Category Archives: Oglingston Spitworthy

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.


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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Oglingston Spitworthy, Serials/Series

My Writing Niche- Episode 22: The Ups & Downs of Series

My Writing Niche (podcast): episode #22

Download or Play episode *here*

I start off reading my new #Spoken Sunday, Something Old, Something New. This week’s selection continues the Oglingston Spitworthy serial (click here to follow from beginning). I post new installments on Fridays, usually as my Friday Flash.

This week I talk briefly about the ups and downs of writing a serial. Also, my flash story, Safe Room is posted at the 52/250 flash site. On Monday, 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.

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

Friday Flash: Something Old, Something New

Something Old, Something New

Dark clouds loomed, thunder bellowed- perfect weather for a gnome wedding. Jenny awoke in the arms of her beloved Oglingston, secure in the knowledge that today they would be bound for life. She looked at the little man, reached out and brushed a few strands of shaggy beard from his cheek, kissed his bright red nose, and rolled over.

Hoisting herself from the mattress proved more difficult each morning. Her belly threw off her center of gravity, and after three attempts she successfully stood beside the huge oaken bed.

Her stomach strained against her nightdress, and she looked at her wedding clothes doubtfully. Her white lace dress partially covered the green velvet overalls that hung on the mirror. Setting the dress aside, she lowered her bulk into the overalls, making sure to snap the diamond-studded buckles. It still fit. Barely.

You look lovely, my dear,” called Oglingston. “A perfect gnomic bride.”

But I’m not,” Jenny said. “My parents are going to have a fit when they see my wedding outfit.”

Oh, humans are very adaptable,” said the little gnome, stretching and hopping from the bed. “Besides, last night you wore the dress.”

Yes, but mother still would like me to get married in white.”

Would it help if your boots were white?”

Jenny shrugged.

Well, this whole thing’s about compromise, dearest,” continued the gnome. “Besides, what matters is what YOU want. Do you like what you’re wearing?”

Jenny appraised her reflection in the grimy mirror. The suspender buckles glittered; the overall’s bright red straps matched Oglingston’s hat exactly. “Of course,” said Jenny. “I picked it out; didn’t I?”

The little gnome waddled over to his fiancé and rested his head on her round abdomen. She smiled down at him, and he teared up. She was so damn beautiful. Those deep brown eyes! That bushy brow! Those frizzy chestnut curls! Was any gnome ever as lucky as he was at that moment? He felt a kick against his cheek and jumped back.

I hope the babies wait until after the wedding, Oggy. They’ve been kicking all night.” She grimaced. “This seems tighter. I couldn’t have grown bigger overnight; could I?” She wiped her nose with the long sleeve of her white undershirt.

Not to worry, dearest,” said the gnome, patting her on the behind. “I’m sure they’ll be polite little hybrids.”

She looked at him in surprise; then they both burst out laughing. Their loud guffaws carried throughout the tunnels.

*

Despite a sleepless night, Myrtle and Bob Plumbottom returned, via taxi, to the cave where their daughter was getting married. The wedding ceremony would be performed in the cavern’s largest chamber. Jenny’s mother clutched her beaded purse and shivered. Her husband put his arm around her.

Bob was worried. He supposed – despite the gnome’s queer ways – that Oglingston made his daughter happy. No, his more immediate concern lay with the Gnome King, whose attentions to Myrtle the previous evening had not gone unnoticed. Only love for his daughter kept him from belting the little pervert.

The groom’s family and friends were already milling about when the Plumbottoms arrived. While the bride’s side of the cave remained nearly empty, the groom’s side overflowed with goblins, gnomes, and creatures of mixed heritage. The Gnome King, either from self-importance or (more likely) too much goblin wine, arrived fashionably late. After all, the ceremony could not start without him. He was performing it.

*

Jenny’s mother appeared at the entrance to the bedroom cavern. Her mouth formed a perfect ‘O’ of shock. “You aren’t going to wear THAT; are you?” she asked.

Mother, I’ve already told you. Last night I dressed according to human traditions. Today I’m observing gnomic ones.”

I know, dear. It’s just… the groom is here! He’s can’t see you before the wedding!”

Jenny shot Oglingston a look. He stopped picking his nose, wiped his finger on his pants, grabbed his hat, and hurried out the door. “Better?” asked Jenny.

Well, as good as it’s going to get, I’m afraid,” Myrtle said. “He’s already seen you.”

Jenny frowned. “Is that why you’re here? To critique the wedding?”

Myrtle rushed over and hugged her daughter. She had to bend over to accommodate Jenny’s girth. “No, of course not. I’m sorry. I just came for this.” She handed the girl a lily pin composed of bright blue stones. “It was your grandmother’s,” she said. “It’s your ‘something old, borrowed, and blue.’”

Jenny held the pin up, watching the candlelight play off the gems. “How can I thank you?”

By wearing it at the wedding, dear. This won’t offend any gnome sensibilities; right?” asked the old woman.

They love gardens and jewels,” Jenny answered. “It’s perfect.”

Myrtle smiled. “And for ‘something new,’ I thought you could use this.” She handed her daughter a small box.

Jenny opened the gift. Inside was a cell phone. Her brow furrowed.

We thought you might use it if you ever needed anything. Just to let you know we’re there for you.” Myrtle did her best not to look worried.

Mom, cell phones won’t work here. No reception.”

Myrtle’s face crumpled. “Oh, well it’s still ‘something new.’ Maybe you could exchange it for a phone card?”

Thanks, Mom.” Jenny smiled. A close approximation to a cat’s dying screech carried into the bedchamber. “In fact, I think I hear the wedding march.” Jenny squeezed her swollen feet into large black boots, adjusted her veil and suspenders, and walked through the tunnels to begin her brand new life.

To Be Continued…

*I hope you enjoyed this installment in the Oglingston Spitworthy serial. 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, Safe Room , is up at the 52/250 flash site. The theme was ‘Password’.

As always, I beg for welcome polite feedback!

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

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

My Writing Niche- Episode 21: Collaboration

My Writing Niche (podcast): episode #21

Download or Play episode *here*

I start off reading my new #Spoken Sunday, Pre-wedding Jitters. This week’s selection continues the Oglingston Spitworthy serial (begun here). I post new installments on Fridays, usually as my Friday Flash.

This week’s topic is collaboration via technology – namely emails, Twitter, Facebook, Google Docs, and Skype. I briefly talk about current events and writing demands (such as 52/250 themes and schedule).

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.

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

(Not on Friday) Flash: Pre-wedding Jitters

For the first time in- well, a long time, I missed Friday Flash. My computer unexpectedly needed a complete overhaul, so it wasn’t available on Friday. My sincere apologies to anyone following the series.

Pre-wedding Jitters

The night before a wedding is always plagued by nerves and queasy stomachs, so the night before a cross-species wedding is even more so. Jenny and Oglingston eagerly anticipated their new life together, though they remained squeamish about their cultural differences. Their parents also awaited the coming morning with trepidation.

*

Bob and Myrtle Plumbottom trudged their slow laborious way home after the Rehearsal dinner. Goblin wine mixed with Gnomish brandy did not agree with human digestive systems. Despite their polite refusals, their gnomish hosts insisted. So the elderly couple had swallowed large droughts of wine in honor of ‘the happy couple’ along with their pride and some roast fairy (a traditional pre-wedding dinner).

The Plumbottom’s car remained outside the woods that led to the cave. They’d sacrificed their dignity – along with their car keys – to their daughter’s future in-laws. The gnomes wanted to accompany them home, but they had declined to use the claustrophobic tunnels. Bob and Myrtle assured their hosts they would find a ride once they reached the highway.

It was a lie, of course.

By the time they stumbled home, Myrtle had lost one of her heels along with her dignity. Bob held his keys in shaking fingers and, after three attempts, opened the door. The pair collapsed on the living room sofa and stared at the walls until morning.

*

Putrescence was a model mother of the noble Spitworthy clan. Not only had she organized the Rehearsal dinner, but she’d prepared the dishes herself to honor their human guests. Roast fairy, as well as being a delicacy, seemed similar (in her mind) to roast chicken – something Oglingston’s mother understood most humans enjoyed. Chickens were scarce where gnomes lived and worked, but wild fairies were abundant.

The donated wine had been discovered by her Uncle Horace months ago in a long forgotten tunnel of his ancestral home. Her son Oglingston’s home-stilled brandy (really, closer to moonshine) enhanced the rare vintage even more. She observed the older humans refusing the beverages several times before enjoying them. They obviously realized the treasures being offered and wished to save their host extravagant expense. She approved of their manners, and the bride-to-be was indeed lovely – for a human.

The first gnome-human marriage was even more historic than the first gnome-goblin one, and she prided herself on hosting a feast worthy of the occasion. Hopefully their marriage would go as smoothly.

*

King Gob weaved back and forth through his private tunnels, occasionally stumbling into walls. His own palace lay less than a mile away. Soon he collapsed in his own bedroom upon a large moss-filled mattress.

Myrtle must want him; that was plain. He was a king, lived in a palace – albeit several hundred feet below ground, and attracted females with his own unique style. He scratched his hairy belly with one plump hand, then affectionately reached out to touch the pointy red hat nearby. He wished Myrtle could see him now. Then she’d know the kind of monarch he really was.

The husband was a minor problem, but what human could compete with a gnome? Myrtle was obviously handsome – for a human. Not as plump as he liked, but she could fatten up. If only she’d rid herself of that awful human coloring on her face! Gob appreciated females au naturel – except for some strategically placed earth, of course, to bring out the natural bump in her nose and brown in her gums.

Her daughter’s marriage to a flesh-eating gnome also indicated a certain liberalness Gob found appealing. Myrtle would adapt more easily than other humans to gnome-goblin culture, which would aid him in his next election bid. He couldn’t be called ‘overly traditional’ with a human wife.

*

After the drunken guests left, Jenny navigated the cave’s winding tunnels to find her new bedroom. One of the back sections had been cleaned and furnished for the honeymoon. Traditionally the bride slept there alone the night before the wedding.

She reached back to unfasten the clasp on her dress and longed for her fiancé. His kinsmen had whisked him away after dinner to celebrate – a bachelor party, she supposed. Despite her research into their society, the males simply wouldn’t discuss certain things with females – no matter what species.

The mirror reflected her image as she dropped her dress, resting both hands on the round bump of her belly. It rose and fell with the kicks of several dozen tiny feet which, surprisingly, didn’t hurt. Worry clouded her thoughts. When she reached for her knitting needles, she felt Oglingston’s hand on hers.

No need for that, my love,” he said.

Oggy!” cried Jenny, reaching down to kiss his bulbous nose. “I thought you’d be gone all night…”

Huh?” He rested his head on her belly.

You know, for your bachelor… stuff?” She had no idea. Did gnomes have strip clubs?

Nah, I cut out early,” said the gnome, setting his conical hat next to her knitting needles. “I wanted to come here.”

Oh, Oggy,” said Jenny. “I love you.”

I love you too.”

Do you have any reservations? I mean, about marrying me?”

Oglingston looked up at his human bride. In the dimly lit bedroom cavern, the brown of the earth brought out the brown in her eyebrow, the red flicker of the candle complimented her spotty complexion, and the pale glow from the stalactites glinted on her snaggletooth. Her belly protruded more than he’d ever noticed before.

No, my dear,” he said. “Not a single one.”

She smiled.

Now, let’s go to bed. We have a big day tomorrow, so we should probably get some sleep,” said Oglingston. “But… not too much sleep!” He winked.

No, dear. I doubt that. The babies are kicking too much. They’ll keep us up all night!”

To Be Continued…

*I hope you enjoyed this installment in the Oglingston Spitworthy serial. 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, Olympus to Earth, is up at the 52/250 flash site. The theme was ‘long distance’.  It’s short humorous read that mocks Greek mythology. The backstory lies in my perilous Middle School experience. My fourth grade teacher had a Greek Banquet where all the kids dressed as Greek gods or goddesses (names were drawn from a hat). You can guess from my story which name I picked. Suffice to say, it was hard to live down…

As always, I beg for welcome polite feedback!

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

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