The Writer's Life

breaking down boundaries to the exuberant life of writing

This weekend I am reposting my three part series, Frostbite: A Mafia Family Christmas, about the Kaszinov Family(portions rewritten).

I had fun last year imagining what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in a Russian Mafia family, well, at least a goofy one. These posts were my first #FridayFlash-es.

This is Part 2 of 3 in a series, if you haven’t read the beginning, you can read Part 1.

Mafia

Kaszinov Family Crest

Tasha frantically trudged through the knee-deep snow oblivious to her scant clothing of slippers and pajamas.  She dropped to the ground next to Great Aunt Urola’s frozen body trying to free her from the snowbank.   The kids were running around joyfully playing.   They continued throwing snowballs at her and Great Aunt Urola.

“Knock it off!  Get in the house!”  Tasha’s bare hands were growing numb as she revealed the frozen legs.

“Tasha!  Get back in here!  You’ll freeze to death!”  Mama tightly held her robe closed in the kitchen doorway.

A creepy sensation took over Tasha’s numb fingertips as she dug at the stiff legs. She suddenly stopped digging, realizing she had no idea what to do once she revealed the dead body.  She stood up and clumsily walked towards the house, dragging her half-frozen legs.

Grabbing her at the doorway, Mama quickly flung her robe around Tasha. “What are you thinking?”

“Well, gee!… I… don’t… know! Maybe that Aunt Urola is out in the snowbank! And, maybe I should DO something?”

“Tasha, you’re over-reacting.” Mama started the tea kettle on the stove.

“There is a DEAD BODY outside and the children are playing with it!”

“Oh yes, Anna dear, could you tell the children to come in now. I don’t want them to get too cold.” Mama motions as Tasha’s cousin Anna as she steps towards the door.

“Hold it! No one is going anywhere until you explain what happened!” Tasha’s eyes shot frigid daggers towards Mama and Papa.

“Tasha, it’s no big deal. Aunt Urola had a heart attack and died in her sleep. Just ask Uncle Marek.”   The doctor in the family poked his head out of the crowd of relatives now gathering in the kitchen.

“Yes, it’s true.  She had heart trouble for many years. You know she was eighty-five years old.”  Uncle Marek walked towards Tasha as she backed away.

“Oh yeah?  Then why is she in a SNOWBANK!”  Tasha thrust her trembling finger towards the door.

Papa Viktor joined in the conversation. “There is another storm coming, we may be stuck here a long time.  I’m sure you heard the old Hungarian custom…ah…. Ya’ know, putting bodies out in the snow when they die in the middle of winter… because you can’t bury ‘em until the thaw.”

“We don’t live in the good ‘ol days!  Has anyone even called the police?”

“Tasha, that’s enough!   We didn’t want her stinking up the place with all these people here!” Papa Viktor abruptly walked out of the kitchen.

“Now get out of those wet clothes.”  Mama poured tea for her sisters.

Tasha saw no point trying to reason with them and gave up hope of getting a truthful answer.  She drug her freezing wet body upstairs and took a long hot bath. Outrage ignited her sense of justice.  Family or not, these people will not get away with this. She became more resolute to carry out her plans.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mid-afternoon, Tasha walked downstairs in time for the gift exchange.   Huge piles of presents surrounded the fifteen foot tree.   Tasha slumped in a chair to watch the spectacle.  Kids wildly ripped open presents tossing paper until it was two feet deep.   Adults licked their lips and opened their gifts like rabid dogs.  Numerous electronic gadgets, expensive pens, exotic guns, rare books, and several pieces of antique jewelery spilled out of perfectly wrapped boxes.

“Oh, I remember this one, she didn’t wear it very often, only for fancy parties.” Aunt Nadya admired the diamond necklace.

“That is beautiful, look at those stones!  She used to buy the most expensive jewels, I never would have believed it.” Aunt Grusha giggled as she and the all of Tasha’s aunts placed the antique jewelery around their necks.

“Let me see that!”  Tasha ran across the room. “I’ve seen that necklace before!  It’s Aunt Urola’s!”

“We know that!  Don’t make a scene!”  Mama stomped through the wrapping paper, tripping over toys, yelling at Tasha in a loud whisper.

“How could you give away her jewelery when she is still in the snowbank?”

“Well…SHE doesn’t need that stuff anymore!  Now be quiet and open your presents!”  Mama stood with her arms crossed until Tasha sat down.

“Oh, that’s fine!  We can really use one ‘a those out here.” Oblivious to Tasha’s outburst, Papa was admiring a photo of a helicopter.

Great Uncle Ermil leaned in close to Papa.  ”Oh yeah, its a beauty, and it’s parked out back, the crew is livin’ with the Boys, they’re ready when you are!”

Tasha pretended to not overhear their conversation and opened her present from Mama and Papa. She pulled out computer-printed receipts and a picture of an expensive sports car waiting for her in Chicago.  She noticed the date and time stamp on the the receipt.   It was purchased three hours ago.

Tasha began to rise from her chair to give Mama a few more choice words, but a few red dots on the cuff of Uncle Marek’s pants caught her eye.  Upon examining the clothes of the other men, she noticed red dots on Papa’s and Great Uncle Ermil’s shoes.

She ran to the kitchen.  Her body was gone! That was it!  They have gone too far! The gift exchange gave her a flash of inspiration to carry out her mission.  She launched her plan into high gear.

Strange screaming erupted from the livingroom.  Tasha raced back to find her aunts writhing in pain and frantically grabbing at their necks.   Their husbands were screaming just as loudly, “Hold STILL! I can’t get it off!”  They erratically jiggled the clasps, trying to remove Aunt Urola’s necklaces.

Mama grabbed ice from the bar and pushed it at her sisters.  But, in their desperate state, they refused help. Ugly red blotches and blisters erupted on their necks.

Blotches, and boils, and blisters! Oh my! Tasha smiled and busted into gut-wrenching laughter.

Why you cunning old bird, you must have seen this coming!  Just wait until I add the finale…

Continue the story by reading the conclusion in Part 3.

12

"The Boys" Christmas 2010

This weekend I am reposting my (portions rewritten) three part series, Frostbite: A Mafia Family Christmas, about the Kaszinov Family. I had fun last year imagining what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in a Russian Mafia family, well, at least a goofy one. These posts were my first #FridayFlash-es.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mafia

Kaszinov Family Crest

Tasha Kaszinov never imagined her first Christmas back home in Budapest in over fifteen years would come to this. Every swear word in her vocabulary swirled through her head as she grabbed her sixty-two year old Mama tightly with both arms and pulled her off Great Aunt Urola.

Mama waved her arms wildly, “You never should have come here you old bat! I don’t care what promises Rudolf gave to you, he’s dead! But my dying wish is…”

“Mama, stop it! Just look at yourself… it’s Christmas!” Tasha took a hold of Mama even harder, picked her up and placed her in the nearest chair. Great Aunt Urola sneaked a sly smile towards Mama.

After scowling at her Mama and Aunt Urola, Tasha helped the women prepare Christmas dinner. But, Aunt Urola wasn’t done. She picked up a huge dish of potatoes and threw it into the garbage.

“What are you doing?” Mama shouted and tried to grab her again. Tasha intervened just in time.

“Tasha! Stop it! SHE is the one who needs restraining!” Mama screeched in a horse voice.

“I’m not eating ANYTHING prepared by THEM!” Aunt Urola pointed to Great Uncle Ermil’s family members. “You know what they did.”   She was trembling with rage and stormed into the livingroom.

The women in the kitchen followed to watch the excitement.  The men in the livingroom halted their conversations and all eyes turned towards Aunt Urola, who was ready to explode.

Tasha’s Papa, Viktor,  the head of the Kaszinov Family, grabbed her. “Urola, calm down!  I’ve had enough of your fits!  Every Christmas it’s the same damn thing!” Viktor hated his Aunt Urola, but promised his father, Rudolf, on his death bed that he would take care of his sister.

“You are just as bad as THEY are, Viktor! Why don’t you be a man and stand up to them. You are a disgrace to your father. One of these days you will be sorry.” Aunt Urola wagged her finger at him.

The veins in Papa’s neck bulged and his face turned a deep shade of red. “You crazy old woman, you sit down and be quiet or I’ll give you something to complain about!”

Aunt Urola spun on her heels and returned to the kitchen. The women quickly followed to make sure the food was safe from her rage.

Tasha reluctantly walked to the kitchen and collapsed in a chair.  The women ignored Aunt Urola, who was standing with her arms crossed in the middle of the kitchen, ready to pounce at the slightest provocation.

Memories of Tasha’s childhood and the crazy family gatherings of the past flooded her mind.  Reality can get a little skewed when the family business is running a territory of the Russian Mafia from a family compound located in the Hungarian countryside.   Tasha eagerly moved to the United States to attend law school and became a criminal trial attorney in Chicago.  Since her departure, she had never visited her family in Budapest, until now.  Tasha was beginning to think she had made a mistake but she was determined to accomplish her mission.

Eventually the table was set and Christmas dinner was served. The men toasted the reunion of the two families. The women shot icy stares at Aunt Urola. Tasha’s cousins diverted their attention by talking amongst themselves and occupying their children.   Aunt Urola inserted criticisms into every conversation.  Everyone could feel the tension grow.

Later that night, Tasha shivered as she heard the icy winds blow through the hills making travel impossible.   The Kaszinov Family mansion accommodated the entire family for the night.   Tasha was relieved to be rid of the family screaming and tension, but sleep was difficult for her as the howling wind transformed into gruesome noises.

~~~~~~~~~~

When morning arrived, Tasha groggily went downstairs to find everyone awake and eating breakfast by seven o’clock.  Her cousins served breakfast to their children.

“What would you like for breakfast?” Mama smiled at Tasha and touched her arm lovingly.

Both sides of the family were getting along splendidly this morning.  Tasha’s relatives laughed as they drank their coffee.   Relief entered her body as she watched this heart-warming scene.

“I want to go out and play in the snow with Aunt Urola!” Tasha’s neice looked out the window excitedly, and the other children jumped and shouted to join in.

“Okay, but just for a little while. I don’t want you to get too cold.” Mama smiled and helped the children put on their coats and snow pants.

Tasha sighed and smiled.  That would certainly melt Aunt Urola’s heart.  The magic of Christmas cheer can turn any grumble bumble around.

As the children opened the door and happily bounded into the newly fallen snow, Tasha felt their excitement.  She went to the door to watch them play. Her face dropped and her mouth gaped open when she saw Great Aunt Urola’s hat and two shoes poking out of the snow.  Her body lay in a snowbank stiff and frozen as the children began digging her out and throwing snowballs at her.

Continue with Part 2, (you won’t be sorry, hehe)…

Hello Everyone! I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving are enjoying your tryptophan naps and delicious leftovers.

It is time for me to pass on some awards. My last award post was early August and I received these awards soon after, which also coincided with my extended break from blogging (as I was beginning a new job and getting overwhelmed).  I am back and very thankful for the awards my good friends in the online world have bestowed on me. And now, I get to do my favorite thing, bestow these awards on my well-deserving friends.

Lisa Rivero of Lisa Rivero sent me the Summer Blogger Award. Yes, it was awhile ago, but just look at that beach! What a lovely sunny image. I can feel the warmth, oh wait, that is my space heater. But, I do have a sunny day today (despite the snow and 6 degrees).

Belated thanks to you, Lisa, I really appreciate it. And, if any of my followers haven’t checked out Lisa’s site, yet, you are in for a treat. Lisa is a prolific and amazing author whom I have known about and read for many years in the nonfiction world. She is currently working on fiction, and she is such an excellent writer.

The rules for this award are simple:  thank the person who gave it to you with a link back in your post, and send this on to fellow bloggers who rock this summer. List 4 rocking bloggers (if you can or have the time) to share this with, and post a note to them through their comments.

Hmmm, I’ve never had a seasonal award. So, let’s improvise – I am passing this award on to those that have put sun in my life and who have informed, inspired, and impressed me recently:

Karen Schindler of Miscellaneous Yammering and POW Fast Flash Fiction

Deanna Schrayer of The Other Side of Deanna and The Life of a Working Writer Mommy

Mari Juniper of Mari’s Randomities

Sam Adamson of Future; nostalgic

Laura Eno of A Shift in Dimensions

My good friend Deanna of The Other Side of Deanna has created her own award called Deanna’s I’m A Literacy Builder. What a great idea! Deanna has a big heart and is an amazing writer. She inspires me and is truly a wise soul.

Deanna created this award when she was inspired by International Literacy Day and her own love of writing & reading that was instilled in her by many people. Here is what she said:

I only hope that by sharing my love of words that I’m helping to contribute to the growth of that love, and that International Literacy Day will still be here for my great-great-great-great….grandchildren to celebrate.

To share this love of words I’ve created a new award: Deanna’s “I’m A Literacy Builder” Blog Award.

Now, I’m not going to lay a bunch of heavy rules of acceptance on y’all, just a couple small ones:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
  2. Display the award logo on your blog site.
  3. Tell us five of your favorite words and why you like them, (add as many as you like).
  4. Pass the award on to three bloggers you feel are excellent literacy builders, and link to their sites – Yes, only three!
  5. Contact the bloggers you’ve chosen and let them know about the award.

Five of my Favorite Words:

First of all, this is really hard – I will give it my best shot…

Privy - love the way it sounds, and has diverse meanings – knowing secrets or outdoor toilet

Pyewacket coolest cat name (Gillian Holroyd’s cat and familiar in the film Bell, Book and Candle – and so many other fun historical roots)

Kringla - fun to say and is my all time favorite family cookie (Norwegian) and also the name of my favorite pet – my orange tabby

Kitty-Corner – how we always described the direction of someone’s house that was diagonal from another point of reference (see a cat theme developing)

Free - anyway you use it, it creates excitement

Bloggers I feel are excellent literacy builders:

Johanna Harness of Johanna’s Big Thoughts (the queen and creator of #amwriting)

Marisa Birns of Out of Order Alice

Linda Simoni-Wastila of LEFTBRAINWRITE

Marc Nash of Sulci Collective

Dan Holloway of Year Zero Writers and Eight Cuts Gallery

My good friend Estrella Azul of Life’s A Stage – Web Blog sent me the Prolific Blogger Award. Thanks Estrella! I don’t feel so prolific the past few months, but I hope to get in the groove again. This award helps to inspire me. Estrella is a heart-felt creative writer and makes beautiful jewelery. Check out her blog!

The rules of acceptance related to this award are:

  • Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!
  • Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.
  • Every Prolific Blogger must link back to the original post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
  • Every Prolific Blogger must visit this original post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners.
  • I’m passing this award on to:

    Carrie Clevenger of Mindspeak

    Angie Capozello of Techtigger’s Soapbox and The Penny Dreadful

    Jim Bronyaur of Jim Bronyaur and Soft Whispers

    Alison Wells of Head Above Water

    Jessica Rosen of Girl Meets Word

    Emma Newman of Post-Apocalyptic Publishing

    George Angus of George Angus (TumbleMoose)

    Now here is a little poetry reading for your entertainment by Gary Larson, The Far Side:

    It’s that time again!

    National Novel Writing Month!

    It’s November and the clickity-clack of writer’s keyboards can be heard around the world! And, the crashes at the official website are already legendary.

    Last year, I had loads of time to write while I recovered from gallbladder surgery and my kids were in school for the first time. This year, I have returned to work after a 9 year absence and increased my schedule from 2 days to 4 days, have my health and pain problems to manage, and my two 9.5 year old twins are joining me so I have their motivation to maintain too!

    So on with the NaNoWriMo crazies!

    Challenges

    Do you thrive on a writing challenge? It seems to help me get moving. I don’t know if I will make it, but I love a challenge and am committed to make it work best I can. I have been relying on NaNo to boost my writing time regularly again. Since I started working in August, I haven’t been able to get my groove back completely. I’m either working, recovering from work, or doing things with the kids.

    Well, it is time for me to take back my writing time and my online time with all of my writing friends!!

    I am thrilled that my children are joining me and I love to see their enthusiasm. There are great resources on the NaNaWriMo site for Young Writers Program. The workbooks are excellent and guide them through the process of writing a book. ywp.nanowrimo.org/workbooks (I will link to the site when it also returns from crashing.)

    Tyler Corner

    Everyone in Union County knew the location of Tyler Corner, located near Afton and not far from the county seat of Creston, Iowa. It was the corner where the dirt county roads met and connected the four Tyler family farms. Local farmers considered Tyler Corner to be the center of Union County.  Most locals would also agree that the Tylers were the center of attention in Union County. And, Tyler Corner was where cousins Gladys and Ramona Tyler met every morning, that is, until that fateful morning…

    Beulah & Iris - the real life cousins who inspired Tyler Corner

    This is the story loosely based on my mother (Beulah) and her cousin (Iris, who is still alive and is 91 years old), who grew up on Iowa farms at Tyler Corner. And, I have connected my own family history with a murder based on the real life unsolved ax murders in Villisca, Iowa.

    If you click on the picture of the house below, you can read about all the grizzly details and many suspects.

    Nearly lost among the rolling hills and fields of southwestern Iowa is the tiny town of Villisca; a quiet, peaceful place of only a few hundred people --- and one tragic and enduring mystery. It was here, in June 1912, that a horrific mass murder took place, wiping out an entire family. The murder was never solved, casting a pall over Villisca that still lingers today.

    Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What is your novel about? What is your best advice for enduring NaNo?

    Be my writing buddy on the NaNo site, I’m at Anne Tyler Lord!

    Novelist K.M. Weiland blogs essays about the writing life, tips for improving fiction, and encouragement for experienced and newbie writers alike.

    I know many of my writer friends and followers are also loyal followers of K.M. Weiland on Twitter (@KMWeiland) and on her blogs, WORDplay: Helping Writers Become Authors and at Author Culture.

    I have personally appreciated her information, interviews and inspiration packed blogs. She is a generous soul who shares high quality advice to writers about creativity, the writer’s life and improving our craft. She is one of the superstars of the online writer’s blogs.

    I am honored to feature K.M. Weiland in an interview today about her new CD project and other resources she offers to inspire writers to become authors.

    What inspired you to create a CD about inspiration?

    Over the last several years, I’ve been sharing tips and essays about the writing life on my blog Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors. Posts on inspiration and fighting writer’s block have always been some of my most popular posts. I wanted to put together a presentation that shared some of my own tricks for encouraging inspiration. Thanks to the Wordplay podcast, I already had some experience with audio productions and thought it would be an interesting adventure to create a CD that would be accessible and helpful to others.

    Why do you think writer’s block is something we all have to struggle with?

    It’s ironic, really: Here we are, a bunch of people who discovered this whole writing business because one day we woke up inspired with an idea for a story—and yet consistent inspiration is something most of us struggle with on almost a daily basis. Ultimately, I think fear and uncertainty are the major things that trip us up. Learning to be open to inspiration is largely a matter of realizing that inspiration is something we can’t control. We can’t force inspiration, but we can create habits that encourage it to visit.

    Can you share one of the important tips from the CD?

    Don’t give up too soon on an idea. Sooner or later, every story hits a patch so rough that it feels like we’ll never pull out of it—and the urge to just give up and start on something newer (and hopefully easier) can become very tempting. But I consider perseverance one of a writer’s greatest gifts. If we’re willing to grit it out and keep writing, even when it seems hopeless, we can inevitably write out way out of the hole and reach a place of new inspiration. The tough parts are where we grow as writers. If we give up every time we reach them, we’ll never finish a story.

    Did producing this CD teach you any unexpected lessons about inspiration and writer’s block?

    Everyone always says the best way to learn something is to teach it, and it’s true! I can know something, I can believe it, I can even practice it, but not until I start sharing these bits of knowledge and experience with others am I really forced to analyze what I’m doing and figure out the reasons behind it all. I wouldn’t say I learned any unexpected lessons, so much as I refined some lessons. It was a rewarding experience no matter how you slice it!

    Other than your CD, where else can writers go to find more inspiration and writing tips?

    Along with the CD (which is available, this month only, in a great special offer), I’m excited to announce the launch of my newly redesigned website at K.M. Weiland: Helping Writers Become Authors.  Other than the spiffy new look, it also features lots of goodies for helping writers along the road to publication and fulfillment in their writing. Probably the most exciting additions are the Helping Writers Become Authors Network, which offers an excellent package deal on some of my best writing programs and products, and the First Chapter Story Consultation service. You can also find links to my blogs, podcast, monthly e-letter, and my free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters.

    K.M. Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in the sandhills of western Nebraska. She enjoys mentoring other authors through her writing tips, editing services, workshops, and her recently released instructional CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration.

    Welcome to The Great Chocolate Conspiracy! Chocolate Digestive biscuits have disappeared from the shelves right across the eastern seaboard of the USA, and now the shortage has spread to London. Detective Chief Inspector Sam Adamson and his international team of investigators from the Metropolitan Police’s Confectionery Crimes Unit (CCU) have been tasked to solve the mystery.

    This is the seventh installment of this multi-part flash fiction story that originated during a chat between the authors on Twitter. You can read how it all began here (links to all the installments will be added to the author list as they are posted).

    The next installment will appear on Friday, October 22nd at Danielle La Paglia . You can keep up with developments in the meantime by following the#GtChocCo hashtag on Twitter.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “What is he saying?” Marier strained towards the seats where Agent Bronyaur was slumped, fast asleep.

    “Something like ‘doompadee doo,’ and…  he’s singing?” Juniper giggled.

    “I’m not a bad egg! Let go of me!” Bronyaur ripped the pink blankets off the seats. “Get back you Oompa Loompas!”

    Bronyaur stood up quickly, bumped his head on the overhead compartment, then slumped to the floor as a stewardess ran over.

    “Are you alright?”

    “I was thrown down the garbage shoot!” Bronyaur yelled as he opened his eyes. He shook his head and realized he was still on the plane to Texas.

    La Paglia had turned and was leaning against the back of her seat watching the entire episode. “Hey there, Bonyaur. Bad dream?”

    “Ah… really bad.” He looked up to see the perfectly coiffed La Paglia smirking at him. He wiped the drool and gobs of hot pink fuzz off his mouth.

    Marier and Juniper laughed out loud. They felt freed of their embarrassment regarding the recent thong incident.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The team was anxiously awaiting to hear about the latest incident of chocolate explosives at the sheriff’s office.

    “Hi you all, I’m the sheriff in these parts, and I would like to welcome you to Tumbleweed Junction,” he said in a flat monotone voice with absolutely no Southern accent.

    Marier and Juniper looked at each other and frowned with suspicion.

    “I have a note I would like you all to take a look at …”

    OOMPA LOOMPA DOOMPADEE DOO
    I’VE GOT A PERFECT PUZZLE FOR YOU
    OOMPA LOOMPA, DOOMPADAH DEE
    IF YOU ARE WISE YOU’LL LISTEN ME
    WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU GUZZLE DOWN SWEETS

    OOMPA LOOMPA DOOMPADEE DAH
    IF YOU’RE NOT GREEDY YOU WILL GO FAR

    “Does this mean anything to you?” said the sheriff to the team.

    “Yes, I…” The sheriff yanked Bronyaur by the arm and pulled him through a heavy door.

    “Cranky…” Adamson limped toward the door and tried to open it, but it was locked.

    Twenty minutes later, the sheriff returned and asked Adamson and Marier to join them. Hesitantly, they followed.

    “Geez, I don’t know whether to be mad because we’re left out, or grateful that we don’t have to go behind that door,” La Paglia huffed.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Henderson herded everyone into a large freight elevator.

    Adamson looked at the elevator buttons. “How could there be 52 levels below ground?”

    The Sheriff did not respond. He pushed a button and the elevator lurched quickly to sub-floor 5.

    “Go down the hallway and through the door at the end, I’ll meet you there.” The sherrif quickly disappeared behind a door nearby.

    As they walked passed several doors, it was silent. The hallway grew strangely smaller as they approached the final door, which was three and a half feet high.  They squeezed through the door to find a normal sized meeting room. They sat down at the large conference table at the same moment the sheriff entered through a back door, now in a suit and tie.

    Adamson and Marier looked at each other with raised eyebrows.

    “I am actually Bureau Chief Mark Henderson, the head of all U.S. Government Research and Development. We are in charge of the investigation regarding the chocolate disappearances and explosives. This is your real briefing. We had to get you out of D.C. and into a safe location.”

    Adamson moaned and shifted.

    “Oh, sorry…” Henderson snapped his fingers and three people entered the room with trays full of chocolate, coffee, and the elusive chocolate digestive biscuits.  They all grabbed at the treats like ravenous beasts.

    “Don’t worry, we make our own supply,” Henderson smiled for the first time.

    “We don’t know why, but the three of you have been chosen to be recipients of secret communication regarding these events.”

    “Adamson and Marier, you were given secret messages eight months ago when you heard the song, “We Built This City,” by,

    Jefferson- we think this refers to Jefferson Monument in D.C.,
    Airplane-your plane trip to Texas, and
    StarShip- We don’t know what part that plays yet.  And, we are still working on the messages in the lyrics.”

    “Adamson, you were sent a poem. It seems there may be a personal connection to these crimes and the Crumblies.”

    “And Bronyaur, you had that dream about  the Chocolate Factory. We think there are numerous secret messages encoded in your dream, or, the enemy has a twisted sense of humor.”

    “Everything I’m about to tell you is Top Secret.”

    Adamson, Marier and Bronyaur did not look up, the chocolate and coffee still dominated their attention.

    “We have identified the following departments as possibly involved with these crimes.” The lights dimmed and Henderson pointed to the projected presentation on the wall.

    U.S. Confectioners Department, Secret Recipes division
    Counter Terrorism & Terrorism Departments, Biological Weapons division
    Super Powers Department, Mind Control and Teleportation divisions
    Intelligence Communication Department, Encoding division for Music, Poems, Movies and Dreams
    Brewed Advantage Department, Foreign Coffee Research division
    Alien Relations Department, World Domination division.”

    Everyone suddenly stopped eating chocolate and drinking coffee.

    “You mean that…” Adamson began.

    Henderson continued. “We have developed secret biological weapons that are similar to those being used in these crimes. They include, ChocoBoom – exploding cocoa powder and ChocoPoof – disappearing cocoa powder. And, it sounds like someone is developing something equivalent to our CafePoof, which isn’t perfected yet, still too many side effects. These three biological weapons, when in the wrong hands, could bring down the entire world.”

    Henderson turned on the lights with his remote. “We need you to look through this book of suspects from our secret projects.”

    Adamson grabbed the book and Marier and Bronyaur hovered around him to look through the profiles. Among the numerous faces, were, Stephen Spielberg, William Shatner, Simon Cowell, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Camilla Parker Bowles, Elton John, Johnny Depp, Jimmy Carter and Sarah Palin.

    “Really? All these people work for secret U.S. government projects?” Adamson snorted.

    “Just keep looking, see if you have any association with the suspects.” Henderson scowled.

    What is that?…aliens?” Adamson pointed at inhuman creatures.

    “We won’t worry about them right now,” Henderson ripped out several pages.

    Then, they turned to the last page of the suspect book, and Adamson, Marier and Bronyaur gasp simultaneously…

    Gratitude

    Today is another hot humid day, but I’m not complaining too much. My friends on the east coast have had such a miserably hot summer. Since we are all stuck in the heat, I thought it was a great time to spread the love around with awards.

    I’m very grateful for the awards that my dear friends have sent to me this summer. The awards are such sweet surprises that uplift my spirits. And, I love to send them along to very deserving friends, amazing writers and great bloggers to keep the love in circulation.

    The “Creative Writer” Blogger Award

    (Creepy version via Mari Juniper, inspired by Jodi MacArthur)

    I want to thank my dear friend, Mari Juniper at Mari’s Randomities for the “Creative Writer” Blogger Award . I have received this award before, but, as good fiction writers will do, Mari added new rules, giving us a chance to exercise our fiction writing muscles (or tell the truth about our weird past), thus creating the Creepy Version.

    “Creative Writer” Blogger Award Rules:

    1. Thank the person who gave this to you.

    2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

    3. Link to the person who nominated you.

    4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth – or – switch it around and tell six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie.

    5. Nominate seven “Creative Writers” who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.

    6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.

    7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

    Added Rules for the Creepy Version (via Mari Juniper, inspired by Jodi MacArthur)

    Now to the fun part. I’d like to propose a challenge of the sorts, hereby changing said rules just a bit.

    I dare the following bloggers to spread the chill. Make your lies and truths as scary, ugly and grotesque as you can. Of course you don’t have to, but I do dare you.

    Okay, here are my creepy lies and truths. Can you tell which one is the only truth, or the only lie?

    1. I listened to a young girl relate the details of watching her dad kill her mother.
    2. I have started to eat a caterpillar while it was still alive.
    3. I watched others eat fudge that was dipped in the toilet with out saying a word.
    4. I slipped and fell in vomit when walking through my favorite coffee shop.
    5. I helped perform medical procedures on a dog.
    6. I lived in a house I thought was haunted, and moved after infestations of bees, bugs, snakes and a flood.

    I send the creepy version of the “Creative Writer” Blogger Award to these great creative writers:

    Sam Adamson @FutureNostalgic at Future Nostalgic

    Lily Mulholland @lilymulholand at Ten Seconds a Day

    P.J. Kaiser @doublelattemama at Inspired By Real Life

    Olivia Tejeda @SimplyOlivia at Away with Words

    Estrella Azul @EstrellaAzul at Life’s a stage – WebBlog

    Tomara Armstrong @2maraA at This, That… The Other Thing

    Deanna Schrayer @deannaschrayer at The Other Side of Deanna

    Catherine Russel @ganymeder at Ganymeder: Writing Blog of Catherine Russell

    One Lovely Blog Award

    I want to thank the talented and lovely Monica Marier at Attack of the Muses!! and the brilliant and ever interesting Carrie Bailey at the Peevish Penman for the One Lovely Blog Award. These girls really have it together.

    One Lovely Blog Award Rules:

    1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

    2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.

    3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

    The Versatile Blogger

    Thanks goes to the amazing blogger and Twitter maiden, Nicole Humphrey at It’s All About Writing for giving me The Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks Nicole, I really appreciate it!

    My good friend, Deanna Schrayer at The Other Side of Deanna also gave me this award. Deanna has such a big, giving heart and is always there for me. Thanks Deanna, you are a true blue friend!

    The Rules:

    1) Thank and link back to the person that gave you the award.

    2) Share seven things about yourself.

    3) Pass the award to fifteen bloggers that you think deserve it.

    4) Lastly, contact all of the bloggers that you’ve picked for the award.

    To make up for the grotesque and scary things I wrote above, I will share seven things  that are more pleasant this time:

    1. I was convinced I would never have children due to a lifelong hormone condition, but had twins, unassisted by fertility drugs at age 35 (after being married for 15 yrs.) Happy Day!
    2. I have been physically with my two children (boy/girl twins – 9 yr olds) about 99.5% of the time during their first 8.5 years of life – attachment parenting & homeschool are exhausting, but worth it.
    3. I dream of moving to France to live for an extended period of time and traveling around Europe. Of course I will be writing the entire time and taking photos.
    4. I lived in a small town in Iowa (1,200 people)  during my childhood & youth – girl scouts, church choir, worked in the fields in the summer (bean-walking, detassling, corn research – birth control for corn) met my husband at a bible study in college, served in military part-time (Air National Guard) – but my mind & heart never conformed – luckily my husband’s didn’t either.
    5. Most of you already know, but I am a family therapist recently getting back to work. I got a part-time job as a clinical supervisor at an agency that serves children & families. I take my responsibility for their treatment very seriously even though  I supervise & train with humor and questions.
    6. I am compelled to think about and contemplate the deeper meanings in everything I do, keenly observe what is going on around me and to speak bluntly about what I think. It took me a long time to realize that not everyone does that – and many wish I didn’t.
    7. I have a freakishly sensitive sense of smell. It is so sensitive, in fact, that if I told others what I could actually smell, I would be exiled to the funny farm. Now, if I could just get one of those jobs as a taster & tester – an ice cream factory would be great.

    There are so many blogs that I love and I have enjoyed meeting & chatting with these bloggers. Here are 15 blogs that I have newly discovered and/or  I think deserve BOTH the Versatile Blogger and the One Lovely Blog Award:

    Annie Q Syed @so_you_Know at Trial of Words: Writings and Fragments

    Nishi @Cafe_Nirvana at Breathing Butterflies

    Emma Newman @EmApocalyptic at Post Apocalyptic Publishing

    Lisa Rivero @lisa_rivero at Lisa Rivero: the Wild Thyme Unseen

    Jemi Fraser @jemifraser at Just Jemi

    Josie Lyon @safetycomfort at Around the Kitchen Table

    Linda Wasy @drwasy at LEFTBRAINWRITE

    Judy Clement Wall @jdistraction at Zebra Sounds

    Cecilia Dominic @RandomOenophile at Cecilia’s Random Writings

    Alison Wells @alisonwells at Head above Water

    Mari Juniper @marirandomities at Mari’s Randomities

    Karen Schindler @karenfrommentor at Miscellaneous Yammering

    Laura Eno @lauraeno at A Shift in Dimensions

    Marisa Birns @marisabirns at Out of Order Alice

    Jodi MacArthur @JodiMacArthur at Fiction Writer: Jodi MacArthur

    Carrie Clevenger @shadowsinstone at Mindspeak


    A Blog With Substance Award

    My good friend, Linda Wastila at LeftBrainWrite honored me with The Blog With Substance Award. I was flabbergasted and humbled because I see her as the perfect person for this award. Linda has one sharp mind, a very kind heart, and the most amazing fiction and poetry on her blog.  Thank you, Linda, your confidence in me is appreciated more than you know.

    A Blog With Substance Award Rules:

    1) describe my blogging philosophy in 5 words; and

    2) pass along to another deserving blogger.

    My Five Words:

    INSPIRE.

    CONNECT.

    INFORM. (Hopefully with wisdom & compassion)

    EVOLVE.

    WildVirtualFun. (I’m the writer, and I say it IS one word)

    Here is a blog I think deserves the Blog With Substance Award:

    A. Victoria Mixon is an author and editor who has a blog that is endlessly informative and entertaining.  She has great advice for writing, interviews and the keenest observations of the writer’s life I have seen. I appreciate her perspective on everything about writing and writers. She creates amazing lists that alway go right into the heart of the matter, whatever it is. She is a true professional and a really sharp writer! Here latest lists hit the target of the bullseye, as always – Five things that should set off your bullshit alarm at writers conferences - Victoria, thanks for providing an excellent website full of your insights & advice.

    Honorable Mention

    I would like to thank Marc Nash for his kind words about The Writer’s Life and Coffee Klatch posts. I am deeply touched and very glad my posts have been meaningful and helpful to this community.

    Thanks again!

    Stay cool, everyone!


    \

    The wonderful and gracious hostesses with the mostesses at The Penny Dreadful were kind enough to feature me in a Twitter chat today. Angie Capozello (@techtigger) the creator of The Penny Dreadful (@TPDonline) and her side-kick Nishi (@Cafe_Nirvana) of Breathing Butterflies asked me to talk about #Writers_Life and @Writers_Life. I am very grateful for the opportunity. Thanks to everyone who joined in!

    Here is the Transcript from my chat about #Writers_Life and @Writers_Life

    Anne Tyler Lord

    My name is Anne Tyler Lord. I have been many things in my life, but right now, I know I must write.

    The Writer’s Life (see on Twitter - @Writers_Life and #Writers_Life) is my regular blog series that looks at the life of writers from a personal angle; our challenges, our quests, and what drives us to create. Read more about me here.

    So, join me, you won't be sorry.

    "Here kitty, kitty" >^..^< >^..^<

    Check out all the latest news everyday in our writer’s world

    The coolest people I know ~

    Follow On Twitter

    Follow Writer’s Life On Twitter

    My Writing Also Featured Here

    Soft Whispers - Deadly Love, Be Mine. Valentine's Day Anthology - February 14, 2010

    Flashes in the Dark - Ménage à Trois Avant-garde - February 12, 2010

    Soft Whispers - Poetry - ongoing

    FridayFlash - Flash fiction stories on Friday - ongoing

    Participate in friday flash

    The Penny Dreadful - my serial fiction - ongoing

    Current Writing Projects

    Tyler Corner is an historical novel about the lives of two women who were cousins growing up on Iowa farms in the 1920s - 1930s. It is based on the experiences from my own family and unsolved ax murders in Villisca, Iowa. I am writing this novel  for NaNoWriMo 2010.

    I am creating ebooks and courses for writers, and anyone who wants more creativity and transformation in their lives. The courses are based on Narrative and Poetry Therapy & Humor.

    Mafia Frostbite: A Mafia Family Christmas is my first fictional series. It is followed by a sequel series titled Twisted Family Bonds. It is a dark humor soap opera about the Kaszinovs, a Russian Mafia  Family.

    LoveCommitmentPassion_cover R-Evolutionary Nights is a novel of romance and suspense set in Prague, Budapest and Wisconsin.  Alex and Jack are in love, but must escape the influences of the Russian mafia that has infiltrated Jack's family. I began this novel during the 2009 NaNoWriMo. And, I won.

    a7d8cfd4 RedFlame DeepWater is a collection of spiritual poems about the agony and ecstasy of the spiritual journey. RedFlame describes the experience of the Dark Night of the Soul.  I will continue the collection in 2010 with DeepWater, illuminating ecstatic spiritual experiences.

    Fun Places to Explore

    The Graphics Fairy

    Writer/Artist/Publisher Collectives

    Web Design Services

    Web development and design services provided by DFMI Productions, offering affordable web design for the small and emerging entrepreneur. Visit them at DFMIProductions.com or email [email protected]

    I personally recommend Tony's website services. He creates beautiful, functional websites and can solve any problem. He is very experienced creating websites for individuals (including writer friends of mine) and businesses. And, he is my amazing husband!
    ~~ Anne Tyler Lord

    Copyright © 2009 The Writer's Life.

    Powered by Wordpress. Theme by One Theme Per month.

    Web development by DFMIProductions.com