Here it is! For you. For free. I’ve posted Chapter 1 of I Know You Like a Murder on Patreon. Get yo sneak peek there.
Enjoy now [with the sneak peek here]
Detectivize October 23 [by preordering here]
No, my obsession with mermaids isn’t quite over yet 😉 In fact, I have an eerie holiday tale written just for you!
Find some time this holiday weekend to get away from the hubbub and read The Cost of Holiday Cheer for some chills.
Here’s my Christmas greetings to you: I hope your awkward family Christmas isn’t as awkward as this one 🙂
Creativity isn’t finite. The more you give, the more you have. That’s a philosophy I want to live by, and Ksenia does too.
Ksenia Anske sends cards with personalized stories to her readers. So when she sent one for my writers’ group, I volunteered to facilitate our writers prompt and had everyone write her a story back.
Because stories are meant to be shared, and a writer can only hide their stories for so long before some need to spill out, even if it’s in short form 🙂
And now we’re going to share those stories with you, stories to encourage you to create.
“With this final bit of paper and fragment of graphite I beg of you to continue on what I can do no longer. I brought their gruesome reign into the world and now with these last meager strokes I must pass the mantle onto another. They came from my mind you see, in murderous retribution. The misshapen wolf-child led the way howling in agony that I had abandoned him. My mind had pulled the sparks of his essence together but I had trapped him there. But he escaped, and he brought the millions of forgotten characters with him. The creatures control my mind, and have managed to get a link to every human brain. If I stop writing (I haven’t much longer now) without another to take my place the world ends. Pick up your pen. Go.” – by Jenn Wieland
“There once was a woman who decided to try writing. At first she was thrilled and excited, but then she met the rejection monster who gnawed at her amazing manuscript.
The brave writer stabbed the dreaded monster with her mighty pen. The monster shrieked and died at her feet. The amazing writer skinned the beast and made a cloak that she wore in the frigid winter.
The amazing writer walked proudly down the published road with her rejection coat wrapped around her shoulders.” – by Kim Kouski
“Once upon a time a young girl named Ksenia yearned to be an author, a writer. Over the years she succeeded but oh, she grew so weary and discouraged. Then one night she had a dream. She seemed transported into fairyland, with castles and dragons, knights – and a blight – a blasted desert where nothing lived. She asked a handsome knight, ‘Why? Why is fairyland blighted?’ He said sadly, ‘Those are the regions of fairyland where our goddess Ksenia has never written about.’ The end.” – by Andy Zach
“Once upon a time, there lived a sixteen-year-old girl who found a book buried beneath a pile of ruins… The girl had never seen a real book before, let alone written words and paper. This book had a red toy train on the cover.
Books were only something people have heard about – a distant memory for few. And here it is… the last book in existence wedged between her fingers. ‘Our race can be saved!’ the girl thought. ‘Finally our world will not be mute and the curse will be broken.'” – by Yasmeen
“As the dancer danced, flowers popped up around her toes and danced with her. They danced the words – the flowers and her – until a flower castle appeared. The dancer danced the word “wing”, and up sprouted the wings and lifted the word dancer to the tippy top. ‘I will make my home here,’ she danced.” – by Amy L Sauder – uhh, me 🙂
So that’s the stories. Now go out and make your own creations! And then share it with the world, give it away in some form somewhere 🙂 Pass on Ksenia’s enchantment <3
(Psst! If you want to know more about Ksenia who started this story card thing for me, you can see her website, social media, and read about all the ways I want to be like her when I writerly grow up.)
As this is still my most popular post (that even garnered some fanfiction!) and it’s holiday time again, I thought I’d reshare my short story interpretation of White Winter Hymnal. Enjoy 🙂
He just showed up out of nowhere, all prim and proper with his top-hat and button-up. She tried to style with her tux, but the waddling and flops don’t quite work for that. He says it’s endearing. Still, her wings can’t straighten the mess of hair atop her head, and well no one ever offered her a hat like his. Of course, penguins can’t love snowmen.
Snowmen are around people and well, penguins can’t do people. The crowds, the laughter, the cheeriness when all penguins do is squawk. People make her shudder. So penguins stay far away – far away from people and cheer and snowmen. No, penguins can’t love snowmen.
Funny thing about penguins – they’re a flight risk. Just waiting for the snow to melt, to leave them out in the heat suffocating and sweltering and the people stand around and gawk at penguin bumbling. “Perform for us, penguin, do your silly way.”
Maybe being with a snowman, there’s always a little bit of winter around. And yet penguins can’t love snowmen.
His carefully crafted smile is worth measures of penguin attempts where beaks can’t turn upward. He props his hat on her head, and it doesn’t quite fit, but maybe that’s just how it should fit – off-kilter is the penguin way, right? Her waddles forward are okay when paired with a snowman that can roll with the punches. But penguins can’t love snowmen.
She asks if he’ll ever melt.
She asks if she can waddle slowly and he’ll take his time as if it’s a natural pace.
He says the snow will stick for “another 3000 weeks, at least.”
He says 3000 weeks is enough time for some waddling about.
The funny thing about snowmen is maybe they’re as real as penguins. And I’m not quite sure why penguins can’t just love snowmen.
For our most recent staff retreat, I was given the opportunity to write a poem, in the style of Dr. Seuss, about our team. What other workplace asks you to write such fun material? 🙂 Enjoy!
A Seussian Red Cross
In a land of nonsense, quite grand they do say,
Where children and grownups quite ridiculously play –
The Who’s & the Horton’s, Sneetches & Zax,
Grinch & Lorax & Cat in the Hat –
The Seussian Red Cross jump into the fray,
The Seussian Red Cross will save the day.
We’re led by our captain, the Betsy of Pratts,
While Amber and Bryan have Betsy’s back.
The Grinch stands no chance with Crystal around,
Sending cards & good cheer to all soldiers’ towns.
When Thing One and Thing Two muck up the house,
Alyssa’s team shows them what we’re about.
Providing for needs, while home disarrayed,
Working hard to ensure the family is safe.
When Green Eggs & Ham cause a terrible slump,
When “in a box with a fox” causes a bump,
When Sam-I-Am has no clue what to do,
Traci’s team brings calm to the hullabaloo.
And while the medics of Seussville need quite a lot,
The Blood Services team transports blood on the spot.
Eileen’s got a group drawing Who’s far and wide,
To help out the town, in blue and grey skies.
We can’t do this alone – not if we tried.
This they know, as do Lyn’s own patrol,
Who wrangles the money from high and from low.
Then there’s Brooke and Biz Ops,
Her behind-the-scenes team.
They help with buildings and fleet and little big things.
Oh the Places You’ll Go, thanks to Beth in HR,
Oh the Thinks You Can Think if you travel so far.
She gives money and vacation and holidays too,
Our own personal genie in this land of Seuss.
We can’t deny, it takes a full crew,
And Trish spreads the news with gusto renewed
By coffee and lattes and java and such.
You really just can’t compete with this bunch.
With recent birthday celebrations, I thought I’d share a little poem I wrote awhile back for some friends’ birthdays I missed. I make belated birthday greetings all the rage 🙂 Let me add that this is even more brilliant when spoken aloud in a ridiculous voice!
Happy Unbirthday to You.
I speak to all of us here of course,
But specifically Amber & Kim who
I really wish a happy unbirthday as a matter of course.
You see, while all of us have an unbirthday today,
Amber & Kim celebrated their un-unbirthday not long ago.
So while we all can celebrate our unbirthday in some way,
Only Amber & Kim can celebrate it today so close –
To their un-unbirthday.
Here all us unbirthday fellows sit around,
In joyous occasion of our recent un-unbirthday comrades.
And really us unbirthday folk celebrate year-round,
Except for one un-unbirthday a year we celebrate scads.
And now, to the recent un-unbirthday two
Present and accounted for.
We almost got to enjoy the occasion with you,
But now we’ll just have to wait 364 – or 348 – unbirthdays more.
Caila has travelled to and fro to scatter wishes. Village, city, forest and field, a wish in every place her feet would touch. She would wish on that first star every night, she would wish with a tap of her heels, and she would wish by meadows of clover and weeds. The wishes piled up, yet the fulfillments dwindled.
But then an idea quite greater than a wish presented itself – hope. Be it a whisper of fate, a cry of desperation, or another chasing after the wind, Caila added hope to her wishing, and her seeking altered. She sought, not for a far-off needle in a multiverse-spanning haystack, but for the tangible surrounding her. And hope gave her wings, literal wings that wishing had never granted. Who needs love and wealth and purpose when one has wings? It was a glorious sight, an angel on earth, and Caila adored herself and her long flowing wings that spanned the earth and sky alike.
Yet all was not perfection still. Large cities barred their gates, and villagers shook their heads at her audacity. Dreamer they called her now, the Dreamer who burdened the world. When she danced through the streets, the wings would knock over boxes, loads, even animals. She apologized in course, but is apology enough when the action continues?
So Caila took to the sky – she could with her wings – and as her body wearied of fighting gravity, she in time recalled a story. A boy with wings that flew to the sun. The ending, rather than a word of caution to her, was a word of possibility. So she flew up and up, until the sun set fire to her wings and she plummeted to the ground – the wings were mere ashes covering her body now. She had found freedom – no wings to hold her, so she danced through the streets once again.
The ashes tumbled from her sleeves, her hair, her shoulders, and began to cover the world following her travels. Caila, the ashen dreamer, roamed the earth, though neither Caila nor Dreamer was she named now. Ash, they called her, the whole world. Towns shooed her away with the brooms they swept up her ashes with.
Of course one day, Ash came upon a shovel – it was bound to happen after roaming the entire world. She scooped up a pile of dirt, reached out her hand and sifted the dirt through her fingers. Not unlike the ash, she thought. One scoop of dirt was not enough for the shovel nor Ash, and soon there was a gaping hole in the ground. The hole stretched through, all the way through, into the depths of the earth, out the other end, through the sky and stars and planets and galaxies, to a world that Ash wished she could know – a world full of shovels and wings and wishes.
Ash touched the ledge with her toes, then her heel, and finally she felt no ledge at all. Her body fell down the hole and found no end. Always plummeting, much like Alice, only never to stop. After a time unknown, she looked up the hole she’d made and saw that her body had not moved from its original leap. She reached up and climbed out of her determined hole, defeated. She plopped herself down next to the hole, and her mind roamed where her body no longer dared to go.
About the world she imagined, person after person scowling upon her dreaming. Her body may fit in a room, cabin, village, forest or sky, but her spirit was much too large to squeeze into the place. “Admit it,” Ash whispered. She was always at her essence the same person living the same life with simply a different way of striving – her name changed, yet always left the same dissatisfied her. Caila looked down at the hole that was no longer there – it had been filled over by her ashes as she sat.
She traced her fingers through the grey ashen circle that clashed with the surrounding brown dirt. Her fingers, then her hands, finally her arms joined with gentle strokes of her hair, until the whole story had been written in the ash, a tale of a dream. Haybales, sun, brooms, shovel, all of it lay before her a piece of art, while the breeze slowly tugged it out of legibility. For that moment though, no one could touch the truth that had been proclaimed here, none could deny the reality of a fairy’s tale.
Caila hinted a smile, then opened her mouth as agape as her jaw would allow, and screeched. All of the pain left, hidden in that screech, as it slowly transformed to a squeal, a joyous sound that scattered the ash – tumbling away in an instant, and all the ash, the wings, the desire, the dream – none of it mattered anymore. She laughed and, though it was no melodious laugh – yet neither was it a horrendous guffaw or braying – it was a song in its own right. She found something of far greater worth than her own name, her own tale. A song of a journey, a journey forward.
Tomorrow my crazy-dedicated writer friend Megan Fatheree will have a new book out to purchase, called “The Half-Shape Child.” It’s a YA sci-fi romance adventure that’ll get you laughing and crying and all emotions in between. To promote this book, Megan is asking buddies to write fanfiction (because who doesn’t love a lil fangirling, amiright?) Here’s mine:
“He’s just so down-to-earth.”
“Ha ha.” Fiona rolled her eyes while shoving the pasta in the oven.
“Seriously, it’s a sensible thing to love him. I’m not throwing my heart to just anyone.”
Fiona moved her hands to her hips as she nudged the oven shut. “You don’t think it’s suspicious? He’s not sensible, he’s secretive. Won’t say anything about his travels, won’t speak to anyone but you about his wife, and even then it’s all general.” Fiona counted with her fingers. “Her eyes were the color of honey. She loved stargazing. She freakin’ died of a tragic heart attack, but you can see the paranoia in his eyes.”
Tania grabbed her sister’s wrist. “Stop. Just give him a chance. He cares.” Tania peered through the window, but he wasn’t back from his walk yet. “I’m not going to pressure him to talk about the most painful moment of his life.”
“And,” Tania added, “he may have been a galaxy-traveler, and she may have loved stargazing, but he’s totally fine with me being a homebody.”
Fiona gagged. “Yeah, yeah, you’re his escape, or whatever romantic nonsense.”
Tania looked through the window again. There he was, down the path, strolling so casually, looking into the sky, perhaps dreaming of the life he left for her. “He’s no romantic, just steady,” Tania said. “Dedicated to the simple life.”
He saw Tania through the window, smiled and waved. She beamed and held up her hand. “He’s here.” Fiona opened the door.
“Fiona. Tania.” Was there a lilt in his voice when he said her name? She couldn’t tell. Maybe it was the same. She touched his arm then went to check the pasta.
Fiona pursed her lips. “Tell me what you’re hiding.”
“Fiona!” Tania yelled.
“I know there’s something you won’t tell her; you’re no good for her if you can’t just be open and trustworthy.”
“How did you know I was hiding something?” He smiled, not even deterred.
“Please, I’m sorry,” Tania said, “don’t listen to her. Don’t let her ruin the evening.”
Fiona stood in front of Tania, and held up her hand. “No more secrets. She may be okay with it, but I’m not.”
“Fine.” He sighed. “The truth.”
Tania felt water filling her eyes. Why would Fiona ruin a pleasant night like this?
“The truth, Fiona,” he said, “is I love your sister. I am very trustworthy. I should never have a second chance at love, but with Tania I think I do. And if it’s alright with you, I’d like you to step out of the way so I can propose.”
Fiona shook her finger. “That’s not what I meant.” She took a seat at the table. “But I believe you. You’re a liar, but she can trust you.”
He stepped forward ‘til he was just inches from Tania. She smiled as a tear trickled down her cheek.
“And for the record,” Fiona interrupted, “I hate it.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Tania laughed and waved her hand in dismissal.
“Marry me?” he asked, holding out a simple bronze ring with intricate stars etched around.
“Absolutely,” Tania whispered. And as she admired the brown band on her finger, she realized for once she liked stargazing.
Megan Fatheree was homeschooled from Pre-school through 12th grade. During this time, she was blessed to be able to focus her efforts toward the craft of writing. She is now in her early 20s and a full-time author. Some of her books include “Precious Jewel”, “Eminent Danger”, and “Rose-Colored Glasses”. She loves what she does and wouldn’t trade it for anything. She looks forward to all the great adventures that lay in store for her in the near future.
You pick up a pen and start writing.
Perhaps a tale of faeries and nymphs,
perhaps an epic of swashbuckling adventure,
or perhaps a poem of rich imagery and theme.
Regardless, you’re writing now.
Refusing to be bested by a mere blank page,
you begin to dream up the words.
You imagine the depth of the prose,
heartrending emotion unleashing
salty tears and deep belly laughs.
Or perhaps only solitary groans of anguish and writer’s block.
Or really indifference and some sort of forced caring.
But you are an author,
and your characters are so beloved that you cannot shut them in.
They are like a fire in your bones that cannot be quenched
until all know their exploits and defeats.
Or so you hope.
Relationships in your head trump the world,
characters demanding your time to distraction.
“Leave me to my solitude and buy a book!”
Or perhaps you wonder why you can’t hear them,
elusive head-people taunting you with their absence,
with tangible people or social media
or needless research taking the brunt of the blame.
The characters must be in there somewhere
“Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
for you are a true writer.
But the idea is beyond the reality,
the slights imagined and exaggerated
“because they’re supposed to be.”
So you claim.
An imposter is all you are.
An imposter posing as the authorial idea.
Every true author is.
Posing as something they’re not until proven otherwise.
“Or perhaps never proved at all.”
But wouldn’t it irk you, dear writer,
to become an awkward, neurotic, obsessive
only to discover that the ideal
you believe in is the true imposter?