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Archive for August, 2018

How We Write – The Photo

This is probably the shortest, at 186 words, and the darkest story we’ve ever written.

Immediately, the combination of the prompts, photo and the dumpster, led to certain conclusions. Orion wrote the story a few years ago, then, says Kyros, traumatized him with it! However, he’s responsible for some of the chilling details at the end that were added during editing.

It’s said, with some truth, that Orion kills characters off, not Kyros! But once Orion puts it out there, Kyros’ diabolical brain comes up with some very, uh, innovative, shall we say, methods to accomplish that goal.


Photo by Talles Alves on Unsplash



My mom framed the photo. She keeps it right there on the mantelpiece in our small rambler.

“See?” she says to visitors. “My lovely daughter and my second husband Nick.” She sniffs. “He was a policeman, you know, and a good one, they said. Always so good with the survivors, the wives and parents and kids.

“My girl? She’s thirteen there. Such a good girl. Sports star, good grades.”

A tear slides down her wrinkled cheek. Then she shakes her head.

“I don’t know why my darling husband had to die.”

I do.

Because of that ‘special’ warmth he showed me from the day they were married.

Because of the nights he tucked me into bed.

Because of the baby I left in a dumpster behind the high school.

You better believe I know why he had to die.

Why I spent a year growing hemlock in the corner of the backyard.

Why, after the paralysis set in, we had a nice long talk about his sins before he died.

And why I’m now the youngest woman in history to be sentenced to life in prison.


How We Write – Last Call

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash


The prompts for this story were: dark star safari, last call, a moment of yearning.

As usual, the three prompts already suggested a story: Someone is loading for a trip. Dark star safari suggested outer space. Who was yearning? The story unspooled from there.

Oddly enough, given that Orion doesn’t usually enjoy first-person stories, this one demanded to be told from that point of view.

As with other stories lately, we are finding that moving some of the exposition into the narrator’s thoughts strengthens the impact of the story. See, we’re still growing and learning our craft as writers just like everyone else.

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash



As usual, Johnny was up earlier than I was. Logically, my little brother should have made breakfast, but most of the time, I’d find him drinking kaffo, reading a space story, or perusing travel brochures. Today, he sat at a dining room table covered with pamphlets and reference books. His Note-Tab was propped up by a thick book he favored: Dr. Drummond’s All Things Space. Coming up behind him, I saw an info page for ‘Dark Star Safari – Experience the very best the universe has to offer!’

I pointed at the screen. “What’s this? I haven’t heard of them before.”

He turned a shining face up toward me. “They’re new! Sit down. I’ll show you.” (more…)

How We Write – Hi, Honey, I’m Home

We had four prompts for this story. They were: Blue skies, Perfect weather, Top down, A wasted life. One reason it’s so easy for us to write a short story is that, given three or more prompts, we can already see a snapshot of the story we want to write. We hear other writers complain that trying to fit anything over one prompt into a story makes their head spin, but apparently there’s truth to the old adage that two heads are better than one. More space for the ideas to bounce around in! (Yeah, yeah, we know. That implies there’s a lot of empty room up there!)

Also, as a side note: Somewhere between originally writing this short and polishing it for the blog, we forgot what the prompts were. Thankfully, because we use Google Docs for all our writing, it was a simple matter to bring up the version history, click on the very first version and find the prompts sitting there, right at the top of the page, along with the very first rough outline of the story.


I needed this, I thought as I pulled out of the parking lot at work.

Hell, I deserved this.

Getting this convertible was a great idea! I don’t care what everyone says, I didn’t get it because I’m going through a ‘midlife crisis.’ (more…)

How We Write – Just Like An Old Time Movie

Picture thanks to


Our prompts this story were: bottled water, spiral, starting over, and rain. Taken together, they suggested a sad story of unrequited love. Of wishing things could be different but knowing they never can be.

When we first wrote it, the story was all in the first person, but, on editing, we found it needed to be more…personal…more immediate!

So, we pulled a lot of the original story into the narrator’s thoughts. We also added the movie the narrator was watching, with its attendant imagery.

We think the resulting story is much stronger. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

The title phrase kept bouncing around in Kyros’ mind until he remembered where it came from. By the way, in case you’re wondering, it’s from an old Gordon Lightfoot song If You Could Read My Mind.

Also, we have some observations after the story we’d like you to think about.

Picture thanks to




It’s raining outside my window. Well, that’s the perfect backdrop for my thoughts today.

I took a long drink from my bottle of water and let my thoughts drift back over our interactions. Every moment of my life since I met her played across the movie screen in my mind.

It was winter that first time we met, everything slippery with ice. I stopped to help her pick up her books, scattered across the sidewalk where she’d fallen in the snow. (more…)