Beginning Fiction Workshop

I am leading a workshop this September. After earning my BA in English from UCLA, participating in five workshops myself, from beginning to advanced, and founding and participating in two writers’ groups over the last three years, I am incredibly excited to share what I’ve learned with budding writers, and to create the atmosphere in which writers collaborate to build their craft.

The info is below, and under the “Fiction Workshop” page of this blog. Please pass along!

Flash Finalist

The Writer Unboxed Flash Fiction contest has completed. One of the members of my writers’ group (Andrea’s blog here) won second place! I have been kicking myself for not posting on my social networks, asking people to vote. While previous weeks’ winners were determined by votes and judges, the final round was votes only. My excuse is I was too busy finishing draft 3 of my book (and then reveling in having finished it). When I decided to become a writer, I thought I would sit by myself in my room at my computer all day. I discovered that writing, like many professions, is buoyed by community. As a fellow writer friend said, “You can’t write in a vacuum.” I did, however, place as a finalist in the contest! Big thank you to those who “liked” the story below, based on this image:

Wool reached out, like fingernails scritch-scratching, irritating the back of her neck. The long jacket served her purpose tonight. She made her face pretty, so they would choose her from among the wandering hookers, wearing little in the cold.

She undid the man’s belt buckle in an alley. She opened her coat so he could see her, bare, before he went. Humans. The looks on their faces when they could not understand. Rancid sores, oozing, trailed over her. Buboes, ruptured. When closed, the coat covered the stink.

A little nibble. Small bite? She sank thirteen rows of tiny, pointed teeth into his earlobe while he screamed. Soon his whole ear was gone. He bled out.

No matter. He would serve her just as well dead.

The sickness she left in him would spread. Corpses, souls, waiting for Him, yearning for Him. She would deliver this world to Him.

Death would be proud.

Perhaps He would take her in His arms, tell her that she was His favorite. Hunger, whose kills were slow but many, and Despair – the suicide rate arced ever up – would no longer satisfy Him.

But when she returned home, Love was in His bed.

“Darling,” He said, running thin bone fingers along her cheek, “Without Love to couple the humans, there would be no souls to take.”

She wept. He said, “Balance, my dear Pestilence.” He returned to bed Love.

The look on her face was much like that of the man, when she opened her coat.

Draft 3 COMPLETE!!!

Yes, I finished it, and by my August 1st deadline, too. Being on deadline was incredibly stressful and also, strangely, inspirational.

I was going along, editing chapter by chapter, and it looked like I was right on schedule. No problem, I’d finish the draft by August, easy. And then in the last week or so I started having all of these ideas. Hard to tell which were good ones, and which weren’t, and harder to decide which to try to implement, or not. I drove myself insane. I went to bed late and got up early, writing, rewriting, reading it over, and revising some more.

After many hours, last minute changes, and frantic calls to my sister about potential plot changes, I finally called it done. There are still changes I want to make, but I want to see what my readers will say about this draft. Over the last two days I have sent the draft to (or left a copy for) a set of trusted, valued readers.

The copy I left for one of my readers on her plant table.

Thank you to my incredible community – MUG, my mentor, my friends and family – all those who have supported me, and continue in their love and encouragement, in this journey!

Flash Fiction: Like

Ladies and Gentlemen, another honorable mention in the Writer Unboxed flash fiction contest! Thank you so much for all the support!  See my story from last week, and Debbie Ohi‘s prompt image, below. To help me in this week’s contest, go here, scroll to find my story (under Taylor Ross, begins “Wool reached out, like fingernails scritch-scratching…”) and hit the “like” button! Thanks!

 

“Why?” Amanda flung her hand out across the counter, swiping everything to the floor. Six beer bottles shattered.
Why was her husband in a coma? Or why did he drink and drive? Or why did he drink at all?
His daughter had married an alcoholic. Nathan blamed himself for that, as he did every hardship in his daughter’s life.
She put a hand out to steady herself on the tiles. The other went to her face. The short, wracking sobs were almost silent.
Nathan walked over, rested a calloused palm on her delicate sweater. He knew when he lifted his hand the fabric would cling to the rough edges of his skin. Her sobs quieted.
“Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise,” Amanda said. Her voice was low, bitter. “Do you know my friends keep saying that?”
Nathan stood still, waiting. The man had only been in a coma for three days.
But good things did come out of bad, sometimes.
“When your mother…” Nathan cleared his throat. His Mirabelle. Amanda had never known her mother.
“It’s okay, Dad.” Amanda brushed her tears away before his could start. She knelt to pick up the broken glass. He felt her sweater tug at his skin.
Amanda put the biggest pieces in the garbage, fetched the dustpan, and began to sweep the smaller pieces. She brushed most of it into the bin. Nathan caught her hands as she turned back to get the rest.
“You wore a good disguise.”