Oh, Time. Why must you be so aggravatingly finite? I would have loved to do the entire NaNoDoMore list this year. But the usual things ate up my waking hours (can I move to a shack somewhere, and ditch this mortgage and the day job to boot? then there's that darn eating thing...).

I managed five, though!
Submit to a paying market. In November, I submitted stuff to Ninth Letter and Newfound (Virtual Realities Themed Issue). Neither of them has yet responded, so it remains to be seen whether I’ll ever be able to call myself a “professional” creative writer. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained!Write a complete story in under 100 words. Of course I did, because I can’t quit the YeahWrite microfiction challenges. The prompts are delightful, and the length is an exact match for how much free time I have (very little). Start a conversation in the Coffeehouse about anything writing related. I asked about in-person writing groups vs. online groups. Everyone seemed to agree that both types…

Returning to the Scene (microfiction)

The wildfire had raged remorselessly toward Paradise. He’d barely escaped through the burning pines.

Afterward, people searched for heirlooms in charred debris. Nobody noticed the yard’s freshly turned earth under its light layer of ash.

Snow drifts covered the ruins now. He grinned. San Quentin wouldn’t have him this time.

Writing Prompt: Write a 50-word story containing the words burn, cover, drift, light, and pine

Worry (kimo poetry challenge)

A small face is pressed against the window,
watching for the blue car that
should have been home by now.

How to Bounce Back

Wake up with a head full of busy-mom thoughts. Need to pay bills. Better get those leaves raked and bagged before it rains this afternoon. Got to do laundry and pack for our trip. The kids need baths. 7yo got up at 5 a.m.; she’s gonna be in a terrible mood. How am I going to keep them off their devices all day?
Skip your usual head-clearing, treasured-time-to-yourself morning walk, because the kids are home on fall break and your husband left early for work.
Log on to your work laptop. Answer emails, attend conference calls, fight fires, fix problems. Try to keep up with the deluge of instant messages from co-workers who are about to go away for Thanksgiving and want you to do just one thing for them first.
Spend the morning juggling the kids’ needs and your employer’s needs. Do a mediocre job at both. Feel your sanity stretching thin.
Feed your picky 7yo Campbell’s soup for lunch. Microwave leftovers and eat them at your desk.
When your 10yo asks you to go outside with her and jump on the…

We Have Ways

"Massachusetts!” Daddy hollered. “Why in hell would Yankees move next door to us?”

I peeked around the kitchen doorframe. Daddy’s work boots sat by the back door, his feet were propped on a chair, and his fist lifted a bottle of Miller.

Mama tossed chopped onions into the skillet. “I met the lady this afternoon,” she said. “Seems nice.”

Daddy snorted. “I saw her husband in that suit and tie. Looks like my boss. And that porch flag. Boston Bruins!”

“What’s that, hockey?”

“Won’t last long around here if they don’t like football,” Daddy said. He was two beers loud. I shrank back.

“Give ’em a chance, Luke.”

Daddy set down the empty bottle.

“Why, sure, honey. A little Southern hospitality is exactly what those folks need.”

I had seen that same gleam in Daddy’s eye a few weeks back, when he told the real estate agent how the Hochhuths’ barn was haunted. Then Daddy and Uncle Frank had guffawed when she stood well back from that barn during her next visit.

Through the kitchen window, I …

A New Leash on Life (microfiction)

The beguiling call came again. Lucky sniffed the air. He whined, pacing at the end of his tether.

With a sudden surge of power, he sprang, and heard a loud crack.

The broken collar tumbled to the dirt. Lucky bounded over the ridge to meet his lady.

Writing Prompt: Create a 47-word micro story that contains an object the main character is happier without.

Rather Be Lucky Than Good

Dr. Ronda Karion sat behind the wheel of her silver Lexus, parked on the fourth floor of the University’s garage. She eyed the rear-view mirror. Marc, reflected, lurked in the shadows behind a column.

This role of getaway car driver was new for Ronda. Typically she’d be doing the breaking and entering, with Marc as lookout. But he’d been keen to switch roles for this particular mission, which suited her fine.

She smiled wryly. The past year sure had produced some unexpected twists. It all began that fateful Sunday, when Dr. Marc Rook had cornered her in her office. He had discovered her little habit, lifting attractive objects that weren’t hers. She was busted. It was a wake-up call, a signal that she would need to be more careful, starting that very minute.

Marc wasn’t her type. But it was kind of sexy, the way he’d gotten right down to business. “Dr. Karion—”

“Ronda. Please.” She had looked him directly in the eyes and smiled. She felt her adrenaline receding, regrouping, refocusin…