Thursday Writing Prompt No. 150

One hundred and fifty prompts! That should be enough for a book … wait for it. Yes, I’m going to be publishing books of writing prompts. The first one is in the works and I’m aiming for an early June release, just in time for the summer. They’ll be all new prompts, though, not recycled prompts from past blog posts, so you’ll get new content when you buy the book. I’ll keep the status posted, but for now, let’s turn to this week’s writing prompt.

You haven’t been to the grocery store lately, and it’s raining outside so you don’t feel like leaving the house. You open the pantry and stare at the few can of remaining edibles on the shelves. But way in the back corner of the cabinet is something that isn’t a can of soup. You pull the small package out. It’s a cardboard mailing box but you can’t read the address label. Inside the box are five items: a thermometer, a spark plug, one faded credit card receipt, a small paring knife, and a napkin with a mysterious red stain. Now, write a few paragraphs plotting out a murder mystery based on these items.

Happy Holidays

This holiday cactus brightens up a downtown office window on a dreary day.

There’s a ton of winter holidays coming up in the northern hemisphere, so whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate, stay warm and cozy. And for the southern hemisphere folks, stay cool!

This week I’m busy finishing up an article on the Pearl Street Power Station for a forthcoming encyclopedia and doing additional research for several textbook articles. I hope to finish the year strong and get back in the groove of writing daily, although bouts of insomnia are still messing with my schedule.

I decided to mix things up a bit by rearranging my home office and clearing space for a small sofa. I often edit on paper instead of onscreen (or do a mix of both), so having a place to sit that is not at my desk is a nice break, even if I’m in the same room. In the hurricane of furniture moving, I’ve collected a nice set of bruises from carting two bookcases and a cubicle storage thing downstairs by myself. The office remains a mess for the moment, as this is definitely a process that takes time. I’m sorting papers, adding new furniture, and deciding what to get rid of or move elsewhere.

Coming up in the new year: a return to the Thursday Writing Prompts series and some articles on writing and editing. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays!

Book Festival

This coming Saturday, September 21, 2019, I’m going to be cohosting our Corrugated Sky exhibit table at the Write Women Book Fest in Glenn Dale, Maryland. I’m hoping that the weather will cooperate and not boil us in heat and humidity, but since this is an outdoor event anything is possible. I can’t wait for the weather to break the 75-degree barrier and give us some cooler days.

My vacation in New England was all too short, but I spent some time looking at a few houses as well as doing some vacation stuff. There was a lot of driving and a sense that I hadn’t really had much vacation at all, but that’s pretty usual. It’s back to business, with fall ramping up for some big projects at work as well as looking forward to our next anthology, Obscura, which we hope to release in early October.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 148

It’s been some time since I posted a Thursday Writing Prompt, so here’s one that will provide you with a location with lots of atmosphere.

The Rusty Arms hotel was once the most famous hotel on the Isle of Mollard, but a string of unexplained deaths caused tourism to drop off, and eventually the hotel began to lose money. The owners tightened their purse strings, and rather than spend money on upkeep, they needed the money to pay staff. But it didn’t matter, and soon the staff began to quit, one by one, until only a skeleton crew remained — a real skeleton crew.

Now write a short story based on the hotel and its unusual staff.