American Chimera – 1.4

American Chimera Cover Small

We brought the egg back to the trailer and kicked all the dogs outta our bedroom. We opened the bottom drawer of our plastic dresser and stuffed it full of clean shirts and underwear, makin’ sure the egg were sittin’ in the plushest place you e’er did see.

Janie’s parents had raised chickens while she grew up, so she knew the thing needed to be warm. We unhooked the meth setup from the propane and drove to town to get a space heater, then stuck it in the room. Even with the dogs outta the room, the heat started makin’ all the shit stink to high heaven, so we cleaned that place up. While our lil’ egg grew in the underwear drawer, Janie and I slept in the livin’ room on the couch.

Well, turns out we didn’t have enough money for another propane tank to cook the meth, so Janie went to town and got a job fixin’ the Bojangles’ robots. I started workin’ for the Mexicans buildin’ a piece of the school down the road, plannin’ just to do it as long as I needed to get a new propane tank, but it weren’t that bad. It felt a bit healthier, too, not to be cookin’ meth or havin’ drug pushers breathin’ down my back. About then’s when we started to backslide on our cookin.’

Every night, Janie and me’d turn the egg. The swelterin’ summer soon turned into a nice, cool fall, and we cranked that space heater up to keep the room nice and cozy. Soon we was conflicted ’bout whether or not to sleep in the bedroom, considerin’ how cold it got outside, but we decided it better to keep it real, real hot in there instead.

One propane tank turned into two, then three, then four. Eventually it got so hard to keep up the gas that I near ’bout considered admittin’ where we was parked and hookin’ into electricity. I moved on with the Mexicans to the next job, and Janie was good enough at her job that they wanted her to become a specialist in the Bojangles’ Biscuit Bots.

At last the egg started hatchin’ in November of ’72. It was the middle of the night when I felt Janie’s lil’ hand shakin’ me to wake up, and I stirred just the slightest amount.

“Y’hear that?” I ’member her askin. I blinked my eyes a couple times, seein’ her eyes sparkle in the dark and the dogs pantin’ in the background.

I listened close for a minute, mostly just hearin’ a dog scratchin’ at the bedroom door and the whir of the space heater in the background. But then, sure ’nuff, I got an earful of the eggshell crackin’ away. My eyes lit up and I scrambled, hands picking myself up from the floor where I was sleepin.’ Some of the carpet came up in my hand, makin’ me fall, but my clever mind followed what Janie asked. “The egg.”

She nodded and helped me up. “C’mon – let’s go watch!”

I shoved the dog out of the way and opened the door behind her. I turned on the overhead lights, disappointed to find most of the bulbs had burnt out and it’d be dim in the room at best. The ceilin’ fan attached started wigglin’ the light every which-a-way, too, since a couple of the blades had been whacked off by my cousin Jim, who’d owned the trailer afore we did.

Janie didn’t pause a lick when she went over to the drawer. She picked up the Coleman lantern and revved it up. “It’s hatchin’!” she cried out. “Brett, lookit! We’re about to have a baby!”

I squeezed her so hard that she prob’ly near ’bout burst. I’d waited and waited for this moment, and finally it was happening. The cracks formed around the egg in a random pattern, much as you would expect from a dragon or a bird.

“I love you, Janie.” I gave her a kiss.

Then a spike poked out of the egg. Janie gasped and sat back. “Brett, what was that?”

More spikes poked out, goop from the egg splurting out everywhere. I heard screaming, just like a child, come from the egg, and my heart began to hurt. “It needs help!” I said.

“No – you cain’t! You never want to help something out of its egg, ever!”

At about that moment, the creature succeeded at pushing enough of the eggshell away that I could see it was a spider the size of a basketball, screechin’ like a newborn and all the black legs wigglin’ crazy.

Janie just put her hands up to her face and screamed. “Get the gun!” I shouted, pushin’ her back.

She froze, though, so I had to scramble out of the room. I fought through the dogs to get out the bedroom door and find the gun stuffed under the couch cushions. A couple of shells popped into the double barrel twelve gauge and I was ready to fight the monster.

I came back into the bedroom to find that Janie’s mood had changed. I pointed the gun at the dresser, but she was in the way. “Janie,” I said, “Janie, get out of the way.”

She turned her head to look at me and kept her fingers in the dresser drawer. “Brett,” she said, “Brett…it’s cryin.’ It’s cryin,’ and I don’t know how to fix it.”

“A shotgun to the head, that’s what! We shoulda known the damn Yanks couldn’t do anything good – this ain’t a dragon, honey, it’s a gol-dern spider!”

The spider’s legs wiggled in the drawer, the egg continued to crack more. I listened to it cry, saw it wasn’t harming Janie in the least. I didn’t understand how Janie brought herself to touch the thing, not at the time, but I heard the same cry she did.

It was a human cry.

“It’s a baby,” Janie said. “It’s…it’s not a dragon, but it’s just a baby…”

I put the gun down to my side. “We cain’t keep a spider, Janie. Spiders eat blood.”

She brushed a finger over the spider, fearless, then used a shirt to wipe away some of the grime from its legs. Though it didn’t seem to know what she was doin,’ it reached up to her. “I don’t know what to do,” she said. “Get it some instant breakfast or somethin.”’ She reached deeper into the drawer, picking up the baby spider and cradling it in her arms. “It’s our baby, Brett.”

And so I did what she asked, goin’ to the kitchen and fixin’ our baby spider a protein shake. That did good ’nuff ’til we went to the vet and got some formula the next day.

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The Lake – #TankaTuesday #Haiku #HaikuMadness

adventure blue calm waters climb

Serene, hushed lake
Plants and animals now sleep
Wait for ice to melt

Serene hush
Lake, fish, cat-tails, now
Solid ice

Placid
Now frozen
Iced lake

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This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #160, Calm and Present (synonyms are in bold). Recently amongst the blog-o-sphere (or cube? why can’t it be a cube?), there’s been some controversy over how long to make an English haiku. Each of these were intended to be closely related, but they’re obviously not the same.

Which length do you prefer?

Photo by Riccardo Bresciani on Pexels.com

American Chimera – 1.3

American Chimera Cover Small

The interrogator lifted a brow. “You kept the contents of the box because you were high and thought you’d found a dragon’s egg.”

Mr. Huffman guffawed and rolled his eyes. “I thought I’d ’splicitly told you we weren’t high.”

She just wrote something down on her notepad. “Sure, Mr. Huffman. I’ll make a note of that. But surely you also understand that the explanation doesn’t ring true – you must realize that we all know now that you hadn’t found a dragon’s egg. What happened when Dani hatched?”

Brett Huffman crossed his arms. “Where’s my chaw? Chaw first, then I’ll tell you.”

“I have all the power here, Mr. Huffman. Finish your story. Tell me how you kept the egg and what you did when Dani hatched.”

He squinted. “Then you’ll let me have a bit of chaw?”

“Without a doubt, Mr. Huffman.”

“And I want some peanuts and Pepsi.” With deep seriousness, he pointed directly at her face. “Copenhagen, Lance, and Pepsi in a glass bottle. Got it?”

The interrogator put her hand to her face, repressing a chuckle. “I understand this is serious to you, Mr. Huffman. Surely you realize there’s no more peanuts in existence, though? I will get you your dip, a Pepsi, and some potato chips if you agree to talk.”

He gave a nod and sat a bit straighter, his back pressed against the back of the chair. “As long as you act in good faith, so will I.”

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You Carried Me

purple crocus in bloom during daytime

You carried me.
I didn’t ask,
But then again,
I couldn’t speak.

You settled me
On soft, silken,
Pinkest pillow,
Kissed me tender.

My eyes were shut,
But I still knew
You adored me.
I cherished you.

I wanted to
Clean the sad pile
Of tissues at
Your well shod feet.

Did my urges
Disrespect your
Sadness and grief?
I allowed tears.

Upon your exit
Through sanctum’s door,
Someone shut my
Coffin’s wood lid.

When you returned,
You carried me
In my casket
To earthen home.

But my spirit
Carries you now
Until you come
To rest by me.

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This was written for the January 9th Carrot Ranch prompt. Sure, I took a long time getting to it, but it also took a long time to figure out what to write. Also it didn’t turn out to be a flash, but you know, I tried…

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

American Chimera – 1.2

American Chimera Cover Small

It’s a mite hard to remember that time. Me and Janie were cookin’ meth in this scheme to get capital and start one of them marijuana farms, and now that I come to think of it, that sounds like a purty bad idea. We were 26, though, so give us a lil’ slack.

So we was walkin’ down the road, enjoyin’ the summertime and poppin’ the jewelweed pods. I was probably shirtless, and Janie’s calloused feet were tough enough to go barefoot in the gravel. The Southern air filled my lungs with freshness and vigor, and the scent of an afternoon thunderstorm heavy on the horizon.

Janie lifted her head first and turned to look behind us. “Y’hear that?”

Spry, young, and manly, I listened close. The roar of a mighty diesel echoed up the holler. “That shouldn’t be travelin’ on this road. Too twisty turny for a big truck.” I craned my neck and tried to look around the trees that stood in my way, only to gather a little peek of the chrome shinin’ off the bumpers. “Goin’ awful fast, too.”

“Who you think it is?” Janie asked. Her bare feet squished through some of the mud in the ditch as she reached for a nice, juicy pod. It exploded at a touch, seeds flung ever’ which-a-way.

I shrugged. “They wreck, I ain’t helpin’ ’em. Their own stupid fault drivin’ like that.”

I got a little skeered that the truck was barrelin’ too fast down the road. I was only wearin’ a pair of flip flops and some socks with holes in ’em, though, so I followed Janie into the mushy ditch and waited. The truck was just a flyin’ – flyin,’ I tell ya – down that there road. My eyes nearly bugged outta my poor skull when I saw it in its full glory, black paint job dusty from the gravel, the grill like bared teeth ready to gobble us up. The driver honked the horn, not slowin’ despite us bein’ just off the edge of the road.

The truck was as wide as the entire road, so I grabbed Janie and pushed her into the jewelweed. It was soft, save for the briars and some of the ’luminum cans ’neath the weeds, but I layed atop her to protect her beautiful hide.

I heard the truck smooshin’ the gravel, felt a few of the rocks pelt my backside as it went by. The doors on the back of the truck rattled loose, openin’ and closin’ with every bump and pit in the road. Just as the gravel dust kicked up enough that I coughed and had to squint to see through it, something launched from the back of the trailer and rolled down the embankment on the other side of the road.

Janie spat up at me and pushed me ’way as she struggled to get up. “What the hell, Brett? That truck was gonna miss us, you didn’t -”

“Hey, lookit here. Right here.” I pointed to where the gravel had pelted me, a couple spots on my back where blood flowed out like a reg’lar fountain of bravery. “See that? I protected you real good, Janie. Real good.”

She swooned. Her eyes got all big and purty, starin’ at me with love and mushy feelings. “Oh, Brett, my strong and beautiful prince, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Love is like a red, red rose, you’re the best.”

She was skinnier ’n a rail at the time, so I swept her off her feet. “Never fear, dear Janie mine! One day, I’ll get you out of this holler, and we’ll have a real house. A real house with an actual foundation, and we’ll fill it with trophies – eight pointers, even! I certainly won’t get us abducted in the middle of the night and locked up in a desert facility in Massachussets!” I walked her into the road and gently placed her down.

The rumble of the truck’s engine died down in the distance. I half expected the fool driver to get himself – or herself, ahem, knowing you government types – kilt, but I ne’er heard ’bout no wreck later.

“Well, nothin’ for it,” I said to Janie. I held her hand tight and wandered over to the other side of the road. “I saw somethin’ come out the back of that truck. You think it coulda been valuable?”

Janie followed me willingly, then shrugged. “I dunno. Coulda been haulin’ trash.” She poked her head over the brush, helpin’ me look down in the holler.

The bank was already littered with tires and other junk people found worthwhile to toss out but were too lazy to get their butts over to the dump for. Nothin’ moved down in the little holler, save for the tiny creek that dribbled down the hill.

Janie, who’s good at spottin’ stuff, pointed to a wooden box. “That looks new. I ain’t seen a wood box that big afore, I don’t think. And lookit – there’s red paint on the sides.”

I agreed and let go of her hand. “I’mma go check it out.”

“I’mma go with you.”

Now, you gotta ’member this happened back before old man Potter got drunk and ran that school bus off the bank, so there weren’t no rails up yet. Janie and I weren’t high at all, hadn’t smoked even a lick of the wacky weed, so we carefully went down that holler. It was slippery on all them leaves, but we used some roots that stuck out of the hill to scramble down on hands and knees until we made it to the box.

It was a purty big box, but you prob’ly know. You prob’ly packed it. The red paint on the side said, “PROPURTY OF THE US GUVMENT,” and in smaller letters, “DON’T OPIN – TOP SEECRIT.” It coulda said other stuff, but I don’t ’member.

“Wanna open it?” Janie asked.

I was already ahead of her. I whipped out my Case knife from its sheath in my back pocket and started pryin’ some of the loose boards off from their nails. “Ain’t no cell service out here. We ort to make sure it ain’t a bomb gonna blow us all to hell, you know.”

“Would you know what to do if it were a bomb?”

I ripped the board away and tossed it to the side. “Yeah. Save it for when the South rises again or for the zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first.” With the locking board gone, it wasn’t hard to pry open the top of the crate. “Don’t be silly, Janie, you know we cain’t trust the Man. This’s gotta be checked.”

The box was filled with foam, so I slashed my knife right through it, careful not to swipe into wires or summat that’d cause it to get radioactive or explode or turn us into Muslims or release anthrax. After the foam I found a layer of hay, so I raised a brow.

Janie, though, she got interested at that. She bent down next to me and stuck her lil’ hand deep into the box, takin’ out the straw. “It’s fragile, that’s for sure,” she mentioned. Eventually her hand hit somethin’ solid, so she pulled the hay out from around the object in the center of the crate and eased it out.

Both of us stared at it, mouths agape, the purtiest thing you e’er did see. For a while we just turned it around, amazed at how beautiful it was. We weren’t high.

The egg was blue, robin’s egg blue, and hefty. It was a big ol’ egg about the size of a basketball, not egg-sized like… like those little diddle eggs you used to get in the store before they slaughtered all the chickens. Little dots of teal speckled the sides. Janie held it up to the sky, the light of the sun shinin’ just enough through the shell that we could see what was inside.

I near ’bout keeled over my heart beat so hard. I could see the shape of wings forming, each of the finger-like spikes that bat wings have curled up inside the little dragon’s egg. Its head curled onto its stomach, and I couldn’t see a tail, but certainly this was a dragon egg.

Janie spoke first. “It’s just like in the movies,” she said, “’Cept I ne’er thought I’d get to be a dragon tamer.”

I realized just how long we took to get to this point, so I stuck my hand in my back pocket and fished around for my lighter. I felt the giant hole in my pocket, so I gave up and reached into Janie’s pocket for her lighter instead. “You ain’t gonna be a dragon tamer if the Yanks find out what you did. Here – put that egg down, it ain’t gonna hatch for a while yet.”

I flicked the top off the lighter – gasoline and fuel hadn’t been banned yet, you know – and lit some of the hay on fire. It started off in a great conflagration, and the foam that had lined the box burned hotter ’n blue blazes.

Janie stood next to me, dragon’s egg still cradled in her arms, not a care in the world about destroyin’ the evidence. “We’re gonna keep it, right?”

“Damn straight,” I answered with a nod. I placed my brawny, thick arm over Janie’s slender, womanly shoulder. “Think about what the guv’ment could do with a dragon. It’d be a waste of our tax dollars to let this thing fall back in them Yanks’ grimy hands.”

“Yes, it would most def’nitely be a waste of the tax dollars that we have definitely paid and not skipped out on even once. We are so glad we’re not high right now,” Janie confirmed.

We watched the blaze until we realized it was getting out of control, then we scrambled up the hill with our dragon egg and went back home before the fire department could get called.

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Slow Insanity – #Cinquain #TankaTuesday

14-170A

Living
Exhausting days,
Tiring, sleepless darkness,
Elicited madness in her.
Survive.

Slinging
Cruel statements
To hide dishonor
Against her failed ambitions.
Careless.

Reaching
Depressed stages,
Hopelessness inching in,
She concocted a fantasy.
Straining.

Growing
Cucumber dreams,
Night-times of potatoes,
Sublime and pumpkin reveries.
Working.

Never
Sluggish despite
Corrupt voices’ chiding,
Her delusional garden grew
Lifelong.

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This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday prompt, poet’s choice. I chose the crown cinquain to honor my grandmother, who this poem was written about. She was absolutely, totally insane, but despite this she held so much of the family together and made her garden fantasy a reality.

Because the bleeding heart flowers represented this poem well, I chose to use a picture previously shared by Alexander Eliot for a prompt. Check out his work too – he’s got a load of stories and some really nice photography.

American Chimera – 1.1

American Chimera Cover Small

“And you thought this was a good idea why?” The interrogator sat with her legs crossed, tablet and stylus at the ready, waiting for a response. Cameras and microphones hung from the ceiling just behind her, recording anything her organic mind might miss.

A man in a prison jumpsuit slouched even further in his chair, rear end nearly falling off the front edge. A few more hairs graced his chin than the top of his head, but the middle-aged white man scowled and wrinkled his brow all the more anyway. He crossed his arms and managed to jangle the steel cuffs on his wrists in an even more annoying manner than before, making the interrogator wince. “I ain’t tellin’ you nothin.’ Gov’ment ain’t ne’er done nothin’ good for me – not now, not ever.” He leaned to his left and spat on the floor.

The interrogator put her tablet onto the small side table next to her chair, taking care not to disturb the small orchid that sat there. “Mr. Huffman, do you know where you are?”

“Not too good, no.” He took a deep breath. “Some basement ’bove the Mason Dixon line, I’d reckon. Smell of Yankee cowardice gives that away.”

“Well, you’re wrong.” She clicked the screen of the tablet and brought up something other than a notepad, sifting through images that flashed different colors in the dark room until landing on something brown. “This is an image of the facility, Mr. Huffman.”

He took the tablet from her delicate fingers and considered the barren desert landscape for a few seconds. “It’s a wasteland. Prob’ly Massachussets.”

The interrogator refused to take the tablet back when he proffered it, instead leaving her hand hanging just off her knee. “I suppose your guess is…inconsequential. While you may be able to escape this facility, you would be dead long before you could reach either water or another person. Even if you managed to get out, the only thing you could do is return, because no one here is going to risk going after you.” Her fingers twitched and her eyes squinted as she finally leaned forward and plucked the tablet from Mr. Huffman’s grasp. “You won’t leave this place, ever, but you can make it more comfortable. Now tell me – why did you pick up that box?”

He lifted sad, thoughtful eyes. “If I tell you, will I git me some chaw?”

“What?”

“Some chaw.” He mimicked taking something from his pocket and lining his lower lip with it. “You know, chewin’ tabaccy.”

She shook her head with a vigorous no. “This is a government facility, Mr. Huffman, and tobacco is banned throughout most of the country. No, you will not-”

“Then you git nothin’ out of me.”

She squinted and tapped the screen of her tablet. “If that bribe will work, I will put in a request you be blindfolded and taken somewhere to enjoy a bit of tobacco.” She held up the tablet and showed him how easily she could submit the request. “All you have to do is tell me why you and Mrs. Huffman picked up that box, and I will press this little button.”

His hands flexed, his blue eyes twinkled, and his jaw tightened. Mr. Huffman held out as long as he could, but at last his resolve wavered. “I suppose it ain’t no big deal to tell you that. Don’t let Janie or Dani know I squealed, y’hear?”

The interrogator smiled and reopened her notes on the tablet. “Not a word from me, Mr. Huffman. Not a word.”

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Introducing American Chimera

Looking for a (free) book that’s completely out of the box?

American Chimera’s first section is being posted here on hrrgorman.wordpress.com starting next week, then serially posted every few days.

However, if you would like to read the entire thing immediately (or save it on your hard drive with the intent to read it but never get around to it), you can download this beautifully formatted PDF file.

American Chimera Cover Small

Summary

It’s 2087, and all’s well.

At least, that’s what everyone thought, until Dani Huffman showed up.

Now the American government’s got to scramble to hide the Chimera they let escape. An interrogator, a scientist, and a small team of soldiers work to find out just how many people know of the monster’s existence.

 

Delve into a Southern Gothic Sci-Fi adventure with American Chimera. Rife with multiple social issues from racism and income inequality to climate change and eugenics, this book melds a dark humor with a unique format to create a story unlike any you’ve read before.

Warning: Does contain violence, imprisonment, and rape.

The Truth About Santa’s Elves

Santa Elf

Peppermint Jolly finished soldering the knockoff iPad’s connections. He put the iron down so as to rest his bleeding and blistered hands, then placed his creation into the “finished” basket. He took a moment to breathe, to let his hands shake while the popped blisters seeped liquid.

But the overseer – a burly elf who’d earned the nickname Bad Figgy – caught Peppermint Jolly on this unapproved break. He strode over, broadening his shoulders and filling out his lederhosen. “What you doing, boy? Did Santa say you could stop?”

Peppermint Jolly shut his eyes tightly, expecting a punch or a slap. “Sir, my hands are bleeding, sir. I don’t want to ruin the product by dripping in them-”

“These products aren’t real iPads. They’re going to China, where everything is ripped off and broken anyway. We only buy the real ones for the kids who’ll know better. Now get back to work or I’ll put you on chemical weapons duty next year.” Bad Figgy boxed Peppermint Jolly’s ears, causing him to wince, then went off to whip up on the next electronics worker who slacked off.

Peppermint Jolly picked up the soldering iron despite the agonizing boils and wounds. He didn’t want to go on chemical weapons duty ever again – his lungs still hadn’t recovered from last time, and the sales of black market goods only made money that went toward the purchase of gifts like the real iPads or DRM intact materials.

But it was Christmas Eve. Praise God – the next day was Christmas, the one day of the year that the elves could rest. The one day of the year none of the females would be forced into reproducing, the one day of the year the forced labor would stop, the one day the overseers wouldn’t beat a slave for eating too much or slacking off.

But Peppermint Jolly knew the cycle would just start up again. While the next Christmas season was still a ways off, he’d be put on drone duty, soldering and building the electronic pieces used in military drones to sell to terrorists. He was also smart, so Santa could choose anytime now to force him into a living arrangement with a fertile female. He could whip them both if results didn’t happen.

And there was no escape. The magic barrier was impenetrable, and none of the humans besides Master Kringle could see inside.

Could he handle another year? Could Peppermint Jolly make it through more of this madness?

“Fuck you, Santa,” he said. He turned the iron to his neck and pierced the jugular as quick as he could.

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This Christmas, think of the people and elves who make the presents you purchase. There are real kids in the Congo who are forced to dig cobalt for batteries, real people in Bangladesh and India who work harrowing hours in hazardous conditions for your soft goods. Many of us can’t afford gifts otherwise, but if you have the option, consider looking into what you purchase and try to incorporate the least slave labor you can.

Also, boycott Santa. Don’t let that asshole come down your chimney. Don’t pay that slave-owning piece of shit with milk and cookies. We’re better than this.

Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay

Blogger Recognition Award

I would like to thank Colleen Chesebro of Word Craft for nominating me for this award/game. If you’d like to read her very sweet and awesome responses, you can do so here! I really do enjoy these sorts of games, so anyone who wants to tag me in this sort of thing can do so.

If I nominate/tag you and you want to participate in the game, here’s the rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to. (No response required).
  • Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

It won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t want to participate! If you’re here reading, though, it’d be great if you could choose one or two blog posts tagged at the end of this.

How Did I Start My Blog?

I actually started the blog in 2013 with the short story Waiting for Company. It was a Southern Gothic horror based strongly on my grandmother, and it’s so bad. So, so bad. You can read it if you want to know how far I’ve come. I then published several more shorts, then the short novels Evolution of the Predator and If I Only Had No Heart, both of which you can download as a PDF by clicking on the links. All during this time, though, I wasn’t very serious; the blog was mostly a place where I could leave stories, have a link, and email that link to my mom so she could read them.

Then, in January 2018, she told me she’d never clicked on a single link I’d sent. She’d never read a single story and didn’t have plans to, no matter how many I sent.

That was about the time If I Only Had No Heart went up. I was pretty depressed after my mom said that, so I decided to see what blogging was really about and start connecting with other people.

Speaking of Connecting…

My first piece of advice to new bloggers is to connect with other bloggers. You never know who is going to come up with something so creative and helpful that you must love it.

What’s hard about getting into that mode is the time it takes to build these connections. Yes, it will entail reading and commenting on other blogs. Yes, it will mean paying attention to other people. But the payoff in friendship and camaraderie was worth it for me.

Decide What is “Worth It”

So it was worth it for me.

But it might not be worth it for you.

You can only do so much social media before your ability to function explodes. Blogging, while my favorite social media, does take up quite a bit of time. So, if you decide to blog, come up with a goal for it. Is it to have 5,000 followers in a month (lol, good luck)? Is it to sell your books? Is it to meet other people and learn about your craft? It doesn’t matter what you want out of it so much as understanding what is possible and understanding if the effort you need to put in is worth the reward.

If it’s not worth it? Don’t be afraid to quit. Your blog will be here if you want to come back later.

Some Excellent Posts to Read

I’m behind on my reading, but here’s a few posts you’ll want to see by authors you’ll want to follow. Technically, this is the “nomination/tag” section, but once again I’d like to say that no one I’ve tagged has to continue this, no do they have to like or comment or any of that jazz.

  • Kevin Parish’s Daddy – An absolutely heartbreaking poem. I’ve long had a terrible relationship with my dad, and this one got to me because of the goodness and strength of the titular father.
  • Chelsea Owens’s A Starving Writing Muse – A clever piece about writing, recent motherhood, and toilet humor, I enjoyed reading this piece quite a lot. Chelsea’s hilarious and fun to follow.
  • Joanne Fisher’s Gnome Help – Cute as fuck flash fiction that made me feel cozy to read. She often has great poetry and flash, and many of her love stories are lesbian, which can offer you a fresh perspective to read about.
  • Charli Mills’s Carrot Ranch Writing Prompts – In addition to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompts (Colleen nominated me), the Carrot Ranch is a great community to join. Check out the most recent prompt and consider joining yourself!
  • Aak Fictionspawn’s Crystal Clear – Honestly you guys, I need more people to read this and solve the riddle. I think I was close.
  • Crispina Kemp’s Raised Against Us – This was such a poignant story. I thought the twist was really good. As well, check out her Crimson’s Creative Challenge writing prompt!
  • Lorraine Ambers’s Blogging, Social Media, and Marketing Tips – Lorraine is one of those great bloggers who gives out good advice articles. I always look forward to her tips and tricks.
  • Alexander Eliot’s Dragon Series – A long ongoing series with a great Mid-Grade or YA feel. Tackles some more difficult subjects along the way and has great monster building.
  • Violet Lentz’s Stories of the Forgotten – Violet’s stories always have an intensity to them that you just don’t get with other blogs. This one will hit you in the feels like a bus.
  • Ari Meghlen’s Should You Plan Out Your Whole Year? – Ari Meghlen’s blog is great because she makes her life story and brand so exciting. I love watching how she chooses to do things and trying to figure out how she makes it look so cool.
  • Jules’s Gnawing Chills – A great poem about squirrels that I think will give you some good feelings.
  • Hannah Russell’s Reading Games – I love following this blog because it keeps me inspired to read more. I think it’s done more to make me want to read than any other set of reviews.
  • tnkerr’s Midriff Culture – I thought this one was pretty funny, if a bit risque and a wee bit old-school. A great blog to follow for occasional flashes and fun times!
  • D. Wallace Peach’s blog – I can’t pick out a post, but I love Peach’s work. Everything she writes is fantastic, and you should follow her. Also has great indie book reviews. Didn’t link to a post because they’ve probably been nominated.
  • Sue Vincent’s blog – another blog with a ton of great posts. I especially like her Midnight Haiku series. Didn’t link to a post because they’ve probably been nominated before.
  • Roberta Cheadle’s blog – Fantastic reviews and responses to prompts. I know for certain they’ve been tagged in this game, so I didn’t link to a post.

So, there you have it! Please check out some of the suggested content and start conversations with someone new!

Also, sorry for forgetting the title, for those of you who get the email updates… 😦