Wednesday, October 25, 2023

52 Short Stories or Why Do I Do This to Myself?

Ray Bradbury, among many other writers, suggests short stories as an excellent way to practice one's writing.  

"The best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you can write one short story a week - it doesn't matter what the quality is to start, but at least you're practicing and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. Can't be done. At the end of 30 weeks or 40 weeks or at the end of the year, all of a sudden a story will come that's just wonderful." - An Evening with Ray Bradbury

He may know a thing or two as he published over 600 short stories and 30 books, among other works. 

Basically, he's saying write every day. He wrote a minimum of 1,000 words every day since the age of 12.

I need constraints and goals to function and be productive. Without them, there are just too many choices, and I dream my life away.

I did this in 2021 and wrote 17 short stories using the Reedsy prompts. You can find them all HERE.

REEDSY has great weekly prompts. They'll even send them to your email to make it easier on you. You can submit them to their site for free or enter their contest to win prize money. 

So, here's my SMART goals related to short stories:

SPECIFIC - I will write a new short story a week.

MEASURABLE - A new idea, once a week, between 1,000 and 3,000 words in length.

ACHIEVABLE - I've done it before, so I can do it again. And it's not to perfection, it's to done.

RELEVANT - This speaks to writing each day and my purpose of getting things out of my head and on paper.

TIME - The completion date for each story is the end of the day on Friday.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Writerly Birthday Haul


My 65th birthday was on October 2nd. 
My birthday cake:

Above, you can see my writerly-related gifts.
A metal road sign
Favorite Seashell Chocolates
Two new stickers
Anti-Writer's Block Dice
Earrings from the cover of my first book

The specialty items were found on Etsy

I am well pleased.

And here's a fun little video of them all.

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

"Changes" - Self Portrait

"Changes" - Self Portrait - Vanessa Victoria Kilmer 20231003
Metallic Acrylic Pouring Paint on Strathmore Mixed Media Paper 184#
9" x 12", done without cleaning the brush or letting it dry between colors

  In his art class this semester, 
my grandson was studying the portraits done by 
the man who painted the official portrait of 

His signature style involves the use of repetitive patterns
 in the backgrounds of his portraits.

Whenever my grandson has an art piece to do, 
we do the assignment together. 
It's rather challenging for him because he is colorblind 
and that frustrates him immensely.
So part of what I try to show him 
is adjusting for these things.

I have dyslexia and dysnomia,
only discovered when I was in my thirties.
I learned my own ways to compensate for both
from the moment I became interested in books at the age of two,

Sunday, September 03, 2023

A Wrinkle In Time - hamming it up

My grandson is an actor. In order to support him, my daughter and I are also acting in the local stage production of A Wrinkle In Time with him.

My daughter and grandson are on stage every night of the production. I'm on a few nights.

If you are in the Jacksonville area, come see us.

You can get your tickets HERE.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Thursday, June 15, 2023

The Bastard's Battle - I've Done It Twice Now


The Shadow Sword Trilogy - Book 2

It's officially official. I wrote and 
published a second book.

It's available on Amazon in 
paperback and ebook formats.

While Kingdoms in medieval Europe jockey for supremacy via war and marriage, 
Eryk struggles to live up to his family's expectations. 
Born a bastard, he feels like a pretender to his newly acquired title. 
He strives to fulfill his duties to keep the ones he loves safe and secure.

When Nicolette, his childhood friend and secret sweetheart, 
shows up after years of silence, asking for aid to hide a child, 
he agrees to help. 

But can he keep how he feels about her a secret 
since he believes he's not good enough for her?

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Show & Tell - the Prince of Procrastination

 I'm always doing something other than 

what I tell myself I want to be doing.

Like right now, I claim to want to start

Book 3 of The Shadow Sword Trilogy:

Unforgiven Love,

about Jon & Stefan.

The Bastard's Battle has been uploaded to 

Amazon and should be ready soon in paperback and ebook.

Instead of writing, 

I'm showing you this adorable Soap Saver I crocheted.

It's made from 100% cotton.

The soap is an amazing lemon grass goat's milk soap.

If you'd like to make you own, You can find the video instructions

I have written an opening paragraph of 77 words, 
so stop yelling at me, voice inside my head.

Monday, June 12, 2023

New Book Coming Soon - The Bastard's Battle


(not the final cover)

The Bastard's Battle
The Shadow Sword Trilogy - Book Two

All of the edits are done. 
The guts for the paperback and the ebook are formatted.

The only thing left is the final cover design.

We do all of the steps ourselves 
(my daughter, Erika, and I.)

We should be publishing by the end of this week.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Side Quest Saturdays - An Introduction

 A new feature. You may join in the adventures.

I'm writing a bunch of random tasks on cards 
and putting them in a jar. 
Every Saturday morning, 
I will draw one out and commit to accomplishing 
that side quest by the end of the following Friday.

Here is the first one.

Say "Hello" to 5 strangers.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Friday Five - Movies

 I've seen more movies in the last few months 
than in the last several years.

Here they are in reverse order:

I was really enjoying this until the end. 
The action was great as well as the feels.
Momoa's character is hilarious.
The end ended rather abruptly.
That really pissed me off.
It was super unexpected.

Oh, my.
I love Rocket.

So much fun.
Definitely lives up to my image of the game.

John Wick is so full of 
destruction and mayhem.
There is great joy in the fantasy of 
being to beat the shit out of your enemies.

The graphics were wonderful.
The story was blah.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Friday Five - What's Your Spirit Animal?

The butterfly is my spirit animal. 
Always has been. 
And, yes, Virginia, insects are animals. 
That takes care of the teaching portion of our show.

An origami butterfly 
made by my daughter sitting on 
the custom glass pen and ink well 
she commissioned for me.

When I was a child, the name 
Vanessa was very uncommon.
Jonathan Swift is credited with creating 
the name in 1713 for his lover 
Esther Vanhomrigh in a poem he wrote dedicated to her.

Vanessa became a butterfly genus in 
1807 which includes 22 species. 

I always liked the idea that Phanessa 
was the mystic goddess of an ancient Greek brotherhood.

Butterflies represent change and 
the constant evolution of the soul.

My mother had this little pin. 
I took it from her jewelry box when 
I was quite young and made it mine. 
Hence we have my avatar.

The Vampire Butterfly
I have teeth.
I've been known to draw blood.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

The End is Only the Beginning

The first draft of The Bastard's Battle is complete.

It must rest a bit before the final edits.

I like the way it ended.

This week, it's time to plot and outline Book 3 
in The Shadow Sword Trilogy, 
Unforgiven Love, Jon, and Stefan's story.

I have a script to write for a local film festival, too.
A possible submission for a local event.
More on this later once I figure out what's going on. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

Friday Five - Bad Habits in the Morning

I've developed some habits that I engage in first thing in the morning that I don't like because they bring little value to my life and they don't remain in the morning. They suck up hours of my day.

1.  My morning routine starts with coffee. While I often think I want to give it up entirely, that's not the truth. 

I have reduced how much I drink, though. I used to have four cups of coffee before noon. My cups of coffee means 16 oz each times four. That's a whopping 64 oz. I'm down to two 8 oz. cups. That's reasonable. Less than that, and I feel like a zombie or a sleepwalker. 

I do drink my coffee black like a true sociopath. Cream and sugar make it dessert.

2.  I inherited my mother's joints (not the good kind, puff puff.) I have a bad left knee that will eventually need some doctoring. I get a sharp stabbing pain in my right hip. The joints in my shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, etc, feel hot when I touch them and ache when a storm's on the horizon. Have done for ages and not just because I aged.

When I moved to Florida, I started adding collagen powder to my coffee. I did it for 6 months. Not everything went away, so I went off it for a month. Yeah, I'm back on the powder.

Feeling like a knife is being wedged into your hip joint makes sleeping difficult. A knee tight with fluid makes walking unpleasant. 

I'll let you know if it improves my skin. I didn't pay attention to that before.

EMails, News, Facebook, oh, my.

3.  There's never anything important, urgent, or desperately interesting in my Inbox, so why oh why am I compelled to open the damn thing up? Does it make me think I'm starting work? It is the first step on that path to Wasted Time, a destination I no longer wish to visit.

4.  I admit it. I am addicted to the "What horrible thing is happening now?' syndrome. Knowing it, especially first thing in the morning (or late at night when I can't sleep), is in no way helpful or healthy. I'm striking this activity off my ToDo list

5.  Facebook sucks up hours of my time. I have to figure out a reasonable solution for this behavior. I like it, so I think I'll make it some sort of limited reward. Details to follow.

These last three things will be activities I engage in only AFTER I finish writing for the day. That sounds like a good place to start. 

I did finally delete the blue bird. I consider that a win.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Friday Five - Words of Wisdom from Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh wrote his brother, Theo often. 
You can find many of his letters at the site 
van Gogh's letter: unabridged and annotated.

"I'd like to walk with you there to find out 
whether we look at things the same way."

"In life and in painting too, 
I can easily do without the dear Lord, 
but I can't, suffering as I do, 
do without something greater than myself, 
which is my life, the power to create." 

“What am I in the eyes of most people — 

a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — 

somebody who has no position in society and will never have; 

in short, the lowest of the low. 

All right, then — 

even if that were absolutely true, 

then I should one day like to show 

by my work what such an eccentric, 

such a nobody, has in his heart."

"... find things beautiful as much as you can, 
most people find too little beautiful."

“I also believe that it may happen 
that one succeeds and 
one mustn't begin by despairing; 
even if one loses here and there, 
and even if one sometimes feels a sort of decline, 
the point is nevertheless to revive and 
have courage, even though things don't 
turn out as one first thought.”

*Images are photographs taken at the

Thursday, April 20, 2023

I am a Techno Wizard

 Look at me with the QR Code skills.

I used these to make some car window decals
for some advertising.

I'll show you when I get them.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Friday Five - How You Doin'?


1.   I wrote ten chapters this week, two a day, for a total of  12,500 words. 
I have about ten chapters left, so the first draft of 
The Bastard's Battle should be done by next weekend.

I worked out four days this week. 
Monday and Wednesday were cardio days. 
Tuesday and Thursday were weight days with our trainer at the local YMCA.  

Sore shoulders and cramping feet, but yeah, this is good for me. 
Valerian root helped with the muscle soreness, and 
a tennis ball massaged my feet. 

Build that body strong, baby.

2.   This will be a beanie.

I've been making stuff for St. Jude's Hospital Fund Raiser in April
Crocheted items. I love to crochet but not knit. 
Check out my Facebook page for pictures of a basket, tote, and heart garland. 
I will raffle off all of the items I make to people who donate to St. Jude's at my link.

3.   I now have these cool labels I can put on my handmade items.

4.   Wednesday, my grandson and I had lunch on 
the Jacksonville River Walk along the St. John's River. 
We saw ships.

5.   I'm rereading Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
I read it when it first came out in 2000. 
That was twenty-three years ago.
Holy Moly.

I'll let you know how it held up.
You can read previous book reviews over at 

Oh, and I'm tired.

Saturday, April 01, 2023

April Fool's and Other Games

~Rabbit, Rabbit~

I participated in the 555 Story Challenge sponsored by Nicole Breit, creator of the Spark Your Story Lab.

The challenge was to write 5 new stories in 5 days on 5 themes as Creative Nonfiction/Memoir. The five themes were Origin Stories, The Emergent Self, The Body, Where the Heart Is, Nature + Spirit. She provided explanations, examples, guidance, and writing exercises to focus images and sensations into the condensed format. If you are interested in checking out the videos for the challenge, you can find the Day 1 Video HERE.

To read my five stories ...

Friday, February 24, 2023

Friday Five - Fancy Writing Implements

~ click images to make biggerer ~

I love anything to do with writing. 
Here we have some pen and ink-related items.

1. This is an oriental-style ink and brush set. 
I have no idea where or how I got this. 
You grind up dry ink, mix it with water and write with the brushes.

2. Made of glass and given to me as gifts. 
The green pen and pot were custom-made for me.
They are only to look at, so don't touch them.

3. Not technically quill pens
as the hawk and black feathers have 
pens and nibs attached to them.
I found the white feather. 
It is not trimmed into a quill, but it could be.

4. Ink wells I found in second-hand shops.
They are only for looking, too.
I have no idea how old they may be.

5. My grandson gave me the sparkly pen for Christmas 2022.
He made the "splash" pen holder on his 3D printer in January 2023.

These are only for visual appreciation also. 
Let's just say they are all no-touchy.