Category Archives: Writing

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Zounds! We’re Done!

It has been a month since the beginning of this mad adventure with A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I’m proud to say that I made it!! I hope you have enjoyed reading these daily musings. My goal for this challenge was to get into the habit of writing blogs again.

The last two years have been rough on getting anything done except packing up one house, living in a rental surrounded by boxes for nine months then moving again. It sucked all the fun out of everything else. Happily, we are now settled in our new home and I can get back to some of the things I really enjoy.

So, my plan is to start writing posts about once per week or so. It could turn into just once per month, but the idea is to write about something as often as my creative mind will let me.

I need your help. You have read everything from the April blogging challenge, and I hope you have read some of the others as well. Please leave a comment of what more you would like to read about. What was your favorite subject? Favorite post? Did you stick with me through the entire challenge?

Thank you, to each of you who stopped by this month to leave a comment or a like. It meant a lot to me. ZOUNDS! It’s been a blast!

This post brought to you by the last letter in this challenge, Z and by:

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter Z

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Dancing in the Rain

A little girl walks in the rain,
In a yellow raincoat bright and plain,
Her little feet splashing in the puddles,
As she hums a tune and giggles.

The raindrops fall upon her hair,
And down her face without a care,
But she keeps on walking with a smile,
Forgetting all her worries for a while.

The world around her turns to grey,
But she sees the beauty in the day,
As she skips and dances through the mist,
She feels like nothing can resist.

She twirls and spins with glee,
As the rain pours down so heavily,
Her yellow raincoat shining bright,
In the midst of the darkest night.

With each step, she becomes more brave,
As she faces the stormy waves,
For she knows that after every storm,
A rainbow comes to greet the morn.

So, she walks on with head held high,
As the rain pours down from the sky,
For she knows that in this moment,
She is strong, she is resilient.

Written by: ChatGPT

This post brought to you by ChatGBT, the letter Y, and:

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter Y

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A Story by Jasper

Yesterday, I posted a story written by ChatGPT and, as promised, today the writer is Jasper. This AI tool is much more robust than ChatGPT and where ChatGPT is free, Jasper is not. I set myself up on their 5 day free trail just so I could stick my toe in to see how dangerous the waters were.

What did I find? I gave Jasper a similar writing prompt as ChatGPT with the added ability to give the story a voice (I wrote “dark”). Right off, I will say that Jasper is, in general, a more creative writing tool, but it doesn’t go too far beyond that. I think this will be a great way to generate ideas more so than trying to write a novel.

Here is the prompt:

Write a short story using the words, vinegar, vice, vibrant, Vickie, volume, and vulture

Vickie had been walking for days. The desolate desert air was thick and heavy, leaving an acrid taste in her mouth like vinegar. With no water or food to sustain her, she trudged along aimlessly as the sun beat down from above. Every step seemed heavier than the last and all she wanted was to find shelter from the heat.

Just when she thought all hope was lost, Vickie spotted something on the horizon – a vibrant oasis shimmering in the distance, beckoning her forward with its promise of respite from this arid wasteland. Never before had anything looked so beautiful and inviting; it almost felt too good to be true! She quickened her steps but soon heard a loud cawing sound echoing across the sky above – two vultures circling overhead like a sign of impending doom. A feeling of dread came over Vickie and she began running towards what appeared to be salvation at any cost… until suddenly there it was right in front of her: a large wooden door with old iron hinges creaking open at an alarming volume.

Inside were row upon row of shelves filled with every kind of vice imaginable – alcohol, cigarettes, drugs…even weapons! It seemed that whatever one desired could be found within these walls – yet despite being surrounded by such temptation, Vickie only felt fear coursing through her veins as she backed away slowly from this place where sin ran rampant… until finally reaching safety once more outside under bright blue skies where not even vultures dared follow.

This post brought to you by the letter V and:

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter V

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A Flash Fiction Story

Beerus’ mother stopped giving him the medication months ago. Synthetic inhibitors were Satan’s work. She knew he would be better off to come into his power as the Goddess had meant, naturally. It is a mother’s choice to see her son grow to be a strong god. The inhibitors only suppressed his potential. Besides, he was just a child. What’s the worse that could happen?

“Your Highness, I am sorry. I didn’t know.”

King Everclear sighed as he watched the bits of Earth float around the sun, “I warned you about the dangerous game you were playing. Putting power in the hands of a child was a temper tantrum waiting to happen.”

A note to readers:
Beerus and King Everclear are a part of the Dragon Ball world. I am not a follower of the Dragon Ball stories and games, but I needed characters who would fit the bill on this story of a mother who goes against her husband’s wishes by allowing her toddler to have too much freedom (the medication is a metaphor for the suppression of freedom and freewill) leading to the inevitable, planet destroying temper tantrum. After all, as every mother knows, toddlers invariably throw them as if their world is collapsing.

This flash fiction story is brought to you by the letter M and…

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter M

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Horatio and Greta

Someone put a knife in my back yesterday and now I’m pissed. I had a list a mile long. Human mist to feed on, fear and loathing to relish in, and death to ponder. Now, none of these things will get done. And worst of all? There’s a knife in my backside that I can’t get out.

What was yesterday? Yeah, now I remember – Monday. Mondays are a busy day for me. I relish the ooze that slithers in the ethereal stratum. Especially at first light. Humans hate Mondays. They drag from their beds with a luscious aura of dread. That aura, the mist, it’s candy for me and I freely move from house to house, room to room, bed to bed, inhaling the raw bliss.

I remember most of yesterday with clarity, but toward the fifth or sixth house I felt a tickle. Or was it a niggle? Something was making the hair on my back ripple with static. I should have looked in the dark corners more closely, but this particular Monday was exceptional. My gorging distracted me. A floorboard creaked and a whisper of what I now know to be a blade being unsheathed.

The enchantment embedded in the blade was the crowning blow. The moment it pierced my flesh was the moment my ability to feed stopped. The abrupt cessation ripped through me with pain exploding along every nerve. I felt a raw surge of fire just before I blacked out.

I woke up just a bit ago with my face planted in a pile of dirty clothes. Normally I would have delighted in the sweet perfume that filth exuded, but not today. It was more like the vulgarity I usually felt with joy, happiness, or birth. All pleasures I felt yesterday were gone. I feel empty. Hollow.

Greta Gimmward’s name was all over this. She has been chasing me since…well, I’m not sure when. The first time we met humans they were barely scratching for survival. The fruits of their fear were less sweet than they are today. They existed back then without much regard for life or death.

We have competed for the same human feeding grounds, and I beat her to them nearly every time. At every village and hobble where humans gathered, I was there feeding from the initial mist of fear that poured off the humans as they rise to face each day. It’s what we survive on. Greta Grimmward was always a step behind me. Always just a little too late, a little too distracted.

She warned me many times that she would catch up to me. “You’ll find the knife in your back one day. You’ll see.” I always waved her off like a speck of dust on my shirt sleeve. Then yesterday happened. I think I’m more mad at myself for letting my guard down rather than the fact that Greta managed to get an enchanted knife in my back.

Rubbing against the door frame proved futile in my attempt to remove the knife. It seemed to vanish whenever I tried to rub it off. Any attempts to reach to that one spot that was, for all humanoid shaped creatures, impossible to reach. A scratch in the center of the back. Insanely impossible to reach.


“Why, hello Horatio. Having some trouble?” I leaned against the door frame watching Horatio scramble to reach the blade I put in him. For the first time in a millennial, I am happy. What the heck, it felt good to drive it in to him. What a jerk he’d been all these years. I just wanted him back, but he tripped over himself on a daily basis.

Out of habit, I grabbed my hair and untied and retied the band that held it back. “How does it feel Harry? Do you recognize it?”

It was sad to see him like this. He had fallen so far. He taught me all I know about being a Chaser. But now he had fallen to the lowest level of bottom feeder whom drew too much of the mist from the humans leaving little for them to survive. His addiction pushed him further and further into the dark places where feeders end up. The deeper he went the further he fell from the tribe and it was time for him to find his way back. My job was to see he came back in the fold and yesterday I finally caught up to him.

He turned on me, “Don’t call me Harry! You know how I feel about that.” Horatio went back to grabbing at his back trying, in vain, to get the knife out. “Am I supposed to know something about the knife? What I do know is that it is in my back and it does hurt.” He continued to twist and turn in his futile attenpt to remove the knife. “Let me tell you what else I know about you Greta Grimmward. You’re jealous. You just want what you can’t have. You’ve been a step behind me trying to steal my mist. Every time you’re too slow, and you can’t stand that I’m there first.”

“You need to focus. Stop thrashing around and tell me about the knife.” I moved closer to Horatio. “It was yours at one time. Have you forgotten? You spoke the first enchantment, and brought the first feeder home to the tribe.”

Horatio froze. Something seemed to wash over him and I hoped it was recognition. He was the first chaser for the tribe, but after a thousand years of huffing the fumes from the humans he forgot his place. He lost his way. Addiction replaced responsibility.

Lunging at me he roared, “No! I won’t go back! I won’t do it!” He turned on his heel and slid through the window. The human stirred. Thank the Tribe he didn’t break the pane in his rush to leave. I followed him knowing he wouldn’t get far. The addict never did. Once the knife finished it’s job, and chemicals were out of his system we could work to bring him back. It took time, but I hoped he would recover. Maybe it would work this time. Maybe.

This story first appeared on my other blog as a two part series. Today I combined the two into a single story for easier reading. This story, like all the contents of ArbitraryDustBunnies is protected by copyright laws. Enjoy this post that is brought to you by the letters H (and G) along with the A to Z Challenge.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter H

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Welcome to day 2 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Today is the letter B and it is all about Books.

To say that I read a lot is a bit of an understatement. I read a LOT. I consume books like they are the next best thing to chocolate. Wait…I think they are the next best thing to chocolate. Last year I read 99 books. One short of my annual goal of 100 books. I thought I had hit 100, but after reviewing the titles it was only 99. Well, crap. That’s the way the pages fall (yes, I said that). (If you are interested in my 2022 reading list I will be writing about it this month with the letter R for Reading.)

My favorite books usually have witchcraft, fairies, or magic, and I love a book series of at least 3 books, but no more than 12. If they are a long series (Wicked Witches of the Midwest is a good example) they better be short(ish) and fun. Speaking of the Wicked Witches of the Midwest…have your read them? What a great series. It hit my funny bone just right and I’ll tell ya, Aunt Tilly is a hoot.

Do I have an all time favorite book? Sorry to disappoint you, but there are just too many great books (and some stinkers too) out there to be able to pin just one down. I can only say that, right at the moment, I’m reading Threadneedle by Cari Thomas.

What about writing a book? I have written several books – to an extent. One of the books actually had “The End” written on it. It needs a lot of work. Like having about 35,000 words added, at least 6 edits, and then a hope and a prayer it might find a publisher. Will they get finished? Who knows. To those of you who have finished writing your book. I bow to your very existence. To write a book is a labor that can only be understood by the truly dedicated writer. I am in awe of the passion you have for the craft of writing.

There are three books out there that I did have the privilege to oversee through to publication. I felt strongly that the writing organization I volunteer for (Pikes Peak Writers) desperately needed to publish an anthology. They just needed someone to spearhead the project. Yes, you guessed it, I raised my hand. Five years later there are now three fantastic anthologies added to the world of books.

Now it’s your turn.
Have you written a book?
Are you reading a book?
Do you edit books?
Please leave a comment about how you and books live together. Do you have links you want to share? I’m always open to reading suggestions.

Come back on Tuesday and we’ll venture into the letter C for Cactus.

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A to Z Blogging Challenge

It has been a few years since I joined in on this challenge and I’m looking forward to entertaining you with a month of Arbitrary things. We’re going to have fun!

So…what’s the deal with this A to Z thing you might ask? Well, it is an opportunity for a bunch of bloggers to gather through the month of April and are each challenged to publish one post per day through the month of April (skipping Sundays). In some way, each post is to be relevant to the letter of the day; April 1 = A, April 2 = B, April 3 = C, and so on all the way to the last day of April which = Z. A to Z.

Are you ready?? Enjoy the posts that will come to you in April. Like I said, my theme is Arbitrary, meaning I could post just about anything: a short story, hiking adventures, some tips for your garden, and so forth. We recently moved to Tucson so I have tons to share about life in the Sonoran desert.

Stay tuned. The fun starts on Saturday!

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Goodbye 2017

What many people may not realize about being a writer is that it can be nerve wracking. We writers pour our hearts and souls into what we do, and if there is a single misspelled word we feel failure. It is not an easy job, but one that we all feel crazily compelled to do. We can be an insecure bunch of people, but we are not in it alone.

I am a member of The Insecure Writers Support Group, and every month we are given a question that we can answer in our IWSG post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. This month, the last in a very long year, our question is:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

The only thing I would do differently is to wrap my entire family in bubble wrap. Without going into detail, let me just say that seeing the inside of nine emergency rooms in twelve months is more than anyone should have to go through. (No one died this year, so there’s that). To say the least, this put a huge crimp on my writing progress. Getting a story out has been the last thing on my to-do list.

It wasn’t all bad though. I did manage to complete a couple of short stories, several blog posts, and I wrote everyday for NaNoWriMo. My debut novel, The Manx, is shaping up with characters that are living and breathing entities in a brilliant world. I also attended two writing conferences (PPWC and RMFW) where I reconnected with writers across the country and re-energized my creative battery. I also had the pleasure to meet one of my favorite authors, Diane Gabaldon.

At book signing during RMFW2017

My advice to anyone who is in the thick of life’s challenges? Get through it anyway you can. Writing does not have to be at the top of your to-do list, but sometimes it should surface to the top just so you can have a few moments of sanity. It is okay to let the words fall by the side of the road while you are trying to maintain a straight direction with four flat tires.

Say goodbye to 2017 because 2018 will be a better year. It has to be.

Thanks to our awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG, Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!


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NaNoWriMo – 2017

It is that time of the month again where I join with other writers to discuss the “dark side” of being a writer. Actually, that might be a bit of a strong term, but it will do for now. On the first Wednesday of every month Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) posts one or two subject questions so we can talk about our doubts and the fears that we have conquered as writers. We can discuss our struggles and triumphs then offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling with their own writing.

This month’s question:

  • Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Let me explain NaNo for the readers who are not familiar. The full term is NaNoWriMo which is short for National Novel Writing Month. During November of every year, writers around the globe sit down to write a novel in thirty days. Sound easy? NOT! The goal is to crank out 50,000 words in a mere thirty days, and if you want one day a week off you have to manage 2,000 everyday of the month. It is, to say the least, an insane challenge.

On to the questions. Do I finish NaNo? I have only participated once before and it kicked my butt out the door by day 10. November is just plain HARD. It is a month when my job intensifies and life just pulls in too many directions. I am trying again this year so I’ll let you know the results. Needless to say, nothing has been published ——


Thanks to the awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG, Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

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#IWSG – For Writers of All Ages

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. I just learned about this fun group from Shannon Lawrence, who is a fellow writer and blogger. Just the title of the group screamed that I needed to check it out. This group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh so writers could virtually gather to express their thoughts about writing. It looks intriguing so I have joined in.

Our co-hosts today are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

The question for this month is: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing? Let’s take a look at these one at a time because each one raises a different set of Pet Peeves for me.

READING: When I read a book that has gone through all of the gyrations to reach publication I have high expectations. My number one issue is misspelled words. I can accept a couple, especially in a manuscript of 100,000 words, but when I see multiple instances of spelling errors my hackles start to raise.

A manuscript goes through the mill before publication, and if an author has done due diligence it would have been seen by the author, spell check, critique groups, beta readers, editors (line and content), publishers, early prints, and then reprints. By the time a book is into the mainstream it should not have spelling errors.

Editing: When I’m editing my own work my pet peeve is that I’m too hard on myself. I do endless comparisons of my work to great writers I aspire to write as well as. I remind myself that they have their creative greatness and I have mine. If I find myself being too hard on me, I set it aside and come back later when I’m not thinking of a Jane Austin novel.

WRITING: In this area I tend to not be too hard on myself. The entire process of writing is, in of itself, a process. Like all writers, I start with an idea then progresses through a vast journey of discovery. When I first started to write I thought, “This will be easy. I just put words to paper and, voila, a book appears.” I laugh at myself. Just getting started was a huge learning curve, and today I continue to learn my craft. If I had to name one thing that is difficult for me it would be to write everyday. Getting in a few days a week is a thrill, and I hope one day life will allow me to write daily.

As a reader, what are your Pet Peeves?




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