Thursday, October 31, 2013

Muse Abuse

My second Flash Fiction piece.  I dedicate it to all of you writers braving NaNoWriMo this year!

Finish That Thought #17 (Judge's Comments)
Prompt: "What, did you think it was going to be all rainbows and puppies?" 
Special Challenge: Include a mythical creature and a holiday, did you think it was going to be all rainbows and puppies?  Writing a story is hard work.  You have to have a plot.  A theme.  Characters developed.  Where are they going?  Why?  How?  What are they hoping to accomplish?  What’s the problem and how will it resolve?

Did you seriously think you could sit down with paper and pen and “just write” a story?  Of course you started out well.  We all do.  The idea is fresh and I’m motivated.  But after a few paragraphs, maybe a few chapters since you seem to be so gifted, it gets wishy-washy and becomes mumbo-jumbo.  Look at what you just wrote.  It doesn’t make any sense!  Who is this Jaed who waltzed in on page seven and why is the dragon suddenly bi-polar?

I don’t care that you’ve finished a novel.  That doesn’t make you worth reading.  What, you think you can force me to cooperate now that you’ve made a complete mess of this one?  More coffee isn’t going to help.  Staring at what you just wrote isn’t going to magically finish that sentence.  It’s been 19 hours since you’ve slept and you’re only on day four.  

Sure, go back and edit.  Re-edit your re-editing for all I care.  You can make that fifth chapter as pretty as you want, but it isn’t going to do you much good if you can’t get chapter six to flow right.  I told you to jot down your ideas in an outline, but did you listen to me?  No.  Now you can’t remember if he was supposed to propose on Christmas or Valentine’s Day.  Honestly, I hope he doesn’t propose at all.  He started out okay, but man what a conflicted, love-sick puppy he’s become!  I can’t stand him or comprehend how you can still think he’s a catch.  You’ve broken that backbone he was supposed to have (yeah, I remember you describing him like that and wish you’d hold him to it) and he’s done so many out-of-character things by now that you should just reinvent the guy.

One week left to finish this rotten novel.  No, I’m not going to come back from tea yet.  I still have a cookie to eat.  And perhaps pour myself another cup of tea.  You need me to help with the epic battle?  No dice, I can’t stand the smell of blood.  Good luck, though.  Don’t accidentally kill off your main character.  If I get you a cup of cocoa, will you stop glaring at me like that? 
Oh, hello.  Is it time already?  Let me put down my newspaper and we can discuss strategy.  Two hours until the deadline?  Piece of cake.  Now to put all these pieces together that you’ve conveniently thrown all over the place.  Roll up your sleeves and get off Facebook, for pete’s sake.  No one cares about your pathetic NaNoWriMo complaints.  You’re the bright one who wanted to do it in the first place.

By the way, congratulations.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Much Ado About Turnips

My first FlashFiction story.  Enjoy!

Finish That Thought #9  (Judge's comments)
Prompt: "If [she] had known [he] would be there again, [she] would have brought [her] [magic wand]."
Special Challenge:  Include at least one original verse of poetry (4 lines)

If she had known it would be there again, she would have brought her magic wand. Honestly, how else does one deal with an eight-foot ogre who insists on eating all of your turnips? Placing neatly manicured hands on her petal-clad hips, she surveyed the damage done by her unwelcome guest as a frown tugged the corners of her pursed lips. Smashed squashes and tangled tomato vines littered what used to be meticulously laid rows of vegetables only hours before. Even her hardy carrots had been trampled underfoot by the clumsy brute which was now digging up her turnip bed with a stupid grin on its grotesque face.

“Ooooo, I wish I could turn it into a frog!” she fumed. “It would serve Matilda right for not keeping her pet on a leash!” However, being only a pixie-in-training, Hetty knew she was no match for an angry witch, and so such thoughts flitted out of her head. Just when she had started to calm herself down, the gruesome creature began singing a ditty while squishing her turnips into jelly.

“Happy ogre smash and crunch
Little turnips for some lunch!
Yummy, yummy for the tummy
Turnip juice is very gummy---”

“STOP RIGHT THERE!” Startled, the ogre turned its enormous head to blink its dull eyes at her as pink and purple sparkles shot out from Hetty’s ears, nostrils, and mouth then exploded like fireworks.

“Those are my turnips, you nincompoop!” Hetty screeched, her freckled cheeks now purple with rage. “If I catch you in my garden one more time, I swear I AM going to turn you into a horrid little green frog and then your mistress will boil you in her cauldron!”

But she might as well have said, “Gobblety-gook” for all the good it did. When the show was over, the ogre turned back to its feast and crushed a few more turnips into its mouth. Hetty was just about to storm back to her mushroom for her wand when a long nose snaked its way over her fence followed by a wide-brimmed black hat and drooping eyebrows.

“Ah, there you are, Horace,” a smooth voice cooed. Immediately, the ogre struggled to its feet and trumped over to the fence, produce tumbling from its clothes like dead flies from a light fixture. “Are you helping nice Miss Hetty again?” the voice continued.

“Helping?!?” Hetty squeaked, unable to say more.

“We’re so lucky to have such an understanding neighbour like you, dearie,” Matilda crooned. “Ogres can be such a handful. You are so lucky to have a magic wand to fix all of your troubles.”

Hetty found herself swayed by the enchanting words of the witch, “Yes, very lucky. Have a good day and be a good boy, Horace.” She waved them good-bye and waltzed back to her house. As soon as she closed the little wooden door behind her, the spell broke like a water balloon, dumping reality on her once more.

“Darn witch magic!” she muttered.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Title: I'll Be Home For Christmas
Genre: Family Friendly
Author: Mary MacFarlane
eBook: Yes

For "Tales by the Tree: An Anthology of Holiday Flash Fiction"

Dedication: To my wonderful parents, David and Susan Seilkop, who kept me believing in the magic of Christmas.  I am so thankful that God gave me such supportive parents!

Emily pressed her nose against the cold windowpane until her breath fogged up her view of the wintery dark world outside.  It was still and quiet except for the occasional breeze that blew some of the snow off of the lighted lamppost in the front yard.  No sign of anyone coming up the driveway.  Heaving a sigh, she swiped the glass clean with a pudgy fist and bounded down the stool, brown pigtails bouncing.  She grabbed her stuffed elephant and hugged it tightly to her chest.

“Mommy, do you believe in Santa?”

Nadine set down the popcorn string she was working on and smiled a tired smile at her 5 year-old daughter.

“Do you believe in Santa?”

Emily thought about it a minute.  “Paul says he isn’t real.  He says that daddies pretend to be Santa and that the mailman eats all of Santa’s letters for breakfast.”

“And what does Emily think?”

“I want Santa to be real,” she said wistfully as she hopped back up the stool to stare out the window.  “He has to be real.”

Nadine went back to stringing on the popcorn kernels.  Life hadn’t been easy since her husband had disappeared in the terrible blizzard last year.  They had managed to scrape by so far, but finances were getting tighter all of the time and she really didn’t want to have to search for a full time job outside of the home.  She didn’t want Emily to be just another daycare kid.

Elvis started crooning “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” on the record player.  Tears welled up in her eyes.  Tom would never be coming home for Christmas again.  Quickly she dabbed her eyes with the sleeve of her sweater and stole a glance at Emily, but thankfully the little girl was still occupied gazing out the window.

“Good kids get what they asked Santa for, right Mommy?”

“Yes, darling.”

“Good.  I was especially good this year!”

“Yes, you were, darling.  I’m sure Santa made Ellie a nice sweater.”

A suppressed giggle came from the window.

“Emily, why do you keep looking out the window?  Come and help Mommy finish decorating for Santa.”

The brown pigtails shook in a vigorous no.  “I have to keep watching!”

“Watching for what, sweetie?”  Another suppressed giggle.   Nadine shook her head and smiled again as she tied off the end of the string.  It would be time for bed soon and the few measly presents she had managed to put together from “Santa” would go under the Charlie Brown tree.  She had spent hours at night knitting the little cardigan for that stuffed elephant.

The popcorn strung across the mantel, the cookies and milk set on the table, they were ready for Christmas.  Nadine rolled her shoulders in a stretch and crossed over to the window to wrap her arms around her daughter.

“Bed time, Emily,” she whispered.  The little girl didn’t budge from her perch.  “Bed time, Emily!” she said a little louder.

“Shhh!” Emily put a finger over her lips, head tilted as her young ears picked up some sound Nadine couldn’t hear.  Then it came, softly at first, then gradually louder.  The jingle of bells.  What was this?  Some kind neighbour helping make their Christmas magical?

She gasped as an over-laden sleigh hauled by eight caribou settled onto their driveway.  In the driver seat sat a rather obese man in a red fur coat who turned and waved at them.  Out of the sleigh tumbled a stick-figure of a man.

“Daddy!” Emily shrieked.  Jumping down from her stool, she scampered to the front door and threw it open.  Dashing out across the lawn, arms outstretched, she tumbled into the waiting arms of the man.  Nadine was still in too much shock to move.  She was sure her eyes were playing tricks on her, but eventually she found her way outside where she could see for herself who this really was.


The face that glanced up was gaunt, gristly, and hardened, but the blue eyes that twinkled underneath were unmistakable.

“Tom!”  Nadine joined the heap in the snow, her laughter bubbling through her tears of happiness as Tom embraced wife and daughter for the first time in a year.

The old man in the sleigh watched the scene with a smile glowing on his wrinkled cheeks, quite forgotten and happy to have it so.  Slapping the caribou with the reigns, he clucked his tongue and backed the loaded vehicle out of the driveway.  As the sleigh began to rise into the air, he cast his eyes on the weathered sheet of notebook paper in his hand.

“Deer Santa Claz,

I now I was a good girl but I dont want any toys.  Pleas find my daddy.  We misss him lots.  I want Mommy to laf agin.  We need my daddy for Krismas.  Thank yoo!

Hugs and kisses,


(812 Words)

To read more stories in the completed project,
check out the book on

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Once Upon A Christmas Feast

Title: Once Upon A Christmas Feast
Genre: Traditional Tales
Author: Mary MacFarlane
eBook: Yes

For "Tales by the Tree: An Anthology of Holiday Flash Fiction"

Dedication:  To the two best friends a Fairy Elf could wish for. Without my mermaid and Dragon Queen, there would be no leaf bombs, giant worms, or late nights giggling over characters. a tiny tree house nestled in the Forest of Tranquility lived a fairy elf named Mairí. Today was a very special day for Mairí for this year she was hosting the Christmas Eve feast.  All day she flitted from one corner to another of her four room house, decorating it for the occasion.  The entire population of birds who also lived in her tree whistled Christmas carols while hopping from snowy branch to snowy branch as the aroma of baking bread permeated the crisp winter air. 

Holding a sea blue ornament between her thumb and forefinger, Mairí squinted at her reflection and frowned.  Not shiny enough.  Quickly, she frosted the glass with her breath and wiped it clean on her forest green velvet sleeve.  Much better!  She eased it onto one of the tinsel-laden branches of the fir tree in her sitting room.  Stepping back, she placed her hands on her hips and nodded in satisfaction.   Her little house glittered and shimmered from top to bottom with silver garlands, colourful glass orbs, golden instruments, and lighted candles.  

Mairí glanced out her window to the sundial on her large front porch.  Oooh, they should be here any minute!  She looked over her list to make sure everything was ready.

“Seaweed salad, check! 
Wild boar steaks, check! 
Fruit salad, check! 
Black Forest pie, check!”

A sharp rap on the door sent her scurrying to see who it was.  Just outside stood a tall, scarlet-cloaked figure with dragon wings spread wide.  Mairí threw open her door and embraced the woman.

“Your Highness, ‘tis so good to see you!  Come in, come in.”

“Elfie!” the Dragon Queen exclaimed as the warmth of the cottage beckoned her inside.  Removing her cloak, she draped it on one of the protruding branches by the door and refolded her scaly wings against her back.  “Is Princess here yet?”

“No, no sign of her.”

The Dragon Queen tapped a finger on her chin with a guttural hmm.  “She left before I did.  Did she get lost?”

As they pondered the whereabouts of their fishy friend, jingling bells sounded from under the floorboards.  Mairí perked up.

“Ah, that will be her!   I installed a pulley since she doesn’t have wings to get up here.”  

But to their surprise, a rabbit came through the trapdoor instead of a mermaid.

“Quick, quick!” it cried.  “The princess is netted!”

“Netted?!” the two gasped.  They exchanged worried glances then burst into action.  The Dragon Queen retrieved her cloak as Mairí doused the fire in the kitchen and the rabbit scrambled onto the Queen’s shoulder to direct them.  


It did not take them long to fly there.  Landing by a ring of ominous hills, the rabbit scurried to the ground and pointed towards them.

“There!  She’s in there!” it squeaked before running off in the opposite direction.

“I’ll sneak in closer and see what’s up,” Mairí volunteered.  “Highness, stay here and make sure we don’t get ambushed!”

Nodding, the Queen sat down on one of the fallen logs as the fairy elf disappeared into the shadows through the opening between the hills.

As Mairí wound her way through the woods, her long ears could just make out the sound of high-pitched cackling.  Soon, the noise grew louder and a little clearing opened up in front of her.  Ducking down, she crawled over to a particularly leafy bush and peered over it.  Mairí sucked in her breath as she spotted their friend wriggling in a crude net.  Not three feet away, four goblins sat around a blazing campfire.  One of them had an apron tied around her thick waist and was stirring in the cauldron over the fire.  

“Been a long time since we’ve ‘ad tail soup, Martha!” the largest one said.

“Wouldn’t think of serving nothin’ else fer Christmas, Fred,” she giggled.  “Only the best fer this family!”

“Kin I skin the mermaid, Mum?” one of the small ones asked.

“But I wanted to!” whined the other.

“This isn’t good!” Mairí whispered to herself.  Sneaking back to the Dragon Queen, she crouched next to her and related her findings.

“How dare they!” the Queen snorted, jumping to her feet.  “Where are those buggers?  I’m going to fry them up good---”

Mairí clamped a hand on her friend’s arm to keep her from storming into the goblin camp.  After all, it isn’t wise to crash a party of hungry goblins, even if one can spout fire!

“I have a better idea.  I’ll distract them to the opposite side of the clearing while you free the princess.  Then we can get out of this creepy place!”

At first the plan seemed to be working.  Mairí was able to keep them occupied looking for the scrumptious pheasant she was mimicking.  They made so much noise tramping through the dense undergrowth it seemed impossible they would hear the sound of ropes snapping.  But just when the Queen had freed the mermaid, one of the little goblins noticed something was afoot and gave a cry of alarm.  Before one could say, “How’d you do?” the goblins had the Dragon Queen and mermaid princess surrounded.

“What’s this, eh?  Stealing our Christmas feast, eh?”

“Look out, Dad, that tall un’ looks mighty fierce!”

Mairí was thinking frantically for a way out of this mess.  How to appease four hungry goblins and take away their Christmas feast alive?  It was impossible!  Unless... unless....

“Actually, Mr. Fred, we come with an invitation!” Mairí said quickly, stepping out from her hiding place and hurrying over to the others.  “To a feast--- our feast.  Would you care to join us?”

“Hmmm...” Fred eyed her suspiciously.  “Will there be rum pudding?”

“Yes!” said Mairí.

“And meats?”

“Yes!” the three girls said in unison.

“Aw, Dad, kin we go?” a little one begged.

Fred mulled over the thought.  “Sure!” he grinned and stuck out a beefy hand.  “Mighty obliged!”

Mairí took his hand in both of hers and shook it enthusiastically.  

“Glad you can come!”

(1000 Words)

To read more stories in the completed project, 
check out the book on Amazon:


A Brief Introduction

Greetings and Salutations!

I am so glad you have stumbled across this humble blog.  Though there isn't much to it now, I do hope to change that soon.  But let me tell you a little bit about myself so that we're on the same page.

I've been married for over two years to my prince charming and live in the prairies of Alberta, Canada.  Although I do not work outside the home, I have plenty to do within it!  There is always a crochet project or two waiting around to be finished and I spend much of my creative energy getting into trouble with my dear friends, whether it's through editing and brainstorming for our novel or role-playing!

I have written a few short stories and started writing a couple novels over the years, but nothing has ever come of it.  This WILL change!  As of now, you are responsible for holding me accountable for my writing.  The purpose of this blog is to post works of flash fiction, finished chapters, and outlines for critique.  Also writing through the writer's block I so often get.  I highly encourage criticism!  And don't be shy.... how else am I supposed to know what to improve if you hold back your opinions?

With that being said, welcome to the wordy ramblings of a wannabe authoress!