Haiku Time! Rainsong, Puppies > Chocolate, and Aria’s Request

Welcome back, everyone!  I can’t believe it’s been close to a year since I was really engaged with this blog. Time flies when you’re writer-blocked!  Actually, no, it drags, and you feel useless and lazy and unproductive (even though none of those things are true).  Ah, but let’s not talk about that right now! The important thing is that the Muse is back, now, and it looks like clear sailing for now!

The story behind today’s post is simple: I told Cloud, “Let’s write haiku!”  Why haiku?  No reason in particular!

So we wrote some haiku together.  At the end of the exercise, we had six, so we split them up: Cloud posted three yesterday, and we have three more today.



Rain patters softly.

A lullaby of water

protecting my dreams.

How well do you sleep when it’s raining?  Some of the soundest sleep I’ve ever had is when the rain keeps a constant little murmuring on the roof. I’ve even been known to sleep through heavy rainfall! (But if there’s thunder close by, I wake up.)  It could be due to the white noise effect, because where I live there’s been a lot of tree-clearing lately for new developments or because the trees are too near to powerlines, so the noise of traffic and trains in the distance has been progressively louder over the years.  But I prefer to think of it as a rainsong, a gentle lullaby to protect my dreams.

Puppies > Chocolate

Happy puppy grins

lift my spirits more than the

finest chocolate.

It’s no secret that chocolate is my favorite dessert.  Whether due to the great taste or whatever happiness-inducing chemicals are in chocolate, it always lifts my mood.  No matter how good chocolate is, though, it takes second place for the power of dogs to make my day.  Ours at home are always so happy themselves, it’s difficult not to be happy when they’re around!

Aria’s Request

Playful wind-sprites:

What tales would you tell to me?

Whisper in my ear.

If the wind could talk, what tales would it tell?  Aria knows!  I love the image of nature sprites sharing their knowledge.  Here, the focus is on the wind, but how about ancient trees?  The stones beneath your feet?  If they could talk, what do you think they would say?

* * *

And now, just for fun, a challenge:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a haiku in the next ten minutes!  Subject matter, imagery–that’s all up to you.  Just remember, it needs to follow the 5-7-5 syllable count.  Simple, right?

Then, either post your haiku here in the comments or on your own blog and link back, so we can read it too!

Have fun!

River and the Muse

I have wanted to write more. . .

I’ve felt it like a heartbeat these past few months.  Every time I sit at a computer, the urge to type out a thousand words is a wave so intense I think it is going to wash me away.

And that wave is just one of the thousand in a typhoon.

. . . and yet, the words wouldn’t come.

They are there in my heart, locked up in a cage.  The bars are loose enough that I can see them, reach my fingers through the gaps and try to reach them. . . but close enough together that each attempt fails.

And I don’t have the key.

It seems the Muse went on vacation. . . and took the key. (Traitor.)

A vacation I did not authorize. And as of this moment, it is officially over.

Strike A Spark is back!  Posting will resume March 2016!

Mondays Finish the Story: What Will the Neighbors Think?

statues ofbison and warrior in front of barn

Copyright Barbara W. Beacham

“The neighbors were not happy about my choice of yard art.”

“So you’ve said.”

“I’m afraid you don’t understand the gravity of the situation, dear.  Having one’s yard suddenly filled with oddments is not an ideal situation.”

“How many times do you want me to apologize?” Ava demanded.  “Besides, it will be gone tonight.  I’ve already made the arrangements.”

“And, of course, no-one would believe me that it just appeared there overnight!  Why, Mrs. McGuffins said–”

“Mrs. McGuffins can go jump in a pond.”

Language, dear!”

“Now you listen to me, Bethy. Your problem is that you are simply too concerned with what others say when it really makes not one whit of difference.  You ought to cut loose and live a bit.  It’d do you a world of good.”

“Well, dear, I’m sure you can live all you like.  But couldn’t you reconsider using my home as a dropping-off post?  After all, what will the neighbors think?”


This post is part of the weekly blogging event Mondays Finish the Stories!  If you write, I encourage you to check it out, it’s loads of fun. And if you like to read flash fiction, the same goes!

I left it almost to the last minute this week, but I managed to squeeze it in!  Feels good since I had no time to participate the past few weeks.  Hopefully things will slow down in a few weeks, and I can pick up writing again.

As always, constructive criticism would be wonderful. 🙂

The Price of Literature (A Rant)

The question, it seems to me, is how much is art worth? (And yes, I include writing in “art.) Is it the work itself that is important when considering price? Or is a digital copy worth less simply because it has no substance and is more easily accessible?

In this age of digital works, it seems that the latter is not necessarily the case. It’s not that a digital copy is worth less, it’s that it costs less to produce compared to a physical copy, and is also less shareable than a physical copy. (Or at least, I don’t really think of loaning out an e-book like I do my other books.) It’s also that we’re moving towards a new model, one that takes full advantage of the digital platform instead of simply trying to mimic the physical world, one that involves lower price points as part of a larger process.

TL;DR Go read this if you produce, consume, or are interested in digital literature and other art forms. It’s food for thought.


I keep tripping over this question about the price of e-books. I stumble over it in blog posts, it sneaks up behind me and shouts BOO during podcasts, and I’m pretty sure it stole my popcorn at the movie theater last night.

It is an important question, both for traditional publishers and the indie crowd as well as for readers. I read 2-3 books per week, and at certain price points ($9.99/book) it would exceed what I spend on lunch during the work week ($25.00). Recently, I have become more conscious of my buying behavior and have a few thoughts on the below.

Marketing Considerations

In the last 30 days, I saw three books I really wanted to buy. Two were traditionally published, one was indie published. However, all the books were priced at $9.99. I didn’t buy them. This made me realize that I have a limit on what…

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Bay Area Book Festival Defends Author Solutions Sponsorship

The Bay Area Book Festival + Author Solutions is a bad combo as Author Solutions is well-known as a scam in the writing community. But the festival representatives say it’s okay to associate themselves with this group because it’s a “buyer beware” situation. News flash: If you have to say “Buyer beware,” you probably shouldn’t encourage the service in the first place!

David Gaughran

BABFASI discovered yesterday that Author Solutions was sponsoring the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival – something at odds with the breathless verbiage on the event’s site:

A new kind of book fair… the largest, most innovative, and most inclusive… [we will] create the nation’s leading book festival.

The event doesn’t take place until June, so I thought it was a good time to try and stage an intervention.

After I sent that tweet I felt a little bad.

Maybe the organizers didn’t know the full history of Author Solutions. Maybe they weren’t aware of the specific scam that Author Solutions runs at events like this. Deciding to give them the benefit of the doubt, I emailed the Executive Director of the festival, Cherilyn Parsons.

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Mondays Finish the Story: A Mind Made of Memories

-Photo copyright Barbara W. Beacham

The old typewriter had a mind of its own.

There were times when the words would not come.  It was not a lack of inspiration.  No, Elle had inspiration in plenty; she could see her fantastic realms and valiant heroes so clearly that they were real to her.  Her job was convincing others that they were real, if only momentarily; and for that, she needed words.

Sometimes, they just would not come.

It was on those days that Elle abandoned her computer in favor of the old typewriter.  She would place her fingers on the keys the way her aunt taught her, and soon a story would be born, a story quite unlike her own.  For the typewriter had a mind of its own, made up of the memories of generations of writers, a mind that told stories grounded in truth rather than fiction.

And on those days, she helped it tell its stories.

~ ~ ~

This post is part of the weekly blogging event Mondays Finish the Stories!  If you write, I encourage you to check it out, it’s loads of fun. And if you like to read flash fiction, the same goes!

Well, I barely managed to stay within the word count today!  This story was quicker to write than last week’s but it doesn’t feel like it’s as good. I don’t know how to explain it, other than it seems to want another paragraph.  Ah well, it’s done! and I think tinkering at this point would be a disservice.

Constructive criticism would be wonderful.🙂

Mondays Finish the Story: Painting

Copyright Barbara W. Beacham

Little did they know when the photographer took their picture that they would find themselves trapped in a painting. This painting here, in fact.”

His grandchild’s eyes are wide.  “In a painting?  What did they do?”

“What do you think they did?”

“Played music.”

“Right, they played music.  Jazz, mostly.  They played for a long time.”

“How long?”

“Longer than people here can.  Weeks or months or years.  Time was different there; didn’t matter how long they played, they could keep going.”

“Didn’t they get bored?”

“Would you get bored?”

“It’s boring when Momma makes me practice piano.”

“Well, that’s because you don’t like it.  They loved it, so they never got bored, in that place where they could play music forever.” The grandfather’s voice is quiet now, trailing off.  “But they did get lonely. . . . “