Mickey’s Halloween costume

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

This year’s Halloween-themed excerpts come from the eighth book in my Saga of the Sewards series (formerly known as Max’s House). It needs a great deal of editing, rewriting, and revision, along with a new title, so I’m doing preliminary edits and fleshing it out as I go this month.

We’re now at the school’s Halloween dance and party, which Elaine and her friend Quintina were in charge of putting together. Elaine’s cousin Max carved all the jack-o-lanterns, and finished shortly before the first attendees arrived.

Elaine stared at Mickey as she entered the gym. It seemed a foregone conclusion she’d win most original costume, with a leotard splattered with twenty different colors, hands encased in rubber snake heads, alligator feet, yellowed teeth, a sash of cellophane flowers, hair dyed ten different colors, skin dyed more different colors than Elaine could keep track of, and kaleidoscope glitter glued around her eyes.

Mickey waved as she approached. “I’m a peyote hallucination. Don’t ask how many hours it took to make this.”

“What’s peyote?” Elaine asked.

“It’s a type of mescaline, a natural drug the Indians use for spiritual experiences. Peyote produces visions that look like me.”

“Where’d you get the purple lipstick from?” Kit asked. “I’d love to wear something besides red and pink for a change.”

The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.

“This is dye, not lipstick.” Mickey lit a Lucky Strike. “Though I have seen a few lipsticks that are so dark they look almost purple. I wish makeup producers would be more creative with colors. Sometimes you just want to have fun.”

“You and me both. If I ever found lipstick in purple, green, and blue, I’d want to wear it every day, not just for Halloween and costume parties. Makeup is supposed to reflect our personalities and interests instead of being a boring one size fits all uniform.”

WeWriWa—An unpopular costume choice

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

This year’s Halloween-themed excerpts come from the eighth book in my Saga of the Sewards series (formerly known as Max’s House). It needs a great deal of editing, rewriting, and revision, along with a new title, so I’m doing preliminary edits and fleshing it out as I go this month.

The Sewards are now at a costume store, and Mr. Seward, who has very rigid ideas about almost everything, decides for his youngest children, 20-month-old quints, what they’re going to dress as.

“Clown,” Susie said.

“Ghost,” Andrew said.

“Peanut,” Paula said.

“Marshmallow,” Amy said.

“Seal,” Peggy said.

“Oh, no, you five will all be clowns,” Mr. Seward said.

“Clowns scare me, Daddy!” Amy bawled.

“No want face paint!” Peggy wept.

“Itchy pants!” Andrew said.

“Itchy wig!” Paula sobbed.

The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.

Mr. Seward found five matching clown outfits in the quints’ size.

“Peanut, peanut!” Paula wept.

Tiffany glared at their father. “Why do you treat them like one person with five bodies? At least your attempt to make them as famous and exploited as the Dionnes didn’t last long.”

Mr. Seward glared right back. “Multiples are supposed to always do everything exactly alike. If quints weren’t so rare, I’d demand they marry another set of quints too. Elaine, would you check the costumes out while I take the younger children to the limo? The other patrons don’t deserve to be subjected to this tantrum.” 

The moment her uncle left the store, Elaine put four of the clown outfits back on the rack. She then got the other four desired costumes.

WeWriWa—Pumpkin antics with the Sewards

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weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge_4

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

This year’s Halloween-themed excerpts come from the eighth book in my Saga of the Sewards series (formerly known as Max’s House). It needs a great deal of editing, rewriting, and revision, along with a new title, so I’m doing preliminary edits and fleshing it out as I go this month.

The year is 1943, and as always, chaos and comedic mayhem reign supreme in the Sewards’ large blended family. Max just went upstairs to help his older sister Tiffany with carving the jack-o-lantern and found her instead making out with her secret fiancé Marc. Mr. Seward forbade Tiffany to see Marc again after discovering they began sleeping together two years ago, and now they’re constantly meeting in secret.

“The pumpkin guts are over there.” Tiffany pointed without looking away from Marc. “You can stall Dad for time by baking pumpkin seeds.” She began tousling Marc’s hair.

Max picked up the bowl of pumpkin guts and went back downstairs.

“Why don’t we cook the seeds?” he asked when he returned to the parlor. “Tiff’s doing a really intricate design, and won’t be done for awhile. It’s great to have a cook, but sometimes it’s fun to do your own cooking.”

“Since when do you like doing anything that’s not fun and doesn’t provide instant gratification?” Mr. Seward asked. “This is a Halloween miracle.”

The ten lines end here. A few more follow to complete the scene.

“Maybe we can bake Halloween cookies, cakes, and pies too,” Elaine suggested, guessing the real reason Max had made such an unusual request. “By the time the last one comes out of the oven, it’ll be just about time to leave for the costume store.”

“That’s a good idea,” Adeladie said. “I’ve collected a bunch of Halloween dessert recipes torn out from magazines, and each one looks more delicious than the last.”

“I want to decorate my cookies with jack-o-lanterns, witches, black cats, and bats,” Cora Ann said.

Mr. Seward tightly pursed his lips as he led his large brood towards the larger kitchen.

IWSG—October odds and sods

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It’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears.

This month’s question is:

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

I absolutely cannot see myself ever actively depicting incest, and on the RARE occasion a rape scene is necessitated by a storyline (for a real reason, not the lazy, offensive “rape as character development” trope), I refrain from being very graphic. Child abuse is also a huge no-go for me.

I predict a lot of my writing this month will be creative nonfiction in the form of my posts about classic horror films celebrating landmark anniversaries this year. Upcoming films will include The Wolf Man, The Invisible Ray, Dracula’s Daughter, Invisible Ghost, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

November will feature a few more film posts, and a post about the album Imagine for its 50th anniversary. I also have a few more Dantean posts left to write. For over half of this septcentennial anniversary year, my main focus has been on researching, writing, and editing my Dantean posts, and my fiction was largely neglected. Now I’m eager to get back to it.

Shameless plug: If you’ve not seen it yet, this is the video of me reciting Canto I of Inferno in the original Medieval Florentine Tuscan Italian. I spent six months working on memorizing and mastering those lines, and thinking up body language to go along with it. It means a great deal to me that some native Italian speakers liked it and thought I did a really good job.

I’m also growing in confidence as I do more vlogs for my newly-revived channel. At the moment, my main focus is BookTube and AuthorTube, so I’m doing mostly book reviews, background information on my own books, and general writing and reading topics. Once I’m able to install iMovie on my computer, or get a new computer with enough space and the newest OS, I’ll start doing fancier vlogs with inserted images and text.

During Preptober, I’d like to finish several more chapters of my alternative history and get some more research on the Middle Ages done. If time allows, I’d also like to resume my radical rewrite of the book formerly known as The Very Last. One of the prizes for winning NaNo is always a free title setup at IngramSpark, which is good through the end of March. Realistically speaking, TVL is the only possible candidate this time around if it’s finished and polished in time.

Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, NaNo cancelled all in-person events and is encouraging snitching if people discover get-togethers are being arranged. As I’ve detailed in previous posts, I’m so disappointed at the new direction they’ve gone in since their awful new webpage was unveiled. Although if all goes according to plan, next NaNo I’ll be in Israel, where lockdowns are long since over.

I’ve changed my mind several times about where I most want to live, and now I think Tzfat would be most suited to who I am. Many artists, writers, creative types, mystics, and quirky people live there, so I’d feel right at home. And the beautiful scenery would provide constant inspiration for my writing and artwork!

Yes, there really is snow on that mountain!

That’s a poster of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, a very interesting person. Ironically, the Chasidic sect he founded is known for being very happy and always dancing and singing, and yet Rabbi Nachman suffered from depression throughout his life.

Have you ever taken a break from fiction to focus on creative nonfiction? Did it revive your inspiration? What place would most inspire you to write?

A pumpkin for the Sewards

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

This year for my Halloween-themed excerpts, I’ll be sharing from the eighth book in my Saga of the Sewards series (formerly known as Max’s House). It needs a great deal of editing, rewriting, and revision, along with a new title, so I’ll be doing preliminary edits and fleshing it out as I go this month.

The year is 1943, and as always, chaos and comedic mayhem reign supreme in the Sewards’ large blended family.

The next day, Mr. Seward brought home a pumpkin.

“Are we making a scarecrow?” Cora Ann asked.

“No, it’s for a jack-o-lantern,” Mr. Seward said. “Don’t all volunteer to help carve it at once.”

“Can I carve it?” Max asked.

Elaine gave him a mock-sweet smile. “Sure. You need to carve sixty jack-o-lanterns for the school dance and party; what’s one more?”

“Maybe it’d be better if I carve it,” Tiffany said. “It’ll relieve Max’s burden.”

The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.

She took it upstairs to her room with a carving knife.

“Tonight we go out to look for your Halloween costumes,” Mr. Seward went on.  “No vandalizing during trick-or-treating!”

“You yourself vandalize on Halloween!” Max protested.

Marc put a ladder up against a side of the house.

“When do we go shopping tonight?” Max asked.

“At six. I plan to spend no more than fifty dollars at the Halloween store.”

Marc climbed through Tiffany’s opened window.

“I’m going up to help Tiff with the jack-o-lantern,” Max said.

His sister was wildly making out with Marc as he entered the room.