Image Prompt 030 Response – Professor


I chose the picture of ASU’s campus in Boone, NC for my twenty-minute sprint this time around.



It was starting to get dark by the time Kelly was done with all his classes and office hours for the day.  At least it was Friday.  He had four dozen student papers in his bag that he needed to work on grading this weekend, but he was done for tonight.

As he walked down the steps, he took a moment to admire the bright yellow of the tree in front of the English building.  The fall colors were in full swing, and brought with them all the tourists that loved to take pictures of them along the parkway.  Kelly just tried to avoid all the places the tourists were this time of year.  They brought traffic and overworked service people, and Kelly wasn’t a fan of either.

Kelly headed down the path toward the library.  He’d managed to snag a house only blocks from campus.  It made it so much easier in the winter when the snow kept cars and busses safe in their garages.  Plus he didn’t have to buy a parking pass.  He assumed he was making up for that with the price of the house.  At least he was a home owner now and no longer paying the exorbitant rents they changed near the university.

He was walking up the steps to the library when someone called out his name.  Kelly turned to see one of his graduate students hurrying to catch up to him.

“Looks like you’ve got a lot of weekend work in there,” Jason said with a grin.

“Papers don’t grade themselves,” Kelly replied.  At least these were undergraduate papers and much shorter for it.

“Don’t I know it?” Jason replied with a laugh.  “I’ve got about sixty I’ve got to get done this weekend.”

“This is your first semester teaching?” Kelly asked.

“Teaching college,” Jason replied.  “I spent a few years teaching high school before I came back to school.”

“I remember now.  You were over in Raleigh then, right?”  Kelly had so many students it took a while to figure out which ones were which when they weren’t in one of his classes that semester.  He did better with the graduate students.

“Yeah.  I taught in a couple different schools there trying to figure out why I wasn’t satisfied.  Turned out I just wasn’t a good fit for high schoolers.  I do better with eight- or eighteen-year-olds.”

“We all have our niches,” Kelly replied.  He’d majored in education originally, and taught a variety of subjects in elementary and middle school before going back for a masters in English.  He’d taught high school for a couple years afterward to pay the bills while he worked on a few things and decided what doctoral programs to apply to.  He much preferred teaching at a university.

“I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that,” Jason said.  “You’re office hours are the busiest I’ve ever seen though, so I’ve never managed to catch you.”

“I guess it’s good that all my students find me approachable,” Kelly replied.

“Yeah, I hear good things about you,” Jason answered, laughing again as they continued past the library toward King Street.  “You’re specialty is pedagogy, right?” Jason asked.

“That’s where I do my research,” Kelly agreed.  He tried to make it an applied science as much as possible, but occasionally he worked from pure theory to get a paper out.

“I’m planning to do my thesis on a pedagogy topic and I wanted to talk to you about being my committee chair,” Jason said.  “I know I’m catching you on your way home and on the spot and all that, but I wanted to ask you to think about it while I try to get on your calendar.”

“Sorry I never got back to you about your meeting request on Wednesday,” Kelly said.  He remembered now that Jason was trying to pin him down.

“I get it,” Jason replied.  “We’re all busy.”

“I’ll want to discuss your idea with you before I agree, so we’ll definitely need that appointment,” Kelly said.

“I’m open to odd hours and weekends if you are,” Jason replied.

“I’ll reply to your email,” Kelly promised.  “I have it flagged to annoy me about it tomorrow anyway.”

“So I’m not the only one who lives and dies by Outlook reminders?” Jason asked.

“Certainly not,” Kelly replied.  “The only people I know who don’t are the ones who show up late to everything.”

Jason laughed.  “Thanks for thinking about it,” Jason said.

“Of course,” Kelly replied.  There was no reason not to consider it since Jason wanted to work within his own area of expertise.

Image Prompt 030 – Glencoe, Scotland & Boone, NC


It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

2017-07-14 Image Prompt-030-1 - Glencoe Haggis Tour Scotland05-04-15 020

2017-07-14 Image Prompt-030-2 - AppStateCampus07-11 001

Rotating Projects


Every writer’s process is a little different.  Some writers plan everything out in advance while others fly by the seat of their pants as they draft, and you can find a writer that falls everywhere in between.  Some writers edit and correct and adjust as they go.  Others get the entire story out in a single draft and then go back and revise, rewrite, cut, and add.  Some keep working on a single project from draft to final manuscript all in one go.  Others jump from project to project.

I try to reflect on my own process periodically so that I can see what’s working and where I might need to try something new.  Sometimes it’s worth moving yourself along any of the various process spectrums until you’re in a little different place.  Sometimes, this is a disaster and doesn’t help anything.  Sometimes it’s miraculous and suddenly increases your productivity.  And sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. Continue reading

The Importance of Being Me


A lot of things have changed in my life over the past few years.

A lot of it is small things, but there are some big ones too.  I changed jobs two years ago, which was an awesome move for me and I still love my (not so) new job, but it’s still a big change and adjustment.  I’ve moved again, which is a level of stressful above pretty much anything else I could ever do.  And lately, we’ve been working on setting the apartment up better with the furniture we actually need (I now own eleven bookcases, eight of them six feet or taller).  So a lot of things have been shifting and moving in my life.

This can make me reflective.

What I’ve been thinking about most recently, is the importance of being me. Continue reading

#AToZChallenge: Village


“It takes a village” indeed.
I agree with the idea that writers need their own kind of village. I’ve found mine in the community surrounding NaNoWriMo where I live. Where do you find yours?

A Bit to Read

By Vera & Jean-Christophe from Europe (Vicuña) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons A wise, much-maligned woman once reminded us that “It takes a village.” Not only is that true with children — the original context — but much of life itself. And as writers, we need to find our villages.

Some are annual, like this challenge, where we discover new friends and find old friends alike, each of us supporting one another in the daunting task of blogging 6 days a week whether or not we have something to say. Some villages collect over time, those kindred spirits you come across who share your view on the work of writing.

The latest village making me warm and fuzzy is the one that emerged organically yesterday, the one I’ve dubbed #MAYkingItWork (uh huh),  a rag-tag bunch of us, all confessing to moldering unfinished work, all committing to pick something abandoned…

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The Rewarding Part


So, a few weeks ago, I put up a post about how editing is hard.  This wasn’t necessarily news for most writers, especially those who have taken the time to polish a piece for submission or publication.  It felt like news to me this time around.  Even though I’ve gone through the process many times before, and I have a book out, this most recent editing and revision pass has been excruciating.

But now I’ve gotten to the rewarding part.  I reworked over 300,000 words worth of variously revised chapters and scenes into about 132,000 words worth of beginning, middle, and climax.  I just have a few scenes worth of falling action and conclusion left.  I’m beginning to get excited about having a completed draft again. Continue reading

Image Prompt 029 Response – Snow


I selected the Boone, NC photo of a wind chime for my image prompt this week.  Below is the result of a 20-minute sprint and quick editing pass for grammar and spelling.


The wind chimes still made their soft tinkling noises as the wind blew through the little grass alleyway behind the apartment.  Snow was piled on top of the thing, but it didn’t affect the sound of the copper pipes that hung down.  It had been here when she moved in, probably forgotten by some past renter of the tiny little place with the barely functioning base-board heaters.

Angel turned away from the window, pulling the towel she used as a curtain back into place.  She needed all the insulation she could get.  She spent most of the winter curled up under fleece blankets or sipping hot chocolate.  She’d taken to making a single cookie just as an excuse to use her oven, which was a far more effective heater than anything else in the apartment.

It was starting to get dark, which made her worry.  Her little brother, Brian was supposed to have arrived an hour ago.  She’d been looking forward to a weekend with him for months. Continue reading