"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

It's time for me to fess up. I've already mentioned several times that I work for some pretty great people at my job, and one of the many reasons they're so great to work for is that they shut down for Christmas and don't open the office again until the new year. It's wonderful. This year, my last day was December 21st and I don't go back until January 2nd. That's a lot of time off. You'd think I'd do something productive with it, right? Well, this is where it gets a little embarrassing, because I didn't. Okay, that's not entirely true. I've done a lot of housecleaning. But I didn't do a lot of writing. In fact, barely any.

I guess I was just so stressed out and tired from all the Christmas prep (and a few other writing projects as well) that I needed some time to just 'be'. (That sounds very Oprah, but it's true.) I cleaned the house when it suited me, took naps, read good books. It was magical. And now, with a new year upon us, it's time to get back to work. But that's what I love about New Year's Eve. It's not the parties, the countdown at midnight or even the midnight kiss. It's the beauty of a brand new, completely untarnished year about to begin. How do I want 2013 to go? What will it hold for my writing career? December 31st is a glorious potion of hope and ambition that fills me with passion for at least a few weeks, before of course, we all get tired and start to slide on our goals.

But even with the inevitable decline of ambition, I still make new year's resolutions every year. Making goals gives me purpose and every time I meet one I feel amazing. It's worth a little hair pulling and irritation a few weeks into January when laziness starts to kick in just to remind myself that there are things worth working for. And my writing career is definitely one of them.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Ending

Welcome to Friday! It's been quite a week over in my corner of the world. Boxing Day actually gave us quite the beating. As you might already know, we discovered a gas leak in our gas fireplace several days ago. That was irritating enough. But on Boxing Day, we also lost our internet connection, our playstation hard drive bit the dust and a person lost control of their car and crashed into my husband's, which was parked on the street. So, all in all it was an interesting day. And here we thought we'd played it safe by staying in all day. In any case, I'm relieved it's Friday and hopefully our bad luck is behind us. Of course, it also means it's time for some Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is ending. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

He held out his hand, towering over her on his tall, white horse. She took it, letting him pull her up into his big, strong arms, tight against his broad chest. She looked up at his blue eyes, his gleaming white teeth. With a shake of the reins they were riding off into the sunset, supposedly towards a happy ending. But if that was the case, why did it feel so wrong?

 I hope you've enjoyed this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to read past editions, just follow the link below. Your comments are welcome (and very much appreciated!) below in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Vision
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion
Five Sentence Fiction - Time
Five Sentence Fiction - Joy

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day

Well, I survived Christmas and homemade Christmas was a complete success. Now comes my favourite part of the holidays, the quiet that comes afterward. Now my days are filled with sleeping in, eating leftovers and reading good books.

Of course, it would have helped if I hadn't come home yesterday to our internet being down. My husband was on the phone with our internet provider for a half hour before he could get us back online and even still they have to come by on January 3rd because we're still not totally sure what the problem is. For some reason it just stopped working at one of our outlets.

The good news? I didn't get my customary Christmas illness. It seems every Christmas I come down with something whether it be the flu, a nasty cold or food poisoning. But not this year. I've made it to Boxing Day without woofing my cookies or filling nearby garbage cans with kleenex. So, at least I have that.

What about you? Did you survive the holidays?

Monday, December 24, 2012

I Made It! (literally)

Well, I'm exhausted, but I did it. As of late last night all our gifts were wrapped and ready to go. I don't think I'm up for another homemade Christmas. Not that I have a problem with homemade gifts, but I'm just not very creative. Or efficient. Tie that in with regular holiday stress and the gas leak we've been dealing with in our fireplace (don't ask), I think I'd rather go the less stressful and work intensive route with a little online shopping ahead of time.

And once Christmas is behind me, the real vacation begins. That's right. I'm off work until January 2nd. Why? Because I have the greatest bosses in the history of mankind. Here's my plan for my time off: sleep, read, repeat. Thanks to a long list of book recommendations from Erin Morgenstern's blog, I have ten books sitting on my dining room table waiting to be read. And so far they've been fantastic. But in the meantime, I'm going to spend some quality time with my family, cuddle my nephew and eat some delicious food. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Vision

I can't believe it's already the end of the world... I mean Friday. Obviously if you're reading this then all is well, or at least the internet somehow managed to survive the apocalypse, which means it can't be all that bad. This week's edition is a little bit different, because it wasn't just me that wrote it. It was actually my husband that did most of it.

Last night we decided to head out to a little tapas place in our neighborhood and over some ridiculously good gnocchi and duck poutine I told him the list of stuff I had to do that evening.
"Too bad we don't have a pen and paper, we could write your blog post right now."
With a smirk I pulled a notebook and pen out of my purse (as if a writer would leave the house without one) and we promptly set to work. So, I hope you enjoy our little collaboration. This week's prompt is vision. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try, just visit Lille McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

The sight of her washed over me like a violent ocean wave. I was her captive, unable to tell up from down, unable to breathe. Speechless, I stared at her, unable to move, my mouth opening and closing like a mute fish.
She shook her head and looked at me with frustration.
"I said, do you want fries with that?"
Yes, yes I did.

Voila! A merry little piece of fiction to brighten your Friday thanks to my witty husband, an excellent dinner partner and collaborator. If you liked that one, I hope you'll check out the rest! Just follow the links below. Make sure you take some time and enjoy this last weekend before Christmas. Put your feet up, sleep in, and for the love of God, don't go near the malls.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Time
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Joy
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is bearing down on me like a predator. It's less than a week away now and I can see it clearly on the horizon. I'm sure a lot of you are looking at its approach with glee, but unfortunately I'm not ready. Not at all. I was optimistic this weekend, as I chugged along on my various projects, but so far this week I haven't had time to do anything. My plan was to be finished everything by Friday, so I could have a few days to relax before Christmas. Alas things are looking grim.

Don't worry, I haven't given up hope yet. I'm a procrastinator by nature, so I work well under pressure. Fear of failure is an excellent driving force. Which is why this going to be a rather short post. Sorry, but time is of the essence. If you're behind on your own holiday prep, I wish you luck as well. Of course, I will be back again on Friday, so stay tuned.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Dinner Party

Last night I attended the best dinner party I've ever been to. I'm serious. It was incredible.

It was at the house of my best friend, a woman so full of kindness, generosity and creativity it makes my heart swell with joy just to have her in my life. I know you probably think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. Do you remember how in every classic Disney movie, the heroine would always be surrounded by cuddly forest creatures? It's like that.

She's always been a domestic diva, her house makes you want to curl up and stay forever. She does everything from refinishing antique furniture, to sewing, painting original pictures for her walls and artfully displaying books on her bookshelves. Have I properly set the scene yet? As you might have guessed, her talent doesn't end in the kitchen. It explodes like fireworks. Last night's meal was so good, I actually teared up after a bite of her garlic mashed potatoes.

To make matters even more splendid, last night's dinner guests were all women. An eclectic mix of smart, witty, genuine and hilarious ladies that made for a fantastic evening. So fantastic that I only managed maybe six hours of sleep and I'm a little bleary eyed at work this morning. But that's okay, because I had a great time.

And I have leftovers for lunch.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion

Welcome to Friday! First and foremost: yes, my beloved nephew was born on Wednesday, meaning he has the coveted 12-12-12 birthday. I have to say, as a person who's supremely uncomfortable around babies and has no plans to procreate, that little devil has stolen my heart. He's the most beautiful, charming little fellow I've ever seen and I'm already smitten.

Now that I've covered the big news of the week, I know you're all ready for some Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn what it's all about, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt is devotion. (I'm beginning to think my life and Five Sentence Fiction are inextricably linked, the prompts keep lining up with my life like a horoscope). Enjoy!

Eyes sandy and burning with the need to close, she couldn't take her eyes off him. She liked the weight of him in her arms, the warmth, the smell. Each soft sigh and coo was like music. She knew she'd have to put him down eventually and sleep but she couldn't just yet. It was just so nice to finally meet him.

This week's Five Sentence Fiction is dedicated to my sister. You are amazing and I'm so very proud of you. Watching you, I'm already in awe of your mothering prowess and I know it's only going to get better. Thank you for making me an auntie, I'll do my best to make you proud.

If you're still in the mood for more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below. As always, I welcome and cherish your comments, so please feel free to leave me a note. If you particularly liked this post I hope you'll share it with others, and perhaps follow this blog. Have a great weekend everyone!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Time
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Joy
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm Going to Be an Auntie!

No blog post today, I'm afraid. My sister is in labour! Hopefully, before the end of today, I will be an auntie. So, if you wouldn't mind, please send positive vibes my sister's way and concentrate on good health for her and the baby. Thank you for your patience everyone. I will be back again on Friday!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Morning Blues

Have you ever had one of those days (or in my case, weekends) where just nothing goes according to plan? As you can probably guess, I just did. Not that I had especially productive or sensational plans for this past weekend. All I wanted to do was stay in and read.

On Friday, I stopped by the library to return a book and ten of my requests had come in. Feeling like I'd won the lottery, I checked them out and hauled them to the car, anxious to get home and spend the entire weekend inside a good book. That did not happen.

Instead, I spent almost half the weekend trying to eat breakfast. It started on Saturday, with my ill fated decision to try the new Cora's that had just opened. They were so disorganized, with no system of being able to put your name down for a table and having them get a hold of you when it was ready. You just had to stand in line and wait. Outside. In -27 degrees celcius. For at least forty five minutes. Um, no.

So, we decided we'd head over to Truffles. Half way there I remembered that it was Saturday, and they only have brunch on Sunday. No problem. I'd call Poached. As luck would have it, they had two tables left, but unfortunately I couldn't reserve one over the phone. Taking our chances, we drove to Poached, hitting every single red light on the way. When we got there, they had only one table left and it was the worst one in the restaurant. It sat directly in front of the door, not even two feet away. At this point we were famished and in terrible moods, so we agreed glumly to the awful table and proceeded to have breakfast. At no point did we take off our coats, and my husband kept his toque on the entire time.

The next day, we managed to wake up far earlier. Surely, there wouldn't be a long wait so early at Cora's this time. Wrong. Although we were able to get in the first set of doors, we spent forty five minutes crammed into the tiny entrance way with eighteen other people, only slightly warmer than if we'd been forced to wait outside. When we finally made it through the second pair of doors and into the actual restaurant, we still had to wait as no one seemed to be showing anyone to a table. When we were finally seated, I will admit that our server was incredibly attentive, but the food just wasn't good enough to make up for the long, cold wait. My toes were freezing the entire time and the smoked salmon eggs benedict were just not up to snuff. I'd had far better at Calories, and they at least took reservations.

Each time we went for breakfast, it had eaten up at least half the day and most of the rest was spent running errands on roads so slippery they had me white-knuckling the steering wheel.

Of course, it wasn't all bad. On Saturday night we went to see Life of Pi and it was incredible. They did a fantastic job translating such an amazing book to screen. The visuals were stunning. And on Sunday night we had dinner at my parents house, which was delicious. So, the weekend wasn't a complete loss by any means, but I was so disappointed that my own plans fell through. I wasn't able to finish a single book and now the work week stretches ahead like an unending ocean. I know there's another weekend just beyond the horizon, but I just can't see it yet. (If you're wondering, the lesson here is to just stay home and make your own breakfast. It's faster, tastier and you don't have to leave the house.)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Time

Welcome to Friday! I know I say this every week, but seriously, this week was SO long. I feel like I should get a medal just for making it to the end. Between weather, work and a few other things on my plate, time has never moved so slowly. Which is interesting, because this week's Five Sentence Fiction prompt is time. Weird when life lines up isn't it? Anyway, if you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

When had she first noticed the changes? She couldn't remember, but every day they became more obvious. Her stepdaughter was getting more beautiful, more radiant, and she was getting older and more plain.
Every morning she sat in front of the mirror, peering at her reflection before she asked that all important question: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
Even she couldn't have predicted how poorly she'd react the day the mirror's answer changed.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, full of rest, warm fires and great books. If you enjoyed this edition of Five Sentence Fiction, I hope you'll check out the rest. Just follow the links below. Your comments are welcome and very much appreciated below in the comments section. If you really liked it I hope you'll follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Joy
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter: My Irritating Muse

On Sunday night about a foot and a half of snow was dumped on my charming little city, burying us all in the undeniable reality of winter. I don't know if we somehow upset the karmic balance with our mild winter last year, but this year its making up for it with a vengeance. We've already had more snow in the month of November than we had all winter last year.

The result? Well, thanks to poor city planning (which refuses to learn its lesson year after year), the budget simply doesn't cover the proper removal of snow and road upkeep. Therefore, when the snow fell, the roads were already covered in a thick sheen of ice that had yet to be attended to. The driving conditions on Monday morning were horrifying, and when I arrived at work my knuckles were still bone white from gripping the steering wheel so tight.

I've lived my entire life in this city, so driving conditions this bad are nothing new, but each time I can feel my heart beating wildly against my chest as I carefully navigate our abysmal roads. It drives me crazy.

And where is my point in all this? The weather has completely destroyed my desire to leave the house. I'd rather eat cereal for supper than go for groceries, let alone go out for the sole purpose of socializing. My hatred of poor driving conditions keeps me locked in the house, where guess what? All I can do is write. Yep. It turns out winter is my slave driving muse. True, I also take a lot of naps, (A LOT), but I get a lot of work done. It's been said that the best place to write is in a cellar on a rainy day, but I disagree. The best place to write is in your living room when winter has made the roads impassable.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society

When asked what genre I particularly like to read, I never have an answer. Like music, my taste is all over the place. The only distinction I'm concerned with is whether or not its a good story. If it can take me away, I'm happy to let it. Of course, there are a few genres I generally gravitate to, but I've made it a personal rule not to disregard something just because it's in a genre I'm not familiar with or have made assumptions about.

For example, I recently finished The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I almost put it down in the beginning. Although the writing was excellent, I didn't find the subject matter compelling. I find politics particularly off putting, which was the basis for the story. Luckily, I didn't. Because once I was a few chapters in, I found myself emerged in the worlds of the characters and I couldn't put it down. It was excellent!

Just this weekend, I read the second novel in a series called The Mysterious Benedict Society. The novels are for children, but the writing, concept and story are just too good to put down. It gathers together four small and uniquely gifted children by the charming Mr. Benedict and sets them on delicious adventures. The characters are fantastic and I find I never know what's going to happen next. They're impossible to predict and I love it! The author, Trenton Lee Stewart, is ridiculously clever. Don't just buy these books for your children, read them yourself! They celebrate talent in all forms, encourage intellectual pursuit and are captivating.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't let the genres bog you down. A good story is a good story. There's no sense in missing something wonderful just because of it's label. Break through your barriers and surprise yourself. The world is full of treasures waiting to be found!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Joy

Welcome one and all to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to find out what it's all about, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt was joy, and I'll be honest, it was a tough one for me. I looked at the word and my mind went completely blank. So I hope you enjoy it, and if it sucks, you know why.

Joy? She couldn't summon a time in recent memory when she'd felt anything akin to joy, and listening to her friend only made her feel empty. Why were things going so wonderfully for her when all she felt was misery?
Her friend looked at her, waiting for a response. She forced a smile on her face, pretending to feel a happiness she couldn't remember.

There you have it. Like I said, this prompt was a really hard one for me, so I hope you enjoyed it. If you'd like to read past week's editions, just follow the links below. Your comments are always welcome in the comments section below. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Truth About Guidance

Tonight I'm having another meeting with the current Writer in Residence at the public library. So far, it's been going really well. His help has been invaluable. Which got me to thinking a lot about guidance.

When you're an emerging writer, there's a lot to be desired. You don't have a lot of publishing credits, your writing/editing skills aren't quite where they should be and, if you're like me, you suffer from a crippling lack of confidence. You need help that you can trust, a hand to help guide you through the daunting process of building a successful career in writing. Which is why I think mentoring is so important.

Meeting with my first Writer in Residence, Alice Kuipers, was crucial for me. I know I wouldn't be where I am now without her. I would have given up long ago, curled in a little ball under the covers. She prepared me for the disappointments, the extreme amount of work and effort required and gave me gentle encouragement. But I'm not done needing guidance. In fact, I still have a long way to go. So, I'm meeting with the current Writer in Residence. And I'll probably meet with the next one.

Don't be afraid to seek out help. Apply for mentorship programs, visit your own local Writer in Residence if you have one. Classes and workshops are great, but nothing can make up for the one on one attention you receive from someone who's been there.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Craft Fair!

So, if you follow me on twitter, you probably already know what I was up to this weekend. I got in touch with my own inner domestic goddess and hit up the local craft fair. I have to say, craft fairs are generally not my cup of tea, but I had a lot of fun! I got a lot of great ideas for this year's homemade Christmas with the family and it was fun seeing how creative people can be. I saw some adorable Christmas tree decorations made from old light bulbs, sleek, modern wreaths made from yarn and homemade beef jerky for the dog. It was so much fun! I even went home and did some work on my homemade Christmas gifts afterward (and then felt incredibly inadequate). But the highlight of the fair? Definitely Crochet by Megs.

I don't know if it was the adorable baby booties, the neat little crocheted Christmas tree ornaments or the stuffed animals (who am I kidding? It was the stuffed animals!) but I fell in love with her booth. It was so bright and colourful, you just wanted to touch everything. The best part? She has a shop on Etsy and does custom orders. If you'd like to check out her shop, just go here.

In the mean time, how cute are these?

Ah!!! I Want!!

Green Eggs and Ham Kindle Cover? I die with the awesomeness.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast

Welcome to the end of one hellish week. I've been sick since last Friday, so you better believe I'm happy the week is over. I'm finally feeling like I'm on the mend, so I genuinely have cause to celebrate. And what better way to do that then with Five Sentence Fiction? This week's prompt is feast. If you'd like to learn more, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

She could hear the humming calling her to the kitchen, the same tune her mom used to hum when she was cooking.
The table was laden with food, the aroma pulling her closer, making her mouth water. She reached out with trembling fingers, desperate for a taste, looking up just in time to see it. 
There, just beyond the table, standing in front of the stove, something was cooking and humming merrily. And it was definitely not her mother.

Voila! I hope you've enjoyed this little piece of fiction. If you did, and you'd like to read more, just check out the links below for previous editions. If you really enjoyed it, I hope you'll share it with friends. And if you'd like to make my day (and my weekend), I hope you'll follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Your comments are welcome (and much appreciated!) below in the comments section.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Still Feeling Crappy

I have to plead for patience this week. I woke up Monday morning feeling a lot better, but by the time I got home from work I felt horrible. I had the worst sinus pain I've had in a long time. I spent the entire evening wishing I could pull my teeth out with pliers. Still feeling crappy the next morning, I stayed home from work. And it was a good thing I did, because I was miserable. By noon it had developed into a flu as well so I was able to add throwing up to my list of symptoms. (Lucky me!) So, obviously I haven't had time to write a proper blog post.

I hope to be feeling better soon, and don't worry, I'll still be posting this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction on Friday. So, thank you for your patience!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

This was my plan for this weekend:
- Get up reasonably early
- Clean the house (it's disgusting)
- Catch up on the ridiculous amount of laundry littered throughout the house
- Walk the dog
- Blog
- Edit manuscript
- Help my sister get ready for a craft fair next weekend

This is how my weekend actually went:
- Friday at work develop a dry cough
- Get home from work and notice my throat is really sore.
- Make pad thai and decide that a good night's sleep will cure what ails me
-Wake up Saturday morning feeling like death warmed over
- Spend the entire day in and out of consciousness on the couch, eating oranges and ingesting liquids. Get exactly nothing done
-Wake up Sunday feeling mildly better, feel accomplished for having taken a shower.
- Go to sister's house where I accomplish a mild amount of helping
- Return home, put in a load of laundry, decide I'm Superwoman and deserve a nap on the couch

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business

It's Friday, which means it's time for this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn more about it, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt was business. Enjoy!

She shook out her hair, admiring the new color. A quick glance in the mirror confirmed her transformation, just a few small changes and she'd become an entirely new person.
The apartment had already been wiped down, every trace of her was gone. She pulled on her gloves, picked up her suitcase and turned to leave; but not before placing a small card on the kitchen table. In her scrawling handwriting it read: "Nothing personal. Just business."

All right, I hope you enjoyed that. I welcome all of your comments below, in the comments section. If you'd like to read past editions, just follow the links below. If you particularly liked this edition, or this blog, feel free to share it with friends. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flawed

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Secret Love

Can I tell you a secret? I know I'm a grown woman and my tastes should run a lot more... intellectual, but I love animated movies. I can't explain it. Maybe it's my appreciation for a good fairy tale, maybe it's because I'm really just a child at heart. I don't know. But I love them.

This past weekend I watched Arthur Christmas, and it was adorable. And last night? I watched Brave. Both fabulous movies. I especially like Brave for young girls, there's no cheesy love interest and the main character is a strong role model. But mostly, I loved them both just because they made me smile.

As I like to tell my husband, when I want to think, I read a book. When I want to turn off my brain, I watch a movie. And it's easy to do with an animated movie. They're sweet, adorable and cheerful. Dramas, horrors, they just stress me out. When I watch a movie I'm trying to relax. Stress is not a welcome part of the picture. Not that I don't read books to relax as well, but it's a different kind of relaxation, more immersive. When I read a book, I'm being transported, I'm along for the ride. When I watch a movie, I'm a spectator, an entirely different experience.

What about you? What do you do to relax? Are you an animated movie nut like myself?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Snow Day

Friday night it started to snow. It snowed all through the night and off and on all the next day. By the time it was done we got between 10 and 15 centimeters of snow. Naturally, I spent most of the weekend inside, curled up in front of a fire. It was the perfect time to write, locked away from all the distractions of the world in a warm, cozy nest. But did I? No. I barely did anything. In fact, for a good portion of Saturday I just lay on a blanket in front of the fire listening to wave sounds. Yep. That's me. Making great use of my time.

But that's the hard part of being a writer with a full time job. You never truly feel like you should be relaxing. There's always something you should be working on, something you should be writing, something you should be editing. And I have to admit, there's a lot I need to be doing. And if it isn't writing, it's something else. My house is generally always in a state of chaos. I do my best to stay on top of it, but amidst the countless tasks on my to do list, cleaning ranks pretty low on the priority chart.

So, every once in a while (okay, maybe a little more often than that) I have a slip up. I spend the day lounging on the couch watching old episodes of Happy Endings and The New Girl (PS. How great are those shows? Seriously, I can't get enough). And that's okay, just so long as I remember what's important and what I really want out of my time. Because relaxing is one thing. Being a lazy slob is another.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character

It's Friday. And if you don't know what that means by now, then you haven't been paying close enough attention. That's right, it's time for Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is character. If you'd like to learn more about it, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. All right, let's get to it!

I noticed him right away, even across the crowded grocery store. He was bent and knobbly, with wild tufts of thick white hair standing out in all directions. His eyebrows were just as bushy, shading most of his twinkling eyes from view and his skin was crowded with wrinkles. He carried a short wooden cane, and as he turned slightly to talk to the cashier, I knew immediately. The old man was me.

I hope you enjoyed this latest foray into fiction. If you're not quite satisfied, just check out the links below to past editions. If you particularly enjoyed this post, I hope you'll share it with friends and maybe follow this blog or come find me on twitter, @MelanieKCole. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flawed
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Detour

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Beauty of Substitutions

Yesterday, a little spare time at the office found me (as it so often does) on pinterest. As I perused the unending selection of cute animal pictures, gorgeous architecture and DIY ideas, I came upon a recipe for something called Chocolate Cobbler. Thoroughly intrigued, I gave the recipe a read through and pinned it to make that very night.
However, my kitchen had other plans. When I opened my cupboards that evening I found them bare, and the countless ingredients I'd been positive were in there just a few short hours ago, were gone. It seemed my pantry had grown thoroughly neglected.
At first, I thought I was just out of brown sugar. Determined to make a go of it anyway, I searched the web for substitutions. Then I ran out of white sugar, followed shortly by the realization that I didn't have any cocoa. Suddenly my chocolate cobbler seemed pretty impossible.
Filled with despair, and with a half finished recipe sitting on the counter, I grabbed a spoonful of ice cream and slumped down on the floor to pout. But the ice cream just wasn't doing it. Dammit, I wanted that cobbler! It was time for more substitutions.
By the time I was done, it was a vanilla cobbler made with icing sugar. And you know what? It was yummy. My husband doesn't even want me to try the chocolate version. He likes this one. Which brought me to an epiphany about writing.
Perhaps you've heard the quote by Erin Morgenstern, "When in doubt, just add ninjas." I have it pinned above my writing desk. Well, last night I really understood how to put it into action. (Not that I added tiny ninjas to the cobbler. Although that would be interesting...) When things aren't working out and you're afraid your work is going nowhere, just make a few substitutions. Play with the recipe and add a twist or two to fit your needs. Because guidelines are helpful, but when you throw a few rules out the window, you wind up with something totally different. And maybe you'll like it a lot better than the original.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A New Lesson

This past weekend was a really productive one for me. I edited a few pieces of writing and finished the initial read through of the rough draft of my novel. Now I have a large stack of notes and a manuscript that's waiting for me to get down to business, and I have to say, I'm pretty excited.

I've written novels before. This is actually my fourth time writing the initial rough draft of a book. And as they say, practice makes perfect. (Although I'm far from perfect). My previous attempts all taught me something different. The first time taught me that I could do it. The second taught me about plot, what a story needs to be taken to that next step and how to tell when it doesn't have it. My third taught me about ideas, that they aren't as far away as you might think. And this time, I feel like I have a project worth getting excited about. This plot is much stronger than before, the characters are more developed, and I have all those practice runs to thank for it.

Don't get me wrong. This manuscript still has a long way to go. After intensive editing from myself, I plan to submit it to a manuscript evaluation service. I plan to put it through the ringer as many times as is necessary, until it's ready. Because now it's time for a new lesson, a lesson in editing. And I'm a very eager student.

What about you? Did you spend the weekend chipping away at the NaNoWriMo block? What are you learning through the process of creating a first draft?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate

Welcome one and all to the first Friday of November. To all my fellow writer friends competing in NaNoWriMo, godspeed! And stop reading this blog and get back to writing! For the rest of you, welcome. Please, stay awhile. I hope you all enjoy this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn more about it, or give it a try, visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Now, let's get to it! This week's prompt was candidate. Are you intrigued? Enjoy!

I suppose I should have felt lucky. I was chosen out of a thousand promising candidates to be a part of this experiment. But all I felt was pain... pain and the weirdest tingling all over my skin.
"What's happening to me?" I shouted, but no one could hear me through the thick, protective glass. 
Doubled over in agony, I could feel the change taking place. The doctor was right, I was becoming something completely different.

Ah, nothing like fiction to soothe the soul, am I right? Hopefully you enjoyed that, and if you did, I hope you'll follow this blog and/or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Still hankering for some Five Sentence Fiction? Just check out the links below and read past editions. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flawed
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Detour
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Tattered

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The New Website - Updated

This is just a quick post to let you know that yes, the new website is up and running. However, I'm not posting the link yet because there are still a few niggly bits that just refuse to cooperate. I'm not especially tech-savy, and I'm finding that Wordpress isn't as user friendly as I'd like. I don't know why it thinks I'm asking for the moon when all I want is to change font types, and center a few titles, but apparently it does. There are a few widgets that aren't functioning properly, and when I imported all my blog posts from here, they don't show up anywhere on the site. I can get to them from my dashboard but someone just visiting the site wouldn't be able to find them. So, it's a little like a magic trick, the act of the disappearing blog posts!

Long story short, I will continue to tinker with the website and in the meantime I will keep posting here. I wanted to let you know, because I hate appearing as though I didn't keep my word. The website is up as promised, it's just not quite to the standard I would like, and I refuse to let you guys fumble with an inadequate website. I'm hoping to have it finished within the next week or two, so stay tuned for more info as it becomes available. And a big thank you to all of you for your patience!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween! I hope this day brings plenty of mystery, magic and delight for all of you. And to help celebrate, I've written a special piece of flash fiction just for you! Enjoy!

Trick or Treat

I sort the candy, dividing it between the two bowls until they are both heaping. The orange bowl is for the children, gleaming brightly with multicolored candy wrappers, begging to be devoured. I place it neatly on a small table by the front door.
The second bowl is black. I carry it down into the cellar where I keep my more temperamental ingredients. A dash of that, a pinch of this, I set about my work whistling as I go. I chant quietly under my breath as I bring it back up the stairs and set it carefully and distinctly away from the orange bowl. 
The sun is beginning to set and the yard is glowing merrily with the light of several jack-o-lanterns. Cobwebs are stretched over every knook and cranny and the graveyard I set up in the yard is looking distinctly creepy now that the light is gone.
Soon the children begin flowing through the neighborhood, banging joyfully on each new door as they go. I can't help but laugh with delight, cooing over their lovely costumes and flushed faces as I dish out candy from the bright orange bowl.
As the night goes on, there comes a loud banging on my door. When I open it there's a group of obnoxious teenagers standing where only delighted children should be. None of them are in costume and all are lugging pillowcases bulging with candy. One of them is tall and lanky, with a small amount of peach fuzz on his upper lip and a bright yellow jacket with black trim. 
Without a word I go and pick up the black bowl and dish handfuls of candy into their open bags. I don't mind that they don't say thank you. Instead I watch their retreating backs, shaking my head at their foul-mouthed loudness and shut the door.
At the end of the night, when at last I've given away all the candy, I turn out the lights and crawl into bed, pulling the covers up against my chin.
In the morning I get up and get dressed, pulling on my coat as I step outside and begin taking down the decorations.
A group of small children wearing clothes far too big for them come shuffling by, dragging pillow cases of candy behind them. Their heads are lowered and they're muttering quietly, but I can see one has a bright yellow jacket with black trim. 
I pretend not to recognize them as they stumble by, calling out a cheery "Happy Halloween!" as they pass.
I skip back into the house with glee, cackling as I close the door and peer out from behind the curtain. I watch them until they turn the corner and disappear from view. They wanted to act like children and now they got their wish.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The New Website!

I don't know if you remember, but several months ago I talked about moving this dear little blog and creating my own website. Well, that moment will soon be upon us. I've had my website for quite some time now without doing anything with it, and this weekend I decided it was time I finally worked on actually getting it up and running. So, I've set the date for the grand opening to be on Thursday, November 1st. Why Thursday, November 1st? Because I have a fondness for starting things at the beginning, and the first of the month is almost as good as the first of the first month (aka January 1st), but of course I didn't want to wait until the new year to have it up and running.

I sincerely hope that you will all join me at my new website, as I dearly love your visits and comments. You (my beloved readers) are what make it all worthwhile, and I will admit that I've put off the move this long because I hated the thought of losing some of you in the move. But I think the website will be the start of many exciting things, and I look forward to sharing it with all of you. I will, of course, post the link to the new site once it's up and running.

But until then, there's still Halloween to contend with, and I'm busy writing an extra special piece of flash fiction to celebrate. So stay tuned!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions

It's here. The final Friday before Halloween. And to help you get in the spirit, Lillie McFerrin has come up with a really great prompt for this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. The prompt is potions. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie's website. Enjoy!

I'd done it. I'd actually done it! 
They'd all laughed at me when I suggested the potions in the old spell book we'd found might actually work, but now as I held the bubbling vial aloft it was I who was laughing. I'd show them, I'd bring them all to their knees. They'd be sorry they ever laughed at me. 

Of course, you know I'll also have a special piece of flash fiction for all of you on the actual day as well, but hopefully this spooky bit of fiction will keep you inspired until then. If you're still jonesing for more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below. If you like what you read here, I hope you'll follow this blog, as well as come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flawed
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Detour
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Tattered
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Rant on Ranting

Can I be honest? I love rants. I love indulging in them, I love hearing them and I love reading them. I know there are quite a few naysayers out there who'd like nothing better than to squash the rant, break it down into constructive pieces and turn it into an unwanted therapy session. They want to dismiss it. Neutralize and imprison it. They want to hunt it to extinction. And by God, they're getting close! The rant has become an endangered species. Once, sought after for its comedic value, its purest of ingredients: sarcasm, rage, and pessimism, it finds itself now lingering in the shadows, treading carefully lest someone spot it and shoot it dead.
But why? Why has the rant fallen from grace? Most would say it's because it's rude. Which is true. The rant does not concern itself with manners. It does not carefully censor itself for political correctness, nor does it care how it looks in the eye of its beholder. The rant is an obese woman in scandalous underwear, declaring, “Here I am world! You may not like it, but I'm comfortable with who I am!” It's in your face with its robust flavour, full of zest, coming on too strong for the mild mannered to take.
Some say that the rant is a sign of bad character. A person who rants is selfish, bitter even. Well, that may be true, but in a lot of cases the rant is a sign of vitality and health! Those who rant do not squelch their feelings down into their guts. They let those feeling out with explosive vigor! They do not become moldy with politeness, dry up in the desert of their manners. They are robust in their hatred of people, situations and opinions. They have been wronged, inconvenienced and Goddamit! The world will feel their pain!
“A person who rants is boring!” I've heard said. To which, I can only laugh uproariously, singling them out in my mind as an idiot and avoiding them thereafter.
A ranting person is not boring. They are an utter delight! I've spent many a splendid evening in the company of maniacally ranting soul, munching on snacks as they unleash their diatribe of woe, listening to the perfect poetry of their expletives, stoked by the fires of their rage as they tell of the sheer injustice of their mother in law's unannounced visit, the vile horror of their ex-boyfriend's bacne and the miserable bastard that dared cut them off in traffic. There is nothing better!
Strip a person down into a rant and you are sure to get at the heart of the matter. There is no truer honesty, nor a more unashamed self pity than in someone who's given in to the rapturous joy of the unsolicited rant. I can think of no better way to unload toxic sludge, be ruthlessly self aware and magnificently entertaining all at once.
I tell you, the rant is not an ugly spewing of self indulgent rage. It is a thing of beauty. To hate the rant is to hate your very core. Because in each and every one of us, a truly splendid rant is already brewing. Don't fight the coming storm. There is no escape. It's far better to batten down the hatches, light some candles and embrace it! Release it from its iron shackles, tear down the walls of propriety and show the world your own naked truth. For the only way to rid yourself of a rant, is to let it out. And as it comes cascading down your tongue, rippling through the air, an iron spiked verbal assault of justice, you will feel the very weight of your discontent lifted, traveling with your words, out into the world. And if you're very lucky, it may just knock a few people down with it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Beauty of Being Concise

I've been thinking a lot lately about the six word story. It started in a bar, where a man bet Hemingway that he couldn't write a story in only six words. Without a moment's pause, he replied, "For sale. Babies shoes. Never worn."

There's a beauty to being concise in your writing. I've never enjoyed flowery, run on sentences. Sure, poetic prose is lovely, but when it comes to telling a story, I find it often gets in the way. It's the same with Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction, where every week she gives a prompt and challenges writers to write a story in just five sentences. (If you'd like to read last week's edition by yours truly, go here). Some come back with whole paragraphs, their sentences long and packed with description. These, are not my favourite. My favourites are the short ones, those that have been boiled down to the essence of the story. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that most stories could be boiled down not just to five sentences, but to six words. Let me give you a few examples.

Snow White

Lust for beauty kills a stepmother.

Sleeping Beauty

Love's kiss wakes the sleeping princess.


Wooden boy lies, dies, is redeemed.

See how it works? It's actually kind of fun. And I think it could be useful for our own writing. Look at your own work in progress. What does it boil down to? What is at the essence of your story? Try compacting it down into just six words. You might be surprised at what you find. I know it's often an eye opener for me.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flawed

It's Friday! Which means it's time to return to the charms of flash fiction. The prompt for this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction is flawed. If you'd like to learn more, or give it a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

The box was marked 50% off, where it lay in the dusty corner of the otherwise immaculate shop. I was settled on my knees in front of it, pawing through its contents, looking for something special. Everything was flawed in some way or another, but perfectly so. Near the bottom, I found a slightly chipped magnifying glass that caught the light and made it twinkle. I bought it with the change in my pocket and left, although if they'd known how special it really was, I'm sure they never would've parted with it.

If you'd like to read more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below. If you'd like to make my day, you could follow this blog, or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Detour
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Tattered
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Zombies

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Treasure Trove of Procrastination

One of the things I love most about Twitter and Facebook are the links people post to various articles and news items. They spark debates, make me laugh and fill countless hours I would have otherwise spent writing or cleaning my house. That's right. I particularly love them for procrastination. Which is what I'm doing right now.

I'm behind on my submissions, so naturally I decided to peruse the internet before getting started. You know, just to get my brain going. And what delightful, tantalizing items have I found? Well, first of all, it appears the publishing world just got a little sexier. It seems that Johnny Depp is starting a book imprint. Yes, the Captain of Quirky is dipping his toe into the world of publishing. I know I wouldn't mind if he was my publisher. Personally, I'd love the chance to pick his brain. If you'd like to read the article, just click here.

And what else did I find? Well, a visit to the internet just isn't complete without a visit to Writer's Digest. With Halloween coming up fast, you might be interested in reading their article, Top 5 Books for Halloween, And What They Can Teach You About Writing. I kind of wish I'd done my own reading list for Halloween this year. It would have been nice to burrow into some horror and get in the spirit. But time is not yet up, so if you'd like to find a creepy read, just check out the article.

I know what you're thinking. Do I realize I'm just instigating more procrastination from all of you? Yes. Yes I do. Misery loves company and so does procrastination. If I'm not going to get anything done, than neither are you! Enjoy!

(Evil laughter)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Must Submit... Must Submit...

Due to last week's abundance of flash fiction, I'm going to try and keep things a little more real this week. Although as soon as I wrote that, a quote by Ray Bradbury shot into my head. "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." I love that quote. It's on the wall in my office. Nevertheless, I feel it's important to change things up, keep it fresh.

It's been a rather tiring month so far. I've been keeping up with my challenge for Submit-O-Rama, although I'm a little behind. I'll have to submit twice today to be where I should be, and it'd be nice to submit more to be ahead for the week. Between housework, taking care of the dog, a full time job and trying to commit ample time to writing, editing and submitting, it's been a bit much. Not that I'm complaining. This is what I want. This is what I have to do if there's ever going to be a hope in hell of writing being my full time job. (Ah! How glorious that would be!)

And to be honest, I've really enjoyed the Submit-O-Rama challenge thus far. It's really forced me out of my shell. I've had to scour the depths of my writing for good material, had to bend, twist and cut it into presentable pieces and send it out into the world. I've had to research markets, read past issues of possible publications, write queries and pitches. All things I'm out of practice with. After all, the writing is the easy part. It's fun, imaginative and a great source of entertainment and soul searching. The editing, research, pitching and inevitable rejection, those are the hard parts. The parts we all want to avoid. The more I do them, the more practice I get, the easier it'll become. I'll get better at it and (hopefully) increase my chances of success.

I particularly like these challenges in the winter. The weather is already cold and it's just October. These challenges make the months fly by, give me a source of ambition and determination when I'd otherwise just stay curled up in bed, miserable and waiting for spring. I've even been thinking about competing in NaNoWriMo again in November, although in a different way. I've been slowly editing my book since the middle of August, but I was thinking I might use NaNoWriMo as an editing marathon rather than a writing one. I respond really well to deadlines and word counts, especially when they're online for all to see. It might just give me the kick in the pants I need to really give my book the attention it deserves.

But in the mean time, I'm all about submitting. And I plan to finish the month triumphant.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Detour

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. This week has been rather heavy on the flash fiction, so I hope you're still in the mood for a little more, cause it just wouldn't be Friday without Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is detour. If you'd like to learn more, or give it a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

The sign is old, faded and weather beaten, but I could swear I've never seen it before, despite walking this way every evening. It hangs above a stairwell, with an arrow pointing down to a big black door, the words Fortune Teller written in red and a picture of a palm with an all seeing eye at the center. I know I really shouldn't stop, I'm already late as it is. But the sign is waving gently in the breeze, beckoning. Surely one little peek couldn't hurt...

I hope you've enjoyed this week's excess of flash fiction! And if you still haven't had enough, check out the links below for more! As always, your comments are welcome in the comments section below.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Tattered
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Zombies
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Awkward

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction Contest Entry

Welcome one and all to my continued efforts with Submit-O-Rama and my contest entry for the Behind The Curtain Flash Fiction Contest. So far, I'm on track with submitting once a day and today's no different. So, without further ado, I give you today's submission: my entry to the contest. Enjoy!

Behind the Curtain
The theater is filled with fog. It spills out across the stage, falls down into the orchestra and reaches out across the seats until every thing is cloaked in mist. The dancers pirouette in perfect unison, graceful limbs eerily white against glittering costumes.
They are too far away to get a good look at their faces, painted like porcelain dolls. But I watch them move, bending and twisting to the music. It seems impossible, such graceful dancers, their movements so in sync.
The music is as ephemeral as the fog, creeping through the dark theater, filling my ears. It circles the dancers like a nest of serpents.
At the end of the show, applause erupts from the audience as though they just woke up and found themselves standing and clapping. I stay behind when they leave, flattening myself against the ground and crawling beneath the seats as the janitors start cleaning up.
I climb down into the orchestra pit, pushing against the big black door that leads backstage.
The musicians are gathered on the other side, clutching their instruments in skeletal hands, blank featureless faces staring at one another despite their lack of eyes, as though chatting after the big show.
I creep past, staring back at them in fear, but they don't seem to notice me. I should leave now, but I have to see the dancers. I want to know how they can move so beautifully, in such perfect unison.
I find them behind the curtain, just off stage. They stand motionless, as still as the furniture around them. I approach, despite the hairs raising on my arms, and gently tap a dancer's alabaster arm.
She doesn't move, doesn't flinch, her flesh icy cold. I come around to peer at her face, but there isn't one. Her make up wasn't done up to look like a doll. She is one. They all are. And on their limbs are thousands of delicate strings, disappearing up into the rafters.
I turn and leave as quickly as I can, anxious to avoid meeting their puppet master. I don't breathe until I'm safely outside in the fresh air, striding away. I don't look back and I never return.
It's never a good idea to peek behind the curtain.

Contest entry details and other entries can be found below. And as always, your feedback is always appreciated in the comments section below. 

Monday, October 8, 2012


Today is Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada. Which means I have the day off; just one of the many things I'm grateful for. No, that doesn't mean I'm going to bore you with a superficial rant about being grateful, making lists of happy things like so many people do on Thanksgiving. That's not to say that I'm ungrateful for all that I have. I'm very grateful. I just don't want to bore my faithful readers. Because let's face it, those posts suck.

Instead, I'm here to give you a bit of fun on this happy holiday, something to guide you into your naps with that stomach full of turkey and mashed potatoes. I've come today to give you a piece of flash fiction. Enjoy!

The thing people had trouble understanding, was that she was as cruel as she was beautiful. They saw her perfect bow lips in that vivid shade of red, her ginger hair in its intricate braids piled high upon her head, and they didn't see anything else. They missed the coldness in her eyes, the cruelty in her perfect smile. She led and they followed. Without ever knowing where she was taking them. 

They say it's a lot like boiling a frog. You stick it in temperate water and then slowly turn up the heat. The frog doesn't realize it's in boiling water until it's too late. The same happens when you're in her grasp. You don't realize you're doomed until you already are. If only they'd known she needed the sacrifice to be willing. They might have resisted. But then again, who knows? She was awfully beautiful...

I hope you've enjoyed this latest edition of flash fiction. I found the picture on pinterest, it comes from Lime Crime Makeup. I will see you all on Wednesday, and in the mean time: Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Tattered

Are you getting sick of me yelling "Happy Friday!" at you every week? I'm trying to come up with new and exciting ways to say it, but let's face it, I'm basically saying the same thing. Yay for the weekend. Thank God it's Friday. But as old as the words get, they're still true. This weekend is extra special, because if you're up here in Canada (where it's already getting quite chilly!), then you know it's Thanksgiving this weekend! Which of course, really isn't that big of a deal here, not the way it is in the states, but nonetheless we all get together to binge on turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and pie. And that, I can get behind. So it's with an extra special wish for your happy weekend that I present this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn more, or give it a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week was our choice of any of the previous prompts. I chose tattered. Enjoy!

She saw it hanging in the corner, its tattered edges and dusty fabric swaying gently in the breeze. It was ancient, echoing with past lives and adventures. Making her way through the lonesome racks, she reached out and let the delicate cloth slip through her fingers, coughing once or twice at the dust. It was beautiful, calling to her despite its age, waiting for her to take it down from the rack. She would breathe new life into this long abandoned dress.

And there we have it! If you'd like to read more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below. Have a great weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Zombies
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Awkward
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Memories

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


One of the hardest parts of being a writer (at least for myself, but I assume I'm not alone in this), is submitting your work. I never feel like it's good enough and I get insecure the second I start scouting for publications. My queries and cover letters feel contrived and poorly written and despite my research I never feel totally certain that my writing really belongs anywhere. To make a long story short, I find myself avoiding it at all costs. But not anymore.

Three days ago I saw a link posted on twitter for Submit-O-Rama. Intrigued, I followed it and decided to give it a try. Basically, there are a few different options, letting you choose your level of participation. I'm going for the Uber Challenge, where you must submit at least 30 times in the month of October. So, pretty much once a day right up until Halloween. But you can knock out a couple a day and give yourself a head start.

Why am I being so ambitious? Because last week was one of the worst weeks I've ever had at my job. And don't get me wrong, my job is a good one. I work with great people and the work itself is fine. But it's not the goal. It's not how I want to spend my time for the rest of my working life. The goal has always been to live off my writing full time. And that's never going to happen if I don't start submitting my work. I'm not saying it'll be easy. I think I have quite the blizzard of rejections waiting for me this month. But it's an important first step. Hopefully, I'll get some helpful criticism and learn a few things along the way.

As of today, I'm on track. We'll have to see how the rest of the month plays out. I encourage you all to give your own form of the challenge a try as well. I'll keep you posted on my status and hopefully we can all cheer each other on. Good luck, my friends!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Holy Crap, It's October!

Can you believe we're in October already? OCTOBER! I was just starting to get used to the idea of September and here we are, already in October. Which is not a good thing. And I'm not just talking about winter coming. Sure, I love the idea of October, with pumpkins, Halloween, and if you live in Canada - Thanksgiving. It's great! But this year, it's a little different. For one, I'm ignoring Halloween. Yes, even though I usually rate it as my number two favourite holiday, I'm just not in the mood. I'm skipping the pumpkins and candy this year in favour of peace and quiet. The thought of lugging up the giant bins full of decorations, only to have to undecorate everything and lug it all back down to the basement makes me cringe. The same goes for Christmas. I'm just not doing it this year.

That doesn't mean I'm off the hook for Christmas though, which brings me to my next point, the other reason it's bad news for it to already be October. This year, my family is doing a homemade Christmas. All the gifts we're giving each other must be homemade. Which is fabulous, we get to be creative, more thoughtful about what would really make our loved ones smile, and save money while we're at it. Except, it takes a lot more time. And effort. And it's officially October and I haven't really started yet. Which gives me a stress headache. And indigestion. It's not to say that I don't have plans. I do. But those plans require a lot of time. And effort. And it's already October.

So, while the rest of you are planning for Halloween, I will be planning for Christmas. It's time I got my butt in gear, because next thing you know, it's going to be November, and then it will be Christmas. Oh Lord, winter really is coming this year, isn't it? I would have much preferred to escape to somewhere hot this year and pretended that Christmas doesn't exist (bah humbug!), but at least if I get on it now, I won't have a lot of stress. And that's the best present I think I could give myself. (Although next year I think I'll upgrade to a plane ticket and a nice hotel somewhere warm)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion

Welcome to Friday, a day worth celebrating if ever there was one. This week's prompt is devotion. If you'd like to find out more, or give Five Sentence Fiction a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Okay, here we go!

She knew what he was thinking, from the way he arched his eyebrow at her. He didn't believe she could do it, love him that much. She'd show him. 
No one had ever thought her capable of anything, especially murder. But they didn't realize that no one gets between her and her man ... no one.

I hope you enjoyed this little foray into fiction, as it was fun to write. If you'd like to read more, just check out the links below to past weeks' editions of Five Sentence Fiction. I wish each and every one of you a wonderful weekend, and hopefully I'll see you back here on Monday. Happy Friday!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Zombies
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Awkward
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Memories
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Faces

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Word on the Street

I know you probably looked at the title of this post and thought I was making some kind of slang remark, but I'm not. This past weekend I attended Word on the Street, a literary festival here in Saskatoon. There are lots of cities that have them, and Saskatoon actually only started last year. Sadly, last year I was working and could only sneak out on my lunch break to catch one reading. This year, I had the day off and could spend as much time as I wanted wandering about.

If you've never been to this kind of literary event, they're great. They had tents set up all over the place, with authors giving readings, panel discussions and poetry slams. There were book and magazine sellers set up with booths, fun activities for the kids and music. It was a literary extravaganza! And I had a ball. I took in a reading from author Alice Kuipers, watched a poetry slam and saw a panel discussion featuring Yann Martel discussing his experiences with his book, Life of Pi, being turned into a movie (and got my copy signed). And do you want to know the honest truth? My favorite was the poetry slam.

I've never been one to enjoy poetry. I've written it from time to time, and there are a few poets I like (yeats), but I don't enjoy poetry books. I don't read them. This, I enjoyed. The poets were fantastic speakers. They made me split a gut laughing, almost cry with sorrow and made my heart swell up with happiness. They put on a wonderful show. And if they'd been scheduled for another show, I would have watched it again.

There's something about wandering around a place filled with literature, fellow book lovers and other writers. It's exhilarating and nurturing at the same time. I hope if you hear about an even like this near you, you'll find a way to make an appearance. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Case of the Missing Peach Pit

It began rather innocently, on a busy Wednesday morning. As usual I was running late, as is the habit of someone who loves sleeping in just a little too much, and therefore was sadly unobservant of the happenings around me. My husband had left for work before I did, and I was scrambling to get everything done and be out the door with a reasonable chance of getting to work on time.

My last task was feeding the bunnies in the office, and I was gone for only a few minutes. When I emerged, I saw with terrible fright, that the bathroom door was open. The bathroom door cannot be open. No, not the bathroom door, nor any door in our house can be left open and unsupervised, not with Maddie about.

Maddie is my Great Dane, and she has the most devious, mischievous streak when it comes to pinching things she shouldn't and gobbling them up to our great distress. This habit had already resulted in her very near death and a massive surgery that left us, for lack of a better word, broke. And as dogs are not especially astute at observing the rules of cause and effect, she never pieced together that eating a rag had resulted in her misery, and instead blamed it on the hero that saved her life, our vet.

So, when I saw the open bathroom door, my stomach plummeted down into my toes and I lurched forward around the corner to see a very apologetic and wide eyed dog, already aware that she'd been naughty and was in massive trouble. I looked down at the garbage and knew immediately something was missing. I just had no idea what it was. I'd been in such a hurry all morning, running about, I hadn't stopped and really looked at my surroundings. I knew that something was missing, and that it had been brownish, but I had no idea what she'd eaten.

I phoned my husband, already livid that he'd failed to close the door and demanded to know what he'd thrown in the garbage.

"I have no idea."

"Well, think! Because whatever it is, Maddie's eaten it!" My voice was shrill and full of accusation as I grilled him about everything he'd thrown away for the last thirty six hours. At last we came to the conclusion that it must have been a peach pit.

As Maddie seemed in good spirits and the vet's office didn't open until nine, I raced off to work. I would get all the mandatory, immediate work off my desk by the time the vet's office opened and then, if need be, rush home and deliver Maddie to the vet's waiting arms. Of course, I couldn't keep myself from googling about it once I was at my desk, and the results were terrifying. They spoke of bowel obstructions, cyanide poisoning, choking. My heart thumped in my chest as I thought about the possibilities.

At last, nine o'clock arrived and I called the office to beg their advice. They were surprisingly calm. Maddie had swallowed the peach pit whole, so cyanide poisoning was highly unlikely. She was a large dog, so bowel obstruction was highly unlikely. But as she'd had a previous bowel obstruction already, they told me to watch her closely and feed her canned pumpkin.

"It's full of fiber and will help her pass the pit more quickly." They instructed.

I finished what was necessary and begged off for the day. I picked up canned pumpkin on the way home and spent the rest of the day at Maddie's side, watching her, rubbing her tummy and feeding her pumpkin. It turned her bowel movements bright orange, and she was ecstatic that mom was home and feeding her a delicious treat all day, but alas, no pit. However, the bright orange bowel movements showed that she was having solid movements after the pit, so nothing was blocked, and she seemed in great spirits, so I cautiously returned to work the next day.

I have not found the pit. I'm beginning to think there never was one. She might have eaten something else entirely, something more digestible, I'm not sure. Perhaps she ate nothing and was merely guilty of being about to eat something, although I doubt that. But whatever the case, so far she seems completely fine, which is a relief.

Although I realize my panic is often an over reaction, and my attachment to my dog is a little over much, I can't help it. I almost lost her once, I wasn't going to underestimate a problem ever again. And at the very least, I now know how to turn her shit orange. So, there's that.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Zombies

Welcome to Friday and another edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn more, or perhaps give it a try yourself, please visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt is zombies, and I have to admit, it was difficult for me. Not because I don't love zombies. I do. I greatly enjoy anything zombie related! (Although the subject of zombies does often give me nightmares) No, the reason I found this week's challenge so, well... challenging, was because I already wrote about zombies with a different prompt. So, I had to take a moment and really embrace my imagination to come up with something new and exciting for you. I hope you enjoy the result.

Her stomach gurgled, echoing loudly in the quiet study hall. A few people looked up from their books, gazing curiously in her direction as she placed a hand on her stomach. No matter what she ate lately nothing seemed to satisfy her... nothing, that is, except raw meat... dripping, bloody meat. Worst of all, her hunger was getting worse. It wasn't just raw meat anymore. Things were starting to look good... even while they were still alive...

Happy Friday, everyone! (inject evil laughter here) That was especially hard to keep to five sentences, there's a lot more story to be told. If you're still jonesing for more Five Sentence Fiction, just check out the links below. If you particularly liked this one, I hope you'll share it with friends. And if you particularly like me, or my blog, I hope you'll find me on twitter @MelanieKCole and/or follow this blog! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Awkward
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Memories
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Faces
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blush
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Orange (The other Zombie story)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Seeing Orange

Fall has arrived and I'm seeing orange.No, I'm not talking about pumpkins. Although I do find the sight of them heart warming. (Seriously, what is it about pumpkins that fills a soul with such delight?) Instead, I'm talking about carrots.

I've been procrastinating with my garden for a while now, constantly forgetting or begging off the task of harvesting my vegetables. I dug up the potatoes a week or so ago, and I've been ever so slowly pulling out a few carrots, here and there in the meantime. But we've been getting some frost warnings around the province of late and today at work I declared that I would harvest the entirety of my carrots that very day.

Well, when I got home and set to the task, I discovered I had a lot of carrots. A LOT. I filled my large bowl until it was far past heaping, and I'd only dug up maybe a quarter of them. The washing and peeling took even longer, demanding far more of my time than I'd been willing to give. Looking down at my filling containers, I had to admit I had a lot of carrots. A LOT. How on Earth were two people supposed to eat four times that amount before they went bad?

I took a large container with me to a girlfriend's for coffee, hoping that my healthy snack would be gobbled up and I would be relieved of at least a few. My friends kindly obliged, as well as supplied me with a few suggestions for my carrot problem. What about carrot soup? Had I thought about pickling some? Oh dear. This was getting even more complicated. Their suggestions were great, but I'm domestically challenged. I'd love to pickle and stir, dice and boil, but all my attempts at homemade soup have thus far become chaotic burn fests resulting in lumpy greyish messes, unedible to anyone. And pickling? Didn't that require special jars? Precision? Skill of some kind or another?

Luckily, my sister has volunteered to guide me through the soup making process, so hopefully I'll be able to turn out something half way edible. And I've decided to rope my girlfriend into assisting with the pickling process. Because there are no heroes when it comes to garden harvesting. It calls for the helping hands of everyone you can rally.

I just hope I can still find love for carrots come next summer, From the looks of it, I might be all carroted out.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vintage Books

When I was growing up, I knew a girl in elementary school that refused to read a book unless it smelled good.

"That's how you can tell it's good." She'd say smugly, plucking a book from the shelf, cracking it open and breathing deeply from its yellowed pages.

I don't think her theory on the smell of a book guaranteeing the readability of its insides really holds up, neither does the niceness of its cover. But there's something to be said for the musty, ancient smell of an old book, its pages yellowed with age, grown soft from multiple generations flipping its pages. Yes, I'll admit it. I love old books.

I was thinking about this a few weeks ago, watching the leaves begin to change, a flurry of yard sales popping up every where I went. That's when I had an idea. I'd start an Etsy shop. (For those of you who don't know, Etsy is a website for people to sell homemade goods (gorgeous homemade goods), art and craft supplies and vintage items. It's a great place to find unique items, and support small businesses). I already loved vintage books, this was a way I could turn it into a hobby, and maybe make a few extra bucks as well.

And so it began. I started raiding garage sales and basements, digging through moldy boxes and chatting with crazy old ladies at their yard sales. I came up empty a lot, but I found a great many treasures as well. I figured, I'd start the shop, see if anything sold and if it didn't, I wouldn't be out too much money and I'd have had the fun of finding them.

Last week, I started my shop. It's called Rare Finds Books, and I'm still in the process of adding all my merchandise. I haven't sold anything yet, but one of my favourite parts so far has been taking the pictures. Old books are so beautiful, and although I'm really not much of a photographer, it's been fun to try and show them in their best light.

Time will tell if I'm able to make any money from this endeavor, but I think it's a fun hobby to play at while I'm working on my writing. My office job is great and my boss is wonderful, but my goal is still to work from home and live off my writing. Maybe this can help.

If you'd like to check out my shop, it's called Rare Finds Books. I hope you'll also spare a minute and read my About page, I had fun writing it. If not, I hope you'll check out Etsy anyway. There's a lot of amazing, beautiful, completely unique stuff on there you don't want to miss. What about you? Do you have a love of vintage? What beautiful things call your name?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Awkward

Welcome to Friday! Are you excited for this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction? I hope so. This week's prompt is awkward. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, and maybe give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

They didn't see her. Not until it was too late. She stood just behind them, her face glowing red, her eyes filling up with tears. They coughed and sputtered vainly for excuses, for a way out, but there were none. Everyone shifted uncomfortably, sharing a single mutual thought: "awkward".

If you enjoyed that piece, I hope you'll check out the links below to a few other editions of Five Sentence Fiction. If you really like it, I hope you'll share it with friends, and perhaps follow this blog or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. As always, your comments are greatly welcomed below in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Memories
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Faces
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blush
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Night

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Leave the Cubicle Folk Alone

This morning I was driving to work, listening to the radio as I always do, when they started talking about workplace privacy. Specifically, they were discussing how employers are keeping track of what their employees are doing on the internet. Now, aside from the creepiness factor of having your boss read your emails, I have another bone to pick. Why is it so bad for employees to be on the internet?

Now, before I even start, I want to specify that if someone's internet usage is getting in the way of their work, that's a problem. But for everyone else, who are simply breaking up the monotony of their day, what's the problem? I work in an office, and I have great bosses. They don't mind that I have twitter open while I work, just so long as the work takes priority and it's done well and on time. In fact, using the internet has actually helped me do a better job. I know that sounds crazy, but most of my work deals with Invoices, and if I spent the full eight hours staring at numbers with no break or distraction, I can guarantee that the quality of my work would slide. How do you keep all those numbers from running together without a break?

Life in an office is a pretty dull. I don't see any harm in letting workers find a little entertainment here and there, so long as they're still getting their work done. I realize they're on company time, but I think it does more harm than good to police your employees. Leave the cubicle folk alone, I say!

What's your opinion? Am I out to lunch? Do I expect too much because my own bosses are so wonderful?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stolen Day

Oh Lord. It's Monday. What an uppity, irritable, over tired day. Oh wait, that's me on Mondays. Either way, they're unpleasant. The only good kind of Monday is a holiday Monday. I like those.

Lately, I've been feeling the need for a mental health day. Just a random day off when everyone else is working. Maybe I'd use it for writing. Perhaps I'd run errands while the stores are quiet. Or maybe, I'd just use it to laze about the house, napping and reading a good book, sunning myself in the window like a cat. Either way, I'm beginning to think it's called for.

It started out as a playful thought, a silly cure to the Monday blues. But the more I think about it, the more I'm warming to the idea. A random, single day off. A bonus day, just for me. Hmmmm, I could get behind an idea like that. At least it would save more money than my other idea, taking off for a weekend to Vegas, or somewhere with good shopping. It'd be an innocent game of hookie, a stolen day.

Yes. I've decided. Random day off it is. For the sake of my sanity, I shall pick a random day this month and book it off for absolutely no reason other than that I want it. What about you? What small ways do you preserve your sanity?