#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: S for She stood at the crossroads


As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: She stood at the crossroads

Provided by: Vidya Sury, friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti

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#atozchallenge : S for She stood at the crossroads

#atozchallenge : S for She stood at the crossroads

They had walked together for five weeks and four days, but it felt like months, decades.

        As if all they had ever done was walk, him leading the way, her following, a little resentful she couldn’t take the lead, and sending up a prayer of thanks she didn’t have to.

         And now, he’d left her standing in the blinding morning light, on the bridge that would take them to the next town. He’d walked away from the bridge, round the bend, and up the hills beside her.

 

The first time they met, she felt a spark somewhere inside her clothes, her stomach, and he felt it too. She saw it in his eyes. But they did not refer to that spark, except in the most roundabout of ways like when he asked if she liked the way rain-soaked earth smelled, and what it reminded her of. She told him it depended, and when he asked the obvious question, what, she pretended to have fallen asleep.

          They talked about Socrates in the beginning, and the death of Camus, and how the large hadron collider would fail. Slowly it became about what rations to buy. She paid for bars of chocolates which she could not eat, because of her stomach ruined by weeks of drinking roadside water, but she had to carry them. After a while each bar seemed like a brick inside her backpack.

           He made plans, drew lines on maps by torchlight, lying inside the tent. She’d put up that tent, while he’d sat on a nearby rock slapping mosquito repellant on his neck and arms. She worked so she didn’t have to watch him. She wanted to watch him all the time, each flex of his shin as he walked, the way his perfect, round butt fitted his shorts, so she kept her eyes to the ground instead, and kept her hands busy. She felt overworked, her body hurt, but she kept at it.

 

Now, she stood at the crossroads, watching the way he’d gone, the shallow slopes that would lead to steeper ones.. He had no time for this he’d said when she complained of backache, wanted a day of rest.

               She could follow him, catch up, say sorry yet again for a tantrum she hadn’t thrown, spend more nights waiting for him to touch her, on his terms, the way he stopped by in the red light areas they’d crossed in the shanty towns on their way. Relieves my tensions, he said, to nothing and no one in particular, when he came back from one of those evening jaunts.

               But she wouldn’t. Nor would she wait for him to come back and find her. When backpacking, you meet people and pay your debts. When the debts get paid off, you part, and that’s that. She flinched at the weight of her pack as she strapped it on. She would walk. Each day, you wake up and walk, putting one foot after the other, he used to say, you make your own way, alone.

               Maybe that’s the lesson she needed to learn. Her back cramped, but she took one step, then another, away from him, towards the lighted bridge.

~~~~~

Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Ever been backpacking? Had a fallout with a friend or a significant other?

If you could give just One #blogging tip, what would it be?


Blogging tips

Blogging questions

I have spoken before on this blog about making bloggy friends, and commenting on blogs, and signing up for support groups.

But I’m tired of my own voice, a little exhausted and don’t feel at the top of my game.

I haven’t been visiting back regularly, and that’s something I plan to change in the next few weeks before the A to Z challenge begins. (Sign up, if you haven’t yet! Want to know more? If you’re on twitter, drop by for the #AZchat where we discuss why A to Z Challenge is good for bloggers, and how to reap the most benefits! Pam Margolis will be hosting the 1PM EDT chat, and #teamdamyanti will be hosting the one at 8PM EDT. )

So, I’m opening the forum to my visitors and blog friends: If you could give just One #blogging tip to a new blogger, what would it be?

Calling for #bloggers to help form Team Damyanti for the #atozchallenge


As in the last two years, I am co-hosting the A to Z challenge 2014If you haven’t done this before, I recommend checking it out. Here’s why you should join, and here’s what will bring you the most benefits as a blogger. Its founder Arlee Bird says:

The premise of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is to post something on your blog every day in April except for Sundays.  In doing this you will have 26 blog posts–one for each letter of the alphabet.   Each day you will theme your post according to a letter of the alphabet.

You will only be limited by your own imagination in this challenge.   You can post essays, short pieces of fiction, poetry, recipes, travel sketches, or anything else you would like to write about.  You don’t have to be a writer to do this.  You can post photos, including samples of your own art or craftwork.   Everyone who blogs can post from A to Z.  You’ll find the sign-up list here, and the list already looks long!If you sign up, help us spread the word on social media.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

2014 A to Z Blogging Challengerd on social media!

Now for the part where I need your help in co hosting the A to Z April Blogging Challenge:

Co-hosts have a long string of behind-the-scenes duties, and last year we sought help from within the blogging community.
So assisting a co-host is good way to prove your mettle, and who knows, you might get invited to co-host next year. One of my team last year, Pam, is a cohost this year. As is AJ who helped Tina last year, and MJ, who helped Nicole. The only condition of applying for Team Damyanti is that you should have participated in AZ before, because participating the first time is quite a job in itself! 
As an AZ assistant, you also get the following perks:

  1.     You’d get a special badge emailed to you to display on your blog showing your status. Most of the co-hosts have their own, personalized badges displaying their assistants, and we all stick them in our sidebars too, so everyone would know whose assistant you’d be.
  2.      You’d also be listed as an assistant on the A-Z Challenge Blog and that would probably bring you more traffic since a Lot of people read that blog.
  3. Summed up– expect a jump in followers and traffic if you join as a volunteer.

Consider joining a co-host, either Team Damyanti, or any of the others whose teams you’d like to be part of, and take your A to Z Blogging Challenge to the next level! Drop me a comment or an email at atozstories (at) gmail (dot) com. I already have two fab assistants for 2014, looking for 3 more.

My team is now filled up. If you want to volunteer, comment on this post, and you might be chosen by one of the other co-hosts!

Arlee Bird : Tossing it Out                              : @ArleeBird 
Ninja Captain: Alex J. Cavanaugh                : @AlexJCavanaugh
Author Stephen Tremp                                    : @StephenTremp
Tina : Life is Good                                            : @TinaLifeisGood
Damyanti Biswas: Amlokiblogs                      : @damyantig
Jeremy : Being Retro                                       : @iZombieJMH
Nicole Ayers : The Madlab Post                      : @MadlabPost
M. J. Joachim: MJ Joachim’s Writing Tips   : @MJJoachim
Heather M. Gardner                                         : @hmgardner
AJ : Naturally Sweet                                         : @ayjaylauer
Pam : An Unconventional Librarian               : @Pamlovesbooks

The Challenge also has a Facebook Page.

Email address is infoatoz2014@gmail.com,Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge, and the twitter id is @AprilA2Z.

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Are you going to blog for the A to Z April Blogging Challenge? Have you participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge before? Want to be part of Team Damyanti?

Top Ten Movies Blogfest


Alex J Cavanaugh is hosting the Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest today, and all we have to do is list our top ten favorite movies!
I don’t watch many movies, but I love a good story, so here are a few of my favorites (with a lot of help from my husband, the resident movie buff, who encouraged me to watch some of them):
TOP TEN MOVIES

TOP TEN MOVIES

  1. Shawshank Redemption
  2. Cloud Atlas
  3. Schindler’s List
  4. The Dark Knight
  5. In the Name of the Father
  6. Lord of Rings Trilogy
  7. Cinema Paradiso
  8. Wall-E
  9. Usual Suspects
  10. Life is Beautiful
I realize they cover a wide spectrum, everything from Fantasy to Political to Experimental, to Animation, and even a movie about movies. I’m an omnivore when it comes to books, and also to movies (when I manage to watch them)– and my husband’s tastes in movies are pretty eclectic as well.
What are your fave movies? Have you watched any of the movies on the above list?

Does Your Story Choose You?


Vrishchik Chaturvedi: Character Storyboard

Vrishchik Chaturvedi: Character Storyboard

The last few days, I’ve been researching my latest project, (I dare not call it a novel yet) and some of it has been nauseating.

I had to figure out everything possible about flaying  (don’t ask me why) and I was a little apprehensive–material like this would be hard to find, I thought. Apparently not. When I fed various sadistic keywords related to skinning a human body into Google, I was shocked to see the graphic details available on certain websites.

I have now borrowed books from the library which have diagrams and descriptions, and am making notes in between drinking camomile tea to keep myself calm. It is kind of hard to comprehend what humans are capable of doing to other humans.

All this begs the question (which someone asked me yesterday) : why do I have to write on a subject I can’t study with a straight face?

Because, like I told my questioner, I can’t help it.

The story has been haunting me for a while, three years, to be exact. It started with a voice that wouldn’t be denied, a character who spoke first in my notebook at a group writing session, then at a blogfest, and several times afterwards, including this week at another blogfest. His name is Vrishchik Chaturvedi. He is real now and has known it for a while– has said so, too. And his story is now taking shape, and tormenting me while at it.

I’m in control in the outside world, but he’s the lord of the world of my writing, and that is why I find myself, a girl who is afraid of the dark, who cannot sit through gory movies (not even relatively non-heavy-duty, harmless ones like I Know What You Did Last Summer), now writing about this guy who scares the living daylights out of her.

My story has chosen me, and I’ve decided I might as well get it out of my system.

So my question to the writers amongst you: Do you choose the story you’re going to write, or does the story choose you?

Paying it Forward, Author Interview and Call for Guest Posts


Writer E J Wesley has asked me a few questions about writing and  A to Z Stories of Life and Death. Please come and chat with me there. Also, I’m guest posting at Kelly McClymer’s blog today, talking about reading, writing and reading like a writer. Join the conversation and pencil in your opinions.

Now for the Pay it Forward blogfest by Matthew at the QQQE and Alex. J. Cavanaugh. This is their requirement:

In your post, we would like you to please list, describe, and link to three blogs that you enjoy reading and know that others would enjoy as well.

So here are my faves:

Mostly Bright Ideas: I’ve never met a blogger who combines humor and philosophy quite this way. If you haven’t see this blog, you’re missing out big time. Follow this blog and it will lighten up your darkest hours.

Tale Spinning: If you like fiction (which I do, obviously) this is your blog. I love the whimsical stories, the elements of fantasy, and the vivid writing. Follow this one too.

The Task at Hand: For the simple, lingering joy of reading, this blog has few equals. I taste each word as I read it, and so should you.

Call for GUEST POSTS:  I’m taking a sort of blogcation in November and December. But since this blog  and Amlokiblogs are both doing quite okay, and have a good reach on Triberr, seems a waste to leave them in suspended animation.

Some of my amazing writer-friends have offered to guest for me, but I’m still looking for more posts, because 2 months for 2 blogs equals almost 50 posts! Feel free to suggest posts about books you have published.

If you’d like to do a guest post, please check the guidelines, and write to me at atozstories at gmail dot com if you’re interested.

So far, so good. Now, I hope you’re clicking away only to check out the links in this post. Have a good weekend and happy writing, everyone!

Bad Movies Give Birth to Fiction


Alex J Cavanaugh decrees in his blogfest:

On Monday, September 19, post a list of up to ten of the worst movies you’ve ever had the misfortune to watch. Films that just oozed awfulness and featured plot holes so big you could drive a bus through them.

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

Alex's Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

So without further ado, I present the 10 worst movies ever, imho, but instead of writing about them, I’ll use as many of their titles in a piece of flash fiction (that would hopefully make more sense than the movies it was inspired by, lol.) Hopefully Alex forgives the liberty I’ve taken…(* I’ll run hide under the table right after posting this*

So here are my 10 worst picks:

1.   Heaven’s Gate (1980)                           2. Mommie Dearest (1981)

3. Showgirls (1995)                                     4.   Battlefield Earth (2000)

5. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)              6. Gigli (2003)

7.   The Room (2003)                                 8.   Derailed (2005)

9.   Alone in the Dark (2005)                   10.  I don’t know How she does it (2011)

So, ahem, now for the flash fiction:

Mommie Dearest, M.D.

Mommie Dearest, M.D.

Mother to Son, Mary Gallagher Stout

I don’t know how she does it, but Mommie dearest manages to derail my life every time she steps into it, which is often. By Mommie dearest, or MD (as I call her when I’m alone in the dark), I mean my wife Gigli’s mother.

Mine, bless her, gave up the ghost when I was still a fairly runt-sized boy, and just about the only thing I remember of that woman is the smack of her hand on my bottom.

MD uses big words like Heaven’s Gate, Hellfire, the Earth as a Battlefield Between Good and Evil. I’ve grown up with small words like cold, hunger, roof, money, food, knife, rain, dark, sun, blood, water, hate, winter, and done just fine.

So MD’s words are lost on Gigli and me, who, unknown to her mother, is a showgirl at a gig I got her in the next town, Muck City, in our sweet old state of Alabama. Gigli is what they call her there, and what I call her ever since I married her ten years ago. MD calls her Gertrude.

Just yesterday, MD stopped by, and tried yet again to take me to church, being Sunday and all. She calls herself my soul-doctor.  It has always been like that in my marriage; me, Gigli, and MD makes three.

I left, of course, so Gigli could deal with her mother like she always does. I got drunk as a skunk, and came back home hoping MD had left. Not.

So I went to The Room, where I take all ladies who remind me of MD, to be alone with them in the dark. Knife, blood, Heaven’s Gate, we did it all, as usual—me and the woman I found. I left her in a trash bag, the letters M and D scrawled on her pitted bottom.

I’m tired now, and if you know me, you’ll know I’m a man of few words. I like it straight and narrow. So the next time MD stops by, she comes with me to The Room, and I don’t care what Gigli has to say about it. I’ll make an honest, spiritual M.D. out of her yet.

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A to Z Stories of Life and Death

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

If you liked this piece and would like to browse through more of my work, check out  A to Z Stories of Life and Death, available on Kindle and Smashwords.

P.S: The story came from the movie titles and the picture, and I took it down as it came. It is not meant to offend sensibilities.

Patricia Lynne is Hosting Me!


I’m guest posting at Patricia Lynne’s My Journey Through the Pages. Please come chat with me there! I’m writing about flash fiction, of all things.

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

After writing A to Z Stories of Life and Death, I find it easier to think in terms of flash fiction. Now I’m writing longer pieces, based on some of the A to Z characters, simply because they won’t leave me alone. I’m amazed that folks are still buying the book, and I hope they would also like the short stories this book is giving birth to. We’ll see.

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Rule of Three Fiction Blogfest

Rule of Three Fiction Blogfest

Fiction authors, take a look at the Rule of Three Blogfest, a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza starting 5th October— with some great prizes, and of course, a lot of exposure and constructive feedback for your writing. This is one Blogfest fiction authors ought not to miss. Go ahead and sign up!

The Rule of Three is Here!


So we’re doing a month-long fiction blogfest for all you writers out there: The Rule of Three Blogfest! 

The Rule of Three is a month-long fiction blogfest,

The Rule of Three at Renaissance

By us, I mean Fighter writer, J.C. Martin, Flash Fiction Author Lisa Vooght, and Storyteller and author, Stuart Nager. We’re excited to present a blogfest tailor-made for fiction writers to showcase their skills and receive comments on their work, and we hope you enjoy taking part in it as much as we enjoyed creating it!

So without further ado, announcing the Rule of Three Blogfest!

 A. What is the Rule of Three?

The “rule of three” is a principle in writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader/audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. A series of three is often used to create a progression in which the tension is created, then built up, built up even more, and finally released. –Wikipedia

B. How does the Rule of Three work in this blogfest?

The Rule of Three is a month-long fiction blogfest, where we’ve created a ‘world’, the town of Renaissance, and challenged you to create a story within it. The story will feature 3 characters of your creation, who will be showcased on your blog on 3 different Wednesdays, following the Rule of Three. The 4th Wednesday, we’ll have the culminating scene.

C. What is the Shared World of Rule of Three? 

 Renaissance is an outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes pass through or beside it. The desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once-lush forest lies to the East and South. A large river runs through the forest, but it is not close to the town. Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or real. Closer by are the smaller hill chains that fed the mining, creating caverns and passages underground.

The town has had a number of identities throughout its history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to its Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.

At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power-players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.

Everyone has a secret. Welcome to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay. 

D. Writing Guidelines for the Rule of Three Blogfest:

  1. Your overall story can be in any genre, time period, or style you choose. 
  2. You must have three characters (Rule of Three), but the relation between them is up to you. 
  3. Every Wednesday or Thursday (48-hour window), post a narrative fiction: story, poem, song lyric, play, monologue, soliloquy– any style you choose to work in.
  4. Each Friday you will be given a choice of writing prompts that will escalate the inner happenings of your story. Please choose one or more, and state the chosen prompt at the beginning of your post.
  5. Choose one of your characters to showcase that given week as the main protagonist for that posting. Of course, you can weave in your other characters as you see fit, but the main action/conflict or point of view should be the showcased character of the week.  
  6. In the fourth week, give us your tour de force, a culmination of the story that will make us weep, weak at the knees, jump for joy, whatever…and know a writer’s job was done well.
  7. Upper limit for each post is 500 words. A little higher is okay, but not more, please.

E. We have Prizes!!!!!!

We as hosts would read all the posts and put up a shortlist of possible winners, and then hold a poll for votes on the shortlist to decide the winners and honorable mentions.

The prizes are:

1st prize: $ 50USD Amazon voucher

2nd prize: $ 10 USD and Guest posts or Interviews on the host blogs: 

Stuart Nager@Tale Spinning     J.C. Martin@Fighter Writer

Lisa Vooght@Flash Fiction           Damyanti@Daily (w)rite

3rd prize: A bundle of the following e-books featured by Rule of Three:

1.Michael Hicks,    “In Her Name: Empire

2. Marcus Clearspring, “Walkabout Gnomes

3. Alex J Cavanaugh, “Cassa Star”   http://tinyurl.com/3t358vk

4. S.L. Pierce, “The Hate”, “The Devil’s Game”, “Secrets”  http://tinyurl.com/42ef9l2

5. Faith Mortimer, “Echoes Of Life and Love”     http://tinyurl.com/3aptnva

6. Talli Roland, “Watching Willow Watts”   http://tinyurl.com/3ru9bb8

One ebook each from the following for the Honorable Mentions:

1. Damyanti Biswas, “A To Z Stories Of Life and Death”  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/81146

2. J.C. Martin and Michelle Davidson Argyle, “Stories For Sendai”,       http://tinyurl.com/3asdnrr

3. Stuart Nager, “Dawn Of Indie Romance”,      http://tinyurl.com/3pkeexn

F. How to Sign up:

  1. Sign up at the Linky list by the 3rd of October. Please do so only if you intend to write a story, and participate in the writers’ community, not because you want to promote a soap, a website, or a random electronic gadget. We promise to remove all spam and advertisements.
  2. Leave us a comment after you sign in. For instance, talk about which genre you want to write in, whether your Rule of Three story would feature characters from your current WIP or you would introduce us to new ones…anything at all about your plans for the blogfest.
  3. Visit this blog or those of the other hosts tomorrow, or any time during the next week to find the first batch of Rule of Three prompts.
  4. Please let us know if you’ve signed up but find yourself unable to write for the blogfest for some reason, so we can remove your link as a courtesy to everyone using the Linky list to visit the participants. Most visitors find it annoying to reach an irrelevant post by clicking a name on the Linky list.
  5. Schedule for prompts and posting: save these dates on your calendar! (The posts have a 48-hour window)

Rule of Three 1st  prompt                    1st September

Rule of Three Part 1                              5th October

Rule of Three 2nd prompt                   7th October

Rule of Three Part 2                             12th October

Rule of Three 3rd prompt                  14th October

Rule of Three Part 3                              19th October

Rule of Three 4th prompt                  21st October

Rule of Three Part 4                             26th October

6.  Poll for shortlists will be up on 2nd November, and winners will be declared on the 11th of November. 

                    7. All the hosts would take part, but they will not win any prizes.

G. How to become part of The Rule of Three Blogfest Success:

a. Copy the following code for a widget on your sidebar to help spread the word!

<center><a href=”http://amloki.blogspot.com/2011/08/rule-of-three.html/”><img width =”200″ alt=”REN3″ src=”http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z451/Jc_Martin/RuleofThreeshield.jpg” height=”200″ /></a></center>

This will give you the Rule of Three badge!

REN3

b. Post and/or tweet about the challenge in the weeks leading up to the Rule of Three. Spread the word on on Facebook, Google+, or on twitter with the Hashtag #REN.

c. Throughout the blogfest, visit as many other entries as you can and give the entrants some comment love and suggestions!

We now declare the Rule of Three Blogfest open! Please visit us tomorrow for the first prompt, so you can plot the beginning of your Renaissance story following the Rule of Three and make your first post between October 5 and October 6!

Sign up in the Linky List here, and enjoy the ride as we all go on different journeys in the shared world of Renaissance!


A Drabble for the Birthday Blogfest by J C Martin


Blogfest drabble

Drabble for Blogfest

J C Martin is celebrating her first blogiversary. Happy Blogiversary, JC!

To celebrate, JC is hosting a drabble blogfest.

This is my first drabble (a story in exactly 100 words, in case you’re wondering), beginning with the words “A lot can happen in an year..”

The words in the opening phrase are not supposed to be counted, but I’m including them, so the following piece of fiction can be a proper drabble:

==========

A lot can happen in an year, but that year, time stopped.

I waited each Friday for the doorbell, let mother open the door, show him to the piano, call me for lessons. Our playing soothed mother into her afternoon nap.

Mother did not know that little by little, our fingers had strayed. We took turns, playing the piano and each other, casting furtive glances at the door.

One December afternoon, mother woke up before her usual time. Soon after, he left.

Little by little, just as if nothing at all had happened, time started again. It hasn’t stopped since.