You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

Reverend William H. J. Boetcker, “The Ten Cannots”

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to the 38th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! This is a special week, because the infamous Bruce Goodman has offered to judge!!!

If you’re new or looking for a brush-up, here‘s a basic outline of what ‘terrible poetry’ means. Ready? Great!

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: Plot twists. Lament about how often stories have them, include a few in your poem, or pull a fast one on us and keep the poem going exactly where we expect.
  2. Length: Since this is Bruce’s first time, let’s be nice to him and keep the word count under 200.
  3. Rhyme? Your call. Have fun with it!
  4. As the #1 rule listed at #4, make it terrible. I want Bruce himself, master of the macabre story twist, to shake his head in disbelief and secretly envy the part of the twisting Roman gutters in which your mind lies.
  5. Rating? For general audiences, keep things PG-13 or cleaner. Bleep it out if you really need to release a torrent.

****NOTE**** The due date is slightly earlier, so I can get Bruce the list of entrants.

You have till 11:59 p.m. MST next Thursday (August 15) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

For a more social experience and to ensure we receive it, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

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Photo credit:
Pawel Janiak

The Top 10 Reasons I Can’t Write Romance

Part of my membership in the I’m Not Really Certain I’m Typical Female Nor Do I Want to Be Labeled as Such Club includes a general aversion to reading Romance. Naturally it follows that I have some distaste for writing it as well.

Today I realized I not only have a distaste; I am not certain I can write Romance. Why?

10. In terms of hormones, I’m a bit low on the ones interested in intercourse between animate beings.
Granted, I’ve had children nearly all of our marriage and they’re a bit of a killjoy that way…

9. I’m old and tired and just don’t care.
Now, get off my lawn, you young’uns!

8. I find cliché situations silly.
Whenever I’ve tried to write a romantic encounter, I laugh. I slip into over-the-top silliness, a twist, or simply give up.

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7. I think sex belongs in marriage, to the person one is married to.
Seriously, so many problems would be avoided that way. Logic belongs in love, right?

6. I therefore do not find infidelity exciting and alluring; rather, I judge the protagonist(s) for weak character(s).
Those people really need to grow up and get jobs instead of meeting in cafés all day.

5. In fact, I find romantic dialogue trying.
I’d rather skip ahead to …the end?

4. When given the option of a night on the town, I choose a book in the closet.
And it’s not a romance novel.

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3. I’ve never watched The Bachelor or anything like it.
This makes conversation with other females a bit limited, especially if I voice my opinions on such shows.

2. I do not find celebrities attractive.
Like with Number 6, I feel that they’re constantly making poor judgement calls. I like a few of them, but do not daydream about them moving in with me.

1. I am attracted to the ‘wrong’ sort of man.
People say there are all types. People say there’s no accounting for taste.
The problem is that book after movie after conversation assumes that ‘all women’ want a Bad Boy. All women are at least secretly turned on by an unkempt biker hiding a sexy set of muscles under that rough leather jacket.
Yeah, no. I’m like a zombie; I like brains.

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Sometimes I’ve tried, but I am me and need to write what I know. And who knows; maybe there are more not-all-women out there who think just like me. Maybe they’ll read my realistic romance books and love them.

Photo Credits:
Alejandra Quiroz
Eliott Reyna
Oleg Yeltsov

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

7 Tips From a Reticent Spymaster

When it comes to fantasy storytelling, Charles Yallowitz is your man. From why only some vampires can (and should) reproduce to the proper way of knowing the best mapper shop in town, he’s the expert.

He recently dragged one of the best spies from his Legends of Windemere series out to ask him for 7 Tips to Being an Effective Spymaster. The post is as follows:

(From a Yahoo image search)

So, I’ve asked Kai Stavros from War of Nytefall: Rivalry to give some tips on being a spymaster.  He doesn’t really want to share his secrets or be out in public, so he gave me a list.  It was written into my car with a warning that I should never ask him to do anything like this again.  Here we go:

  1. Never do public appearances unless they are on your terms . . . Just going to voice a complaint right away, huh?  You know, I could have asked another of my spy characters to do this.  Well, I don’t have any, but I know a few who would willing to make stuff up.
  2. Always double-check your information.  (That makes sense.)  Torture is a good way to confirm . . . Really!?  This is what I get for asking a vampire how this goes.  In his defense, vampires regeneration, so what would be a fatal wound for a mortal isn’t a big deal for them.  Still, there could be kids reading this, Stavros.
  3. Maintains some friendships with your coworkers, but remain distant.  You don’t want to get attached to those you might have to sacrifice for the sake of a mission.  The exceptions are your masters or employers depending on your personal employment position.  (That was bizarrely bureaucratic.)
  4. Never fall in love because that will inevitably be used against you.  If not your lover then children, so celibacy is a good idea as well.  (I know of one famous spy who would really disagree on that last one.  Why doesn’t that guy have kids on every continent?)
  5. When sending messages, you must write in code to protect your secrets.  It is best to have multiple code systems and randomly cycle through them.  Only one person should know the locations of the scrolls needed to decipher them.  It helps to put two spells on the messages as well.  One is to share the information with your employer if you and the translator are dead.  The other is to curse or kill anyone who manages to get even one word correct.  (Wow.  That’s actually a good one.)
  6. Never agree to appear on a blog to share secrets.  It doesn’t matter how much the author pathetically begs.  (And we’re back to the sass.)
  7. Uh . . . This one is in code and I don’t want to risk anything.  I mean, he did give me a warning in #5.  Oh, it’s just messy penmanship since I guess he was in a rush to get out of here.  The tip is: Don’t bring attention to yourself, but don’t try to hide from society.  You need to find something in the middle because blending in and understanding human nature are essential tools of the trade.  (I think that was cursed . . . No, just the Taco Bell I ate, which is basically the same thing.)

—–

See? Spies can be handy -you know, when they’re not stabbing you in the back or whatnot.

Be sure to check out Charles’ books for more adventures. He writes unique stories where vampires are the main characters, and not because they sparkle.

Line Prompt

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“Oh, Gustavo! I love you so. Tell me you love me in return.” She batted her long, dark eyelashes.

“Felicia,” he passionately answered, “How can I not? You are heaven to my Earth!”

Sighing, she succumbed to his embrace. He kissed her deeply, tasting a forbidden passion. They pulled apart, then… turn to the author.

Gustavo clears his throat. “Line?”

“What?” The author asks, startled. She looks down at her fingers, poised over the keyboard. “Oh. Sorry, guys. I got caught up in the moment.”

“How about:” Gustavo and Felicia became lost, for a moment, in each other’s eyes…

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction