09 October, 2014

Flash Fiction Mid-Week Blues Buster

I'm over at The Tsuruoka Files this week, judging for the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction contest. If you're a writer and you love writing flash stories (even if you don't - there's always a first time for everything), come write me a story based on Jeff's song of the week.

Just think about it. Then do it. You've only got one day left to join in the fun!

Can't wait to see your entries!

29 September, 2014

Flash! Friday Fiction: Obedience

After planning to do so for months, I finally took the time to participate in Flash! Friday.

For those not in the know, Flash! Friday involves a 160-word max story prompted by a picture and sometimes a phrase, word, or idea that can be included for bonus points. You write/turn in the story on Friday and find out what came of it on Monday. Winning gets you attention, an interview, and more attention.

I didn't win, didn't even get an honorable mention, but it was fun to stretch those muscles. I'm glad I did it. Might even do it again. (If you want to join me, check it all out here.)

I've posted my story below, along with the picture prompt, just for the fun of it. Enjoy!


 by Jessica Marcarelli

“Give him to me, Siri.”

Siri handed the little boy down to his mother, who stood on the lower lip of the tiered dock.

The man beside Siri handed her a gas mask. “Remember: only when the poison becomes airborne.”

“Yes, master.”

“Don’t follow us. Wait here.”

“Yes, master.”

She held an umbrella over his head as he shimmied down the rope to join his family. All three disappeared into the underground waterway.

A siren sounded. Siri looked out over the village. Silent packages dropped from approaching airships. Houses ignited and a green mist rose with the smoke.

The robotic maid jerked as her legs attempted to move. If she remained, the poison would eat away her synthetic skin, fuse her processors, and she would cease to exist.

But her master had told her to stay. Her preservation protocols could not override her obedience chip.

Siri strapped on the gas mask, raised the umbrella, and watched the approaching green mist.


Did you participate in Flash! Friday this week? Leave a link to your story in the comments - I'd love to check it out.

26 September, 2014

Finding My Writer's Voice

From the moment I began my first blog years ago, I have written what I thought everyone else wanted to read. I thought my ideas were not good enough, funny enough, or sensational enough to warrant publicizing. This became especially true once I started this writing blog. I spent all my time worrying about the engagement of my posts, the number of my followers, and the content of other writing blogs with thousands of readers who were obviously much more interesting than me.

It was exhausting and I was miserable. What's worse is that my attitude of not being good enough as myself was nothing new - it has affected my blogs and tweets, my novels and short stories, and even my private journals.

So, I stopped writing online. Then I stopped tweeting and Facebook posting. I withdrew and soon found that I wasn't interested in my stories, either. I ceased writing emails and letters. Even my journals were suspect. I wondered if I wanted to keep writing. Really, deeply, soul-searchingly wondered.

The answer was - finally - 'yes.'  I picked up my dusty manuscripts and headed straight back to my critique group. Might as well jump right in, right?

That first night back, one of the writers ripped me out of the last of my writer's lethargy with a scathing critique. The story was a favorite of mine and the critique shredded it to pieces. From the "archaic" terms that no one in this day and age would like to the fact that it was a short story and not a novel, the other writer pulled it apart.

And something in me rebelled.

I understood my story. I liked it. I didn't want it modern and could care less that "no one" would read it because of its old-fashioned terminology. That was my style. My passion. My heart. There was nothing wrong with it technically, just stylistically. So why was I listening to someone else's vision? Why not my own?

It didn't really happen overnight but that little personal rebellion spread and I began to write with my own visions of other worlds. The pieces I've written with my own thoughts in my own head have become the published and/or praised ones. Trying to fit into something that wasn't me made my writing dull and boring. I don't care if it's old school writing - that's what I love reading. That's what I write. And that is what I will write, from stories to blogs to letters, even if my audience remains small because of it. This is me.

I've communicated with a lot of other writers on this blog, along with those who just love a good tale without the need to create it.  If any of this strikes a chord with you, I want you to remember to be yourself. Seriously. I know everyone says it but we don't often think and less often believe it.
We need to. Originality needs that playful, passionate, purposeful embrace of individuality to survive.


I only plan to post in the future when I have something to say, so please subscribe via email or RSS feed so you don't miss out. I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter via the little buttons under my picture on the sidebar. Keep in touch - I love sharing my passion for stories with you all!

04 April, 2014

#atozchallenge: Giving Up Stress or How the Grinch Stole My A to Z Challenge

Every blogger online liked A to Z a lot...
But the Grinch, who lived just north of the web, did NOT!
The Grinch hated the Challenge! The whole blogging season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,
He stood there during the Challenge, hating the news.
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown,
At the warm lighted blogs below in their web-town.
For he knew every blogger doing A to Z this day,
Was busy now writing what they wanted to say.
"And they'll be posting those blogs!" he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow another day of the Challenge will be here!"
Then he growled with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop the Challenge from coming!"
       (Poem borrowed heavily from Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas")

So you know what he did? The Grinch stole all my letters! And now the A to Z Challenge will have to be completed my someone better.

That's what happened. Cross my heart.


Sometimes life strikes and we just have to plow through it. At other times, the worst thing we can do to ourselves is force more stress on an already taut tightrope. The latter is me.

My husband and I had the most unexpected blessing fall into place this week and are now planning a move into our first house. While this is cause for much thankfulness and excitement, it has also brought a mountain of stress into our lives. It didn't take long for my stress level to rise beyond what is healthy for me. In an effort to relieve the pressure and make this a pleasant time, I have been eliminating unnecessary obligations from my schedule. The A to Z Challenge is one of them.

I looked forward to sharing my love of all things Seuss with you all and regret having to stop so close to the beginning. But this is a good and important step in our lives, one that I am so thrilled to take. Putting my online writing on hold is worth that step.

Thank you all for your support and comments over the last few days. I'll still try to stop by and read your ongoing entries, even though I may be somewhat ghostlike in my presence.

And, please, if you liked the idea of Dr. Seuss-inspired entries and stories, sign up to receive updates from this blog. I still want to do it - it's just been delayed by a couple of months. Maybe summer Seuss will be just as exciting.

To all the A to Z participants: good luck and keep going!

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