River Dart Swimming Pool - with added feet!!
Photo by Tomorrow Never Knows on Flickr photosharing

Morning brings two choices
Not run
Opening the front door, a wall of heat bumps my face
Steals my breath, like opening the oven door to check a cake
I inhale the scent of parched grass and baking leaves
I ponder that pain in my hip, the throb in my big toe
At my feet the dog pants, wags his whole body, spins in circles
He doesn't need a choice
Might as well ask him if he wishes to breathe

The workday brings two choices
Pretend I will get to it in a minute
Opening the word processor is a beating
Doubts slap my face
Fears knuckle my stomach
On a shelf is a fat, hand-typed manuscript, a book I wrote at age 12
Where is the little girl who launched into stories
as eagerly as she jumped from the sizzling planks of a boat dock
into the cool blue of a summer lake

I have two choices
Remain immobile, transfixed by perfectionism
Close my eyes and jump

This post was written in response to the Three Word Wednesday prompt. See what others have written and join in the fun here.


Ice Queen

Ice queen
Ice Queen by Nancee_art on Flickr photo sharing

Is that all there is

I contemplate renegade eyes
Our lost reality rises like a frosty veil
Beyond me

Was that the best we had

Unwind this winter
Wrapped around my soul
Like a lover

Melt me

With uncharted desires
Make me drip
Burn through me like a torch

Be my spring

~Nara Malone

This post was written in response to this week's Carry On Tuesday prompt: "Is that all there is?" See what others have contributed or join in the fun here.


Thursday Tales: Shadow Journey (via Passionate Reads)

Sometimes love digs into our shadows.

Thursday Tales: Shadow Journey This flash threesome is a peek into the shadowy side of love. If you're not 18 or such subjects make you uncomfortable, please don't read further. Shadow Journey 1. The Call to Adventure "I won’t submit like some sheep," she said with pride. "I'm not a mindless woman who can't find my way. Anyone can lead sheep. I bow only to someone with the wisdom to lead me." "And what if you're consumed? What if love turns you meek as a lamb and bends your ne … Read More

via Passionate Reads


Midnight Butterfly

bound freedom

She used to float free as a butterfly
now she's earthbound
wing beats crashing
chaos without flight
hunger spoiling softness

Imagining nothing
as he takes aim
pain strikes quick as a serpent
penetrates and ripples outward
his dark body ribboning
over skin pale as moonlight

Secrets snake toward escape
she surrenders, wings unfolding
like petals opening to taste evening mist
a metamorphosis born on a prick
a love potion injected to enslave her

And he has wrought the chains that will bind him


This post was written in response to the Carry On Tuesday Prompt. Go here to see what other contributed or to join the fun.


Monday Poetry Train: Dawning


Click the picture for a larger image. :)

This visual poem is posted as part of the Monday Poetry Train. See what others contributed or hop on and ride along here.


Opportunity's Disguises


As Disasters

While we may dream of opportunity knocking on our door in the form of Oprah bringing us a new car or hitting the lottery, the biggest opportunities in my life have come disguised as something less appealing. When my father was dying and my sister was crumbling under the stress of taking care of him, we made a pact to sign up for a fiction workshop and get a start on the novels we'd always talked about writing one day. It became an escape from the reality of hospital waiting rooms and long hours at the dialysis clinic.

At the end of three months I had about 30 pages. I sent those off to a contest hoping for feed back--it was a contest for both unpublished and published authors so I didn't even entertain the concept of winning until I won. Winning the contest was the opportunity hidden inside a very painful ordeal. It opened a the door to publication for both The Tiger's Tale and The Dungeon Gourmet.

My dad was still with us when news of the contest win came. He was so weak I could barely hear his voice over the clack of the dialysis pump. "I always knew you were good," he said. "It's about time somebody else figured it out." :) You gotta love fathers.

"the package"

As Brown Paper Wrappers

Sometimes opportunity comes wrapped in the plain brown wrapper of tasks you might like to skip over but know you shouldn't. I try to run a race every few months so that I'll do the daily running that keeps me fit and healthy. There's a race in Virginia Beach each spring I like to attend. The last time I was there I agreed to join some friends for a bike ride through the Dismal Swamp the following day. I hate bike rides. A bike ride through a dismal swamp didn't sound like an opportunity, and it's even less appealing the day after running a half-marathon. I am so glad I went. If nothing had come of the ride but a good time with friends in a spectacular park, that would have been enough. It was incredibly beautiful and impressive. Perhaps that is the reason Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, among others, found writing inspiration there.

And while that trip was the seed of an opportunity, it didn't take form until I left a comment about a video game I liked in a long discussion thread. If you're here from Sunday Scribbling's you know how frustrating it can be to try to leave feedback, especially on some sites where the comments can run to several pages and there's slim possibility anyone will read what you said. That particular day a game developer, Darek Rusin of Orchid Games, was reading and saw my comments on romance video games. He got in touch through email and our discussion continued.

Darek recognized the dearth of video games based on stories that appeal to women. My blog comment and that ride through the swamp combined to create an opportunity for me to write a game story. Spirit Walkers: Curse of the Cypress Witch, a story I wrote about friends going on a hike through the dismal swamp, will be released as a an adventure game in the next week or two.

I'm wanting to skip my daily run today, but now that I've written this I'm thinking I'll have to do it.


As Roadblocks

How many of you ever get so frustrated with your computer or a new program that you want to chuck the whole mess out the window? That's not usually the case for me. I can generally figure things out and I'm inspired by the challenge, but when author Tibby Armstrong talked me into tackling virtual worlds and trying Second Life I thought I'd met my Waterloo. Three months of trying and I was barely functional. At that point I'd learned to log in, walk in a snaking duck sort of fashion, and that's about it. Going up stairs usually resulted in me tumbling over the side several times before I made it to the top. When I tried to walk through a door I hit the wall to the right and the wall to the left before I managed to get focused on the center. At which point the door would swing shut and I'd hit it.

A year later, I'm doing better. I've graduated to building fantasy worlds for my story settings and making comical attempts at joining in role play. Persevering in Second Life was the seed of this most recent opportunity. Hitting a roadblock on my current WIP allowed the seed to germinate and grow into Snatch Me, a novella that takes place in the parallel worlds of a young woman's real life and her virtual life. I just got the cover art this week from the publisher. :)

And while I haven't progressed along the path toward enlightenment sufficiently to embrace things like disaster and frustration as opportunity when they occur-- it helps knowing it's possible that something good will grow out of a bad time.

This post was written in response to the Sunday Scribblings prompt: Opportunities. See what other participants wrote here.


Snatch Me: A Virtual World Capture Romance


I just signed a contract with Ellora's Cave to publish my capture romance, Snatch Me, as part of their Sex Bytes series.

I was not planning to write this story. Every time a scene started unfolding in my imagination I shut it down and said, "I do not have time for this story right now. The deadline was looming too close for me to finish in time." My muse, ornery critter that she is, wouldn't listen. She went on strike. I was running in place on every project I had going. My mind was an empty bucket.

Finally I surrendered and let Snatch Me take over my life for several weeks. I started writing at 4 AM and I worked until 10 every night. I sent the story to my editor about two hours before the deadline. I had zero objectivity on this story. I had no idea how the world would receive such a different kind of romance. I broke viewpoint rules. I don't know if there is a rule about pixel people sex, but if there is, I broke that too. When I wasn't breaking rules I was making new ones. Given my muse's love for rule breaking, I'll probably break my own rules in my next story. I was pretty sure my editor would get in her car and drive up here to smack me over the head with the manuscript. Every morning I checked my email for an are-you-out-of-your-mind message from her. When the message came, my hands were shaking so bad I accidentally signed myself out of the mailbox while I was trying to open the mail. It took three more fails at typing in my username and password before I was able to get back in and read the verdict.

She loved it. She called it "unique". Cool! That's probably editor speak for you broke a bunch of rules. She may yet make me unbreak some of them. But we're both glad Snatch Me insisted on being written.

Snatch Me is a little unusual in that the romance unfolds in an online virtual world (think Second Life or World of Warcraft) and in the real world. Virtual world scenes are written immersively, as if that scene were as real-- or even more real-- than the scenes unfolding in the real world.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks to learn more about Snatch Me.


Afterglow and the Creative Storm (via Passionate Reads)

I've been caught in a creative storm and I hoping to find the Afterglow any day now.

Afterglow and the Creative Storm

At the heart of all the before
The after
When she rests curled against his hip
or kneels at his feet head in his lap

After whip-like lightning strikes
After torrential tears
After the thunder and clash of bodies
leave her renewed and fresh as rain-washed grass

He brushes her hair
draws a finger over
a newly bloomed bruise
along a razor-thin welt
and she thanks him

By Nara Malone ~~~ I've been juggling three projects this month: The video game, Sp … Read More

via Passionate Reads