Wednesday, June 23, 2010


YAFF Muse is a new weakly blog series featuring some YA Fiction Fanatics members. In this series, we'll post original short stories created from an image meant to inspire our Muse. Hope you enjoy! And don't forget to check out the other YAFFers participating in this series (links below).

Photo credit: "Summer Tea" By Valyeszter

The Wishing Tree

Wishes come true in the town of Foster. Austin Blake once wished for a goldfish in first grade. The next day, he woke up to a bright orange fish in a bowl. Sara Hendrickson wished for her son to come back from the war. And what do you think she found the next morning? Yep. Her son Alex on her doorstep, safe and sound.
               There’s magic in the wind. That’s what people say anyway. I’m not so sure. The trouble with wishes are, sometimes they don’t always work out. Sissy Tucker wished for a husband. She got one, but maybe she didn’t ask for the right kind. He was a pig. Beat her so black and blue that Officer Dunkle didn’t even recognize her.
               That night though, the night Sissy’s husband beat her, a tornado ripped through Main Street. The only thing it touched was the tiniest teacup hung high upon a branch of the Wishing Tree. The very cup Sissy whispered her wish into only a year before. Then, as if the cyclone had never touched ground, it disappeared into the sky along with the teacup.
               Sissy’s husband was never seen again. Some say the tornado swept him away. Others claim he ran off after what he’d done, leaving a trail of broken women behind him. Grandpa says the tornado stole Sissy’s wish and that’s what took care of the asshole.
               The people of Foster all say the same thing—the wish has to come from the heart. If it doesn’t, the wind will lift your china from the branch and send it crashing to the ground. The grass beneath the tree is littered with the ruins of shattered wishes.
               The other problem with a wish is that they can be tricky. Sometimes the wind doesn’t crash your wish to the ground. Sometimes it gives you what you asked for, just not the way you thought. Robbie, the butcher, once wished for a million dollars. The next day he woke up to a million sand dollars on his doorstep. If you walk by his house, you can still catch the salty smell of the sea.
               As I stand here under the Wishing Tree, its leafless arms stretching into the blue sky, I wonder if my wish will come true. Suspended china bowls, teacups, and even a gravy boat tink in the breeze.
                I whisper my wish, the only wish I’ve ever had, into my teacup. Forgotten wishes and broken dreams crunch beneath my feet as I approach. My fingers tremble as I thread the fine handle through the branch. My heart’s desire dangles, a test against the wind.


Below are links to my fellow YAFFers' blogs and stories based on the same photo:
RM Gilbert
Rebekah Purdy
Cambria Dillon
Tracy Kenworth
Vanessa Barger

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Fresh Take on Charles Perrault

I love folktales. Truly, wholeheartedly LOVE them. Sometimes I wish I would have done that in school instead of Public Health. But Public Health has a better paycheck.

Anyway, one of my favorite folktales is Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault. (Who happened to pen one of my other all time favs, Bluebeard) So you can imagine my thrill at seeing a fresh retelling of the story. And so far, it does not disappoint. I haven't finished yet, only about halfway through, but I had to get it out there. If you love folktales, pick up Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Betas out the door!

Who knew writing was so much work?  Oh, wait, ALL writers know how much work it is. 

Before writing turned into something I wanted to do it was easy. Actually, starting a story still feels easy. I sit down, spill words across my computer screen and then I immerse myself in another world.  It's great.  But, once those words have been put to paper . . . er . . . screen, it's a lot of work to get them shaped up.

It's taken me weeks to apply all the edits I have from my critique group (Young Adult Fiction Fanatics).  But thanks to them, I've whipped those words into shape.  Or at least I hope so. Now I sit, having finished all my edits, sent out my MS to a group of beta readers, I've got nothing to do but wait.  Well, that's not true, I have a story or two milling around the empty space in my head.

Of course in one to two weeks I'll have a whole fresh round of edits to apply from my awesome beta readers. I guess I'll never be bored with writing. There's always something new to do and no limit to the imagination.  No matter what, the amazing feeling of being creative and getting words down is worth all the work in the world.