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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!

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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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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.

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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….

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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.

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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.

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Hey everyone,

Today is National Short Story Day, apparently.  In honor of that, I am posting this one.  I would love feedback, even if you want to say I completely suck at writing! Bonus points if you’re a published author providing the feedback. 🙂



“Carrie, you look amazing,” and she did.

“Thank you, Chris,” she replied, “Shall we?”

We left. Carrie, it seemed, had always been a part of my life. We had been friends for almost 10 years, and after years of all of our friends giving us grief about being so close but never dating, or so much as a single kiss going on between us, had decided to go on an actual date. I was scared to death. She had always been the one person I told everything to, and we had gotten each other through so many major life events. I needed her. I was afraid of losing that if this didn’t work.  When I asked her out, she first called me a liar.  I assured her I meant what I was asking, then we pinky-swore that no matter what happened, we would be friends for the rest of our lives.

I had decided to keep it nice and casual for our first date. I figured it was going to be a little awkward, especially at first, so I thought a nice cliched dinner and a movie date would be perfect. I really just wanted to give myself as small an opportunity to make an idiot of myself as possible. If I could get through dinner, I’d have to shut up during the movie.

“How’s your mom?” I asked her, slightly annoyed at my feeble attempt at small talk.

“She’s much better, thanks. Can you do me a favor and relax? We’ve gone to dinner many times. We’ve seen many movies. Breathe.”

“I know. I’m sorry. You know I’m an idiot. I just want everything to go perfectly.”

“I’m on a date with the one person in the world who knows me better than anybody. It already is.”

With that, she rested her hand on top of mine, which, as always, was on the gear shift. My pulse quickened. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I just tried to concentrate on driving. She had never affected me, though I had always known she was an incredibly beautiful girl. I guess since I had always, until recently, thought of her as my best friend only, I had been immune to it. Now that I was at least exploring what feelings I may have had  for her, I was more attuned to her charms and beauty. Like how cute her little grin is when she’s shocked me in some way. She’s wearing it now. It’s driving me nuts. I really want to kiss her. Never thought I’d say that in a million years. She knows me. She probably knows what I’m thinking right now. I need to say something…

“So how about those Braves? That was a great game last night.”

“Yeah, Mecklenburg pitched a beauty. Can’t believe he carried a nohitter into the 7th against the Cardinals.”

“Yeah, he has absolutely stepped it up this season in a major way. 14-3, started the all-star game. He may carry us to a division title if he stays healthy.”

“It’s a contract year for him. I just hope he sticks around next season.”

“He will. He’s from Marietta, and went to college at UGA. This is home for him.”

At least we were having what was, for us, a perfectly normal conversation. Sports. She loved them almost as much as I did, and she knew what she was talking about. This conversation carried us all the way to dinner. I hadn’t lost the awareness that her hand was still resting on top of mine. She still had that cute little grin on her face, too, and she smelled like a little slice of heaven. Whatever perfume she was wearing, she had never worn before. It was incredible.

We sat in relative silence for a few moments as I drove us to Sal’s, a local Italian joint we frequented and loved.  It had been open for around 40 years; the owner had recently retired, with his son taking over.  The food never disappointed.  When we arrived and got out of the car, Carrie slipped her arm in mine and we walked into the restaurant as such.  I couldn’t help but smile like an idiot when she did that.

Business was pretty slow, and we were seated quickly.  We exchanged small talk over the menus and each ordered a glass of wine.  The wine served to loosen me up.  Conversation flowed, and I was certain that things were going better than I ever dreamed.  I don’t know if it was because we were actually on a date and I was paying more attention to her as a result, or what, but I was noticing things about her I never had before.  Like the way her eyes just sparkled whenever she smiled.  For that matter, I had never noticed how breathtakingly beautiful she was until tonight.  With easy, casual conversation, we finished our dinner and I paid.  When we left the restaurant, she slipped her hand into mine for the walk to the car.  It seemed to be the most natural thing in the world, almost uncanny how her fingers intertwined so perfectly with mine.  When we got to the car, I thought, “why in the world did we wait basically 10 years to do this?”  We left for the movie theater, which was a short drive down the road.  She immediately put her hand back into mine when I started the car.  I pulled it up to my lips and kissed it.  She sighed, a sound I recognized.  It meant she was happy and content.  It completely eased any lingering nervousness I had.  I was really looking forward to kissing her good night.

Just a couple of blocks from the theater, we came to a red light.  I didn’t really mind, as I was basically on cloud nine.  Things were going well.  The light turned green and I went.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get that kiss good night.  I never saw the other car.  At least we kept our pinky-swear.


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For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that seemingly all of a sudden I’ve been tweeting a lot about writing in general, and specifically about a little something called NaNoWriMo.

What the heck IS this NaNoWriMo, anyway?

It’s November. National Novel Writing Month. Apparently, for a work to be classified officially as a “novel,” it must be at least 50,000 words. The good folks at nanowrimo.org have, for the last several years, ran a “contest.” Always said you wanted to write a book? Do it. 50,000 words. In a month. That’s 1667 words a day. Don’t edit, don’t revise, just write.

There are a few rules, of course. You can plan all you want to beforehand, but the first word cannot be written until November 1st. The work must be fiction.

Here’s the best part about it: no one is going to actually read what you write. You upload your work to, basically, a computer that counts spaces. It gets to 50K, congratulations. You win. A certificate. That you print off yourself. that’s not really what nanowrimo is about. Your reward is that you did it. You finished a novel.

I’ve always kind of wanted to write a book. I’ve had some grand ideas about a story on time travel with a Biblical passage as its starting point. I quickly learned I know nothing about time travel, and it would have taken way too long to do the necessary research to write at all intelligently about time travel. I never even started to write the book. This year, I am determined to “win” nanowrimo. The first idea I had involves a poor guy buying an engagement ring then the girl pre-emptively breaks up with him. This spirals him into a depression before he is ultimately pulled out of it when Miss Right comes along. Not necessarily an original story, but some of the ideas I have had will be fun to write about. Even if no one else is remotely amused or entertained by it. I don’t even know that I’ll let anyone read it.

I was also hit with an idea a couple of days ago that I thought was so interesting that I immediately started writing. I was afraid that if I didn’t at least get something done, by the time nano finished it would be gone. It is a story of a couple on a date. There’s an accident, and one of them dies. Most of the rest of the book is that person’s life flashing before his/her eyes. I actually think this one has more potential than the previous mentioned idea, as I got downright emotional over some scene planning.

It’s funny to me that I’ve been struck with all these ideas lately. Maybe I didn’t mention this earlier, but: I AM NOT A WRITER. Seriously. Read some of my blog posts. It’s all drivel. There’s nothing good in my writing. Nothing good at all. Why in the world do I actually think that I could write a novel in the first place? Much less one that people may be interested in reading?

Happy Halloween, every one. 🙂

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It seems obvious to me that the push for 4 16-team “super conferences” has begun. This will completely change the major college football landscape. We’ve seen a 16 team football conference before — the WAC tried it in 1996. It failed. As a result, the Mountain West was born in 1998. This is what we know (some of this happened last year, and it’s not necessarily in the right order).

The Pac-10 began pretty publicly courting Texas to leave the Big 12. They hinted they were willing to leave. Nebraska, fearful they would be the odd man out in the event Texas left and the B12 dissolved, preemptively struck and joined the Big 10 (which, ironically, had 11 members at the time). Colorado, also fearful of the things Nebraska was afraid of (and, as a less attractive school than Nebraska, perhaps more accurately so), also strikes preemptively, and joins the Pac-10. Utah, out of the WAC, also joins the Pac-10, forming the Pac-12, and allowing a conference championship game. This gave the Big 10 12 teams, and therefore a championship game of its own. The Big 12 was reduced to 10 teams, so byebye championship game. (Confused?)

Texas forms the Longhorn Network and starts grandstanding about being “loyal” to the B12. B12 approaches TCU about joining the conference, TCU says no. They end up joining the Big East (giving it 9 members). The Big East starts considering a 10th member.

ACC raids the Big East — again. Pitt and Syracuse bolt the BE. This will give the ACC 14-teams as soon as all the kinks are worked out in this move.

Texas A&M wants in the SEC. They are *seemingly* content stopping at 13 for now. I know they are doing a schedule for 2012 assuming a 13 team league.

What I Think Happened / Is Happening

It is my belief that Texas is the power player here. I think Texas’ talk of leaving the B12 LAST year was just to get Nebraska out of the conference. I think TCU told the B12 yes IFF (not a typo) the Longhorn Network was more or less rechristened as the Big 12 Network. Texas said no. TCU did, too. Bad gambit by them joining the BE, as it will dissolve after all of this. Just can’t see them surviving after Pitt and Syracuse jump ship. Where will Rutgers, WVU, UConn, TCU, Cincinnati, Lousiville, and South Florida end up? Here we go. I know you’ve all been hoping I would list how I think the conferences will shake out.

Pac 16
Arizona State
Oregon State
Washington State
Texas Tech
Oklahoma State

Ole Miss
Mississippi State
South Carolina
Texas A&M
Florida State

Big Ten
Ohio State
Michigan State
Penn State
Kansas State

Atlantic Coast
North Carolina
NC State
Wake Forest
Virginia Tech
South Florida
Georgia Tech
Boston College
West Virginia

Notre Dame remains Independent

Baylor, Iowa State, and TCU get screwed.
As do the Big East non-football schools (Villanova, Marquette, etc)

More to come. This story is VERY fluid.

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If I counted everything correctly, I show going 34-5 last week. Not bad.

Thursday, September 8th

#9 Oklahoma State over Arizona

Friday, September 9th

Florida International over Louisville (bit of an upset)
#21 Missouri over Arizona State

Saturday, September 10th

#17 Michigan State over Florida Atlantic
Iowa over Iowa State
Kentucky over Central Michigan
#15 Ohio State over Toledo
San Diego State over Army
#8 Wisconsin over Oregon State
#16 Mississippi State over Auburn
North Carolina over Rutgers
Wake Forest over NC State
Tulsa over Tulane
Tennessee over Cincinnati
Minnesota over New Mexico State
Hawaii over Washington
Colorado over California
Purdue over Rice
#13 Oregon over Nevada
Air Force over #25 TCU — upset alert again!
Virginia Tech over East Carolina
Southern Miss over Marshall
#3 Alabama over #23 Penn State
#6 Stanford over Duke
#12 South Carolina over Georgia
Washington State over UNLV
Temple over Akron
Virginia over Indiana
#22 South Florida over Ball State
Northern Illinois over Kansas
Kent State over UL-Lafayette
Arkansas State over Memphis
#18 Florida over UAB
Navy over Western Kentucky
Georgia Tech over Middle Tennessee
BYU over #24 Texas — upset alert
#14 Arkansas over New Mexico
#10 Nebraska over Fresno State
Houston over North Texas
Vanderbilt over UConn
USC over Utah
Michigan over Notre Dame
Boston College over Central Florida
UCLA over San Jose State

There you are. 🙂

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