As I’m sure all of you have heard by now, recently Clean Teen Publishing (of all places) chose a short story I wrote for publication in their Wonderstruck anthology, which is being released this coming Friday, May 31st. They provided 5 pictures, and asked authors to pick one and submit a story based on the photo. Amazingly, they selected mine. I am excited and honored to be a part of it; this is my first publishing credit. *flails*

There are a whole bunch of people that made this possible. Everybody who ever gave me an encouraging word after reading some of the atrocious crap that spews forth from my brain onto the page played a part. The constant love and encouragement and general good times offered by the crazy folks who take part in #writeclub each and every week.

There is one person in particular, however, that without whom I am certain I would never submitted anything anywhere. She’s a young lady from the Boston area, Julie Hutchings — who recently got a book deal herself; there isn’t anyone who deserves one more.

Earlier this year, we met on Twitter. She and her writing partner and friend Kristen Strassell run a blog together, and for the month of February they were hosting an event on their blog where they asked people to submit a romantic/erotic short story to them, which they would post for the world to see. Julie and I had not known each other for very long at all when she asked me if I would take part. I’m pretty sure she hadn’t even actually read any of my writing at the time. I came really really close to telling her no because it scared the crap out of me. I don’t write erotica (ain’t nobody got time for that), so went a sweet romantic route with my story.

Let’s talk about where I was with my writing then for a second. I thought I sucked. Pretty much every writer thinks that, I’m pretty sure, but at this point I was absolutely sure writing would absolutely not lead anywhere ever. I had a few manuscripts I had gotten excited about but couldn’t really claim to be still working on. Feeling like I owed it to her to submit the absolute best story I could, I put about 1800 words of horrible crap on paper. I tried to cut it and revise it to get down to the 1000 word limit, and couldn’t. Got it down to about 1150. Rewrote it from scratch. 980 words…and I loved it, despite the wonderfully ridiculous “she raised her eyes skyward, to the sky” line. I sent to some folks for feedback and they all loved it, too. I made a few changes, then sent it to the lovely Carey Torgesen asking her to rip it to shreds.

She did. The end product was so much better though. I remember when I sent it to Julie, I literally shed tears over it. I knew I was sending her the absolute best I could do.

It was at that point I knew that maybe I could actually do this writing thing a little bit.

At Julie’s behest and encouragement, I ended up submitting that story to Fireside Mag. They rejected it. Since, I’ve submitted it to The Opening Line…where it will appear in their inaugural July issue…alongside of something Julie submitted, as well.

I just wanted to take a minute and say thank you to a very dear friend. I know that I would not have anything being published today without a random twitter DM from her in January. Thank you Julie. You know I love you. 🙂

You can check out her twitter, here.

Check out her blog, here.


If you’ve ever read anything on this blog, you know that I fancy myself a writer. Whether I am any good or not is a matter of debate (I have had people call the same short story both “stupid” and “brilliant” with the the “stupid” comment coming from one of my closest friends), but through it I have become friends with some amazing people, who have more talent than I will ever have.

One of these people is a sweet Kentucky redhead, Megan Whitmer. She’s definitely one of those people that are far more talented than I am. Her book, Between, which will absolutely be on my shelf on release date, will absolutely BLOW YOUR MIND. I literally shed tears in public when she announced her book deal.

Anyway, this is how she changed my life. She is at least partly responsible for my new found belief in my writing. This is because she is the brain child of a weekly Twitter event known as #writeclub.

Write Club? What’s that?

Megan does a marvelous job of explaining things in a post on her blog here., but basically it is a group of writing sprints that last 30 minutes at a time with 15 minute breaks in between. She tweets the start and stop times from the @FriNiteWrites account on twitter, using the #writeclub hashtag. At the end of 30 minutes, several people will tweet the number of words they managed in the sprint, which because I’m a numbers dork, I track. It is so amazing to see so many people from around the world loving and encouraging each other. It has grown seemingly exponentially, with now at least 6 different people helping to run sprints when real life gets in the way. Its even branched out internationally, with it going on in the UK literally right now as i write this. I’m honored to be a small part of it.

How Did This Change Your Life?

A couple of ways. I don’t feel like such an awkwardly antisocial nerd when I choose to stay home and write on a Friday night instead of going out. There’s an average of 50 or so people doing the exact same thing I’m doing.

When I’m having a bad day, there is always SOMEONE having similar writing struggles where we can encourage each other. See, these sprints aren’t competitive in nature. They’re meant to encourage and build each other up, and inspire us to do more.

That’s why I love write club. It’s why I don’t even WANT to go out on Fridays anymore. Literally, right now I’m counting down the minutes until we start it up tonight.

Join us, why don’t ya? We start at 8et and will likely go to around 2am. We’d all love to have you.

So, the lovely and talented Darci Cole is having a contest on her blog in honor of getting 100 followers.  Basically, she posted this photo and challenged her readers to write a 300-500 word piece of flash fiction inspired by it. The word/number 100 must appear in the piece. There were prizes, that included critiques of your manuscript.  I don’t have anything that is REMOTELY critique ready so I chose not to enter the contest, but, really that photo is amazing and this story came to my head immediately.  

Pretty rarely for me, I actually think this story is pretty good.  Here we go.  Seriously, give me a comment or two and let me know what you think, k?




by Beau Barnett


I looked over at my wife in the passenger seat, and smiled.  She smiled back, a quick, upward twitch of her lips, reaching over and clasping my hand.  She mouthed the words, “I love you.”  It was a foggy, misty evening.  We were traveling through a heavily wooded area, the scraggly trees forming a canopy over the road, blocking the moon.  We were on the way back home from a trip to her parents.  “I love you, too, Jules.” So much.


In response, she brought her mouth up to my ears and whispered sweetly, “Baby, drive faster.  What we need is some speed.”


I laughed. “It’s much too foggy out.”


She let go of my hand and ran her hand up the inside of my thigh, leaving it there.  “Please, baby.  Go faster.  I need to be in your arms,” she breathed. I could feel her words against my ear more than I could actually hear them.


I stomped on the accelerator, watching the speedometer climb past 70…80…90…100 miles per hour.  At 120, she purred, excitedly.  At 140, she raised her eyes skyward and laughed, the wind taking the sound and magnifying it somehow.  I drove as fast as I dared, tires squealing around the corners, threatening to lose grip at any moment.  The faster I drove, the more she loved it, beaming all the more whenever the car downshifted and the engine roared.  The way her long, curly, dark hair was blowing in the wind, I swear, she looked like an angel.


“Oh, baby,” she said, breathing heavily, almost panting, “I’m going to rock your world when we get home.”  I drove even faster, my face a stoic look of absolute concentration on the road ahead. 


A cough from the backseat brought me back to the present.  I looked in the rearview mirror, seeing two brown eyes staring back at me. I smiled.  “You ok, Lydia?” I asked.


“I miss Mom,” she said, “I’d swear she’s here with us tonight.”


“I miss her too, Pumpkin.” I looked over at the empty passenger seat, a single tear rolling down my cheek. Hard to believe it had been 5 years tonight.


“Hey Daddy?”


“Yeah, Pumpkin?”


“Can you go faster?”


She was so much like Jules.  “Of course,” I replied, and hit the gas.





Happy reading!

This is going to be a fun, fun month.

I’m really looking forward to reading everyone’s words and encourage all of you to check it out every day of the schedule. Especially February 10th, obviously.

Thank you, sweet Jules, for asking me to take part, and all the words of encouragement you and so many others gave me when I needed them.

Here’s to a good month! *cheers* *scared to death*

Deadly Ever After

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate cherry. Just sexy enough.

by Julie

Ah, February! The time for those of us still in love with the idea of Valentine’s Day to let out our inner sex-crazed fiend. Or inner romantic. The Undead Duo endorses both for our month-long feature Stories To Strip By that will leave you swooning, panting and screaming for more. The schedule is as follows for you to look forward to. Do wear your best underthings.

February 2  Mari Wells: Just Another Hunt

February 4  Jacqueline Czel: Twitter Crush

February 8  Josh Hewitt: Hurting From Wanting You

February 10  Beau Barnett: Make A Wish

February 12 Chynna Blue Scott: Steam

February 14  A little fun with Kristen and Julie

February 16 Jeanie Grey: Turning Point

February 20  Chris Liccardi: Believe

February 22  Jillian Wegrocki Marques: Stranger

February 26  Zoey Derrick: Devilish Desires Part 2

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So, apparently the lovely and awesome Carey Torgersen tagged me in a bloghop sort of thing, and I am now required by the Geneva Convention to answer 10 questions about my WIP. Oh. Boy.

What is the working title of your book?

It doesn’t have one. I suck at titling, first off. In the event it gets published the company will change it anyway. I’ll come up with one if I ever finish a first draft. (Yes, that means if you hear me talking about insert title here I have completed it).

Where did the idea come from for your book?

This idea originally hit me around halfway through NaNoWriMo 2011, I tinkered with it and shelved it away to deal with it later. I continued to tinker with it over the last few months or so and put the first word on paper a couple of months ago. It’s slow going.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary YA. There are no sparkly vampires or paranormal overtones. There’s also not a heavy use of superfluous adverbs, so I know the book has 0 chance of selling. Ever.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Zac Efron, clearly, because OMG THE LADIES LOVE HIM AND OMG SQUEEEEEEE for the dude, though he’s arguably too old for the role. (Ladies, you DO still love Zac Efron, AMIRITE?)

I have no idea which Hollywood starlet would play either the love interest or the antagonist. Pick two no-older-than-early-to-mid-20s-hotties and you have winners. One of them must be tall. Dakota Fanning because she’s marvelous for the love interest maybe? Does that make me look like a sicko for implying she’s a hottie? She IS almost 19, and as an aside that is proof I’m getting old.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Get ready for heavy em-dash and semicolon usage in an effort to make this sentence close to grammatically correct:

Two high school “friends” are going to prom together when an accident puts him in a coma; is her love for him enough to bring him back, will it even matter if his parents decide to DNR him, and could he really love her, too?

Arguably a little cliche, I know.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

Though I see absolutely nothing wrong with all those that have elected to go the self-publishing route, for me I want the stress of deadlines and the knowledge that an agent read it and liked it so much he or she thought they could sell it and a publishing company read it and liked it so much they thought it would sell. Also, I just want to say I have an agent. I totally hope it’s the Scott Boras of literary agents, too.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

So far, a couple of months. It may be an infinite amount of time, as it is not complete. I occasionally play around with short story ideas, and tinker with the beginnings of another possible book idea, so it is rather slow going.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I honestly have no idea. All the recently released YA has paranormal overtones, it seems like. Yes, you can consider this an unashamed admission that I read YA.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

In all honesty, all the writerly types on Twitter that are struggling to write (or have finished!) their own works inspire me. Whenever one of them allows me the privilege of reading something they’ve written, I will often complain that I wonder why I write when there are obviously so much better writers out there; in the end this inspires me to be better. Their constant words of encouragement, and beautifully eloquent works are necessary, and I love them very much for it.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Did I mention the LACK OF SPARKLY VAMPIRES? Also, despite that lack, this started as Twilight fanfic. Isn’t that a requirement to get a book published now? (It did not really start as Twilight fanfic.)

Now you know a little bit of what I’ve been working on.

I’m supposed to tag 5 others to do this, but I’m way too lazy to look up links, make sure they have not already done this, and copy/paste them into this using the WordPress iPhone app and Safari. If you read this, haven’t been tagged, and want to participate, CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED.

Happy 2013

Good morning, and welcome to 2013! I hope your 2013 is filled with love and happiness, and that all of your hopes and dreams are fulfilled.

With it being the official day every one makes all these resolutions that they quickly fail (on average by around January 24th I once read), I’m going to list my own resolutions here. I expect my family of 3 readers to keep me accountable. 🙂

Ok, without further ado:

1. I will run 1000 miles this year. That’s roughly 20 miles a week. I’ve never done that in one week, but I’m getting there. I am concerned my knees and ankles won’t hold up for this, as they are terrible.

2. I will not be content with just occasionally attending church. I don’t even remember the last time I went, even. Been at least 9 weeks.

3. I will read the entire Old Testament. Something I have always shied away from because prophecy is both hard and sometimes scary. This won’t be done in order; starting in Isaiah right now.

4. I will take a legit vacation this year. Most likely to the west coast. Still want to do Greece but I don’t see that happening.

5. I will blog at least once a week.

6. I will do a better job of keeping in touch with friends back home.

7. I will genuinely let a situation that often brings me down go.

8. I’ll write 5 days a week, and even post some of the fruits. 🙂

9. I’ll enter at least one writing contest.

10. School? Maybe? Fall? (I totally failed at this last time I resolved it).

11. I will gain 20 pounds of muscle. I think this is doable. Since joining a gym, I have put on some.

12. I will not be late to work. (Hahahahahahhahaahhaahhahhahahaahahhahahahahahahh)

Ok, I think this is all. Love you guys. HELP KEEP ME ACCOUNTABLE.


Is there anything scarier in the world than letting someone in to your soul? Especially if it is someone you admire and who’s opinion you value? What if that person takes a peek into your soul and doesn’t like what he or she sees? Anything more soul-crushing than that?

The tortured life of a writer….

Last Monday night, the 2011 college football season officially ended (the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game notwithstanding). Perfectly, as my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide took home the BCS Championship after absolutely destroying previously unbeaten LSU. Saturday, however, was the most depressing day of the year for me. Saturday is COLLEGE FOOTBALL. With the season over, it was the first of 32 or so that do not have any college football. No joke, I seriously get depressed this time of year for that very reason.

To that end, I will be attempting to remain positive this year. No football means more time to write. More time to write increases the chances of ever actually finishing my novel exponentially. That’s a good thing, right? I was able to write 7500+ words this weekend, despite taking a break to watch plenty of basketball. The fact that I have something that at least approaches a bit of a social life will help stave off the depression, too.

I have some hopefully good news for you guys, as well. I am actively working (albeit slowly–the novel and the short story I want to submit to places takes lot of my writing time) on another short story for you guys. You all seemed to like the first one (100+ views in 2 days), so I want to give you another one as a thank you of sorts. It will be in much the same vein as the first one, although I hope to be a bit more descriptive this time around…and maybe no one will possibly die this time; although I really enjoyed the ending of the last story I wrote.

I leave you all with a fair warning: I will go crazy in regards to march madness as we get into February and March. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I have never been a big risk taker. If you’re coming here from a link Twitter or from Facebook (which most of you will be), you may have noticed that on Monday I tweeted/posted a status claiming that this is the year I take risks. A few of you have asked what I’m talking about, correctly surmising that I had something specific in mind.

If you look at my bio on Twitter, I call myself a “wannabe author.” I want to change “wannabe” to “published.” That means I have to take some risks, and probably get rejected. A lot. Maybe forever.

Nobody likes being rejected, right? It’s been relatively rare in my life (the great 0-for-all-of-2011 slump notwithstanding) that I have been. I don’t know that my “fragile” psyche could take having a manuscript rejected countless times. At the same time, I think my giant ego needs somebody out there to tell me, “your writing sucks.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that several of you have read some of my writing and enjoyed it–without it I would not even consider doing what I’m about to do.

What the heck am I doing, anyway? I’m writing another short story/flash fiction and submitting it to the Georgia Review. They publish quarterly. I think to have any shot to grow as a writer, I need someone that has no biases towards or against me to read something I’ve written and tell me that it isn’t good enough for them. Hopefully, they’ll give some tips for improvement, too. I don’t know. Taking a chance is something that is very out of character for me, but, holy cow, what if my writing actually goes somewhere? I owe it to myself to grow as a writer and learn as much as I can about the process, right?

I’m a bit of an accomplished poker player, trying to look at this in a way that makes sense to me. The way to play winning poker in the long term is to know your odds and fold/play based on either expected value or pot odds. If the expected value of a play is positive, you play. It doesn’t mean you win every hand, or every session, but over the long term, you will. What exactly do I have to lose by doing this other than the cost of a couple of envelopes and a couple of stamps? That’s a positive expected value, in my book.

I’d be a fool NOT to….


*my apologies if I rambled and stopped making sense — it’s 6am and I haven’t even had any caffeine yet.

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone, I hope that your 2012 is filled with love and happiness.  Mine has gotten off to a great start; I had a great time at the New Year’s Eve party that I went to, and made it home safely.


One of the things many people do this time of year is make a set of New Year’s Resolutions.  Obviously, I wouldn’t mention this if I was about to share my personal list this year.  Here they are:


1. I will finish the first draft of my novel.  I do worry that when I sit down and read it from the beginning shortly after finishing it (which, for the record, I will not count towards resolution 2, heh) I will think, “OMG, THIS IS CRAP!” and burn it.  I’ve done that before after writing 70+ pages.

2. I will read 50 books this year.  By 50 different authors.  I have quite a few published authors that follow me on Twitter.  I will be picking up a few of their books.

3. I will blog more. (hard not to, as I’ve posted, what, 12 blogs total?) They will not be all about Sports, though a lot of them will be. 🙂

4. I’m going to be on time more.  I am notorious for literally sprinting into work at 3 minutes and 50 seconds after I’m scheduled to be there trying to clock in before the time clock hits the dreaded 4 minutes late mark (when we are officially counted as late).

5. I will write SOMETHING every day.  Besides just tweets, as I do that a lot.  Even after the first draft is completed, I will write something, even if it’s a short story or a poem or SOMETHING.  This will be very difficult for me to do, as I often forget my notebook when I go home to BHM.

6. I WILL ABSOLUTELY GO TO SCHOOL SOMEWAY SOMEHOW THIS FALL.  I will skip any night class I may be taking on August 30th and 31st, however, as that will be the day of the first college football games in 2012. 🙂  I’m 31.  I’m pretty darn intelligent.  It’s really stupid that I do not have a degree.

7. As a Christian, I will attend church more.  I already missed this morning’s service.  Left my phone in my living room, so the alarm did not wake me up. I will also be sure to read my Bible every day.

8. I will not worry about things I cannot control.

9.  I’ll actually organize my bookmarks in my browser.


This is at least a good start.  We’ll see how long some of these last.  I worry, especially, about #4, 7, and 8.  What are your resolutions for 2012?



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