New Years Detoxing- (Ending TOXIC relationships)

Hello Friends!

I had the pleasure of contributing an article to www.Femsplain.com t this month. Femsplain describes themselves as , “a brand new fem-powered content community created for anyone who identifies as a woman to feel empowered and to be seen and heard. Our goal is to highlight all the amazing diversity of women on the Internet who might not have another outlet to speak on. We want to create a supportive and positive community for anyone to support.”

The theme for January is “Change”. Which as many of us know, change is the one thing that is constant in life.   I encourage you to get to know this site, read and support some of their contributors and of course, take a look at my article by following the link HERE !

 Stay updated by  liking Zealous Scripts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ZealousScripts 

Spotlight Sunday

 

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Name: Eva Laflamme
Location: San Francisco, CA
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have kept a journal since my early teens and have always been a very avid reader. I think I started wanting write about 5 or 6 years ago
Why do you write?
I write to challenge myself creatively and to see if I can actually follow through with a project. Right now those are my main incentives.
What is your favorite genre or style to write in?:
I have two projects I am working on – one paranormal YA and one memoir. Plus I write for my blog. I actually like the blog posts because they are so fast and furious and you get almost instant feedback but the novel writing is more methodical (and probably has less spelling/grammar errors)
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Choosing 1 author would be like picking which of my children I love more! I have a looong list of favorites but today…at this exact moment I love Karen Russell (“Swamplandia!”  “Vampires in the Lemon Grove”) because her prose is astounding and her stories are completely unique.
What books have most influenced your life most?
A book that has directly influenced my writing is “On Writing” by Stephen King – I feel like that book gave me permission to write just because I wanted to and not because of an expected outcome. The first novel I read that made me want to read it again right away was “All the Pretty Horses”. I still refuse to see the movie – I loved the book too much. I also loved “100 Years of Solitude” and “Let the Right One In” and “Cloud Atlas” – all tour de forces in character development, storytelling, mythbuilding…oh and “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” etc. etc etc.
Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?
Write because you love it and don’t ignore the people you love while your writing.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice? Set up a schedule and try to stick to it. Don’t wait to long to begin revisions. Understand you will always need revisions. Remember writing is supposed to be fun or if not fun at least satisfying – otherwise why bother?
Can you tell us a little background or anything special on the piece you composed?
My piece is a segment from the memoir I am writing about my trip to South America 20 years ago. Many strange and funny things happened to me and I have always wanted to write about it – the whole series is on my blog and it’s titled “Witch Doctors, Wine Coolers and Woe”

“Witch Doctors, Wine Coolers and Woe”

Hours later we touched down in Caracas, Venezuela. It was about 11 at night and I was tired yet exhilarated. 45 minutes in a customs line served to cool my excitement a bit but then…across a hallway and behind glass I could see them! Anna and Paul (!!) waiting for me waving their arms and smiling! I prepared for my epic reunion as I crossed the arrival bay to greet them. A big hug from Anna followed by a rather anemic pat on the back from Paul and the explanation that he was “totally knackered” from flying. I would hear that word a lot over the next several weeks.  A. LOT.

Anna spirited us into her Jeep Cherokee and we sped out onto the highway. The night slipped by the car windows, city lights twinkling way up into the mountainside . It looked like a field of fireflies and I remarked on its beauty to Anna who crisply informed me those were the favelas…the slums.elhatillo2

Finally we arrived in Anna’s stately mango tree-lined neighborhood and pulled into a long sweeping driveway capped by a huge wrought iron gate. Once inside we were consumed by Anna’s waiting family. Her 14 yr old  sister Claudia who spoke no english, her glamorous mother who also spoke no english, her stern and stately father who spoke a little english and her kooky aunt who- you guessed it –  spoke no english.

3rdsa
Kooky Aunt. I think the parrot spoke a little english.

Shit.  I should have learned some Spanish!  We tried to make as much conversation as possible but eventually gave up and Paul and I were shown to our room. Finally my moment of truth had arrived! Paul and I had canoodled but never slept together and my anticipation was intense. I imagined garments being flung about and worlds colliding but instead Paul ducked into the bathroom like a shy bride on her wedding night only to emerge 35 minutes later, tell me he was “knackered” and then promptly pass out next to me after planting a chaste kiss on my cheek. So much for worlds colliding.

The next morning I was able to fully appreciate the grandeur of the house. Many rooms, many floors, lots of marble and glass and a “yard” that was like a personal slice of jungle. By the time we stumbled out of bed most of the household was already about their business except Anna – who had stayed home from college to spend time with us – and…her maids. Now I’m not from money so the notion of not 1 but 2 live in maids just seemed ridiculously posh to me.  The maids were Columbian – a fact Anna told me with an educated sneer like, “well, you know they are Columbian…” But  because we didn’t know what that meant we became friendly with these maids – who found our presence to be thoroughly fascinating and an opportunity to practice their english. Here is Nellie (the maid) and Paul and I on our 1st morning in the “back yard” 1stsa That yard went on for like a mile!  And here is another picture of Nellie and Paul the day Nellie took us to the Venezuelan “Swiss Town” on her day off2ndsa After Nellie served us our breakfast of empanadas and mango we headed off to the little village down the road, El Hatillo.

elhatillo3

If you ever find yourself in Caracas see if you can find this little town. It has colorful old buildings, wrought iron balconies hanging from almost every second story window, crooked cobblestone streets and a beautiful green town plaza. elhatillo

Dominating the plaza are these impossibly tall palm trees and dotted throughout the palm fronds are tree sloths.   We stayed with Anna and her family for 3 weeks and I probably spent about 25 hours sitting on those park benches watching the sloths moving with their languid, underwater grace. Once, only once I watched a sloth carefully and methodically inch its way down the long smooth trunk to finally put its feet on the grass and…take a huge dump. It was definitely a highlight.  treesloth

We spent so much time in the village because frequently Anna had to be in class – she was studying to be an architect like her father – so we were left on our own quite a bit. Paul had sold himself as a seasoned traveler with nerves of steel but quickly revealed himself to be a homebody who didn’t like to be out of his comfort zone. That’s why we stuck close to Anna’s house and El Hatillo.

And instead of enjoying the many food carts that featured exciting things like hotdogs covered with shredded coconut and chilies we constantly found ourselves at “The American Soda Shoppe” on the town square where you could get a “real” American hamburger and a cookie milkshake. (Prior to leaving on my trip I hoped to acquire a nice stomach parasite so I could combine travel and weight loss. Instead I lived on cookie milk shakes and those damn coconut hotdogs and started out on my fifteen pound weight gain. Damn you stomach of steel!)

But all was not peaceful tree sloths and milkshakes. One day Anna was driving us through the city and she blew through a red light – when I asked why she casually informed me that if you stopped at too many lights you would get carjacked. Once there was a traffic stop due to construction and she had us lay down in the back seat under a blanket out of sight because we might get kidnapped. She cautioned us about taking the subway in downtown Caracas caracaus

- a city that looks quite a bit like New York – because again – kidnappers. And when we strolled through her beautiful, landscaped neighborhood filled with exorbitant and stately mansions she warned us about looking directly at the houses – pointing to one balcony in particular and explaining, “they have a man up there who will shoot you if you look too close. This is a narco house.”

As in Narco King Pin. As in Scarface. scarfce

Anna spoke of the dangers and violence of her city and country with total nonchalance – as if it was merely a fact of life and not something to worry about too much. It was her same approach to the low status of her Columbian maids because, well, they were Columbian, and the existence of the appalling slum towns because, well, that is the place were the poor live.

Growing up middle class in Massachusetts and living in Boston for years I had seen plenty of poverty even if I hadn’t personally experienced it. But it was usually accompanied with an east coast liberal hand wringing about how to fix it and the injustice of it all. This blithe acceptance of class divides, violence, and ridiculous wealth crammed up against abject poverty was new to me. While I was in South America I would have many opportunities to get used to it.

wordpress, blog, website:  www.thetattootourist.com

twitter:  @tattootourist

facebook:  Eva Laflamme

Please leave your feedback, comments and encouraging words. We want to uplift and engage with our Spotlight writers! If you like what you read , please share with your fellow writers!

 

Christmas Eve Writing Prompt

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Hello  Friends!

To all of you in the United States and around the world, it’s Christmas Eve morning!  Myself and all of us part of the Zealous Scripts community are wishing you a happy holiday!  For those who celebrate other holidays or none at all, I wish you a very wonderful season , hoping your days are filled with joy!

Now just because it’s holiday time doesn’t mean we have to stop writing. In fact, this is a great time to recall memories and use them as good writing material.

Today’s prompt is more of a guided writing exercise.

Take 15 minutes out of your day and write a journal-like entry reflecting on one of your favorite holiday or seasonal memories about this time of year.  Try to include as much sensory details as possible , take us all to that moment with you again.

Now share with us in the comments below! 

I’ll be posting my own later today.

Remember to be kind and respectful of each other’s differences and memories!

Also don’t forget you can now like us on facebook! wwww.Facebook.com/ZealousScripts

Spotlight Sunday

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A. M. Freeman


Hometown/Location:Calhoun Georgia, USA
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

My love of writing probably came from my love of reading. I was a very late reader, but my mom and brothers were constantly reading. Sitting around listing to them, I got very good at understanding the stories and playing them in my head, and it wasn’t long until I started coming up with my own stories. I could write long before I could read, and by the time I was six or seven I was trying my hand at writing my own stories, although I really started to get a grip on it when I was twelve. And I haven’t stopped.

 
Why do you write?
For fun and adventure! And the characters that have implanted themselves in my head and wont leave me alone until I give them a place to live and an adventure to go on. I find it incredible that with marks on a paper, or strokes on a keyboard, you can create imagery worlds full of wonder. Then you can share them, tell stories of bravery and faith. To give someone a place to explore, and find hope and wonder, is and adventure on it’s on. And I love adventures!
 

What is your favorite genre or style to write in?
As I mentioned I like adventures, so fantasy and Si-Fi are high on my list. In worlds like that you have free rain to do whatever you want, as long as you can come up with a good excuse to go with it. It’s really existing! I’ve written a lot of times end in an epic battle. I’ve also written a few urban and other, and poems when the mood, or muse, strikes me.
But I still have time to explore, I’ll write in whatever supports the stories that pop up in my head. But I most like ones I can fit the most wonder and adventure in.  
 

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I can not choose one, I have two. I know them both and could never pick one over the other, they’re both just too amazing. John C. Wright and L. Jagi Lamplighter are HUGE inspiration to me, (more then I can express in the short space here) and have written some of my favorite books. They each have their wonderful way of writing, Lamplighter can paint beautiful pictures with the smooth stokes of her pen, and to fill her stories with wonder. While John is very good at throwing you head long into one heck of a roller coaster of a story, and add in incredible ideas and unforgettable characters. You can always learn something from them. 
Of course those are just the two I always think of, but there are so many more that I love and learn from.   

What books have most influenced your life most? 
Oh, I don’t know. There’s been so many I’ve admired and learn from. When I was younger I always loved the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Of course the Bible is the biggest influence of all. Other than that, I guess just stories that tell of wonder that sparks my imagination, and drives me to find more of these stories, or to create my own. 

Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?
Never cease to find the wonder in all things. and love your neighbor as yourself
 
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write, and write what you love. If there’s a story burning in your head, then get it out. Don’t worry to much about every detail in the first writings, there’ll be time for that later. And if you’re having trouble with what you’re working on, don’t be afraid to step away from it for a bit. In the mean time try to find someway or another to keep writing anything, even just in a journal everyday, but try not to give up or jump around from one thing to the next and never finish anything.

Can you tell us a little background or anything special on the piece you composed?
This is a little poem I wrote on how amazing the written language is. Think about it, wonder is held in stories, stories are held in books, books are made up of words, words are made up of letters, and letters are basically scribbles on a page. 
But look at the enormous effect these scribbles can make! 
 
 

Words

Words. What a strange thing they are,

They can light a fire in the heart or leave a terrible scar.

Only marks on a paper or the sounds on a tongue,

But the power they wield can make a mother kill her young.

Oh the truth they can hold and the wonders they tell!

But also their lies and the sound of the death knell.

There are words of love, and words of hate, but words there are and will always stay.

Words can hold stories and words can hold lies,

Words can make you dream or to cry.

I can stare for hours at scribbles words on a page,

For those scribbles hold stories of lands far away.

But there are words of hatred and deceit and of lies,

The words of the wicked that make the innocent die.

There are words of love, and words of hate, words that cause my heart to race.

Words can be meaningless and hold nothing more,

Or fill you with such wonder and truth like nothing before.

There were words of a viper that damned the soul,

And words so powerful they created the world.

Some words are to die for, because they hold truth and life,

And some words to loath, for they bring destruction of all kinds.

There are words of love, and words of hate, and words of life the Creator gave.

It is not the words but their the meanings that hold power,

The way they are understood or the way they are blundered.

There are many words and some we don’t understand,

They are spoken in countries of far away lands.

Words communicate and help us to find,

To understand and express the thoughts in our mind.

There are words of love, and words of hate, words that create or words that are mistakes.

I yearn for my words to be understandable and right,

But often I am left staring at a blank page all night.

Or to speak words of truth so strong and amazing,

But my courage fails and my tongue becomes lazy.

But I will strive and struggle to bring beauty and truth to big and to small,

This is the wish of a writer, and that is all.

There are words of love, and words of hate, but I pray some day my words might be great!
 
 
To read more from A.M Freeman visit:
Lost in La-La-Land blog: http://lostinlalalandblog.wordpress.com/  

Please leave your feedback, comments and encouraging words. We want to uplift and engage with our Spotlight writers! If you like what you read , please share with your fellow writers!

 

Spotlight Sunday

 

Death of a Doughnut cover copy

Tair Rafiq

My name means ‘Virtuous Friend’

Hometown/Location: Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When I was 8 I read a book entitled ‘The Little Witch’ by Otfried Preussler.  It was the first book I read by myself and the only book I have read more than once .  It remains my favourite to this day.  After I read it I knew that this was what I wanted to do; I wanted to make stories.  Back then I didn’t know that people could get paid for writing.  I am still hopeful that one day I will.

Why do you write?
It is my passion, my reason for getting up in the morning.  The reason I eat, breathe, and dream.  I cannot imagine being any other way

What is your favorite genre or style to write in?
I like to write mainly chidren’s fiction and science fiction, because they don’t limit my imagination and I’m free to make up any old junk.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
H.P. Lovecraft – I like the monsters.

What books have most influenced your life most?
The Little Witch by Otfried Preussler
The Hitchhiker’s GUide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison
Dune by Frank Herbert
The junior novelisation of the movie Star Wars by George Lucas

Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?
Always have a Plan B.

Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Make sure you have a day job – a writer’s gotta eat.

Can you tell us a little background or anything special on the piece you composed?

The piece I have submitted is the opening of a short story I have written entitled ‘The Death of a Doughnut’.  It is about a man called Charlie Darren who is just an innocent bystander in the action adventure of life.  He would be the guy serving macarroni and cheese in the Death Star Canteen.  This story is semi-autobiographical.  I am hoping it will serve as an overture to a series of novellas featuring this character.
This short story is currently on sale at the Amazon Kindle Store.

THE DEATH OF A DOUGHNUT by T. Rafiq

Recently I was confronted with some frightful pecuniary truths.  I had fallen behind with my student loan repayments and my bank manager was threatening to unleash bounty hunters to collect the arrears and/or harvest my internal organs.  With great reluctance I wrote a letter to my stepfather petitioning for an extension to my allowance.
    My stepfather and I have not been on amicable terms for some time, not since the day I accidentally pulled the plug on his life support machine.  I was no more than three years old at the time, but he still insisted that I be tried as an adult for attempted murder.  I was on Death Row until my early teens before my conviction was eventually quashed.
    I was pleasantly surprised therefore to find not only that he had deigned to answer my letter at all, but also that his response arrived expeditiously the very next day by special dispatch.  That is until I opened his package and discovered that it was in fact a box filled with mutant scorpions infected with a weaponised strain of the Ebola virus.
    So the day I had dreaded all my life had finally arrived; I had to find a job.
    Here in a place where damnation and despair meet for elevenses, two mighty empires clashed:  On one side, the remnants of the Skwil Alliance, once a fearsome force of the cosmos but now hammered to the brink of extinction.  The ones wielding that hammer were the brutal legions of Armandax, whose fanatical, rampaging, relentless, ruthless, blood-soaked, millennium-long campaign to conquer all known worlds had caused untold numbers of war correspondents to be made redundant because there weren’t enough adjectives to go around.
    Seated between these two quarrelsome powers was the neutral planet of Ashya.  The warring parties took great pains to respect this neutrality because the Ashyan’s were an ancient and noble culture, revered for their wisdom and munificence… and also because they had a giant space laser that could blow up a planet from half-way across the galaxy.
    When I say that the prospect of looking for a job filled me with dread, please do not misinterpret this as meaning that I am in any way indolent.  Far from it; I pride myself on my work ethic.  Being a student is not the round-the-clock cavalcade of intoxication and debauchery you might imagine.  At least not for me it isn’t… I don’t get invited to those sorts of parties.
    My principal field of study is xeno-psychology, a discipline that encompasses the cultural, historical, behavioural and linguistic study of non-human sentients.  Basically I study aliens, but please don’t tell my professor I just used the ‘A’ word.
    You would think therefore that someone with my aptitudes would have no problems at all securing gainful employment in such a cosmopolitan galaxy.  Sadly that is not so, not these days.  The job market for translators has dwindled to all but nothing ever since the advent of the speeki-phones.
    These things are nothing less than the work of the Devil – but then I would say that, wouldn’t I.  I’m no Luddite, though.  I appreciate the need for progress, but sometimes progress is not necessarily a step forward, and that’s certainly the case with speeki-phones.
    I wouldn’t object to them so much if they were anywhere near fit for purpose, but they’re not and everybody knows it.  The poor software and pitiful vocaliser range has led to no end of tragic misunderstandings.  It’s quite staggering the number of tourists each year who find themselves accidentally disembowelled at Ashyan sandwich buffets simply asking for extra mustard on their bagels.
    Yet for all their shortcomings, these hateful gizmos remain deliriously popular because they are cheap and shiny and they appeal to the lazy minded.  And that is how I ended up here, orbiting four hundred miles above the surface of the Ashyan home world, tending a credit register in the breakfast bar aboard a franchised fast food space station.
    I did get some odd looks from the customers from time to time when they realised that I didn’t have a speeki grafted to my hand like my fellow till jockeys; but they were always delighted when they found that they could place an order with me in their native tongues and get exactly what they asked for.
    It was a pity they didn’t allow tipping at the restaurant, because my till always drew the greatest number of customers – at least until the in-house queue wrangler swooped down to break up the tail end of the line and redistribute it to make all the other lines exactly even, despite the fact that the other lines were always much, much slower than mine.
    One customer who never needed to worry about queuing was General Gridvyn Urgos the Pitiless of Armandax.  He was the supreme commander of the majestic legions of Emperor Stezbant the Bloodgut.  The general and his lieutenants were in the habit of popping into the restaurant almost every day for their morning eye-opener and something sweet to nibble just before they knuckled down to a hard day of genocide and carpet bombing.
    Whenever the general and his retinue arrived all the queues would magically evaporate, (as would my fellow till jockeys).  I, on the other hand, would always remain steadfast at my station.  This was far from being my ideal job.  Nevertheless I was determined to be the best junior probationary hospitality revenue coordinator I could be, gosh darn it!
    As the general lumbered up to the counter, I stood up straight with my shoulders back so that the cheery hologram message flashing across my paper hat could be seen clearly:
‘Hi!  I’m CHARLIE DARREN.  What can I get you?’

To read more from Tair vist:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tair.rafiq
Twitter: https://twitter.com/terrificwriter
WordPress: http://terrificwriter.wordpress.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00D2D93WI
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Doughnut-T-Rafiq-ebook/dp/B00D1YP40I/ref=la_B00D2D93WI_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403601421&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the%20death%20of%20a%20doughnut&sprefix=the+death+of+a+do%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Athe%20death%20of%20a%20doughnut&ajr=2

Please leave your feedback, comments and encouraging words. We want to uplift and engage with our Spotlight writers! If you like what you read , please share with your fellow writers!

Spoken Word Saturday – Harlem- Miles Hodges

Harlem- Miles Hodges

 

In light of the recent political events that have been going on in America,  this poem came to my mind.  I’m happy to be sharing this as my first favorite of Spoken Word Saturday.

 

What are your thoughts on this poem?  

Do you have a favorite spoken word artist or video? Leave the info below in the comments!

Zealous Scripts -NOW ON FACEBOOK!

Hello Friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated to site.  School has been the main priority these last few weeks, but finals are over , so now I will have ample time to update!

2015 is right around the corner for America, so I’m looking forward to  having new articles, and posts for you all.  In order to make the Zealous Scripts experience even better, you can now keep up with posts via Facebook!

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Stay tuned for more!