Short Story Sunday: “Tumor” [323]

Short Story Sunday: "Tumor" | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

It wasn’t a big deal to him. When he got the diagnosis, he didn’t mind. Ethan was just happy to know what was going on inside of him. He hadn’t been feeling well for months. Doctors had taken tests and referred him to other doctors for a second opinion. However, it still took a long time for them to figure out what was wrong with him.

Helen was distraught when she found out. Ethan was 82-years-old and she always knew her parents would go before her.

However, she had lost her mother about ten years ago and couldn’t bare the thought of losing her father as well.

She was happy they had a diagnosis, sure. But it took them so long to figure it out that the tumor had grown so big. It was a risk to take it out. Or, Ethan could live the rest of his days however he saw fit and not be in a hospital bed.

He chose the latter.

Helen tried to keep a positive attitude. She couldn’t imagine what it must have felt like to know you were going to die soon. It made her think that she didn’t want to know how she was going to die. She just wanted it to happen quickly and painlessly when it was her time to leave the earth. However, Ethan was oddly excited about it and Helen couldn’t understand why.

Ethan was happy to finally know what was wrong with him. He had vowed that there would be no more doctor visits. He wouldn’t have to spend any overnights in the hospital. He knew he was sick and he was going to make the most of his final days on earth with his family and whatever little friends he had left.

He was excited. He had no regrets. He had lived a well and wonderful life. He was proud of his family. He was present for all the big milestones of his sons, daughters, and grandchildren. He even had a couple of great-grandchildren.

He missed his wife and couldn’t wait to head to Heaven to see her again.

Helen cried every time he spoke of it and he always smiled and patted her on the shoulder. He was thankful to live such a full life that he didn’t need to worry about leaving the earth. Helen could only hope that she would be that ready when she was lying on her death bed.

So, when the tumor finally took over Ethan’s whole body, he laid in bed with a smile on his face. He said his goodbyes and I love yous to his family. He closed his eyes, peacefully grinning.

Helen waited alongside her husband and their children. Alongside her brothers and sisters and their husbands, wives, and children. All was quiet. The air was heavy.

Ethan opened one eye. He chuckled. “Either He’s not ready for me yet or your mother wants a little more peace and quiet before I get there.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 043 is Here!

The Merry Writer Podcast: how do you build a following on social media? | Podcast | Creative writing | writing community | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 043: how do you build a following on social media?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I discuss some ways to build a consistent and engaging following on social media (without killing yourself!). Let us know your answers to this topic in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag, #TheMerryWriterPodcast. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below. Enjoy!

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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Let me know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday: “Production” [322]

Short Story Sunday: "Production" | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Meredith pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration. They had done this so many times and yet, something always seemed to go wrong. She had turned on the computer and the recording software, but that needed to update. Whenever the program had updates, it usually took a good chunk of time. It was about halfway done and it had already been thirty minutes. She had taken the microphone out of the closet and set that up, but hadn’t plugged into the computer just yet. The program didn’t like to have everything plugged in right away when it first opened. It was fickle like that.

However, when you’re first starting out and you decide to do an expensive hobby such as film making with your friends, you start off with the cheapest equipment you can find – as long as it works. Theirs worked, it always took its time though.

Isaac stood on the other side of the room setting up the camera on the tripod facing the green screen. Well, it wasn’t exactly a green screen. They had bought a bunch of green poster boards and stuck them together to make a green screen. It was on their list to buy, they were saving up for an actual green screen. Again, the cheaper route was the best route for now and the green posters worked just fine. At least, they couldn’t tell through the footage while editing. (Hopefully their viewers didn’t notice either.)

“How’s it going over there?” Isaac broke the silence.

Meredith shrugged even though her friend’s back was to her. “The program is still updating. I think we’re going to be a bit behind schedule today.”

“No worries, we were going to be behind anyway,” Isaac replied.

“Why?”

He took out the battery from the camera. “We forgot to charge this last time we filmed.”

Meredith groaned. She buried her face in her hands.

“Hey, it’s no big deal. It only takes an hour or so charge. It may take that long for the recording studio to finish updating anyway.”

Meredith looked back at her computer screen. “True. Still, this is quite annoying.”

“It happens. You have to roll with the punches. We’ll get to the episode today, don’t worry. Besides, Gabriel isn’t even here yet.” Isaac looked at his wrist watch.

Meredith stood making her way to the window. She looked at the street seeing her car in the driveway and Isaac’s parked on the street. Two cars drove by, but neither of them were Gabriel. “Did he say he’d be late?”

Isaac shook his head. “Not to me. I have no idea where he is. I guess I could text him. If he’s on his way, he’s not going to reply though.”

“Well, I guess we can take that a good sign then, right?” Meredith walked back to the couch picking up her cell phone. She silently decided to reach out to their other friend despite Isaac volunteering to do it. Meredith typed something in the group chat between the three of them. She hit “send” and tossed her phone down onto the cushion.

“We should have stuck with live streaming,” she said.

Isaac snickered. “Live streaming is just as difficult. And we’re live so if any tech issues happen, we have to deal with it in front of an audience.”

“I know, I know… but I feel like sometimes setting up to record not live is more difficult.”

“This will be good in the long run. We try to live stream quite often and that requires all three of us to be on at once all the time. If we create a video series with different features and stuff, we can cut back on the live streaming,” Isaac explained. “I think it’ll be good for the channel because we’ll be able to have more freedom behind the camera if we record rather than being live. Plus, if we can’t live stream for some reason, we can upload a video so there’s still consistent content on the channel.”

Meredith nodded. She knew all that. They had a team meeting a few weeks ago and while it was Isaac’s idea, they mutually agreed it would be a great addition to the channel and help it grow further.

They were a gaming channel and they live streamed about three to four days a week. It was tiring and time consuming, but they had a lot of fun with it. They alternated someone being behind the computer and camera while the other two hosted the show and played a game.

They had decided they could do more with recorded videos. They could start a podcast-like show, maybe schedule guests on now and then, and they’d be able to have more gaming content other than them just playing games.

Would the viewers like it? They weren’t sure. The trio of friends wanted to create a decent backlog of videos before going live with the news. They were each busy with their own lives and it wouldn’t look good for any of them if they uploaded a video and then couldn’t find the time to get together to record the next video.

While they didn’t want to stop live streaming, they hoped to cut it back a little. College started in a month for all three of them and they knew they weren’t going to be able to live stream three to four days a week. They’d be happy if they were able to live stream just two days a week. They had already told their audience the schedule was changing soon and the live streams would get cut back a tad. However, the videos will be a nice surprise and will be uploaded on the other two days they normally live streamed but didn’t have the time to do anymore.

It would add a bit to the channel without taking anything away. Isaac especially hoped they’d be able to eventually upload a video daily and continue to live stream at least twice a week. Gabriel had agreed and while Meredith thought that would be a fun idea as well, she wasn’t so sure how realistic that’d be – at least, not anytime soon.

Meredith looked at her phone. Gabriel hadn’t replied yet. The recording studio on her computer still hadn’t updated, though it seemed as though it was almost done. Isaac had left the room to do something for the camera. She stood and looked outside the window again.

There was still no sign of Gabriel but that was alright. They clearly weren’t ready to begin anyway. She was nervous to begin school in a month. She and her friends had been live streaming for about a year now and they had a decent sized audience. They all enjoyed it and were happy to continue on with it through college and beyond. They had convinced themselves their internet video channel would kick off and they’d be rich and famous in no time. All of their parents, on the other hand, were all in agreement that their children should go to college for a backup plan. They were supportive with the videos and live streaming, yes, but they were afraid of the “what ifs” of life for their kids.

So, Meredith and her friends worked it out so college would work in their favor. They all got into the same school and scheduled their classes around one another as best they could. This way they could still maintain a steady recording and live streaming schedule.

Gabriel was attending college for business. He was a math whiz and academically the smartest out of the three of them. Knowing their channel may take off and pay for itself within a few years, Gabriel was the one who knew it would turn into a business. There would be budgeting, ad revenue for the channel, getting game review codes from developers, possibly merch down the road… he was ready to take on the challenge of being the business manager for their channel and Meredith and Isaac were both okay with that.

Isaac was attending college for marketing. He was always the best at social media and had no problem hyping the channel up to strangers on the street, family and friends in real life, or just shouting it into the void of the internet. He always did research on various social media platforms and had always looked for bigger and better ways to spread the word about their channel in the gaming industry. So, marketing seemed like the way to go for him. He’d learn new skills for it in college.

Meredith, on the other hand, was attending college for film making. She was the one who was the most tech savvy out of the three of them. She often got frustrated with the various tech issues they always had, but she knew that’s what happens when you have to buy cheaper equipment. Of course, they just needed something that worked and honestly, all their equipment worked great. It had been a year and (so far) nothing had blown up on them.

She wanted to learn more about film recording and video editing. She’d love to see what kind of equipment other people had and what her professors would recommend.

Thinking about college was nerve wracking for her. Meredith felt a bit better knowing that Isaac and Gabriel were in the same boat as her. She wanted to learn these new skills, despite doing a great job at teaching herself this past year. However, she wasn’t looking forward to the homework and the projects. She certainly didn’t want to sit in during a lecture either.

However, all their parents were nice enough to let them all take a year off after high school. None of them knew what they wanted to do and instead of wasting money on possibly useless classes, they took a year off to explore their options in the real world. Gabriel was the only one out of the three of them who had a job and when he came home from work one day, Meredith and Isaac had roped him into recording a video with them. From there, they decided to live stream and somehow, it kicked off and became a thing they did. It became their purpose.

Now it was going to become more than their purpose. It was to become their jobs.

Isaac had already sent out messages to their followers and subscribers as well as on social media that a new addition to the channel was coming, especially since their live streams were being cut back. They had a great audience. They were all kind to one another (yes, they were still pretty small) and they were supportive of the three of them going to college to hone their skills in the film industry. In fact, some people even donated money to them for the college. Meredith and the boys split the donations, as small as it was, evenly and put it toward their textbooks for their first semester.

Gabriel walked through the door breaking Meredith out of her thoughts. He let out a groan. “Sorry, I’m late. There was an issue at work and I couldn’t leave.”

Meredith smiled. “No worries, everything’s going downhill anyway. We can’t do anything. The recording studio is still updating and none of us thought to charge the camera from last time.”

Gabriel stared at her shocked for a brief moment and then let out a chuckle. “Ah, okay. So it’s going to be one of those days, I see… work was already annoying, so let’s get down to business with this thing.”

He took off his jacket, tossing it to the side, and sitting down on the couch beside Meredith. Isaac entered the room and gave a small wave to Gabriel. He leaned against the wall on the other side of the room and the three of them stared at each other for a moment.

“Do you think college will recommend any new programs for us to get so this doesn’t have to update all the time?” Meredith chuckled.

Gabriel grinned. “Well, my classes should teach me how to budget and stuff for a business so we can certainly start saving for a new program.”

“I’ll be able to market a fundraiser.” Isaac winked.

The three of them laughed.

Meredith didn’t want to go to school, no. She was nervous, yes. But there was a little part of her that was actually looking forward to it. She only hoped it will be as good as she thought it would be.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

You can take a look at more Short Stories here.

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Creative Writing Plans for 2021

One of my goals for 2021 is to finally get back into a writing routine. I feel like that gets pushed to the back burner far too often.

It’s going to be a priority this year (and beyond).

Creative Writing Plans for 2021 | RachelPoli.com

I tend to work on a handful of writing projects at one time because… attention span.

I don’t want to get burned out on one project and sometimes you’re just in the mood to work on one project over another.

Oftentimes, I work on one or two books per month. I’m not sure if a month is too long or too short, but I like to give myself the 30-day deadline to get through another draft whether it’s writing or editing.

I mean, I can write 50,000 words in 30 days for NaNoWriMo but can’t do it on my own for some reason.

So, I’m going to stick with the 30-day deadline but I’m not going to beat myself up over it if I don’t reach it. Every book is different and some are going to take longer than others. I’m going to take it month-by-month and see where I am with each book and then decide what to work on the next month.

Instead of doing what I normally do, which is plan each month for the year ahead of time and then get angry when I’m five months behind schedule.

George Florence and the Perfect Alibi (Book 1)

Did you know that January 13, 2021, was the ten-year anniversary that I started working on this book?

Well, George and Lilah are not going to get the best of me this year!

I made excellent progress on the novel for NaNo last November. I’m going to finish the draft by the end of this month. I only have two or three chapters left to write, so… I can do it! Stay positive.

In February (and beyond) I’ll work on edits and revisions.

My overall goal? Find and hire an editor by the end of 2021.

I think this can be a process depending on how long it takes to find an editor I click with and how booked out they are. So, that’s why I’m hoping to leave 2021 with an editor. The earlier the better, but it’s not something I want to rush.

It’s been ten years already, what’s another?

Sunday Morning (Vol. 1)

In April, it will be two years that Sunday Morning was published. I can’t believe it, either.

I have two goals for this one: talk about it more and release it in paperback.

After I published this, my mental health went downhill. Even though I’m proud of the book and proud of myself for taking the leap to publish it, I didn’t give it the attention it deserves.

So, I want to hype it back up and again. By doing so, I’ll also release the book in paperback. I actually have the proof and have had it for about a year and a half. I just never followed through with it.

Expect to hear more about Sunday Morning this year along with its younger sibling…

Sunday Morning Coffee (Vol. 2)

This has been in the works for quite a while. Once Sunday Morning is all set with the paperback and such, I want to focus on the next installment.

This is another collection of 52 flash fiction stories that I’m excited to share. It most likely won’t be released until spring 2022 but I’m going to spend the year editing and revising the stories and prepping it for launch.

If you read and enjoyed Sunday Morning, I hope you’ll look forward to Sunday Morning Coffee.

That’s it for now

Those are the three main books I want to work on this year. I, of course, have other story ideas in mind that I would love to work on. I’d like to focus on these ones first though.

If I get burned out from these projects, I’ll probably work on something else for a little bit, but that’s not going to stop me from prepping George for an editor, Sunday Morning for paperback, and Sunday Morning Coffee for publication.

What are your creative writing plans for the year? Let me know in the comments below!

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 042 is Here!

The Merry Writer Podcast: What do you do when you hit a roadbloack on your novel?

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 042: What do you do when you hit a roadblock in your novel?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I discuss some ways to push past a roadblock in your novel. Thanks to Marty Vee for suggesting the question! Let us know your answers to this topic in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag, #TheMerryWriterPodcast. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below. Enjoy!

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

Podbean | Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | YouTube | PodLink

Let me know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Podcast | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump