September And October 2018 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests]

2018 September & October Writing Contests | Writing Submissions | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

September 2018

Genre: Any – see website for list (Book must be self-published)
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: September 4, 2018
Entry Fee: $125
Prize: Grand – $5,000

Genre: Any – see website for list
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: September 14, 2018 (early-bird)
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: Grand – $2,500

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Mom Knows Best
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: September 30, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

October 2018

Genre: Poetry
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: October 1, 2018 (early-bird)
Entry Fee: $20
Prize: Grand – $1,000

Genre: Any – see website for list
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: October 15, 2018
Entry Fee: $30
Prize: Grand – $2,500

Genre: Fiction (unpublished writers only)
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: October 31, 2018
Entry Fee: $18
Prize: First – $2,500

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Life Lessons from the Dog
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: October 31, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Ongoing

Genre: Stories, essays, plays, poetry, art
Website: Literal Latte
Entry Fee: $3

Genre: Various
Website: Narrative Magazine
Entry Fee: Yes, but amount is not listed

Genre: Short story, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, novel excerpts, poetry
Website: Rejected Manuscripts
Entry Fee: N/A
*Your piece must have been rejected for publication or failed to win a prize at a literary competition in order to qualify.

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each submission. Information may change.

Do you know any other deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these? Let me know in the comments below. Good luck! If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Successful Self-Publishing By Joanna Penn [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn | Nonfiction | Business | Reading | Writing | RachelPoli.com

I bought it through Amazon.

Summary:

Do you want to successfully self-publish?

There are thousands of new books being published every day, but many self-published books quickly sink to the bottom of the pile.

Many authors are frustrated because there are so many options for self-publishing, and they don’t know which one to choose or what will be best for their book.

Others spend thousands of dollars to publish and end up broken-hearted with the result.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

I’ve spent the last seven years self-publishing bestselling fiction and non-fiction books and in 2011, I left my day job to become a full-time author entrepreneur. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but through the process of self-publishing 17 books, I’ve learned the most effective way to publish and market your books. In this book, I’ll share everything with you.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I like the cover. I think it’s simple and conveys the message of the book pretty well. I don’t know about you, but when I open a book, amazing things come out.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

If you’ve been following my journey for a while, I’m sure you know I’m preparing myself for self-publishing. Joanna Penn is highly recommended by a lot of people all over the internet. I thought I’d give her books a try.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

When it comes to business and writing, especially self-publishing and indie publishing, there’s a lot to learn. The pressure is on and researching this can be overwhelming. This book breaks all that down for you.

It lays everything out from before publishing, during publishing, after publishing, and more. There’s a lot of helpful links to editors and book cover designers. It defines a lot of business-type vocabulary as well as touch upon the financial side of publishing – before and after.

The end of the book also dabbles in marketing your book as well, though there’s a separate book written by Penn all about marketing.

This is a great, quick read at just under 100 pages and it’s jam-packed with information. This is written in her point of view and this is all information she learned using trial and error with her own books, but it’s great to get ideas when jumping on the publishing wagon yourself.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

I’m happy I picked this book up. I’ll most likely read it a couple more times to let it all sink in. I’ll definitely reference to it when I finally decide to hit that publish button. If you’re thinking of self-publishing, this is a good place to start.

Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

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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I Am A Failure By Akhil Sharma [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: I Am A Failure by Akhil Sharma | Memior | Autobiography | Nonfiction | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Have you experienced failures in your life? Is your startup business facing a downturn? Is your dream partner telling you she hates you? Don’t despair. Failure encages us all.

Akhil, born with a plastic spoon in India, was specially designed for all failures life can bring. Growing up like everyone, the more he tried for success, the more he failed. Not until when he redefined his stupidity and started listening to his heart, his failures brought forth his keys to freedom and made him discover that ‘Failure encourages us all’.

This book is about his transformation from being a failure to the creator of the award-winning technique ‘The Art of Failure’. It talks about his technique, hidden in the form of an entertaining but true autobiographical story. It is helpful for everyone who wants to become a fearless failure warrior rather than being a usual success hunter.

The narrative is set against the transformation of India – from its analog days to the digital age and bubbling startup economy. One thing which hasn’t changed with time though is the hatred and fear towards failure and how it has been eating up our enormous innovation potential for ages. It is time to accept failure as a part of life – where there is no failure, there is no growth. Learn from your experiences and move on!

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I think the cover goes well with the words inside. It shows the author well put together but in fragments as well. He fails, but there are some successes and failing is part of life and what makes you the person you are today.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ll admit this isn’t the typical story I’d pick up on my own if I saw it in the bookstore. Though it intrigued me enough when the author reached out to me. We all fail, so I knew it was definitely going to be something relatable.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This is a non-fiction memoir piece about the author by the author. He describes his life in detail from the moment he’s born up until now.

Details about his life, events, places, and people, are prominent as he describes his life’s ups and downs.

I found this to be an interesting topic for an autobiography because it’s one we can all relate to. We all fail in life multiple times, from something simple to something much bigger. The question is, how do we overcome it and move on? The author explains how he overcomes failure – how he expects it – and it’s done pretty well.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The writing style is easy to read. The story is written in block text (much like blogging) rather than indented paragraphs right after another.

The tone of the narrator seemed to fit right in with me. It was almost as though he knew he was talking to the reader. We just sat down in a coffee shop one day and he told me his life story. It felt natural and well done.

I’ll admit there were a couple parts here and there that seemed to slow down. Some parts might not have needed as much detail, but it was pretty good all the same.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was certainly an interesting read. It was well written and the context is something everyone can learn from. It’s quick at 160 pages so if it piques your interest, please give it a try.

I Am A Failure by Akhil Sharma gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“We were scared of death back then and we still are. For us, it’s still the circle of life and not the circle of death, although both are one and the same thing.” -Akhil Sharma, I Am A Failure

Buy the book:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About Akhil Sharma:

Akhil Sharma, AuthorAkhil Sharma aka ‘The Failure Guy’ is a renowned award losing entrepreneur, inventor and innovator. In his decade long career, ranging from being a mariner, selling credit cards to being a technologist, he is blessed to have failed almost every time. Specially designed for failure, he is using his extensive experience to conduct ‘The Art of Failure’ workshops through which he has helped individuals to keep up the spirit of trying despite failures and coached them how to listen to their hearts and find their real inspiration. These workshops have taught them how to be innovative and creative amidst a failure environment. His lifelong mission is to make the human mind friendly to failure – a concept which stands in stark contrast to the general interest in success.

In 2016, the United Nations and iCongo chose him for the Rex Karmaveer Chakra award and Global fellowship, and he is often called upon to talk about it for free on various platforms in India. He is also a Mentor for Change selected by the Niti Ayog, Indian Government in 2018.

Connect with Akhil:

Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads

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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13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black [Book Review]

13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black | Book Review at RachelPoli.com

Title: 13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains
Author: Sacha Black
Published: 
May 2017 by Atlas Black Publishing
Genre: Nonfiction, writing craft
How I got the book: I bought a digital copy onto my Kindle

Summary:

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

• How to develop a villain’s mindset
• A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
• Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
• What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I’ve followed Sacha Black on her blog for a long time now. I’ve watched her create this book and I feel like I’ve learned a lot just by reading her posts. Now she’s put all her research, time, and effort, into an ebook.

rp-plot

(There’s no plot, but I don’t have another picture, so I’m going with it.)

In this craft book, the author discusses a range of “bad guys” from the villains to the antagonists (yes, they are different) to anti-heroes. Just like the summary suggests, everything you would want to know about creating villains is in this book.

This includes basic definitions of villains and villainy as well as motivation, character traits, and getting into the mind of the villain and the psychology behind it all.

rp-writing-style

This book is broken up into 14 steps, plus an introduction. Each step seemed to go on in the blink of an eye because I just kept reading and reading.

When I say that, I mean it was highly entertaining. I often found myself thinking I was reading a textbook, but it wasn’t the typical textbook you’d get from college. The author’s way of words was informative but entertaining. It was fun to read about the villains and why they do what they do.

It was educational and I found myself wondering if I should be taking notes, but at the end of each step, there was a quick summary of that section plus questions to think about when you create your villain. It made it so that I could sit back and absorb the information knowing that I can go back for reference and not be flipping through the pages trying to find something particular.

rp-overall

This is a wonderful writing craft book that you don’t want to miss. It’s packed with helpful information on villains and it’s entertaining enough that you’ll learn without realizing it. There is also a workbook that goes along with it that I have yet to get, but will definitely be buying soon.

13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“What separates a villain from a hero are the decisions and choices he makes.” –Sacha Black, 13 Steps To Evil: How To Craft Superbad Villains

Buy the book:

Amazon – Textbook | Amazon – Workbook | Barnes & Noble – Textbook | Barnes & Noble – Workbook

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*This post contains affiliate links.

Short Story Sunday 188: Dear Diary, Writing Buddies [NaNoWriMo]

Short Story Sunday 188: Writing Buddies

            It’s no secret that Kris and I have a love for video games, especially since we have a second blog dedicated to gaming. We also love YouTube and there are a lot of gamers we follow and watch on there. They talk about games, new and old, do reviews, top lists, and most of them have Let’s Play channels where they play through a lot of their favorite games.

We’ve been watching these guys for a couple of years now and we love each and every one of them. They’re funny, informative, and pretty cute as well.

Kris and I sometimes send writing memes to each other through Pinterest and Tumblr, mostly because they’re funny, but we try to encourage each other to continue writing at the same time. Regardless, who doesn’t want a hot celebrity smirking at you while encouraging to do what you love the most?

Last year, for NaNoWriMo 2016, I decided to create a couple of writing memes for Kris. She always had a hard time sticking to one idea throughout the month and that often slowed down her word count. She had taken a couple days off from work because she was able to and our dog was having surgery. She was going to use those days to get ahead in her novel word count.

So, I decided to print out some writing memes for Kris. I figured once she left to drive our cousins to school, I would tape one of them up onto the bathroom mirror. I knew she would definitely see it there. But, I figured, why find her favorite celebrity on the Internet when I can just make my own?

I decided to create writing memes using our favorite YouTubers. I came up with three different ideas, which was perfect because she had three days off from work. I would tape one up on the bathroom mirror before leaving for work each more.

That first day, Kris sent me a text while I was work and I nearly burst out laughing once I read what she wrote. She wrote in all caps about how she just “found Jared in our bathroom” and how I was simply awesome. Of course, if you were reading over my shoulder and had no idea what we were talking about, that conversation very well could have been taken out of context completely—and probably not in a very good way.

I had three days off from work the following week due to the election, a professional day for the teachers, and then Veteran’s Day. So, on Kris’s third and final day off from work, we were admiring the three boys, who were now taped up against our closet door.

“You know, I expect a couple of memes from you when I have a few days off from work next week.” I told her.

Kris waved her hand dismissively and said, “I already have them printed out.”

She didn’t end up just giving me three based on my days off, but she gave me four. I made her an extra one because she also had Veteran’s Day off, but I had two different ideas so I ended up giving her two. We felt the need to give each other an even amount of writing memes so Kris made me another one as well.

But both of us kept coming up with more and more ideas for these memes. And, if we’re going to be honest here, there are about 20 or so YouTubers that we want. Part of the reason we kept coming up with new ideas and pictures was because we didn’t want to leave anyone out and we were trying to get a meme for each one of the guys. Then we would of course come up with various ideas for the same YouTuber.

We have issues when it comes to YouTubers. That’s all I’m going to say on that.

Our closet door is currently filled with various pictures of our favorite YouTubers reminding us to keep writing, that we’re great writers, and that we can do it and reach our dreams.

It’s amazing how encouraging Kris and I can be to one another when it comes to YouTube and video games and writing. Of course, we’re always like that to each other, but we had way too much fun with the writing memes. It got a little too far and if anyone comes up into our room and sees our closet door, I’m not exactly sure how we’re going to explain all that.

In fact, it’s hard to believe that I’m explaining it to everyone who follows my blog.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though. Kris and I love watching those YouTubers and they inspire us to do what we love each and every day, just like they did and now look where they are. Plus, Kris and I can have a lot of fun and get some good laughs out of it as well.

We still give each other a writing meme once in a while as new ideas pop up and we discover new YouTubers. I don’t think this joke between the two of us is ever going to end. But then again, I’m not sure I want to let it end.

If anything, it’s a great motivator for all the NaNo sessions to come in the future.

Words: 898

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!

Short Story Sunday 179: The Writing Portfolio

It was the second day of school for my cousins. One was in her sophomore year of high school and the other had just begun eighth grade. Neither were happy to be going back to school, but when they came home on that first day, they were all smiles. I think they were glad to be back into some sort of routine and it was nice to see all their friends again.

So on that second day, it occured me that we were indeed back into the swing of things. And when I say that, I mean homework.

The three of us were the only ones home and we sat in the living room talking. I asked how their days went. The older of the two said her day was fine, the younger described every minute of her day without missing one detail.

Then I asked about their homework. Being in upper middle school and high school, I assumed they had homework. Even if it was the second day of school.

They both nodded, the older explaining she had no idea what she had to do.

I took out her planner and read out loud what she wrote.

“English,” I said, “bring in writing portfolio.”

“Yeah, what’s that?” she asked.

I blinked at her. How did she not know what a writing portfolio was? Still, I explained it to her that it was like having samples of your writing. It was a folder of her previous work, I assumed essays she had written from her English class last year.

“I don’t have that.” she shrugged.

I didn’t know whether to agree or not. I was sure she had copies saved on the computer, but her teacher didn’t really expect the kids to keep an actual hard copy portfolio from the previous year?

“Well, what did your teacher say?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know…?”

“She might have explained it, but I don’t remember… Or maybe I wasn’t paying attention.”

This didn’t surprise me. I sighed and said, “Well, I guess you can just ask your teacher tomorrow.”

“But it was due today.”

I stared at her. I glanced at my other cousin, who sat in the armchair beside me. She was smirking, clearly enjoying that her sister was going to get a bad grade on the second day of school.

“Wait, it was due today, but you didn’t think to worry about this last night?” I asked.

“Well,” she continued, “my teacher must have said something about it yesterday and I just wasn’t paying attention. I only know about it now because kids were handing in thick folders with papers inside to her today.”

I sighed. “Okay then you’re just going to have to reprint everything you wrote last year and put it all together.”

“I don’t have that.”

“You have your laptop.”

“But I didn’t save anything.”

I cringed at this. How do you not save your homework? How can you write pages upon pages of essays and not bother to save any of it or at least print out an extra copy?

“I mean, the more stuff I save onto the computer the slower the computer will be.” she explained with a smile. A proud smile as though she had thought outside the box and solved the “slow computer” problem. The answer has clearly been right in front of us the whole time… So, stop saving your work onto the computer, everyone!

I had no idea what to say to her.

“Then go to your English teacher from last year and ask him if he has any copies.” I said. I knew that was a long shot, but it was the only thing I could think of to say.

“He already gave it to me.” she replied.

“Then what are we even talking about here…?”

“I think that’s how the other kids had their folders. Our teachers last year gave them to us at the end of the year.”

“Then where’s yours?”

“I asked Daddy to make a fire at the beginning of the summer and I burned all my schoolwork.”

At this, my other cousin burst out laughing. I was completely dumbfounded.

Thankfully, my mom walked through the front door. I stood up and said, “Tag. You’re it.”

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!

August/September 2017 Writing Contests

Writing contests for August and September 2017

AUGUST 2017

Genre: Flash Fiction/Non-Fiction/Poetry
Theme: N/A
Website: Blue Earth Review
Deadline: August 15, 2017
Entry Fee: $5
Prize: $500

Genre: Non-fiction
Theme: Miracles and More
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Non-Fiction
Theme: Stories of Redemption
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Fiction
Theme: Very Short (flash)
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee: $16
Prize: First – $2,000

Genre: Fiction
Theme: N/A
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: August 31, 2017
Entry Fee:$21
Prize: First – $3,000

September 2017

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: My Crazy Family
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: September 5, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

Genre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry
Theme: None
Website: Still: The Journal
Deadline: September 9, 2017
Entry Fee: $12
Prize: First – $200

Genre: Essay
Theme: None
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: September 30, 2017
Entry Fee: $10/1 essay or $15/2 essays
Prize: First – $1,000

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each contest. Information may change.

Do you know any other contests with deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these contests? Let me know in the comments below! Good luck if you do!

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Short Story Sunday 162: We’re Getting A Kitty [Dear Diary]

Short Story Sunday: "We're Getting a Kitty" [Dear Diary story] | Flash Non-Fiction

            Hunter was our ragdoll cat who chose us when a house on the other side of my neighborhood released all their cats to the wild after getting a puppy. I was 12-years-old at the time, my aunt had just unexpectedly passed away two days after my birthday, and two weeks after that we ended up putting our dog, a 13-years-old English Springer Spaniel, to sleep.

I found Hunter in my yard a few weeks prior. Not bothering with the whole “stray animal caution” thing, I walked right up to him and pet him, picked him up, and played with him. He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he seemed to love the attention.

We played together every day in my yard around the same time. He grew more comfortable with me and even came into the house a couple of times. I brought him in one night during a thunderstorm because I didn’t want him out there alone. He left the following morning, but we continued to feed him and he would visit us every day.

On the day we said goodbye to our dog, Casey, Hunter arrived and watched as my parents loaded Casey into the car. They pulled out of the driveway while my sisters and I, in tears, went back into the house. Hunter followed us inside and he never left after that.

We were all devastated as age and illness took over Hunter’s body and we had to put him down in November 2015.

I didn’t want to replace Hunter and I didn’t want to get another cat too soon after Hunter passed away. I also didn’t want to make Chip, our current little Chihuahua mix, jealous. Yet, I did miss having a cat around and wanted to get another one.

In August 2016, we finally adopted one from a shelter.

We were worried that Chip would be angry if we brought a cat home, but we hoped for the best. Hunter was living with us for a couple of years because Chip was brought to us at the tender age of three months old. Chip grew up with a cat as an older brother and learned a lot from him. Seriously, I sometimes think she’s a cat herself.

So yes, we were worried Chip would be jealous, angry, or even a little bit sad upon us bringing home a cat. Chip was always the baby of the family.

We wanted an older cat because they need love too, but also because we wanted one to be mostly house broken. Then again, we wanted a cat on the younger side because we didn’t want it to be territorial and believe it was in charge of Chip.

There weren’t too many cats at the shelter when we got there, but there was a ten-month-old gray tabby. He was curled up in a ball in the back corner of his cage. When we opened the door to let him sniff us and pet him, he completely snubbed us. He turned his back and laid back down as though he didn’t see us. It took some coaxing with toys, but he finally allowed us to pet him and even pick him up for a moment.

We ended up getting him. His name was Wayne, but we changed it to Chase. Of course, when I chose that name I didn’t think it would ring so true with his personality.

A few days before going to the shelter, we kept asking Chip, “Do you want a kitty? We’re getting a kitty! Kitty’s coming!”

We called Hunter “Kitty” a lot and Chip knew the word better than “come.” We thought that maybe if we gave her the idea that a new cat was coming into the family, she wouldn’t be so surprised when we brought the cat home.

We were shocked when we brought Chase home. He immediately put him into the bathroom so not to overwhelm him with the whole house and the dog right away. Chip could smell him and definitely knew there was a “kitty” around and she was extremely excited.

We were all relieved to see how excited Chip was that we had a cat. She kept trying to poke her head under the bathroom door and kept crying wanting to see him.

The workers at the shelter told us to introduce Chase and Chip slowly to each other. They suggested keeping Chip on her leash and being in a small room, such as the bathroom, to let them sniff each other and get to know one another.

Of course, we didn’t end up doing that.

We had enough confidence that Chip would be fine with the way she was reacting. Chase was shy (at first), but we kept him in the bathroom so he could get used to his surroundings and smells. We gave him Chip’s blanket and we gave Chip Chase’s blanket from the shelter so they could sniff each other before meeting.

After a little bit, we finally gave into Chip’s wishes and allowed her to see Chase for the first time.

My heart broke a little when Chip first saw Chase. She loved him, nothing bad happened, but she was definitely confused.

To us, there are many “kitties” in the world. There are many kinds of cats. Chip has only seen and known one cat in her entire life, Hunter. So every time we said “kitty,” who would she think of?

When we opened the bathroom door and let her in, Chip darted in excitedly. She stopped short and peered at Chase, who was sitting in the bathtub, with her ears flat and her head cocked to the side, one thing was clear.

She was obviously thinking, “You’re not Hunter!”

After nine months of not having Hunter around, and I have no idea if Chip had any idea of what happened to him. For all she knew, he was on vacation somewhere. When we told her we were getting a kitty, she must have assumed we were bringing Hunter home.

Chip got over the initial shock and it took them a little while to get used to each other. Chase was extremely shy and is a bit of a scaredy-cat and Chip just doesn’t want him coming near her bones (which he enjoys playing with because I think he knows it bothers her).

We were very lucky to find a cat like Chase and we’re blessed to have a wonderful dog like Chip. They’re both brats, but I love them to death and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans they’ll get into together.

Words: 1,100

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Short Story Sunday 153: Welcome Baby (Dear Diary)

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            Lisa wasn’t due to have her baby until March 7, 2016. It was a leap year and she prayed and prayed that the baby would stay in her belly until after February 29. She wanted her son to have a birthday every year as opposed to every four years.

So, around 12:45 in the morning on March 1, the telephone rang. I didn’t have a phone in my bedroom, but I could hear it ringing from my office across the hall. I laid in bed with my eyes open, suddenly wide awake, but too afraid to move. Whenever the phone rang in the middle of the night something bad had happened. My uncle has Lifeline so my mind immediately wandered to him.

Then I heard the caller ID’s robotic female voice announce my sister’s name.

“Kris?” I whispered hoping she was awake.

She grunted.

“Why is Lisa calling?”

“I don’t know…”

“Is this it?”

“Maybe,”

We both remained in bed for a few minutes. I don’t know what was going on in Kris’s head, but I was trying to process everything. Why else would our older sister be calling in the middle of the night if the baby wasn’t on his way?

After a few moments, and realizing that the phone had stopped ringing, Kris and I both leaped out of our beds. We ran downstairs where Mom was standing the kitchen talking to Lisa. Dad stood in the hallway outside of the bathroom staring at Mom waiting.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Lisa’s in labor.” Dad said.

Kris and I smiled at each other and I remember jumping a little, but it was only about one o’clock in the morning. We were all still pretty tired and out of it.

Mom hung up the phone and grinned from ear to ear. “They’re on their way to the hospital!”

We all cheered and stood around in the kitchen for a couple minutes not knowing what to do next.

“Well, I’m going back to bed.” Dad turned around and left the kitchen.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“We’ll visit them in the morning. There’s not much we can do.” Mom had said, which made perfect. We all needed our sleep for a big day ahead.

Luckily, it just happened to work out, that I had the day off from work that day. Dad still had to go to work, but Kris and Mom called out and we all went to the hospital together.

I don’t like hospitals. I felt on edge as we drove there, telling myself that we would be in the maternity ward. It wouldn’t be that bad.

I started tearing up in the car and Mom stared at me through the rear-view mirror.

“Are you okay?” she had asked.

“I’m an aunt!” I exclaimed through blurry eyes. Mom and Kris started laughing at me because I cry at a lot of things, good or bad.

We made it to the hospital and entered Lisa’s room and I immediately burst into tears again. I didn’t like seeing her hooked up to a machine with wires and needles coming out of her, even though I knew there was nothing wrong with her or the baby. This is one of the reasons as to why I don’t like hospitals and get nervous.

We spent most of the day waiting around. Kris and I decided to go home around 1:30 in the afternoon. Mom said they’d call if anything was to happen. So, of course, as soon as we got home, we both got a text message from our brother-in-law stating that Lisa was going to start pushing soon.

I looked up at Kris. “So… Does this mean we go back?”

“We should probably be there when the baby comes, right?” She responded with a question.

“I want to be one of the first people to see our nephew, yes.” I replied.

“Alright, let’s head back out then.”

Kris and I hopped back into the car and we were on our way. She drove while I the GPS on my phone. We have never driven to the hospital on our own before and have never been to that part of the town, so we had no idea where we were going. Neither one of us paid much attention when Mom drove us back and forth earlier that day.

Kris was pretty calm behind the wheel as I freaked out in the passenger seat.

“Holy crap, we’re aunts. Kris, we have a baby. We have a nephew. There’s a baby coming. Lisa’s a mom! A mom, Kristen!”

“I know!” Kris exclaimed excitedly. “Now tell me where to turn next so we can actually be there when the kid comes.”

As I directed her from the GPS, Mom kept texting me.

“Are you guys coming?”

“Lisa is beginning to push.”

“The baby is coming!”

“Hurry!!”

With each new text message, I freaked out more and more causing Kris to freak out.

“We’re going to miss it!” I shouted.

“We’ll be fine, we’ll be fine!” Kris pulled into the parking lot. Except there were no spots. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me…” she muttered.

After three floors down in the parking garage, I pointed to a spot right by the stairs. “There! Go there!”

She pulled in and we both jumped out of the car racing through the parking garage. We were both giggling like mad as we were both nervous and too excited at the same time for our own good.

We raced up the spiral stairs in the garage. I nearly knocked into a man who had to be at least two feet taller than me as I shouted, “Auntie’s coming!”

Kris burst out laughing as I almost took out the fully grown man and we dashed through the lobby of the hospital. We ran into the elevator. As it rose to the third floor, Kris and I leaned against the wall trying to catch our breaths.

An older woman was in the elevator with us and gave us a strange look.

“Our older sister is having a baby.” Kris explained.

The woman smiled. “First one?”

“Yeah, we’re aunts now!” I grinned.

“How could you tell?” Kris said sarcastically.

The woman chuckled. “Congratulations.”

We said our thanks to her and ran out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened. We jogged down the hall only to run into Mom.

“Do we have a baby?” I asked.

“We have a baby!” Mom exclaimed.

We group hugged each other and jumped up and down in the middle of the hall.

“We don’t know anything as we’re not allowed in yet. But a nurse came out and told us that he’s here and everyone is doing great.” Mom had explained.

We waited in a small waiting room with Lisa’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law. We waited for about another half hour and our friend came in the meantime. We all sat and chatted with one another as though nothing was going on. We were just trying to pass the time.

Finally, Nick, my brother-in-law, came into the room. He explained what had happened to all of us. Everyone was doing well. The baby was born at 4:49 in the afternoon, and he was 12 inches, 6 ounces.

The grandparents went in first. My poor father wasn’t able to leave work, but he visited them later that night before visiting hours ended.

I remained in the waiting room with Lisa’s sister-in-law, Kris, and our friend. The four of us chatted about random things trying to pass the time some more. We knew it wasn’t going to be too much longer since the grandparents were having their turn. The nurses just didn’t want too many people to go in right at once right away.

Before too long, however, the nurse came in giving us permission to go into Lisa’s room. There, I held my nephew for the first time of many. I fell in love with him immediately as I looked down at him through my blurry, happy tears.

Words: 1,343

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole

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Title: Gatecrashing Europe
Author: Kris Mole
Published: 
August 2015 by Valley Press
Genre: Nonfiction travel
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

In 2007, Kris Mole flew one-way to Stockholm with a vow not to return home to England until he had visited every capital city in the mainland European Union. He set himself eight simple rules, most importantly A) that no money would be spent or handled during the journey, and B) no credit cards would be used either. Thus, the great Euro Freebie Challenge began: twenty-three cities to be visited, 6000 miles to be covered, without spending a single penny on the journey – to raise money, in fact, for Cancer Research UK.

The colourful story of this six-month trip was first told by charismatic, wise-cracking, semi-anti-hero Kris via a series of blogs, and followed by readers of The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and the BBC website. Readers found Kris drawing on his formidable resourcefulness to acquire all of life’s necessities for free, resting wherever he could find a place, and travelling by foot, hitch-hiking, or stowing away on trains – experiencing, as you might expect, a wild emotional ride in the process.

August 2015 marks the first appearance of this epic journey in book form, with the author donating 10% of his royalties to Cancer Research UK.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I don’t typically read books about travel, but I do enjoy a good memoir from time to time. What the author did was pretty inspiring so I was intrigued on how his travels went for such a good cause. I couldn’t say no when he reached out to me about reviewing the book.

This won’t be a typical review as it’s non-fiction, so bear with me.

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The major “plot” of this is that the author, the protagonist, Kris, was attempting to explore the EU by visiting every capital without spending a penny. There are 23 capitals and well over 6,000 miles to travel.

You think, “How can he possibly do that without spending any money?” Well, he did it. And at the age of 24, no doubt.

It was interesting to see how he managed to get from one place to another whether it was from a kind citizen hearing of his cause and buying him a bus ticket, he hitch-hiked, or he simply walked.

It’s a good challenge, an exciting one, and as difficult as it is, it’s a simple one as well.

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Kris himself was ambitious and determined that made him a great fit for the challenge. He began the challenge for Cancer research as his grandmother was sick. While on the journey, he received word that she had passed on.

He continued on the journey for his grandmother and everyone else who battles Cancer.

I can’t even begin to explain all the various people Kris met on his journey, but I’ll just say that he met some really nice people and then some pretty interesting characters.

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Kris’s writing made the book easy to read as the pace was steady and each chapter flowed nicely right into the next. Every time he crossed another capital off his list, he laid it all out at the beginning of the chapter. How many capitals he had left to visit and which ones they were, how many miles he had traveled, and how many days he had been on the journey.

His writing was also humorous as he wrote exactly what he was thinking at all times. It definitely catches your attention.

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I can’t stress enough how inspiring this book is. It’s hard to believe that anyone was able to achieve such a feat and make it all the way back home. If you’re interested in a feel-good kind of read, then this is the way to go. Plus, you get a little geography lesson in the mix.

Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole gets…
5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“How could you hate so many things about a place you had never seen with your own eyes.” –Kris Mole, Gatecrashing Europe

Buy the book:

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