Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Ladder Down by Joanne Galbraith - Halloween Writing Contest Winner!

Justin hadn't heard the stories about old Mrs. Klein. Darkness swelled as he trooped along the path toward her black house, sweating in his Yoda costume. He swallowed hard, gazing at the gnarled bushes and slanted stair that led to her door.

"Good evening, young one." The gravely voice startled a peep from him. "You must be new to Crossroads. Most others are afraid."

"A- afraid of what, ma'am?" Justin backed away.

"Why, me of course." She cackled a laugh.

He flinched when she offered a shining apple.

"You are in luck, for I am feeling generous on this beautiful Samhain. Eat the flesh and plant the seeds in a place rich with moonlight. You will find what you have lost."

With wide eyes, Justin snatched the apple, cradling it gently in his hand as he bolted down the path. At home, he found his father passed out, stinking of whiskey. Nothing new. Justin didn't believe in fairy tales, but he'd lost so much he wanted to believe. He closed his eyes and bit into the apple, praying to whatever spirit may be listening.

After finishing the last bite, he moved into the back yard and dug a hole where the moonlight shone. He planted the core, lay down on the damp grass and waited, tears wetting his cheeks.

A sweet voice woke him hours later. A ladder poked out of a narrow hole in the ground beside him. As he scrambled down the rungs, he shouted, "Mom?"

Congratulations to Joanne Galbraith for winning the writing contest!

More from Joanne Galbraith: Joanne Galbraith, Aspiring Writer

Image by Patrick Hoesly on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Is Closing In! Costumes, movies, music and more!

Halloween is almost upon us, and I've been busy over on Squidoo! Feast yourself on a wealth of Halloweeny-ness.

Like Halloween costumes? Then the following sites are for you! Learn how to make homemade Viking costumes, or how to make a homemade Sarah Connor Terminator 2 costume, if that's more your style.

Looking for entertainment? Find a whole list of great Halloween movies to watch, and Halloween music to listen to. After that, you can stop by and vote for the top ten best Halloween songs. If you prefer your entertainment in literary form, there's also a list of Halloween books for you to peruse. And don't forget to choose a story to win the Halloween story contest!

You can find a good little scare while selecting your top ten favorite Halloween monsters. Just don't get too scared!

Pumpkin picture composed using images by viZZZual and Ha-Wee on Flickr.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween Story Writing Contest Voting and The Lizard's Tale

The deadline for my Halloween Story Writing Contest has just passed! I've received a ton of great entries, so please head over to Halloween Story Writing Contest and vote for your favorite! Voting ends next Friday.

Heres a story of mine, to whet you appetite!


A stranger knocked on the door to the villager's house. Helsun opened the door and peered out into the misty darkness at the shadowed form. His wife, Magrit, stood behind him.

"Can I help you?" Helsun asked.

"I'm lost," the stranger said. "May I come in?"

Helsun and Magrit agreed to accommodate the stranger, but kept a wary eye on him. He was an odd man, with a a hooded cloak that hid his face and body from view. Magrit brought out a bowl of soup and a crust of bread.

At that moment, a lizard ran out from a darkened corner of the house. Helsun cursed and tried to stomp it, but only got the lizard's tail, which broke off as the lizard scampered away.

The stranger looked at the tail. "Has that lizard done you any harm?"

"Dirty things," Helsun said, and Magrit made a sound of agreement.

The stranger finished his food and left. Helsun followed him to the door, then said to Magrit, "I don't like this. I'm going to tell the others."

Helsun strode into the darkness. The mist had turned into a thick fog, and Helsun was soon lost. He stumbled about until he felt rough bark beneath his hand.

"Dirty thing," a cold voice said behind him.

Through the fog, Helsun saw that the stranger, now uncloaked, had a reptilian face and a long tail. Helsun cowered against the tree, fear overwhelming him.

"Do your limbs grow back as well? Let's find out..."


Liked it? Read more at Halloween Story Writing Contest! And don't forget to vote!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dreaming of the Muse

Woke up this morning from a dream that was more than just a dream. It was the inspiration for my next novel! I'm excited, because NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is just around the corner, and I was worried that I wouldn't get inspired in time.

I don't want to jinx it by talking too much about it here, but I can say that it will be science fiction (finally!) and that it will have a heroine.

Now my only frustration is having to wait until November! I hope I don't lose the spark in the next few weeks, because I'm really feeling it right now. However, I have tons of stuff to keep me busy until then, so it's probably best this way.

Does this ever happen to you? Do your fiction ideas come from dreams? Do they just pop randomly into your head? Or do you work diligently to create and catalog your muse whisperings?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weird Worm Update and Writing How To Articles

A few months ago, I wrote an article about writing humor for Weird Worm (with links to some of my other humor articles). I've gotten back into writing articles for the site, and here are a few of my newer ones:

5 Fashion Trends That Double As Self Defense

7 Examples of Urban Entertainment That Could End In Disaster

7 Avatar Image Types Explained

7 "Comforting" Mom Sayings That Really Aren't

7 Types of Beach Personalities

To see a complete list of my articles, and to learn more about the site (and writing for it!), check out Freelance Writing for Weird Worm.

I've also just finished a how-to guide titled Learn How To Write How To Articles - useful if you're interested in writing for how-to sites such as eHow. It's really not that hard to get started, although like any type of writing it's an art that can only be perfected over time. My guide lists sites where you can inform and educate people about your own expertise - and make money online while doing it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween Story Writing Contest

A wolf howls in the distance. You lock your door and place a chair under the handle, just to be safe. It is, after all, only a month until All Hallow's Eve, and who knows what sort of ghosts and ghouls are waking from the dead?

Intrigued? You should be! I'm hosting a Halloween story writing contest. Here are the details:

Subject: Anything Halloween related - ghosts, vampires, Frankenstein, the disaster at your last Halloween party. Keep it rated PG. Scary is okay, profanity is not. And try to limit the gore.

Length: This is a type of micro fiction - in this case, 250 words or less.

Date Due: October 15 at midnight.

I will post the stories on the site Halloween Story Writing Contest, along with a place to vote. I reserve the right to edit for spelling and grammar. I also reserve the right not to post a story, due to it being unsuitable (doesn't follow guidelines, too offensive, etc.) Each posted story will include a link to his or her Halloween-themed/writer-themed lens, site, or blog of choice. In addition, I will mention all entrants in a post on my blog promoting voting on the contest.

Images: To make this site more visually appealing, I might add images that I feel suit the story. You may make general suggestions, although I can't guarantee anything.

Prize! The winner of the voting will receive two customized blog posts by me here; one post in which the story is posted with links, and one "spotlight" post on the person who wins, including links of your choosing. There might also be a bonus prize, depending on the success of the contest.

Although the contest is hosted on Squidoo, you don't have to be a member of Squidoo to participate, so spread the word to all your writer friends!

Email Submission Format:

To: emma(at)emmalarkins(dot)com
Subject line: Halloween Story Writing Contest

Squidoo Lensmaster profile (if you have one)
Name or Pen Name as you'd like it to appear (I'd prefer not to attribute stories to awesomedude53)
Title of Story
Body of Story in the email (no more than 250 words)
Link you would like to promote
Your email (if not included elsewhere)

For more information, and to read an example, check out Halloween Story Writing Contest.

Happy Hauntings! And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below!