Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bio & Pic - Yeah, I finally got around to doing them. Yeesh!

They are done, although I am not sure I will even need them. There are close to 35 people picked with 10 top winners and 25 honorable mentions. If I am in the honorable mention category, then they will not need the bio and picture. I would just have my name and story title listed. But they suggest having everything ready just in case I am picked. I take it that the process moves fast after second round judging.

Anyway, here is my bio (unedited.)

I live in the rural hills of Pennsylvania (yes, I am a hillbilly - you do not have to rub it in.) I am self employed in the wedding business where I create custom-made invitations and offer other services. I discovered a love for stories in highschool where I had the opportunity to annoy my fellow students by spouting out poetry. I even had my own critique group (the seniors) in the back of the school bus who gave me valuable tips as well as the latest schoolyard gossip. In pursuing a writing career, I made the move into computers -- I did not say it was my brightest move -- where I enrolled in Computer Business and Information Science to earn points toward an Associate Degree. (A hillbilly who knows how to make computer programs and debug them - what is the world coming to?) I have had several of my articles printed in my local newspaper and featured on their website. The WOW Summer 08 Flash Fiction Contest would be the first serious contest I have entered since I am not counting the other two short fiction contests because I did not come close to winning. At the moment I have a fiction manuscript making its rounds through the industry and will be finishing my new suspense, Untempered Thorn, by the middle of November. My pleasures in life involve laughing at a good pun, enjoying a good read, and having a good friend. You can email me at or visit my blog at

Viola! It took me 2 days and a bottle of vodka to write it. I am joking. It only took 5 hours and a bottle of rum. Okay . . . 2 minutes and I imagined that I was drunk, which makes it easier for me to come up with my stories.

And now my *gasp* picture! My real picture. My really real picture. Hide your children and get your torches ready.

AIIIIEEEE! My eyes! Burn it! Burn it! How could I allow such vulgarity to be posted on this wholesome blog? Oh, yeah. Right. Never mind about the wholesome part.

Well, that’s me. I took a SEMI-GOOD picture for once. I uploaded it to the computer while all giddy with excitement. Then I took a closer look.

Holy Krakatoa! We have a massive eruption on the bare side!

A zit sat smack in the middle of my forehead. No, don’t go ruining your eyesight by gazing at my mug again. Although I don’t have the Photoshop program, I was able to just go into Microsoft’s Paint application. I did a little nip and tuck to get rid of the acne. I hate adult acne. I might as well charge them for rent on my face.

So, now I have come to a little dilemma. I’ve been thinking about changing my blog picture. I actually like how my photo turned out. And I am sure everyone is sick of seeing the feather. It is not as if I’ve been keeping my appearance a secret - I do have my kiddie portrait in the side bar and my reclined picture at the bottom of the blog. I might as well get rid of those ones and slap this one in.

But, what about my feather? It is my icon. My sketch. It’s a logo of who I am and people automatically know to delete my insane comment when they run across it on their blogs. I have the feather tattooed on my butt . . . Whoa! When did this happen? The things I will do when I imagine myself drunk. No, wait. It’s a real feather from the pillow. Whew! That’s a relief.
Which picture? The feather? The real me? Or maybe, just maybe, I could morph both of them together in a conception to procreate a new being, like the baby alien bursting out of the chest in those Sigourney Weaver Alien movies. Now that is a pretty picture to see - a feather bursting out of my forehead.

Why not? Let me work my computer magic . . . add all those gory things . . . lots of blood. Nice. Here we go.

Come on, people! You didn’t think I would make myself more gruesome-looking. I’m not THAT drunk in my imagination.

Which picture? The feather. The bare me? Or the merging of both? Let’s hear those opinions! What? You want some incentive? Like what? Yes, I know I haven’t posted any stories in over a week. But this post is starting to get long. OW-OW-OW! My arm is not supposed to bend in that direction! Fine! Here’s a little tidbit from my current writing project, as if you haven’t already read the first chapter.

I am too nice.

I lifted my hand. The arm flew back and forth almost on an invisible puppet string. I tried to steer it toward my coughing mouth to wipe away the drool moistening my bottom lip a bit too much. Fingers caught the liquid from wetting the linoleum, not that it mattered. A wet spot already dotted the floor beside me. I prayed it was sweat from my gloved hand because of the hot day instead of from any misplaced bodily function.

Well, at least my back stopped hurting.

Little comfort rested in this as my head drummed from a sleep headache. My raw throat burned from the medication although I had tried to pace myself between each gulp. Oh, who was I kidding? I had sat there gleefully chucking them back like bar nuts. Below, my stomach heaved. I felt every surge of fluid rolling up my throat. In a weird clinical observation I bent over and vomited clear liquid. It hurt when I did this. My stomach filled with just the leftover pills reacting poorly with each other. The wet spot on the floor grew bigger. I had solved that mystery in a messy way.

The pool slid toward my direction as I decided to seek a better place to sit. My body flopped over to the other side. Unexpected tingles ran along both legs. They had also gone to sleep while kept in the same position for too long. I figured I was far enough away to avoid the puddle, so I gazed around at my new surroundings. My eyes fastened on the nearest object. A lilac-colored pill. My stomach began to hiccup again, but this time I had enough control to keep it settled. Yet I still felt disgust. I felt disgusted at the sight of the pill and for my lack of control. I could no longer fathom swallowing any more of them for the rest of my life. My mind began to point out the pill’s flaws to strengthen my resolve. Why had it not done this last night?

Lilac? Who came up with these colors? Did they think that if they made pretty medication then it must taste good? My palm crawled toward the pill. A thumb and a middle finger touched tips, then flicked outward. The pill skipped across the strewn papers on the floor and rammed into the wall as it fractured apart. Two medium pieces and one smidgen of a pill bounced underneath the cobwebby bookcase.

I turned my face away as my thoughts finally clicked on to tell me where I was. I had stayed in the diningroom of the neighboring house. In case I had to make a break for the backdoor if this were a day the realtor scheduled to show off the property. Without my watch on I had no idea what time it was. Yet, judging by the sun shining through the south window, it had to be late afternoon. I hoped it was Sunday. This would not be the first time I went on an all-night bender and woke up several days later.

Most of what happened last night remained a fuzz in my mind. I remembered about staring at colorful pills in an aspirin bottle and relishing the faraway in never-never land sensation. I think I had even studied the bone while in my stupor. I had switched back and forth from a feral beast and pondering scientist personalities. My nose had sniffed at the bone and my fingers had measured the angles trying to deduce what animal had lost a body part. No closer to an answer, I had given up. Then I had . . . done something with it.

I frowned, hoping this would trip the mental switch for all my memories to return. I had played some type of weird game about rolling it around with . . .

My body shuddered as I banished away the memory. I knew I had done stranger things in my life, although all of them seemed to pale to this one. Hands smacked the side of my head.
Stupid Jena. Dimwit Jena. No more drugs. No more taking trips through the lilacs.

The headache worsened. I stopped the self-punishment and noticed the aspirin bottle resting on top of the journal. I had tipped over the bottle to eat most of the pills without overdosing. I had played demented games with a gnawed-on bone. Yet my mind had been too out there to read Grandpa’s thoughts.

Arms did a soldier’s crawl across the floor. I concentrated on opening my hands, as they responded in jerky movements toward the book. My eyes scanned a random page with the words registering in slow bursts of understanding. Yet I still felt myself drifting, wondering if I should go out to pick up the newspaper and whether Clare had grown worried over my absence and if Anna would bring those little snack cakes with her whenever she came for her visit with our granny. My eyelids squeezed tight as I berated myself.

"Concentrate, Jena. We can’t go for the newspaper right now because our foot won’t stay on the gas pedal in our loopy condition. That’s how we had ended up in jail when we stole the car to sell for drugs and crashed into the brick wall. As for Clare, she might be worried especially when she sees we raided her cabinet. But since we haven’t heard any police sirens then she probably went off with her church group to pray for forgiveness over our damned soul. And forget about the snack cakes. Anna will not bring any because of Granny’s diabetes."

Those questions answered, my head bent toward the page. It took a moment for the lines to match into the alphabet I had learned in grade school.


  1. Sounds great to me.. both the bio and your excerpt. And you're as cute as a button. I scrolled down to look for the kidlet you (which I remember seeing) and the reclining you (which I don't recall seeing) and they were already gone. You work fast.

    My vote is for the feather to be integrated with your photo. Both are you. So what IS the significance of the feather? (BTW, Frank and I pick up and keep most feathers that we find.)

  2. You may be attached to the feather, but Blogtopia isn't. Go with the picture.

  3. I love your picture! Why would you not use that? And your excerpt is terrific.

    Your bio is funny - like you. So its great!

  4. Hilary: Thanks for the kinds words!

    The feather is just a sketch I drew, and it took me a long time to do it. It looks small on screen, but the original is a 10x13drawing. Almost drove me crazy with all the dots as detail.

    Stephen: One vote for and one vote against. Wait, I guess if I need to also count the masses of Blogtopia who are not fond of it. I'll be back with a more accurate count.

    1...2....56....97...yikes...this might take awhile.

    Ello: I guess now that it is up on my page, I shouldn't have any qualms about using the photo. Glad you liked the excerpt. There are more if you click on the book picture in the sidebar.

  5. You Cutie, you, Michelle! I vote for the bare you, sans feather.

    And I'm still wishing you Good Luck on the contest...

  6. I prefer the unadorned picture. It captures your deep and sensitive soul, Michelle, and I think the feather is distracting.

    Loved the excerpt!

  7. Hey Michelle, I feel like I've been gone forever! :)

    Your bio and your excerpt are perfect, just like your picture. You are beautiful my dear friend, inside and out!

    I enjoyed reading your tag and your post about Timmy/Lassie hit a nerve. If you own a dog it should be as you take care of your child. Dogs are only as good as their persons.

  8. lose the feather, hon... nothing beats the YOU :D

    [ok, use it as your sig, not avatar]

    great excerpt, btw... and g'luck with the contest

    wuff sez: you're in the top 10, for a start :)

  9. i like the picture of you and the feather. Good luck on the contest! you bio looks good! interesting excerpt... is this the piece making the rounds or your new suspense novel?

  10. Buck: Thanks for the good luck! (Hey, that rhymed!)

    Brenda: Glad you liked the excerpt! Thanks for the vote.

    Sandra: Glad your back! Your words are too kind. I also have the same sentiment when it comes to any pets a person might own.

    Laughingwolf: I'm happy that people like the real me. What a relief! Thanks for liking the excerpt!

    Chris: The excerpt is from my new suspense. I'm hoping to get it done by the end of the month, which will be fast for me since I only started it in August. Thanks for the well wishes concerning the contest!

  11. Hey, that's you! Great pic!

    It's kind of cool to hear more about you. My one official suscriber. Michelle rocks!

  12. Maybe it could have been a picture of you holding a feather quill?

    One of these days I'll be forced to post an author photo, but right now I'm planning on posting a self portrait I did of myself at 17....

  13. PS: My author bio mentions I cooked corpses! :-O

  14. Josephine: No can do with the feather. Stephen threatened to call me a lightweight on his blog.

    Cooked corpses? You never cease to amaze me.


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