Category Archives: Writing

The Claw Foot Tub

The claw foot tub was smeared with blood. It pooled on the floor. The sides were streaked crimson, running pale where rivulets of water diluted it.

 

For this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt, we’re inviting you to truly scare us. Here’s what you’ll need to do: Compose a post in the form of a text160 charactersYour text must elicit or express fear.

This is excerpted from my latest short story. Click the Requiring of Care button on the right sidebar for details.

Guess Who’s Crazy?

That would be me.

Read here to see why.

A New Short Story: Requiring of Care

I dropped a broad hint about a new story about 10 days ago. I even teased with a faux tweet back in August. I’m done hinting and teasing. Today you get the real thing!

short story, Smashwords, Cameron D. Garriepy

Requiring of Care | Smashwords.com

I’m pleased to announce that–just in time for Halloween!–my second short story, Requiring of Care, is now available via Smashwords and Amazon.com for $0.99!

Here’s the teaser from the Requiring of Care page on Smashwords.

Lucy Montgomery answers an unusual Help Wanted ad: Twelve-forty-two High Street. One girl, aged eight years, requiring of care. Between pressed flowers, blood on the wall, and dark closets, Lucy is pulled into the world of Violet, a little girl who holds fragments of a haunting story.

Smashwords offers downloads in every digital format you might need: Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo, PDF and online reading, and of course the iPod/Phone/Pad. Smashwords will also be distributing the story to the major e-retailers in a few weeks, if you prefer to download direct.

For my Kindle user friends, just click here to download Requiring of Care directly!

Thank you all for your continuing support and feedback. My wonderful friends and readers are a blessing.

And if, while you’re visiting the story on either of the pages linked above, you find it in your heart to Stumble, Pin, Like, or Tweet it? Well, to say I’d be grateful would be an understatement.

Thanks again, and happy reading!

The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters, constellation

Image Courtesy of Pinterest. Click Image for source info.

England is fading away into the dawn as the Physician and the Captain flee England. For more of this story, read here.

Isaac stands at the stern, hands braced on the rail against the pitch and roll of the Channel’s current; England fades to a rolling line, then slips away under the gray sea like Atlantis. He wonders if it is lost to him now, and his daughter with it. The crew is watchful, but not active, as dawn breaks. He and his Captain are the only passengers on this ship.

“Dr. Lowe? Isaac?” her low voice and her touch on his arm are simultaneous.

He answers without turning.

“I didn’t know you knew my name. We never discussed it… before.”

“I saw it sewn into your satchel when you were brought aboard the Siren,” she explains, joining him. “I thought it best we maintained some distance at the time.”

Her careworn hands alongside his on the rail kindle a fire under his skin that the sea air does nothing to cool.

“If I am to be Isaac,” he asks, “who are you to be?”

Motion in the lines and rigging tugs at the ship. The crew calls. Isaac watches her body shift with the vessel’s heaving even as his overcompensates.

“Rose O’Leary Marquez de Navarra.”  Her eyes meet his, gray and steady. “You may call me Rose.”

“Rose, then.” He falls silent, watching her watch the water. Across the back of her neck a cluster of small stars are tattooed onto her skin just below her now close-cropped hair.

“It’s true, then,” he muses, “all pirates are tattooed like the Painted Prince.”

Her hand flies up to cover the constellation.

“It is the Pleiades. The—“

“The Seven Sisters,” he finishes. “I know the story.”

“One for each of us, and I the only one not gone to Heaven, nor likely to go. And our brother now years gone, as well.”

This week, we’d like you to write a piece in which a tattoo figures prominently. Fiction or creative non-fiction. There is a lot to think about: why someone would get one, what they chose, when they got it, what message does the tattoo(s) send? You will have 300 words with which to play.

1242 High Street

This is from the opening paragraphs of a new story, coming to your e-reader later this month!

I clutched the newspaper listing against the steering wheel as I drove.

Crisp air and cicada song drifted in through the windows of my Honda. The Victorian residences of High Street gave way to larger estates, secluded from view by hedgerows and crumbling walls. The occasional turret or whimsical cupola was visible between the trees.

A placard announced the correct number. The patinated bronze numbers glinted dully in the sun.

The stone and iron gateway marking the entry wore its lichen with a sort of bitter dignity. Thick stands of pine and bony birches flanked the stone and dust driveway–flying buttresses of greenery.

When the house came into view, I brought the car to a crawl. A vine-choked gothic revival mansion rose up out of a rocky outcropping in the landscape, deeply shadowed by ancient oak and ash trees. Sunlight dappled the lawn and gilded the statuary in the formal gardens. I could just see the shining tips of marble wings off to my right.

The Honda’s tires crunched over fallen catalpa pods as I came to a slow stop under the porte-cochere. Their funk mingled with the scent of rotting oak leaves and wet fir needles on the air.

Good writing plants the reader’s feet into your story.

Good writing is also concise.

So when you’re trying to decide where to spend your words – where to use the most imagery and details and senses – I say setting is where it’s at.

What do you see? What does the air feel like? Smell like? What are you stepping on? Who else is there with your character or you? Time? Weather?

In 200 words.

Wednesday, Late Afternoon: Re-conjured

The earthy funk of a toddler fresh from sleep. Sweet childhood sweat, waft of wet diaper, stale breath, the last whiff of baby hairline.

Chipotle hot sauce, garlic, onions, chicken, oil, hot cast iron.

Rain and early falling leaves, thrumming on glass. The fading sky: autumnal, drab.

The rhythmic whine of the dishwasher: swom… swom… swom… swom…

Fingers flutter, hovering over the keyboard. My too long hair, falling into my field of vision.

The dog’s too long nails, milling underfoot: clackclackclack

Moist heat from the stove, sheen of sweat above my lip.

Small, grimy, perfect hands around my waist.

Writing short posts is an excellent way to flex your word choice muscles. Which word is the most clear? Poignant? Direct?

This week I want you to conjure something. An object, a person, a feeling, a color, a season- whatever you like.

This is an edit of a post from the end of last summer.

Let Them Think What They Will

Val caught her heel between the flagstones in the empty plaza. Her ankle twisted. When her knee struck the ground, her leather folio tumbled, the artist renderings and spec sheets fluttering out as it opened—she was helpless to stop it. The pain was stunning. Her hip struck the stone; her nerves sang in agony.

Running steps behind her forced her to push herself up, to look behind her.

The man who dropped to his knees next to her spoke quietly with a touch of an accent.

“Are you alright?”

Val blinked and shook her head. To speak would have been to unleash the tears balancing on her lashes.

He took her hands, pulling her up to sitting. She winced, breath hissing between her lips. He turned her palms up, running his thumbs over the heels of her hands, dusting the debris from her skin. His eyes were amber, his lashes impossibly long, his features severe.

Setting her hands down again, he stood. He bent to retrieve her things, gathering them with a practiced shuffle-tap and placing them inside the leather folio before offering to help her up.

Val took the offered arm and stood, smoothing her skirt as she did. She wobbled slightly and swore roundly. Her now broken Fendi pump had cost her as much as a full month’s split of the rent. She’d been enchanted by the impossible stiletto heel and the bow, not to mention that they were named for her—d’Orsay. A good luck charm for this, the meeting that would decide her future with the firm.

Some luck, she thought darkly. Her skirt was damp from the stones, her hair loosened from its pins by the fall and the misty air.

“This is remarkable,” the man said, touching his fingertip to the asymmetrical curves on the rendering. “Almost as if the artist was inside my imagination.”

“It’s… for a client,” Val stammered. She stuck out a hand. “Valentine Dorsay, Foxe and Dean Associates.”

“Valentine,” he repeated, taking her hand and squeezing gently. “Aubrey Finch.”

Val swallowed.

“Aubrey Finch?” she asked.

“We can’t have met. I’d remember.”

Val held back the urge to smooth the slight crease between his eyes as he struggled to place her. “This,” she said, picking up the rendering of the staircase, spiraling whimsically through fourteen feet of space, “is for your house.”

“For my—“ Realization dawned; his smile was radiant. “Foxe and Dean. Of course.”

“We’re both going to be late,” he said, checking his watch. “Shall we?”

He offered her his arm; the gesture should have seemed old-fashioned. Val put her hand on his arm and promptly stumbled on her broken heel.

Aubrey held her steady, but his gaze traveled down her leg, past her skinned knee to the offending shoe. He gestured towards the nearby row of wrought iron benches. Val hobbled with him, sitting gingerly.

Aubrey leaned down and began untying his shoes. Val watched him untie them both, then remove the left one, along with his sock. He tucked the sock inside the toe of the shoe before moving on the right one.

“What are you doing?” Val asked.

He smiled up at her. His warm, luxurious eyes, compelling in such an austere face, sparkled merrily.

“You can’t walk in those shoes, so we’ll both go in to this meeting barefoot and let them think what they will.”


Images courtesy of Pinterest. Click either image for source info.

This week, we want you to be inspired by pictures. Write a piece – fiction or creative non-fiction – based on your reaction to either of these photos. Or both.

I Didn’t Realize

EXT. AFTERNOON – BEVERLY HARBOR, MASSACHUSETTS

A woman in her mid-twenties, CAMERON, disembarks from a small powerboat onto a dock. She is dressed for the ocean, tank top and shorts over a bathing suit. She wears sport sandals and hair tied back in a bandanna.

The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” plays over the scene as she hugs a group of friends goodbye.

She crosses the harbor parking lot and climbs into a silver VW Jetta.

FADE TO

INT. AFTERNOON – THE CAR

CAMERON drives down I-93, CAMERON sings along with the music now, out loud and on pitch, as she drives.

From the driver’s POV we see a small town-line sign, “Medford,” at the side of the road.

FADE TO

INT. AFTERNOON – CAMERON’S APARTMENT

In her bathroom mirror, CAMERON examines the new freckles from her day on the water. She fluffs her short, dark hair. The camera sees make-up, a blow-dryer, evidence she has been primping. She is dressed now in a long linen skirt, sexy sandals, and a fitted polo-style top.

She leaves the bathroom and heads for the door, picking up a purse and house keys as she goes.

FADE TO

EXT – STREET – DAVIS SQ. SOMERVILLE

CAMERON enters the T station.

FADE TO

EXT – STREET – PORTER SQ. CAMBRIDGE

CAMERON exits another T station and crosses the street. The camera follows her as she walks into a restaurant, CHRISTOPHER’S. The music level fades as a tall young man in a black button down shirt and khakis stands up and offers her his hand with a shy smile.

MARK
Cameron?

CAMERON
Hi.

CAMERON hugs him. They turn to the the maitre d’.

MAITRE D’
Two?

MARK & CAMERON
(speaking over one another)
Yes.

Laughing awkwardly, they follow the MAITRE D’ into the dining room.

FADE TO BLACK

This week we asked you, in 500 words or less, to describe the opening scene of a film. The film made from your best-selling memoir. What does the camera see? Who speaks the first lines of your story? Is there music?

Did you give screenplay formatting a try?

I confess, I studied screenwriting in college, so formatting this wasn’t too tough, but it was fun to imagine the opening to my memoir.

You and Me

Username: GangesSky
SWF ISO SM for something real.
Headline: You and Me

Pink Floyd asked the question, “Is there anybody out there?” Of course they also coined the phrase, “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” So it’s not all deep thoughts over there.

I like Pink Floyd. If you assume that defines me? Scram. No, really. Scram.

If you were stranded on a desert island, you’d bring a cast iron pan, a Radio Flyer wagon, a jaw harp, two bandannas, and a Ginsu knife.

I respect the Oxford comma. If you touch the arch of my foot just so? I will moan like a porn star. Rodents are not pets. I want to look like Lauren Graham, but the truth is I’m more Janeane Garofalo in The Truth About Cats and Dogs. I hated that movie.

You are taller than me, which isn’t hard to accomplish, and please? If you suffer from a Napoleon complex, it’d better be Dynamite, not Bonaparte, because I have no time for that bullshit. Five-foot-six or better, gentlemen. You have been warned.

I read somewhere that an interest in politics is only more interesting to a potential date than a book club membership or business networking strategies. I’m not like the other girls. Let’s talk immigration reform and debt ceiling, sugar.

I am a fan of Tom Stoppard and e.e. cummings. I think Dickinson is overrated and T.S. Eliot was a genius. I play the cello. Badly. I think modern art sucks.

I’m not interested in your money. To quote the straightforward if not eloquent Beyoncé Knowles, “I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings.” On the other hand, if you bring me daisies, I’ll probably cry. Don’t do that on the first date–I’ll be wearing mascara.

Let’s have fun this week. We want you to write a personal ad for your character, like one you would find on a dating site. The ad should tell us about your character, but should not be a laundry list – and no cliches about walks on the beach.

Counselor Hunt

The ground angling down to the shore is precariously lined with dry, brown pine needles over soft soil. Roots arc up from the ground, twist and dive back, creating hazardous steps as I descend, sidestepping slightly for balance. Sunlight filters through ashes, birches, and firs, pale and green-scented on my face and bare arms.

The rock is warm, the lichen soft-green and dry on its surface. A watery breeze drifts over the shoreline here; there sunlight breaks and glitters on the pond. My body settles into the saddle-shaped depression at the rock’s center, my back against the dirt rising back up from the water’s edge.

The pond laps at the rock, a soft splot-splot-splot. A motor boat whirrs over the water past Blueberry Island like an industrial dragonfly and the wavelets amplify against my perch: splot-slap-splot-slap. Voices and laughter and raucous song drift over the water, tumble down the embankment from the forest trail above as campers in groups wander the acres, searching.

Water snake, peeper frog, pondweed, canoe, a kiss of shadow as a cloud slips past the sun. My thoughts empty, leaving space for fleeting observations.

Fill with deeper thoughts. Summer’s inevitable close, the crisp breath of fall in a new place, a shift in my life’s center of gravity. A dull ache between my shoulders muscles ahead of thoughts; I sit up and stretch, awareness and blood pushing back into flesh.

The heat from pond-mirrored sun dusts freckles on my skin, infuses my hair with the smell of summer, and I settle back into the hard saddle. The quiet cove down the shore is thickly skimmed in waterlilies, recently opened, nodding gently on the nearly still surface.

Footsteps above. I still myself, breathe quietly, drawing the air in silently. Giggles. I am found.

For this week’s memoir prompt, we’re going to let narrative take a backseat. Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail. Describe it to us in rich, evocative details. Let us breathe the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.