Short Story Sunday 261: Cooperate

Short Story Sunday: Cooperate | Short Story | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Tania sat down in a chair in the corner. She watched everyone else in the group laugh, chit-chat, and generally have a good time. She wanted nothing to do with whatever they were doing though. She crossed her arms and legs and tried to look the other way whenever Saul, their youth group leader, turned in her direction.

The youth group was a new thing at her church this year. The education leaders were trying to find ways to bring the kids together more than just two hours each week. They said they wanted the kids to be friends, make memories with once another. All the while having fun and doing good for the world.

This was the fifth meeting. So far, they’ve already went out and volunteered at an animal shelter (Tania had to admit that was fun. Who didn’t want to spend the afternoon playing with dogs and cats?), they hosted a get-together for their church, they’ve gone on a field trip to their local bowling alley, and the rest of times they’ve stayed in their classroom – or “meeting room” as Saul liked to call it (it was the classroom they had Sunday school in each Sunday for church). Whenever they stayed in the classroom, they sometimes played games or they sat in a circle and talked.

Tania couldn’t complain too much. They were little work involved unless they were volunteering, but she didn’t mind that at all. She just didn’t want to be there. She already had to spend two hours every Sunday morning with these people and then sit in the church service with them for an extra hour. She didn’t want to be here for an hour on Saturday. She was in her church far too many times during the week and she was surrounded by these people too often.

She was only grateful that Saul didn’t constantly talk about God and Jesus. He mentioned them a couple of times, but ultimately, he said, “This youth group is a safe space for us to get to know each other, hang out, and have fun.”

Um, isn’t that what she had friends for? Friends who were seeing the latest superhero movie right now that she wasn’t able to go to because she had this youth group thing. Friends who didn’t understand the youth group either and kind of made fun of her for going to do it. It’s not like she had a choice though, but her friends didn’t really care about that.

Tania resented her mother for making her go to this. It was bad enough that her mother made her go to Sunday school but now her mother thought the youth group was the best idea in the world. Her mother thought she’d make friends with some of her Sunday school classmates (again, she already had friends. Why did she need to hang out with her Sunday school classmates?) and her mother also thought she’d learn a lot. Tania was in school Monday through Friday and then Sunday school on Sunday. Now youth group on Saturdays. Why was it that she needed to be in a learning environment for every day of the week? It wasn’t fair.

Tania cast a glance back over to what the group was doing. They were awfully loud. They were split into two teams stacking cups or something. She didn’t pay attention to the directions when Saul explained them because she knew she wouldn’t be participating. As soon as Saul split them up, explained the game, and shouted, “Go!” all the kids began to play and Tania turned away to sit in her chair in the corner. She was pleased Saul left it there for her from last week instead of putting it away at the end of each meeting like he used to.

Since she looked over at the group playing the game, Saul caught her staring. The moment they locked eyes, Tania snapped her gaze away. She knew it was too late though. She had a feeling Saul was walking over toward her right at that moment. She heard a chair sit beside her and she rolled her eyes. Great, he brought a chair to sit beside her. This wasn’t going to be a quick chat, he was most likely going to lecture her.

He didn’t say anything though.

Tania peered over her shoulder just a little. She didn’t want Saul to notice and assume she wanted to talk. When she looked at him, he was casually sitting back in his own seat watching the other kids with a dopey smile on his face.

Out of all the places in the classroom, he had to watch them from right beside her? And he wasn’t even going to talk to her? Why? What was the point?

Tania ignored him for a little longer but finally she snapped. “Are you just going to sit there and do nothing?” she turned to him.

Saul twisted his neck to look at her. He seemed surprised she had spoken. “Are you?” he countered calmly.

Tania narrowed her eyes. That wasn’t fair. He couldn’t throw that back in her face like that. This was her spot. His spot was over with everyone else.

Saul didn’t speak again after that. That bothered Tania. For some reason, this was worse than a lecture.

“You’re annoying me.” Tania said bluntly. She didn’t mean for it to come out that way, but… well, she guessed she had this building up inside her for a long time.

“Am I?” Saul replied.

“Yes,”

“Okay,”

Tania scoffed. “Aren’t you going to do anything about it?”

Saul shrugged. “To me it sounded like you were just stating a fact. You didn’t ask anything of me.”

Tania narrowed her eyes and glared at him again. Oh, this man was good, she had to admit. “Do you have to sit right here?”

“No, I suppose not.” He replied.

Tania groaned. Apparently, she needed to be specific with him. “Then can you please move?”

“I appreciate the politeness and I’d love to oblige, but may I ask why?” Saul replied. He was still so calm. That was bothering Tania even more.

“No,” Tania said sternly.

“Because you don’t want to explain or because you don’t have a reason?”

Tania opened her mouth but only a small squeak came out. She didn’t have a good response to that one. She just wanted him out of her way. But she was starting to think that wasn’t going to happen.

“I’ll leave you alone if do one thing for me.” Saul said.

Tania threw her head back with a thunk against the wall. “Oh, so you’re bribing me now?”

Saul raised an eyebrow. “No, think of this more as a negotiation.”

“Is the hour over, yet…?”

“I’ll leave you alone for the rest of the hour – hey, maybe I’ll talk to you mother and let her know how unhappy you are here.” Saul stated his terms.

That got Tania’s attention. She looked at him. “You’d really talk to my mom and me not coming anymore?”

“I don’t want you to be unhappy. That’s not what this group is about. This group is here for you to make new friends, try new things, and feel comfortable. If you’re not getting that, then you shouldn’t feel trapped here.”

Tania’s eyes grew wide. He had just expressed everything she was feeling. She wasn’t sure how he knew (okay, maybe it was because she always sat in a corner), but she was impressed that he was spot on. She was surprised, in fact, that he had paid so much attention to her even though she never participated and never spoke or engaged with him or the her classmates.

“Three weeks,” Saul held up three fingers, “I want you to try. I want you to engage with your peers and participate in the games. I want you to share how your week was or share a story during our discussion time. I want you to try to get to know at least one other person here.”

Tania scrunched up her face in disgust. “That seems like a lot of terms…”

“You have three weeks and if you’re still unhappy, I’ll have a talk with your mother. All I’m asking is for you to try.” He explained.

Tania sighed. Alright, she knew she wasn’t able to argue with that one. He brought up good points and she had never really given the place a chance. She still hoped she could get out of it, but trying for three weeks wasn’t so bad. It was only an hour, after all.

“Okay, fine. Deal.” Tania said with a nod. “Does this start next week?”

“How about today?”

Tania grinned. She had found a loop-hole. “How much time is left?”

“Oh, about…” Saul checked his wrist watch, “45 minutes.”

Tania’s jaw dropped. “I’ve only been sitting here for 15 minutes?!”

Sault stood up and motioned to her classmates. “Time does fly when you’re having fun. I promise.”

Words: 1,501

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Death By Pumpkin Spice (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 3) By Alex Erickson [Book Review]

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Book Review: Death By Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson | Cozy Mystery | Fiction | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I bought it at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .

As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .

With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .

My Review:

Plot | RachelPoli.comKrissy finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. However, this time, it’s not due to her cafe or the coffee she makes. This book has a Clue feel to it and I enjoyed it. A murder happens at a part and the entire mansion goes into lock-down as they discover who it is. I thought it was a good choice for a setting, even though it’s a bit over-done for a cozy mystery. I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters are still the same. Krissy is sticking her nose into everyone’s business, though she tries not to. She’s also torn in her love life between Detective Paul and her rich date. I’m still not a fan of Krissy as a character, but I enjoy everyone else in the book, especially her friend and co-owner of the cafe.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book, like the rest of the series, is an easy read. It’s not long at about 300 pages and the mystery is easy enough to follow along and try to figure it out yourself.

Overall | RachelPoli.comDeath by Pumpkin Spice was a good read. I would have enjoyed it more if I could get along with Krissy, but she did get a little better in this one. Still, I plan on reading the rest of the series.

Death by Pumpkin Spice (Bookstore Cafe Mystery 3) by Alex Erickson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

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Time To Write: Flower

Last week’s writing prompt was a Set the Scene prompt. Check out some stories from fellow writers here:

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Flower | Creative Writing Prompt | Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Write a story about the word above – Flower.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Sunday Morning Cover Reveal

Sunday Morning is here! I can’t believe it. All this hard is finally paying off and it’s (almost) over. There’s still more work to be done, but the brunt of it is over.

This has been a work in progress for such a long time and I can’t believe I finally did it. I never imagined my debut book would be a flash fiction collection, but I’m proud of it. My writing has improved so much. I’m pleased with how the stories turned out. I love the cover I created. I’m amazed I made it this far.

So, I’m pleased to show you the cover for Sunday Morning.

Sunday Morning by Rachel Poli | Flash Fiction Collection | Creative Writing | eBook | Self Publish | Author | RachelPoli.com

This is so cool! I can’t stop staring at it. I mean, I like how the cover came out, but it’s actually on Amazon.

Guys, Sunday Morning is available for pre-order right now.

It’s too surreal for me. I’m proud of it though. I’m proud of my writing, I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

In 2016, I said it was the year of me. Then again in 2017. And again in 2018. I didn’t say it for 2019 because… well, the previous years didn’t work out so well. Maybe I had been jinxing myself this whole time.

Now, look where I am.

Look at it.

Are you looking?

I really want to thank all of you who read and comment on my blog or interact with me on social media. I’ve learned a lot from all of you in the past few years and I honestly wouldn’t have made it this far without your support.

Right now, the book is available for Kindle on Amazon. You can check it out here. No pressure in buying it, but definitely click the link. I’m actually on Amazon!

But seriously, thank you all so very much. Short Story Sunday has gone way farther that I ever thought it would. Now, it’s time to give my attention to my mystery novel… and the next Sunday Morning book.

Thanks again for all the support over the years!

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Ten Thousand Words

I haven’t missed a day of blogging in a long time. I had a post set up for today, though I didn’t write it.

It’s about 9:30 at night for me as I write this and my posts for the day goes up at midnight the day of.

Kris had the day off from work today, so we decided to give ourselves a 10k-writing day for Camp NaNoWriMo. Not only was I writing 10,000 words for Crossroads, but I was also giving Sunday Morning one final proofread before finally formatting the book and getting it up and ready to publish.

I have been on the computer writing and editing since 6:30 this morning. I took a shower and dinner break and that’s it. Poor Lilah (my laptop, not the character) has been on for 15 straight hours.

She definitely needs a break and so do I.

I was just about to get off when I realized I didn’t publish today’s blog post.

Normally, I don’t like to post just for the sake of posting. However, because I haven’t missed a day in forever, my OCD was flipping out.

So, here’s today’s post nine and a half hours late. Written in an exhausted tone because my fingers are tired. My butt hurts. My brain is mush.

I feel good though, in an odd way. I was super productive.

I hope you all had a lovely day. I’m beat.

Have you done a 10K day before? How’s Camp NaNoWriMo going for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Short Story Sunday 260: Attic

Short Story Sunday: Attic | Short Story | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Gloria stood in the middle of the dark and dusty attic. She scanned the room with the low ceilings and musty smell. She didn’t want to be up there but she knew someone had to clean it out eventually. There was a lot of junk up in that attic. A lot was from her childhood – old toys and mementos. There was even more from her now deceased parents. There were outdated holiday decorations, mementos from their own childhood, old but important paperwork that was most likely overdue for a good shredding, and much more.

Gloria didn’t even need to go through the old boxes to remember what was in the attic. She just knew it was all stuff that hadn’t been touched in years. All of it, despite being packed away in boxes and storage bins, was most likely gross at this point. They might have been damaged or smelled of the old wooden beams and floorboards.

There were so many boxes and other items lying around. There were even old pieces of furniture left out. Though they were covered by white sheets, Gloria knew there was a thick layer of dust sitting underneath.

It was no wonder no one ever wanted to come up here and clean it out. They’d be in for quite the shower afterwards.

Gloria didn’t have any siblings and she had moved back into her childhood home to be with her elderly father when her mother passed away. She had loved living back home even though her husband had wanted a place of their own. However, now her father was gone and Gloria wondered if she and her husband should fix up and sell the place or if they should just stay put. Going through her parent’s thing though, she didn’t have any room to put them. The attic was the only logical place, but that too was full.

Her husband had offered to help her go through all the items. Gloria declined. She knew this was something she had to do on her own. Besides, she didn’t feel like telling her husband constantly what to do. Every item he picked up he would have asked what to do with it and Gloria would have to decide on the spot to keep it, sell it, or trash it. It would be easier for her to go through everything herself and in her own time.

Gloria finally stepped forward and took a look at the box closest to her. It was labeled, “MaryAnn.” Her mother. Gloria remembered her father had made a few boxes of her things not too long after she had passed away. Gloria opened the box and took a peek inside. A flood of memories poured out and quickly closed it.

Maybe she would start with a different box.

There were a few labeled “Gloria” and she had a feeling she knew what those were. Old school papers and drawing from when she was a little kid that her mother wasn’t able to let go of. Gloria knew all that could have gotten thrown out. She didn’t care too much for her own hand-print turkeys or high school persuasive essays.

When Gloria opened the box, however, old stuffed animals and photographs were inside. A wave of nostalgia came over her and she quickly closed the box.

Gloria looked around the room. There had to have been something she was able to go through and get rid of. The furniture! Maybe she could get rid of some old chairs. They were most likely rotted anyway.

She lifted the sheet off the first chair she was able to reach. It was the rocking chair her father had bought her mother when she was pregnant. Gloria got a whiff of her mother’s perfume and could have sworn she heard the creaking of the rocking chair as if her mother was sitting it right then.

Gloria put the sheet back over and hurried out of the attic. It was no wonder no one ever went up there anymore.

Words: 671

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision Of Shadows 6) By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6) by Erin Hunter | Reading | Book Blogger | Middle Grade | Books | Fantasy | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I got a hardcover copy for my birthday.

Summary:

ShadowClan has returned under the leadership of a new Tigerstar, but their renewed strength has brought the tensions around the lake to an explosive breaking point. SkyClan’s place among the Clans is about to be decided once and for all.

My Review:

Plot | RachelPoli.comAll the Clans are back to normal – for the most part. ShadowClan is under new leadership in Tigerstar and as they try to rebuild, all the Clans try to get used to being one of five instead of one in four. SkyClan has it harder as they battle with ShadowClan over territory and eventually they decide to leave the lake as they feel unwelcome.

StarClan prophecizes that all five Clans must remain by the lake and they all aid one another or else a great storm will come. Of course, that’s what happens, except the storm doesn’t really begin until about the last third of the book. I felt it took a while for it to get to that point and, when it did, the rest of the plot went by quickly.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The Raging Storm is about the same length as the rest of the books in the A Vision of Shadows series. It’s an easy, quick read. The writing is simple, the characters are awesome, and the dialogue and description are great. Of course, I’m this point, I’m well emersed in the world.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a strange series in the Warriors books. I absolutely loved the arc with Darktail and the rogues in books one through three, but books four through six felt a bit out of place. They were good and I enjoyed them, but it was odd to see basically two plots in six books instead of one. Granted, they had SkyClan in common, but the first three books were so intense and the ending of book three was fabulous. Book six had a happy ending and was satisfying, but not so much compared to the high stakes from early on in the series.

Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6) by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“She was following her Clan away from the two cats she loved best.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: The Raging Storm (A Vision of Shadows 6)

Buy the book:

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Set The Scene 14 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a sentence starter. Check out some stories and photos from other great writers:

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Set The Scene | Creative Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story based in the setting above – at the pond.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Would You Rather Book Edition

I haven’t done a Would You Rather game in a while. I figured, why not do another one?

Would You Rather Book Tag | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Would You Rather Have The Ability To Buy Unlimited eBooks Or Have a $10,000 Gift Card To Any Bookstore?

Give me that money! I enjoy both physical books and my Kindle, but I love being able to hold the actual book in my hand. Books may not be cheap, but I could still buy a ton with $10,000. My only issue would be that the Barnes & Noble near me also sells puzzles, board games, and Pokemon cards… I could buy a lot of Pokemon cards with $10,000.

Would You Rather Attend Hogwarts Or Live In The Shire?

I mean, this is a super tough one. I would love to go to Hogwarts and be a wizard but also the Shire calls to me. Hobbits sing the song of my people. They eat all day, they live in peace and harmony, and they look like me… minus all the hair. So, I think I would have to go with the Shire.

Would You Rather Write The World’s Number One Best-Seller Or Live Inside Your Favorite Book?

Even though most books have a happy ending and my favorites do, I think I would like to write a best seller. If I lived in my favorite book I’d go on one adventure. But if I could write many books – even if only one is a best seller – I could go on many adventures.

What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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