Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Witch's Gingerbread House

UPDATE: Witch's Gingerbread House won an Honorable Mention for the contest as a whole. yay!!

December is flying and so were the words tonight as I wrote my very last minute entry to Susanna Hill's annual holiday story contest. Children's stories must be 250 words or less and be about a HOLIDAY CONTEST. The holiday can be any winter holiday, and I enjoyed playing with what might be celebrated on winter solstice. I suppose my table having a strange stickiness remaining from making gingerbread houses a few days ago was also inspiring (and a bit gross!)

Read all the fun entries in the comments on Susanna's blog

Happy holidays!

The Witch’s Gingerbread House

By Lauri Meyers (250 words)

Aggie never won the Gingerbread House Contest. That witch Thelby always attracted the plumpest, cutest children for her Winter Solstice feast while Aggie sipped cold carrot stew.

She needed this year’s prize. With the Electric Cauldron 3000, she’d have HOT carrot stew!

She baked her gingerbread walls over a bonfire, like mum taught her, then built a cozy cottage.

She peeked at Thelby’s two-story mansion. “Aww, frog legs!”

Aggie planted cactus outside to welcome the children.

Thelby poured a chocolate pudding pond with a cake diving board. “Aww, drat rats!”

Aggie shivered in the cold, thinking about that new cauldron. She spied on Thelby for inspiration.

Red licorice covered the house. Thelby hung taffy windows with gummy shutters. A candy cane chimney puffed cotton candy smoke. Marshmallow icicles melted from the chocolate bar roof.

“Well, spicy spells! I could win.” Aggie giggled. “Candy is icky. Kids love… VEGETABLES!

She covered the walls with carrot logs, added sliced zucchini windows, and hung green bean shutters. She stacked pickles into a chimney. Ranch dressing icicles dripped from the tomato slice roof. She added a celery slide for after feast fun!

The kids looked at her house in confusion, then headed toward Thelby’s.

“Enjoy your carrot stew, Aggie!” Thelby sneered.

Aggie stood up for herself. “What’s your winter solstice feast?”

“Plump children!”

“Wizard whiskers! You EAT the CHILDREN?!” Aggie yelled. “I’m a vegetarian.”

The kids came running to Aggie’s gingerbread cottage.

And she enjoyed eating hot carrot stew with the cutest, plumpest children.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Glowing Ghost...A Halloweensie Story

WHOOOOOOOOO .... There are witches in the air and ghosts in the trees! It's time for the annual Halloweensie contest from Susanna Hill.  This year's contest needs to be 100 words or less, about Halloween, and include: GOODIES, GOOSEBUMPS and GLOW-IN-THE-DARK.  Join in the Halloween fun! You have until Halloween night to enter. 

My entry:

Glowing Ghost  (99 words)

By Lauri C. Meyers


Jayden grabbed his ghostly sheet

And texted:

Friends said:

His GOOSEBUMPS pricked. It’s dark that late.


An idea struck, bring glowsticks to share!

He wrapped the bracelets everywhere.


He stepped outside; still too dim.

A bright solution came to him.


Headlamp on, ten flashlights to haul,

Blinking lights, and a disco ball!


“But my friends might know I’m full of fright…

Wait! This costume hides my lights!”


“GOODIE time!” he called. “Let’s go!”


(Wayhomestudio via freepik)

Oh no. They know.

             “I forgot my light.”

                    “Me too.”

                            “Me three!”

“Don’t be scared...You’ve got me!”

Happy Halloween everyone!  So what if I'm a little chicken...I've watched far too many scary movies to be out on Halloween without a nice bright flashlight and extra batteries. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Sorry, Pumpkin. Fall Frenzy Contest

Kaitlyn Sanchez ("Math is Everywhere" Blog) and Lydia Lukidis (NO BEARS ALLOWED) are hosting the annual Fall Writing Frenzy

Fall Frenzy stories are inspired by a selection of fall images that range from from funny to spooky and must be 200 words or under, written for children (BB to YA,) posted by October 3 before midnight, and by non-agented writers only. 

I hope you enjoy my cringe-worthy entry inspired by a pumpkin and my awkward adulthood. I mean adolescence. (Who am I kidding? STILL AWKWARD!) 

Halloween- Credit: Samantha Hurley / Burst

Sorry, Pumpkin

By Lauri C. Meyers

200 words

I tugged the pumpkin top, but orange fleshy strings clung to the sides, desperately trying to keep itself together. I felt like the pumpkin, as I struggled to fit in with the cool girls at Hannah Hamilton’s party. Gemma and Ari were already scooping out globs of seeds. I had to keep up. Sorry, pumpkin. I yanked the lid free, then heard a squeal. Three wet seeds stuck to Hannah’s cheeks and forehead.

Mental minutes passed as I watched one seed slide off her face and imagined the repercussions of this blunder. Obviously, I could never eat in the cafeteria again. My daily uniform would be hoodie up, strings pulled. Moving to Peru needed to be seriously considered. I opened my mouth to say goodbye, but then a splash hit my nose and bitter pumpkin slime dripped onto my tongue.

“Yum, pumpkin spice,” I said. Laughter erupted around me.

“What face are you going to carve?” Hannah asked, as if I was welcome to stay. She pressed a paper towel into my hand. “I hope it’s hilarious, like you!”

“Like a huge grin with braces?” I said.

“LOL!” she said. “Instagram us!”

Sorry, pumpkin. Time to put on a smile. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

What is Your Intention for Today?

I need to brag for a sec that I have been writing my fingertips off this last two months. My last post was about saying goodbye to my old writing space and embracing my new area. Grief is a strange thing. I can see now, I was grieving the changes to my writing norms. Sharing my grief helped me let go, and I have felt so FREE!

To take advantage of the momentum, I joined “Study Hall” with Marcie Colleen in May. I can’t say enough about this program. I spend a lot of time studying rhythm, but this session helped me work on my writing rhythm.

In this program you share four manuscripts with a small group of writers and critique work. You get a critique from Marcie each week, too. My group shared high-quality critiques, and I am grateful for them.

Every day Marcie asked us what our intention was for the day. Not a list of top 50 things on your to do list. Not your goals for publishing. Just, what is something you want to be your focus today? Then, we could cheerlead each other as well.

She also arranged a one-hour writing sprint each week day, where you wrote and knew you were in it with others as well. The times changed each day, which works for me, because I like structure but not constraining schedules.

On Fridays we would have a Q&A of whatever you wanted to ask. I gained a lot of insight and direction in those sessions.

I’m on my own in June, but have continued to ask: What is your intention for today? I made a pdf to write down my intention each morning. Here is a link if you would like a copy too!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Goodbye, Office

I’ve been meaning to write this post for about a year. But… Well, I suppose writing it meant accepting a reality I wasn’t ready to embrace. Until now. 

I used to write in the guest bedroom. I had a huge table to spread out all sorts of piles. I had a hutch with a rollout keyboard tray that stored mountains of binders. But more than all that, I often had a few blessed hours of peaceful quiet.

When Covid hit, my husband got the guest room (you would have to call it office now as it no longer services guests) to set up shop when he started working from home. I’m not jealous or anything; he is the one supporting the family.

I became a transient writer who floated from space to space trying to find comfort. I avoided the bedroom for some time, even going so far as to start a construction project to delay the inevitable. 

Demolition Day! 

My “Book Nook” reclaimed that hidden space in the attic of the first floor

Eventually I settled in the bedroom.

In October I decided I needed paper space and found this cute vintage campaign style drawer cabinet. It’s a military style with handles on the side so you could carry it to a new front. It unfortunately does not fit copy paper, but the drawers perfectly hold journals. 

Collapsing under my piles of WIPs in November, I found a hand me down file cabinet which I painted and upholstered. I love that it opens from the top like a box of chocolates, and I savor picking out the MS that is getting focus each day. 

My birthday in December brought a mechanical keyboard. Okay, it brought a few of them, before I settled on “brown switches” to give that perfect typewriter tactile experience. Love this.  

In January I had a toddler-level meltdown that the desk I was working at was too tiny. (IT WAS!) I got myself a desk from Amazon for $100. [Um, stinking skunk butt, it’s only $75 now. Well, I wish I hadn’t seen that…] It has a little storage space and a nice big surface for working and for keeping pretty little things on, like my mousepad from Donna Marie, my first year of NaPiBoWriWee mug (or whatever is holding my tea that day), and the glass trivet I made during a NJSCBWI event.

And it’s all mine. And it is enough.

And I can finally say, “Goodbye for now, old office, dear friend, and faithful companion. Perhaps we shall meet again…

“…But like don’t wait for me, because hubby is going to work from home a few days a week forever. So like you’re kind of in his hands now. Sorry about all the stressful conference calls you have to endure. At least you don’t have to listen to me babbling about whether a wave shushes or swishes for hours on end. But yeah, miss you too.”

Oh. And of course, Hello New Office. Nice to meet you.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Muddy Monster - A Spring Fling short

Ciara Oneal and Kaitlyn Sanchez are hosting a Spring Fling gif challenge: 150 words of less story for kids inspired by a gif (y'know one of those little picture video doo dads)

I've been working like a dog on a home improvement project (a more physical creativity perhaps) and could use a writing exercise to keep me in shape, so here goes!

Here's my gif and 150 word story. 

Muddy Monster

By Lauri Meyers 

A muddy monster trekked inside,

With dirty pies to host a feast.

Showed the gift, but Mommy cried,

“Get out! Get out! You vicious beast!


Mother shooed it down the hall.

Confused, the creature ran away.

Stopped to hear the mother call,

“Where’d my darling daughter stray?”


The monster looked at slimy feet,

Considered grimy dripping shirt

Normal self was clean and neat-

But… a bit more dirt can’t hurt.


She dug a mine for worms and gold,

Cooked a pot of mud and stewed,

Ignored her name while hours rolled

Until her belly growled for food.


She squelched up to the door, but caught:

“The monster’s back! Where are you?”

She had to get by Mom, she thought,  

What could a muddy monster do?


Hello hose, and goodbye mud.

Open the door, ready to lie:

“I fled a creature made of crud!

I missed you so... May I have pie?”

Friday, February 12, 2021

Charmadillo - A Valentiny story

 Love is in the air (along with viruses and snow, but let's focus on the love!) With Valentine's weekend here it is time to celebrate with Susanna Hill's annual Valentiny contest

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels brave! You have until a minute-to-midnight on Valentine's Day to enter.

Here is my entry in 204 words about an armadillo bravely telling his true love how he feels, sort of. 

I couldn't find any armadillo clip art, so I had the *bright* idea to draw some. But all the colored pencils were trapped in rooms with zooms, and all I could find were crayons, and also I can't draw very well, and well, maybe this wasn't my brightest idea after all, though I did have a nice giggle while crayoning and I hope they bring you a giggle too. :) 

**UPDATE: Charmadillo win 12th place!**


By Lauri C. Meyers


Charmadillo sniffed the air

And smelled the lovely Shelly there.

She snorted dirt while pigging out.

He loved her soft pink digging snout.   


He should say “hi” or “whatcha eating,”

But his heart was loudly beating.

Too shy to speak, he hatched a scheme

To tell sweet Shelly she’s his dream.


He would write some words of love

And pass the note from up above. 

“Your snout is pink, your bands are fine,

Won’t you be my Valentine?”   


He watched the letter fall below…

But then his fear began to grow.

He tried to snatch it back again,

But it was deep inside her den!


The situation turned him pale.

He rolled himself and hugged his tail.

His armor wasn’t tough enough –

Inside he felt all squirmy stuff.  


He tried to dig a hole and hide,

But something stirred from deep inside.

What if his dreadful doubts were wrong,

And sharing feelings made him strong? 


He paced nearby for her reply,

Jumping when he heard her cry:

“Charmadillo, I can’t read.

You want a candied centipede?”   


The lunch of termites he prepared

Showed his love how much he cared.

She didn’t know the words he wrote,

But showed her love and… ate the note.  

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