Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #470: Fair


One Less, One More, One Better

He was going to a fair,
she was having an affair.
He took all the rides alone,
she took one man on many rides.
When Lonely & Alone met
at the funnel cake stand,
both ordering the last red velvet,
he offered her half,
& she knew this could be her better half
who would give to her
his whole self.



#Micropoetry Monday: The Lighter Side


The Brotherhood of the Traveling Boxers
hit a snag on its debut,
for one man’s junk was just not another man’s treasure.

When Left Sock met Right Sock,
they felt unique & wonderfully-knitted,
until they ended up in the underwear drawer
with Panty, who told them they were
destined to depreciate with every use.

Though their husbands were known as
“Team Wilma” & “Team Betty,”
Kiki & Lulu had no recourse,
for they’d already found their Barney & Fred.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


My father’s epitaph had been a lie,
engraved into a stone tablet—
just like the 10 Commandments.
Both had been used to control beliefs.

David’s wealth was prolonging my father’s life,
even as he was enjoying my father’s wife.

Like Mary Magdalene,
I’d been visiting the empty grave of
the man my mother had practically deified—
the man whose blood would redeem me
from psychological incest.

For the sake of her soul,
she would not divorce,
but she would kill.
For the sake of Patrick’s soul.
she had preserved the body by
keeping him hooked to machines—
a mechanical embalming.

Mother Mary had been Mother’s idol,
but now she saw herself as a martyr—
a saint but not of the Catholic kind.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #469: Encounter


They Didn’t Leave Empty-Handed

A blonde, a brunette, & a redhead
walked into a bar.
Blondi was looking for a hook-up,
Miss Browne, a grown-up,
& Red, her next breakup.
Blondi got her wish,
plucked from last night’s lineup,
Red, from next month’s lockup,
& Miss Browne, from the other side
of that night’s stickup.


#Micropoetry Monday: Strong Women


Mrs. Richardson lived a life of sticky notes,
monthly planners, & endless to-do lists,
& was often bombarded with emails & texts
for the times she couldn’t be there
or they couldn’t be there.
She spent too much time
trying to coordinate
a fraction of time
that didn’t conflict with jobs or classes
or anything else.
So she looked forward to the incredible luxury
of a career that wouldn’t follow her home,
but could,
buy her one.

Marnie Owens spent her days
slaying needless words,
knocking out commas,
& stopping run-on sentences
in their muddy tracks.
She even killed
a story or two sometimes.
Her evenings were spent
as a Math Lab supervisor,
yet she didn’t know
a differential equation from
a non-differential equation
& thought of cube roots
as the 3-D version
of the square root.
She was no Charlie’s Angel,
but she managed to work
on a novel in her free time
& make it home in time
to read her little girl a bedtime story,
for such was all in day’s work.

Melody Doremi was a fashion dessert plate,
every piece she wore making a statement.
For some,
the message was a little too hot,
for others,
a little too cold;
for others still,
it was total umami.
Weary of the coverage,
she ditched her clothes altogether,
only to realize there was no longer
a way
to cover up the tattoos that said it all.

Peeling the layers:  What I learned from Scott Dikkers, co-founder of The Onion, about publishing


“Ready, fire, aim.”  Don’t be a perfectionist.  My problem is that I spend way more time writing than I do editing, so my project this summer will be to finalize the edits on my novel, Because of Mindy Wiley (https://sarahleastories.com/because-of-mindy-wiley/).  This will mark my seventh time editing it. I’ve put off finishing it for years–partly because I wanted to wait till I had a Master’s in English, but also because every time I went back to my book, it was like reconnecting with an old friend.  Since I never read anything I write (once it’s in print anyway), I think a part of me feared parting with it forever.

Publishing e-books for Kindle on Amazon is worth it.  The large publishing houses take 70% in royalties while Amazon takes only 7%.  Of course, with self-publishing, you have to do your own marketing, but all you need for that is an internet connection and an online presence, and I’ve already been branding myself for years (it’s the whole reason I started a blog)

Don’t skimp on the cover.  If you’re not familiar with InDesign, you’ll want to hire a designer to create your cover and lay out your book.  (Now I wish I had taken the time to learn how to lay out the newspaper while I was on The Corsair.) I will either have to wait till I get my degree in graphic design or wait till I can cobble together the money to get my book professionally done–whichever comes first.  Of course, there’s always Kickstarter.

Don’t spend the money getting your manuscript professionally edited.  I had seriously considered doing this through Writer’s Digest or inquiring my professor friends to see how much they would charge.  Dikkers said he caught all his mistakes just by reading his book aloud–only 225,000 words to go!

If you want people to notice your book, you need to have popular keywords in your book’s description (and don’t forget to test those keywords).  It’s basically the same principle as a hashtag. You get seven of them, so use them wisely (and remember that each word can be more than one).

Send press releases of your book to blogs.  There are many online tutorials that show you how to write in this medium.  I’ve thought about writing a mock press release as a blog feature.

There needs to be “reader magnet” in the book, such as a free first chapter, novelette, novella–basically, a hook to get your reader to buy your next book.  I already have visions of a prequel dancing in my head.

My book goals:

⦁ To sell enough copies to not only get on the New York Times Bestseller List but also enable me to fund a recurring creative writing scholarship at my alma mater.

⦁ To be turned into a TV-series for HBO.

⦁ And finally, the best of all:  For my name (or the title of my book) to be the answer to a “Jeopardy” question (or a “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle).


#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


For years,
we had visited an empty grave,
like Mary coming to see
the empty tomb.
The latter had risen,
the former had never died,
but had suffered for the sins
committed in Mother’s world.

My David—
who I’d thought a prince of a man,
an earthly king of kings—
had lain with a married woman,
whose husband he had paid
to keep alive.
Like King David,
he was,
but better.

David had kept the Fosters
a secret from Mother,
even as he had kept my father
a secret from me.
He was a complicated man,
& because of him,
I was a complicated woman.

My mother could’ve chosen to end my life in the womb,
but I could not choose to end her life outside it,
even though she had killed something inside me.

The foundation of our existence shook,
the pillars & posts of transparency tumbled around me,
& I walked through the valley of the shadow of spiritual death
in a temporal world that had become an anathema to me.