Category Archives: Gwendolyn Cease

Wednesday Randomness – When I Grow Up…

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I’ve been missing in action for a little while, but I’m trying to get back on the bandwagon, starting with this week’s Wednesday post…What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up.

I was a little all over the place when I was a kid.

I wanted to be a marine biologist for a long time. Not to work at a place like SeaWorld. But to work with dolphins or whales in the ocean. That was, of course, before I stopped swimming in natural bodies of water. But that’s another story.

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Then there was my FBI phase. That lasted quite a while. And I’m not sure where it came from, maybe The X-Files. I think it fizzled out about the time I told my mom about it and she laughed at me.

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I think maybe I wanted to be a writer, but that was a little too abstract for me as a kid. Although I’m not sure why.

I did go through a serious phase where I wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic. I think that one might still be going on. But I’m not that good at photography.

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I can tell you I damn sure never wanted to be an accountant. But if I could be as cool as this guy…

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Yet somehow, that’s where I ended up. For now at least.

Check out the links below to see what the other bloggers wanted to be when they grew up, or what they still want to be when they grow up:
Bronwyn
Jessica
Paige
Gwen

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Wordless Wednesday – Sadness

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Check out the other bloggers below:

Bronwyn
Paige
Jessica
Kellie
Gwen

 

Promptly Penned

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Promplty Penned

 

Here’s this month’s prompt:

Person A: “I thought I’d made it clear we have a no abduction policy.”

Person B: “She wasn’t cooperating. What did you expect me to do?”

***

From the backseat, Caroline could hear the two men arguing.

“I thought I’d made it clear we have a no abduction policy.” That was the guy behind the wheel.

“She wasn’t cooperating. What did you expect me to do?” This was the shorter of the two men, the one who had stuffed her in the backseat of the car.

“She shouldn’t have even known we were there. It was supposed to be an in and out, grab the money and leave.”

“Well, she must have heard us or something. She came up out of the basement and, uh…” Here the guy in the passenger seat trailed off, sounding kind of sheepish.

“Uh, what?” The driver said, sounding irritated.

“She saw my face, alright? I told her to get in the freezer after that and I was going to lock in her but she wouldn’t listen and since I figured she could probably describe me, I thought I should bring her with.”

The car suddenly lurched to the right in a squeal of tires. “How. How.” The driver took a couple of deep breaths. “How in the name of all that is holy did she see your face? You’re wearing a mask!”

 “I took it off.” It came out barely more than a whisper.

“I’m sorry. You what?”

“I took if off. It was itchy.” This time the passenger’s voice had a definite whine to it. “I told you I didn’t want to wear it in the first place. I don’t like masks.”

“You flaming idiot! The whole point of the mask is so people won’t see our faces. And then you go and take it off.”

“That’s why I brought her with. So she can’t tell nobody what we look like.”

At this point, Caroline had to stifle a giggle in the backseat. These had to be the two worst burglars in the world. Not just inept, but totally stupid. She continued to work at the apron that had been tied around her hands, figuring that if she could get free she had a good chance getting away from these idiots.

The car was still pulled over to the curb so Caroline decided to take a chance. “Hey, fellas?”

Both guys jumped and turned around to stare at her, now sitting up in the backseat with her hands in her lap.

“Hello.” She gave a little half wave and smiled.

“What the hell are you doing up?” The driver turned to the other guy. “Couldn’t you at least tie her up properly?”

“I thought I did!” He flinched as the driver smacked him in the back of the head.

“Boys. Boys!” Caroline smiled again as they turned to look back at her. “Did you maybe forget something?” She held up the bag of money they had taken from the coffee shop and waived it like a cape in front of a bull.

The two men looked at each other in horror. They started scrambling over each other to try climb into the backseat. As they fought to fit through the tiny space, Caroline opened the unlocked (how dumb were they?) back door and slipped out of the car. She wouldn’t have much time, but she thought she could make this work.

Caroline took off running as fast as she could down the dark side street toward the park that was nearby. If she could get enough of a head start she could lose them in the woods on the other side. She wasn’t the captain of her track team for nothing and those guys weren’t going to win any Olympic medals. She could hear them huffing and puffing behind her but their footsteps were falling farther and farther away.

Caroline made it to the trees and slowed to look behind her. The burglars were doubled over in the middle of the street trying to catch their breath, she was afraid one of them might have a heart attack. As they were still trying to recover, Caroline turned and kept making her way through the woods, slower now so she wouldn’t fall in the dark.

Eventually, Caroline made it home without any more issues. She had managed to lose the guys entirely, she figured they had given up on her. Once safely in her room, she looked in the bag and saw the men had taken about half of what was in the register at the end of the night, about a thousand dollars. All of that for a thousand dollars.

Sitting on her bed, she considered. She could return it to her boss in the morning. She could do that. Or, she could pretend as though they had broken in after she had left for the evening and consider this a bonus. After all, her boss was a tool. Always staring at her chest, making her close by herself, it wasn’t a great job. Her boss probably wouldn’t even report it, he didn’t report most of his income so why report a robbery? Yeah, this was going to be nice little bonus.

If she ever saw that burglar again, she just might have to say thank you.

Check out where this prompt took the other bloggers:

Bronwyn

Kris

Paige

Gwen

Wednesday Randomness – Writing Pet Peeves

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Writing pet peeves is the topic for this week. What annoys us? What makes us want to tear our hair out?

Where do I start?

There are so many things, big and small.

This is a weirdly specific one, but I absolutely hate it when people use the phrase, “It’s like deja vu all over again.” That phrase just doesn’t even make sense to me. What is the point of it?

Difficult to pronounce names for places, or people. There’s a series I really like and in it is a prep school with a name that I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to pronounce. I stumble over it in my head every time I come across it and it instantly pulls me out of the story. Someone has even told me how to say it a couple of times and I still can’t get it right. I get wanting to use things that are unique and different, but you can do that and still make them something that a reader can pronounce.

I have another pet peeves with names, certain names in general just annoy the ever-living hell out of me. As soon as I see them, I just want to stop reading. Names like Cash, or Tristan. For some reason, all bad boys are named Tristan. And on the subject of bad boys, why do authors  (often YA) always put bad boys in black jeans? I don’t ever actually see anyone in real life wearing black jeans, but in books, all the bad boys wear them. I’m sure they all shop at the only store that sells them, too.

“There are simply too many notes!” In other words, trying to stuff everything imaginable into one story. Let’s put in werewolves, vampires, witches, ghosts, psychics, and time travel all into one book! There is such a thing as too many elements in one story.

Insta-love. I know sometimes it’s the norm for certain genres, but unless it’s done REALLY well, just no.

And on the subject of love, love triangles. Are they ever necessary? There are so many more interesting ways to create conflict, either within the romance or not.

I could go on and on, but I think those are the important ones.

What pet peeves do the other bloggers have? Click the links below to find out:

Bronwyn
Jessica
Kris
Kellie
Gwen
Jess

 

Wednesday Randomness – Best Memories of 2015

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This week we’re talking about our best memories from 2015.

Winter is pretty lame around here, mostly because I work non-stop through January and February, so I’m going to blow right past those and start with March.

Puppy Thor turned one (and yes I’m a huge dork).

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In June, B and I went to a wedding in Traverse City. It was awesome. The wedding was small, maybe 30-40 people, and was at Mission Table on the Old Mission Peninsula. The place was absolutely gorgeous, I’d never even heard of it before. The ceremony was outside with the lake as a backdrop and the dinner was in a private dining room with a cut stone fireplace.

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The day after the wedding, the bride and groom paid for the guests to go on a wine tasting tour to three of their favorite places, which is how I discovered my new favorite place, Tandem Ciders.

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Me and B

A couple of weeks after the wedding, I headed farther north for my annual writer’s retreat with some of my friends. We stay at a cabin/house on Lake Superior for a week and write, eat, talk, laugh (a ton), and have basically an amazing time.

On the way up, we had a major tire blow out. That was not awesome, but Bronwyn’s driving was so we survived the horror.

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Later on during the drive we saw a rainbow, so that helped cheer us up. And then Jenny Trout found a newspaper with an article about a festival for her people.

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We got to spend a little bit of time at the Lake (it’s always super cold in June still). All in all, we had a great time.

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This September, I went to my first ever Renaissance Fair. I have Bronwyn to thank for this experience. I didn’t even know this thing existed in Holly, MI (because I’m so out of the loop in the world) but she goes every year with her family, so this year B and I tagged along. There was jousting, actual jousting.

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There was also a dog wearing a knight.

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I will definitely be going back to the fair next year, we had a great time. I might even be in costume next time.

In October, B and I went to another wedding. This one took me to UP again, but I was happy to make the trip for one of my very closest friends. It was an amazing party, she married the man of her dreams, and looked beautiful the whole time.

Since a lot of us had to travel for the wedding, we had the shower and bachelorette party the night before.

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(All wedding photos by Elizabeth Dahlstrom and Captured Blessings Photography)

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Also in October was the celebration for B’s Uncle Jim and his husband Al. They married in June after the Supreme Court passed the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. They have been together since 1978 so it was great that there finally able to marry.

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The end of the year consisted of holidays and normal family get togethers. Not that they weren’t a great time, but there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary that happened this year. Except I actually made it to midnight on New Year’s Eve. That’s unusual. There were a lot of great things that happened in 2015, obviously. But at the same time, I’m happy to move into 2016. There are a few things I want to a make a new start on. So, I guess the last thing I have to say about 2015 is…

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Check out the other blogs to see what good times everyone had in 2015:
Jess
Bronwyn
Jessica
Paige
Kellie
Gwen
Kris

 

 

Flash Fiction Mondays

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photoprompt

01-2016 LightinForest

CW: Assault

“Go into the light,” she had said. “You have to go into the light.”

Apparently I died three months ago, but I just found out yesterday. I’d been wandering around the woods trying to find the way back to my car when I met a woman. She explained it all. I had fallen and hit my head and no one had found my body. But she had sensed my lost spirit and she was here to help me move on.

“What the hell,” I said. “It’s got to be better than walking around here,” I told her.

So, when the light appeared on the path between the trees, I took a completely unnecessary deep breath, closed my eyes, and stepped into it.

And man, I was not prepared for what I found.

I opened my eyes and found myself in my college dorm room. It was exactly as I remembered, down to the hole in the blanket on my roommate’s bed and the magnets on the mini-fridge. Turning around I caught my reflection in the mirror and groaned. Shaggy brown hair that looked like I had just rolled out of bed, a Weezer t-shirt, ripped jeans, and yup, Doc Martins. Apparently I was also back in college.

The door flew open and Rob, my roommate, came thundering in.

“Kyle, finally. Where you been man? We got to go, the party’s already under way. Ben’s waiting on us.”

Not knowing what else to do, not knowing what was going on, I followed Rob out the door. This was not what I had expected when I had decided to go into the light. Was this heaven? Had I somehow gone back in time? Was I actually here in the flesh? I pinched myself, it hurt but what did that really mean.

I continued to follow Rob across campus not paying attention to where we were going, trying to figure out what was happening. I looked up when I heard someone yell my name and found that we were standing in front of the Sigma Chi house. In that moment I knew exactly what was going on. I knew what day it was and why I was here.

This night had followed me for years, and I regretted almost every minute of it.

Not waiting for my friends I dashed up the steps of the house and through the front doors. I started looking everywhere for Amy, a friend that I had known since sophomore year. She was here somewhere, in the process of drinking too much. I had to find her and get her to leave as soon as possible.

Two hours later and I still hadn’t found her. The clock in the kitchen said 12:45, so I knew it was almost the right time. The time when I had made the worst decision of my life. It was clear to me now that it wasn’t an option for me to stop this before the fact. I had to change my actions this time, not the actions of others.

Heading up to the second floor I made my way to the last bedroom on the left, and pushed the door open. There I found Amy, passed out on the bed with three frat guys and Rob standing around her. Two of the guys were holding her arms and the other two, including my roommate, were discussing what they should do.

The first time I witnessed this I had tried to tell Rob he should leave her alone but after they threatened me, I had left. Four against one after all, right? Not this time. Without a word, I launched myself at Rob catching him by surprise and knocking him into the wall. I got in two good punches before the other three were on me. But I didn’t care. Before I blacked out, I saw other people running into the room at the commotion, helping Amy off the bed and getting her to safety. Maybe this is how I was supposed to die all along, but if so, then this was the right way.

When I opened my eyes, I was on the beach. The sun was shining, the water was a clear turquoise, and the sound of the waves was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. This was heaven, this was my heaven. I had finally made it. I corrected the biggest mistake in my life and I was rewarded.

Click below to see what the others came up:

Jess
Bronwyn
Kris
Jessica
Paige
Gwen

 

Wednesday Randomness – Mistakes from My First Manuscript

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This week’s Wednesday topic is mistakes from my first manuscript and how I’ve grown as a writer. Well, I’ve only ever made it through one full novel-length draft, so I guess this will be mistakes from my one and only manuscript. And boy did I make them. 

The first thing that comes to mind is using people’s names too much in conversation, kind of like I do when I’ve had a bit too much to drink. So it made it sound like a bunch of teenagers were constantly tipsy. “Gwen, let me tell something, let me tell you Gwen, I have something to tell you…” It wasn’t pretty.

And then of course there was the word repetition. There are only so many words for boardwalk and pier, and that leads to another mistake. One of the characters kept telling one of the other characters that he should do this one particular thing while he was in town, over and over again she kept bringing it up. Well, he finally did and it was completely anticlimactic. The whole thing was a waste of word count and had no point in the story. The town where the book takes place is real and I felt I had to work in all the known landmarks come hell or high water.  

I also, in a couple of circumstances, decided to cover important scenes in two sentence summaries and instead spend my word count on less important scenes that didn’t move the plot forward. They were still interesting, in my mind, but maybe not as integral to the plot points. 

There were countless other mistakes, but those are the big ones that come to mind. In the writing I’ve done since then, I’ve tried to keep these issues in mind so I can either avoid them as much as possible or at least make more conscious choices about them. I like to think I’ve improved since I finished that first manuscript, at least a bit. 

Check out the links below to see how the other bloggers have come along in their writing:
Jess
Bronwyn
Jessica
Gwen
Kris