Friday Fictioneers: TO BE A GIRL

Today’s Friday Fictioneers story is a bit on the sobering side, but I have some excellent news after the story, so please, read through to the end…


PHOTO PROMPT -© Dawn Q. Landau

To Be a Girl (100 words)

You don’t know what it’s like to be a girl.

How they raise you on Amber Alerts and CSI, tell you ponytails are abductors’ handles, give you a can of mace, but blame you if anything goes awry.

“You shouldn’t a’worn leggings, ya know?”

So I walk with boots ready to kick and an arsenal of weapons on my back. Fear follows like a dog, and I’m not always sure he’s on my side.

Our eyes met before you crossed to the other side. You’ll never know what it’s like to be a girl, and I’ll never know your name.

And now for the wonderful, exciting, fantabulous news….

My debut novel,


is available for preorder on Amazon Kindle!

Feel free to share that link with all your friends and family!

Print edition coming soon.

Check out my Facebook Page for updates as we near the release day of March 17, 2015.

Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

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Friday Fictioneers: STUPID SAUCE


“Triple X.” Zach’s eyes meet mine like it’s some kind of challenge.

The waitress turns to me, pen poised and eyebrows raised.

I have to ask. “Do you have anything hotter?”

Molly almost spits her water. “Nora! They call it ‘Stupid Sauce’ for a reason!”

Across the table, Zach smirks. It’s foolish, crazy, idiotic. It’ll probably burn me both coming and going, but I can’t let him win again. Now he’s sucking in a cheek, trying not to laugh at me. I’m all in.

I clap the menu shut and hand it to the waitress.

“Bring me the Stupid Sauce.”

Notes from behind the scenes: Sauce names come from a local hot wings restaurant. Stupid sauce is the one they don’t put on the menu because, as the name suggests, you’d have to be stupid to try it. Also, to give you a glimpse of the author’s personality, if I were in Nora’s seat, I would totally order a double helping of Stupid Sauce!

Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

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So, that book I keep talking about…

It has a trailer. Check it out here:

If you are new to the blog and have no idea what I’m talking about, catch up by reading on.


Release Date: March 17, 2015

Banished for a foolish mistake, sixteen-year-old Grit of Berth and Stone scorns the loss of her home, her honor, and her only ally. Only the weak worry about such things.

But war is brewing all across Chasmaria, and as a group of rebels pull Grit into their ranks, she begins to question what strength, courage, and honor really look like. When faced with a horrible truth about herself, Grit must either fight her way back to Thresh or live with the blood of the innocent on her hands.

Love in an Age of Gray

I’m really not a Valentine’s sort of gal. The so-called holiday is cheesy, sappy, over-commercialized, and just generally awkward, especially since I totally stink at the whole gift-giving thing. Normally, Valentine’s Day passes with barely a nod from yours truly. My husband and I have been married almost fifteen years, and we’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day. Why start now, when strands of gray and white appear at random in his beard and my hair? (More often in his beard than in my hair, of course…)

Cinematic events unfolding as they are, however…

I find myself wanting to celebrate true love this weekend. I’m not asking the husband for flowers or chocolate or even a night out. In fact, he’ll be off spelunking with two of our kids while I hang out at home with the other two, so yeah… I’ll be home alone Saturday night, and I can guarantee I won’t be watching chick-flicks or any other celebrated new releases.

(Although I might finally catch Divergent on Amazon with the oldest…)

No, I’ll be thinking about how a faithful friend is sexier than a dangerous stranger, how a considerate husband is more satisfying than a wealthy boss, how a man who genuinely cares for his wife and children is worth more than anything the world could offer.

I might go so far as to change my Facebook profile picture to images of love – true love, not selfish domination, not passing fascination, but love deep and true and beautiful.


When we were very young…


… we were as weird as we are now, and every bit in love.


That wasn’t our baby, by the way, but we do love him.


Aw, look. Love behind us, too.

Friday Fictioneers: By Popular Demand

Last week, someone reminded me of an old friend. Her name pops up every now and then, and so, by popular demand…

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

By Popular Demand (109 words)

Angelique sat on the porch rail, the ridged column pressing uncomfortably into her back. Across the street, the door opened, and a child ran onto the lawn.

“Do I have to visit her?”

Claire tucked a curl behind Angelique’s ear. “It’s your assignment, dear.”

“But it hardly seems fair. Take the old man.” Angelique nodded toward the door behind her. “He’s tired. He’s ready.”

“It isn’t for us to decide who stays and who goes. It’s only our job to make it more bearable.” Claire pressed her lips to Angelique’s creased forehead. “Death rarely comes by popular demand. We really wouldn’t want it to, when you think of it.”

Read more of Angelique’s story here:

Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

Read or Join here:

Friday Fictioneers: Smiles and Blushes

Today’s story follows Questionable Ladies of Shallot. It should stand alone, but you might enjoy a little backstory. garden maze Smiles and Blushes

Whoever invited Zach to this shindig needs to be excommunicated.

He’s been all smiles and blushes and how-do-you-do since he pulled me out of the river, like he doesn’t know he’s supposed to fall in love with Molly.

He jogs to join me at the maze entrance. “Wanna race?”

“Only if one of us can get lost.” I’ll pummel him if he follows me into the maze, but he chooses the other entrance. Maybe if I sit down in the middle, he’ll leave without me, but I won’t lose to that pompous —

“Good run, Nora. We tied.” He extends his hand, all smiles and blushes and how-do-you-do.

Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

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Mary, Martha, and the Modern Church

Sometimes, little conversations build to big ones, and I think it’s time to talk church.

Christian women are flocking to studies on books such as Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and The Best Yes. While I haven’t read either book (Sorry, a little busy over here…), both address the issue, highlighted in Matthew 10:38-42, of listening to Christ, as Mary did, rather than being busy to distraction (Martha).

Anyone who’s attended church has heard the sermon. Be still. Sit at the feet of Christ, and know He is God. It’s a good sermon. The problem is…

The modern American church doesn’t support it any more than the modern American life does.

We have Sunday morning and mid-week programs and food drives and choirs and greeters and committees for everything under the sun, and when someone enters the church, we scramble to “plug them in.” We do not sit in the pew beside them, silently reveling in our fellowship with Christ and with one another. We mistakenly believe that if we give them a job, and if they serve faithfully, their needs are met.

Sometimes it’s true. Those who serve often derive deep joy from their service and experience immense growth. Too often, however, they burn out after a few years, perhaps because they’ve been too busy doing to just be.

The American church praises Mary, but prefers Martha.

I’ll go ahead and say it: I’ve been struggling a lot with our family’s schedule. There are things we do because we have decided they are good for our children. There are things we do because we wish to serve our local church. And there are things we do to preserve our sanity. (Trust me, if the husband hasn’t run in a week and I haven’t written in a week, you won’t get a lot of smiles!)

Our collective family plate is full to bursting, and it seems someone always wants to give us just one more scoop of mashed potatoes. (And if you know my family, with the exception of yours truly, we really don’t like mashed potatoes…)

Maybe I’m being selfish with my time and energy, but lately, I’ve been feeling a need to pull back, to go a little Evita on everyone and start singing – but not in the choir, don’t even ask – The Actress Hasn’t Learned the Lines. Please don’t get me wrong. I love the things I’m doing, and I’ll most likely keep doing them because I believe in them. But there are things I’ve opted not to do because I need space to breathe, not more to do. (And as an introvert, anything that involves small talk falls automatically into the category of “more to do.”) Am I missing out? Perhaps. But I’m also not wearing a straightjacket, so that’s something.

A friend shared some thoughts on the issue this week, and I think she nails it. We, as a church institutional, are so busy making sure we fit God-gifted individuals into man-made programs that we neglect the souls of believers and unbelievers walking alongside us everyday in every sphere. We preach that God uses men and women in all our awkward, filthy rags, but we try to dress ourselves and others up. We preach that the whole earth belongs to the ever-creative Lord, but we prefer to keep everyone engaged in-house in ministries we know and understand. And though we say “The church is a hospital for the sick,” we assume everyone who enters is healthy, so long as they fit within our model of “church.”

But think on these words (slightly paraphrased to preserve the identity of the writer):

Can my ministry to the church (universal, not institutional) be simply being me?  God made me as myself, not as you, not as someone else. He calls me to be true to His creation. Can being openly and honestly me with all my flaws and imperfections be my purpose?  These are the things about me that point others to God – when it’s clear I’m also sick, but that the Great Physician has offered a cure for me, not when I seem healthy and preventative care is working.

I sometimes feel we pigeon-hole ourselves into serving God through institutional church, through ministries that are identifiable and separate from our core beings, and fail to minister through our very souls.

“Ministry” happens in my life on a daily basis, with people I meet everywhere.  It doesn’t happen in a church nursery. It doesn’t happen when I’m reading the Bible (which I don’t do much of). I’m not trying to be a missionary.  I’ve just decided to be myself. I have God, and that’s all I need.

I’m not trying to act Christian.  The Bible doesn’t tell us to “act holy” but to “be holy”…and we ARE holy simply because we have God, not because of what we’ve done or not done, but because of what He’s done.  Throughout the Bible, God consistently calls unlikely people (Gideon, Moses, Abraham, Noah, the disciples, David) and simply tells them, “follow me.”  He doesn’t say they need to sign up for a program or in a service role, he doesn’t ask them to be someone different from who they are (though he does change lives), he simply says follow me and I’ll be with you…that’s all.

So, if God goes with you into the nursery or the choir or the youth group, that’s great…but it’s more important to bring him with you into the grocery store, the sports fields, the swimming pool, and your neighborhood.

So what do we do? How do we, the local congregation, learn to live what we preach about stillness, about being holy rather than merely looking holy? I fully appreciate that we need Marthas in our midst – and that some people thrive on active service – but Martha needed Jesus to take her by the hand and say, “Sit.” Maybe we should follow His example before our sweet Marthas throw up their towels in defeat.

Martha is a lot more than the meal she makes. She’s a holy soul in need of care, a soul with more to offer than a pot of soup (however delicious it may be!) When Mary slips in through the back door… Oh, people, sit with Mary in her holy silence. And make sure you don’t expect her to be Martha.

I’ve probably written much more than I should have, but I think the heart of the matter is that we need to get to know Mary and Martha, to focus more on who they are than what they do. They’re people, not cogs in the church machine, and each of them requires special care. Each of them has unique gifts that God will use whether they serve in the nursery or sing in the choir or simply sit in silence. We cannot, if we love them, expect them to thrive if they are being anything but what God calls them to be.

Dear, dear church, an entire generation of women is yearning to be like Mary in a Martha world, a Martha church. How will you answer? How will you assure today’s wife and mother that she doesn’t have to do it all, that it’s okay – really, truly okay – for her to come to church for rest, rather than even more labor? Will you let her say “yes” only to the best, and will you trust her to know when stillness is best? And – because while I don’t know what the menfolk are reading in their book clubs, I’m sure women aren’t alone – will you extend this same grace to the men who long for stillness, too?