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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1,001 NOT allowed

I had a new experience lately – writing short-short stories. By definition that means 1,000 words or less. Yeah, me, Miss Descriptive as in I can’t even write an email less than 1,000 words much less an entire story. But was it ever fun!

I decided to enter a contest sponsored by ‘Family Fiction,’ a digital magazine pertaining to authors, books and movies for people seeking family centered entertainment. The rules are that I must write a short-short story with some element of romance.  Once that is done and I submit it along with my entry fee, it goes to a team of volunteer readers, three of them I think. These readers classify the story as either “acceptable” or “unacceptable” as to the content. That means I couldn’t use any bad words or have any ‘racy’ scenes. Not really a problem for me. These readers also rate the story from 1 to 5. I don’t know the ratings. If the story is classified as acceptable by all three readers it then goes to the internet link where it can be accessed by the public. That’s where you all come in.

See those 3 links in the upper right corner there, just above my Pinterest link? It’s that easy. Click on a link, read the story and rate me with either a thumbs-up or thumbs-down vote. You decide – I’ll never know unless you tell me. I really would appreciate your thumbs-up vote, though!  Here’s what happens. The contest deadline is August 31 so between now and then people will still be entering and the list of stories will be growing.  The stories stay there to be voted on until September 30. The 200 stories with the most thumbs-up go on to the next (3rd level) of the contest.

There are 5 levels in all and lots of cool stuff for winners but right now my focus is on level two and getting those thumbs-up votes. My friends might vote for me twice but it’s not allowed. Everybody gets one vote per story. So here’s what I’m asking. Vote thumbs-up for one or all of my stories. When you go to the link to read them there is a link at the end of the story where you can send it on to YOUR friends. Please do, if you’ve got any friends that enjoy this kind of thing.   Thanks! 

If you’ve made it this far you now get to hear about my experiences writing these stories. One of them started out as a 4500 word story that I had to cut word by painful word down to 1000. Ouch. One of them I made up in a conscious effort to write a 1000 word story. It came out to 1800 words. More painful cutting. The third, I dreamed it one night, wrote it a few days later, cut the 1200 words down to 1000 and done. So – can you guess which is which is which? I’ll tell you if you guess right.  Email me at ksucindy(at)excite(dot)com.

Send me an email or leave a comment and tell me what you think of the stories. Love to hear from you and any of your friends you forward the stories or the blog post to. By the way, this blog is just 553 words. I’m getting better at this!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4th Fanatics: What if?

Every year around mid-June, a strange phenomena occurs at my house. It's called obsession and it has something to do with fireworks. Shooting them, sorting them, selling them, buying them, displaying them - life at the Regnier's is all about fireworks. So some of you that understand this behavior are already asking, "So is this a problem?" Well, yes, kind of. You see, I don't share it. I live with it, I listen to it, it consumes my life for two weeks out of the year but I just don't get it. It amazes me that people get so much joy out of blowing up a little piece of cardboard wrapped around explosive.
Party pooper? Yeah, I've been called that and worse. I don't know the difference between artillery and missiles. I don't know why a square box that makes colored sparks is called a cake. I don't understand the lingo such as brick, case, package, unit. I can't fathom the fascination of it.
OK - I'm as patriotic as the next person and I can remember enjoying fireworks when I was a kid. It's just that the kids in my house never seem to grow up when it comes to fireworks. I love the fact that my husband puts hours upon hours into putting on the annual community fireworks event in Bennington that brings so much enjoyment to so many. I  like it that he runs the fireworks stand in our garage to enable us to present "Celebration in the Skies". I even kind of enjoy watching a firework or two, especially if it's purple.
So, I've come to the conclusion that my aversion to fireworks is not really an aversion to fireworks at all. It's simply a by-product of summer heat. Anyone who knows me knows I don't tolerate heat well and that is a definite understatement. I get headachy, my stomach hurts, I think I'm going to melt and that's after the first five minutes. After ten minutes I turn into nothing but a pile of grouchies and sweat. Heat and I do not get along and guess what the weather in Kansas is like nearly every July 4th?
I had one of those "What-if" moments this 4th of July (the morning our air conditioning broke) while I was sitting outside trying to look like I was doing something productive for the fireworks stand. (BTW, thank you Steve, for coming to fix our a/c so quickly. I was ready to move to Alaska. Steve was my hero of the day!)
Back to the what-if. Imagine with me for a moment what our celebration of Independence Day might be like if our forefathers had signed the Declaration of Independence, oh, say in mid-January. We could have sledding parties instead of backyard barbecues. We could watch football games on TV instead of scorching at a baseball field. Hey, maybe we could even have a fireworks display where we all sit around in our parkas covered up with blankets as we oooh and ahhh at the sky. Furthermore, we wouldn't even have to wait till 10:00 at night. We could have our fireworks show at 7:30 then get home at a decent hour. Just think how much more enjoyable the fireworks stand would be if you could come inside a nice warm garage, maybe about 30 degrees, to shop in 'climate controlled' comfort. We could even serve hot chocolate and coffee in case someone was wimpy about the 'cold.'
So what were they thinking, Patrick Henry and John Hancock and the others? It would have been so easy to just schedule their big moment about 6 months earlier. Who's to say it might have even aided their cause. Oh, I do wish someone had suggested it back in 1776.
But, I guess our forefathers had something else in mind. Our independence and our freedom. We as Americans should grasp this and hang onto it with all we're worth no matter what time of year it is. Fly your flag, support our troops, thank God we live in a country blessed beyond what we can fathom. The signers of the Declaration of Independence laid a foundation for freedom we should never take for granted. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Psalm 33:12
OK - so they didn't think of quite everything, but they sure got the important stuff right. Be proud to be an American!