Category Archives: Serials/Series

An unfortunate postponement

After Part II’s cliffhanger, I had a second interlude written to fill in some backstory before beginning Part III. Unfortunately, my electric died in my house, my webpage refuses to let me update from my tablet, and my phone will not let me paste in the text. So despite my valiant efforts, I am unable to post by midnight. Hopefully I will still be able to fix things before midnight tomorrow.

In the meantime, the dogs ate my blog. (I just wanted to be able to say that because I thought it’d sound cute.) Thank you for your patience, and wish me luck!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Current events, humor, Serials/Series

Friday Flash: Cloud 9 – Bluster

The muses run Cloud 9, the divine repository of inspirations, under the benevolent dictatorship of Hermes – messenger of the gods. The Olympians, devoted nepotists, almost exclusively hire their many and varied family members. The divine and semi-divine collaborate, stock, check-out, and deliver the inspirations of Cloud 9 to the world.

Morpheus lounged against a pillar, a surprisingly sincere grin across his face.

Hades looked up from the screen’s flowing text. “Well?

“Well, what?” asked the god of dreams, running his hand through golden locks.

Hades typed a few more lines, then hit ‘enter.’ He leaned back, surveying the golden youth. “I’m confused,” he said. “You haven’t complained about a thing since you got here. You’re not… what’s the word?”

Morpheus raised an eyebrow. “Angsty?”

“Nooooo,” said Hades. The lord of death steepled his fingers as he leaned across the desk. “Disgruntled?”

“You’ve been talking to Mother.”

“Not at all,” returned Hades. “But I am observant of all the citizens of my realm. You’ve obviously been discontent – yes, that’s the word – for awhile. What gives?”

“Oh, I’m still plenty disgruntled, discontent, whatever, but…” He eyed the dark lord. “Can you keep a secret?”

Hades’ grin was full of murder, mayhem, and a bit of cheez whiz that had gotten stuck on his teeth.

Morpheus leaned over the desk. “I’m playing a joke on someone.”

Hades smile faded; he rolled his eyes. “Oh, dear. Another one of Hermes’ pranks, I see.” He sighed. “You’d think, after all these years, you’d find another companion. I do believe he’s a bad influence on you, boy.”

The sound of wind-chimes filled the chamber as the golden youth laughed. “That’s just it, Uncle.”

“I’m not your uncle. My familial relationships are… complicated.”

“OK, fine. My point is, you’re like an uncle to me, so I’ll let you in on my secret.”

Hades eyed Morpheus warily but kept his silence.

“The prank is ON Hermes!”

The dark lord’s eyes flickered with amusement, twin flames that lit his otherwise darkened features. “Really? Do tell.”

“Well, I got the idea when I ran into Nicholas-”

“Mmmm Hmmm?”

“-and he was telling me about filing all these inspirations.”

“Yes, yes, the boy is good at his job.”

“Well… I came to Hermes in a dream – not as myself, of course. I took on the form of this nymph he fancies, but-”

“Nymph?” Now it was Hades’ turn to raise an eyebrow.

“Yes, and don’t think THAT wasn’t awkward. But anyway… I led him to this inspiration-”

“Yes?”

“Well, yeah. He’s been looking for a way to streamline deliveries, so now he thinks he’s found this brilliant idea, and-”

“Dear, boy,” said Hades. “I know we have eternity, but even that might pass before you get to the punchline.”

“OK, listen. Hermes is always the one with the bright ideas; right?”

Taking Hades’ silence for agreement, the god continued, “I just wanted to fool him for a change, instead of being the-”

“-sidekick?”

“-ACCOMPLICE!” said Morpheus, louder than he’d intended.

“Are you going to tell me this brilliant plan or should I…?” Hades poised long, slender fingers over his keyboard.

“You know how Hermes can be a bit…” Morpheus made complicated hand and arm gestures, which Hades took to indicate an inflated ego.

“Yes.”

“Well, in the dream – I was subtle -”

Hades kept quiet.

“I led Hermes to this great idea that would save him, me, everyone really- tons of work. He’ll never suspect I-”

“-did your job by delivering inspirations?”

“I was SUBTLE,” said Morpheus. “OK?” Hades waited. “When Hermes implements it, he’s bound to brag. Then I’ll reveal it was really-”

“You.”

“Yeah. He’ll have to eat crow… and the way HE brags? It’ll be quite the feast. I can’t tell you what that would mean to me.”

Hades stared.

“We’re buds. He’ll get over it! But the look on his face when I tell him it was ME?” Morpheus smiled. “Let’s just say, it’ll sustain me for quite awhile.”

Hades considered. “And you came up with this idea all on your own?”

“Well, I’ll admit, Nicholas jogged a few braincells-”

“-that were loose to begin with,” muttered Hades.

“What?”

“Oh, nothing. It just seems you could have played a less elaborate – yet equally satisfying – prank, simply by revealing yourself as the nymph in his dream.”

“The nymph…” Morpheus winced. “Damn! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Hades – despite his reputation – was not a cruel god; he bit his tongue. He asked, “What inspiration did you plant?”

“Oh, he’s going to upgrade humanity! By downloading inspirations directly into their minds, we won’t need to deliver them anymore.”

“And where, perchance, did you get this brilliant plan?”

“Well, I told you I bumped into Nicholas. Nice kid. I feel sorry for him.”

“That goes without saying. He’s my son.”

The god studied his sandals. “Anyway,” continued Morpheus, breaking the silence, “Hermes picks on the kid a bit, and Nic might get a kick out of Hermes eating crow.”

“Indeed.” Hades’ eyes smoldered. “And Nicholas gave you this idea?” The fire in Hades’ eyes burned brighter. “My misanthropic son, he of the bad hair and the never ending box of tissues?”

“Yeah, poor kid, said Morpheus. “Anyway, maybe if Hermes gets taken down a notch, he might be nicer to him.”

“Yes, the kid, I imagine, would quite like the plan you’ve so conveniently devised.”

There was more than a little pride in Morpheus’ grin.

“Indeed,” said the Hades, stroking his chin like a cartoon villain. “Tell me. Would this ‘upgrade’ apply to gods as well?”

“Of course! Gotta keep with the times. Right, Chief?”

“They do seem to call for some changes,” agreed the dark lord. “I think my son has more coming to him than he realizes.” He glowered at a startled Morpheus, who beat a hasty retreat.

In the now empty room, Hades spoke to the darkness. “I think Nicholas needs some Father-Son time.”

*

I hope you enjoyed my Friday Flash. This is part 5 of my ‘Cloud 9′ series. My intent is for each installment to stand on its own, yet fit into the larger whole. To this end, I added a short introduction (that appears before each installment). Does the story stand on its own? Do the characters, setting, and plot work? Feedback is both welcomed and appreciated.

**image courtesy of UW Digital Collections via The Commons at Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.

3 Comments

Filed under Cloud 9 (series), fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor, mythology, Serials/Series, Writing Corner

Friday Flash: Cloud Nine- Musings

The muses run Cloud 9, the divine repository of inspirations, under the benevolent dictatorship of Hermes – messenger of the gods. The Olympians, devoted nepotists, almost exclusively hire their many and varied family members. The divine and semi-divine collaborate, stock, check-out, and deliver the inspirations of Cloud 9 to the world.

Nicholas rounded a corner, propping the freshly-minted inspirations against a shelf to draw, deep ragged breaths. If Hermes only knew what he had done… but no, that wasn’t possible. The god was just being his usual, jocular self at the expense of his employee. What need he care for the misfortune of a subordinate?

He wanted to bean the bastard in the head with one of those damned Jordan almonds he loved so much.

Nicholas allowed himself one of his more infrequent occurrences – a smile. It spread across his face like a crimson snake slithering across marble. The sight was less than pleasant, which made it all the better that there were no observers nearby. It might have tipped them off to his plan.

Misfilings were quickly caught and refiled by the pernicious Helena. The pale youth blew back the stringy raven hair that had fallen over his eyes. What a vision! He pictured her in his mind’s eye: her deep brown eyes, her full rich lips, her shaggy fur. Oh, if only she weren’t so out of reach!

He reached for another hanky, dabbing the ends carefully against the raw flesh beneath his streaming eyes.

Still, Mother should be proud. Poor Morpheus had been duped all too easily into tricking Hades – eager for the opportunity to prank the prankster. Little did Morpheus realize the ultimate price of taking advice from Nicholas. The youth considered.

Perhaps he would write an epic poem about it. That should please Mother.

And why not? His employers and all who had scorned him would pay for their derision. Their self-confidence would be their downfall. Messing with the minds of man? Manipulating the other gods to their own tragic ends… Why wouldn’t the muse of tragedy love that?

And Helena… he sighed. Helena would be gone – along with all the others. She had never intentionally caused him pain, but her sheer beauty – coupled with her unavailability – made her mere existence a torment to him. Alas… If only his allergies weren’t so severe! But the merest hint of hair made his body betray him in the most excruciating way. If Helena returned his love, it would probably kill him.

He pulled a crumpled notebook from his pocket and scribbled a few lines: Tormented both in body and soul, the lover’s allergies took their toll… It never hurt to be prepared. The next great poem might only be a few lines away.

*

I hope you enjoyed my Friday Flash. This is part 4 of my ‘Cloud 9′ series. My intent is for each installment to stand on its own, yet fit into the larger whole. To this end, I added a short introduction (that will appear before each installment). Does the story stand on its own? Do the characters, setting, and plot work? Feedback is both welcomed and appreciated.

**image courtesy of UW Digital Collections via The Commons at Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.

6 Comments

Filed under Cloud 9 (series), fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor, mythology, Serials/Series, Writing Corner

My Writing Niche- episode #65: “Inspirations Strike Again″ & upcoming Writing Events

Play or download episode *here*

Hello, and Welcome to My Writing Niche, a podcast for new writers. Today’s podcast, #65, was recorded for Sunday, September 23th, 2012. I’ll be reading my latest #FridayFlash, Inspirations Strike Again, as well as talking about upcoming events such as Banned Book Week, National Novel Writing Month, and The Young Writers Program.

Relevant Links:

Banned Book Week

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

The Young Writers Program

Best of Friday Flash: Volume 2

 

*image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker.

**Slow Burn from the album Blues Sampler courtesy of Kevin MacLeod via Creative Commons Attribution license. More of his music can be found at FreeMusicArchive.org or at http://incompetech.com.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Audio, Cloud 9 (series), Flash Fiction, mythology, nanowrimo, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Writing Corner

My Writing Niche- Episode 25: Wrapping up a serial

My Writing Niche (podcast): episode #25

Play episode *here*

I start off reading my new #Spoken Sunday, Epilogue. This week’s selection continues the Oglingston Spitworthy serial (click here to follow from beginning). Today’s installment is the final episode of the serial.

This week I talk for a few minutes about what I’ve learned from my experimental leap into writing a serial.

If you are interested, my current Friday Flash, The Ties that Bind, is posted at the 52/250 flash site.

Please leave any comments or suggestions on my blog. I beg for welcome all feedback, and I hope you tune in again. Thank you for your time.

*image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker. ***All podcast episodes may be downloaded from this blog (except #1-#6 which are linked from the blog). Thank you for your patience while I learn how to maneuver in these new podcasting waters.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Audio, Flash Fiction, Oglingston Spitworthy, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Serials/Series, Writing Corner

Friday Flash: Epilogue

Epilogue

Jennifer Spitworthy adjusted the bridal veil and bright red suspenders. “I’m glad I saved my wedding outfit for you, hon’. You look lovely.” She patted her daughter on the shoulder. “Fred’s a lucky guy.”

Thanks, Mom,” said Gretchen. She sniffed the wildflowers held in her trembling hands. “I don’t know what I’d do without you. I’m so nervous!”

Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure things will go more smoothly at your wedding than they did at mine. Which reminds me-” Gretchen’s mother winked. “Here’s your birthday present.”

The girl opened the small gold box. “Oh, Mom,” she breathed. “You really shouldn’t have.” She pulled out a small shining card. “Is it…?”

Platinum,” said her mother. “You deserve it, dear. Lord knows we can afford it; this should help you set up your new home.”

Gretchen pocketed the card in the small handbag her mother had knitted for her ‘something blue’. “How’s Dad doing?” she asked.

Oh, you know your father,” said Jenn. “He’s still worried about… well, he’ll come around, dear.”

He’s not still mad?”

Oh, he- he was never angry, Gretchen. Just worried.”

But I’m getting married in a church, not a cave-”

He’s gotten used to the idea.”

By a priest-”

He’s less comfortable with that but adjusting.”

To a full-blooded human-”

Well, your father married me; didn’t he?”

And moving to the city-”

That part, I’m afraid, we’re both uncomfortable with.” Jenn took her daughter’s thin smooth hands in her own gnarled ones – and swallowed as one slow tear trickled down her cheek. “Only because we’ll miss having you close. It’s hard letting go.”

But, Mom, you still have my brothers.” Gretchen pointed through the doorway. Both sides of the church bustled with creatures of different backgrounds – gnomes, humans, goblins, even a few trolls.

Gretchen’s closest kin were hard to miss; the family resemblance – unmistakable. One short gnome – not young but not yet past his prime – stood weeping, surrounded by eleven versions of himself. The younger males stood about five feet tall (over a foot taller than their father) but otherwise bore the same features – the same bulbous red nose, rosy cheeks, and plump silhouette. Tears and snot ran freely down their faces.

I never thought I’d see this day!” sobbed the older gnome. He peered at his boys through swollen eyes; there wasn’t a dry eye among them. Gretchen – with her smooth shining hair, stormy blue eyes, and clear pale skin – was to be his comfort when he grew old. Despite her ugliness, he loved her as only a father could.

Oglingston Spitworthy blew his nose several times into a hanky he’d retrieved from inside his pointy red hat, then placed both back on his head. He continued to wail. The younger gnomes mirrored his actions with seemingly choreographed precision. Gretchen wondered why, during their shared childhood, her brothers had never caught more than a cold.

Grandma Myrtle and Grandpa Bob sat in the front row, chatting up the goblin cameraman. Two decades of close-ties to an entire underground society had done much to ease the tensions between the different species – even if the Gnome King refused to come to the wedding. Gob’s crush on Myrtle had never abated, and the thought of not officiating at Gretchen’s wedding wounded his royal pride. He’d been a royal something else too since he found out about the priest.

Peeking at the guests, she caught sight of Grandma Prudie sitting in the front row. Putrescence Spitworthy clutched the smelling salts her daughter-in-law had suggested. (If only she’d known about them sooner!) It wouldn’t due to faint at her granddaughter’s wedding. She’d barely covered up her ‘weakness’ at her son’s wedding eighteen years earlier. Grandpa Hortensio patted his wife on the shoulder and grinned at the other guests. The last thing they wanted was to be caught on camera with a case of nerves.

‘Auntie’ Orpah wandered among the guests, asking questions, socializing, and basically charming the pants off them – a truly frightening thought considering over half the guests were goblins. After almost two decades of covering stories of human-cross-species relations – well, she’d mellowed. She’d seen it all.

Besides the obvious (and boring) conventional camera-work at the wedding, the electronics the bride carried on her person should provide excellent material for the show. The diamond “button” that Jennifer Spitworthy had sewn onto the hand-knit blue bag, as a wedding present, doubled as a minuscule camera and GPS – though neither the bride nor her mother knew this. Illegality was barely a nuisance when you made Orpah’s kind of money. The talk show host allowed herself a thin smile.

Gretchen had already warned Fred what her family was like. Though gnomes and goblins freely mingled with humans since her parents wedding, there was still a big difference between chatting with the gnome that served your cappuccino and actually living among them. She loved her family dearly, their odd gruesome habits, their resilience, their style. And Fred loved her. He would grow to love them too. However she thought she should ease everyone’s culture shock as much as possible.

For one thing, he was vegetarian.

Thank goodness she’d thought of the honeymoon cruise. Her earth-dwelling kin would never set foot on a boat. There would be time enough for family gatherings when the honeymoon was over.

In the meantime, she plucked the diamond “button” from her handbag and placed it in a pocket of her overalls. She’d “lose” it before they boarded the ship. Orpah might be a generous, but Gretchen knew her ‘Auntie’s’ weaknesses.

The Wedding March played. She walked out to meet her husband. Fred stood at the alter, handsome and tall, his teeth so blindingly bright she almost needed sunglasses.

No wonder her family was nervous.

THE END.

I hope you enjoyed this final installment of the Oglingston Spitworthy serial. On Sunday, I will read this as part of my #SpokenSunday during the My Writing Niche podcast.

If you are interested, my story, ‘The Ties that Bind‘, is up at the 52/250 site for the theme ‘Under Wraps.’

As always, I beg for welcome polite comments and feedback. Thank you for your time.

*image courtesy of the U.S. National Archives via The Commons at Flicker.

13 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, Oglingston Spitworthy, Serials/Series, Writing Corner

My Writing Niche- Episode 24: Random Ramblings

My Writing Niche (podcast): episode #24

Play episode *here*

I start off reading my new #Spoken Sunday, The Birth. This week’s selection continues the Oglingston Spitworthy serial (click here to follow from beginning). Next Friday I will post my final installment (an epilogue) of the serial.

This week I talk for a few minutes about deadlines, submissions, and ending one thing to start another. Also my current Friday Flash poem, “Dice”, is posted at the 52/250 flash site.

Please leave any comments or suggestions on my blog. I welcome all feedback, and I hope you will tune in again. Thank you for your time.

*image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker. ***All podcast episodes may be downloaded from this blog (except #1-#6 which are linked from the blog). Thank you for your patience while I learn how to maneuver in these new podcasting waters.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Audio, Current events, Oglingston Spitworthy, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Serials/Series, Writing Corner

The Birth

The Birth

Putrescence and her husband watched Orpah and her camera crew beat a hasty exit before turning back to the Wedding ceremony. Their new daughter-in-law threw a bouquet of wildflowers over her shoulder – causing violence to erupt as the minor horde of gnome, goblin, and mixed-heritage guests fought for the unoffending flowers. Oglingston’s gnome parents enjoyed the spectacle from a safe distance near the cave’s main exit.

Are you alright, dearest?” Hortensio asked his wife. After three hundred years of marriage, he knew well enough to ask even though he didn’t need to.

Putrescence put down the paper bag she’d used to catch her fast, quick breaths. “Yes, husband, thank you. I think we managed to stay out of ‘the public eye’ as King Gob would say; don’t you think? Hiding in the back at our own son’s wedding! Though I wouldn’t want our human guests – I mean, our new family – to see how… I mean, that we…”

There, there,” said Hortensio. The plump little man patted the loose skin of his wife’s arm and gave her a sympathetic grin. He opened his mouth to add some additional encouragement, when he noticed Putrescence staring wide-eyed over his shoulder. “What the-?”

Orpah! Orpah!” called out the Gnome King, running past the couple at the mouth of the cave. “Wait! There’s more to film… Think of the ratings!”

Hortensio turned to see his new daughter-in-law sitting on the cave floor, breathing heavily. Her protruding round belly rose and fell, and her new husband knelt by her side. The woman’s human parents hurried to the front of the cave, bending over their daughter and completely obstructing Hortensio’s view.

Do you think-?” asked Putrescence.

Let’s go check it out.” Hortensio took his wife’s arm and led her to where the bride squatted. This was more difficult than it would seem since the bouquet riot had not yet dissipated. After navigating the writhing mass in front of the alter, they stood next to Jenny and Oglingston.

Son?” asked Hortensio. The resemblance between father and son was unmistakable – both gnomes possessed the same large, bulbous nose, shaggy grey beard, and blotchy pink skin. Father and son regarded each other warily before both broke into sharp-toothed grins.

It’s time!” cried Oglingston. Then, after a quick look around, “Where’d the King go?”

As if summoned by his subject, the old King returned to the fray, accompanied by a reluctant-looking camera crew. Orpah followed close behind, powdering her nose with a small compact. No other makeup was necessary, since anticipation of record-breaking ratings lent her cheeks their own dazzling glow.

Meanwhile, poor Jenny lay panting on the cave floor. Some of the bouquet-wrestlers had given up by this time. The lighting of the camera crew promised something more exciting in the works than wildflowers.

Oglingston, in an effort to preserve some order, pointed out the way to the buffet; Though the reception was obviously canceled the buffet had already been set. The guests were more than welcome to help themselves there – where they would be out of the way. Several guests took the groom up on his suggestion and headed for the feast.

Shouldn’t we get the poor girl into a bed?” asked Putrescence. Several dozen gnome babies of her own had more than acquainted her with the ‘joys’ of childbirth, and she sympathized with the poor girl. After all, the woman was barely forty – just a baby herself. Within moments, she’d arranged several of the camera crew to carry a panting, wheezing Jenny through the winding tunnels of the cave and deposit her on the large oaken bed of the Bridal Chamber.

Putrescence pulled at the sheets around Jenny and helped remove her velvet overalls (during labor, all thoughts of modesty were forgotten). Jenny’s cheeks flushed, her lips and face had swollen. Water retention blessed the girl with several new chins. Oglingston’s mother was forced to admit that childbirth suited her new human daughter; she was even lovelier than before.

Oglingston held his wife’s hand as he looked around the bedchamber. Jenny’s parents hovered in a nearby doorway – practically tossed from the room by the camera crew, an enthusiastic Orpah, and throngs of milling guests. The latter snacked on bits of reception buffet that they’d brought along; tonight they’d get dinner and a show. “Where’s the mid-wife?” asked Oglingston.

A battered but (not quite) beaten gnomic matron entered the room seconds later. Petals stuck from her thickly matted silver hair, her face was scratched, her eyes bulged like those of a mad woman. “Sorry, I’m late,” she cried. She stood for a moment, gripping the wall, to catch her breath. “I caught the bouquet!”

Where’s the-?” Hortensio began to ask, but then thought better of it.

The mid-wife hurried to Jenny’s side, pushing away non-essential ‘men-folk’ – she couldn’t abide interference while she worked. The camera crew stayed, though at the far end of the bedchamber, because their flood lights made her job easier. King Gob and Orpah stayed because the king wished it, so it was out of the matron’s plump-but-capable hands. The mid-wife told Oglingston to go fetch a pail of water and some towels.

I have a bucket, but no towels-” began the gnome.

Then go shopping!” she snapped. King Gob patted Oglingston on the back; with a worried look, the younger gnome hurried from the chamber.

Are the towels really that important?” crooned Orpah, leaning in despite the matron’s protests.

They are if they keep him out of my way!” The mid-wife glared at the talk-show host with red eyes that would have made a dung beetle head for the hills. Orpah remained unphased. She knew how to handle peril. After all, she’d survived Sweeps Week, and this film footage promised to get her through another one.

Soon, time in the enclosed room beat to the rhythm of Jenny’s ragged breath. She bit down on rags, sweated, grunted; her skin took on the blotched sheen of a woman in the throes of labor.

With the room cleared, the matron donned the catcher’s mitts that Jenny had kept in the room for the occasion – just in case. Given the bride’s compulsive knitting, each glove was covered by a soft cotton cover – catcher’s mitt cozies. The matron positioned herself about six feet in front of Jenny, catching each baby as it shot across the room, and dropping him (or her) into a blanket-lined basket.

Orpah’s camera crew continued filming the spectacle. Their illustrious employer, the king, and both sets of (soon to be) grandparents kept quiet during ‘the miracle of birth.’ Soon the squall of gnome-human babies filled the small chamber.

The guests that found their way back began arguing over the placentas. They held up empty plates for a gruesome handout. Putrescence shooed them away. “But you’ve got twelve!” responded the goblin guests. She grabbed a nearby candle-holder, and they scattered.

Oglingston ran into the room, his arms filled with towels. A large bucket hung from one shoulder, sloshing water onto the cave floor. “Did I miss it?”

Jenny smiled at him, her own arms filled with their twelve new children. “Yes, Oggy, you did.”

Oh, thank Odin!” muttered the little man. “I don’t think I could have taken the matron’s sharp tongue, and-” He stopped, noticing the glowing red eyes of the mid-wife. “Oops.”

Oh, Oggy,” said Jenny,“she’s the least of your worries.” She beamed. “You’re a father now!” Oglingston ran over and embraced his new bride and children.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our coverage of this historic birth,” sang out Orpah, jumping in front of the camera once again and (to her camera crew’s utmost annoyance) blocking their shot of the family scene. “But be sure to keep watching our show, folks! We’ll follow up from time to time, and keep our viewers informed on the growth of these dozen little guys – the first gnome-human babies ever born!”

Her plastic smile remained until someone yelled, “Cut!” Then the mask fell, and she took a deep breath. “Thank goodness that’s over. King,” she addressed Gob, “thanks for the coverage.” And like a whirlwind, they were gone.

Without the cameras and promise of entertainment, the guests trickled away. The parents of the bride and groom – after a few brief exchanges – also departed, and Jenny and Oglingston were left to bask in the glow of their new family.

They had no idea what they were in for – but couldn’t wait to find out. They were the Spitworthys, and their new life finally began.

I hope you enjoyed this installment in the Oglingston Spitworthy serial (click here to read from the beginning). In December, I began posting installments every Friday as an experiment in writing a series. When I finish, I plan to podcast the entire thing as one complete reading.

My aim with Oglingston is to write something funny that’s both kid and adult friendly. The jokes are meant to be cute in a gross way (or gross in a cute way) but entertaining. Did I succeed? Did you get enough information about the story to understand what was happening overall?

Also, if you are interested, my flash poem, “Dice”, is up at the 52/250 flash site. The theme was ‘Coincidence’.

As always, I beg for welcome polite feedback!

*UPDATED 02-27-2011 I revised this to expand on my description of the birth. My intention was to be completely finished (except for an epilogue next week), but I couldn’t resist the idea that came to me (unfortunately) the day after I posted this. My Sunday audio reading will be of the newly revised text. Thank you.

**image courtesy of State Library and Archives of Florida via Flicker. No known copyright restrictions.

5 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, Oglingston Spitworthy, Serials/Series, Writing Corner

My Writing Niche- Episode 23: Community

My Writing Niche (podcast): episode #23

Download or Play episode *here*

I start off reading my new #Spoken Sunday, The Wedding. This week’s selection continues the Oglingston Spitworthy serial (click here to follow from beginning). I post new installments on Fridays.

This week I talk briefly about belonging to a writing community. Also this week’s Friday Flash, Crash, is posted at the 52/250 flash site. Please check out the book review I’ve written for The Human Blend at the Functional Nerds website.

Please leave any comments or suggestions on my blog. I welcome all feedback, and I hope you will tune in again. Thank you for your time.

*image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker. ***All podcast episodes may be downloaded from this blog (except #1-#6 which are linked from the blog). Thank you for your patience while I learn how to maneuvre in these new podcasting waters.

**I am also learning how to edit the podcast using Audacity and my new microphone. Any feedback on sound quality or editing suggestions are also appreciated. Thank you.

1 Comment

Filed under Audio, Oglingston Spitworthy, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Serials/Series, Writing Corner

The Wedding

The Wedding

The bride emerged from the tunnel into the brilliantly lit chamber while the Gnomic Wedding March screeched throughout the cavern. Jenny clutched her wildflower-bouquet and stomped to the beat of the discordant clamoring that passed for gnomic music. Everyone was impressed (with the exception of her father) by the green velvet overalls she wore stretched over her bulging belly; the diamond-studded buckles on the bright red straps flashed in the candlelight. Oglingston gazed adoringly at his beautiful human bride.

Even the film crew gasped as their cameras rolled – capturing this historic wedding for Orpah’s viewers around the world. The Gnome King had given the talk show full permission to cover the wedding – not only for political reasons but because a little gold never hurt any gnome. Orpah’s coffers were legendary.

Jenny walked to her fiancé’s side, black boots thumping against the stone floor. When she bent down, the little gnome pulled back the white veil that covered her face. She smiled broadly and he grinned back, his sharp teeth catching the light. They turned toward the Gnome King.

King Gob cleared his throat. “We are gathered here together to join Oglingston Spitworthy to Jenny Plumbottom. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, not something to be entered into lightly, and as such-” the rest of his speech continued in High Gnomish. Though it was unusual to conduct a bilingual wedding, the king chose to honor the bride’s wishes in this respect.

Myrtle appeared at mouth of the tunnel from which her daughter had just emerged. Her eyes took a moment to adjust to the brightness, and while she stood, blinking, Gob caught her eye. The King winked at the elderly woman. She whitened and hurried to sit next to her husband.

Bob put his arm around his wife and glared at the King. The ceremony had lapsed into incomprehensible gibberish, but what he understood didn’t sound too bad. So what if the gnomes had picked up goblin habits? He should read Jenny’s book to learn more about them. Maybe the whole flesh-eating gnome business wasn’t as bad as it seemed. After all, everyone had to eat, and Bob and Myrtle ate meat every day.

Jenny was thankful to Gob for using High Gnomish in the wedding. Her parents might be pleased to know that gnomes, goblins, and their crossbred-offspring believed divorce was not an option. However if the King mentioned that eating disagreeable spouses WAS, they’d freak.

For her own part, she wasn’t worried. Oggy would never eat her or their children; if his parents or friends had other opinions, well – she had safeguards in place. There wasn’t much she could do to protect her parents fragile hearts though – except minimize their stress over the situation. Once Oglingston began navigating the sketchy waters of gnome-goblin politics, then she’d worry about her own household.

Their future was bright – sparkling, in fact. Children on the way, a book deal in the works, and a talk show tour that was sure to pump up her sales as well as Oglingston’s political campaign. Jenny flashed a quick grin at Orpah and her camera crew in the rear of the cave. She would soon be a politician’s wife, after all.

Breathing deep, she rubbed her belly as the king continued his recitation of the ancient ceremony. Occasionally, he’d wink at Myrtle. Jenny wanted to smack him. Her hormones were already out of whack from the pregnancy, but the old King’s advances towards her mother made her blood boil. She took another deep breath and smiled even wider.

Myrtle and Bob held hands and watched the two lovers. Jenny’s belly strained against the forest green overalls, and the red straps accented Oglingston’s pointy red hat. Jenny’s broad smile plainly told her parents that – for however long – she was happy.

The King muttered some more gibberish before finally reading the vows. “Do you Oglingston Gnarlstat Spitworthy take this human Jenny Plumbottom to be your lawfully wedded wife-”

I do,” said the little gnome.

-to have and hold, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others -” Here the old king broke off into High Gnomish again before continuing, “As long as you both shall live?”

Oglingston took in his bride’s round belly, bushy eyebrow, and attractively mottled skin. “I do.”

King Gob turned to Jenny. Noticing he now had her parents’ full attention, he winked at Myrtle again.

Jenny, though she felt her face might split, smiled through grinding teeth.

And do you, Jenny Myrtle Plumbottom, take this gnome, Oglingston Gnarlstat Spitworthy, to be your lawfully wedded husband-”

I do.” Her expression softened.

-to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, til death do you part?”

She looked adoringly at the plump little man, beamed, and sighed. “I do!”

King Gob closed the heavy leather volume with a resounding bang. “Then by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you Gnome and Wife.” He leered. “You may kiss the bride.”

Jenny bent down, picked Oglingston up like a rag doll, and kissed him passionately. The little man leaned upon the bump of her belly and kissed back. His pointy red hat fell off his head, and Jenny ran her fingers through his shaggy grey mane.

Bob and Myrtle looked uncomfortable, but the rest of the wedding guests cheered and hooted in happy abandon. The cameras captured it all; lightning flashes went off as individual guests snapped shots of the kiss. Despite their differences, it was plain that Jenny and her husband suited each other perfectly.

Oglingston fell back suddenly and looked at Jenny in alarm. His bride bent over and grimaced. “What is it, my love?” asked the gnome.

She straightened, adjusted her veil, and sighed. “Nothing, dear,” said Jenny. “Just time to throw the bouquet.”

The main part of the ceremony concluded, the film crew and their illustrious employer couldn’t leave the cavern quickly enough. Within two minutes, they’d packed all their equipment, casting nervous backward glances at the goblin and gnomic guests. Soon, the only thing to mark their presence were the hungry looks of the goblin guests they’d left behind.

Gob quieted the crowd and ordered that all single females congregate behind the bride to try to catch her bouquet. Soon, a minor riot formed behind Jenny as goblins, gnomes, and creatures of mixed genealogy vied for the best spot; the goblins had the advantage, since they were taller than their gnome cousins.

One, two,… three!” called Jenny. With a mighty heave, she threw the flowers over her shoulder. As the crowd scrambled for the bouquet, she bent double once more, clutched her belly and grimaced.

What is it, my love?” cried Oglingston. Jenny’s parents started towards her and even King Gob looked concerned.

Sorry to ruin the reception, everyone,” said Jenny with a weak smile. “But I don’t think the babies will wait til after the party!”

Oh no!” cried Oglingston. “Where’s the mid-wife?”

Never-mind that!” shouted Gob. “Quick! Someone go get Orpah!”

To Be Continued…

*I hope you enjoyed this installment in the Oglingston Spitworthy serial (click here to read from the beginning). In December, I began posting installments every Friday as an experiment in writing a series. When I finish, I plan to podcast the entire thing as one complete reading.

My aim with Oglingston is to write something funny that’s both kid and adult friendly. The jokes are meant to be cute in a gross way (or gross in a cute way) but entertaining. Did I succeed? Did you get enough information about the story to understand what was happening overall?

Also, if you are interested, my story, Crash , is up at the 52/250 flash site. The theme was ‘The Money’s Gone’. I used ‘Crash’ as my #Friday Flash this week, since this story ran slightly over 1,000 words. I could have cut it into smaller installments to meet the word goal, but I didn’t want the story to suffer. I know you are supposed to kill your darlings, but in this case I think it NEEDED my darlings.

As always, I beg for welcome polite feedback!

*image courtesy of State Library and Archives of Florida via Flicker. No known copyright restrictions.

7 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, Oglingston Spitworthy, Serials/Series