BOMB and Kasper paints a superb photo.
“Daimon” is a must read for young adults and adults alike.
Until next time, folks! Thanks for reading my review and WRITE ON!
I’m back to the blog once more. Guess what that means…
I have gas station nachos?
More episodes of the Chronicles of Ashzaria?
You published your second full-length novel?
YES!… well, tomorrow. That’s right, August 22nd, I’ll be releasing the second installment of the ‘Sync’ Series, “Menoetius”. Finally!
I won’t lie– I’ve worked hard on the proofreading and editing phases to bring a smoother, better narrative into this action-packed series and I feel amazing about it.
What else have you done, Erin?
Well, I’m glad you asked…
Today I started a YouTube Writing Workshop that I intend to upload videos to on a weekly basis. I’m excited for this project because I get asked a lot of questions about my writing process, and I cannot wait to try to answer them.
You can find the video on my YouTube channel, but just in case, I’ll enter the link on this post, too.
Hmm… are the thumbnails the worst expressions? Who sits in the cubicle at YouTube Inc. and monitors these things?
Well, my next video will be in landscape mode… I’m a newbie, so give me a break.
For now, I’m out. Sorry for the short post. I will be writing more over the upcoming weeks/months. Yayyy….
In the mean time, check out my online shop for all the “Synchronicity” Fandom…
Lately, I’ve become a bit obsessed with listening to slam poetry. So… I thought I’d try my own.
Linked to the post is a video I uploaded onto Facebook. I was trying to use poetry to contribute to the dialogue surrounding domestic violence. I will add that I placed a trigger warning on this. Please watch at your own discretion.
If this moves you, feel free to share, or leave a comment.