October 30: I am . . . #OctPoWriMo #Writober

In One Ear and Out the Other by Maria L. Berg 2020

Last night, I framed one of my fabricglass pieces. It was so nice to wake up to the sun shining through it.


Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 29

I enjoyed the imagery in Rallentanda’s poem

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is I am . . .


I am a filter
a sponge, a sea cucumber
transforming the discarded

I am a creator
a silkworm, an orb weaver
stitching new dimensions

I am a canvas
a cuttlefish, a chameleon
changing hues and patterns with each discovery

I am a seer
an eagle, a hawk
watching patiently for movement

I am a tome
an elephant, a whale
heavy with memory and wonder

My fabricglass piece from outside


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image by Jakub Rozalski

micro-story : When the war ended, the meka warriors were left wandering the toxic borderlands. Always on alert, they were avoided by all but the suicidal and insane.

October 28: Choices Along the Journey #OctPoWriMo #Writober

The Golden Path by Maria L. Berg 2020


Read for inspiration and craft

Today I received my copy of Emporium by Aditi Machado (amazon associate link) Winner of the 2019 James Laughlin Award, so I thought I would recommend reading some of her poems.

Recommended poem: Four poems by Aditi Machado

Online journal: Conjunctions

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 27

Magic Spells by M.K. Vecchitto

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is choices or journey

Forms Fable or Lannet

Choices Along the Journey

She faces threats with effort and courage
defends creative space from distraction
two choices arrive of equal value

Wishing balance, she refuses to act
until a unique solution guides her
as waters rise, she leaves comfort behind

Instinct, an ally, leads toward challenges
this new world is not as she imagined
unpredictable and tempestuous

but pushing through rewards with abundance
the journey back is restful and quiet
resurrected the fool, wide-eyed, renewed

beginning fresh, energized with passion
facing hope with a lucky, shiny coin

The Greener Path by Maria L. Berg 2020


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image of a woman on a cliff by a mausoleum

micro-story : When I had insomnia, I would often climb the hill just before sunrise. I enjoyed the creepy lone mausoleum on the outcropping, slowly emerging from the morning mist, otherworldly, full of mystery. These chilly daybreaks had become my ritual, so her first appearance was jarring, a trespass. At first, I believed my sleeplessness and the slanted light played tricks on me, but she lingered and I realized the trespass was mine.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror fiction story The Voice Within by Steven K. Beattie

Online magazine Aphelion

October 26: Tappswave Poetry Form #OctPoWriMo #Writober

Tappswave by Maria L. Berg 2020


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Five Poems by Carolyn Forché

Online journal: World Literature Today

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is What makes me different?

Forms Yesterday, we were challenged to create our own form. I got a start on it, but needed more time to play around with my ideas. I knew I wanted to incorporate internal rhyme and repetition with slight variation.

I wanted the form to reflect my daily interaction with my environment, so here it is, the Tappswave form:

The Tappswave is made of one or more eight line stanzas. The eight lines are couplets of sensation then reaction that repeat with variation. Each couplet has its own rules of rhyme and rhythm.

Lines one and two: Observation and attention like light shining on the water.

Line one: specifically describe a sensory experience
my example An odd sharp chirp came from my plum tree
Line two: memory or emotional response
my example making me think of children shooting laser-guns

Lines three and four: Choppy, all one and two syllable words, like a cluster of small waves.

Line three: Expand on the sensory experience of line one, include internal perfect and familial rhyme to the last word of line one.
I believed the tease or plea was a bird high on a branch unseen
Line four: memory or emotional response to line three with internal perfect and familial rhyme to the last word of line two.
the alarm bell rung, damage done when I was young

Lines five and six: Show what’s underneath the surface. Use words that rhyme with fish or types of fish for the internal rhymes.

Line five: Reveal a revelation about the sensory detail in line one.
At last my search reveals the perp on his perch
Line six: memory or emotional response to line five.
and I’ll pass on the sass of this non-bird’s wrath

Lines seven and eight: Reflection and refraction/ ebb and flow

Line seven: Line two slightly changed to show reflection
That laser-gun battle rages on
Line eight: Line one with a slight change
An odd sharp chirp from my plum tree

If I chose to write another stanza, I would start with a related but different specific sensory detail and explore it through the pattern of the eight lines.

My first Tappswave poem

Searching Out the New Sound

An odd sharp chirp came from my plum tree
making me think of children shooting laser-guns
I believed the tease or plea was a bird on a high branch unseen
but the sound an alarm bell rung, damage done when I was young
At last my search reveals the perp on his perch
and I’ll pass on the sass of this non-bird’s wrath
The nerve-shredding laser-gun battle rages on
as an odd sharp chirp from my plum tree

Plum Tree Laser-guns by Maria L. Berg 2020


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image that was hanging on my friend’s wall.

micro-story : She had always been told she had statuesque beauty. Once she had a fully integrated neural implant, she spent all of her time in the virtual world. Feeling no attachment to her gangly limbs any longer, she decided to fully embrace that beauty.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story “Shedding” by Deborah Sheldon

Horror online magazine AntipodeanSF

October 24: Daring #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: In the Dark Times by Andres Rojas

Online journal: Diode Poetry

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 23

I Still Believe in Magic by Esther Jones

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is doing something you’ve always wanted to do

Forms Joseph’s Star or LaJemme

Ever since I started playing with klecksography, I intended to draw on my inkblots and put poems on them, but I couldn’t get myself to do it. I even made photocopies of a lot of my inkblots, but still couldn’t get myself to draw on them. So to go along with today’s theme, I grabbed one of my inkblots, drew this happy creature on it and wrote my poem on it. I dared to try a poem form I’ve been wanting to try as well: a grid in which the poem can be read in rows, columns, and/or diagonally.


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this still from The Double by Richard Ayoade

micro-story : She was tired of running up the stairs only to stare into an empty room. What did she think she would do if she saw the source of the banging, the footsteps? Her nerves were quickly fraying. What could she do?

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror fiction story each thing i show you is a piece of my death by Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer
An entertaining epistolary work.

Horror online magazine Apex magazine

NaNo Prep

Today I have a regional prep workshop. I’m excited to see what they have to say and to get to know the participants in my region better.

October 19: Digging Deeper While Being Present #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep


While looking for exercises to help me “did deeper”, I stumbled upon “The 5 Whys” and thought I would try using the technique in today’s poem

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Life is Beautiful by Dorianne Laux

Online journal: Canary

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 18

My World by Sunita had a lovely flow. It was relaxing to read.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Being in the present

Forms Synchronicity or LaCharta

Gypsy Curse Disappointment

The gypsy in a rage cursed him
like a sour breakfast blueberry

He called her ugly and inert
while flames flickered on the table

He had been drawn to her beauty
warm like his mother’s sitting room

But disliked the fortune she told
as the wind crescendoed to howl
in waves

When she placed the cards one by one
to keep teeth from ire and vengeance

She read he would face rejection
like red hots, not like cinnamon

And disappointment would follow
misty, overcast, and chilly

Because she revealed his future
a sharp chirp to a yappy dog


For today’s visual prompt, I chose Judgement by Kamila Szutenberg

micro-story : And this was how Halia described the new legal system, of which she was a part: a giantess, mind engorged, pulsating with all knowledge, ever expanding, scrolls through her lengthening lists of wrongs, lording them over the disembodied masses, drifting through her realm as quantum switches.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story The Eisenhower Interstate Phenomena by anonymous

Horror online magazine Creepy Pasta

NaNo Prep

Because I approach the page differently when I write by hand and when I type, I decided to set up a binder for my NaNoWriMo project. I collected worksheets and printables I think will inspire me and this week I plan to fill some in every day. If you find worksheets helpful, you may want to look at:

Eva Deverell
The Novel Factory
The Writer’s Craft
Jami Gold

Do you have other worksheets and printables that inspire you?

I also found a bunch of Scrivener templates other authors have created. Though I like the one I set up and it has a lot of information in it already, I thought I would take a look at these other templates and see if they inspire.

October 18: Relax and Process #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep


Read for inspiration and craft

While looking for a poem to share for today, I found this really interesting article from National Writing Project called Channeling Emotion: One Way to Make Poems Out of Feelings

Recommended poem: Any Morning by William Stafford
Light Betrays by Krysta Lee Frost

Online journal: Wildness Journal

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 17

Into the Wild by payal

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Relax and Process Feelings

Forms Diatelle or previous form didn’t try (I went with the Channeling Emotion exercise I mentioned above)

A Glow in the Darkness

Curiosity is throwing a lantern
into midnight’s halitosis
an unsettling smell that tickles
like a crawling tick
she picks locks on dream diaries
though sometimes she doesn’t like what she finds
her twitchy fingers touch everything
collecting memories of textures and heat
like a campfire under a full moon
an antidote for darkness’s cover

Curiosity scoots her chair forward
aluminum legs scrape along the floor
she leans forward expectantly
bright eyes wide, eyebrow raised
she loves to dip a toe in the water
though she’ll more often dive right in
the questions burst with rapid fire
digging for desired answers until
the source of the well runs dry
like dismembering the eclipse of ignorance

Holding her torch high,
she plunges further into the void
the bad breath left by forbidden fruit
still stimulates her senses
the entries in stranger’s journals
may reveal the reviled
a risk she takes on her eternal quest
for all that’s new, she darts
through every cracked door,
ignoring boundaries, leaping fences
breaking through limits to find
a new shadow to light


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image of giant flying man-o-war jellyfish.

micro-story : She knew they didn’t mean to kill. They were wild and new to flight. Their highly poisonous tentacles, swimming through the mist, were but sensing their environment, drawn to her as she was to them.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Bakhtak by Ross Jeffery

Horror online magazine Idle Ink

NaNo Prep

Yesterday, I got a good start on my list of sound collecting for my sci-fi soundtrack. I recorded some sounds outside, some piano, selected bass effects and played with some riffs. I practiced the drums, but decided to start with other percussion instruments. Music is definitely one way I relax and process my feelings, so I’ll keep playing with my ideas for music that hopefully will inspire my writing.

The other thing that helps me relax and process my feelings is reading, so I just stocked up on ebooks from my library. I borrowed titles on writing sci-fi and a whole lot of science fiction stories. I also picked up other books on writing, especially focused on plot because I want to have my outline ready for November first.

This week’s NaNo Prep 101 theme is Find, Schedule, and Manage Your Time. These days, time just flies by for me, even on strangely slow days. I have yet to accomplish my butt-in-seat goals, so I’ll keep trying. Like I’ve said, listing my goals and publishing them here tends to help me get things done, so this week, I will be in my office, typing, by 9:30 am each morning.

October 1: #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep Here we go!

It’s a foggy, creepy morning. Perfect for photographing spiderwebs and getting into the October spirit. Happy first day of October and that means it’s time for some poetry and creepy, scary flash fiction!


Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt and the theme for this year is “Shine your light.”

Forms Acrostic or Kyrielle Sonnet

An acrostic, a poem in which the first letter of each line spells a word, felt like a good place to start this year.


I effuse creative energy
limited only by scattered focus and
languid corporeal existence
untamed idea generator caged within
muscles and organs that hunger and thirst
incorrigible inventor flitting on
negating intentions to circle back
another beginning and another
the bulbs lighting like stars in the darkest sky
enraptured in exploring the unknown
defused with the next spark


For our first visual prompt, I chose Death Lilies by harkobotand

micro-story : Finally fulfilling her wish to be fully connected with nature, Lilly blossomed.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Ghost Collecting

Horror online magazine Flash Fiction Online Though not specifically a horror magazine, it has a horror archive

Horror movie of the day

The Witches based on the story by Roald Dahl and starring Anjelica Huston. I love this movie and it will definitely get me in the mood to write a scary story.

NaNo Prep

There’s a webcast this morning 9:30 am Pacific. I have started a post about this week’s prep for Plot and Structure and will most likely post it later today.

October Challenges: #Writober and #OctPoWriMo

October is right around the corner which means some fun daily challenges I participate in are coming up. I hope you’ll join me.


Writober is a daily flash story challenge with image prompts. I set up the daily prompts on a pinterest board, so you can see them all at once and jump around if you would like. This year is #Writober 5. Feel free to look through all the #Writober boards if you are looking for creepy and scary inspiration. Pinterest has changed and will not let me rename the pins by day, so my link here is how you will know which picture I’m writing to each day.

This year, I’m planning my first science fiction novel for NaNoWriMo. In hope of truly understanding the future I’m creating for this novel, I am completely immersing myself in science fiction, so each of my flash fiction stories this month will hopefully have something to do with my future world (though a pretty scary and dark side of it). Thus, you may notice the images I have chosen somewhat more future horror than paranormal horror, or so I plan to interpret them.


October Poetry Writing Month is a poetry writing challenge to write a poem each day in October. Prompts are provided each day at http://www.octpowrimo.com/

I will also still be working on NaNo Prep 101 which will continue up until Nov. 1.

NaNo Prep 101

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) usually starts on Nov. 1st for me, but this year I got my idea early, so I’m participating in NaNo Prep 101 Workshop. Each week has a specific writing focus. So far, we’ve looked at the story idea, and character. October, we will explore Plot/Outline, World Building, Organizing life for writing, and Time Management.

There is a Webcast: Writing with Abby Sher and Paola Mendoza on October 1st. I really enjoy NaNoWriMo write-ins. They always inspire me to write something interesting that works with my draft.

And two more weeks of the Writer’s Games.

October’s going to be busy, but it should be a lot of fun. I’ll be in the future. I hope you’ll join me.

What October challenges do you enjoy?