Sunday Dilemma [fiction]

Once when she was twelve, an early Sunday romantic dream left her misbehaved and secretive by the time she and her parents left the house.

They spent the bright and hot morning at Uncle Brian’s spacious and opulent Full Gospel Church of the Disciples of Christ. The place was quietly air-conditioned at a comfortable sixty-five degrees. Sunlight shown through rows of stained-glass windows and reflected off highly polished blonde hardwood walls. Sarah and fifty others sat in a rich, spiritual flavor, on rows of pews covered with cushioned white leather. This was no place for children.

She sat quietly through song and prayer and Uncle Brian’s sermon about sin, how it corrupted the corruptible and damned their souls to eternal hellfire. She listened to an intense preaching about Jesus rising from the dead and becoming savior to anyone seeking salvation from that awaiting hellfire. Sarah shut her eyes and saw herself standing alongside a busy Jesus rescuing lost souls from a fiery damnation that looked a lot like the inside of a spewing volcano. This was not a place where they sacrificed virgins. She felt safe. Almost.

Recalling the dream caused her to flinch between her mom and dad, but she kept her eyes closed. She had done nothing wrong. It had been a dream, after all, likely caused by her hormones taking orders from her DNA. It was her biological clock’s alarm reminding her that she was female and old enough to bear children.

But her parents and the rest of society said otherwise. Which is why she read romance novels under her bed covers, sneaked peaks at Internet porn, and wrote erotic stories on her laptop.

Her face burned. Would the man from her oversized Bible throw her into the spewing lava for thinking about sex?

Uncle Brian’s sermon was long. Her anguish was longer. Reaching the right age would be longest of all. Somehow, she would survive.

Being Owned [jokes]

We, the marketing corporations of the world, would like to ease some of your financial burdens as we force you to shop our stores out of commercial necessity.

The following list should ease some of those buying burdens.

The key is timing your purchases:

  • September—The best deals on school clothes are at the end of the month. Hold off until then and you’ll save big, unless we decide to keep prices up.
  • October—This is the month to do your Christmas shopping. Do your Christmas shopping now, damn it!
  • November—Wool and fur clothes, including coats and suits come down significantly this month. We promise to keep PETA at bay with our artificial attire to make your shopping experience as pleasant as possible.
  • December—This is a good time to buy or lease a new car. Just remember to keep your credit score in good standing. Flaggers will be flogged on the spot.
  • January—Traditional after Christmas and New Year bargains include suits, linens (white sale), appliances, and furniture. But only on imported merchandise, so buy up that crap so we don’t have to freight it back!
  • February—The season of love brings with it big reductions on china, glass, silver, mattresses, and bedding. You know you don’t want to disappoint your lover. Ahem! I said YOU DON’T WANT TO DISAPPOINT YOUR LOVER!
  • March—Watch for special preseason promotions for spring clothing. We’ll do our best to make sure you don’t miss them.
  • April—Sales begin again after the Easter holiday, especially on clothing. Buying socks and underwear is almost a steal. But don’t steal. I mean it!
  • May—Spring cleaning means specials on household cleaning products. Purchase $100 or more and we’ll split the cost of your ambulance trip to the ER.
  • June—Shop for furniture. Semiannual inventory is on the way in. Old items must go. Right now!
  • July—Sportswear, sporting equipment, and garden tools and supplies take noticeable dips. Unless we find it necessary to increase prices. You know we can.
  • August—lf you are in the market for a car, August is clearance time on current models, especially the ones cluttering the lots. Also: Look for deals on patio furniture, lawn mowers, yard tools and camping gear. You’ll want to clutter up your garage and basement quickly before those prices skyrocket again.

Another Move [fiction]

Not long after police released Sarah from jail, she posted an announcement on her MySpace site, telling her followers she had a new job offer (one that would cause her to move again). Emails told her to go. But she chewed on her fingernails while she mulled over what was best for her: stay put and grow roots, or go where she would be a stranger once more.

She swam in anxiety over it. On the plus side, the new job was a move up the ladder of success, and a move that would make her mother happy. She hasn’t done a lot in her life to make Mom happy, so it squeezed her soul to think she would hurt her once again if she decided against accepting the job. A definite minus.

If she took the job, she would be one of the youngest employees working this sort of job. A positive? Negative? She wasn’t sure, but OMG! What would her new colleagues think of working with someone only 26 years old? These people were in their thirties to sixties and a lot more experienced.

*Gulp.*

She had three days to decide.

*Another gulp.*

It all seemed happening too fast.

When she had started working at the NYC bank at New Rochelle in 2002, she figured she would still be there. But then she was promoted to Chicago three years ago. She still had suitcases that needed unpacked.

Dad had been a Navy man, so she knew all about relocating. Mom hated it and complained when he got new orders. Those complaints echoed in her ears as she took her suitcases from under her bed and readied herself for another move.

Come Wattpad with Me

I like online sites that let writers/authors post their writing/books free without taking control of the content. Wattpad is one of those sites, which I joined a couple years ago. It was during the same time that I created an author page at Goodreads, and I spent nearly all my online time there, listing my books, adding my blog, and letting all my readers and Facebook fans know about it. I did nothing with my Wattpad page, which was a mistake.

Most of the problems with Goodreads arose when I changed the titles of some of my books and took others off the market. These were e-books, not hard-copy books, and sold through Amazon, though I did sell a couple of titles at B&N. I wrestled long with the Goodreads librarians to keep my readers and fans abreast of those changes, which, after months of begging, the librarians refused to do. Original titles stayed, they told me. So did out-of-print books (their term for my e-books taken off market). To do differently would upset the libraries there. Frustrated, I ended my association with Goodreads. My author page still exists there, complete with all the incorrect listings of my books.

LibraryThing is another online library where authors can list their books. They allow authors full control of their pages. Where Goodreads is Hell, LibraryThing is Heaven. So, while I happily updated my books there, a reader/fan asked me about my Wattpad page—the one I ignored for two years.

If, by some slim chance you’re unfamiliar with Wattpad, it’s a writing community in which users can (in Wattpad’s own words) “discover and share stories: a social platform that connects people through words. … With Wattpad, anyone can read or write on any device: phone, tablet, or computer.” You can read and write stories, articles, poems, even fan fiction, and comment and like what you read. You can even join groups of your favorite genres.

As of this post, I have two followers and I’m following four people. I have five short stories there and more to add. I have far to go to build my readership/fan base. If you are at Wattpad, let me know. I would love to hear from you.