He Waits

shadows stretched by lamplight
in stillness he watches
you walk faster, 
but not sure where
look behind you
you're the only one there
walking faster,
he hears your broken breath
and smiles
this game is his
you are the prize
running now, 
don't you know it's too late?
for wherever you go
...he awaits




I am moving full-time to my website, ShannonTaylorHodnett.com. However, I'm not totally shutting things down here. I will have the occasional post......a short story, maybe a poem, or a review. But the posts here will be random and far between. I hope you've enjoyed this blog, and continue to......but I also hope you'll follow me over to STH.com where you never know what you'll find! ;)

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Random Amazon

I am addicted to Amazon, I admit it. I'm not sure how I ever lived my life without it....y'know, the days when I had to actually get in the car and GO to the store if I wanted to buy something?

la la la...

Sometimes during my online shopping travails I come across items that:
  • I never knew existed
  • I didn't want to know existed
  • make me wonder how exactly they made the cut for my potato peeler search results

So I decided to share five of those gems here, just in case any of you out there are unfortunate enough to have never been similarly entertained on your own adventures exploring the depths of the mysterious Amazon algorithms.
Please to enjoy:

1) The Gangsta Rap Coloring Book

This looks like loads of fun for the whole gang...just be careful which colors you use.  Brought to you by the author of "Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book". 

"The Gangsta Rap Coloring Book is just as it sounds: a series of images in thick black lines of the most popular gangsta rappers from hip-hop. The juxtaposition of hard-core thugs portrayed through a children's medium made this book an underground hit in Aye Jay Moreno's first, self-published edition. Now expanded from 20 to 48 pages to include even more of the music's superstars, this collection is a witty hall of fame of gangsta rap."

2) Fat Old Fred

Fred is not looking good. I'm just glad this "life form" comes with a convenient carrying bag. Imagine the looks you'd get carrying Fred around town...or if you had to roll him up in a rug.
And in Fred's previous life...he was apparently a balloonist.

"Students always wonder how CPR manikins [sic] will compare with real victims, especially those who are older or obese. This unique manikin [sic] helps to prepare students to respond to a more typical cardiac arrest event with a victim who is elderly and overweight. Features: elderly physical appearance, large body type with extra 'fat' layer, realistic head tilt and chin lift for opening the airway, and palpable and visual anatomical landmarks, including the sternum, rib cage, and substernal notch. The airway can be manipulated to simulate airway obstruction or choking situations. Also includes three mouth/nose pieces, three disposable lung/airway systems, and a convenient carrying bag."

3) Dancing With Jesus

Cover Jesus shows us his best Carleton...after all, he is the Fresh Prince of Peace. ☮  And the fact that the cover is lenticular ROCKS!
Just saying.

"Singing hymns of praise is standard practice—now it’s time to set your feet a-tapping with a collection of original dance moves inspired by Jesus and the likes of Moses and John the Baptist. Dances include: the Water Walk, the Temptation Tango, the Judas Hustle, and The Apostolic Conga. Each dance move is outlined with: how to, inspiration, and an illustration. Slyly irreverent but ultimately festive, Dancing with Jesus is illustrated in full color. Best of all, two of the dances are animated for full effect by a lenticular cover and last-spread finale, making this a truly one-of-a-kind novelty item!"

4) Teeth Magnets

Two words that should NEVER be put together.
These make my teeth hurt...but they would be a perfect present for Jeffery Dahmer, maybe...or Ed Gein.
Why does one look like corn?

"Ideal for posting notes and photos on your fridge or other magnetic surface, these fun teeth magnets feature five white teeth and one gold tooth. Made of plastic."

5) Penis Cactus

I really don't have much to say about these...except I bet they're really prickly.

"Trichocereus Bridgessi Mostruosa "Penis Cactus" Cuttings. Each cactus is approx. 3", the powder on the cut end is sulfur which is an anti -fungal. This is for 1 cactus. These plants root very easily and are shipped individully [sic] wrapped and packed in a sturdy box. Complete with instructions on rooting, soil mixture and watering requirements. These cacti are hardy to 20 degrees. Or, they may be brought indoors in the winter and require minimal care. All cacti come with 7 day money back guarentee. [sic] Wholesale inquiries welcome."

I hope you had fun on our little foray into Amazon weirdness...if you find any good stuff on your own search of "the 'Zon", come back and leave a link here in the comments. ♥

much love



Finding & Keeping Focus

Writing is hard. Not the actual writing part...but being able to get focused and stay focused long enough to get the writing done. It's been a real problem for me lately. By nature I am very distract-able (note the excessive use of parentheticals). Some people (read: my husband) have said I might be slightly ADD, but that has never been officially diagnosed.

Just sitting here writing this post my focus has been lost to:
  • barking dogs
  • Facebook
  • The Real Housewives of OC
Writing, or any other work that involves a computer, puts your focus at a disadvantage. While you're writing on the computer you could get stuck...decide to do a quick check on your FB feed...see something you feel you must comment on...get stuck in an IM convo---focus derailed. Or you could be busily typing away...stop to look up a word...notice that you have 23 interactions on Twitter...check all 23---focus derailed. It's hard to be on the computer and not give into the urge to wander around the internets when your writing gets laggy. Maybe the only way to prevent this is to ...write by hand.

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My right hand just cramped at the thought of it. I know that some people do this, or even prefer it, but not me.
I ♥ my keyboard.

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The only thing I've ever found that gets me focused (besides coffee, of course) is music. I can write in complete silence, but listening to music...sometimes with lyrics, sometimes without...puts me in the right frame of mind for writing.  I use movie scores a lot because of their dramatic effect. For a fight scene...a romantic scene...a haunting scene, movie scores set the mood like nothing else.
Sometimes I like to listen to the same songs I played while writing my first book. Hearing them puts me right back in the moment...writing and re-writing. I even have them grouped into a playlist called "writing focus" because I know those songs will get me into writing mode. I'm actually listening to them right now.ツ  The only drawback to the playlist is during writing lulls I tend to break out into song. This is probably part of why I have my own little tucked away space where they send me to write...and yes, very loud singing is happening now as well......don't you wish this was a vlog? ツ

So what helps you focus? What helps you stay focused long enough to get into the groove (Madonna!) and let it flow from there? What gives you the strength to fight the lure of FB and Twitter? Is that even possible? 

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Character Counts

Or more precisely, characters count. They're arguably the most important part of any story. Plots are great and everything, but even the greatest plot ever written won't shine with weak characters.

For a reader to get into a story - to be fully engaged - they must care about the characters.  They need to identify with them at some level, or at least sympathize.  If the reader couldn't care less about a protagonist, then not even the most masterfully crafted twists and turns will save the story.

For example - if I tell you about a young boy who stepped off a street curb to the cheers of those around him - you might say that sounds like it could be an interesting story. You might want to know why they cheered for the boy, but it's likely at this point you don't particularly care.

Then if I told you it was an adorable little 4-year-old blind boy who was stepping off the curb for the 1st time by himself, the story becomes more appealing and heartwarming because now you actually care about this boy and why he's stepping off the curb. ♥

Unless you're heartless......just kidding.......ok, not really. ;o)

So whether you're writing a story that's plot-driven or character-driven, pour your heart and soul into your characters......make them your best friends forever......fall madly in love with them so readers will, too. ツ

"I think books with weak or translucent plots can survive if the character being drawn along the path is rich, interesting and multi-faceted. The opposite is not true." 

~ Michael Connelly

Further reading:

Moody Writing - "A Plot Problem is a Character Problem"

Writing Forward - "Plot vs. Character: Fiction Writing"