20 December 2014 @ 05:27 am

This Journey You Make

A journey is so much more than the means by which you move from one place to the next. On a journey you do not merely travel, you traverse the unknown, befriend strangers, become aware of new dangers and new thrills, explore potential new hometowns, and maybe, different schools of thought. A journey is seen, touched, tasted, and remembered down in the very depths of your soul.

Tell me a tale of this journey you make.

Dear Flames and New Embers, go forth and write what you must.
Submission deadline is Sunday, December 28, a quarter 'til Midnight EST.


*Photograph taken (by me) September, 2013 30,000 feet above Tennessee.
19 December 2014 @ 07:28 am

In case you were wondering, week three sign ups close today!:  http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/1018644.html

On a similar note of panic, entries for week two are due Sunday!:  http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/1017173.html

I am muted this morning, because if I take myself off mute, I will reveal how heartbroken and angry I am.

I try my best not to be too political, but what I keep forgetting is that I have extremely strong views and, while not all are political in nature, all of them cause arguments whenever they're mentioned. But, I cannot stop expressing them, because then I'm just yielding to the people who stand against me, and that is the opposite of the point of feeling strongly about anything. I posted my view on something on Facebook this morning, and as early as the first three comments, I felt like I'd been kicked in the gut. We are not a place for arguing, so I'm not saying the topic here. You'll have to approach me separately. Suffice it to say, it's something that happened recently in the media that ties into a huge hot button issue that is never discussed with civility.

If I know this about this topic, why am I upset? I'm upset because my own boyfriend disagreed with me vehemently, and it wasn't the sort of topic you want to know your significant other does not agree with you on. He has yet to submit further comment, but his first was pretty clear.

I have a great deal of difficulty dealing with the idea that someone I love stands on the opposite side of an extremely important fence. I never know exactly what one is expected to do with that kind of information. Doesn't it go against your own values to ignore their dissent? We're only ignoring it because we love them, after all, and we certainly don't give the same free pass to the strangers we tear up in our debates. What makes them so special, besides our love?

How do youdeal with it whenyou realized a loved one has a dissenting position to something about whichyou feel passionately? Does it make it more difficultfor you to remain passionate? Do you continue to confrontthem, or just letit slide? Is either wrong, in your opinion?

18 December 2014 @ 08:50 am

Congratulations to ctfd_ricochey!

That was quite the intense little vignette, my friend.
Week Two entries must be in by this Sunday. I look forward to an EVEN LARGER TURN OUT OF READERS AND VOTERS in the weeks to come! Meanwhile, the reading list is still up -- so y'all go enjoy the swell collection of stories written for An Aftermath of Sky.

Sign-ups are open for Week Three until tomorrow night. Please don't miss your chance to play in our last writing competition of the year. #gowrite, and let's get warmed up for 2015!

18 December 2014 @ 06:39 am
Good Morning.

A few reminders:

Deadline for week 2 mini contest “Heed well these borderlines of mine” is Sunday 12/21, at midnight EST.

Week three sign ups are until Friday 12/18 at midnight EST. Make sure you sign up if you would like to participate! You can participate independently of the other minis of the month so if you’ve been thinking about writing a few words, do it! ( I double dog dare you.)

Onwards flamelings.

The great book debate. No, I’m not talking about what’s the greatest book of all time and why but the format of the book.

I recently replaced my first generation Kindle with a Kindle Fire, my first tablet. When I bought my first kindle a million years ago, I was about to have hip surgery that would put me in bed for weeks, a walker for more weeks, and then a cane for months. During that time, I couldn’t work and my favorite hobby was and still is reading.

Although I loved printed books, I had some pretty solid reasons for wanting a new e-reader: having hundreds of books at my disposal within one device, getting rid of those weird hand cramps one gets from reading printed books for too long in one sitting, and lastly, not losing the bookmark out of a book for whatever reason only to flip through pages to try to find your spot again.

Now that I’ve had my Kindle for years, the nostalgia for printed books has started to return. I have picked up a few books and the shelves on my mostly bookless bookshelves are now being filled with some classics such as Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales and Dune. I quickly remember why I went to electronic, (those darn hand cramps) but there’s nothing quite like holding a printed book.

Since I have such a long commute, I also started investing in audiobooks. I hadn’t ever listened to them before. I find my reading experience expanded again. I can’t imagine some of the books I have listened to in any other format than audio. Having someone read a book is quite a breathtaking experience at times. I’m starting to have fantasies of being on a beach somewhere with a pool boy reading to me.

I would be hard pressed to say if I had one die hard true favorite format of a book. I cannot land on one side of the book debate, ebook or printed. Can you? What are some of your reasons?

17 December 2014 @ 12:30 pm
Good morning Flamefolk,
Jlly here with you again, which means your week is half done.

I’m having one of those days where my typical schedule is blown and I’m trying to juggle duties in order to make it on time to some appointments. No one feels the change in schedule more acutely than my dogs. Today the change had a real impact on them because I had to take them out one at a time. The appointments are to the vet, so dog owners will understand why.

We have three parts to our yard. The front, the back, and the side. On a normal morning I will let two out the back together, one on the side, and I take the fourth (River) out front on leash. Once she does her thing, I take her on a quick walk around the block for a little exercise and stimulation. Today we had to delay the walk until well after breakfast (three hours late), so we ended up on the walk during her sleepy time. She goes into this mellow, drowsy mode around 9am that I love. It’s when she’s the most cuddly and affectionate.

I don’t know if it was a trick of the sunlight and the cool 68 degrees wafting breeze, but our front yard at 9am was like a magical Disney scene. There were ducks waddling about looking for whatever they eat, all manner of birds flitting from tree to tree; I actually saw a woodpecker. There were pristine white Ibis digging in a yard across the street and the squirrels were running in their fluid, arcing lines like furry Loch Ness Monster babies in the easements. And because of the wonder of sleepy time, River just stood and watched all of this small creature activity calmly and without so much as a huff. This meant I got to enjoy it too.

I love that kind of quiet time. Even if it’s just 10 minutes I find it so reviving. Sadly, I didn’t learn to be still inside and embrace the outer world’s stillness until a few years ago. Now I can really feel it when life gets so hectic that there is no quiet time for days or weeks.

Do you ever find yourself running, screaming to a quiet spot like an old Calgon commercial? What gives you that zen feeling of peace to recharge from a hectic life? Do you embrace the frenetic days or the lazy ones?
Talk to me.
<3 jlly


A couple of reminders today -
There is a reading list of wonderful stories for first in the December series of minis. Voting closes at the end of the day so be sure to read, vote, and share some comment love with our writers.

The second mini-contest closes on Sunday and we can’t wait to read your submissions. #gowrite

There is a sign-up for the third mini-contest of December, it closes Friday.

Finally, we are still looking for guest chatter writers for a little added flavor and we’d like to find another regular so RicoChey can take a break from writing two posts per week. Apply below.
16 December 2014 @ 05:17 pm

Week Three

2014 is on its way out and I say it's time to shake the dust of this year off our feet. So, I've tossed out most of the monthly contest format guidelines*.

December will consist of four consecutive minis, each one is winner take all. Writers can enter each weekly contest regardless of the vote count for the  prior week. Likewise, any writer who didn't enter in week one can enter in week two, or either of the subsequent installments of the December Series of Minis.

For this particular month of competition I will make Contest Sign-Up posts in which all writers intending to compete (for that week) are required to leave a comment. I have also demanded asked that the community mods play -- be assured that none of the mods have prior knowledge of the prompts. I'm flying solo on this gig, and I'm telling them nothing! Mwahahaha!

Each weekly winner will win a small but shiny token of my appreciation (that will be shipped in January). Voting is important in this game, so tell all your reading and writing friends to join in! Seriously, don't play the humble amateur writer for December. You are awesome and we want to read you. Go for the guts and gold!

A secondary but equally FUN prize: Names of contestants who enter all four weekly minis will be tossed into a hat and one will be chosen to host a month of prompts in 2015.

Hurry! Sign-ups end Friday, December 19th at Midnight EST.
For my darling Flames, as well as for those writers I haven't had the pleasure to meet yet, I'm giving a hint at the topic prior to the OFFICIAL TOPIC POST that will appear Saturday, December 20th. Share it with others. Remind them that sign-ups will also be offered on Facebook and @flamestorming.

Week Three Hint:  Week Three Is Nothing Like The Others

*No word limits or genre restrictions exist for this series of minis, however, do keep the standard guidelines in mind, particularly with respect to trigger warnings and general readership regardless if you are sharing your stories on LiveJournal or another site.

Questions are welcome. Ask away!
16 December 2014 @ 11:28 am


The poll closes tomorrow night and I cannot stress this enough: VOTING IS IMPORTANT!
Tell all your friends to read and vote. Each weekly winner gets a shiny prize.
(Please notice that bardiphouka has been added to the reading list.
There was a delay due to me goofing up the submission poll.)

Deadline Sunday, December 21.

Meanwhile, be on the lookout for Week Three Sign-Ups!
Sign-Ups open tonight and close Friday.

In my youth I possessed very few filters that might ensure tact in particular situations. One friend was fond of telling others that I said whatever fell out of my mouth. Some folks considered this little quirk charming, others did not. For the sake of not making all the boys cry or getting ostracized from my family, and eventually for the sake of maintaining steady employment, I tried to teach myself manners. Bluntness still happens, though, especially around that family I mentioned.

My aunt hosted a surprise birthday party for my favorite uncle this past Sunday. Hubby and I went, braced for interaction with virtual strangers as well as those with whom we share close ties, and those other people that test my self-imposed social filters. And my resolve to avoid becoming a stone cold killer.

There is one cousin in particular that pushes me to the limit. She's a young mother of two toddlers and should probably not be trusted to raise goats, much less human children. Unlike most parents she has no range of tones that help her children differentiate between instruction, encouragement, discipline, danger!, or oh heck mama is about to lose her mind.

She has one tone: Shrill Nonsense. It is a garbled screech of first names and middle names that never begins or ends with instruction for whatever child she's screeching at. In fact, it's impossible to understand what she's saying at all, and what exactly might have caused her voice to reach that degree of freak out. Once when out on a walk I saw an oncoming car come within inches of hitting a puppy crossing the street and I screamed OHMYGODPUPPYNOOOO!!! That's what my cousin sounds like when addressing a one year old and two year old.

I wouldn't be able to live with her. I'd rip her vocal cords out in less than twenty-four hours -- this is what I was thinking Sunday afternoon, standing center of a loose circle of other family members while watching those toddlers at their rowdy play, neither of them paying any mind to their mother's shrill nonsense.

I'd rip her vocal cords out.

My attention was suddenly caught by the facial expression of another cousin standing near me...  a nanosecond before my mother spit Coca-Cola out of her nose. The weight of another twenty pairs of eyes hit my back. Even the toddlers went silent.

Apparently I said that out loud.

And then the room quickly filled with the gleeful cackles of my cousin's mother-in-law.

I'm here to listen to your family anecdotes. And advice you'd like to give on my most troublesome subject:
15 December 2014 @ 07:19 am

The reading list from WEEK ONE is here: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/1017883.html

The submission poll for WEEK TWO is here: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/1017173.html

I don't feel so well, so this may be a clipped event.

Ten years ago, I fell in with a core group of friends, most of whom had already known each other since grade school. That was a lot to live up to, but obviously I found my niche. All these years later, coming up on our thirties and going through the same strange, unexpected trials that lead to true adulthood, we are all still together, though much more loosely. Jobs, bills, social responsibility, significant others, and even children (but that's only Steve so far) have got us a little scattered. For all of these reasons, it is understandably exciting when a bunch of us end up on the same porch, drinking wine and cider and talking about nothing.

That being said, everyone else (with the exception of periods of deployment for Chris) has been in Arizona these long years. It's Khamryn and I that ran off to the Midwest for five years and killed the winning streak. I came back two years ago, but I've been pretty elusive. Khamryn came back only a year ago, but he spends just about all of his free time with the gang. Therefore, they know who the new Khamryn is now, and they know what to expect. All they know about me is what they read on Facebook, and I don't exactly shed my soul down to bare skin all over the internet.

The reason this is significant is because I keep forgetting how much they don't know about me. It comes up in really ridiculous ways, too. There were six of us -- three guys and three gals -- and Chris made some crack about being single forever. So, I suggested we play the Dating Game. Richie was the host, asking questions, and us gals had to answer them. It got gross and hilarious extremely quickly. Then, Smidge was the bachelorette, and the guys had to answer questions. Now, Richie's had been pretty basic: "How would you impress the Bachelor on a first date?" When it came to my turn, my first question was, "The bachelorette writes a blog about conservation and sustainable resources -- how would you show off your love for the environment on a first date?" Richie was miffed. "Have you played this before!? What the hell was that!?"

My only defense? "Sorry," I said with no remorse. "Fiction writer."

I hadn't realized some of them still didn't know such essential things about who I was, or who I'd been becoming for the last seven years since we were still nineteen year old kids. I suppose that would be upsetting for some people, feeling like your friends don't really know you. The way I see it, though? We have many more years to figure each other out. What matters is that our bonds have held on, despite how little we know of each other anymore. We drifted apart and did some growing up, and now we have to get to know each other again. Not the worst gig.

Do you find differencesbetween yourself and old friends after a handful of years? How often are they more detrimental than they are opportunities for growth?

Good morning to all of our brightly burning writers out there.
I have a reading list to start your morning with so go grab your toasty beverage of choice and a warm blanket.
As you know, our darlinleo set us the challenge of writing what was triggered by the prompt - "An Aftermath of Sky".
Let's see how your fellow embers were inspired:

Title: Nuances and the New
Author: alethessa
Word Count: 249 (poetry)
Warnings: none really, divorce arguments as an underlying topic

Title: Natural
Author: ayumidah
Word Count: 475
Warnings: none

Title: Musings on the Sky
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 450 words (roughly)
Warnings: none

Title: What Dreams
Author: jlly_coppercorn
Word Count: 1,486
Rated M for Mature – for gore and horror
This is part two of a three part story, continued from "The New Doom" in November week one.

Title: Two Player Game
Author: keppiehed
Word Count: 1818
Warnings: language

Title: From The Bay Window
Author: missflyer
Word Count: 484
Warnings: none

Author: ctfd_ricochey (the author formerly known as mistvieh)
WC: 1788, reads quickly.
Warnings: PG13 language & drug use.

Title: An Aftermath of Sky
Author: urb_banal
Word Count: 1,200
Warnings: none
Genre: "Magical Realism"

Title: The Sky in 40
Author: bardiphouka
Word Count:271
Warnings: None
Genre: Fictional History

The voting will not be open all week, so get your reading done early and cast your votes by 11:45pm Wednesday. This is a mini-contest, so there can be only one winner. Choose wisely ;)

Don't forget to drop a note to your fellow writers to let them know they are appreciated. If it's an offsite blog and you have trouble with commenting, feel free to share your comments here and we'll pass them along.

Check us out on Wordpress too. HERE
14 December 2014 @ 08:18 pm
Sunday? Well yes as a matter of nattering. It just seemed more sense than writing two posts on the same day. So with no objections I will move this one to Sunday, which has no posts.

I recently discovered something that I had not known. That a good chunk of downtown Cincinnati was originally an indian mound. They have also discovered that at least some of the mounds in Ohio are some 1500 years older than originally thought. So far as I know the actual reason for the mounds is still unknown. In part because they are from a variety of people.


Tell me, what do you think about mysteries? Do you like them to remain unexplained or do you wish to unravel them?
13 December 2014 @ 01:24 pm
Why look at that, the month is almost half passed! Which means that 2014 is almost over. It also means for some that it is St Lucy Day. A quaint custom of St Lucy day is that the youngest daughter of a family has to fix breakfast for everyone. And if the family does not live together then they have to go to everyone's house. Just as our chatterlings do, going from computer to computer. And what have they brought us to mentally masticate this week?

Monday ctfd_ricochey starts the week off, as she does, by asking about favourite musical genres and break up songs and songs with your name on them.

Tuesday. Time to wake up. darlinleo is asking you about oversleeping.

Wednesday and you should pay attention if you have a flamer on your holiday gift list, or are a flamer on someone's list. jlly_coppercorn wants to know who you would pick as your writer in the box.

Thursday. Be careful how you walk because amri asks how we balance things. oh, sorry, different sort of balancing act.

Friday ctfd_ricochey pops back to ask if you are your worse critic.
13 December 2014 @ 01:31 am

Heed Well These Borderlines of Mine

Read more...Collapse )

Submission deadline is Sunday, December 21, Midnight EST.


Week Two of the December contest is upon us! Sign up here:  http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/1016189.html

For those of you who threw your hats in last week, your submissions go here:  http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/1014690.html

Those things being said, I wrote an entry for week one. I dunno what happened. I had a thought riding the train home, got inside the door, deleted the first line of my original idea, and wrote something completely different. Didn't even know where it was going, just where it would probably end. It felt nice to be a writer again.

Now that's it's posted, however, I am completely self-conscious. I keep reading it over again and wondering, am I rusted or just paranoid? Because you know exactly what went into it, I think critiquing your work is exponentially more difficult than doing it for someone else. I really don't know how any of us manages to edit work after we have a first draft. Doesn't it just turn into a circular one-person argument over whether something will definitely make sense if you just add more adjectives?

It's so bogus. I can take someone else's work and make it GOLD in one edit. But mine? I have entries from years ago that I still tear apart when I come across them. It makes me wonder, do published authors like Stephen King go back, look at old work, and shudder? Do you think he read Cujo over again and thought, "I really should have focused more on letting the dog eat people"?

As soon as the supreme contest overlord, Kathy, releases the week two topic, I'm all over it. Don't you worry about me. But in the meantime...

Are you your worst critic, do you find you are ratherimpartial? How often have you read old work and wanted to hide in a hole and change your name?

11 December 2014 @ 06:35 am
Good Morning.

Some announcements to start off this almost-but-not-the-weekend Thursday.

Submissions for the topic “An Aftermath of Sky” is due Sunday, December 14 by midnight EST.

Sign ups for the next mini is due Friday, December 12 by midnight EST.

Now onto the good stuff:

Time and convenience. Both of these we tend to put a price tag on. For example, prediced/sliced fruits and veggies. I’m guilty of buying them for many reasons, time and convenience are two of them. It’s much cheaper to buy the whole food and chopped it myself but I’m willing to pay for the time saved and the convenience of that product.

I have a long commute to work and for that commute, I have to have a car, do maintenance on said car and put fuel in it. Up until 5 years or so ago, I didn’t own a car. For most of my adult life, I’ve used public transportation, walked or rode a bike. When I tell people that I used public transportation, the first comment that normally follows was something about the time it took compared to zipping around in a car. After moving to a bigger city, funnily enough, it was too hard to go without one and I made the decision to buy one.

Some of my decision was based on time, convenience, and expense. I could argue that my car has brought so much convenience to my life by saving on time and it’s worth the expense I pay out for it and in the case of my employment, it is the only way to get to it. I could also argue that I’ve gotten lazy, put on more pounds, and more isolated without the force interaction of seeing others on the sidewalk or interacting during the time at bus stops or on the bus itself day after day. And let’s not talk about the expenses part of it.

For me, it’s always a hard decision to balance convenience, time and money into something I’m perfectly content with. So, I’m asking you. Do you put more importance on time, convenience, or money or have you found a balance that works for your life?

10 December 2014 @ 08:25 am
Hello my lovely friends and Flames, it is Wednesday again and I am here - in place of a nuisance camel - to remind you that the week is half over.

If you could choose any author in the world to be your mentor (living or dead) who would it be?

I was reading a blog post yesterday by a writer named Chuck Wendig that suggested "author-in-a-box" as a potential Christmas gift for the writer in your life. His initial description put me in mind of The Gimp in Pulp Fiction, but played by Neil Gaiman. Obviously, we wouldn't really want to keep our mentors in a box, but it did get me thinking about who would make a good writing coach and provide proper incentive for getting me to stop fiddling about on the internet and do some solid writing.

I think I'd go with Sheri Tepper. I admire the foundation of her work and would like to represent the same mindset in my own protagonists, but I also think she could really keep me on track. Other authors I love would be too much of a distraction. Jim Butcher and Terry Pratchett would have me in stitches. Charles deLint would not be strict enough. Alice Hoffman and I would never stop talking and I would be too intimidated just being in the room with Clive Barker to type above a whisper. Ms. Tepper would be interesting in the downtime and just tough enough to get me to write one more chapter before I hit save for the night.

Who's in your box?


A few reminders and a notice.
There is a topic out that several of you signed up to write for. Your interpretation of "An Aftermath of Sky" is due Sunday, December 14th before midnight.

There is a new sign up for the second contest in our series of minis. Be sure to put your name on the list by Friday midnight. You must sign up to play :)

Finally, we have a new chatter post writer joining us tomorrow. Be sure to tune in and say hello.

We are still looking for chatter volunteers to do one-time guest posts or to become part of the regular weekday rotation. Comment below if you are interested.

Or if you just want to chat with me.

<3 jlly