Dear 2014: Sayonara to a So-So Year

Dear Life in 2014:

I’d like to say you were 100% fantastic to me. That you brought me untold successes  and fortunes. That no scourge of trials touched me or harmed me or anyone close to me.

Fact is, 2014, you kind of sucked. For me, anyway.

The path you placed in front of me for the past 359 days looked a lot like this:


Image from Pixabay.

Yeah, this is the rocky path that I’ve traversed all year—constantly stumbling and falling—never knowing if what was ahead of me in the foggy future was a precipice or a smoother path leading to better ground. Mostly it was just more rocks to trip over. I never went off the deep edge, but I did slide down a hill or two.

Whatever doesn’t kill me…better run like hell when I get stronger!

I’m looking at you, 2015.

There were accomplishments this year, don’t get me wrong. Academia continues to treat me well, I’m excelling in my classes.

But economically and creatively it’s been a tough damn year.

I’m really glad that the beginning of my career as a writer has seen a few of my short stories and poetry get published early on. Getting some of those groovy little tales re-printed has not been an easy task. This year, I decided to try and get some of my previously published stories republished. I was met with rejection after rejection at every turn.

I submitted new stuff, too. I have a literary short story that won an academic award. It’s titled “Parker’s Pygmalion” and it explores the world of artistic patronage. It’s gritty, somewhat reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor’s Southern Gothic stuff, where the protagonist anti-hero is completely unapologetic about his actions. I haven’t been able to get anyone to nibble on it. I have it waiting right now at my university’s Tampa literary journal, we’ll see if it finally finds a home there.

I did have one poem, a haiku called “still life, with plums” that was published earlier in the year. That little poem has been the stand alone publication for me in 2014.

2015 will hopefully see some improvement here.

I’ve been working on getting some new stuff written. I’ve currently got 3 or 4 new stories that I’m working on and hoping to complete soon. I really like the ideas that spawned them and I hope my words can do their characters justice.

Another bit of change in 2015 may come about in my persona in publishing. Over the last couple of years there has been another author with a name very close to mine who writes erotica. I don’t have anything against that genre, but I am having a bit of a problem with people confusing me with her and I’m getting a little depressed over it. I have used a pseudonym in the past for posting stories to Friday Flash, but never permanently and I never got any stories published with it (not counting one or two stories I put up on The Were-Traveler). I’m thinking about publishing under a another pen name now. I’ve thought about it and came up with C. X. Drake. Not sure how soon I’m going to be using that name, though.

Anyway, 2014, I’m glad to see your backside heading away from me.

Dear 2015, please be kinder to me. I need a 2nd part-time job to keep my head above water while I attend university. I need patience, perseverance, and better time management skills to make it through 4 English and Literature classes in the Spring, still manage to kindly serve other students as a tutor, AND still keep working on my own writing.

I don’t mind the occasional bumps and rocky paths; I’m pretty damn tough and stubborn.

And I’m aware that difficult paths can lead to some pretty outstanding views.


Image from Pixabay.


Thanksgiving 2014: What I’m Thankful For

Photo by Maria Kelly

Photo by Maria Kelly


  1. I am alive. After all I’ve been through. Still breathing. I am so broke I can’t afford to pay attention, and have days of extremely utter despair, when I think everything I’m doing is in vain. But I am intensely stubborn and refuse to give up…and despite it all, I am in love with Life.
  2. I have wonderful friends/amigos/nakama. I don’t have a lot of close family, but my friends more than make up for it. I don’t know what I’d do without you, so, from the bottom of my heart, Thank You All.
  3. I have my educational goals ahead. I have a strong 3.79 G.P.A. and only 3-to-4 semesters left before I get my B.A. from USFSP. I’ll be making a decision where to go to attend grad school but it’s likely I won’t be moving out of Florida unless someone offers me a free ride somewhere else. So, exciting adventures await me in the future. My coursework keeps me challenged and keeps me learning new things. I’ve begun to get more involved in the clubs I’m in (I’ll be officially inducted into the English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta, on December 3rd) and having fun interacting with my club mates.
  4. I have my Muse. My creative outlet which flows outward from me in inky lines of prose, verse, or occasionally art and photography/design. My Muse is my release valve. When things get too much, when the Universe takes a crap on my soul, I write or draw something. Poetry and storytelling have been my gift and palliative since I first stood on two legs.

I hope that you have some great things to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Writing Prompt #58: Eating Crow, Pick Your Version

If you’re still struggling for something to write for Halloween, I’ve got another pic for you. This was a photo I took at a bus stop bench a couple of months ago. This gutsy beauty was not phased at all when I sat down beside him; he just kept eating out of that white napkin. What was in the napkin? I have no idea. Perhaps you’ll figure it out in your story or poem as you write it.

I was able to get several good snaps of him, but this one turned out the best. As with the dilapidated apartment building, I’ve run several filters on this birdie so you can choose the one you like the best. If you use the image(s) on your site, I ask that you credit me, the photographer. Also, send me a link of your creation so I can read and comment on your work!

Happy Halloween Writing!

Eating Crow 1 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 1 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 2 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 2 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 3 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 3 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 4 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 4 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 5 @ Maria Kelly

Eating Crow 5 @ Maria Kelly

Writing Prompt #57: Behind the Haunted House, Pick Your Version

Been a long while since I blogged (University studies are killer for a lit major–but I love reading so I don’t mind the overload too much) and this post is WAY OVERDUE.

I wanted to restart things off with a special Halloween Writing Prompt.

There’a a dilapidated, boarded up building that I have to pass when I leave my apartment. I have to journey through a path that runs along the back of it to get to the street. That’s what happens when you live in an isolated area with the interstate entrance next door to you.

These images are the back of the house, which is a pale yellow. I haven’t snapped a pic of the front of the house yet, but it has an equally creepy ambience. I ran the original photo through some artistic filters to make it more creepy. I couldn’t decide which one would be the best to post for this prompt, so I’m letting you, the writers, choose which you like best. The original follows the filtered versions. You can post your creative wonder on your site with the pic you choose, I just ask that you credit the photographer…me. And ping the link so I can read your masterpieces! Thank you, and …


Image @ Maria Kelly

Image @ Maria Kelly: Haunted #1

Image @ Maria Kelly: Haunted #2

Image @ Maria Kelly: Haunted #2

Image @ Maria Kelly: Haunted #3

Image @ Maria Kelly: Haunted #3

Image @ Maria Kelly: Haunted Original

Image @ Maria Kelly: Haunted Original

Post It Note Poetry—Week 3

We’re coming down to the final week of our Post It Note Poetry challenge. This was a bad week for me, as you’ll see when you read some of the poems. Still, I managed to sling a few words on post-its, and in one case, my Mac’s Sticky App.

Monday, February 18, 2013

joy dance

joy dance

joy dance

who dances

for joy


with joy

and joy

moves through

every step

of the dance.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

archiving heresy

archiving heresy

archiving heresy

if it isn’t alphabetical

it’s considered heretical


(after much introspection, it occurred to me that the poem would have worked much better as a solage if the the first two lines had been reversed…hindsight…)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

i cried when i found out stars die

i cried when i found out stars die

i cried when i found out stars die

stars carry in their shine

touches of ephemeral time

for though we see them

there on high

that’s only their souls

only their souls burning

ghosts sparkling on

a funereal will

and testament

to the firmament.

Friday, February 22, 2013–Bad Blood Day

bad blood day

bad blood day

bad blood day


beat, slap my hands

put on heat packs

drink an ocean of water

all for four


(I hate giving blood…it’s always an adventure. You can tell I wasn’t much into poetry that day, or making the whole thing look nice by lightening the post it note. It was a bad day. Blood work and had to study for Spanish exam. Saturday would be no better. I got a lousy D on my exam and had other homework to attend…so no poetry got written or posted on Saturday.)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Walking Away

Walking Away

Walking Away

“My feet are on the floor,”

I said,

in response to my lover’s

random complaint.

He shook his head,

as lovers in the wilted afterbirth

of love are wont to do

when finding fault

with their loves.

“Your head is in the clouds,”

he said,

again, as if I didn’t hear it

the first time.

“Yes,” I agreed,

since I knew

it was true.


my feet are on the floor.”

That one was probably the best poem I wrote all week.

There are only four more days left in the Post It Note Poetry challenge…I hope I can write a few more verses during those days, and I hope wherever you are, you’re enjoying poetry.

Quellseek Excerpt: Natural Son

One handsome masculine male with nice eyes

Image courtesy of dundanim.

Excerpt from my work in progress novel, “Quellseek: Army of Empaths, Chapter 12: Natural Son:

You are lucky,” Pelees began. “You’ve not had any part in the troubles. You’ve had no Sanis or one of their knights popping out of the bushes to put a blade to your throat. You haven’t had to marry one of them to try and forge a truce.”

“Thank the Thousand! I don’t want a Quell wiping my ass,” joked Alverin. “And the truce is a gods-damned farce. You know that, right?”

“Nobody knows it more than me, brother. I wish I’d been born the bastard.”

Alverin’s smile slid into a bitter, sour frown and his eyes grew dark. “Don’t wish for such a thing. I would not wish it on my greatest foe.”

“I can think of a few foes I’d wish it on. Father should ask the king to give you his name…that’s been done before. With some of Rauling’s whelps.”

Alverin laughed. He knew Pelees was serious, but he could not stay so depressed in his brother’s company. “You love me not, brother. All I want is a quiet, simple life. I have no ambition. As a bastard, I don’t expect to be a great force in the world. I leave that to you, my Bon brother.”

Quellseek Excerpt: Quellseek Comes to Endicott

The character Rafael on the cover of “Quellseek: Army of Empaths.”

The following is an excerpt from “Quellseek: Army of Empaths,” the novel I’m in the process of writing. The excerpt is taken from the opening of the fourteenth chapter: “Quellseek Comes to Endicott” and the POV character is Toleus, the brutal Quell from the Fortress at Haverton. In this chapter, Toleus and the Seekers have arrived on Quellseek to the little village of Endicott in the Hungry Hills. The brutal practice of outing the Quell members of the village begins:

Fire was roaring on a makeshift Plentim bier, armed men were placing pokers into its hot, raging maw. People were running in all directions, screaming; men pulling their wives along by their arms, and mothers in their turn, pulling younger children or cradling infants and toddlers protectively against their breasts. Panic was slowly turning to order, though, as the villagers soon realized the entrances and exits of the town were effectively blocked, guarded by solemn men clad either in all-gray or all-black. Men with drawn swords and angry eyes.

Toleus stepped out of the chaos and shouted an order.

“Everyone under the age twenty-two stand off to one side! Do it! Now!”

It took several minutes for his order to be completely carried out. Some parents were reluctant to part with their children; or in the case of young couples, who clung to one another while being prodded with the ends of swords into the Test group, refusing to let go of each other… which was fine with Toleus…the Seekers would know that either could be tried for the others Testing.

Last into the fray of onlookers were a father, mother, and their teenage son, herded by four Seekers from the direction where the less-populated area of the village lay.

“Merchant. Had to beat down his door,” called one of the Seekers to Toleus. One of the other Seekers grabbed the boy by the scruff of his tunic and hauled him into the group of those who had not been born during the time of the last Quellseek.

“Rafael!” the woman cried.

‘Mother. Good,’ thought Toleus. ‘We’ll work on her first, when comes his Testing.’

When they were all sorted, Toleus stepped up to the fire and removed a poker from the flames, its tip glowing yellow-red and hot.

“All right, now.” Toleus said, with a menacing grin. “Who’s first?”