Winter Outing #SOL19


Two Writing Teachers run the Slice of Life tag ever Tuesday, where readers and writers are encouraged to write and share something about their life or day. You can check out the tag here.

On this past snowy, windy, winter Saturday my hubby and I went to a local used bookstore and a Harry Potter inspired cafe in the little downtown where we live. Because of the impending winter storm all the books were $1 unless they were new. (It really was just winter but $1 books are hard to pass up no matter what the reason!)

Green Door used books a cozy place that has local art and self-published zines. Floor to ceiling bookshelves and wood plank floors. I felt right at home with books everywhere including stacked on the floor.

The owner was friendly. He asked if I needed to get to the shelves of self-help and spirituality since he was sitting in front of it. I smiled and said I was good. A salty old man who seems to spend the bulk of his time there laughed at my answer. They were both friendly, welcoming, and informative but not overbearing. I will go back for sure. We purchased 4 books while we were there 2 for me and 2 for my hubby. One of which was the Paris review with the poetry of Billy Collins – well worth a buck.

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Then we took a little walk a couple doors down to the corner cafe encased in brick. It is Harry Potter inspired with games and large tables for gaming and sitting. It doesn’t open til 11 so it more for a place to come and stay rather than just run in for your morning coffee. The place was packed and all the tables taken when we got there but the comfy couch in front of the fake fireplace was perfect for us to consume our drinks. I had the pleasure of having butter beer at universal studios when I visited Diagon alley years ago. Here the specialty drink is a butter brew. Caramel, butterscotch, and toffee with a shot of espresso and butterscotch whipped cream. Definitely had to start with the signature drink. It did not disappoint. I had read they often run out of it before the end of the day. My hubby ended up with a hot chocolate. He wanted white chocolate but they were out that day.


It was cozy and full of life. Another place i will return to. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon after going to the gym in the morning.

The first weekend of February we are going to venture to Chicago to visit the American Writer Museum and a bookstore downtown TBD. I am already looking forward to it!

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How Did I Become A Serious Writer?

Reading and writing are best friends. I am participating in the DIYMFA Book Club again and this post is inspired by the DIYMFA site and book club. The last time I wrote about my origin story was from the POV of my first run in with writing. It infected me them and you can read about it here.

The question I am reflecting on is: ” How did I become a serious writer?” In October of 2016 I found Gabriela’s podcast. Through that podcast I found Julie Duffy and her STORYADAY challenge and website. I had missed Julie’s September storyaday challenge so I challenged myself to a self imposed month of writing a story a day. That process led me to sign up for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and the habit stuck. THis was also when I found short stories were my niche. It is hard to quit writing when you have written everyday for 2 months. That first NANO I wrote short stories everyday and didn’t look back.

I also seriously began posting on my blog and started calling myself a writer after the first of the year 2017.

May rolled around and I participated in the May storyaday and wrote a whole folder of stories inspired by Julie’s prompts. I also gained a writing group. I took the plunge and took advantage of the Superstars group Julie offered. For support, she offered more materials and a special forum for us to talk about writing and the challenge.

What else do I do? I make time to write everyday. I started reading more about craft. I learned more about blogging and how to get more traffic and how to write better content. I read A LOT – short stories and craft books. I interacted with other writers online and found a local in real life writing group.

I recently took a class from a well respected flash fiction writer and learned more from the feedback and a critique in three weeks than most of the reading I have done about editing over the last year and a half. I hope to be able to take another class with her soon.

The next step? I am submitting. I ordered business cards this morning that list writer FIRST. I am in the lottery (fingers crossed) to get into Kathy Fish’s flash writing class. If not now, I will keep trying.

I have committed to the writing. Everyday, THAT is what makes me a serious writer…getting the words on the page (or screen).

Winter Wet Flash

Here is my flash fiction piece inspired by the photo below and Indies Unlimited.


Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Mama would forgive a lot of actions, but muddy boots through her house was not one of them. She would get over my tone, or my back talk but not mud footprints laced with blood on the floorboards of the shack.

Mama’s moods were like that. They made no sense.

I had been walking what felt like days, trying to muster the courage to face her.

She wouldn’t trade muddy prints for me leaving easily but it was time.

It was the one decision I was gonna make in my whole life that went against her. I had carried all the curses from my family and it was time to come clean.

I stood in the doorway facing her back stirring the venison stew.

“I’m not coming back. Authorities will find me here and I cannot put you in danger.”

I saw her spine tighten and her stirring hand holding the spoon become a fist. She couldn’t punch the stew but she could punch me , which shaded my choice of staying put.

“I have to Mama. I have carried the curse and I have to break it.”

“This isn’t the way,” she whispered to the ceiling.

I waited.

“Are you comin in to eat?” She turned and looked at me from top to bottom settling on my boots.

“Too much mud,” I turned to leave.

Full Moon Inspiration

I love the website Writer Unboxed. They have an exciting conference in November I am hoping to get to as well in Salem, MA. I visited there while I was in the area for the Boston Marathon in 2012 and it has a hold on me.

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Today’s Writer Unboxed post is written by
Leigh Medeiros . There is a little writing contest attached as well which you can read here.

The prompt she shared from her new book intrigued me and I wrote this story for it. I am crossing my fingers I win her new book!

Prompt:

Two people are falling in love – literally. Pen a short existential tale about a couple who falls in love while endlessly falling through the sky.

Plummet to Death or Love – I Don’t Care for Either One

I cannot believe you talked me into this.

I glare at him but he had no idea what I am thinking. The grin on his face is so large his eyes look beady. Like a mole.

We are done after this. SO done.

My fear keeps me laughing at the wrong time but no one can hear me since the plane engine is so loud.

The instructor yells, “ON 3! 1,2,3, GO!

I scream now and I bet all of Pasadena can hear me.

His buttery face is still grinning. The more elated he gets causes the opposite effect on me.

The force of us hurtling toward the ground – and our deaths I am sure of it causes his face to look like play-doh pummeled against the wall repeatedly by a kid. It is not a good look. Gross.

The hate for him is in my throat for making me jump…

The landscape is so pretty from this altitude.

My heart is pumping so hard I bet I am burning major calories!

I am kinda enjoying myself.

He really looks like a big kid with his flight suit rippling like a flag in a windstorm.

My love who fancies himself an astronaut. This is the closest he is gonna get.

Isn’t there a phenomenon where fear makes you fall in love?

PULL THE CORD! PULL THE CORD!

FMF: Influence

Influence is a trigger word for me. I want to have positive impactful influence but I want it to be subtle, not brash and overdone. My feelings are influence is supposed to be quiet and not beating people over the head with it which comes off as more coercion and aggression. Neither of which are very effective.

My hope is to influence people with my writing. For it to make a difference they have to read it of course. This idea came up last night at my writers group around the idea of self publishing, publishing on the internet, and traditional routes.

Many things influence my life and therefore my writing. The writing group is an influence. There was more critique yesterday and conversation about the writing read which was helpful and more enjoyable for me. It seemed like it had been forever since I  had attended. I missed the one meeting this month but my personal goal is really to just be there one out of the two meeting per month.

My fountain pen influences my writing.

Podcasts influence my writing.

Connections and interactions influence my writing. These include people,  text, video, and cards.

The feel of typing on the chromebook influences my writing.

What influence do I want to have? I want to encourage people to read. That is through books I recommend or “book push” or my own writing. Reading is the gateway and I am an advocate!

20 Little Joys

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

  1. Blogging and connecting with people
  2. Cheap materials for at home games – amazing what you can do with a bunch of SOLO cups!
  3. Running outside in the fall
  4. Hot dark coffee
  5. Fresh baked bread
  6. Twitter community
  7. #NANOWRIMO
  8. The Next Right Thing podcast from Emily P. Freeman
  9. Clothes that smell like fabric softener
  10. Chicken pita for dinner with cucumber and garlic herb chicken – YUM!
  11. SmartWool socks
  12. Doc Martin shoes and boots
  13. A surprise 2 hour delay!
  14. A bonus or new episode on your favorite podcasts
  15. My fountain pen
  16. Jokes among a small specific group of friends
  17. Sharing your writing and having people respond positively
  18. The possibility of getting into a writing class you REALLY want
  19. Minnesota
  20. LOVE

What brings you joy?

Fine, Fine Professional Development and Llama Tuesday

Better Conversations – Jim Knight

I have been wowed this year by some amazing PD. The Better Conversations workshop was a full day. The participants found clock partners from the room which was filled with Coaches from my district and 3 surrounding states. We all stood up and found 12 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 8 o’clock partners and wrote their name down. We found them later for each section of the workshop as directed by Jim.

Jim joked that he is from Canada and he wouldn’t do anything goofy. It was a well-run workshop that was worthwhile and life-giving. 

One of the activities centered around 5 questions that I have been using since that Thursday of training. They seem simple. The exercise we used was to ask our partner the question and then give them 1 minute to answer and we could not talk. It was eye-opening.

Communication is essential for a fulfilled life yet we are all so bad at it sometimes.

Bungay’s 5 Coaching Habit Questions

  1. What’s on your mind?
  2. What’s the real challenge?
  3. What else?
  4. What do you want?
  5. What was the most useful from this conversation?

It was odd how personal and intimate the conversations became with a stranger – even though the thinking before the exercise was to not get too personal in many of the pairs. I still plan to use the exercise with my teachers at a Workshop Wednesday. Conversation is supposed to be nourishing for both parties. These questions are helping me use my #oneword for the year – CONNECT.

It is Llama TUESDAY!!!

Flash Fiction Contest

Check out the Indies Unlimited site for a flash contest.

I have a story this time – come check them out. You can vote for a winner starting on Wednesday (Jan 16)

There is open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

apples and fur spokane ren faire 2018 flash fiction prompt copyright K. S. Brooks

Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Poison Apples

The last visual in my conscious mind was laying back to sleep. The ceiling looked fuzzy and blackened quickly. With my eyes open I now see myself lying on the bear skin with an apple in my outstretched hand. How very Snow White of me. I do not know how much time has passed. Apples were all around me on the pelt to tempt me. I hadn’t seen apples in five years and I couldn’t resist.

My hand slides through the furniture as if it is not there. My eyes fall onto a piece of paper that seems on my plane. I move toward it not sure of reality, while continually glancing at my form that is not moving.

A second life is possible. The parameters are simple. For a gift of 20 years I perform weekly requirements. Tasks of service but no questions or deviations. If rules are not followed death will be immediate.

I sign the page, there is nothing to lose.

I sit up on the pelt. The first task is simply to compliment every person I talk to. No issues.

Week two the card requires me to apologize to my mother even though she is wrong. I refuse. I am immediately compelled to an apple which I bite into and once again I see myself laying on the floor apple in outstretched hand.

Will I ever learn? This time the paper says I can only live for ten.

#MentorTextMonday

Photo by Victor on Pexels.com

I recently read the essay, Laugh, Kookaburra by David Sedaris printed in The New Yorker. You can read the essay here.

I like the idea of favorite lines from a poem, essay, or short story to use as a writing springboard.

Here are the quotes from this essay I will be writing with as inspiration:

When Australians say “the bush,” they mean the woods. The forest.

…she invited us to picture a four-burner stove…

This was not a real stove but a symbolic one, used to prove a point at a management seminar she’s once attended. “One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.” The gist, she said, was that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.

#happyreading