It's eggnog season and I have been reminded by my kiddos that there are plenty of other seasonal flavors to enjoy---instead of eggnog. Can you believe these littles? It's only here for one month a year! But the hilarious discussion did spark a story and the timing couldn't be more perfect because it's also time for Susanna Hill's annual Holiday Contest!
‘Nuff With The Nog!
By Kari Ann Gonzalez
Christmas? I’m in!
Cookies and cocoa? Sign me up.
Santa? Yes, please!
Mom’s sweetened yolk? What a joke!
I hate eggnog!
“Another glass, Sweetie?”
My barf-o-meter’s blaring, but…
Mom’s beaming at her best-ever-batch.
“Okay, Mom. Just ONE more glass.”
But, by Christmas eve…
“It’s in my French toast?”
“You used this on the roast!”
“The frosting on my cookie?!”
I’d rather have a noogie!
Last straw. This has to stop.
I’ll risk the naughty list!
Oops, I left-it-in-the-car-nog.
Oh, you think I’m wicked?
Have a glass of worry-about-yourself-nog!
“Another glass?” Mom asks.
“I HATE NOG!”
“Sorry! It’s true. I’ve been pretending to like it for you! But…
‘nuff with the nog!”
“Oh, Sweetie. Should’ve just told me! Maybe it IS time for something new…
I know! Peppermint pancakes!”
P.S. I hate peppermint, too.
(Photo credit: Brian Wangenheim, Unsplash)
I'm ready to put the blistering, California sun behind me and fully enjoy Fall. Pumpkin spice and everything nice and of course the Fall Writing Frenzy contest! This year due to signing with my amazing agent Stacey Kondla I can't officially participate because I am agented, but I was so inspired by the amazing photos curated to write another spooky middle grade horror. So, I am writing alongside the contest goers in solidarity! Enjoy all the spooky, thrills and chills inspired by this picture in less than 200 words!
DEATH VALLEY INN
By Kari Ann Gonzalez
Same old summer routine.
Mom ships me off to meet Dad.
So, here I am
waiting at ‘haunted’, Death Valley Inn…
Same old bathtub bag-o-bones to welcome me in.
“Hey, Dead Ted.”
Same old medieval metal knocker.
Same old skull chandelier lighting the dim.
At least they’re kinda real looking.
Same old spooky rattling chains (on cassette of all things!).
“Hey, Dottie! Is Dad here yet?”
“There, there, Claire. Soon.”
She says, shuffling my bag in.
“Dottie, ever thought about redecorating?
“Oh? I’ve been thinking that very thing!” She pats my hand.
“Sit here, dear. I’ll get you checked in. Can I get you some cookies then?”
I slide my phone out of my bag.
I snap a pic.
Caption it: Bored to death at Death Valley Inn!
Dottie hobbles over, tray of cookies in hand.
“Chocolate chip. Your favorite!”
I pat the chair beside me.
“Will you have one with me?”
“Diabetes, dear. But you have all you can eat.”
Five cookies later, I’m feeling woozy.
“Uh, Dottie?” I ask as the room spins.
Dottie hobbles back in.
“Don’t worry, dear.” She smiles, “Soon, you won’t feel a thing.
Thanks for helping me with the… redecorating.”
Spring has sprung and along with it, the annual Spring Fling Writing Contest hosted by the lovely Ciara O'Neal and Kaitlyn Sanchez. I hope you enjoy my entry and all the other wonderful Spring stories posted on Ciara's blog!
By Kari Ann Gonzalez
Mama bird beamed at the new beauty in her nest.
“Mama, where did this egg come from?” Cheep asked.
“We may never know, but she’s right where she is meant to be.”
“Can we keep her?” Peep pleaded.
“Family is family,” Mama said, snuggling in close.
“I will love her so,” Mama said.
“I will share my sweetest seeds.” Cheep said.
“I will teach her to soar.” Peep said.
“I will help her up if she falls.” Mama said.
One warm day, when the blossoms smelled sweet
and the bees became busy,
the bird family heard…
“It’s happening. Our baby- she’s hatching!”
One little leg appeared.
Two-three-four. FOUR legs?
Stretch. Snap. Crack.
A slithery tongue!
“What a beauty.” Mama sighed.
Cheep blinked, “It’s a---”
“BROTHER!” Peep cried.
I love a writing contest! What a wonderful opportunity to support fellow writers follow their passion and enjoy such amazing creativity. What I love about Kailei's contest is that it includes multiple age groups allowing even more writers in the community to participate. All while being kid-judged- what an awesome touch! I hope you enjoy my 200 word entry below. If you would like to see the other amazing entries piling in, hop over to Kailei's contest post to take a look. Happy read, happy writing!
A SWEET PROMPOSAL
By: Kari Ann Gonzalez
Genre: YA (Lyrical free verse)
The thing about being in love
With your bestie
When he doesn’t know is…
How could he not know?
Family camp-out sleeping,
Second-story bedroom sneaking,
Awesome duet karaoke…
How could he not know!
Burning, yearning, anticipating.
Prom’s next week----------------------
Come on, Bestie... ask already!
Window open. Warm. Inviting.
But nothing more than crickets sing.
I’m DONE waiting!
Fingers swipe. Fingers type.
“Hey! Movie night??? Bring dinner, I’ve got dessert?”
“I’m in! When?”
“Be right there ☺”
I’m up! Sock-sliding
Whisking through the kitchen.
visions of a giant cookie.
Steady hand, steady!
Frosting cursive isn’t easy.
Make my dreams ‘crumb’ true,
I wanna go to prom with YOU!
Jayson strolls in,
rock star hair and smile for miles.
Heart pounding. I slide aside
so he reads the words
I’ve been hiding inside.
“Ciara, don’t…not yet.”
my face aflame!
“I mean, dinner before dessert…right?”
Jayson pops the top of his pizza box:
You’re my bestie and so much more.
You’ve always had a ‘pizza’ my heart.
Hope this isn’t cheesy…
Go to prom with me?
“You deserve ALL the chivalry. Please, go with me?”
“Thought you’d never ask!”
I Smell A Contest!
What is that in the air? Is it the holidays lurking around the corner, a candle burning, a flavored latte? No, I smell…. a contest! Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie Contest is in full swing. Every year I relish in the spooky and sweet entries! This year, may I present my story Kit’s Costume at 99 words. I hope you enjoy it!
By Kari Ann Gonzalez
Kit couldn’t wait to go trick-or-treating.
The ooey-gooey goodies, the goosebumps, the KIDS!
All he needed was a bit of black paint
and he could be part of it!
One last glob…
Under the moon’s glow-in-the-dark light
Kit crept to the corner and peeked.
“Look Mum, a kitty!”
finally walking freely.
And with so many people in sight!
Kit marched with creative costumes,
devoured thrills, chills and too-much candy
He felt a wave of wet.
Kit raced to stay dry
but, the paint had…
“Well…that had been fun.” Kit sighed.
Contests! Contests! Contests!
I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of such a welcoming and supportive community that embraces new writers to seasoned with a warm embrace. One way I have learned to connect with other writers in the community is through participating in contests. And there are many to choose from!
Whether it is a writing contest like Fall Writing Frenzy hosted by Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Sanchez or Halloweensie hosted by Susanna Hill, contests with amazing, writerly prizes are just around the corner. The prizes are of course amazing, but also amazing is how we forge friendships over craft and creativity, how we support one another through spreading cheer in a tough industry to break into, and how we amplify fellow writers in all of the amazing work they have put into their heart projects both published and unpublished.
Cheers to all of the opportunities! One such opportunity is still up and live until October 31st! Entrants in the contest have a huge opportunity to win critiques and connect with published authors and agents, but also to support the same authors that give back to their writing community by purchasing and reviewing their books. What are you waiting for? It’s time to enter! Hop on over to PBSpotlight and enter PBCritiqueFest21. While you’re there, if you happen to see a cute, purple monster named Dennis in The Book Of Rules written by Brian Gehrlein and illustrated by Tom Knight, pre-order it! Dennis demands it, or at least he should. Snag your pre-order today!
Thanks for being part of this amazing writing community with me, and good luck on all the contests!
Fall is finally here! I am relishing pumpkin everything, the golden, orange and red falling leaves and especially the super spooky Halloween decorations. Another favorite part of the season? The contests!
This year for Fall Writing Frenzy I challenged myself to step outside my usual picture book and middle grade age range and write a super spooky YA story in free verse. With only 200 words!
Image credit: Halloween- Credit: Neon Brand/Unsplash
By Kari Ann Gonzalez
I fly off the porch steps,
tugging on my malicious-looking mask.
Splashing past a puddle,
I’m relishing the look of my new warped, white face.
The creepy corkscrew curls
and red rubber nose
stacked over a sinister, ruby-red smile.
Max and those other bozos
deserve everything they have coming.
I slip through the carnival’s back gate,
tuck into the shadows
They are going to scream
and pee their pants
when Jake and I jump out from hiding.
Heart pounding like a drum,
Slipping into the dark House of Horrors, I whisper…
My heart pounds louder.
I toe around an almost-headless horseman.
Then, crawl through sticky cobwebs
past the ginormous, rearing spider.
“JAKE!” I whisper louder,
struggling to see through the fake fog.
“Where are you? They’re going to be here any minute!”
I squint hard.
Finally seeing something…
I take in all of him.
Disheveled rainbow hair.
Maniacal smile stretching over rotting teeth- terrifying!
Jake’s ax even glints like steel.
“Great costume, Jake! That ax looks almost real. Are you ready?”
“Oh, I’m ready…” the voice growls, “But, who’s Jake?”
So-how did I do?
A huge thank you to Kaitlynn Lean Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis for hosting another fun contest. I hope this little piece jumpstarts your October with a little shiver. Thanks for stopping by to read my entry! Wishing the best of luck to all the contestants!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful, safe and happy Halloween! It has been a busy week, but I can't resist the lure of holiday writing prompt! I give you my 100 word Halloweensie contest entry using the words, crept, mask, and skeleton: Sweet Treats. There are some really amazing entries, hop on over to Susana Leonard Hill's website to check out the other entries!
By Kari Ann Gonzalez
It was Halloween at the museum, but Rex refused to be the same old thing…
Skeletons were so prehistoric!
This year, Rex had big plans and a grumbly tummy.
He crept to the supply closet and snagged some sheets.
One last touch.
One by one, children filed in.
Rex devoured the sweet scent.
Candy tumbled into plump bags.
“Where is the T-Rex?” a child asked.
Rex made his move.
“A chicken costume? Not scary!” the child laughed.
“Skeleton it is!”
Rex ripped off his mask.
“Trick for you, treat for me!”
The children ran.
Revisions Are Hard
What do you do when your fickle manuscript talks back and just doesn't do what you want? You have probably already stared at the darn thing until your eyeballs burn, waved a magic wand, and of course tweaked and revised and rewritten it no less than a million times. But what does it take to FINISH it?! Here are a few handy tricks to truly SEE the story you have written versus the story you would like to write.
Fall Writing Frenzy
One of my favorite seasons has arrived, and with it, scents of pumpkin spice and apple cider and of course a wonderful contest and writing prompt! So, I give you: my 86-word entry for Fall Frenzy and the sweet gathering photo that prompted my STEM (pun intended) acrostic poem. Fingers crossed to win a picture book prize- but I already won a personal prize- the delicious new story I am posting and a few new story ideas! What did you think? I would love to hear from you! Then, pop back over to the Fall Writing Frenzy blog post to check out all the amazing stories. Thank you to Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis for the contest and lovely inspiration!
A picture book author fostering connections with the writerly community.