Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas in Haiti

Happy Holidays. Joyeux Noel.

This is our Christmas tree this year. There is a long boring tedious explanation as to why this is our Christmas tree. I do like this tree and its homemade decorations. The tree is made on the side of the road and is sticks cemented into a coffee can. The sticks or branches might be a better word are painted white with a brush. It cost us 500 gourdes or about $7 dollars. A lot of life happens on the streets of Port Au Prince, Haiti. One can buy fruits and vegetables, paintings, metal art, bread, shoe repair, and at Christmas time these "trees".

Is there the Christmas spirit in Haiti? Is there hope in Haiti? I am unsure. There is art in Haiti.

Since the November 8th election, I 'm not feeling hope nor has the Christmas spirit grabbed me. I do not have the feeling of hope that comes with a new year.  This blog hasn't been touched much in 2016.  The amount of change that happened in my life in 2016 has hindered my creative energy. The terribleminds blog has been a place that has motivated me to write and think and move forward.

Peace and Make Art

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cover Reveal - Den of Antiquity

When one thinks of a den, one tends to think of comfort. A cozy room in the house—a quiet, comfortable place, a room for conversation, reading, or writing. One doesn’t tend to think of high adventure, dragons, vampires, airships, or paranormal creatures. And yet, that’s just what you’ll find in these pages. Stories of adventure and mystery! Paranormal, dark, and atmospheric tales! The fantastical and the imaginative, the dystopian and post-apocalyptic, and everything in between!

So settle into the coziest room in your house, plop down into your favorite armchair, and dive into the Den of Antiquity.

Brass and Coal, by Jack Tyler
An Evening at the Marlon Club as Told by Dr. Horatio Boyle, by Kate Philbrick
Dragon's Breath, by E.C. Jarvis
The Reluctant Vampire, by Neale Green
The Complications of Avery Vane, by Bryce Raffle
Hark! Hark! by N.O.A. Rawle
The Jackalope Bandit, by David Lee Summers
After The Catastrophe: The Lady Of Castle Rock, by Steve Moore
When The Tomb Breaks, by William J. Jackson
All That Glitters, by Karen J Carlisle
Yggdrasil's Triumphant Return, by Alice E. Keyes
After The Crash, by B.A. Sinclair

Friday, August 12, 2016

Flash Fiction - Lily Woodrift

This the opening of a flash fiction for terribleminds flash fiction challenge. Sometimes one just has to through something on the blog. So, here is my first attempt at a mash-up between Comic Fantasy and Magical Realism genre.

Lily Woodrift looked from the picture on her phone to the cottage before her. She zoomed in on the rose bush and counted the blossoms. Seven perfect red blossoms in the picture and seven matching blossoms on the bush to the right the front door of the one-story stone cottage. She had signed the year lease on the realtor's emphatic assurance that it would be the perfect place for her. The electronic signature sealed her life for a year a mere three days after she accepted a job as a graphic designer for the newly formed archeology firm of Burl, Piper, and Dent in Stone, South Carolina.

A trickle of sweat starting to form along the spine of her back. The heat and suffocating humidity of South Carolina were definitely real. She took a breath and walked to the cottage. In the fake stone on the entry porch, she found the key. Everything seemed to be as the realtor described. Since she agreed to the position, everything fell into place and she kept wondering if it was too easy. With excitement and trepidation, she unlocked the door and stepped into her new life.

After marveling at the cottages lovely furnished interior and reading the realtor's handwritten note about the best place for groceries and other necessities, Lily paused and thought if the neighbor is a gorgeous polite guy who doesn’t talk about the latest archaeological discovery and prefers to talk about the winner of the transcontinental bicycle race then Stone, South Carolina must be her Brigadoon. The last sentence of the note said that the fridge was stocked with some first-night necessities. She opened it and marveled at its contents. Champagne, three different types of grapes, French cheeses, a steak, red potatoes, brussel sprouts, and an entire peach pie. The steak and potatoes had notes on how to cook them for her welcome to Stone meal. He’d practically apologized for not being there to cook it himself. She wondered if he was cute.

Lily bounded out of her cottage to retrieve her few belongings. As the heat enveloped, her movements went from quick joy to a drag of someone swimming in mashed potatoes. This motion took all of her pep as she lifted the first piece of luggage out of her trunk. She rested it on the lip of the trunk as a blur of red disturbed the stagnant air next to her. The idea of pedaling a bike through the swampy air was unreal to her.

The bicyclist stopped and returned to Lily’s car.

“Hi, I’m Harry.” He held out his fingerless-gloved hand. She smiled and nodded. He pulled back his hand. “That looks heavy let me help.” While setting his bike on her lawn, he continued to talk. “I live two houses down and I was informed that I would have a new neighbor moving in today. Mark asked me to drop by around four. Guess, I’m early but glad I can help with your stuff.” He took the luggage she had been balancing and placed it on the sidewalk.

Lily just stared not believing that her eyes were seeing a hunky neighbor in a full bike kit. She pulled her eyes from his biker thighs and looked into his warm brown eyes. “Hi, you know the realtor?” She extended her hand and he gave it a firm shake as she tried to remember what he’d said his name was.

“Everyone in Stone knows Mark. Don’t ask him what he’s dug up lately cause that’s a never-ending conversation.” He pulled the other two pieces of luggage out and gathered them in a way that she couldn’t imagine possible and started to walk towards the door. Lily, at a pace she thought was quick for the thick air, grabbed a box from her back seat and followed him. She wasn’t sure how it happened but there was no awkwardness getting through the door.

“Did Mark do his full meal in the fridge thing?” Harry set down her bags and took the box from her arms and set it on the kitchen counter. She nodded. “With instructions?” She nodded again. Within the next few moments, all that she had was in the cottage and she was standing there going through her few sentences of contribution to the conversation and tried to remember if she’d actually introduced herself.

Harry looked at her few boxes and smiled, “Not much for me to get a lead into my new neighbor’s likes and dislikes except for maybe she is neat and efficient.” Before them sat three pieces of black luggage that were obviously a recently purchased set and four new identical square boxes taped up without a mark on the outside.

She looked at him in his full riding gear including professional biking shoes that clinked when he stepped. “I’ve kept you from your bike ride. I can’t thank you enough for helping me.” She pulled her t-shirt sleeve to her forehead and caught the drips of sweat before they fell into her eyes.

“Am I being excused?” He winked.

All the awkwardness that is associated with a first meeting flooded over her. The spell of ease was broken. “I don’t even think I’ve introduced myself and you’ve interrupted your biking to help me. I’m starting my job tomorrow. Everything has been such a whirlwind. I...”

He held up his hand stopping her next words, “Happy to help and I look forward to getting to know my neighbor when she has settled in a bit.” He opened the door and as he stepped to the outside world he said, “Have a great first day tomorrow.”

A click echoed in her ears and she was alone. “Shit,” Lily whispered to her boxes and luggage. Opening the fridge, she pulled out the bowl of grapes and laid on the couch. The cottage’s warm interior enveloped her. Holding a grape in between her teeth she slowly bit until the skin snapped and its juices cooled her mouth. She repeated this until she was......

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

terribleminds saves the day

Most weeks terribleminds flashfiction challenge motivates me to write something. This week it was a quick five sentence challenge. It's was the perfect little exercise to get the fingers moving on the keyboard and a reminder to finish a short fiction which I have been slowly working on and it due at the end of the month if I want it to be considered for an anthology. If you are a writer, I highly recommend trying to find a weekly motivation to put a bit of writing out to the public.

The pedal stops mid-crank and midway up the hill. The third time on the bike ride it happens. I pedal backwards a half a crank and try to pedal forward before I lose all forward momentum. "No", I sigh when the push of the pedal stops midway. Stuck at a standstill midway up the hill, I curse. With the quick leap off the bike, I lift the back tire with one hand and manually cranked the chain free and know I need to visit the bike shop to fix the chain suck.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Tweed and Bicycle

Rusty is how writing this bit of flash fiction felt. It is the first bit of creative writing I have accomplished during the last several months and I forced it out. I wanted to work on a quick piece to loosen the creative joints before delving into a longer piece of short fiction for an anthology. I'm glad I spent the time. I'm now looking forward to writing a new piece and getting back to work on the next Miss Winsome novella.

Flash fiction terribleminds challenge - Beginning Sentence- 
Every building has a secret entrance, one even the architects somehow overlooked. The first time I experience and witness the sudden disappearance of a bike through a solid wall was while going to a meeting in Old Montreal. The gray tightly-packed stoic buildings and cobbled stoned streets always make me think of Mary Poppins.

I was thinking about Mary Poppins holding a black umbrella floating down in between the buildings when I saw a flash of tweed and silver handlebars. In the moment, I turned to get a better look at the bike and the person riding it, the only thing left in my view is the wall of the Royal Bank.

The planned strategy of being early for my meeting left me as the need to investigate took over. I walk up to the wall and don’t hear a buzz or pull telling me this was a magical place nor did I see any other tweed-clad bicyclist gunning to enter the wall. 

I check the time on my cell phone and have twenty minutes and two blocks to walk to before the meeting, so I wait at the corner for ten minutes hoping to see another incident. I don’t that day. Since then, I've been observing and gaining knowledge of where to look and spotting buildings to stake out which are more likely to have a chance spotting. It is a new obsession.

I'm near the Notre-Dame Basilica wearing a tweed split skirt, white blouse with victorian balloon sleeves and hold the handlebars of an ariel bicycle. This is the third Saturday in a row where I wondered Old Montreal in such an outfit. Last weekend, a family from the states asked to take a picture with me and paid me twenty dollars. I didn’t let on that I spoke English better than French.

Finally, I spot a tweed-clad bicycle rider and take off to follow him. He heads down and alley and even though I have never witnessed a hidden entrance in an alley, I follow. I realize that he is trying to lose me.

“Monsieur, Monsieur,” I yell. “Arret, stop, Arret.”

I see him glance back at me. My front tire dips into the hole of a missing cobblestone and in a panicked reaction, I squeeze both brakes and fall tumbling front and to the side. As my elbow slams into the cobblestones, I hear the crack of my iPhone also hitting the ground out in front of me. It was in my skirt pocket.

“Damn,” I mumble and close my eyes assessing the various pains at different points in my elbow, hip, and knee.

“Mademoiselle, Mademoiselle,” I hear and feel a touch on my shoulder. I open my eyes to see the tweed-clad bicyclist standing over me. “Ça Va? I’m afraid that’s the extent of my French. I hope you fared better than your phone.“ He held the phone in front of my face to show the spider crack on the screen.

“Oh,” I push up with my free hand. “Ooh, my elbow.”

“Slowly now. Just sit up. And we’ll make sure nothing is broken.”

“D'accord, okay,” I sit and look at the enormous tear in my sleeve.

“No blood, do you think you can move it?” I wince as I extend it. “Why are you following me?" he asks as I extend it and move it slowly back and forth.

“I, I well I,” I took a deep breath and let out my theory in one fell swoop. “I thought you would be the key to the secret entrances to the buildings. I have seen tweed and bicycles disappear through walls and I want in.”

He laughs. “Entrance through walls?” He stands and walks around me and then walks toward his abandoned bike. I think he is leaving me and then he walks back and extends both hands. “Do you think you’re ready to stand?” I nod and took hold of his hand and he grabs my upper part of the arm which had slammed into the stones. When I am standing close to him and feeling almost steady on my feet, he whispers in my ear. “If you can keep up, and don’t waiver a moment in following me, I’ll show you.”

Before I fully digested what he said, he is on his bike. In that instant, I didn’t waiver and go to my bike and pedal to catch up. He is already a block ahead of me. The speed at which he bikes over the cobblestones leaves my teeth chattering and my bruised elbow aching. He bikes two blocks and then through another alley and turns.

I almost miss his entrance through the wall. Pedaling with every bit of energy I have left, I too go through the wall Without any strange lights or noises, I am through the secret entrance.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A New Year, A New Life

In the last month that I haven't posted, my life took a dramatic turn. The flag is Haiti's flag and in approximately 5 months, Port Au Prince will be my new home. My husband has been working to join the foreign service for several years and on January 6th, the call came that he would start his new career the following Monday. I did not leave with him on that Monday but spent four weeks "packing up" our life in Cody, Wyoming. Now, we are all together in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C.

Friday the twelfth of February, we found out our first post as a foreign service family. The ceremony is Flag Day. A country is called, its flag appears on the large screens, and then the name of the person going to that country. My husband was one of the last one's called and we both were thinking that we would be learning Spanish since most of the posts for his class were in Mexico. We are going to be learning Haitian Creole instead.

I suspect writing will be curtailed here and there, and Miss Winsome's next adventure is on hold. I'm still hopeful to get her next two adventures out this year. Who knows, Miss Winsome might need to have an adventure or two in Haiti. Once life is a little less hectic, there will be more flash fiction and snippets from my novels in progress.