Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 135

Today is National Dog Day! And since my fur-babies are the cheese to my smile, the smile to my day, and the key to my heart, I thought I’d show off a picture of Freya and Chloe. Unfortunately, I do not have the talent nor the patience to capture them both showing off their cutest doggie expressions at the same time, but here are two of my pathetic attempts. 
Freya and Chloe
Freya getting Chloe to play
 
Give your dogs some extra lovin’ today to let them know how much you appreciate the joy they bring to your lives!
 
15 Minute Tweet TalesIt tweet tale news, we had a #15tt word try to show up for the third time today. Sedulous first showed up in Week 39 and then tried to make another appearance in Week 91 when there were already some weird word shenanigans happening. I think it’s funny that a word meaning persistent has shown up every year on the unusual words lists I use. I guess it means it’s one we should remember. And now for my 15 Minute Tweet Tales:
 
8/20 - She assures her son she was trying to help, not be a marplot on his wedding day. Lie. She'd hated his trashy fiancée from the day they met.
 
8/21 - She knows her teacher says dyslogistic things about her writing because he's jealous of her genius. 20 years of rejections prove him right.
 
8/22 - She thought it would be a simple choice, but the insanely ramose decision tree created by 'what ifs' paralyzed her into doing nothing.
 
8/23 - She watches in horrified fascination as dundrearies sprout from his face & his eyes turn red. She doesn't run until fangs appear. Too late.
 
8/24 - An incipient shadow near her bed catches her attention. Each night it grows more distinct until it takes her hand and leads her away.
 
8/25 - The way he belauded her dinner, she knew he actually hated it. She shoved the dishes to the floor and rewarded him with a special dessert.
 
8/26 - Her agonistic response to simple requests was frustrating. But she was only two and didn't want to eat veggies, so she was forgiven. Mostly.
 
Do you have a dog? What kind and what's his/her name? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 134

15 Minute Tweet TalesJust got home from a road trip that included visits with both siblings, so my 15 Minute Tweet Tales post today is short and kind of late. Enjoy!
 
8/13 - Hearing about epic drug sharing party, they crash the shindig, only to find senior citizens swapping meds to dance with danger near the end.
 
8/14 - Her dad tended to bloviate, so she’d force a smile and tune him out. After he died, his words echoed, but it was too late to hear them.
 
8/15 - They land on a perfect island. Night brings bloody chaos. They build a palisade. Keeps out creatures but turns paradise into a prison.
 
8/16 - Spends hours creating maquette for new apartments. One night he sees figures living inside. Tiny voices ask him to join them. So he does.
 
8/17 - His loafer sank into a cow patty, and he knew he couldn’t live the georgic life she’d never leave: an impasse that broke both their hearts.
 
8/18 - Tingling in her fingers presages someone’s death, but with no hint of who, it’s more curse than gift. Feelings of uselessness drown her.
 
8/19 - They think the virus is only transmitted via bite but learn clothing’s a fomite when Carl turns zombie after snagging a hat from a corpse.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 133

15 Minute Tweet TalesI'm hanging out with my sister in Greenville (where we experienced record breaking floods the other night!!!), so just a quick post of my 15 Minute Tweet Tales:
 
8/6 - From the noisome smell, she knows it's broken through the fence. She has time to run, but triggers alarm instead, praying family escapes.
 
8/7 - Her dad's wink was an oriflamme affirming she'd do great: school plays, entering college, wedding day. Even his last day in the hospital.
 
8/8 - “If anyone knows aught about healing, join us hither.” Sadly, the actor’s adherence to Shakespearian speech baffles doctor in audience.
 
8/9 - She only felt like herself while roaming the weald at night. Come daybreak, she had to slip into her human skin and pretend to be normal.
 
8/10 - The hospital director was a scaramouch who got the job due to nepotism, so when the virus appeared, his CYA decisions doomed mankind.
 
8/11 - She became vegan for fiancé, but aroma in diner triggers tergiversation: she pretends to visit bathroom but grabs bacon from kitchen.
 
8/12 - After hapless attempts at flirting, she bought a wonder bra. Her social life also increased in size, but her self confidence shrunk.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 132

15 Minute Tweet TalesI’m just getting home from my awesome writing retreat, so only a quick post today for my 15 Minute Tweet Tales. I’ll share more about the retreat once I have a chance to unpack!
 
7/30 - Kinetic thrashing of bodies on dance floor makes her stomach swirl. Or maybe it's all the shots. Regardless, she pukes on the hot guy.
 
7/31 – She needs a mot juste for her final speech. The right words will rally them to fight. The wrong will ensure the extinction of humans.
 
8/1 – When his dad came at him with scissors, he thought he'd finally pushed him too far. Instead it was a tonsorial removal of his greasy mop.
 
8/2 - When a man on the bus brandishes a gun, usually meek Molly cerebrates a plan to take him down. It works, but she gets shot. Dies a hero.
 
8/3 - He wants the mettlesome butterfly close to inspire him, so he catches it in a jar. But a caged soul dies. Especially without air holes.
 
8/4 - The hors d'oeuvre tastes foul, so she slips the rest into a jardiniere. A cute guy across the room catches her and winks. She's smitten.
 
8/5 - The new guard is a wiseacre who's having way more fun at the prison than he should. A painful encounter teaches him to shut his mouth.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 131

15 Minute Tweet TalesAlthough I’m having a hard time believing July has pretty much flown by, I’m also kind of glad because it means it’s time for the writing retreat with my critique group. We’ll be spending the first few days of August talking writing, drinking wine, and possibly even getting some writing done.  I can’t wait! 
 
But for now, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:
 
7/23 - Ivy buys a bunch of tight tops knowing they will redound the boys' concentration, making it that much easier to secure valedictorian.
 
7/24 - She yawps when I grab the cookie from her & say, "You said u want to shock everyone by returning to school a babe rather than Babe the pig."
 
7/25 - Her florid tales of her summer travels enthrall her friends. Except Tim. He saw her working at McD's. But he decides to keep her secret.
 
7/26 - Basking on the plage, her skin burns. Maybe it's the heat of his gaze. She cracks an eye to check. The bastard's watching some bimbo.
 
7/27 - Her stolen gown hoodwinks the guards into letting her in the castle. Then it's easy to poison the royalty who'd destroyed her family.
 
7/28 - For years her husband vilipends her every action. It's the adoring eyes of a stray dog she feeds that give her the courage to leave.
 
7/29 - He deep-sixes her idea to improve revenue then presents it to the CEO as his own. She retaliates by sending their sex tape to his wife.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 130

15 Minute Tweet TalesWhoa, I completely lost track that today was Tuesday, so I’m just going to slap these bad boys up on the blog before it officially turns into Wednesday. Enjoy my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week:
 
7/16 - A tourbillion blasts through the door and snuffs out the candle. The spell worked. The cops would soon call about her husband's 'accident'.
 
7/17 - Yet again, she forgot phone and went inside to get it. At end of street, a fatal car wreck just happened. Wifty behavior saved her life.
 
7/18 - The haunting notes of a calliope drifted from the decrepit house. I knew I shouldn't go any closer. But the music lured me to my doom.
 
7/19 - Folks say her mom's skin glows. To be like her, Sue eats a jar of fireflies. But that's not how luciferin works, so she only barfs up bugs.
 
7/20 - The old lady visits a slew of doctors about non-existent ailments. They don't mind – they know she's lonely. Plus she has great insurance.
 
7/21 - Friends mock her love of horror movies, but all those hours watching slasher flicks fructify when a psycho enters their dorm with a knife.
 
7/22 - His vanward skills with virtual reality were going to revolutionize computing. Then one day he lost himself inside one of his own games.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 129

15 Minute Tweet TalesI always love learning these new words or becoming reacquainted with ones I don’t use very often, but every so often one pops up that I just adore. This week that word is foofaraw. It’s so fun to say! And it looks cool written out. The definition is interesting, too, but for me, this one is all about the word itself. I don’t think it will be easy to use it in casual conversation, but I’ll be looking for ways to work it in where I can. And now here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week:
 
7/9 - Arranging roses from husband, image of him kissing nanny appears in water. Awful way to discover she inherited mom's gift of hydromancy.
 
7/10 - Irritated when Ted joins their field trip group. Then power goes out forever. Now his sciential ability only thing keeping them alive.
 
7/11 - She deponed she saw him kill the man. She hadn't, but in school he bullied her little sister until she killed herself. Justice served.
 
7/12 - She watches her anthophilous son in her colorful garden. Off his meds, he's a happy butterfly. It seems cruel to put an end to such joy.
 
7/13 - Mom adds cheap foofaraw to the dresses thinking it disguises they are 4th time hand-me-downs. Classmates enjoy telling Sue it doesn't.
 
7/14 - He knows better than to get betwixt his wife and mom in an argument, but if she's wrong, he has to intervene. Only: which 'she' is wrong?
 
7/15 - After years of lucubration, he masters Latin and can speak it flawlessly. But since he's not a priest, it doesn't help him find a job.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?
 

City of Bones – Read-n-Feed

I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a Read-n-Feed post, but I’ve decided to jump start it again with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Cassandra was the keynote speaker at the 2012 YALLFest, along with Holly Black, and it was very inspiring hearing them talk about their writing friendship, especially as I sat in the audience with so many of my own writing friends. 
 
Category: Young Adult
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 496
Amazon Description: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
 
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...
 
My writing lesson from City of Bones is the way Cassandra used the main hobby of the protagonist to color her writing. And in this case I literally mean color. Clary is an artist, a talent she inherited from her mother. In the beginning, she uses her art as a form of stress relief and to work though her feelings like others might use a journal. Later, her artistic ability comes into play in a way that is important to the narrative. 
 
Most of City of Bones is told in third person from Clary's POV, so Cassandra uses Clary's artistic eye to full effect in her descriptions. Sometimes she actually compares things to famous paintings, like: “There was a queasy sense of something organic about the bikes, like the bio-creatures in a Giger painting.” and “If Bosch's paintings of hell had come with a soundtrack, they would have sounded like this.” Other times, she describes things in a way linked to her hobby like: “When he smiled at Clary, a thousand small lines rayed out from around his eyes, like the cracks in an old painting.” and “Luke's expression went blank, like a canvas wiped clean of paint.”
 
I don't have any talent in the visual arts, so I'm not really keyed into color and light when I take in my surroundings, but it completely makes sense that someone whose passion is art would hone in on hues and shadings, like Clary does when she describes things. And this would apply to other hobbies as well: if the protagonist is a musician, the wind blowing through the trees might remind them of a piece by Bach; if they cook, then the smell in a friend's car might remind them of a certain spice; if someone is into fashion, then the first thing they'll notice about other people is what they're wearing. The viewpoint character's passions and hobbies are a lens through which his/her world is filtered. 
 
And this also applies to secondary characters. Even though the narrative might not be filtered through their point of view, their passions and hobbies will still impact other aspects like their vocabulary and physicality. A love interest who writes poetry might speak in lyrical sentences. An athletic best friend might pepper their speech with motivational phrases like "keep your eye on the ball" and "it ain't over until it's over." But all athletes aren't the same because one who plays football moves differently than one who excels at golf. These types of small details make characters feel real rather than just cardboard cutouts spouting dialog to move the plot along.
 
The way Cassandra utilizes her protagonist's artistic eye to highlight the beauty and creepiness of her New York settings is a great reminder to use our characters' interests and talents to full advantage. Having a number of interests make characters three dimensional, and these interests should affect the way they see and talk about the world around them.
 
If you’ve read City of Bones, what did you think? Do you use your main character’s passions/hobbies as a filter through how s/he sees the world? Do you use passions/hobbies to add dimensions to secondary characters? 

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 128

Freya on the 4th of JulyI hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! I did the expected 4th of July pig-out thing with hamburgers, potato salad, corn on the cob, and watermelon. I also tried to get the girls to show off their patriotism, but they were . . . not amused.
Chloe on the 4th of July
After lots of treats, I finally managed to get a picture of each. Don’t believe Chloe’s pathetic expression – there was no torture involved.
 
Actually, the torture started when the sun went down and the fireworks started. Chloe sleeps through anything, so she didn’t care, but poor Freya was freaked out. She’s usually not scared of this type of stuff, but I guess she’s getting more nervous about things as she gets older. She attempted to climb into my lap several times, but since she weighs 90 pounds, it was a challenge for both of us. Fortunately, her fears of an impending apocalypse were unfounded, and we survived for me to be able to share my 15 Minute Tweet Tales today: 
 
7/2 - The coworkers convoke a powwow about Pam's gross brownies. Out of pity Sue told Pam they were yummy, now they have to eat them everyday.
 
7/3 - Jess flinched as a volant form passed her window. Too big to be a bird. It shrieked and her blood froze. The noise was not of this earth.
 
7/4 - Under the shimmering 4th fireworks, Abby leans in for her first kiss, hoping it feels like the pyrotechnics described in romances novels.
 
15 Minute Tweet Tales
7/5 - Each year folks gather at ancient monuments for solstitial festivals, half expecting otherworldly visitors. But they arrived long ago.
 
7/6 - The man selling goobers at the games always gave me an extra scoop; I always showed him some extra leg. We called our first kid Peanut.
 
7/7 – The Professor's love of chocolate was bruited about, so failing Kim made him brownies. She didn't know about his nut allergy. Or did she?
 
7/8 - Dan's charge to preserve life is scuppered when a unicorn trips, poking a hole in the ark. Luckily, the Boss had enlisted Noah as a backup.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 127

15 Minute Tweet TalesNot only did I almost forget today was Tuesday and therefore time for my 15 Minute Tweet Tales postings, I’m also having a really tough time reconciling that today is July 1st. Really? How can that be possible? I swear we were decorating the Christmas tree just last week. Anyway, here are my tales for the past week, so you can read them rather than dwell on the fact that half a year has flown by in the blink of an eye. 
 
6/25 - We frolic in the wildflowers, but when the warning sirens sound, we scramble for the bunker, not knowing when we'll see the sun again.
 
6/26 - He felt the latest Xbox was desideratum. Mom felt the house needed painting and grass had to be cut all summer. They struck a bargain.
 
6/27 - After farding Hollywood stars every day she's learned two things: 1) They'd be unattractive without her. 2) Their souls are even uglier.
 
6/28 - She sobs at 100s of Amazon reviews drubbing her book. Discovers accounts are fakes made by ex. A writer's revenge is painfully creative.
 
6/29 - She thought the fish she bought was fungible with her son's dead pet. But Tim started crying when he saw Mr. Gold was now dark orange.
 
6/30 - Her coworker's grandiose wooing makes her wary. He seems sweet, but his overzealousness makes her fear ending up chained in a basement.
 
7/1 - Cop on bridge tries to talk her down. Then he whispers nocuous words. Pretends to be horrified when she jumps but relishes the power.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?