Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of June 26

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some creativity.

If you’re on the US east coast, it’s just after 9 AM, which means you are either at work in the office, or you slept through your alarm clock, so GET UP! Let’s get you motivated for this Monday morning and for the week ahead.

In my June Agenda post, I said I would be testing a new flash fiction challenge that would get your creative juices flowing. Today marks the last week of the Monday’s One-Minute Fiction test trial, so if you like the challenge, participate or it’ll be gone forever!

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less (but if you need less than a minute to write a story, you are definitely a pro), based on the prompt provided!

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

So without further ado, here is this week’s prompt . . .

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of June 19

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some creativity.

If you’re on the US east coast, it’s 9 AM, which means you are either at work in the office, or you slept through your alarm clock, so GET UP! Let’s get you motivated for this Monday morning and for the week ahead.

In my June Agenda post, I said I would be testing a new flash fiction challenge that would get your creative juices flowing. Today marks week three of the Monday’s One-Minute Fiction test trial, so if you like the challenge, participate or it’ll be gone forever!

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less (but if you need less than a minute to write a story, you are definitely a pro), based on the prompt provided!

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

So without further ado, here is this week’s prompt. Maybe you love them, maybe you hate them and secretly desire for them to spontaneously combust under a magnifying glass in the summer sun. With the first day of summer coming this Wednesday, you’re likely to see more of them . . . or not—they may be quickly disappearing like their cousins the bumblebee . . .

wasp

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

Lovely Curses’ Next Serial Story: You Decide

Earlier this month in my Agenda post, I told you that I was eager to get started on my next serial story, but I that needed your help in deciding. Which one of my favorite Short Story a Day May stories should I expand into a series?

Well, the votes came in, and there weren’t many, so I’m reopening the poll, because I really want to engage my readers, especially those of you who stuck around while I was dealing with my chronic writer’s block. You’ve truly been loyal and I want to reward you!

So yes, YOU have to decide! While I do have my preferences, I won’t be making the decision this time. I’m leaving it up to you. The future of my blog is in your hands. No pressure…

To refresh your memory, here are your options.

  • Widow — A story about a woman who sets her house on fire, killing her husband and infant child. If chosen, this series will begin before the events of “Widow” take place to explain what led her to such horrendous act of violence.
  • For the Sake of Humanity — In this dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale, a young woman takes her adopted ward on a quest to find the last remaining humans on earth. If their search is successful, she’ll avoid having to go through with the promise she made to the young boy’s dying mother to not let the human race die with them.
  • Dreams are Real — Does true love every really die? Lovers grow apart, they embark on separate paths that lead to different careers, pursuits, marriages, kids, etc. But one day, someday, they eventually find their way back to each other, right? If it was meant to be. This story is all about the possibilities of a nostalgic lover’s dreams of reunion coming true.
  • One Night Stand — This story is a continuation of the “White Jesus” storyline. I haven’t quite developed a plot for this series, but it would have a very urban, Living Single vibe to it. This series would follow the shenanigans of three friends: Lyndra, the main protagonist, her ex-boyfriend, Levon, and his buddy, the philosophical pothead, Philip, aka White Jesus.
  • Dry Spell — In this fun, witty tale, a 34-year-old, sexually inexperienced divorcee, tries to get laid with the help of her promiscuous, sexually liberated friend.

You have your five choices, now it’s time for you to vote! Let me know your favorite story in the comments. Eventually, I’ll probably serialize all these stories, but your selection will take top priority. You have until next Thursday to cast your vote. I’m really counting on you, so don’t let me down!

 

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of June 12

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some creativity.

If you’re on the US east coast, it’s just after 9 AM, which means you are either at work in the office, or you slept through your alarm clock, so GET UP! Let’s get you motivated for this Monday morning and for the week ahead.

In my June Agenda post, I said I would be testing a new flash fiction challenge that would get your creative juices flowing. Today marks week two of the Monday’s One-Minute Fiction test trial, so if you like the challenge, participate or it’ll be gone forever!

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less (but if you need less than a minute to write a story, you are definitely a pro), based on the prompt provided!

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

So without further ado, this week’s prompt takes us on a trip down memory lane to the fables and lessons we learned in the short-lived Moral Mondays challenge . . .

Don’t touch

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of June 5

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some creativity.

If you’re on the US east coast, it’s just after 9 AM, which means you are either at work in the office, or you slept through your alarm clock, so GET UP! Let’s light a fire under your bum and get you motivated for this Monday morning and for the week ahead.

In my June Agenda post, I said I would be testing a new flash fiction challenge, and here it is! Monday’s One-Minute Fiction! Similar to Twittering Tales, Six Word Stories, Flash in a Flash, and countless others, you will be asked to write a complete micro fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less (but if you need less than a minute to write a story, you are definitely a pro), based on the prompt provided!

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too. So without further ado, here is your prompt for this week:

Now time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

Sunday Morning Word Has a New Home!

Sunday Morning Word has moved to a new site! This is a project I’ve been working on for years now, both here, and on my other blog, Single . . . Mingle Me Not. It’s come and gone over the years as I’ve repeatedly put it on the back burner for months at a time, wanting to focus on different things. But God continues to bring it back to the forefront, and I’ve come to accept that this is my assignment from Him—to teach His word and simplify it in a way that others will understand. But instead of bogging it down and having it get lost amid the content of my other blogs, I’ve created a dedicated blog for it. And no, I won’t only be posting on Sundays; there will be much more content to come.

So head over and read my first post about why bad things happen to good people, and feel free to follow!

Source: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

June Writing Bug: What’s Next on the Agenda?

We did it! Yay! ¡Lo Hicimos! 

Now that I’ve shown my age ( 😉 ), let’s talk about writing, and writing A LOT.

After wallowing in my own self-pity for many months due to the incessant beast that is writer’s block, I’m happy to announce that I’ve caught the writing bug! For the last two months I’ve been writing nonstop, posting almost every day for April’s A to Z Challenge and May’s Short Story a Day Challenge, and during the first week of May, I also participated in the poetry challenge, #fapalywo. My followers have slowly started to come back to visit, now that I’ve assured them I won’t disappear again. It feels good to be back to form.

But now it’s June, and I don’t want to wear myself down by committing to another month-long writing challenge. I could already feel it starting to become a burden toward the end May. I was reaching for good short story ideas. The last week and a half of prompts weren’t all that inspiring, so I really had to force myself to write something. The ironic thing is the stories I posted in the last week of May seemed to have been the most popular. That is truly a confidence boost, so thank you. (You really like me!)

One of my goals for May was to write a new short story to submit to literary magazines. I haven’t had anything published since 2015, mainly because I haven’t written anything. For the second half of this year, it is my hope to change that. Unfortunately, that will have to wait at least another month, because I didn’t get to write the story yet. I have an idea for what could be a strong story. To give you the basic premise, it’s a redemptive tale about a wayward woman who wanders into a church service one Sunday morning and has a life-changing experience. I’m still working out the details in my head, but while that story is still in progress, another rose to the surface while I was deep in the trenches of Short Story A Day May.

In short story #10, “I Can’t Stay,” I was exploring a story that came to me in a dream a few years ago about a woman who is running from her current boyfriend and has a “chance encounter” with her ex/the one who got away. I brought it back and expanded a little more with short story #31, “To Rewind Time,” and I think short story #26, “A Mother Still,” will also be a part of that story arc. So I will spend this month further developing the story and bringing it all together, and hopefully by July, I’ll be back to submitting to magazines and receiving more rejection letters than acceptance notices. (Hey, you gotta laugh at these things sometimes).

One portion of the Short Story A Day May Challenge that I really enjoyed was novel week. It not only gave me the opportunity to do some further sketching for my NaNoWriMo novel, Lost Boy, but I also got to revisit some characters I haven’t looked at in two years: Jessica, Whitmore, and Bruce, from my 2015 A to Z Challenge melodrama, Love PoetryAnd it gave me a wonderful idea—Why not write this novella (which I should have finished in 2015) for Camp NaNoWriMo in July? Camp isn’t as strenuous as the real deal in November; at least here we can choose our own writing goals, so if I don’t make it to 50,000 words, I won’t be a total failure. Camp will also prepare me for writing (and hopefully finishing) my first novel, Lost Boy, for NaNoWriMo in November. (My heart is pounding just thinking about it!)

So I took fifteen minutes to sketch out a quick outline for Love Poetry, which is slightly different from what I posted back in April 2015 but not too much, and for July (so you don’t think I’ve disappeared again), I’ll be taking a chapter out of fellow blogger, Marquessa’s, book (I hope she doesn’t mind), and while all my focus will be on completing Love Poetry for Camp NaNoWriMo (what’s ironic is that I first attempted to write this novel back in 2012 for, you guessed it, NaNoWriMo 😀 ), I’ll be re-posting my 2015 A to Z Challenge, along with other Whitmore and Jessica related stories (because I have more than a month’s worth). If you’re a new follower since May 2015, you’ll be getting a treat, and for those of you who’ve been here a while, a blast from the past!

Getting back to June, I have a few ideas on where I want to take this blog moving forward, but I need your help.

First, I am overdue for another serial story. If you want to check out previous (completed) serial stories, read the Buried Series from the beginning here, and my 2016 A to Z novella, 26 Husbands—26 Unusual Deaths here. I thought my next series would be Oceanview, but while attempting to write Part 3 for one of the Short Story a Day prompts, I went completely blank. So that story goes back to the drawing board for now. However, I did write a few stories that are a little more developed and could possibly be expanded into a series. Below are the links to those stories. Which one do you think I should turn into a series? Vote in the poll, and I’ll reveal the winner next week!

For the Sake of Humanity

Widow

Dreams are Real

One Night Stand (from the “White Jesus” story line)

Dry Spell

 

Was there a story not included above that you would like to see in a series? Not a problem. Let me know in the comments, and I’ll consider it in the voting too.

Also in June I’m doing a test trial for a new Flash Fiction writing challenge. Last year, I hosted a short-lived challenge, Moral Mondays, which was fun, but too much of a commitment for me at the time. I may be shooting myself in the foot here, but I’m bringing back the Monday challenge, because we all need a little Monday motivation, right? This challenge will be One-Minute Fiction. As the title suggests, you’ll be challenged to write a flash story in one minute, no more no less, based on the prompt (a word, a phrase, a photo, whatever I’m feeling for that week). Sound promising? It should really light a fire under your bum and set you up for a whole week of writing! If it’s a success, I’ll keep it going; if not it’ll end June 26. (womp, womp )

Other June personal blogging ideas:

  • Throwback Thursday – Share a post (fiction or poetry) from the past.
  • Fright Night Friday – Post a frightful (thriller, suspense, paranormal, etc.) story or poem every Friday night. (You already know I love a good ghost story.)
  • Book Reviews – I have a lot of book reviews in my arsenal. I think I might reserve these posts for Saturdays.

So what do you think? Are you excited for June? Do you think writer’s block is plotting its revenge? Would you be interested in purchasing Love Poetry if I were to self-publish it? Do you plan to participate in the one-minute fiction challenge? Are you looking forward to the next serialized story? Or maybe you’re waiting for me to mention the one left unfinished…I’m being really secretive about it.

You’ll see why in due time… 😉

By the way, are you enjoying these beginning of the month goal setting posts? They’re my way of holding myself accountable, but sometimes I think I’m just talking to myself. Prove me wrong and leave a comment!

Mayday! Mayday! Writer’s Block is Going Down!

We’ve all heard the saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers,” right?

Well, my April showers started at the end of April last year. After finishing my A-Z theme of Grandma’s 26 Husbands—26 Unusual Deaths (which you guys really seemed to love), I descended into a nasty case of chronic writer’s block. In hindsight, I believe I had become obsessed with topping 26 Husbands. The series had become so popular, and I wanted to continue that popularity with something even better. Unfortunately my perfectionism was at its peak also, and eventually I crashed, flipped over, rammed into a tree, exploded, and burned.

My posting became erratic, and eventually I disappeared from blogging altogether. I couldn’t force myself to write. Everything my pen produced was total rubbish (according to editor bitch), and if my writer’s block relented enough for me to start a new project, it came back with a vengeance so catastrophic, I was never able to finish.

But that all changed this year. If last year’s A to Z Challenge put me in this crud, then this year’s A to Z Challenge would get me out of it, and that’s just what it did.

This year’s A to Z Challenge was all about planning for NaNoWriMo, another project I’ve unfortunately never been able to finish. For 26 days—yes, 26 days—(some days were harder than others, but I stuck in there), I wrote outlines, character sketches, and back stories. I brainstormed on themes, conflicts, subplots, stakes, and resolutions. Last night, I finished—yes, finished—with my zealous “Z” post, and I only want to continue. It may be be the end of the April A to Z Challenge, but it’s just the beginning for me. I still have a novel to write, and I’ve never felt so prepared for NaNoWriMo in my life!

But it’s not just NaNoWriMo, I feel reinvigorated to write any and everything! Writer’s block, hear me roar!

The end of April marked not only the end of the A to Z Challenge, but also the end of National Poetry Month, which means that May is . . .

Short Story Month!

Ahh, short stories, my first love. I’ve been writing them since I was old enough to write, been reading them for even longer. I haven’t written a new short story to submit to literary magazines in a long time. Speaking of submitting to literary magazines, I haven’t submitted anything to a magazine since 2015 (yikes)! So in honor of Short Story Month, I’ve challenged myself to keep this writing buzz going and write a complete short story that I hope to submit to some magazines and get back on my publishing journey. I’m giving myself a whole month to write just one story (probably between 3,000 and 5,000 words), which is plenty of time to produce something great! I’ll be posting weekly updates on my story status for you guys just to assure you that I won’t let writer’s block win, but in the meantime I have a couple of treats for you.

Also for May, I will be participating in the short story a day writing challenge. Each day, I’ll post a micro fiction tale between 100 and 300 words. There is an optional prompt, but I can’t guarantee I’ll stick to it; it just depends on how the prompt inspires me that day.

I also want to exercise my poetic pen (since I didn’t get a chance to during NaPoWriMo in April) and jump back into #frapalymo, which is now called #frapalywo. If you’re unfamiliar with #frapalymo/#frapalywo, it’s a German poetry writing challenge, translated Frau (Miss) Paulchen’s Lyric (Poetry) Month/Week. It’s usually held every May and November, but it looks like she’s changed the May challenge to a series of week-long prompts (the first one was back in February) leading up to the big shebang in November, which I won’t be able to participate in because of NaNoWriMo, but I can still do the week-long challenges. This first week of May, the prompt is “noise.” So stay tuned for seven days of NOISY POETRY!

It looks like I have a lot to do for May, so why am I still talking? I’d better get started—we’re halfway through the day already! I’ll be back soon with a new story for Short Story A Day May. Writer’s block won’t hold me down!

Z is for… [Z]ealous Interviewer #AtoZChallenge

I’m feeling quite zealous today. Why? Because it’s April 30, and I’ve made it to the end of the A to Z Challenge without burning out. That deserves an applause!

I’m also excited to be starting on my novel, Lost Boy very soon. While I’m reserving the actual writing of the novel for NaNoWriMo in November, these next six months will consist of more planning, outlining, character sketching, and possibly a few more changes to the plot as things come together, and also a change in title (because I’m still not settled on “Lost Boy”).

I also hope to do more research so that the novel sounds as realistic as possible, because if there is one thing I cannot stand about the Christian fiction genre of today, it’s that the plots are so unbelievable, and the characters are more like caricatures.

One phase of my research will be interviews. Right now, my focus is on interviewing one of my fellow church members who’s in the prison ministry From Leslie’s character sketch, we know that she is very active in the church, including going out to the county jail to minister with the prison ministry. Unfortunately, I know nothing about prison ministries, so it’s time for a little investigation.

I’ve already contacted the church member about interviewing her. Now it’s time to put together some interview questions. Here are a few that I may ask in my interview.

  • How long have you been in the jail/prison ministry?
  • How often do you visit the jail?
  • When you visit the jail, do you go as a group? Do you need specific paperwork or documentation to enter?
  • Is there certain dress requirements you must meet before entering? Types of clothing, shoes, hats, purses? Will they let you bring your Bible? Are you searched/patted down? Do you go through a metal detector?
  • Where do you go to witness to the inmates? The cells? a chapel? Is there a common meeting area with many tables similar to a cafeteria? Are you separated from regular jail visitation?
  • Are you restricted in the types inmates you visit. For example, do you see people who have been convicted of violent crimes like rape or murder?
  • Do you talk to the inmates individually or do you stand before a group and minister?
  • What do you say to the inmates? Do you talk about them, how they ended up behind bars? How do you transition into talking about Jesus?
  • What major points in the Gospel do you like to hit on when talking with the inmates? Does the message change depending on the crime?
  • Are the inmates generally welcoming?
  • Do people get saved?

These are all the questions I have so far. Do you have any suggestions? What questions do you think I should ask?

I’m hoping that some of the answers I get to these questions will help me write an inspiring revival at the end of the novel, but if not, I’ll have great material to work with for one of my subplots.

And . . . that’s it for the A to Z Challenge! I’m glad I decided to participate after all. It has truly helped me get over my writer’s block. Not only do I have a new novel in the works, but I feel my mojo coming back. I’m eager to dive back into writing more poetry and short stories, and I’m even more zealous to return to the many flash fiction challenges I loved so much. So stay tuned! More to come soon!

—Nortina

X is for… [Χ]ριστός #AtoZChallenge

I got nothing. A big fat ZERO. There just aren’t enough “X” letters in the English alphabet. The dictionary agrees with me too.

My writer’s thesaurus skipped the letter “X” entirely, jumping from “W” straight to “Y,” and when I attempted to look up some words in a dated Webster’s Dictionary I found at work (labeled, “Best Reference Source 1989” by the American Library Association), it had one word, one word, for “X”: Xmas. That’s not even a freaking word! All it does is cross Christ out of Christmas. Of course, the dictionary had an elaborate definition for why the “X” is not meant to offend but to educate, apparently derived from the Greek letter chi (X), which is the first letter in Χριστός, which translated means Christos. So in fact, the “X” stands for Christ, not against Him.

Yea, yea, so you expect me to believe that everyone who says, “Merry Xmas!” is an expert on Greek language? Nah, I don’t think Leslie’s buying that excuse either.

But, since we’re here, let’s talk about Leslie, and her Christian foundation, and how on earth she’s going to bring her wayward sons back to her, and more importantly, back to Christ.

We’re down to the last three (and arguably the hardest) letters in the A to Z Challenge, and I’m getting a little anxious because I still don’t have a definitive ending to Lost Boy. I took a brief moment to revisit my outline, hoping to spark some inspiration—and laughing at how much has changed already since posting it (for example, Detective Maye has been reduced to a secondary character, and Gio, Clara, and Bethel are all out).

For today’s purposes, I want to focus on the Falling Action and how it can lead to a resolution. So what’s happening…

  • Leslie visits the scene of the crime
  • Leslie confronts Jacqui
  • Maye bails out Gregory

Already the last scene has to change, since Maye is no longer a main character, but there’s opportunity for me to add layers to the other two scenes. Eventually, I want to bring all the characters back together for a final intervention, or showdown, if you will. I think it will start with Leslie retracing Gregory’s steps, going to the gas station, talking with the bank teller who gave him the money. When she stops by Jacqui’s trailer, another character, whom she doesn’t expect, will already be there, waiting for her.

Being a member of the jail ministry, Leslie witnesses to complete strangers often. She’s gotten complacent in her message, telling people about the Gospel of Christ with the hope that she’ll probably never see them again.

You have nothing to lose when you’re talking with a stranger. If they reject you, or respond in an offensive matter, you just move on to the next person; you don’t let it affect you, because the goal is not to seek the approval of man, but to save as many souls for Christ as possible. But evangelism starts at home, does it not? What about your own family and friends who are unsaved? Will you pray that the Lord sends forth laborers (Matthew 9:35-38)? Will you be that laborer to reap God’s harvest?

Everyone in Leslie’s circle needs redemption: Will Gregory’s poor choices prevent him from reconciling with his family? Will Tony be able to quench the resonating anger he feels toward his mother and brother? Will Jacqui and Tammi turn from their selfish greed and seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness? Will Kerry learn to forgive? Will Leslie continue to put her hope, faith, and trust in the Lord?

Leslie’s going to need all of her prayer warriors plus the empowering presence of God to fix her family, and it will start in the most unlikeliest of places. A revival is coming to Pleasant’s Edge, a city in exile, but as scripture says, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but there is hope, for we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Amen! Let’s hope Leslie can do it!

—Nortina