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Open Mic!!

December 17, 2009

Sheesh! The weeks go so fast! Can you believe it’s time for another Open Mic?

I know many of you are probably busy with holiday stuff, but Open Mic has become THE most popular feature on my site, and I’m loathe to forgo it for those of you who like posting your writing. It’s such a great feeling to get feedback on your work, isn’t it?

So here ya go! Remember the rules; any poem or story excerpt of 300 words or less. And if you post one of your pieces, you have to read and comment at least one other.

Even though I read every one, I keep telling myself I’m too busy to comment on them… But somehow I can never seem to help myself!

I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate my amazing editor, Nancy Conescu, on her promotion to Senior Editor with Little Brown Books for Young Readers. Nancy is one of the hardest working editors I know. Her talent and skill has made me a better writer. Congrats, Nancy!


PS. Still under Twitter embargo, so if someone can tweet the link, I’d appreciate it!

41 Comments leave one →
  1. Logan Dallaire permalink
    February 23, 2010 4:07 pm

    Frigid autumn nights,
    bringing frost in their wake,
    Wandering the void streets of a dimmly-lit city,
    tormented dark alleys stare into the light,
    stalking prey,
    calling to me.
    Roads are soothing black lines,
    obscure contours of his life,
    these dreams, seeking clarity,
    they lie.
    The in-between,
    brings forth demons foul and starved,
    Devour the sugar-coated soul
    Carnage is the goal.
    Claiming precious affection for self-destruction.
    People watch but their faces blur,
    such a beautiful scene of ruin,
    but no one hears, no one speaks,
    all is quiet in a world of lies.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      February 23, 2010 5:13 pm

      This is really beautiful, but I think you might have put it on an old Open Mic post rather than the newest one from last Thursday. I see it in my Dashboard because I’m the Admin, but no one else will be able to see it unless they check the old posts.

      Please come back and repost it on the next Open Mic because I know you’d get lots of comments and feedback from the others!


      • Logan Dallaire permalink
        February 24, 2010 11:34 pm

        Agh, o.k. thank you, Michelle. {Are you o.k. w/ me calling you that?} I would have kept on posting to the old Open Mics.

      • michellezinkbooks permalink*
        February 25, 2010 1:44 am

        Lol! It’s fine, hon! It’s an honest mistake. I just want your work to be seen by as many people as possible.


  2. Georgia Ward permalink
    December 29, 2009 2:44 pm

    A tiny piece from my current project, this is the first chapter 🙂

    Her screams started to flee as she was thrown from the lakes edge; she allowed her agony to slice the ambience in shrill cries as she was dragged across the rocky ground. The serrated floor engraved her legs as she was crushed into the jagged cave wall, her skull thrashed the flinty surface with so much force it caused her head to explode in agony.
    This is what she sought, anything to escape from the mental torture she experienced. Anything to escape her excruciating existence. As she lay on the floor, crouched over on her wounded hands and knees, she was a fugitive of the agony that was superior to this physical pain. As she cried in the reflection of the moon, her hair tangled with crimson, her limbs marked with slim slices of scarlet, she had the strangest sense of release and this physical torture could veil the reminiscences that corrupted her reality. Her green eyes reflected the blood that embraced the ground and as her tears entwined with the deep red she gazed up to see the person that had done this, the individual who had aided her with a further diversion from her misery.
    When she met the eyes of this person, every distraction she once had disappeared in an instant, transforming into panic.

    This was not a liberator of her agony but a horror returned.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 29, 2009 3:20 pm

      This is great, hon! Will you do me a favor and repost it on next week’s Open Mic (on Thursday)? I’m worried no one will see it on this old one!


  3. Sapphire_Dani permalink
    December 24, 2009 9:39 pm

    a lot over the limit…sorry…..

  4. Sapphire_Dani permalink
    December 24, 2009 9:27 pm

    hey…young writer here….i’m almost 14….pl don’t criticize too harshly….thanks!!

    “Dani, please! Don’t do this!” He grabbed the back of my jersey, but i still ran. I pulled away from his firm grasp and sped up a bit more. “Dania, STOP!!” I was surprised by his voice and he rarely said my full name. Tears welled in my eyes and burst almost instantly. “You bastard! I can’t believe you made me trust you and then go on and make-out with Vanessa!” I hated him. Everything he said all his promises he had broken them by touching her, kissing her in ways i longed for him to do with me. Just yesterday he said he loved me and we kissed with actual meaning. “I’m going to do it.” He gasped, dark eyes with circles from hours of head busting studying were widened. “I’m going to meet her -my Mother. Not over YOU, your not worth my life. Not anymore!” I walked off leaving him behind. A small shower began and as i got closer to the cemetery the rain beat harder.As i got closer to the cemetery, i got closer to my death. I searched for my mothers grave and knelt beside it. “I’m so sorry Alex…but he hurt me -and i don’t think i could take anymore of this emotional pain. Dad murdered mom……” I broke down again. I took a deep breath and began talking to my dead cousin, again, “That was the worst. I’ve made my decision. I will meet you and my pain would be over.” I took out the pocket knife Alex gave me before I left for boarding school. I had never used it for anything…..till now. I felt the coldness of the metal flow from my hand and travel all around my body.I shivered. I opened the knife and gently cut my index finger with the unused blade. Using my thumb, I squeezed my blood out and onto my mom’s grave. “I apologize to you too, mom.” “You don’t have to do this, Dani” “Well,I’m not so sorry to break the bad news to you but I am ‘ doing this.’ “Well, if you die tonight……then so will I.” I didn’t believe him and laughed. “I”m not kidding.” I completely ignored his comments about really going to commit suicide if I do. “When I go, your dream will come true. You’ll finally be alone to get Vanessa pre-” “I DO NOT WANT TO GET VANESSA PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!” “Well look who just got angry.” I was using sarcasm to provoke him; to get him to leave. I wanted to be alone. Me, my knife and well, dead people. Chase walked up to me, the first move he made since he spoke to me. He tried to grab the knife out of my hands. We struggled a little (though he was much stronger than I). I pulled the knife out of his cold hands and brought it up to my chest in one swift motion. The last thing I remembered was Chase yelling at me, but his words were such a blur that I didn’t understand one crap he said! There was a lot of blood, Chase held me in his arms and he was covered in blood – my blood. The last thing I remember hearing was my own voice: I love you Chase, why did you hurt me?

    CHASE: I love you, too. I’m sorry……Please be alive, I can’t live without you; without you, I’m nothing………………….

  5. Ayla permalink
    December 20, 2009 2:45 pm

    Hi michelle! Im back! Here is the next part of my novel-

    I didn’t know how long I would stay in my room. But I knew I would not be coming out for a very long time. Years past, I counted by making marks on my wall. I did not let anyone come in except for Leila. I never talked. I just sat there. The only time I got up was to take a bath, but even then, I never came out of my room.
    I had instructed Leila to take away all of the mirrors in my room, as they can trap spirits. She placed garlic near all the entrances of the house, so no vampires could get in. Basically, I had her get rid of anything that brings in bad spirits and had her add anything that keeps them away. I told her not to let the sisters out of the house and to not let anyone in under any circumstance.
    I had powers. They annoyed me. I could move stuff with my mind, and take over other peoples souls. I could talk to the spirits of the dead, and I could hear the past. It started when I was sixteen. I heard the screaming of a little girl outside my window in the fields of dead grass where my horses grazed for their meals. I grabbed my lantern and went out in fear that one of my sisters were in trouble. Nobody was out there. Not a single person.
    I knew that such powers were wanted by spirits, and I know that someday, someone or something will try to kill me and most likely succeed. Five years past, and I was then twenty-two. I was ready to come out. I stood up and walked to my door. I placed my hand on the doorknob and opened it.
    Here it goes, I thought, here I go.

    six words over the limit… sorry

  6. December 19, 2009 9:39 pm

    A chunk of another WIP, so I’m mixing things up this week as well! 🙂

    I popped a lone pill into my palm, threw it into my mouth and quickly swallowed. The coating of the pill smeared against the skin of my tongue, and I cringed at the disgusting taste but managed to get it down without choking. When I was finished, I screwed the cap on and tossed the bottle back into my purse.
    He was staring at me. His eyes were moving back and fourth between the road ahead of him and me.
    “Why do you take those?” he asked curiously. “If you don’t mind me asking.”
    I carefully thought of a way to approach the subject. How could I explain to him that my father had brutally slain thirteen people, my friends and neighbors wanted nothing to do with me, and I’ve just been medically diagnosed as depressed?
    That’s not a very good first conversation to have with somebody.
    I suppose I could tell him a larger slither of the truth- because I saw ghost-like creatures. They followed me, and up until today, I had thought the pills were making them go away. But saying things like that brings me right back to possibly getting ditched on the side of the road.
    “Allergies,” I lied.
    He looked skeptical and his eyes lingered over my face for a few seconds, but he only nodded and returned his focus to the road.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:41 am

      Ohhhh! I like this. VERY intirguing. YOu make me want to know more about the her father AND the ghosts.

      Nicely done, Katie.


  7. December 19, 2009 4:16 pm

    Here’s an excerpt of a short story or possible novel that I’m working on that I posted on last week’s Open Mic, but I thought I’d post it again here since I posted it a little late on the last one! (It’s 342 words, I hope that’s ok!)

    I never imagined my 16th birthday would turn out like this.
    In all the years I had fantasized about my sweet 16 birthday, I had always envisioned my best friend Summer and I behind the wheel of my new car (a birthday present), cruising down the highway, not a care in the world. Never had I imagined how the night would really turn out: instead of being out cruising with Summer, I’m stuck in a room with a bunch of important- looking people in suits while waiters weave through the crowd carrying trays laden with flutes of champagne and assorted finger foods. Tonight is the opening night of my aunt Jenna’s art exhibit, “a monumental moment” in her career as a painter, as she likes to constantly remind my uncle Brian and I any chance she gets. So, being her niece, it was kind of expected that I give up celebrating my special day and help her celebrate hers. Not that I minded, (much), I’m just as excited for this exhibit as everyone else, but, seeing as how today is my birthday as well, I would’ve liked to have gotten a birthday breakfast to at least acknowledge that it was my special day too, but aunt Jenna and uncle Brian were just so preoccupied this morning with getting everything ready for the exhibit, that it must’ve slipped their minds (which is totally understandable, just… a little annoying). But that’s not to say that they totally forgot about me. As a matter of fact, just this morning as they were putting on the coffee and making breakfast, they each gave me a hug, wished me happy birthday, and then aunt Jenna handed me a rectangular-shaped box, saying apologetically, “here’s a little something to say sorry for dragging you to this thing tonight, Blythe. I know it’s your birthday and I promise we’ll celebrate as soon as the exhibit’s over, I swear, cross my heart and hope to die,” she made the sign of the cross on her chest with her finger for emphasis.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:43 am

      I’m glad you reposted it here, Breezy. You already know I enjoyed it but now everyone else gets the chance to as well!


  8. December 18, 2009 11:41 pm

    Oh my god! I missed that news about Nancy! Yay! Our editor rocks!!! She is the best! I’m so excited~

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:44 am

      I know, right?!


  9. Sierra permalink
    December 18, 2009 7:29 pm

    Hey Michelle! I’m back for this weeks open mic and I am posting the next 200-300 words of my novel. I haven’t finished the book yet but I’m trying to get it done soon… I have writers block. Can’t seem to figure it out yet… Here is the next part after the preface that I wrote in last week’s open mic. This is a small part of chapter one-

    I awoke from my deep slumber. Slowly I got up, I had that dream again. I buried my face in my hands and rubbed my face with my cool hands.
    Rouge is that prissy idiotic shifter demon. I let my tears roll down my cheeks and I drew in my breath and let it go out.
    I saw my parents sitting by the riverside. I held my dad’s eyes in my own and I had my mom’s face, but my pupils of my eyes were my own. My mom’s belly big with me growing inside. I could see something moving in the bushes hard by the riverside. I could feel the wind blow at the willow trees. The red eyed foe stood in the bushes with a devilish smile. She could draw in her victims with her gentle purrs and mysterious howls. She transformed into a black wolf with eyes like midnight. She walked briskly to my parents with a façade of sadness and wariness. My father began to believe that this shifter was his kin. He howled at Rouge as a welcome.
    My mother was pleased with the welcome, but then next thing he knew Rouge had pounced on her with me unharmed in her stomach. My mother was killed, and I was not. My father tore Rouge from my mother’s body. He hissed and took his wolf form. He was orange and black. He pounced on Rouge, but she was shifty. She shifted back into a human and stabbed my father’s wolf form in the stomach. He crumpled and bled under the harsh moonlight as Rouge crumpled to the ground as well, but I could see this mist evaporate from this shifters body as the mist evaporated at the mouth of the forest, leaving my father and mother crumpled under the moonlight.

    Have a happy holidays Michelle! I’ll be back next week!


    • Sierra permalink
      December 18, 2009 7:41 pm

      yikes! i went four words over the limit! oh well!

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:45 am

      Wow… this is very, very cool. LOVE the concept, and you have some really vivid imagery in here.

      Thanks for sharing it!


    • Ayla permalink
      December 20, 2009 2:42 pm

      oh wow!!! this is awesome sierra!!! I cant wait to hear wat happens next! pleaz pleaz come back next week

  10. December 18, 2009 11:37 am

    Wow amazing pieces from everyone!

  11. rosylee permalink
    December 18, 2009 10:12 am

    A wip from the last few days.
    A break up poem, I guess.

    Sheet Music

    Mound of scarred sheets,
    twisted and still briny –
    green tea cooling on the table nested
    beside her, ignored.
    Clutching the words gather heat
    at her throat –
    the tide swells and expunges.
    Her plain face,
    contorting even as
    she slow-counts her breathing.
    Until this hour she tasted
    cinnamon and candied apples.
    Las and alack, molten wax
    now clings to her breasts,
    without pain or notice,
    yet wrested forth this howl which echoes
    from chambers dark.
    Taut strings bring sheet music to
    rain on her pillows; breeds
    familiarity, this lament.

    • December 18, 2009 7:41 pm

      That is really gorgeous, with some lovely images in there. 🙂

    • December 18, 2009 8:35 pm

      That was really good! Its got a nice flow, and a painful feel. I like it. =)

    • December 19, 2009 4:19 pm

      Wow, Rosylee! Great poem! I love the imagery in this one! I can picture every scene as I’m reading it! Great job! 😀

    • December 19, 2009 9:12 pm

      That was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. So gorgeously written. You’re a great writer!

      • rosylee permalink
        December 19, 2009 10:33 pm

        Oh my word, thank you everyone!

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:46 am

      Damn, you are an amazing poet. This is gorgeous. Wonderful.


  12. December 18, 2009 3:25 am

    A little more from the WIP I posted before.

    “Hurry, please.”

    Iris gave him an icy look in the hopes that this would let him know that she was not, and never would be, a horse, and walked back to her booth. The ‘hurry please’ stayed in her mind, jangling like a school bell and twice as insistent. When she felt her hands twitch towards the right coat immediately, Iris stood very still and counted to three thrice. She hoped for luck, something that rarely helped, and bit her lip to avoid the urge to hurry please. “I name you Rordan,” she said, firmly. “You have no power over me.”

    The simple naming spell, especially when not done in the presence of the one named, didn’t hold for long in matters of any importance. Iris had tried using it once on a brownie who had been irritating her with his incessant cleaning of her ceiling. It had held him for ten minutes, and then he had stormed until she had let him near the soapy water and mops. But for a glamour, it was perfect. The bells stopped ringing, all the children went into their schoolyard, and Iris felt the tingles go out of her fingers.

    Iris did not get angry easily. She was the awkward angles age of seventeen, not round and chubby sixteen, not tall and graceful eighteen. She was seventeen, she was short-sighted, and her family thought she was mad.

    However, as she reached into the right pocket and fished out a pair of black silk gloves, not even the wash of magic pouring off them was enough to make her any less than utterly, completely, steaming like a boiling kettle, furious. They could keep out of her head, even if she had to sain herself three times with holy water. They would keep out of her head and away from her.

    • Sierra permalink
      December 18, 2009 7:22 pm

      oh wow! that was really good!!!

    • gushingenthusiasm permalink
      December 18, 2009 11:36 pm

      Wonderful. loved reading it,
      can’t wait to read more.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:49 am

      I already love the concept, even in this short piece. You make me want to know more, and that is always a good thing!

      VERY nicely done, Rebekah.


  13. December 18, 2009 3:16 am

    Okay, different WIP this week, to mix things up (fortunately this is the last one because… that’s more than enough as it is). And then I’ll wait for a few more snippets to show and comment on them. 😀


    He had thought that the ritual room was dark, but that place was an open field at noon in the height of summer compared to this one. Here the darkness stretched on and on. He instinctively knew that there was no end to this place.

    Nor was there a beginning.

    Was he allowed to speak? Leander wondered. Or was he supposed to take whatever came next in complete and utter silence? He wished they had told him a little bit more about what the test would involve – like the rules.

    Something touched his shoulder; Leander spun around to face it, hands clenched into fists. He was not some common brawler, but if he was supposed to pass this test without magic (once again, he wished he had been told something akin to rules beforehand, rather than simply being thrown into this realm blind, deaf and dumb) his fists might well have been the only weapons he had.

    Nothing stood in front of him. That space felt empty. The darkness might well have hidden something, and it was certainly able to, but Leander just somehow knew that there was nothing there.

    It touched him again and this time Leander was able to identify its shape. It was a hand pressed flat against the small of his back. He could feel all four fingers and the thumb, as well as the small palm. It was a girl’s hand, dainty but strong as it – she – held him upright.

    She was not a threat. At least, Leander reminded himself, not yet.

    • rosylee permalink
      December 18, 2009 10:18 am

      I really enjoyed reading this 🙂

      He instinctively knew there was no end to this place.. loved that sentence for its succinct description of place and character exposition. I immediately wanted to know what was so special about Leander.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:52 am

      Catherine!!! This is another amazing piece! You have SUCH a voice for this sort of high-fantasy formality that I love. I don’t know if it IS high fantasy, but it has that feel. It makes me think of Graceling, Fire, and Tamora Pearce, and its not easy to do well.

      You have a gift, Sweets. Don’t quit.


  14. Indigo permalink
    December 18, 2009 12:43 am

    what the fuck is that?
    a damn straightaway to hell?
    a black shit-hole longing for existence?
    what is it?

    It’s a dream
    not connected
    no, intertwined.
    The fragile thoughts filled with wants and impossible tasks
    easily accomplished with imperfect strength

    The hands have woven a perfect life,
    a perfect place;
    nothing wrong
    nothing right
    just this

    • December 18, 2009 8:32 am

      I like the form of this, it flows nicely and finishes on just the right beat. I also love the rhythm you’ve got in the poem. It’s free form but it moves beautifully, which is something not all free form poetry does.


    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:53 am

      This is… bleak. Grim. And I love it for its authenticity. It feels real, and for me, that’s always a key component of verse.

      Very nice job, Indigo.


  15. gushingenthusiasm permalink
    December 17, 2009 11:38 pm

    A different project that I’m working on than the other one i’ve been posting,
    I’ll come back and read some once people get them up!
    If you were to up and leave home,
    presumably for good,
    what would you take with you?
    Some Clothes? A book? An extra pair of shoes?

    Life wasn’t always easy when your father was a drunk, who left your mom when you were three. Your mother couldn’t take care of herself, let alone you and your sister. I went through life with a mother who had kids too young, didn’t want responsibility, slept with men for money, and sometimes let them touch us too for an extra twenty.
    They came and went from our house often, sometimes two or three in a single day. This went on for years. When my sister and I were both of school age, we were different from the other kids. They had a mommy and a daddy who loved them very much, and we had woman barely into her twenties who acted as if we didn’t exist, and the closest thing we had to a dad were the men who constantly were in and out of our house; closest thing we had to a dad was a man who, instead of tucking us in at night, would crawl into our shared bed, lay right in the middle, and put his hands on our private parts. My memory of the events were fairly faint until I was nine. That’s when it became all too vividly clear.”

    It has a bit of an Ellen Hopkins kind of feel to the first chapter,part of a poem separates every two paragraphs. =)

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 20, 2009 10:58 am

      This piece makes me FEEL very deeply. It makes me melancholy even as I sense the detachment, which seems very real and authentic, of the narrator.

      Great job, hon.


  16. Indigo permalink
    December 17, 2009 11:07 pm

    How do you feel about curse words? I have a poem I’d like to share, but contains the f*** once, s*** once, and h*** once. Is that okay?

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      December 17, 2009 11:24 pm

      I have no problem with curse words as long as your work is coming from a place of authenticity.


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