Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blogfest Tour

I was invited to participate in The Next Big Thing Blogfest Tour to tell you about my, well, next big thing! The author who invited me was Jan Morrill at  http://janmorrill.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/next-big-thing-blogfest/ When you're finished here, hop over to Jan's blog to read all about her exciting news regarding the January release of her book, THE RED KIMONO!

Now, back to the tour. Here are the questions that all of the blogfest tour writers are answering because we know you're salivating to know exacty what we're working on, right? Okay, here goes.

What is the working title of your book?
THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. I actually had a focus group at my house a few years ago, and over wine and pizza, several women read sample chapters and my suggested titles. I had secret ballots for input and the suggested titles tied between THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS and MEET ME AT COCONUTS.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
My brain. I've always had strong friendships with women so I wanted to write about three strong women who were close-knit and professional, yet whose personal lives were unraveling. That's how it is for all women, right? Please tell me it is.

What genre does your book fall under?
Women's fiction with elements of romance, suspense and humor. The hippie parents provide a lot of humor while the cop sets the mood for several suspenseful scenes. In fact, when I was writing this novel, I hadn't decided whether the cop, Tony, was going to be a good cop or a bad cop until the end!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
That's a tough one but what fun to dream big!

Reese Witherspoon for Alex, the blonde bank marketer who has a touch of OCD.

Julianne Moore is more like the personality of the divorced, redheaded Suzy, the wedding planner, but the women are thirty-something so maybe Amy Adams is closer to the right age.

Melissa McCarthy would be a fabulous Hope who hates her frumpy looks and constantly "babysits" her codependent, albeit hiarious, hippie parents.

Mark Wahlberg would be fantastic as Tony, the cop, but I might have to change his hair color.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Oh, boy. That's a tough one.

A wedding planner who can't find her own wedded bliss, a bank marketer who gets involved with a married cop and a high school counselor who enables her hippie parents will make you cheer for the unbreakable bonds of friendship as the thirty-something women meet every Thursday at Coconuts to deal with betrayal, tragedy, grief, and homosexuality.  Okay, so that's a bit convoluted but you try to write about three protagonists using just one sentence!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Three agents have requested a partial but I've yet to send it to them. In fact one asked over a year ago. *hangs head in shame* I am always and forever editing. Not really. That's a lie. I haven't touched my novel in two years and have worked solely on children's picture books and short stories due to a family tragedy. BUT I'm ready to get back to it. Rolling up sleeves, rear-end in chair...just as soon as the holidays are over!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Two years to write and another year to edit but I languished, gave myself several months off for holidays, travel or whatever reward I thought I deserved at the time. I truly work better with deadlines and fire-breathing bosses due to my stressful marketing background.

What other novels would you compare your story to within your genre?
I can't think of another novel per se, but if you like women's fiction books by Carol Snow, Madelaine Wickham or Jane Moore, you'll like this book.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
They say write what you know and I was a bank marketer, do have a touch of OCD and did date a cop. So there! But this is a work of fiction. Yes, it is.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
It's set in the Midwest and covers several serious topics including a stroke, betrayal, OCD and homosexuality, so eventhough it's women's fiction and a light-hearted, fun read for the most part, the characters tackle meaty topics. And there is a happily ever after for the romantics out there!

Next week, look forward to hearing about The Next Big Thing from my fellow friends and writers, Stephanie Jarkins at www.gothmomz.com and Shirley McCann at http://shirleymccann.blogspot.com

I hope you've enjoyed this installment of The Next Big Thing. :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Life Of A Battery

It's Friday Fictioneer time. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the cute photo prompt. Here's my 100-word flash fiction. Try it!

THE LIFE OF A BATTERY
By Beth Carter

AAA watched wide-eyed as Mom opened the batteries and dumped them into a big jar. For once, we won’t have a disastrous Christmas without batteries.

“Ouch” AAA whispered as she clanked against 9Volt.

Mom turned out the lights as the batteries elbowed for room.

“Stop snoring," said D.

“Quit shoving me," said C.

“Why’d you wake me? How’s a curvy girl supposed to get any sleep,” said D.

“You’re just jealous of my slim figure,” said AA.

“Ditto,” added AAA with a smirk.

“This is gonna be a long night. Where’s my Prozac?” added D.

“Shhh. How’s a battery supposed to get any sleep?” asked 9Volt.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nearing THE END

I'm curious. When you near the end of a novel, do you rush to finish or slow down to savor every word? I'm the slow-down type. I almost feel like I'm losing a good friend and can't bear for the book to end. I reread passages, put the book aside for a few days, and even go back to refresh my memory of certain scenes. The only exception to this is when I'm reading a suspense or thriller. The fast-paced action and wanting to know if they catch the bad guy (they always do) makes me speed up.

However, when I'm writing a novel, it's the opposite. I can't WAIT to type "The End."

How about you? Do you rush to finish a novel or slow down?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

For A Cold Day

Okay, I'm really late for Friday Fictioneers (so here's my Weekend Writer) offering. As always, we're challenged to write a 100-word story (or haiku) based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for this week's beautiful photo. Since I'm so late, I wrote a haiku and a flash fiction piece. Enjoy and please leave links to your stories in the comment section.

SOUP DAY
By Beth Carter

Think I’ll stay inside.
Pinging, lacy crystals form.
Soup sounds best to me.



THAT ISN’T SANTA
By Beth Carter

Six-year-old Dennis pressed his nose against the cold window. Ice pinged against the glass and lacy water froze on the pane. He stared into the dark sky and squinted, rubbing at the crystals to no avail.

“It’s time for bed, honey. Hurry or you’ll miss Santa.”

“But, Mom…”

Emma rubbed Dennis’ new buzz cut, then warmed her hands inside her red, fluffy robe.

“You know Santa won’t come until you’re in bed.”

“But.”

Emma pointed. “Look. I see him. He’s almost here.”

Dennis glanced back out the window and frowned at his mother.

“Since when does Santa drive a car?”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Snack Mix

My treat for you this spooky day is my favorite Halloween snack mix.

HALLOWEEN SNACK MIX

6 cups caramel corn
2 cups cashews (or peanuts)
1/2 cups raisins
1-2 cups candy corn

Comine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Optional: Place in clear, individual snack bags for kids or bake sales.

This is colorful, easy and delicious! Serves 8-10. Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

NEW BOOK CONTEST!


To celebrate the release of my new picture book, THE MISSING KEY, I’m having a CONTEST! I’ll give away three copies of my new book to three lucky winners! I’ll even personalize them for you or your child.

Here are the rules:

  • Guess where Mother and Amy find the elusive key.
  • To be eligible, post your answer in the comment section of my blog (if you don’t have Google, Blogger or Wordpress, you may post anonymously but be sure and leave your name after you guess!)
  • If you absolutely cannot figure out how to add a comment, send me a private message.
  • You may guess only once.
  • The deadline is Friday, October 19, 2012.
Note: Mother and Amy live in a normal household with everyday items. There’s nothing tricky but they do look high and low for that mysterious key throughout my book. And if you’ve already read my book, no spoilers please. If you do guess correctly, I’ll contact you privately so as not to ruin the surprise for those who plan to purchase my book. Thanks and good luck!

 THE MISSING KEY is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com



Friday, October 5, 2012

Details, Details


Okay. I haven't posted in two months. Thanks to my hubby who finally figured out how to sync the darn new Blogspot to the fancy Google Chrome, I am finally back on board!

Whew. Now, for the fun. It's Friday Fictioneer day. As always, writers from around the globe write a 100-word flash fiction piece based on a photo prompt. Read my story below. You'll find many others at www.madison-woods.com. Please post a link to your story in the comments here.
 


DETAILS, DETAILS
By Beth Carter

 The Medleys had been to two open houses. Mildred saved her dream home for last. Glen followed the click clack of his wife’s heels.

“What’s this?”

“A kitchen.”

“With paper lanterns and fish wallpaper?” Glen lifted his Cardinals cap, rubbing his bald head.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Mildred smelled the flowers and caressed the chipped blue vase.

Glen drummed his fingers on the island. “Why the hell is there an Oriental rug on this table?”

“You don’t know nothin’ ‘bout decorating.” Mildred stomped to the window. “See that view?” She folded her arms. “I want this house.”

“There ain’t even a damn coffee pot.”

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Discovery

It's Friday Fictioneer Day, and as usual, I saw something far different than most in the photo. Thanks to FF founder http://madison-woods.com and to fellow fictioneer Susan Wenzel for this week's photo prompt.


THE DISCOVERY
by Beth Carter

The discovery was astounding. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Anthropologists, professional sleuths, and research scientists gathered from around the world. They stood in silence in the Hawaiian heat while peering at two fossilized ears. Earlier, someone had drawn swirls in the dark sand, careful not to disturb the prize find.

Sherlock scratched his head while making copious notes.

Holmes clicked his tongue as he stared through a magnifying glass.

Watson leaned forward and cleared his throat before proclaiming in a booming voice: “It has been proven and well documented. After all these years, we now know Dumbo fathered a child.”

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Writers & Olympians


The Olympics games are in London right now. Have you caught the fever? Before I get into my comparison between writers and Olympians, let me explain my love for the Olympics. I am a true patriot. I love competition. And I admire athletes.

I've witnessed firsthand the sacrifices and very real blood, sweat and tears of athletes. As the mother of a professional dancer (and, believe me, dancers are athletes!) I watched my daughter give up school functions and outings with friends for YEARS to take dance classes six days a week. She had talent. She had determination. She had passion--just like the Olympic athletes who have given up so much to achieve their goals.

While watching the games, it occurred to me that writers and Olympians have more than a few things in common. Quite a few, actually, such as:

• Ambition
• Determination
• Passion
• Discipline
• Drive
• Motivation
• Teamwork
• Rejection
• Resilience
• Patience
• Talent
• Rewards

So, is writing an Olympic sport? Well, no, although writers who compete in the National Novel Writing Month challenge where they attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in November (or our own JANO challenge in January), might disagree. After drafting a novel in just one month, those writers surely deserve a gold medal.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Fictioneers: Sweet Tooth

It's Friday Fictioneer Day and I'm back on board! The goal is to write a flash fiction story using just 100 words based on a photo prompt provided by Madison Woods http://madison-woods.com/ Please give it a try and leave a link to your blog.



SWEET TOOTH
By Beth Carter

Edgar perched atop a barren branch, scouting the open field. His siblings, Lenore and Poe, had long flown the nest in search of tasty carrion.

Trying to wrinkle his beak in disgust, Edgar couldn’t bear to think about that maggot-infested decaying flesh. Lenore and Poe called him a food snob. So be it. Carrion is overrated and Edgar has a sweet tooth.

Spotting a fluffy marshmallow on a graham cracker covered with gooey chocolate, Edgar got excited and flapped his wings. Dipping down, he chomped the sweet confection whole. Immediately, he gagged, choked, and fell over dead. No more marshmallows. Nevermore.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's Your Excuse?

Excuses. We all have them. In fact, they run rampant for not finishing our novels, but today, I was inspired by a very successful author and hope you are, too. Keep reading.

Gazillion-selling, world-famous author Nicholas Sparks was interviewed by Anderson Cooper. I was amazed by his story. He is married with two children and previously worked in pharmaceuticals. He decided to "try" writing fiction "one more time" after seeing the finale of the TV show Cheers. Since he had a family and a mortgage to pay, he wanted to be realistic so he kept his day job.

Nicholas said he continued to work full time and wrote from 9 p.m. until midnight 3-4 nights per week. That's it. And he managed to complete THE NOTEBOOK during that timeframe in just six months! Unbelievable, right? The Notebook is one of my all-time favorite books and movies. If you haven't read the book nor seen the movie, do so immediately. You won't be sorry. I promise. But have a hanky nearby.

Other books by Nicholas Sparks include Message In A Bottle, Dear John, A Walk To Remember and in movies and bookstores now: The Lucky One. Nearly all of his books have been made into wonderful movies starring big-time celebrities. Sigh. Swoon. Dreams do come true.

Inspired? Me, too. No more excuses. Let's write now!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ORA Con 2012 This Saturday

ORA CON 2012 is this Saturday, June 23, at the Howard Johnson's on S. Glenstone in Springfield, Missouri. Presented by Ozarks Romance Authors which just happens to be celebrating its 25th anniversary, you won't want to miss this conference. But it isn't just for romance writers. Oh, no. We'll have authors, speakers and agents who represent westerns, paranormal, non-fiction, YA, thrillers, and of course, romance. Sigh.

Two big-time agents, Lucienne Diver, The Knight Agency, and Cori Deyoe, Three Seas Literary Agency, will be taking pitches. Breakout workshops are shown below and there's even a query letter gong show which I'm can't wait to see. Check out this link to register for Saturday's conference http://ozarks-romance-authors.com/ora-2012-conference-details/ or just pay at the door but the caterer would really like to plan enough lunches for everyone.

We begin with a booksigning on Friday, 4:30-6 p.m., at the Springfield, Missouri, Barnes & Noble. Now, where can you attend one booksigning featuring an award-winning western author, romance author of over 80 books, a paranormal author and international bestselling thriller author? I can answer that. No where. So join us! The booksigning is free. You'll have a chance to mingle with these authors, as well as local authors and win prizes.

2012 ORA CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

8am: Breakfast and Raffles
8:45am: Introductions and Opening
9-12pm: Pitch Sessions with Cori Deyoe and Lucienne Diver
9-12pm: Critique Sessions with Rob Thurman
9-10am: Leigh Michaels – Workshop: Self-Publishing – Tips, Tricks, and Tripwires
10-11am: Jennifer Brown – Emotion in Writing: Beyond the Heavy Sigh
11-12pm: Steven Law – Workshop: Publishing and Publicity
12-1pm: Lunch and Raffles
1-3pm: Pitch Sessions with Goldminds Publishing
1-2pm: J. Brown, C. Deyoe, R. Thurman and L. Diver – Panel: Negotiating the Agent/Author Relationship
2-3pm: Leigh Michaels – Craft Workshop: Plotting Without a Net
3-4pm: C. Deyoe, L. Diver – Query Letter Gong Show
4-5pm- All Speakers – Q & A Panel
5-5:30pm Raffle Drawings and Presentation of Awards.

Hope to see you at one or both events.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Mt. Bliss (A Friday Fictioneer Story)

It's Friday Fictioneer day compliments of Madison Woods at http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/desolation/ Read and post your flash fiction here and on her site. This week's breathtaking photo is by Doug MacIlroy, from Hawaii.
Martha stared at the snow-covered volcano. Ethan adjusted his backpack. “Ready?” Martha patted her pocket to make sure her phone was inside--just in case. After several hours, she said, "I’m starving." Ethan fished inside his parka. "Beef jerky?" "I'm a vegetarian." Ethan shrugged and bit off a chunk. Martha glared at him. "After ten years of marriage, you still can't remember that I don't eat meat?" "Actually, I do remember. I also have almonds but you're allergic to those. Good luck, Martha. I told you I wanted a divorce but you—" Martha had a feeling this hike wasn't to make amends. She shoved Ethan into the giant pit using Catwoman-like strength.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Back In Business

Seriously, I will probably type this to no avail. After a full month of no email and not being able to sign onto my blog, it seems my email is finally working. It's a long story. Short version: I was hacked and Hughes shut me down. I was able to receive emails but couldn't reply to them. For a month. Did I mention I was down for 30 DAYS? Then, Blogger decided to go and change itself. Come on now. Be nice to this non-techy girl. It told me to download Google Chrome which I did and Google Chrome even told me I was "awesome" for doing so. Okay, then. Work. Let's see what happens.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Girl Scouts' Six-Word Memoirs - Please Vote!


Recently, I had a book signing at the Believe In Girls Expo to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts. (We promptly went on a two-week vacation the following day, so I'm behind on getting this posted.) One of the activities at my booth was for the Girl Scouts to write a six-word memoir describing why they enjoy this sisterhood.

Nearly 80 Girl Scouts stood at my booth all afternoon, pen in hand, looking upward, shrugging, smiling, and saying how hard it was to write just six words. I overheard one dad telling his daughter, "Just write six words or less." I informed them it had to be six words exactly and explained the six-word memoir project. So, the girls did it. All 78 of them! I've narrowed the entries down to ten finalists. Please help me vote for two winners.

One will receive the book, I CAN'T KEEP MY OWN SECRETS, a six-word memoir book by teens famous & obscure, edited by SMITH Magazine. The other winner will receive a packet of Palace movie tickets. Without further ado, here they are:

"Girl Scouts better than Boy Scouts!" ~ Brianna
"Best memory of my entire life." ~ Emily
"Doing new things with my friends." ~ Kenzi
"Making friends that last a lifetime." ~Amanda
"Nobody can live without cookies, NOBODY!" ~ Dani
"Learning to be a great girl!" ~ Alley
"Girl Scout camping! Fun and Kool!" ~ Kayla
"Camping, friends, 100 years of fun." ~ Kaitlynn
"Thin mints are my favorite cookie." ~ Hannah
"Cooking, camping, cookies, s'mores and friends." ~ Joanna

Aren't they great?! Please vote for your two favorites by Fri., April 27.

Finally, I had a big basket for one lucky winner which included my picture book, nail polish, lip gloss, bookmarks, green and white socks, colored pencils, hair bands, toys and more. The lucky winner was Sierra pictured below. She was a delightful little girl whose dad, Danny, patiently spent the entire day with her around hundreds--possibly a thousand--excited, energetic little girls. She also told me she was going to share the basket contents with her brother. What a sweetie. Congratulations, Sierra!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Friday Fictioneers: Shell Shocked


The hard bench must have made a permanent indentation by now. I glanced at the tunnel that seemingly led to nowhere—or anywhere. I wanted to walk inside and escape.

I replayed our conversation. At the guardrail, Jonathan had slowed to a crawl. “We need to talk.”

Four words no one wants to hear.

“It’s over. We’re over.”

I stiffened, staring at my emerald-cut diamond. Tears stung my eyes. I couldn’t speak.

“I’ve met someone else.”

My heart plunged. Anger surged. I grabbed the handle. “Stop the car.” I flung the door open and glared at my fiancĂ©. “What's her name?

Jonathan stared ahead. “Mark.”

Monday, April 9, 2012

Inspiring Children

In late March, I read to second graders at Greenwood. Their curious minds always delight me and remind me why I write children's books in addition to novels. I always leave schools with a smile on my face.
After I read my book, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?, I asked the students what they wanted to be when they grew up. After all, I wrote this book to inspire children to dream big! One by one, they answered very specifically with careers such as professional tennis player to marine biologist to attorney. These were high achievers!

Then, I explained how to create a story starting with either a plot or a character. We decided our main characters would be a pig and a dog. The students named them Petunia (the pig) and Cookie (the dog). I talked about using the five senses when writing so the reader could really put themselves into the story--to show the story and not just tell it. I also talked about creating conflict to make the story interesting and a bit about pacing (i.e., removing the boring parts). When we talked about conflict, the students came up with some hilarious situations for the animals, and storylines took off in many directions.

I suggested they each write their own ending since they had the "bones" of the story. I was delighted when a boy (toward the end of my talk after we had moved on) raised his hand with yet another suggestion about the pig and dog's dilemma. He was really thinking about his story--and HE was the one in the beginning who told me he didn't like to write! Success.

Toward the end, we danced to a theme song that I'll talk about in a future post. Finally, there was a short Q&A where the students had insightful questions such as: "How did it feel to become published?" and "How long did it take to write your book?" and "How did you work with the illustrator?" in addition to many more very grown-up questions.

It was a great day. Thanks to Cecily Cornelius-White and Avery White for inviting me--and for taking me to lunch afterward!

Friday, March 30, 2012

BETTER THAN HUNTING

It's Friday Fictioneer Day. As always, the photo prompt is provided by http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com Here's my story (and it's 124 words--not 100 this time!)



Discouraged, Ray climbed down his deer stand. He heard shots all morning but hadn’t seen a deer. He stretched his aching back. Ray was in no mood to be chided about his first-hunt-gone-bad.

Twigs snapped as he walked through the woods. He caught his jeans on a barbed wire fence when a flash of rust and aqua caught his eye. It couldn’t be. His breath quickened as he walked toward the truck.

There in all its glory stood Ol’ Bess. The door creaked open. Ray ran his hand over the cracked upholstery and could almost smell her scent. He sat on the dusty seat and wiped cobwebs away. Ray felt Cindy’s soft arms around him. Now, Ray had a story to tell his buddies.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friday Fictioneers (A Day Late)

I'm joining the Friday Fictioneers a day late. Hopefully, a few will still be reading the posts. As always, the photo prompt was provided by http://www.madisonwoods.com Give it a try!



BADGES ARE HARD TO EARN

Samantha hugged her knees wishing she had listened to her mother. She could still hear her mom’s voice, “Wear long pants and layers. It’ll be cold out there.”

Always the rebel, Samantha instead wore shorts and a light jacket to Girl Scout camp. Her teeth chattered from the cold, damp air. The ghost stories didn’t help.

The bonfire crackled and Samantha jumped. She eyed the skinny, barren tree limbs. She’d have to be the weight of a squirrel for those limbs to hold her. She was stuck. All night. In the woods. To earn a badge.

At least they could serve some of those famous cookies.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ocean Haiku

As some of you know, my husband and I were in beautiful, sunny Florida for two delightful weeks. The second week, he took a Chapman's seamanship course which gave me plenty of time to reflect, read, and of course, write.

While walking the beach (white sand on the Gulf side and brown sand on the Atlantic side), I took in the warmth, sand, and blue water! I also met several interesting people (more on that in another post) and was especially entertained by the birds. I loved watching their rituals.

As promised, I'll share some ocean haiku I wrote. I hope some of these give you a feel for the beach and ocean. I wrote too many haiku to post here but chose a few favorites. Please tell me which one you like, and feel free to add some of your own in the comment section!

LUNCHTIME
By Beth Carter
Pelicans circle.
Dive headfirst into ocean.
Pluck fish from the sea.

WAVES
By Beth Carter
Rolling, boiling sea.
Tide foamy like shaving cream.
Splashes on my toes.

AHOY, MATEY
By Beth Carter
Ship on horizon
Friend or foe? Looms large and then
disappears from sight.

WHAT AM I?
By Beth Carter
Underwater blimp?
A pig or small elephant?
Manatee, of course!

A KID AGAIN
By Beth Carter
Buckets of brown sand.
Plastic cups of all sizes.
Castle emerges.


THE BOSS
By Beth Carter
Waves frothing at mouth.
Rolling, lapping angrily.
Telling all who's boss.


FOOTPRINTS
By Beth Carter
Footprints in the sand.
Leading to nowhere and back.
Wiped clean by the tide.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Friday Fictioneers

It's Friday Fictioneer time which means writers are encouraged to post a 100-word flash fiction story based on a photo provided by author Madison Woods at http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/ I encourage you to try this creative exercise and post a link to your blog on Madison's site (and mine) so we can all enjoy them.

Here's this week's photo:


DOGSPEAK
By Beth Carter

"Did you hear that?"
"What?"
Barney talked.
Jack stared at the half-brown, half-gray dog that had wandered up to their house the previous day.
"Don't be ridiculous." He continued to chop wood while Nelia poured water into Barney's bowl.
"Thank you."
"He did it again! Jack, come over here."
Jack peered over his glasses. "Have you taken up drinking?"
Nelia put her hands on her hips. "I'm serious. Watch." She gave Barney some crispy bacon.
Nothing.
She handed him another piece.
Barney crunched loudly but said nothing, his mouth set in a defiant line.
Jack shrugged, walked to the wood pile and started chopping.
"More." Nelia fainted.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kiltie Chili Supper & KGBX Women's Show

Last weekend was busy. Really busy. I had a book signing at two events which meant for days beforehand I was making lists, printing bookmarks, getting candy, buying crayons, loading my trunk, making forms for the drawings, promoting the events on Facebook, Twitter and via email, and ordering more books. It was harried. I was tired for DAYS afterward.

But it was fun.

Here are a few photos of the Kiltie Chili Supper & Silent Auction held Friday, February 24, and the KGBX Women's Show on Saturday, February 25, 2012.

Here's the basket I donated to the Kilties. I also donated the proceeds of my book sales that night. (See some of the Kilties in the background). The chili was good and they also held a silent auction and raised nearly $5,000. Go, Kilties! I was a Kiltie drum captain back in the day and will always support these girls. In fact, the Kiltie Drum & Bugle Corps is the OLDEST women's drum corps in the United States!


And..the winner of said basket (he bought it for his daughter. Sweet, right?!)

Here's my booth at the KGBX Women's Show (I had a lousy location but what can you do?) Standing next to me is my lovely mom who came to give me a much-needed lunch break during the trade show.

And finally the cutest picture of all...Avery White, the winner of my Women's Show basket. It's almost as big as she is!

I appreciate so many of my writer friends who stopped by--Stephanie who was first, Shirley and Carol who brought me COFFEE (xoxo for that!), Beverly who told me her granddaughter loves my book, thus making my day, V.J., DeLane, Cecily and Avery. I hope I didn't miss anyone. Your support meant so much to me during those two long days on my feet.

I encourage all writers to take advantage of the exposure provided by these events, and if you can, donate a basket and an autographed book to a worthy cause. Now, to put my feet up...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Fictioneers

Each Friday, author Madison Woods provides a photo prompt encouraging writers to submit a 100-word flash fiction piece. Add the photo to your own blog and try it. Please comment on my story below first, though! Then, add your own link to Madison's blog (and mine) so we can all enjoy it. http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/lorelei-100-words-audio/


TOMMY’S FATHER
By Beth Carter

Twigs snapped beneath Mia’s feet. Every weekend she and Tommy hiked in the woods. Suddenly, Mia’s young son stopped and pointed.

“Look, Mommy. There's Fred Flintstone's couch!”

Mia followed Tommy’s gaze and her eyes filled with tears. She had avoided this area for five years and had mistakenly taken the all-too-familiar path.

“Yes, honey. That does look like Fred Flintstone’s couch.”

Cold air combined with heavy memories caused Mia’s nose to run. She sniffled and rubbed Tommy’s head. He had never known his father; he had never known the man who had proposed to Mia on that very slab.

A day before their wedding, then-pregnant Mia had discovered a cryptic note from John: I’m sorry.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Thanks to everyone who participated in my Valentine's Day six-word memoir contest. Fantastic job, everyone. There were 14 participants who submitted 53 entries. Let me tell you this was a difficult decision, so I've chosen three winners as follows:

First place: "Opening my heart opened my life" by Karen McConnaughey

Second place (tie): "I said no to your ring" by Quill Shiv
"It's been a century since you" by Caroline Gerardo

They're all very different, yet powerful and poignant. And don't you want to know the backstory for each one? I do!

I was only going to choose one winner but that was impossible. As promised, Karen will receive a copy of IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT, More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure.

Quill Shiv and Caroline will each receive an IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT magnetic bookmark and my new picture book bookmark. Please send your address to me at bethcarter@hughes.net or message me on Facebook.

Congrats to everyone! Well done. I'll have another contest in a month or so. Thanks for participating.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love Is In The Air


In honor of Valentine's Day, let's combine romance with my other favorite thing--writing. And how about throwing in a contest, too!

You know my passion for six-word memoirs. Here are six six-word memoirs I wrote for Valentine's Day:

Chocolates. Roses. Champagne. Hugs still best.
What I love about you? Everything.
Mature love's better than puppy love.
Loves me, loves me not. Does!
Etched our initials on the mountaintop.
He thinks I'm the one. Ditto.

There. See, it's not hard. Please enter your own six-word memoir about Valentine's Day in the comment section, and you'll be eligible to win IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT a collection of 1,000 six-word memoirs by famous writers, celebrities and not-so-famous authors like me!

Deadline to enter: February 14 at midnight. (You may enter up to six six-word memoirs.) Drawing will be held February 15. Good luck.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Fictioneers

It's Friday Fictioneer time. Every Friday Madison Woods at www.madisonwoods.wordpress.com provides a photo prompt. Writers are encouraged to write a very short story (100 words). Here's mine. Give it a try. It's fun.


MEMORIES
By Beth Carter

Brad stared horrified at their home ablaze. Meanwhile, Erica honked the horn.

“Come on. Hurry!”

Brad noticed Erica’s set jaw and steely eyes. “Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.” Erica soon passed every car on the only clear road out of the inferno.

When she reached the canyon, Erica popped the trunk, pulling out hiking boots and an ax.

“What the hell are you going to do with that?”

Erika positioned a bandana over her mouth and motioned for Brad to follow her.
“We’re going to cut that tree down. When we started dating, you etched our initials in it, remember? That fire isn’t going to get everything.”

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tell Me A Story

My writer friend, Jan Marler Morrill, has her own version of show and tell every Tuesday. She provides an intriguing photo and written prompt. Writers are encouraged to submit a story based on these prompts. The link is http://jansthoughtsovercoffee.blogspot.com/2012/01/telling-tuesdays-13112-she-felt-sick.html?showComment=1328042935718#c833707139701219071

Check out her blog to see this week's prompt based on the restless sea which, by several accounts, is causing seasickness, morning sickness and wrecking havoc in general. Here's my story:

Sylvia grabbed the slippery gold railing in an attempt to steady herself. The boat bobbed like a cork in the ocean. She lost her footing on the wet planks and hot coffee sloshed through her white crocheted cover-up and onto her new peach bikini. Damn! That’s hot. She jumped back, steadied her cup and attempted to wipe her cover-up with her hand.

The creaking cabinet doors in the galley alerted her that someone was up. The big-bellied captain groused through the cupboard and sang an Irish jig, seemingly unconcerned about the weather. Tina, the toned, young first mate bent over (yet again) except not in front of Peter’s face this time. Tina grabbed the railing with one hand while the wind caught a basket of croissants. They skittered across the deck and over the side—now fish food.      

Seriously? We’re going to eat at a time like this? The salt water stung Sylvia’s eyes and her now-wet bangs stuck to her forehead. Why Peter thought it was a good idea to charter a small boat during hurricane season was beyond her. She had done the prerequisite spray tanning and had gotten a mani and pedi. But his sudden interest in chartering a boat came out of Neverland.

The restless, dark swells grew taller and angry white caps lapped the boat in every direction. Sylvia’s stomach did back flips. How could Peter sleep through this roller coaster? She decided to awaken him and took one last sip of the now-cold coffee. She covered her eyes with her hand and looked in every direction. The restless sea was far and wide. Before Sylvia turned to go downstairs, strong fingers grabbed her upper arms and shoved her overboard.
 
That's it. A huge thanks to Jan who has provided at least three prompts this month that I plan to use for my JANO novel. Now, it's your turn. Tell me a story and please copy it and add it to Jan's blog as well. Happy sailing!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fictioneer Time

Here is today's photo prompt for the Friday Fictioneers. This was a tough one. Here's my 100-word entry. Please try it and see the other entries at http://susielindau.com. Susie is guest hosting today for Friday Fictioneer founder Madison Woods.


TALL COTTON
By Beth Carter

Oscar’s neck ached from staring up at the fortieth floor windows. He scratched his head. “Ted, why do you s’pose Trump has to buy such tall buildings?”

Ted switched his mop and bucket to his left hand. “’Cause he can, I guess. What now, boss?

Oscar reached into his pocket, pulled out a blue kerchief and wiped his forehead. “Give me the bucket and go get a ladder. A tall one.”

Ted set the bucket at his boss’s feet. Sudsy water sloshed onto the shiny, tile floor. “I guess it could be worse. One of us could be Donald Trump’s barber.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My First Online Interview

Okay, I'm excited. Award-winning author Jan Marler Morrill interviewed little old me. You can read the post on her blog today at http://jansthoughtsovercoffee.blogspot.com/2012/01/interview-with-author-beth-carter.html

Please join us for a virtual latte and learn about my writing and marketing background, my new picture book, the illustrations, my routine, my published work, and more.

One thing I learned--okay two things--Jan is a sweetheart to promote my new picture book, and I blather on too much. My answers were too long. But I hope I can hold your attention long enough for you to comment because if you do, you just might win a free, autographed copy of WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?! Be sure and comment by February 1 to be eligible.



Thanks, Jan, for interviewing me and thanks to everyone for your ongoing support.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday


Every Friday, author Madison Woods posts a photo prompt to encourage writers to create a 100-word flash fiction story. Read all the great flash fiction on her site at http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/january-13-2011-100words/ and join the Friday Fictioneers!

Here's my entry:

FAMILY REUNIONS
By Beth Carter

Lil' Acorn hates family reunions. He feels like a misfit. Relating to his half-cousins, Rocky, Rolling Stone, and Pebble, is next to impossible. All they want to do is sit around like, well, rocks. Meanwhile, Lil' Acorn is itching to do something. Anything.

"Watch this, Pebble!"

Lil' Acorn proudly displayed his shoot. "Look. I can make it change colors from yellow to red. Cool, right?"

Rocky and Pebble sat there stony faced as usual. Boring cousins. Lil' Acorn wished he could kick one of them.

He looked toward Rolling Stone. Again, no response. Lil' Acorn stared at the dirt wishing he knew the time. "Man, this is one boring family reunion."

Okay, that's my weird entry. Give it a try. Let's write!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MAKING THE BIG BUCKS

Excitement! I snared a first place win at the Sleuths' Ink holiday party--and I was paid $1 per word! Not bad, right? In fact, that's big bucks for a contest! Never mind that it was hint fiction (25 words). Still. I'm thrilled. I won first place and I'm humbled by everyone who voted for my entry.

The Sleuths' Ink holiday contest required members to write a 25-word story that contained a crime and a holiday. Want to read my winning entry? Here 'tis:

BUT OFFICER…

“Officer, it was target practice because my husband wanted venison for Thanksgiving." I can’t help it that I mistook the lying cheat for a deer!

By the way, I adore writing hint fiction. Do you? It's fun and forces us to be concise. I encourage you to seek out hint fiction contests. Do you have any contest news you'd like to share? Please do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another New Year. Another Chance.

Inspired by my friend, Jan Marler Morrill, who has a new blog featuring haiku at http://haikubyhaiku.wordpress.com, here's my haiku to celebrate the New Year:

STARTING OVER
By Beth Carter

Fresh start. New, clean slate.
Promise of new beginnings.
Must be the New Year.

Notice the repetition of the word "new." That was intentional. Don't you love fresh starts? A chance to improve yourself or change your unproductive ways? I do. Care to add your own haiku celebrating, embracing, or even dreading 2012?