Pat on the Back

Today’s post comes courtesy of The Daily Post‘s “Pat on the Back” prompt, in which they asks us to Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.


My little girl.

Oh my goodness, how can I express just how proud I am of you?

My little girl: you’re one of the most amazing kids I’ve ever known. You may be clumsy as hell like mama and stubborn as a mule like daddy, but you’re also bright and brilliant and remarkably well-behaved for your age. You’re the youngest in your class (by quite a wide margin, actually), but you’re always on top of things, your classmates seem to adore you, and your teachers praise you. I could hardly be more proud.

You’ve got a memory unlike anything I’ve ever seen. How many 5-year-olds can remember the names of hundreds of comic book, TV, and movie characters, as well as about a hundred frikkin’ Shopkins, while also pretty much memorizing the entire script of dozens of episodes of shows and movies? Not to mention that you’re learning to read far quicker than I ever imagined you would, and you’re already doing basic math in your head, without use of fingers or toes at all.

You’re so well-balanced as well…sure, a lot of your favorite things are traditionally “girly” things, but the things you enjoy cross such a wide range of wonderful things. You love My Little Pony, but you love Ninja Turtles too. You adore wearing pretty dresses and fancy things, but you’re also a huge fan of gym, and running and climbing around outside. You enjoy reading, board games, Play Doh, Lego, dolls, action figures, coloring, and all other manner of fun stuff. You could play with pretty much any kid you ever meet because you’re wide open, willing to try pretty much anything.

We barely ever hear a peep out of you during long road trips, you’re happy as a lark to be dropped off with a babysitter if mama and daddy want to go out, and you’ll talk the ear off of pretty much anyone once you’ve had a moment to get used to them. You almost never give me trouble when it’s bedtime, you’re almost always well-behaved and pleasant at restaurants, and you always understand, “No, we can’t buy that today.”

You’re a joy and a gem.

Now, don’t go and get cocky because I’ve praised you so much. There will always be other kids who are awesome too…other kids who are smart, and adorable, and get along with everyone, and love a wide variety of things. You’re hardly the only one out there.

But you’re the only one who matters to me. 🙂


A Bookish Choice

Today’s post comes courtesy of The Daily Post’sA Bookish Choice” prompt, which asks us, “A literary-minded witch gives you a choice: with a flick of the wand, you can become either an obscure novelist whose work will be admired and studied by a select few for decades, or a popular paperback author whose books give pleasure to millions. Which do you choose?”


There is no doubt at all in my mind that I would rather be a popular paperback author than an admired, obscure novelist, and there are a couple of reasons for that. One reason, speaking from a purely logical standpoint, is that popular paperback novelists are able to earn a living from their trade, whereas obscure novelists have often been known to die penniless. Of course, when it comes to an art-form like writing it’s not all about the money, but being able to pay the bills is definitely preferable to living on the streets or working multiple day jobs just to get by.

The other main reason for my choice can be summed up into the fact that I’m an atheist. Or, in other words, I don’t believe in an afterlife. Or, in further other words: what the heck do I care if people admire my work after I’m dead? Now, don’t get me wrong…it would be awesome if something that I wrote persisted into the future and was admired and studied…but I won’t be around to see it so it’s not exactly a top priority of mine. I would much prefer if my work was enjoyed right now, while I’m here, even if that work is something of a lesser quality.

Part of being a writer is definitely trying to create something amazing, something that will far surpass your lifespan, but in my opinion a bigger part of being a writer is just desperately wanting people to read and enjoy your work. So if I had the choice between getting to see people enjoy my work, or being long dead while it’s happening, I definitely choose the former.

And on that note, please click on the image below to check out my novel, “Nowhere to Hide”. You can read the first chapter-and-a-bit right on Amazon for free to see if you think you might like it! Don’t be shy now…give it a go! ^_^

nowhere to hide


The Eyes of a Monster

Flash Fiction Fridays

At first it was very dark. The girl thought that her eyes must have been closed, but she blinked a few times and realized that this was not the case. Blind then? She tried to lift her hand to wave it in front of her face, but found that she was unable to move very much. She wasn’t bound, but she appeared to be in a small, compressed space. She wiggled frantically and managed to coax her arms up near her face, but she her eyes refused to register them. So…blind, possibly, or perhaps just cut off from any inkling of light, given her current predicament.

She wiggled some more, twisted herself in all directions. She felt along the edges of her confinement as best she could. It seemed to be some kind of rectangular metal enclosure, positioned vertically so that she was forced to stand while in it. She felt all along it, twisting herself in circles, looking for an exit. She found a seam on one side, running vertically down along the juncture between walls, but she found no handle, no clasps, nothing to allow her to open the structure. Instead she tried pushing. She pushed with all her strength, breathing deep and slow. She pushed again and again, losing a little of her strength each time. She was getting nowhere, fast. And she was beginning to panic. Where the hell was she and why was she trapped in this…this coffin?!

Before she knew it her breathing had sped up, her heart begun to hammer. And then she noticed something that she hadn’t before, something that frightened her to her core. Her breath and her heartbeat were the only sounds she could hear. Otherwise, she was in complete and total silence. Horrifying, maddening silence. She began to beat on the walls, but she had very little space with which to gain momentum, thus her impacts created only the soft padding of her skin making contact with the metal surface.

That was when she tried to scream for the first time.

She couldn’t.

A deep dread set in. Mind-numbing terror.

She tried again. No sound escaped her throat but for the vague rasping of her breath leaving her body at rapidly increasing intervals. Again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Her hands flew to her throat, clawing at it desperately, willing some noise to come from it.

She felt something strange. There was a seam on her throat. With wide, unseeing eyes, she traced the raised bit of skin from it’s starting point just under her chin, down, down, past her collarbone, past her breasts. There was something else there as well, she realized. Something that periodically broke the rigid seam that split her body in two.


She lost what tiny strand of sanity she was still clinging to. She opened her mouth in silent shrieks, breathing faster and harder, hyperventilating, drawing in every last ounce of oxygen in the tiny enclosure. She pounded on the walls of the box with every ounce of strength she could muster. She rocked back and forth, banging her entire body into the walls, shrieking her silent shrieks. She willed herself to make some kind of noise, any kind of noise.

Any kind of noise!

The light was so sudden that it shocked her into stillness. She fell back against the wall behind her and her hands flew to her face to block the onslaught of bright white. It took what seemed like a long time for the spots in front of her eyes to disappear, but then she slowly moved her fingers, one by one, until she could see what happened. A small square window had been opened up on the wall in front of her. The light shining through really wasn’t all that bright now that her vision was beginning to adjust, but what she could see through the window was more ghastly than anything she’d experienced up to that point.

A pair of dark green eyes stared back at her; cold, fathomless, without emotion. They were the eyes of someone running an experiment. The eyes of someone who didn’t give the slightest damn about her personal well-being. They were the eyes of a monster.

The Shadow in the Corner

Flash Fiction Fridays

The rain fell steadily. Just outside the window it hit a drain pipe, over and over again. Ping…ping…ping… Somewhere off to the side of the outer wall it was striking something that made a sound like guitar strings being plucked. Twang…twang…twang… This was the sound that had woken Amy in the first place, or, at least she’d thought that was what awakened her.

She’d laid in bed for a long time, just listening to the rain and wondering whether it would be such an awful thing to call in sick today. She shivered at the idea of having to go out into that rain. She’d be soaked in moments, and with the temperature as low as it was she’d be freezing moments after that. In fact, now that she thought about it, surely the roads would be treacherous. That was definitely a good excuse.

She was just convincing herself that her boss would be totally on board with her skipping work to avoid vehicular suicide, when she thought she felt movement in the room. Her eyes flicked open and scanned the darkness. She could make out the shape of her desk, her dresser, and the little table she kept her mirror and makeup on. And there was another silhouette – a tall one – leering at her from the far corner of the room.

Amy didn’t even realize that she’d been holding her breath, but as she stared, wide-eyed and unblinking, her lips parted and a little gasp escaped. And the second that tiny breath of air floated past her tongue, the shadow moved toward her at incredible speed.

A minuscule voice in the very back of Amy’s head thought, Well I guess we don’t need an excuse to get out of work now.

The Vibrating Horror

Flash Fiction Fridays

Chad’s backpack was vibrating.

For a good, round ten seconds he stared at the bag and scarcely registered the reality of the situation. He heard the low, mechanical hum and saw the hummingbird-like movement from within the front pocket, but for that first long moment his brain rejected the information it was being fed. What’s that sound? he thought, innocent to the end. Whose bag is making that sound?

Then the airport security lady’s hand came down on the bag – his only carry-on luggage – and as though from a long way away he heard her voice ask, “May I take a look in your bag, sir?”

His mind screamed, “NO!” but he heard his voice crack out a hesitant, “Yes…”

The security lady grasped the zipper just above the embroidered words that had congratulated his crew on surpassing one million man-hours without a lost-time accident, and as she began to pull the pocket open Chad heard his coworkers in line behind him trying, and failing, to surprise their giggles.

I won’t let them see that they’ve gotten to me, he thought. I won’t give them the satisfaction.

The security lady’s hand came out of the backpack grasping a little hot-pink remote with two buttons, and attached to that remote was a long hot-pink wire, at the end of which dangled a bright hot-pick ball. The ball vibrated wildly as it swung back and forth in the air in front of her.

Chad’s coworkers were in hysterics now, and although he was trying his hardest not to look her in the eye, he could tell that the security lady was struggling to restrain a smile herself.

“Shall I remove the batteries for you, sir?” she asked as other passengers whispered to one another and snickered. The coworkers roared openly.

That was the day Chad vowed he would have his revenge.

Can’t Stand Me

Today’s post comes courtesy of The Daily Post‘s daily prompt, which asks us: “What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?”

This prompt piqued my interest because as I read and re-read the question I realized that my answer would have been completely different just a year and a half ago. What happened within that year and a half to change my mind? My YouTube channel happened!

Back before I started my YouTube channel I would have absolutely said that watching myself on video was the more unbearable prospect. I’ve always found myself to look so awkward and pathetic on camera, so much so in fact that when I first got the idea to start a YouTube channel I almost threw that idea right into the trash. I thought it would be fun to do unboxing videos, but I also loathed the idea of actually sitting down and talking to a camera, only to then have to review the footage and deal with the reality of how ridiculous I would look. I’m a naturally awkward person when it comes to things like public speaking or being the center of attention, and somehow video felt just as bad, if not worse. Those first few videos I shot were actually a strange form of self-torture. I would sweat and stutter through the entire recording, and then cringe and twitch as I tried to edit the footage into something that didn’t make me feel like burning my camera.

But it’s been a year and a half since I first started recording those videos, and I’ve really become rather used to it. I still have moments when my brain completely shuts down on me – you’d be amazed to see how many flubs and bloopers I actually edit out of every video – but I feel much more comfortable in front of the camera these days, which means that the recordings themselves turn out significantly less torturous to my own personal senses. I’ve even been known to get a chuckle in at myself. I no longer mind at all watching myself being played back.

My voice, however…that’s another story. Technically you could say that the recording of my voice is part of the videos, but somehow when video and audio are linked it doesn’t seem all that bad. It matches. It works. But when it’s just a recording of my own voice, when I can’t actually see my own mouth moving and the words coming out… I shudder just thinking about it. And I think many people feel the same way because, as we know, our voices sound different inside our own heads due to the vibrations within the bones in our ears. Every one of us sounds different to ourselves than we do to everyone else around us, and usually when presented with the voice that everyone else hears we recoil in horror. “Do I really sound like that?” It’s an extremely common notion.

Mind you, most people don’t have to listen to themselves on audio recording all that often. Personally I avoid it at all costs, which is the main reason I run to another part of the house whenever my husband starts watching one of my videos; I can’t stand to listen to myself blaring over his laptop speakers while I’m trying to do other things. It’s unnerving. Uncomfortable. Unacceptable, even.

Or maybe I’m just crazy. What do you guys think? Which is the more unbearable thing to have to experience?

The Great Pretender

Memoir Mondays

Today’s post comes courtesy of The Daily Post’sThe Great Pretender” prompt, which asks:
Are you full of confidence or have you ever suffered from Impostor Syndrome? Tell us all about it.

There isn’t the slightest doubt in my mind that I have almost always suffered from “impostor syndrome”, which basically states that a person is unable to internalize their achievements. In other words, no matter how well you’re doing, you never feel like you truly deserve your success. You’re an impostor. You’re somehow fooling everyone into believing that you’re anything special.

I’d never put words to it before coming across the definition of the syndrome, but now that I’ve read it I realize that I’ve felt this way for quite a long time. I expect, perhaps, that it popped up sometime around junior high school. Way back in elementary school I was actually quite confident. I was a smart kid who made awesome grades, I was musical, I read way beyond my grade level, and I was pretty damn confident. I was never the most popular kid, and of course I had my doubts here and there, but I knew that I was intelligent.

That slipped aside by the time I’d hit junior high, which is unsurprising really because junior high is similar to rounding up all the kids and throwing them into the fifth circle of hell. At that point everyone is a swirling maelstrom of hormones and frustrations, and as I’ve already mentioned I was never the most popular kid so my cause was already a lost one right from the get-go. And French Social Studies was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was an extra class that we could take; Social Studies in French instead of English so as to help advance our French-speaking capabilities. I did great in the class. I think I left with something like a 95. And while part of me jumped with joy because I loved making good grades, part of me also felt like an impostor because I didn’t learn a goddamn thing in that class. No joke. I did not learn any extra French, and I learned considerably less Social Studies, because the entire class was a memorization system. I was good at memorizing and regurgitation the sentences, so that’s what I did. Half the time I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was writing, but I kept getting the answers right, so that was all that mattered at the time.

And those kinds of things continued to happen throughout the rest of school. Don’t get me wrong…I was still a smart kid, and I know that, but there were always those certain classes, or those certain teachers, or those certain subjects that I managed to wing my way through with little to no effort for a number of reasons, and those instances always gave me that split feeling of success, and feeling like an impostor. Mind, I didn’t pay much attention to the impostor part because I was a kid, and a kid nearly always chooses the easy route when available.

But that feeling is one that persists into many areas of life. I felt like an impostor at my first post-graduate job because I was the first tradeswoman to ever work there and everyone was expecting that I must be amazing in order to have been hired. I felt like an impostor when my husband and I were looking at houses because I still felt like a kid who was nowhere near mature enough to be a homeowner. When I went out West for the first time I felt like an impostor because I’d never so much as set foot on a plane before and here I was traipsing to the other side of the country for work.When I self-published my book I felt like an impostor, because surely if my book was worth reading it could be traditionally published instead. Every time I read the comments on my YouTube videos I feel like an impostor because people seem to like me and I feel, for some reason, like they shouldn’t.

But you know what? I’m willing to bet that, even if they don’t admit it, most people suffer from “Impostor Syndrome” at some point or another, if not on a regular basis. Because it’s just human nature to doubt yourself, second-guess yourself, feel like you didn’t really earn something. And that’s okay, in small doses, as long as you’re still able to step back every now and then and accept that you got where you are because, at least in part, it’s where you were aiming to be. Who’s with me?

The Crack

Flash Fiction Fridays

There was a crack in the wall.

Gregory had been up and down every inch of the new house, hoping to find something cool, something special, something that set it apart from their old house, the one his parents had dragged him so far away from that he wasn’t even certain they were in the same country anymore. He missed the friends he’d made in his first-grade class, the soccer team on which he’d been one of the best kickers, and the huge tree that had been in his old backyard, just ripe for climbing. And he missed his old house, which had a secret cupboard under the stairs just big enough for him, a huge old attic with spooky corners where the light didn’t shine, and a closet in his bedroom that was big enough to build a fort in by draping blankets over the clothes racks.

The new house was too tall, too skinny. It was all the wrong colors. It was too close to the houses on either side of it, and the backyard was far too small. He’d thought the fireplace in the living room was pretty cool, but his mother refused to build a fire in it because she had some insane belief that he would, like, just decide to leap into it and burn to death. His mother was always so weird like that, like she thought he was stupid or something. Father knew better, but he also knew better than to question mother’s decisions.

So Gregory searched, from top to bottom, front to back, he searched every inch of every room, praying for something cool, determined to find something that would make this horrible new house interesting. He searched through the old wood-panel cupboards and in the large closet in the porch that had shelves made of unpainted 2×4. He searched every nook of the cement-floor basement and briefly considered the grey pole in the center that his father called a “load-bearing” something-or-other. He knocked on every stair, hoping for secret compartments. He ran his fingers along every inch (that he could reach) of every wall, wondering if there were any hidden doorways. He looked and looked and looked until he was positively exhausted of looking and was finally quite certain that his family had moved into the most boring house on the planet.

And then, on the fifth night in the house, as he was laying awake in bed and wondering what he could do to convince his parents to move back home, Gregory noticed the crack in the wall. It was staring at him from across the room, precisely at eye-level from the position of his pillow, and he was sure – absolutely sure – that it hadn’t been there the previous four nights. He stared at it for quite a while, frowning, his eyebrows furrowed. It was a thin crack, but long – probably as long as his arm. And it was jagged, going up and down, this way and that, but the basic shape of it was like a bit of a semi-circle. It reminded Gregory a bit of a smile.

Finally, too curious simply roll over and go to sleep, Gregory slid out of bed and creeped across his bedroom floor, careful to avoid the spot that he’d learned would let out a loud creeeeeaaaaak if he went anywhere near it. The crack-smile seemed to grow bigger as he approached it, so that by the time he was crouched in front of the wall, reaching out a hand to touch it, it gave him the distinct impression that it was happy to see him.

A little thrill of fear – mixed with excitement – went up through Gregory’s throat, and for a moment he considered dashing back to bed and throwing the covers over his head. But even as the thought crossed his mind, the tips of his fingers brushed the crack in the faded blue wall and a light began to emerge from the tiny space between the slabs of paint.

And as the light grew and grew, filling the room with an unearthly glow that he couldn’t have described if he’d tried, Gregory remembered thinking, “Now this is more like it.”


Flash Fiction FridaysHave you ever felt like something just wasn’t right, but you weren’t sure what or why?

The feeling came upon me as I was unloading the dishwasher. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I was lifting a water-stained glass from the plastic rack with a scowl when my gut suddenly clenched in a very unpleasant way. I knew something was wrong, something had…changed.

I wandered around the house for quite a while, trying to work out what my gut was trying to tell me. At first everything looked totally normal, but then I pulled aside the kitchen curtains. My backyard seemed so still, so quiet, which I guess shouldn’t have been too alarming, except that it’s usually quite windy in my town and not a single leaf was rustling on the trees. Then I released the curtains and they neglected to fall back into place. At first I almost didn’t take notice at the lack of movement, but as my brain rushed to catch up I found myself standing there, mouth agape, staring at the long strip of fabric that was coiled off to the side as though held there by an invisible hand. When the initial shock wore off I reached out a trembling finger and poked the curtain. It indented where my finger touched it and remained in the new position when I withdrew.

The next thing I knew I was out in the front yard, gaping in horror at the neighbor kid, suspended in midair with a skipping rope winding from hand to hand behind her back. There was a pleasant smile frozen on her face, but to me, at that moment, it was the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen.

The man up the road sat on an immobile ride-on mower, a beer half-raised to his mouth. A car backing out of a driveway up the road was perpetually paused at a forty-five degree angle. A robin that had taken a leap from its nest was hovering with its beak open only a few feet above my head.

And my gut twisted and writhed because I knew – I just knew – that somehow, this was all my fault.