Friday, December 30, 2011

Some "Thank you's" and a Book Review.

As promised, I am back. Christmas was lovely, but I must say that December really got away from me. I am long overdue in thanking people for blog posts and awards, and way late for a book review I meant to write before now. 

First, my gratitude to two kind bloggers:

On December 10th, Richard Hughes (Writing and Living by Richard P. Hughes) posted a nice review of my book, The Fourth Wish,on his blog. You can read it here. So, belated thanks, Richard. And for readers of today's post, Richard has an interesting blog that includes articles about the writing journey, book reviews, and snippets of his own fiction. It's a spot worth visiting often.

Additionally, Ann Best mentioned my book on her December 10th post at her wonderful blog site. Thank you, Ann! Ann's memoir, In the Mirror has earned 24 five-star reviews at Amazon, and she has published two other books. You can learn more about them here:

If that wasn't enough, Richard included me on his December 3rd list of recipients for the Great Comments Award, a very nice award indeed: A condition of the award is to pass it on to the top 20 commenters on my blog. Well, that's very hard to sort out, as so many people do leave great comments, but here are 20 who come to mind:

Rosi Hollinbeck                                            Joanna Marple     
Rachna Chhabria                                           Tanya Reimer
Richard Hughes                                             Lauren Boyd
Carol Riggs               Lydia Kang at The Word Is My Oyster
TGayer                                                         Julie Musil
Ann at Inkpots and Quills                               Kenda Turner at Words and Such
David Powers King                                        Gary Gauthier at Literary Snippets
Ann Best                                                       Robyn Campbell
Jayne at A Novice Novelist                             Theresa Milstein
Kimberly at Meetings with My Muse               Michelle Fayard

I hope you will visit their sites. You are in for a treat at each one.

Next, the Book Review:

This month I had the opportunity to read Andrew Leon's middle grade novel, The House on the Corner, a “haunted-house tale” with a different twist. 

When the Howard family moves from Denver, Colorado to Shreveport, Louisiana -- a military move because the father is in the Air Force -- their new home is a creepy old house with what turns out to be a mysterious garage. And it seems the former inhabitants of the house disappeared years ago with no explanation.
As the three siblings, Tom (12), Sam (10), and Ruth (6), explore the house and neighborhood, they meet some strange neighbors and find a secret cache of odd weapons in a tool shed under the garage apartment. The garage apartment itself soon becomes the “Imagination Room”, due to unusual adventures that occur when the children meet in it. I don’t want to be a spoiler by giving away the kinds of adventures they have. I will say that the adventures kept me turning pages, although the first adventure doesn’t happen until Chapter 15. 
For this reader, the book could have benefited from some strong pruning. The early chapters bogged down in description and ongoing arguments between the kids, slowing the pace and sapping suspense. The children were believable, but they always seemed to be squabbling. Some variety in how they behaved toward each other would have rounded them out more for this reader. The narration was rotating first person point of view, through the eyes of each of the siblings. Then for some reason the last forty-five pages suddenly switched to third person narrative, sometimes close third, sometimes distant, but always from an adult point of view. 
Still, the story line is quite unique. The Imagination Room and the worlds it borders are intriguing, and the book ends with some unresolved issues that will lead into the second book of this author’s series. The book jacket by Rusty Webb is nicely spooky. 
The House on the Corner is available at Barnes and Noble on Nook for $2.99.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Book I Want to Recommend for Writers

If I have not been blogging recently, blame it on Martha Alderson's THE PLOT WHISPERER. This paperback book has broken me out of my writing doldrums and has helped focus and align my re-write of a book that had me stumped for awhile—a more serious book than I've written before, dealing with how a family copes with tragedy.

What is so unique about THE PLOT WHISPERER? 

For one thing, Alderson has a spiritual approach—and by that, I don't mean religious. She asks you to commit to yourself, to define your own goals, even while defining your main character's goals and commitments. She asks you to examine the deeper themes of your own life, so that you can tap into the deeper themes of your characters' lives. 

She also takes the concept of "plot" far beyond the usual focus on story trajectory (rising action, building tension, climax and resolution), tying it into what she calls "The Universal Story", the story that unfolds in each of our own lives and in nature itself. She points out that there are really three plot lines in every great book: the dramatic action plot; the character emotional development plot; and the thematic significance plot. These themes interact with one another and affect each other throughout the entire book, and each has their own resolution.

A word about Alderson's approach to character development: it goes far beyond character description, hobbies, hopes, fears, family constellation, etc. It brings a fresh slant to the question, "What does your character want, and what is keeping him/her from it?" Alderson takes all of this to a deeper dimension; What does the character bring to the point where the story unfolds? What is the history to why your character wants what he or she wants? What is the past "wound" driving the character's goals, giving them such urgency? And how does that affect your MC's reactions to events—reactions that will, in turn, affect the plot?

Alderson counsels you to know those issues about all of your characters, the main ones and the supporting cast. She suggests you must know the themes of their lives as well, their lietmotifs, because—just as in real life—when characters interact, their issues affect each other and the ensuing action. Themes, character and plot interweave and interact throughout the book.

I haven't finished THE PLOT WHISPERER, because Alderson offers thought-provoking exercises that make it a slow and careful read. But, even after reading and applying the first three chapters, disparate parts of my own book are coming together and I can visualize the whole more clearly. I wake up every morning excited to write, completely committed to finishing this draft.

If you feel stuck at any point in your own WIP, I heartily advise getting this book. It's reasonably priced, and you can get it here, and also here (among other sites.) Alderson also has a great blog with tips on plot development. And you can find her You Tube videos in a post by Jill Corcoran. (As a side note, Corcoran posts helpful information about querying and submitting, among other issues that concern writers. Hers is a blog worth visiting regularly.)  

How about you? Do you have a writing book to recommend that has worked wonders for you? If so, please post the title here. And let me know if you get Alderson's book or see her videos. 

Happy writing!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do You Believe In Magic?

Last June I blogged about a great radio site for listening to interviews with professional magicians, called The Magic Broadcast. (You can read the post here.) The Magic Broadcast is hosted by Steve Johnson, a local (Sacramento area) magician, who owns the fabulous magic shop in Carmichael, Grand Illusions. This shop has everything that would interest a budding magician: Books, tricks, costumes, juggling lessons, puppets. . . . For those of you in the general area, you can read reviews of the shop and get driving directions here.

But I'm personally excited, because on Monday this week, Steve interviewed ME on his magic broadcast station. Normally his interviews are with professional magicians, like Lee Asher. Why me? Because I wrote a book that featured a fictious local magician, and Steve was interested in how tips on fiction writing could translate into the story patter all good magicians use in order to fool audiences with their tricks. 

It was an enjoyable interview for me. I always love talking about writing, but I've never had to think about how writing might pertain to a magician's performance. The more I thought about it, the more parallels I could see. You can listen to the interview here. Just scroll on down to November 28th interview, and click the play button. 

There was an added enjoyment for me when Steve told me that the magician in my book was believable. I'm used to people telling me the kids in the story are believable, but I was especially pleased to hear that about the magician as well.

Which brings me to the book itself. The story takes place over Christmas vacation, so this is a good time for eight-to-twelve-year-olds who like magic to get this for a Christmas present. (Can't resist that little plug!) It's available in paperback (in the U.S.) and on Kindle (in U.S., England, Spain, France, and Germany.) You can check it out and read reviews of it here .        

(By the way, you have to go to the site to look inside, or peek in the widget up in the right hand margin.)

Meanwhile, DO you believe in magic? If so, what kind? Do you like to do magic tricks? What about friends and kids? Do they? And, have you ever wondered about a magician's personal life when they are not performing at parties and theaters and such?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Musings

(Free image courtesy of

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Well, not quite gone. The feel of the week-end lingers, perhaps because I didn't take part in the Black Friday feeding frenzy. Instead my husband and I took time off from our busy lives and enjoyed slowing down and savoring the splendid fall we are having.

Autumn came late to Sacramento and its surrounding areas. The air has only recently turned nippy. Consequently, the leaves have been turning colors slowly, steadily becoming more brilliant against the gray sky before they fall. Their leaf litter on sidewalks or piled in gutters makes a walk through Midtown an uplifting experience. No matter how much I like spring and summer (even winter with it's own beauty carved from branches splaying the air in webby patterns), autumn has become my favorite season.

It seems ironic that in such a cool season, the colors are from the warmest tones of the palette: yellow, gold, bronze, orange, every shade of red and brown. The colors both cheer and sooth—comfortable colors associated with pumpkins and pumpkin pie, with yams and carrot cake and corn on the cob. Or roast chestnuts.  A glowing fireplace. Bouquets of golden mums by a window. 

Spring may burst out in a rainbow of blooms and promise. Autumn is a promise kept, a season of harvest and sharing the bounty, a sharing that doesn't require standing in long lines at midnight in order to grab the latest bargain, but instead calls us back to fellowship and the abundance in our hearts. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time Out

Dear Blog Friends,

I won't be blogging again until next week, due to the holiday week-end. But I do want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Ciao for now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I Have Learned About Perseverance

From the cool site shown above

Learning the market and submitting takes so much time and energy! This is not a whine, just a realization. When I decided to write full time, I didn't have a clue. 

Oh, I belonged to writing groups, revised my manuscripts, studied my copy of Writer's Market or Children's Writer's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, and sent my manuscripts out. But I was pretty naive. I didn't expect to have to revise so many times, study the market so many times, submit my stories/books so many times, write so many cover letters, etc., etc.

And then I started getting published -- mostly stories, poems, and flash fiction in magazines, both print and online, both for adults and for children. I won "honorable mention" in some contests. And I was still . . . pretty naive. I thought I had broken into the market, so to speak, and it was going to be much easier to get everything published.

But, I learned about blogs and networks in addition to my writing groups. I picked up terms like "pitching" and "beta readers" and "WIP", etc. And I revised and revised, and studied Writer's Market and Children's Writer's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, and sent things out again. And again.

And that's what I've been doing for the last few weeks: Sending things out again.

But, I know some things I didn't know before. I have a keen appreciation now for the word "perseverance," and what it r-e-a-llllly means. 

Even my husband, my chief emotional support through thick and through thin, who always has had faith in my writing, shakes his head at how much perseverance it takes to be a writer. He says he couldn't do it. But I know why. The reason he couldn't do it is that he is blessed not to be a crazy writer. 

If you are a crazy writer, you have to persevere. It's impossible not to. You can set the writing aside for awhile (and sometimes to great benefit and perspective), but sooner or later, the fingers itch, the imagined scenes well up, a character's voice has a particular lilt that makes you wonder who he/she is, or would be, if you can nail it just right in a story. And there you go again, noticing the way light hits maple leaves in the fall, the way ginko leaves scatter like gold coins on sidewalks, and you have to write about all of it. 

Once you've done that, well -- it's not like that manuscript can ever be happy just sitting in the file cabinet. It nags and nags at you until you make it better and go research the market to find it a good home. Perseverance is nothing more than being beholden to a manuscript that will NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE until you get it through those gates to the reader beyond. 

I sleep better, knowing that. 

How about you?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life Returns to Normal

So, now I'm over jet lag and getting back to my routine. Well, sort of my routine. Normally my routine would involve writing for two or three hours a day in addition to house chores, email, and studying Spanish. But, I haven't been doing the writing part of it at all except for journaling. My writing time has been spent studying the 2012 Writer's Market and querying or composing cover letters for snail mail submissions. I have to confess great guilt over not working on revising and rewriting my novel for some time. Trips and visits seemed to take priority.

On the other hand, these visit were spent in heartfelt talks with friends and and family, filling my mind and heart with memory and insight, tapping heartwise into some of my deepest feelings. An outcome that can only enrich my future writing, I would think.

Last year I had the opportunity to interview an author whose writing I admire quite a bit, Kirby Larson, author of Hattie Big Sky and The Fences Between Us, as well as many other books. You can read the interview here. I asked at one point how her busy life impacted her writing. In addition to writing award-winning books, she teaches, presents at conferences, does school visits, etc.. Her answer was: 

"I am reminded every day of Katherine Paterson's powerful words: "The very persons who take away my time and space to write give me something to say." (Katherine Paterson is another author I greatly admire.)

So I take solace from the words of these two marvelous writers whose books shimmer and reach into the heart of things. After all, if we had no life outside of writing, we'd have nothing to write about. In fact, writer's block may often be about living too much in your head and not taking renewal from the life going on around you.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back and Home, Remembering the Trip

Mont Blanc
Julien and Camille

What a lovely week I had with my nephew and his family in France. They live just outside the village of Moisin in a rural area with several small farms and breathtaking views of the Jura mountains on one side, and the Salève mountains on the other. It was a trip long overdue. The morning after I arrived, my grand-niece, Camille, and my grand-nephew, Julien (who visited us in March), took me to the top of Salève where I was able to get a good view of the French alps and Mont Blanc. 

Later that afternoon, I took a walk through the village of Moisin to the road that is a French part of the road to Santiago in Galicia, as I mentioned last week. The road goes up to a little chapel that the pilgrims visit, although I was too tired to walk up that far. 
Here are a couple of pictures of the icon marking the road, though:

Notice the clam shell motif on the blue background.
 My nephew, David, had been away on a business trip when I first arrived Tuesday evening, but he returned Thursday. He works in computer technology, and Brigitte teaches English and also has a hypnotherapy business. One day we went into her office in Geneva. 

Brigitte in her office.
Both are wonderful cooks. I felt spoiled with wonderful dishes like quiche, and fondue, and salmon with a lemon bechamel sauce, and some increidible baked cheese dish called Mont d'Or, as well as beans and potaoes persillade, a treatment that basically cooks vegetables with parsley and garlic. (Sigh.)  David cooks a pretty great tomato pie, too.                            

Most of the week was really spent in catching up on news and sharing books and interests in the ways you never really can on Facebook or emails -- although I'm glad there are those ways, because one can't always bridge the miles any other way. But face to face and hugs to hugs are unbeatable. 

Nicolas singing.
David and their kids have a band (that includes other friends as well).  David plays guitar and sings. Both sons play guitar; the older son, Nicolas, and the daugher, Camille, both sing, and the younger son, Julien, pays drums. His girlfriend, Jessica, also sings, and another friend, Valentin, plays bass. Here are some pictures of them rehearsing Sunday in the basement for a gig they'll play next month:
Valentin on Bass

Camille singing.
Julien on Drums

The whole shebang.
Jessica singing.
And afterwards they gathered around the table to enjoy the pumpkin pie David baked.


The week slipped by, listening to music, reading, talking, and eating great food. The day before I left Brigitte and I went into Geneva, and she showed me around the old town with its historical buildings before we had lunch at a cafe, sitting outdoors and people watching. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera. But that afternoon, I took another walk through the village, and here are just a few pictures of this picturesque place.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to paint such lovely buildings? Trees were just turning despite the late fall and the mild temperatures. Hillsides werebursting with beautiful colors. Too soon, too soon it was over, but I came back with a treasure of memories.

On another note, Eve E. (who has a very enjoyable blog) passed the One Lovely Blog Award back to me about a week and a half ago, but I was too busy packiing and unpacking to acknowledge that. thanks Eve! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

All Roads Lead to . . . . Santiago. The Santiago Connection.

Santiago Cathedral, photo by my husband

     I am visiting my nephew and his family in France. Their home is just on the edge of the small village of Moisin, about 20 minutes away from Geneva. I'm able to make this visit because I had mileage with United—miles I had to use before October 31st or lose
The Alps from the French side (my photo)

As it turns out, a small chapel at the top of a hill in the village of Moisin is one of the pilgrim stops for pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostela. A road edging the village has the familiar clam shell icon that signifies St. James and the pilgrim's road. I must say, having looked at similar sign posts on roads in Galicia less than a month ago, I was quite moved by this connection.
The road (el camino) runs right through the village of Moisin, where my nephew lives. 
     I was also pleased to find out earlier this year that Martin Sheen (one of my favorite actors) has a personal link to Galicia. His father came from Galicia, near Santiago. Sheen's real name is Ramon Estevez, and he's made a movie with his director son, Emilio Estevez, called The Way. It's a fictional tale that takes place on a pilgrimage (often called El Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James). I am so looking forward to seeing this movie. 

     I'm not sure exactly where the French pilgrimage begins, just as I'm not quite sure where the pilgrimage in Portugal starts. Obviously there are more roads, and I'll be interested to find out how many more countries have a pilgrimage walk to Santiago. Meanwhile, tomorrow I plant to wander up the hill to the chapel where pilgrims walking this leg of the journey stop. And, who knows, one day I might actually go on the walk myself, or at least a portion of it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rachael's Third Challenge

Rachael's third challenge for the campaign has come round, and once again it's quite a challenge. Here are the rules:
             Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:
  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.
Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

So here goes: It's a flash fiction, exactly 300 words, using all 5 senses, all 3 made-up words, showing instead of telling. Whew!

Cry of the Synbatec  

Opal finger-combs her straggly gray hair, wriggling her toes in the sand. She stares at the rose and golden clouds, trying to imagine faces in them the way she did as a girl. No luck. She turns her head and watches Ralph wading in the dawn-flecked waves. A scene meant to recapture earlier days, along with last night’s bonfire and roasted hotdogs, along with sleeping under the star-powdered sky. 
“Opal!” Ralph waves a flabby arm. Opal sighs and looks farther up the shore, where a young couple in tank suits and flippers stride toward the waves. The salt in the air has a sulfurous undertone, probably from seaweed strewn along the sand, although it seems behind her as well. Behind her, too, a shrill cry cuts through the rumbling surf and lapping waves. 
Damn seagulls. Last night they kept pacing around their hot-dog roast, and Ralph would throw pieces of bun! 
Frankly, Opal would like to go home and shower off all the sand. She swallows, thinking of buckwheat pancakes drenched with sweet, viscous honey, topped with foamy Cool Whip. Then she’d stretch out on the sofa and watch re-runs of Tacise. Morning after morning, criminals prove no match for Tacise. No thief is wily enough. No drug lord’s hideaway secure. The actor who plays Tacise is a Republican, too. Opal nods to herself. She has read his biography on Wikipedia.
“Opal!” Ralph calls, louder this time, hands cupped around his mouth. His face crinkles with worry. A breeze swallows his next word. It sounds like wastopaneer! Or maybe, what’s it near? But that makes no sense.
“Watch out! It’s nearer!” he almost screams. 
The shrill cry behind her comes again. Opal turns in time to see the Synbatec’s wings billow wide before enfolding her.

If you like this, it's #35 on the linky list.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Belated Award Passes

We are back from Galica -- got in late, late Saturday night -- and now I'm playing "catch up". Just after arrival in Galicia I received two nice awards from Michele Helene at A Wanderer in Paris . My apologies for dragging my heels on passing them on, but I didn't spend a lot of time on the Internet this trip.

Here are the awards:

The 1st Award (Liebster Blog) is for someone who has less than 200 followers. This award has five rules:

1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them. That's Michele Helene (see link above). 
2. Reveal five picks more pics, let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. (Done; see below.)
3. Post the award on your blog. (Done; see above.)
4. Bask in the camaraderie of the most supportive people on the internet. (So true. Bloggers ARE supportive.)

5. Have bloggity fun and spread the love. (Siempre!)

The Second Blog Award (One Lovely Blog Award) has only two rules.
1. Thank and link to the person who nominates you: Michelle Helene, merci and gracias! (See link above.)
2. Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it! (Done. See below.)  

The Liebster Blog Award goes to:

1.  J. A. Bennett at A Book, A Girl, A Journey 
2.  Jess at Write. Skate. Dream
3.  Gail Shepherd at Paradoxy
4.  M. G. Higgins at M. G. Higgins
5.  Máire Rua at Máire Rua Writes

The One Lovely Blog Award goes to these recently discovered sites:
1.  First and foremost is Rachael Harrie's blog, Rach Writes, a super blog designed to help other bloggers discover each other. It's through her blog I've discovered so many of the sites below.
3.   Ali Cross
4.   Eve.E at Clueless Eve
10. Kelley at Between the Bookends
11.  Lauren Boyd at My Path to Publication
14.  Sheril Swift   
15. Jennifer Burke at Jen's Bookshelf

And there you have it. These are all good sites to visit, do go and enjoy the reads and information these bloggers share.

Meanwhile, I am eagerly looking forward to Rachael's third challenge which is supposed to be posted sometime today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From Imagos to Vendimias and Burras

The Campaign and a cold have bumped my blogging a little on this trip. (So many entries, so little time to read them!) It’s been quite a pleasure clicking around, seeing the various takes on Rachael’s challenge. The stories and poems have been truly impressive. (I will never look at any of those challenge words the same way again!) And one good thing about a cold is that it gives you permission to loll around and read books loaned by friends. 
Meanwhile, life moves on in Galicia. Our neighbors finished their vendimia (grape harvest) Saturday. It was a two day process, as the grapes have been plentiful this year. Friends and relatives pitch in with one person's harvest, and then it's reciprocal. After Saturday's vendimia, quite a few gathered at the bench at day’s end, pleased to be done with the picking. I could understand some of what they said, but we are learning Castiliano. When our neighbors get together, they lapse into Gallego, a language similar to both Castiliano and Portuguese. I could pick up bits of vocabulary I knew: “grapes”, “yet”, “field”, “town”,  "tractor", etc. But it’s always a pleasure just to listen to the musical rise and fall of their voices, their good-hearted laughter; to watch their mobile expressions, their gesticulations. And they have a way of making you part of the gathering from time to time with a sweeping glance, an arm pat, or by throwing out a question they know you can answer.
This has been one of our warmest trips. (We come in spring and fall.) Evenings and mornings are temperate, when normally they would be quite cool during this season. Days are downright hot. We’ve had to use a floor fan for long periods. There was only one day when we had a bit of rain. And the flies and mosquitoes, alas, are plentiful. I have a fly swatter on a hook in every room, and at night we leave a small lamp on to keep the mosquitos away.
Earlier last week we went with friends to a beautiful coastal town called Baiona, a bay town on the Atlantic coast (farther south than Fisterra, where we went during our spring trip.) Baiona has an interesting “old town” with stone columns supporting walkways under 2nd stories, colorful tiled walls, a stone church full of carved saints, narrow cobbled streets at angles. Cafés overlook the sandy beach and tde wall across the road and the colorful fishing boats beyond. Several islands dot the pale blue waters. On the southern curve of the bay an old castle has been transformed into a parador with a hotel and restaurants. The main building, the part with hotel rooms, looks modern, but there is still the ancient tower and a crenelated wall surrounding gardens lush with red and orange lantana and angel trumpet bushes. It was an all day trip and we finished up with a late dinner at our friends’ house, getting home around 2:00 a.m.
Usually we rise around 6:30 or 7:00 (when it’s still dark then in these parts). But after late nights, we sleep later and are wakened by Miguel’s burra from one of his outbuildings across the lane, hee-hawing for her breakfast. When we first started coming here, Miguel kept his sheep in the building and we would wake to their pitiful bleating. This year he’s moved them to another outbuilding to make room for the donkey. She’s a beautiful creature; deep gray with a black mane, a thin black line down her spine, and a black stripe down each shoulder. And, I must say, a sweet expression on her long face.  
Meanwhile, we've been visiting friends and having friends over for Indian food, and a week and a half ago we took in the local fiesta in Toiriz:: I’ll write about that later, as well as another fiesta we are going to in Lugo this Sunday, since fiestas deserve their own posts.

I am sorry to say we haven't downloaded any pictures from this trip yet. The two pictures above are from previous trips, one of the burra, and one of an early stage of our neighbors' winemaking process a couple of years ago, after the grapes were all picked. Meanwhile, today they are all pruning the vines to get ready for next year. 

More to come, so stay tuned.  Hasta entonces, and ciao for now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Campaign Challenge #2 -- The Imago

So here goes for the 2nd Campaign Challenge Rachael Harrie gave us at Rach Writes. The challenge was to write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title, that includes the word "imago" in the title and in the body of the post includes the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity". For an added challenge make reference to a mirror in the post. For an even greater challenge, make the post 200 words exactly. All criteria are met (after much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair.)

The Imago  (Picture courtesy of

                                                     The Imago

Arms folded, Nyla stares through the beveled glass door into the galería. Somehow, the glass is both mirror and window. Superimposed on the polished floors of the sunlit galeria beyond, her reflection stares back, as if bemused. 
When Nyla was younger, in the miasma of grief that pervaded her home, she sometimes caught mental glimpses of who she might become away from her family’s confused dynamics. These glimpses led her on, in hopes of escaping the pain that oscitated inside her, as one family member after another went down dubious roads to disaster. Now, through some synchronicity, her decision to teach English in Spain has allowed her to catch up the person she hoped to be. 
Or has it? When Nyla raises a hand to brush a wisp of hair back from her face, her reflection remains motionless, arms folded. How can that be? 
Uneasily, Nyla forces a smile—a smile that isn’t returned. Is the woman in the glass not a reflection after all? Is the beveled glass in the door some lacuna opening into another dimension? Nyla’s thoughts whirl and scatter, reaching for an explanation.
The imago beckons, then reaches a hand through the glass, and Nyla screams.

This is linky entry # 128.