Showing posts with label Blogfest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogfest. Show all posts

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hey you! Read This (please!)

I’m thrilled to welcome several new followers since the Déjà vu Blogfest sign-ups began. Blogging brings people together and I’ve found some wonderful friendships here on Blogger. That’s why I’m so sad when I can’t follow someone back. Sad smile
Now, I have a personal follow-back policy. If someone finds my humble site interesting enough to follow, I want to extend the same kindness to him or her. The problem arises for me when I click a new follower’s picture on my Google Friend Connect mosaic and, alas! The person hasn’t linked his or her blog to their profile.
Am I describing you? Not sure?? Here’s how you verify:
Find your picture on my Friend Connect mosaic right now. (Or you can go to your own blog and under your About Me, click “View My Complete Profile.” Either action will bring up your Blogger Profile, as others see it. Is your blog linked under “My Blogs?”
If it isn’t, click “Edit Profile” (on left margin, under your profile picture). On the edit page, the third option under “Privacy” is “Show My Blogs.” Click “Select Blogs to Display.” (If you have several blogs that include family blogs, special interest blogs, etc. that you don’t want others to see, only choose your writing blog to display.) Be sure to save your changes.
It’s important to realize that Blogger doesn’t always default to linking your blog on your profile. It’s a great idea to verify that your blog is linked, so people like me can follow you back. Rolling on the floor laughing
And don’t forget to enter the Déjà vu Blogfest! Click the link below the badge on my right sidebar to add your name to Mr. Linky’s list!
School Have a fabulous day! School

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest Sign-ups!

Announcement, everyone!  *clears throat*   DL Hammons, Lydia Kang, Katie Mills and I are hosting the upcoming Deja Vu Blogfest!  The fest is DL's creation, so below are the deets as presented today on Cruising Altitude 2.0.  Mr. Linky sign-ups right below:


The Déjà vu Blogfest

You know one of the things that bugs me the most about the way our blogosphere operates?  It’s the way you can miss some really awesome posts if you have to be away for a while and are unable to keep up with your favorite blogs.  Face it, if you take just a week’s vacation from the blogosphere, you could have missed (depending on the number of blogs you’re following and their frequency of posting) hundreds of quality posts.  It’s really hard to catch up when things get like that, so what I do is read a blogger’s latest post.  You know what that could mean?  The signing of an agent…missed….a book contract finalized…missed…a cry for help...missed...a birth announcement…missed…some other special event in a blogger’s life…gone.  I just shake my head when I think of all of the special posts I’ve missed over time.  And then there are the informative posts about the topics I’m dying to know more about, yep I probably missed some of those as well.

What got me thinking about this (again) was a post I made a couple weeks ago.  It was actually a repost from very early in my blogging career when my followers totaled maybe a dozen.  I felt the post deserved a second chance in front of what is now a broader follower base, and I was right.  It garnered plenty of praise and many commenters thanked me for pushing it back into the light.

Some of my longtime followers (any of you still out there) know that I’ve broached this before.  I even came up with the BLOG RECYCLE STATION where I encouraged fellow bloggers to leave a link to one of their favorite blog posts in the comments of that post.  Innovative, maybe, but now I’m ready to do one better.  Thus I've teamed up with Nicole Ducleroir, Lydia Kang, and Katie Mills to bring you….


How will this work?  First, sign-up to participate with Mr. Linky below (or at any of the ladies blogs above), then shout out to all of your blogging friends and encourage them to sign up as well.  Take the badge above and plaster it everywhere, blogging graffiti gone wild.  Then on December 16th all of those taking part will re-post their favorite blog offering, or one that never received the exposure it should have.  Then as the day unfolds and everyone hops from one blog to another, what they will be reading is the best of the best (as determined by you).  That day the blogosphere will be chock full of past writing brilliance!  Encouragement, enlightenment, knowledge, bared souls, stimulation, hilarity, insecurities, success stories!  All on display…the very same day…like no other time before.  Some of them will no doubt be familiar, well-deserving a second read, but a good many will be the first time you’ve seen them.  And it couldn't be any easier to take writing necessary!

Want to make a little blogging history?  Sign up below and start looking through those old posts!  J



Friday, March 4, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten!

Today is the Gone But Not Forgotten Blogfest, hosted by the lovely Erinn Alicia, Holly, Pam and Quinta.  As Erinn explains on her blog, "Nothing is meant to last forever...Sadly there are many AMAZING shows no longer on the air.  Does this mean we forget them? No!...List your top 5 TV shows no longer making NEW episodes. They may still be on the air but in syndication.  These shows may be GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN."

Here's my List of Top 5 Favorite TV Shows No Longer in Production:

5.  ROSEANNE -- Every character: hilarious. Every episode: hilarious.  This cast never shied away from hard-core issues facing working class American families.  But while they tackled topics like teen pregnancy, debt, infidelity and masturbation, they infused every scene with irresistible humor.  If a syndicated episode is airing on TV Land today, my channel surfing halts and I watch, even if there's only seven minutes left in the show, to the end.  Still so good!   


4.  FRIENDS -- I'll never forget the first episode I ever saw of Friends.  I was in Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic, welcoming in the new group of Peace Corps volunteers, fresh off the plane from the States.  I'd been in the bush without electricity or running water for a year, so things like standing under a running shower or watching a television were bizarre luxuries.  The new recruits had brought a VHS tape with three episodes of Friends. "What's Friends?" I asked.  Their jaws dropped.  "YOU don't know FRIENDS??" they gasped.  I realized that day what a difference a year makes.

3. SEINFELD -- Thursday nights, all six of us 'house-mates' in Washington D.C. got together for the best TV line-up of the 90s: Northern Exposure (which was actually on CBS, I think...after which we'd switch to NBC), then The Simpsons, then Seinfeld.  We may or may not have partied through those evenings....all I remember is LMAO during Seinfeld.  Funniest show about nothing, evah.

2.  GUIDING LIGHT -- I started watching Guiding Light with my aunt, my cousin and my grandmother the summer I was ten.  In 33 years, I rarely missed an episode -- with the exception of the stretch between early 1994 and late 2000, when I lived overseas.  Even when I was a college student, I made sure I never scheduled a class between 3:00 and 4:00.  Some may say it's silly, but a cast you've known for so long, whose children you see born and raised, become your extended family.  I cried like a baby on September 18, 2009 when the final episode aired.  Still so sad...

1. LOST -- I watched the pilot of LOST in September 2004.  I was moved, mesmerized, and completely hooked on the show.  I never missed an episode, but I can't claim to have figured out, or even remember, a majority of the story-lines.  Everything about this show appealed to me: how at the outset the viewer was as much a stranger to the characters as they were to each other; how each character's layers were peeled away through flashbacks; how the themes of science and faith collided over and over.  I loved watching for "Easter Eggs," the important clues, images, and people inconspicuously present in the background of different scenes.  And to mark the turning point in the series, the writers introduced flash-forwards, where instead of seeing into a character's past, we saw him in the future.  As if that didn't twist our perceptions enough, the writers created flash-sideways, which offered glimpses into alternate realities.  The viewer was left, disoriented at times, to figure out what was really going on.  For me, it was all brilliant.  LOVED it!  Can't wait to watch the whole series again on DVD.

Any of your favorites appear on my list?  What shows would you add?

And to hop to the other participating blogs, check out Erinn's Mr. Linky list at Something to Distract Me.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Super 8 Debut Album Blogfest

New blog friend DiscConnected is hosting the Super 8 Debut Albums Blogfest today.  The idea is this:  Share your list of the Top 8 Debut Albums, based on your taste in music and how those artists touched your life with their work. I chose 9 (couldn't narrow it down more!)

I'm not a big music enthusiast.  I LOVE listening to music, but I rarely know which artist put out which smash hit.  And I can't write with music on.  Somehow the two areas of my brain involved with listening and composing are hopelessly mis-wired.

That said, I liked the idea of sharing the debut albums that were the soundtracks of my life's chapters, that influenced me on many levels.  With that in mind, here we go!

My Top 9 Debut Album List

9.  Pat Benatar's In the Heat of the Night (1979) -- I was a varsity basketball cheerleader when I discovered this album, although it was several years old by that time.  It played over and over during after-school practices and on the bus for away games.  It was the first time we'd heard a woman rocking out.  Benatar brought down gender barriers for me and made me realize women really can do anything we put our minds to.

8.   Guns 'n' Roses Appetite For Destruction (1987) -- My life went into transition shortly after this album dropped.  By the time the second or third single was released, my family had moved to a new town. It was the summer before my senior year. Yeah. It sucked. I found if I cranked Guns 'n' Roses loud enough, I could drown out some of the stress.

7.  Heart Dreamboat Annie (1976) -- My dad loved this album and used to blast it on Saturday mornings when our weekends were getting underway. It was the time right before our relationship started to unravel.  I always think of him when I hear cuts from this album today.

6.  Bon Jovi [Self-titled] (1984) -- The year I graduated from high school, the family was deep in debt -- the extent to which my parents hid from me and my sisters. I was accepted to a university, had my on-campus rooming assignment and had been corresponding with my future roommates, and had pre-registered for classes. With only three weeks to go until I left, my parents dropped a bomb on my future. They sat me down and told me there was no money for me to go to school. Bon Jovi's music motivated me to spend that year working my ass off, saving every penny.  The next year, with no financial contribution from my parents, I started college.

5.  Boston [Self-titled] (1976) -- Growing up, my family owned a very small cottage on Lake of the Woods, one of hundreds of small lakes near New York's 1000 Island region. The first time we lived at the cottage all summer long, we had this album on cassette tape. We played it, rewound. Played it, rewound. Played it....All.Summer.Long.  Priceless memories!

4.  The Cars [Self-titled] (1978) -- This was the first album I purchased with my own money. It was a hit at the same time I was coming into my teen years, when I challenged boundaries and began thinking about myself as an independent young woman.

3.  Kate Bush The Kick Inside -- Six months after I graduated from college, I moved out of my parents' house in upstate New York and began a crazy two-year stint living in Los Angeles. During that time, I glimpsed a bit of what I was made of. You see, the stress was immense, from navigating my first professional job (at Chiat/Day advertising agency), from managing my first apartment, and from being truly all alone. Juggling the balls of my life zapped all my energy, and there was none left to hold down the hurt from my childhood. I spiraled into deep depression, but I lived through it.  I survived.  Thank you, Kate and your hauntingly beautiful voice, for being there for me during those dark days. 

2. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995) -- I left for the Peace Corps in 1994. Friends sent me care packages with letters, candy, little gifts -- anything to make me feel closer to them and home. One package arrived with a homemade cassette, Natalie Merchant was recorded on one side and Alanis Morissette on the other. I fell deeply in love with Alanis's music. Here lyrics ripped me to the core. I was alone under the blazing African sun, but the Jagged Little Pill provided a unique sound backdrop that turned my experience into something eclectic and avant-garde.

1. Madonna [Self-titled] (1985) -- From the first time I heard "Lucky Star," I've been a die-hard Madonna fan.  The year I (finally) made it to college, my roommate had this album. We danced like freshman fools in the dorm hallway to "I'm Burning Up," nailing Madonna's signature toe-tap-hop move. Years later, when I lived in LA, I waited for hours behind the rope lining the red carpet at the Hollywood premier of Madonna's documentary Truth of Dare.  Limo after limo arrived, and the crowd would buzz, "Is it HER? Is it HER?"  Then we'd all sigh. "Oh, it's only Janet Jackson." or "Nope, just Christian Slater."  Finally, thirty minutes after the movie was supposed to start, a black stretch limo rounded the corner. Instead of pulling all the way up to the doors where the press corps was stationed, the limo stopped  The doors opened, and there SHE was. Maybe six feet directly in front of me. She was with Nicky and Donna, her backup singers, and several dancers including Gabriel, Oliver, and Carlton.  It was such a thrill!!

So, there you have it. My top 9 debut albums. Any of your favorites on my list? And, visit other bloggers participating in this blogfest, listed HERE.

I'll leave you with Madonna's video for Lucky Star.  Can't embed (disabled by request), but here's the link:


Friday, February 11, 2011

Fun Galore

Lots of great bloggy peeps and activities to pimp!  Here's what you don't want to miss:

If you've been visiting writers' blogs in the past week or so, you've definitely noticed this photo on sidebars everywhere.  Rachael Harrie @Rach Writes is launching this event for the second time, after the huge success of the first Writer's Platform-Building Crusade.  Become a Crusader and join us as we network with authors within our genres and outside.  Event is underway and runs from February 1st to April 30th.  Full details and sign-ups HERE

Don't forget: Next Wednesday, February 16th, is the Bernard Pivot Blogfest. To date, there are 95 bloggers playing along, but since the questionnaire is only 10 questions, it'll be quick reading and so easy to hit tons of blogs that day.  You'll meet dozens of new people, hopefully gain new followers, and share about yourself.  Fun!  Still plenty of time to sign up HERE.


Lola Sharp @Sharp Pen/Dull Sword is one of the sweetest bloggy friends I know!  Her giveaway is all about paying it forward, supporting each other in our writerly and personal pursuits, and spreading the love around.  Visit her blog on any given day and you'll be met with colorful, uplifting posts that do just that.  The prizes in this particular giveaway are awesome, but it's about more than that.  It's all about the rewards you reap from being the wind beneath another's wings.  Get in on it today, click HERE.

DL Hammons over at Cruising Altitude is celebrating a fantastic following of +600!  And because he's a mystery writer, and because he's highly creative and all-around awesome, DL has crafted a murder for us to solve.  To play along, read the murder-mystery short story HERE.  Then, hunt for clues that have been posted on the sidebars of 37 fellow bloggers.  (Psst....look at MY sidebar...)  Next week, DL will post a list of those 37 clue-toting blogs to help those out who haven't found enough to break the case.  Everyone who plays along gets a chance to win a prize, but those who solve the case risk to win more!  Full details HERE.

If you're looking for contests to join, I have a couple listed on my right sidebar.  If you know of any I can get in on, leave me the 411 in a comment!

And lastly, I have created an account with DropBox.  I have a question for those of you that use it.  Do you drop your files to save/archive/protect into your DropBox, or do you put a COPY of the files in?  It seems like to copy would be to double the memory it takes on my hard drive, but to drop means I no longer have a copy on my hard drive??  Is that smart/safe??  What if the files are compromised?  Maybe I don't fully understand.  All advice and tips are welcome and appreciated!

My sister's coming from Florida for a visit, so I won't be around.  Have a great weekend!!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

Christine Hardy @ The Writer's Hole had a fun idea for today's You've Come a Long Way, Baby Blogfest.  Since the craft of creative writing is a journey, she thought it'd be fun to share some of our earlier work, illustrating just how far we'd come since, you know, back then.  So, below is a piece of flash fiction I wrote in May of 2008.

It was for a daily contest, which asked me to produce in 24 hours a 300-word (maximum) short story, incorporating the prompt words:  Rainbow, Bicycle, and Backpack.  (psst!  This entry actually won the contest that day!)

When I read this back, I have to smile.  There are FOUR -ly adverbs in the first paragraph.  But they're hardly noticeable, forced to share a paragraph with such garish attempts at lush descriptions, calling attention to themselves.  It's as if all those fancy words and pretentious phrases had little arms, waving at me.  It screams amateur. LOL.  I'm happy to say I opt for more concise descriptions now, simple words that pack a mean punch, more bang for the buck. Okay, 'nuf said.  Here you are; enjoy :))


         A rapt spectator of uninhibited childhood bliss, Alan hovered on the porch as his young son played in the yard, tossing a rainbow colored ball high over his head. Eyes tightly shut against the dazzling sun, the boy giggled as he reached up to catch the ball. It ricocheted off miscalculating hands, and bounced down the slight incline toward the street. Alan’s smile faltered and his eyes grew steadily wider as he saw his son turn in the ball’s direction. With surging dread, his eyes followed as the boy scampered after it. Alan tried to run, but his suddenly cumbersome legs wouldn’t budge. He shouted, but no sound issued from his mouth. Rooted to the spot by unseen forces, he helplessly watched his son dash into the street as an electric blue car with tinted windows crested the hill. Never decelerating, the car barreled straight for him. Alan stretched out his arms, groping, pleading. “NNNnnooooooooo!”

         He woke with a start. His heart was racing and beads of perspiration clung to his upper lip. Sitting up on the couch, he ran a hand through his hair, impatient for the dream to dissipate. He wanted -- needed -- to be with his son. 

         Standing, he called out, “Honey? Where’s Jimmy?”

         His wife’s muffled voice answered, “Outside!”

         Nudging shoes and a discarded backpack out of the way, he pried open the front door. Jimmy was riding his bicycle along the sidewalk. “Son,” he called, “wanna shoot some hoops?”

         “Sure, Dad!” Jimmy answered, hopping off his bike and letting it topple to the ground with a crash. A moment later, as Alan draped an arm around the boy’s shoulders, the tranquil air was disrupted by the swell of a rumbling engine. Looking up, Alan’s pulse quickened as an electric blue car with tinted windows came barreling into view.


Thanks for reading!  Please visit the other participants' blogs over the weekend.  The Mr. Linky list can be found HERE on Christine's blog.

Have a fantastic weekend!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest!

Thanks DL Hammons and Talli Roland for hosting the Significant Others Blogfest, where we writers give our blogs over to our better halves and let them rant express what it's like living with a writer.  Enjoy!!

This is me and my husband, Christian, a few weeks before our wedding.  My big, Italian family threw us a shower in New York state, since most of my aunts, uncles and cousins wouldn't be flying to France for the wedding.  One uncle and his wife gave us these glasses for a wedding present.  They explained:  "Eventually, you'll get pissed off at each other.  When you start to fight, put these on.  It's really hard to stay mad at someone who looks so ridiculous."  Luckily, we don't need them (that often).  I included this photo so you have a good idea of our goofy sides.  We're pretty care-free, and we laugh.  A lot!

[Before we get started, first let me say that Christian is supportive of anything I want to do...but, he does not share an iota of the passion I feel for writing.  He's annoyed when he has to write an email.  Therefore, Christian and I both felt more comfortable with me interviewing him for this blogfest rather then him writing down his thoughts.  Also, he is French, and English is his second language.  Many people have commented that Christian sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he talks, so go ahead and read Christian's lines with that accent. ;)]

Me:  What’s it like to be married to a writer?

Christian:  I don’t know.

Me(pause) You don’t know?

Christian:  It’s not too bad. There’s nothing wrong with that.  Except if you’re like me, all logical and fixing (Caterpillar) tractors for a living, then poetry isn’t really my field, if you know what I mean.  I read service manuals all day.   So of course, there’s some stuff I don’t understand.

Me:  What about my erotica?

Christian:  That’s the good stuff.  Make more of it.  I’ll read that.

(I roll my eyes and we both laugh.)

Christian:  Honestly, it’s not that, baby.  Most of the time, you don’t get it that I don’t get it.  That’s about all of it.  I don’t try to be mean to you.  It’s just not my cup of tea.  I just don’t get it.

Me:  I know, I know.  Next question:  Do you think I spend too much time on the computer or not enough time, and why?

Christian:  Is that the only choices we have?  I mean, sometimes you do spend too much time, and sometimes I don’t give a shit.  Sometimes, yes.  But most of the time it isn’t writing related, is it?  Lots of the time it's Facebook and stuff.  But, no.  You’re good about it.  When the three of us stand at the bottom of the stairs and scream, “MOM!” you come right down.

Me:  Can you tell when I’ve sort of zoned out and started thinking about my stories instead of what’s going on around me?

Christian:  Yeah.  ‘Cause when the zebra’s in the zone, you leave him in the zone.  (Christian and our two kids love the Madagascar movies.  They quote them whenever it’s remotely appropriate.  And, obviously sometimes when it’s not…) Woman, of course I can tell.  When I ask you a question and you answer something else, I know you’re thinking about writing. 

Me:  Hmm, I guess I knew that.  And don’t call me ‘woman.’ (Inside joke.  Clue:  We love Clueless.) What’s the first thing you’re going to buy when I sell a bestselling book?

Christian:  Nothing, baby.  That’s going to be your money.

Awww!  What a sweetie!  Maybe I’ll buy him a little present with some of it…
So there you have it, a glance inside our lives and my husband's mind.

Be sure to visit the other blogfest participants.  You can view the Mr. Linky list at Cruising Altitude <--> Click here.  

Thanks for stopping by!!!  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Show Your Space Blogfest!

Summer at ...and this time, concentrate! had a fantastic idea for a blogfest.  Today, we're showing each other our workspaces!  Fun, right?

Here's my workspace!

I'm always adding to the design wall -- any picture, magazine photo, or sketch that inspires me goes up.  I subscribe to Elle Decor magazine, which is an excellent source for setting details.  Pictures of house interiors, European architecture and restaurants, tropical homes and landscapes go on the wall, as well as close-up shots of chairs, tables, doors, floorings, stucco or tiled walls, and pictures of exotic or couture fabrics.  So much inspiration!

Also on my wall right now are maps to help me with the logistics of my current WiP:  road maps of the southern United States, a map of downtown Washington D.C., and one of its Metro system.  There are also pictures of celebrities that remind me, especially in the way they are dressed, of the characters in my story.

Other incidentals: my workspace is located in the upstairs "bonus room" of our house, where I can close the door and shut out the rest of the household (LOL).  I use the student version of Microsoft Word 2007, and all my reference books (dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedias, style guides) are all online.

Okay, I showed you mine, now you show me yours!  And whether you're playing along or not, visit the next stop on the blogfest list:  Sarah Ahiers at Falen Formulates Fiction.  And for the whole list of participating bloggers, go here -->  CLICK ME

Friday, August 20, 2010

Guess That Character Blogfest -- The Reveal

Day Two of Jen's from Unedited's Guess That Character Blogfest is the reveal of my spotlighted character!

Julie Knotts is a young woman in her mid-twenties who is living on her own for the first time, without family or room mate.  It's a scary time for her, because unresolved issues from a childhood tragedy compromise her sense of security in the world.  Most of the time, she's just plain paranoid that the worse case scenario is destined to play out.  She's carefree by nature, so the forced conditioning her personality suffers from fear is her greatest inner conflict.

So, without further ado, here is Julie:


She's highly artistic, but lacks the self-confidence to pursue her talents (What if no one thinks I'm any good? What if I can't pay my bills? What if I have an accident and hurt my hands, or my eyes, and can't paint or play music anymore?  What if...?  What if...?)

Thanks everyone who visited my blog and made a guess.  There were a lot of participants!  I wasn't able to visit everyone's entry.  I think I fell short by about 15.  I'm going to try to get around to those I missed yesterday!!

A LOT of you guessed correctly!  I was very impressed :D

Thanks, Jen, for the fun time! *hugs*

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guess That Character Blogfest!

Thanks to Jen at Unedited for hosting one of the most enjoyable blogfests evah!  Her ingenious idea is this: Based on the character's voice as you read the short excerpt below from my current WiP, tell me in the comment section what you imagine the character looks like.  Tomorrow I'll post her "photo," and we'll both get a kick out of learning: how closely you guessed her physical characteristics; and how successful I was at infusing her essence into the writing.

Keep in mind this is rough, rough, rough -- first draft, for real!  Not a lot of literary magic in there (YET) :D  Okay, disclaimer aside, here goes:

When the digital clock alarm sounded the next morning, Julie was already washing her face in the bathroom.  Early morning was her favorite time of day.  The air always smelled fresher, and her energy was always the highest, just after the sun came up.  If reincarnation was real, and she suspected it was, Julie was quite certain she was once a bird who soared across dawn skies, heralding each new day with twitters and chirps.

She switched the alarm to off and changed out of pajamas and into a cut-off pair of jean shorts and boxy white tee shirt.  She gathered the bottles and tubes from the ledge around the bathroom sink in her one laundry basket, lay the towels from the racks on top, and placed the framed mixed medium collage she’d done in a college art class on top.  She spent the minimum amount of time necessary to prep the room, mostly running a dust rag along the baseboards and window sash.  She prided herself with having a steady hand, plus she’d be armed with the ten dollar detail paintbrush, so she skipped taping off the trim entirely.

When she pried off the paint can lid and stirred the Toasted Pine paint, her excitement grew.  Pouring the thick paint into the roller pan doubled her elation.  But when she drew the roller across the middle of the wall, a swathe of silvery moss-colored paint covering the uninspired perfection of beige, her heart sang.  Within minutes, she was lost in her project and her joy.

So what do you think Julie Knotts looks like? 
Swing by tomorrow when I'll post her photo!  

Also click HERE to read all the excerpts by Guess That Character Blogfests participants!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Talk Blogfest!

Shout-out to the lovely Roni @ Fiction Groupie, for bringing ninety-some bloggers together today for the Let's Talk Blogfest.

I hope you enjoy my entry below, which is a dialog-driven scene from an untitled novella I shelved about a year and a half ago.  One day, I'll dust it off and finish it!


“One more, sugar?” Dani’s coquettish smile reached over the bar like fingers, caressing the middle-aged man slumped on the stool.  She didn’t wait for his slurred response.  He was a five-bucks-a-round tipper and he’d been here all afternoon.  What more could a girl ask for on an otherwise slow Tuesday? 

Keeping her legs straight, she reached down for the beer cooler below the bar.  The man leaned in for a better view.  Heavy-lidded eyes squinted, as if by sheer concentration he could will her shorts to stretch and reveal yet another inch of firm thigh.  As Dani’s hand wrapped around the handle she glanced up and froze. 

One person stood alone at the far end of the bar.  An explosion of adrenalin shot through Dani’s body, like she’d slipped on a slick floor.    She stared at the face that was both as familiar as her own and oddly foreign.  It’d been almost two years since Dani had last laid eyes on her cousin, Nina.   

Dani straightened, squared her narrow shoulders and jutted one hip, but it was too late to play off her surprise.  Nina smiled slyly, looking, Dani thought, like a satisfied cat with its paw on a dead bird.  Dani leveled her eyes and sauntered down the length of the bar.

The man hollered, “Hey!  Wha’ abou’ my beer?”

“I’ll be right with you, darlin’,” she said sweetly over her shoulder.  When her gaze fell back on Nina, she sneered.  “Well, well.  Look who it is.  You must be lost, or are you just slumming it?”

“Hey Dani.  You look great.”

Dani responded with a cold smile.  Nina rocked back and into the beam of light from a spot directly overhead.  The light cast a harsh glare, so that her face suddenly looked pale and gaunt, her eyes lost in shadow.  Dani’s smile melted as she sucked in her breath, taking in her cousin’s skeletal silhouette.  Nina had always been a plump girl.  How had she become this emaciated form?   

Nina straightened then and took a step forward to place her hands on the bar.  Now, freed from the harsh light and enveloped by the warm glow of a Budweiser sign hung on the wall, the illusion was lost.  Nina’s teenager curves were indeed gone, but Dani realized the caterpillar had become a butterfly.  

Dani brushed a curl and the disorientation from her face.  “Seriously,” she said coolly, “what are you doing here?”

“Come on, cuz!”  Nina smiled, showing her teeth.  “It’s been too long.  I missed you.”

Dani flinched as if she’d been slapped.  “Whose fault is that?” she spat.  “In two years, you haven’t returned my calls, answered my letters.  Hell, you scratched me off your fucking Christmas card list!”

“I know, I know.  I’ve been a bitch,” Nina said softly.  “I really have missed you.  I want you back in my life, Dani.  I need you --” 

Dani’s nostrils flared.  “Oh.  I see.  You need something from me.”

“No!  It’s not like that,” Nina replied quickly.  “I want you to come with me.  On a trip!”

Dani raised one eyebrow and cocked her head, her speech slowed by sarcasm.  “A trip--?”

“Hey Swee’hear’!  I’m gettin’ thirsty over here!” shouted the drunk at the bar.

Dani rolled her eyes.  To Nina, she muttered, “Just a minute.”  She walked away, cooing as she went, “Oh my God!  I completely forgot what I was doin’!”

When Dani came back, Nina was perched on a stool.  Dani placed a glass of cabernet sauvignon in front of her.  “On the house,” she said without emotion.

Nina grinned at the peace offering and looked into her cousin’s face.   “It’s really good to see you, Dani.”

Dani narrowed her eyes to mask her crumbling resolve.  “What’s this all about?   You wrote me out of your life.  I haven’t see you for years, then today --,” she shook her head, sending a long ringlet across one eye, “-- you show up here out of the blue and tell me you want me to take a trip with you?”  Her face froze in mock confusion.  “I don’t think so.”

Nina moved the untouched glass of wine to the side and leaned on the bar.  Her collar bone protruded noticeably.   “Okay, we’ve had our share of problems.”  Dani snorted impishly but Nina ignored her and went on.  “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much time we’ve wasted--”

 “We’ve wasted time?   Please.  I have reached out to you so many times since…well, all that happened,” she stammered.  “You shut me out.”

“I know.”  Nina suddenly seemed tired.  “That’s why I’m here.  I want to fix this -- thing -- between us.  I want my best friend back.”  The sincerity in her voice was unmistakable.  She was looking Dani right in the eyes.  “When we were little, we used to dream about going to the ocean.  Remember?  Let’s go!  It’ll give us time to talk.  To heal.  Come on.  Let’s go to the beach!”

Dani stared at her in disbelief.  “You think I can just pick up and leave with you?  I have a life, a job!  We don’t all have the summer off, like you teachers.”

“You can’t take a couple of days off?”  Nina said it looking past Dani’s shoulder, scanning the near empty bar.  She returned her gaze in time to see Dani’s eyes flick, almost imperceptibly, downward.  Nina pressed on, her voice more confident.   “Think of it.  You and me, relaxing on the white sand, cold beer in hand.  Working on our tans.  You know,” she added, “I’ve still never been to the ocean?”

“What?  Are you kidding me?”  Dani almost sneered.  “Why the hell not?  It’s only four hours away.”

Nina simply grinned, indicating with a raised eyebrow that she was still waiting for an answer.

Dani checked her fingernails, forcing boredom into her voice.  “Sorry, cuz.  Can’t do it.”

Nina sighed.  “Are you sure?  ‘Cause I’m going one way or another.  I’ve already paid for the hotel.  And,” she pointed theatrically toward the front windows, “I rented that for the trip.”

Dani followed her finger to a shiny red corvette parked in the lot.  Her eyes opened wide, “Shut up!” she gasped.  “We’re going in that?”

Please be sure to check out all the other blogfest entries today!  The full list of participants is HERE.