Saturday, May 23, 2020

Writing Prompt Saturday ~ 5 Story Starter Prompts

Holy moly. Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have lost all sense of days and time. If it weren't for my cell phone and computer, I'd never know the date or what day it is. How crazy is that?

That's one of the reasons I try to keep writing, even if it's just re-editing something. Keep that mind going, people!

Alrighty, it's been a while since we've done story starter prompts so why don't we give those a go today? I like doing these sorts of prompts because they can take you in any direction, inspire you to motivate your 'normal' genre and it's a great way to practice for flash fiction and other contests that use this sort of prompt.

The key is to not think too much beforehand. Just read the prompt and write the first thing that comes to your mind then build a story around it. I've come up with quite a few short stories and creative nonfiction pieces using this tactic so I hope you find it as useful.

Here we go:

  1. As she opened the door, an overwhelming stench instantly made her eyes water.
  2. Well, that's something you don't see every day, he thought.
  3. The silence was so deafening, she was afraid to even breathe.
  4. He limped into the room, his clothes soaked with sweat, mud and blood.
  5. It's over, she thought. It's finally over.
Okee dokee. Now it's all in your hands. See what you can come up with and feel free to share.

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Coping In Social Isolation ~ Signal For Help

One of the most difficult things we've had to endure from the outset of the pandemic is having to isolate/quartine from friends, family and other social relationships. It's hard enough to be paranoid of every person we come in contact with who aren't living with us on a daily basis, but becoming a limited company creates or enhances several other issues. Just by doing light research online, we are now bombarded with stories of a huge rise in substance abuse and violence, which often go hand-in-hand even without a worldwide health crisis going on.

Here in my own province (Alberta), the amount of women and children seeking safety elsewhere to escape violence at home only adds to the ever-growing fear that in saving the most vulnerable right now will result in over-crowding - something that will also increase the spread of Covid. So, essentially, this group is between a rock and a hard place: one fear of having to avoid social contact with others to stay healthy but also fear of being trapped in a place that is supposed to be safe and is anything but. 

There are many online resources for those seeking help, both to find better ways of coping with the anxiety and stress of living in our new world, but ways to reach out when immediate help is needed. Maintaining ultimate control through fear is one of the main components of an abuser's intentions and the way we must live right now gives that to them...or so they may believe.

I saw a commercial the other day from the Woman's Foundation of Canada. In it, a woman is video chatting with a friend. Seems innocent enough, right? The woman was asking her friend about a recipe for banana bread, but we quickly see that the recipe wasn't the purpose for the chat. We see a man walking in the background and the woman gives her friend a signal to indicate she's in trouble. (Watch the video below). What a brilliant way to send out a quiet 'SOS' in a subtle way.

This commercial touched me in a very deep way as if there had been internet access or cell phones decades ago, so many women and children would have been able to ask for help without making the situation worse before that help arrived.

I have written for this foundation several times as I have witnessed abused, saved others from it and experienced it myself. If you know someone who needs help but is scared to reach out, please pass this information on to him or her as a way to let you know to send assistance. Give someone a voice to isn't strong enough to use their own. You might even save a life.

Yes, we will get through these uncertain times together. Let's make sure we all get through as safely as we can.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Music Mantra Monday ~ Feel Good Song!

I hope all the mommies out there had a fantastic Mother's Day yesterday and were spoiled.

Mine was great. I had all four of my babies here and they went out of their way to make me feel special, as they always do. Don't get me wrong. Even on a festive day, fights, arguments and general verbal smackdowns will occur (we are talking about 4 teenagers after all). But even with that in the mix, all I cared about was having them here with me and doing stuff together.

One thing I love to do is sitting together and watching a movie. Last night's choice was "Avengers: End Game". I mean, really. What mom (or any female for that matter) wouldn't want to soak in Thor, Ironman, Dr. Strange and others all in one movie? Plus, they had my Loki in it too (flashbacks count, people!). If they had Aquaman in there too, this mom would be watching it on a daily basis. I digress...

We actually went to see this when it first came out in the theatre and, of course, bought the movie when it came out on BlueRay. It also included the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy which I also love, especially the soundtrack. So, of course, when this song came on we were all singing it for the rest of the day.

So, there is my little background of why I chose this tune for today's segment. Aside from the fact it's a fantastic movie that even the non-superhero followers would like, the music is awesome. It's what I call "feel good" music and we could all use more of that right now.

Enjoy today's song choice.

Be safe and stay healthy.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Gardening With Kids ~ Starting New

I wasn't going to plant a garden this year. I guess, admittedly, I have allowed the negative energy around all of us right now to make its way into my usual positive perspective. But after a little inner chat, I decided there were three things this awful worldwide scare wasn't going to take away from me: my passions, my hopes, and my joys.

My passions are the creative activities I turn to that help calm my soul ~ music, writing, and nature.

My hopes are what I do on a daily basis to maintain my existence I've been blessed enough to have ~ health, meditation and inner peace.

My joys are, quite simply, anything and everything I do with and for my children. They are my life source and my reason to stay strong and keep living. Their happiness is what I strive for every day and what keeps me strong enough to keep moving forward.

That all being said, gardening is a way to have a sprinkle of all of those things together. I was fortunate to have been surrounded by nature my entire childhood and have had my own children create beautiful and bountiful gardens with me where we can laugh, share, and create new life together.

So, join us every Sunday for fun times in our garden. I'm no expert, but maybe we can pass along some tips to get you gardening with your kids. :)

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Writing Prompt Saturday ~ Picture THIS!

I absolutely love picture prompts. Some of my best stories (and a couple of my books) have stemmed simply from looking at a photograph and allowing my feelings to take over. After all, as a writer/author, your words have to bring a reader into a story and see everything around them the way you do.

So, here is one for you for today's segment. What does this picture mean to you? What is it saying? Is the girl afraid, whistful, seeking answers? Where is she? What is the significance of the birds?

I re-discovered this picture when I was going through my files. As odd as it may sound, this being Mental Health Awareness Month, it actually triggered a couple of articles and a guest blog post. Of course, each of us will see and experience different emotions.

You don't need to be an expert writer to come up with even just a paragraph or two based on this photograph. See what you can come up with and feel free to share!

Happy writing.

Video trailer for BLACKBIRD FLIES!

Video Trailor for JUST SHUT UP and DRIVE