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I saw a post about a contest at Spinetingler Magazine and I decided to send something in. The catch: I don’t have anything that fits the guidelines. The solution: WRITE SOMETHING, DUH.

So I started:

It should be about revenge. It should be 500-1500 words. I can do that standing on my head.

Trouble is, it’s growing. It’s already 500 words and it’s barely started.

Two answers to that:

  1. Write it until it’s finished, then cut.
  2. Write it until it’s finished, then send it somewhere else.

A corollary to 2 is: Put it on hold and try again for a shorty and THEN write this one until it’s finished. That may be what I’ll do. I have some 100-word revenge stories I could flesh out, and I may try that.

Anybody have any two-cents’-worth to put in on the subject?

MA

writing prompt: Is revenge sweet, or is it ashes in your mouth? What about various characters you’ve created? Write a character who ALWAYS relishes revenge. Now make him/her experience remorse over one triumph.

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The prizes for the “Who Do I Think I Look Like In My Sleep Apnea Mask” contest are in! The two people who guessed correctly (I don’t care if YOU think I look like Darth Vader–I think I look like the beauteous Celeste, wife of Babar the elephant)…. I lost my place. Oh, yes: The two people who guessed correctly chose different Hot Flashes.

Here they are:

Hazelnut Coffee

Return Engagement

Especially for #4 daughter, who claims I always take pictures of my food, here is a picture of what I had for lunch yesterday. It’s Ramen/veggie soup.

RAMEN/VEGGIE SOUP

  • Ramen noodles
  • veg–leftover, canned or defrosted and cooked frozen

Heat and eat.

Have a good one!

MA

writing prompt: What is your favorite kind of weather? Different kinds for different moods? Do different kinds of weather PUT you in different moods? What music do you want to listen to in different kinds of weather?

Me

Celeste

Two winners! Mark Brown and Diane Miller guessed the correct answer to the question: Who do I think I look like in my sleep apnea mask? The answer is: The Beauteous Celeste, queen of the elephants and wife of Babar.

Mark has chosen the Hot Flash for May of 2006:

Hazelnut Coffee

One whiff, and I taste almond biscotti. I hear your voice sharing secrets, sharing jokes. My cream and sugar friend.

He says I don’t have to give him a prize, but I think I’m going to give him a mug with this on it. When it’s done, I’ll post a link to it, in case you want one. Diane still hasn’t told me which one she wants, but I’ll post that, too, when she does.

I updated my pro site today. I’m going to try to update it more often than once a month.

If you’re going to be at the Greentree Mall in Clarksville, Indiana on March 27, stop by the Almost Famous Authors’ Faire and see me! I’ll be selling copies of SWORD & SORCERESS XXIII and schmoozing.

MA

writing prompt: What do you associate with a friend?

They had good stuff on sale at the grocery: Fish in steamer bags, frozen veg, cheese, potatoes and hothouse tomatoes. I baked an ovenful of potatoes the other night, because baked potatoes are SO GOOD and the leftover ones are so versatile. So this is what we had last night.

Made a pie crust. Or you could buy one ready-made. Or you could not bother, which is what I’m going to do next time. This is Tomato-Basil Pie, but next time it’s going to be Tomato-Basil Casserole. This is one of those dirty little secrets nobody ever tells you, like how it takes longer to recover from the episiotomy than it does from childbirth–if you don’t count the teenage years. But I’m telling you now, that you cannot cook tomatoes and bread together without the bread getting soggy. The crust was beautiful until after 30 minutes in a 350F oven with tomatoes in it. Then it was pure sog. Ick.

Anyway, for TOMATO-BASIL WHATEVER, you layer sliced tomatoes and salt/pepper/basil. Mix equal amounts of mayonnaise and cheese–Italian mix or Mozzarella for favorite. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes and then let cool a bit. Except for the soggy crust, it was DELICIOUS. The crust that stuck up above the sog was also delicious.

I cut up a leftover potato and browned it in oil, then tossed in a handful of frozen chopped mirepoix of onion, green pepper and celery.

I popped one of the steamer bags into the microwave for 4 minutes on high, then let it rest for a minute. Meanwhile, I mixed softened butter and dill weed and poured it over the salmon on our plates.

~~~

Today is the last day of the contest to guess who I think I look like in my sleep apnea mask. Winner gets his or her choice of a Hot Flash on a mug, cap or mousepad.

MA

writing prompt: Have a character cook a disappointing dish. Is it minor or is it a social or emotional disaster? Bear in mind that I once threw a pie crust up against a wall because it wouldn’t roll out right. The kids still talk about it, although it has since morphed into a whole chicken.

Here is a picture of me in a costume suggesting who I think I look like in my sleep apnea mask. NOW can you guess? HINT: If you have or know a child, particularly a little girl, of maybe between 3 and 7, you have a better chance of guessing. No, I don’t think I look like Barbie. Does Barbie have a hose coming out of her nose? Whaddya mean, “Firefighter Barbie does”? She does NOT!

Contest runs through end of February. Prize is one of my Hot Flashes on some kind of piece of merchandise.

The snow is almost gone. Warmer temps, rain, quite balmy. I love it! Only problem is, I can’t drive our car in the rain, because I busted the windshield wipers by trying to clear snow off the windows when it wasn’t really snow but ice. What a maroon. Charlie said, “Don’t turn on the windshield wipers when they’re iced up.” I’m like, “Yeah, I did it on purpose because I wanted to bust them. I’m funny that way. But you ain’t laughin’, though.”

Anyway, I’ll be borrowing Mom’s car, and hoping I don’t bust that up too badly. Maybe I could get a job in demolition.

MA

writing prompt: What was your main character’s favorite toy when he/she was little?

The contest will run through the last day of February. After speaking with a local printer, I find that a one-time item will be better done through Cafe Press. The winner, then, can choose from a number of items which I will specify (probably cap, mouse pad, mug, poster, button, magnet or bumper sticker). Feel free to visit my Cafe Press stores, if you want to buy a whole year’s worth (2002 through 2007) of Flashbacks on a shirt or barbecue apron or tote bag.

Anyway, there have been some great guesses so far. All of them are wrong, though, so keep guessing! Who do I think I look like? I’ll post another picture in a few days and see if that helps.

MA

writing prompt: Write about someone who thinks he/she looks completely different from the way he/she looks to other people. Is it funny or sad?

My mother and #4 daughter and I have spent many happy and many frustrating hours playing this game. Now let’s play it here.

RULES:

Player #1 (that’s me) thinks of someone to be (that’s who I think I look like in my sleep apnea mask). Player #1 then says, “I’m somebody.”

Player #2 (that’s you) asks a question that can be answered with “Yes” or “No”.

Player #1 (me again) answers honestly.

Player #2 (still you) uses the answers given to his/her questions and the questions of any other players, then guesses.

For the purposes of this contest, you can guess as often as you like, and you can guess what somebody else has guessed.

PRIZES:

Go to my Hot Flashes and pick one you like. The winner gets his/her chosen Hot Flash printed on something–I have to check prices with the printer to see what I can afford! Maybe a ball cap, maybe a mouse pad, maybe a bandana, maybe a t-shirt.

I had Charlie take a picture of me in the mask. Here is what the mask looks like on, to help you guess.

MA

writing prompt: What is a game you play to pass the time quietly with a child, or what game/games did you play to pass the time quietly when you were young?

There’s still time to enter. There will be multiple winners. As I said in a former post:

I have one copy left of THE GIFT OF MURDER and several copies of SWORD AND SORCERESS XXIII, each of which has one of my stories in it. I can also get copies of any of the Southern Indiana Writers anthologies that are still in print, each of which has at least one of my stories in it. I may possibly have a copy of last year’s Toys For Tots holiday mystery anthology, DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, as well.

You have until the end of 2009 to guess my new friend Hootie Ann’s last name. Everyone who guesses correctly–or comes reasonably close–will have his/her/its name entered in the contest. On January 1, 2010, I’ll have Charlie draw five names, and the first one he draws will have first pick of the books available and so on down the line. Five prizes will be awarded, assuming five people care enough to enter.

So far, many have come close, but none have guessed correctly.

MA

writing prompt: What did your characters get for Christmas? What did each want most? Get it, or not? What present did each like most? Least?

Our #1 daughter bought me this and gave it to me the other day. She is both spiky and shiny (her tail glitters), which makes her  just perfect for me.

Her name is Hootie because, DUH, she’s an owl. In honor of the daughter who gave her to me, her middle name is Ann.

Here is the contest: Here is a page with anthologies containing my work. I have one copy left of THE GIFT OF MURDER and several copies of SWORD AND SORCERESS XXIII, each of which has one of my stories in it. I can also get copies of any of the Southern Indiana Writers anthologies that are still in print, each of which has at least one of my stories in it.

You have until the end of 2009 to guess my new friend’s last name. Everyone who guesses correctly–or comes reasonably close–will have his/her/its name entered in the contest. On January 1, 2010, I’ll have Charlie draw five names, and the first one he draws will have first pick of the books available and so on down the line. Five prizes will be awarded, assuming five people care enough to enter.

MA

writing prompt: Have two of your characters enter a contest. Have them both know it, and have one of them win it. Then what?

The contest again: Okay, here is the costume I wore to Halloween on the Square. Many people liked it, but nobody knew what it was. If you think you know what it is, post a comment. AnyoneCostume who guesses correctly will have his or her name put into a drawing. On October 31, a winner will be drawn from any correct guesses. If there are no correct guesses, I’ll put all INCORRECT guesses into a drawing. The winner gets a copy of THE GIFT OF MURDER, Wolfmont’s 2009 Toys For Tots benefit anthology.

Clues and hints, some new today: I’m the title of a book published in the last part of the 20th century. It’s a non-fiction book, but most people think of it as fiction because it reads like fiction. I’m all in black, but I was sprayed with sparkles. My earrings are moons and stars. All the rest of my jewelry and the trim on my shawl are floral, except for a Jiminy Cricket pin.

~~~

I made a really good sammich the other day. Got me some pepperjack cheese and put that and some ham on rye bread schmeered with mayonnaise and grilled it. Made my mouth so happy! This morning, I made latkes:

LATKES

  • defrosted potato shreds (sometimes called hash browns)
  • egg
  • flour
  • onion or onion powder
  • salt/pepper
  • oil

Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan. Combine other ingredients. Just enough egg and flour to coat everything and bind the potato and onion together. I use onion powder rather than real onion. Fry until golden brown on both sides.

After I took the latkes out to drain on paper towels, I threw a couple pieces of ham into the pan (Did I say it was a kosher meal? Did I? Let me see…. No, I don’t believe that I did.) and ate it all with a dainty and ladylike glob of apple jelly. Yum!

MA

writing prompt: Does your main character like sparkly things, or does he/she think sparkles are tacky?

WELCOME TO MY BLAHG

Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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