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Day 3: 12 Days of Blogmas

There’s been a slight change to my 12 Days of Blogmas my delightful minions.

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I regret to inform you all that the contest will no longer continue. There was an unfortunate shortage of submissions.

However, I am not going to dwell on the sad, but I will rejoice with you in my fortune that two wonderful submissions came across my screen and I was able to share them. What will hopefully happen for the rest of Blogmas are some insightful, maybe funny posts about writing with prompts, a recollection of my Master’s journey, and a finale of my own writing prompt as promised.

I hope that you will continue to join me on this Blogmas trip. Tonight is a rest, but tomorrow I will return with many more words and hopefully interesting topics to discuss.

Happy Reading/Writing!!

 

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Day 2: 12 Days of Blogmas Writing Contest

Next up on our 12 Days of Blogmas is another submission with the prompt: Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird swooped down…

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This submission was written by Krissy Pedersen, a frequent participant in NaNoWriMo and fellow cat lover. Here is a little about Krissy and her untitled submission.

About Krissy: A book lover and eclectic reader, Krissy Pedersen has been writing since her school days.  A wannabe runner, knitter, and author, she spends most of her time working and catering to her 4 year old cat Penny.

 

“Untitled”

Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird swooped down, hoping to find something under the light covering of white. The dive was impressive and Kit saw him come up with a small black beetle. He wasn’t sure if the sudden winter storm had caught it unawares or if the blackbird had been lucky enough to find one in hibernation who hadn’t quite made it under good cover.

Whatever the reason, the blackbird’s dive had been too swift for him to attack. The cat’s long fluffy tail twitched in irritation. The light flakes floated through the sky making dozens of different patterns every minute, but while the feline appreciated the complexity he truly didn’t have time to study it in depth. After a few moments of study, Kit stretched and resumed his journey through the dark night.

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It was strange to be out of doors this time of year. Normally his human kept him locked up inside, safe from the elements and the dangers of the outdoors. He never would have admitted it to another, but the openness of land around his home was rather intimidating. The shadows of the branches and the cover of the undergrowth of the forest were reassuring. Kit knew that he would need all of his inherited skill at stalking to remain covert in this strange land. The trees were so much larger than any he had come into contact with before.

Not even his human’s Christmas tree was as large as the behemoths he was traveling below. The wind was another thing he was unused to dealing with. It was true that he had often watched as the wind carried leaves around outside his windows, but the light breeze that came through the open windows hadn’t truly prepared him for the bite of cold that traveled through even his thick fur. The shades of gray and black would blend in with the moon cast shadows as he weaved his way through the thick growth of evergreen shrubs and dying forest plant life, an unexpected boon.

Never before had he thought about how well the splotched patterns of his coat would help disguise him as he traveled. He gave a great twitch to dislodge the snow that had accumulated on his coat and shivered a little. How he wished his clan head had chosen one of the other cats in the building for this mission! He would much rather be curled up in his human’s lap purring while she read a book or watched something on the human television. Of course, in the large tabby’s mind, any sane cat would prefer that situation over skulking through the woods to search for a pair of outdoor cats who had failed to check in.

There was more snow on the ground and it was falling much faster than it had been when he had snuck out. The large feline grumbled to himself as he rapidly covered the ground between the building and the girls’ preferred hunting grounds. Kit wasn’t close with Sherry and Misty, but all the indoor cats knew where their preferred hunting grounds were. It was a safety measure that Clarence insisted upon.

The head of the Birch Building’s cat clan really didn’t like having members of his clan living out of doors, but the two female cats preferred it, even insisted upon it. Clarence had insisted that the girls check in daily and that they let it be known where they intended to be each day, but the Misty, the older of the two wanderers, had negotiated it down to every three days and merely informing every member of the clan as to what their range was. Kit had managed to get a little more information from Sherry, a marmalade tabby who had a few narrow escapes in her past. He knew where they preferred to hang out and what their normal pattern of movement was. Since he lived on the ground floor he regularly chatted with the two, though Misty was much more standoffish than her smaller friend. Nothing truly bad had happened to the larger gray cat and with the food that their human regularly left out for the two adventurers Misty felt she had nothing to fear from the great outdoors.

In Kit’s opinion, that was a rather foolhardy way of looking things. There were dangers in the great outdoors, dangers Sherry knew quite well. Now there was a cat who embodied caution. She checked in twice as often as Misty did, almost the daily that Clarence would have preferred. She often described their travels around their range in great detail, probably in greater detail than Misty would have desired, though he suspected that Misty was well aware of all the stories that Kit had heard. He had seen the gray feline watching as he and Sherry chatted. Misty had seemed more exasperated than angry, more as if she didn’t quite understand Sherry’s caution than being angered by it. As far as he knew, she had never objected.

Kit paused, sniffing the air and taking a slow look around. He had reached the area Sherry had said that they tended to lair up at night. He carefully looked over the entire area, looking for any disturbances on the ground. Ah, by a rather large oak tree there was a place where the leaves covering the ground had been disturbed. There was no sign of either feline or anyone else so he made his way cautiously over, keeping out of sight as much as possible.

Ah, the scent of both cats was there. There was no scent of fear, but this was obviously the place where the two had made their way into the tree. He scrambled up the tree trying to be as silent as possible, but this was not his among his best skills. He was an indoor cat, for Bastet’s sake! As he climbed he kept a wary eye out for both predators and his clan mates.

Finally, he reached the area that looked to all like a squirrels nest, but was actually where the Misty and Sherry often slept. He approached with great caution, but knew it was pointless. There was no scent of either cat. Being a thorough creature he still checked inside, but there was no evidence that either cat had made it this far. He returned to the trunk of the tree and sat, taking a moment to clean his whiskers as he considered the situation.

Both cats had made it as far as the tree, of that he was quite certain; however there was no evidence either had made it into the tree. That meant something must have happened before they started to climb, but something that didn’t alarm either female. He studied as much of the floor of the forest that he could see from his vantage point in the tree, but it was obvious that this mystery was not going to be as easy to solve as Clarence had made it seem when he sent Kit out to investigate. Kit hoped his human didn’t return from work early, because it was clearly going to be a long night.

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Day 1: 12 Days of Blogmas Writing Contest

e540cf5ce3cb720b224eb522429dbef6Hello my gorgeous minions. The day has finally arrived when I can begin my 12 Days of Blogmas writing contest.

The first submission received was from Rona Rosian Boley who chose the first prompt: Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird swooped down…. Below is a little about Rona and even further below that is her submission titled: “The Letter.”  Enjoy!

About Rona: Lover of books, cheesecake and pop music. Independent and amusing. I read most anything, but must admit I am partial to the bodice ripping romance novels because I am a sap. I know, I know. I should be more selective. *hangs head in shame*  I believe in happily ever afters for everyone but myself. I have always loved writing but tend to limit it to amusing postings on Facebook and the occasional blog type piece. I wanted to major in English in college but was afraid I couldn’t be creative on demand. So I chose psychology. I figured the degree was cheaper than therapy. I don’t work in the field, but use it frequently to advise friends, family and the occasional stranger in the mall who happens to sit on my bench and unfailingly finds me so easy to talk to, they tell me their life story. I’ve been told I could get a mute to speak. Trying to move out of my comfort zone and actually put into practice what I’ve always wanted to do…..write actual stories.
“The Letter”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/robmcm/2350858702

Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird swooped down and the shadows on the ground gave the illusion that there might be something edible to peck at. Success was found with several rotting apples lying under a nearby tree. The feast was suddenly interrupted by a booming bark and the bird gave a startled squawk as it flew high up to the safety of the branches above. From its perch, it peered around to find the source of what was now a continuous series of excited barks.

Golden panes of light shown onto the yard from the living room bay window of the small Victorian home in the evening darkness, and as the bird could now see, a large German Shepherd was standing on its hind legs, face pressed against the glass.

Inside the home, a female voice called out, “Asher! ENOUGH!” Asher gave two more short barks and then trotted over to the owner of the voice.

Heather Collins came out of her bedroom, sweatpants and T-shirt replacing her daily school dress attire. She was in her third year of teaching first grade, and while she loved shaping young minds, by Friday she was in dire need of decompressing from dealing with 30 little individual personalities all week.

She grabbed her mail off the dining room table where she had set it down earlier and headed to the living room with Asher quietly trotting behind her. Sitting down on her favorite spot, a seat tucked under the window, she sorted through the small pile of ad sheets and envelopes that had come that day. As she came to the last envelope, her breath left her in a gasp. She paid no attention to the now cascading mail as it slid from her lap onto the hardwood floor or the soft whimper that came from Asher.

Her eyes stared at the return address on the envelope, unbelieving of what they saw. After all this time, was it really him? The name reached up to her, like a hand out of the past. Her mind began to whirl as memories came flooding back, and with them a multitude of emotions. Suddenly, it was as if the room faded around her and she was transported back in time to that first moment.

 

It was 11th grade English and she was staring out the window, bored with Mr. Pagano’s droning voice. The classroom door opened, and there HE was. She was vaguely aware that there were others in the room, but like every cheesy romantic cliché she had ever read about, everyone seemed to fade into a hazy periphery. Had a heavenly choir of angels broken out in song or a unicorn pranced slowly by the classroom door, it would have somehow been believable and not out of place.

Mr. Pagano took the note handed to him, glanced at it and then announced, “We have a new student joining us. Please welcome Rick Anderson, coming by way of Michigan.”

Before she knew what was happening, Mr. Rick Anderson was walking directly towards her. Apparently in her distracted state, she failed to hear Mr. Pagano instruct him to sit in the empty seat beside her.

“Heather, you can share your book for the rest of class until I can get one from the supply area for tomorrow.”

Share? Share what? Her mind failed to grasp the concept of the word, her brain cells having taken a momentary leave of absence. With a disgusted mental snort at herself, she came to her senses at the sound of the desk chair scraping along the floor and found herself staring directly into the face of her new classmate.

His eyes were brown. No, not just any brown. Heather tried to decide exactly how to describe the shade and the best she could come up with to herself was root beer. Root beer? Heather was not one given to flights of fancy. She was serious, studious, honor roll ever since middle school. The fact that she could become so completely flummoxed by the sight of one guy was incredibly disturbing to her. Horrified by the realization that she had been mindlessly staring at him without uttering a peep, she cleared her throat and said, “Hi, I’m Heather.”

His answering smile and response of, “Yeah, I know,” confused her.

“You know my name?”

He gestured his head towards the teacher, “He told me to sit here, remember?”

“Oh! Yeah. Right.”

Good grief, could she embarrass herself anymore today? Believing that silence was her safest course of action, she took that route and the rest of the class period passed without incident. When the bell rang, she quickly stood up, ready to flee the scene of her humiliating loss of common sense.

Before she could move though, Rick spoke to her and asked, “Hey, mind if I hang with you at lunch? It sucks being new and the cafeteria is always the worst part when you don’t know anyone.”

Heather thought of the mine field of verbal snafus that awaited her if she agreed, but he looked so eager and appealing, that she found herself answering, “Sure.”

And that, as the saying goes, was the beginning of it all. Her trip down memory lane was swiftly brought back to the present with the resuming of Asher’s excited barks.

“Asher, what are you barking at,” she snapped.

She looked through the frosted window to see why he was so wound up. The sudden flapping and swoosh of a blackbird past the window caused her to issue a small shriek and yank the curtains shut.

Heart pounding from both the letter still in her hand and the unexpected close up view of wildlife, she went into the kitchen to make herself a calming cup of tea. As she waited for the water to boil, she looked down again at the envelope, wanting to make sure it truly was his name on the return address. She tried not to think of the last time they spoke. Even now, after all this time, the pain still welled up inside of her, like a hot poker to her heart every time she remembered it. With trembling hands, she turned the envelope over and opened it. Taking a deep breath, she began to read.

 

 

Let us know what you thought of the first submission. What appealed to you about the use of the prompt and the story in general.
As always Happy Reading and Writing!

 

Blogmas Day 1-COMPLETE!

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12 Days of Blogmas Writing Contest

Now that I have finished my Master’s degree (yes you may call me Mistress), I am ready to get back into the groove of blogging with this new series.

Writing prompts have become profoundly important to my education as a writer and the development of my stories. And then…

unnamed                                                           I had an idea!

What if I took my favorite writing exercise—choosing prompts and writing scenes or stories from them—and made it into a quick writing contest?Everything about the contest (the prompts, rules, prizes) is listed below for you to review and decide if you might try your hand at this casual, fun writing contest.

The Prompts:

Any of these three “winter” themed prompts can be used to create a stunning story. I will request that submissions for the contest be in prose format simply due to my lack of knowledge in the realm of poetry (and no one wants a noob reviewing contest submissions), and ALL genres will be welcome. I will also be joining you in writing one of these (outside of the contest, of course), and will share mine at the very end of Blogmas!

 

  1. Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird swooped down…
  2. While shopping in a department store during the holidays, a child is separated from his or her parents and discovers a portal to a winter wonderland.
  3. Use the below photo as inspiration for a story.1ac6755cebce4562c48969d6bb80bbb9

 

The Rules:

1.Only one submission per person because…well, fairness.

2.Try to keep submission under 1200 words, they can be a scene/chapter, a piece of flash fiction, or an excerpt. The reason behind this is that I want each submission to be eligible for potential publication elsewhere (yes, I believe in you), so keeping the word count limited will allow that (since some publishers are picking about online copies of excerpts).

3.The first round of the contest will be conducted by me in that I will choose from all of the submissions and elect 12 to be featured (one per day) in its own individual blog post. After each submission is published, each finalist will be entered to win the prizes which will be chose

4.All submissions must be sent via email to Amyoung0606@gmail.com by 12/14/2015 at 11:59pm. The first blogmas submission will be published on 12/13/15 and run until 12/24/15. Submissions should be sent in word document format with no name in the document, your name (pen name if applicable), and a short paragraph about you or what you like to read write should be in the body of the email. If you wish to describe the inspiration of your submission please feel free to add anything you would want included in published blog post.

There will be three winners chosen from the 12 finalists at random to win the prizes. Winners will be chosen and announced by Monday 11/28/2015 due to the holiday, and photographs of the prizes will also be posted before they are shipped out.

THE PRIZES:

The first winner will receive a copy of On Writing by the King. It is one of my personal favorites and a great anecdotal account of learning the craft.

The second winner will receive a “Mystery Geek Package” filled with all things geeky, nerdy, fantasy, sci-fi to inspire the writer caught in a winter block.

The third winner will receive a “Curl Up By the Fire Package” for those nights when a writer needs a break and sits back to read a good book. Contents may include homemade cookies, delectable hot beverages, and warm words of encouragement.

So my faithful minions, I dare you to put on your writer’s cap, plug in your computer/ get out your pad and paper, and join me for the 12 Days of Blogmas where you may find your work published on here for the world to see and a well-earned prize in your mail after Christmas.

As always, I wish you Happy reading and writing!

And let’s not forget the obligatory cat selfies/human selfies from Mistress Spotted Writer and her muse, Nyla Troublemaker!

 

 

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