Daily Prompt: Burning Down the House

Today’s fictional story is inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt:
Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

Love... is a cat on a lap
My most prized fire rescue

The sound of someone banging on my front door and screaming “FIRE!” not only wakes me up but catapults me out of bed. I hear a frightened meow, and grab Molly before she runs under the bed and I waste precious moments trying to dig her out. I don’t see any telltale flames licking at my walls so I quickly but cautiously make my way down the hallway only to find that it’s the empty condo that shares a kitchen/dining room wall with mine that’s engulfed in flames (as I presume by the heat I can feel radiating from the wall and the other shouts in the breezeway) and it’s only a matter of minutes until it breaks through and begins its destruction of my place.

Swearing continuously under my breath as the seconds tick away, I’m glad that I was sleeping in my favorite thermals and flannels so all I need to throw on is my battered tennis shoes. I run into the office and stuff a seriously protesting Molly into her carrier. That done, I try and remember where on earth I put the ceramic elephant Mom made me when I was a kid. I’m now seriously regretting my procrastination for taking down the Christmas decorations so it wasn’t in its usual place, but I finally and thankfully remember it’s in the box of stuff at my feet under the office desk. I waste a precious minute shifting through everything to find it and not break anything else, and at the same time thank my halfhearted cleaning attempts that left a plastic bag from who-cares-where on the desk. Out of the corner of my eye I catch sight of my passport; I snatch it up and shove it in the bag.

Grabbing the carrier with a quiet cat inside, I dart back into the living room and on into the rapidly heating dining room to unplug my iPhone/Google tablet from their stacked charging place on a bookshelf and shove the twofer and their cords into the bag, thanking the gods that I upgraded so everything is in the cloud. I spin around, mind whirling, trying to think of what else I absolutely have to have. With a finger snap, I dash into the bathroom and grab the jewelry box that holds all the special stuff from Mom, Grandma, Montana and Ireland.

Pounding starts up on my door again, and this time I yell back that I’m okay and I’m on my way out. Feeling heartbroken at all I’m going to lose but thankful for a few childhood items that are safe at Mom’s house, I grab my purse containing everything else important and but most especially the keyring that holds that now-precious thumb drive with the backups of my databases, spreadsheets and most importantly all the data on my manuscripts in progress.

I flip the lock and charge out of the condo, nearly knocking down the fireman who was about to break down my door. He grabs Molly’s carrier in one hand and my arm in another and as we haul ass down the stairs conveniently located in the opposite direction of the inferno blazing out of the broken windows next door, I wonder if I’ll get extremely lucky and the firefighters will beat that fire before it takes my home with it…


Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

This week’s challenge is a great one. I’m keeping it simple, though, to the four things I love the most. Well, the four things I love most after my mom, of course. She’s always #1 on the list. Although, now that I think about it, she’s actually associated with each and every one of the photos below in some way or another, so she’s here in spirit, even if she is a bit camera shy.

Love... is a cat on a lap
Love is… a cat on a lap. I was able to adopt Molly because of Mom’s best friend, V. (Click the image to visit my Nik’s Cats share site for more photos.)
Montana, and the Glacier Avalanche trail. My heart lives here.
Love is… Montana, and Glacier’s Avalanche Trail. My heart longs to return to Montana, a place I was able to visit because of that very same friend of Mom’s, V. (Click the image to visit my Great Flathead Valley Adventure share site for more photos.)
Love is... Ireland. My soul lives here. (click image to visit my Nik's Irish Birthday share site for more photos)
Love is… Ireland. My soul longs to live here. Mom and I visited the Emerald Isle to celebrate my 40th birthday.
(Click the image to visit my Irish Birthday share site for more photos.)
Love is... Firefly. 'Nuff said.
Love is… Firefly. ‘Nuff said.

Writing Challenge: Mapping It Out, Fictionally Speaking

pushpinsHere’s this week’s WordPress.com Writing Challenge: “…incorporate our Google Maps embed feature by plotting out some of the favorite places that you’ve been, or the places you want to go.”

Now, that sounds like great fun, especially since I could plot out my birthday vacation to Ireland in 2010. But I decided to take a slightly different route. This blog is often focused on the saga that is my road to finishing my first novel, The Great Boyfriend Experiment (GBE for short) and life in general. What you might not know is that the two cities in which my story is set are not fake towns created and designed for my and my character’s amusement. (I’ll save for later the story of Kilcavan, TX, the fictional city I literally mapped out in significantly scary detail using Visio diagrams and Excel charts for use in two different interwoven series.)

Instead, GBE is set in Kalispell, Montana, a lovely place I visit now and then, and fell in love with at first sight out of the plane’s window. My honorary aunt and her family live there, and V is very kind in letting me stay with her whenever I feel the need for a change of pace. I also plan to “retire” there someday, if I can swing all that’s involved in relocating. Until then, I’m based in the other city where GBE begins and concludes: Austin, TX.

The Maps

So I went to Google maps to get the layout of Kalispell, and found that I liked the default map Google showed much better than the one I could embed on the page, so I’m adding a capture of that image instead. Places of note: a hop and a skip west of the city airport is our heroine’s neighborhood; Flathead Valley Community College where our heroine takes classes and meets our hero is about 2 miles north of the red A marker on Highway 93.


Now for something completely different, here’s the image capture of Texas’ capital city Austin. Places of note: our heroine’s family lives northwest in the Jollyville area; the job our heroine left behind when she moved to Kalispell is just past downtown in Rollingwood; the University of Texas at Austin, our heroine’s alma mater, is somewhere behind the red A marker, as is the Rio Grande campus of Austin Community College that she attended as well.


So there you have it, the two major cities of my current work in progress. I’m now thinking that I should revisit this topic at a later date and identify on a map all of the places referenced during the course of the novel once it’s done. Wouldn’t that be interesting!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

Well, this is quite the apropos weekly post, what with having posted just yesterday about resolutions in general. As it happens, I have a couple of photos representing items on my “to-dos” for 2013 — I’m calling them “to-dos” instead of resolutions in the hopes more of them will get accomplished because I’m really good with lists. If you’re curious about the whole list, I direct you once again to my related Pinterest board (oh, how I love that site!).

And now, for three of my “resolutions” in their colorful glory:

#14 — road trip to Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge (Tyler, TX)
#12 -- Finish My Novel!
#12 — Finish My Novel!
#2 -- finish a crafty projects in progress (I've now finished this section and started working on the top half!)
#2 — finish a crafty projects in progress (over the holidays I finished this section and I’m now working on the top half!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

Here’s what “renewal” means to me, photographically speaking…

click to view full size
replenishment ~ bring on the rain!
click to view full size
renewal ~ a new flower means a new tomato
click to view full size
revival ~ flowers in winter
renewal ~ a tiny bee pollinates a pine cone

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

I took a look back at my online photos to see what I could find. I found these were the neatest geometric shapes from on our trip to Ireland. These photos were taken by myself and my mom (okay, mostly mom). Enjoy!







Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

Okay, so I’m sneaking this in under the Friday deadline wire, but since it’s Irish (and I love Ireland and things Irish/Celtic), I couldn’t not post it. I found the following among my plethora of photos from my trip to the Emerald Isle in March/April 2010; it was the only one that wasn’t a combo of English/Gaelic. I am still determined to learn Gaelic someday so I don’t have to rely on translations to know what things say. In the meantime, it just looks bloody cool.

Oh, and if this topic comes around again, I’ll definitely share a photo of my Pepsi bottle I picked up in St. Petersburg on a band trip back in ’86. It’s pretty darn nifty. :)

Banner at Trinity University Library