Saturday, January 28, 2012

White Not Blue

"White Not Blue"
for iiChallenge 1/28/2012 written in 40 minutes

June moved to California with Albert, her husband, to chase after another job.

“This one in the aircraft plant-”

“Do we have to go?”

“This gig is better than house painting, leak detection or pest control.”

June spends the ten grand from Pappa’s estate to invest in the dream in California.

“It seems like a good idea at the time.”

Between the morning job as a crossing guard and the night work at the nursing home, June has time to make meals for the children because Albert is gone. Albert went off on a new wanderlust.

June works at Aging Fountains home in Huntington Beach. When she applied for the position, she lied (just a little white one) marking that she had a Certified Nurse Assistant degree when in fact she had not taken any classes. June knows how to push an I.V., administer diabetes tests and check blood pressure. Skills she acquired caring for her father back in Crystal Springs. She misses the lazy evenings on the porch before Pappa died.

It is almost Christmas. California does not offer a season change; there is no blanket of snow. The lights in the lobby of the nursing home are the only sign of the season. Pine trees decorate the front of the apartment complex next to Aging Fountains. June takes it upon herself to cut stacks of the sappy needles to decorate the bare rooms at the nursing home. June parks her Chevy with the branches and the left over boxes of handmade tree ornaments from Mississippi near the service entrance of the building. The confier resin odors swell in the rear entry, blocking that of urine.

The last room in the hall is occupied by what looks to be a shriveled bobolink. In the electric hospital bed rests a lined buff body, dangling grey legs and piercing blue eyes.

They tell June, “John O’Grady in that room never speaks.”

“But he sits up?”

“That bird’s been in some kind of coma since 1977.”

“Can a person live that long in bed?”

“It’s the strangest thing. He can eat when spoon fed.”

“Anyone visit Mr. O’Grady?”

“Never, just gets a monthly check from John O’Grady signed by himself on the back  for $5000.”

“What does the home do with the money?”

“They sign it over and pay for his rent, and keep the rest in the slush fund.”

In her calico scrubs with the garnet rhinestone pin June turns the television on in John’s room to a station playing, “I’ll Have a Blue Christmas,” sung by Elvis Presley. June hums as she tapes the branches on John's bulletin board. She push pins some on the windowsill. Then June allocates ornaments from the box choosing the crystal angel to place in the center. Her back is to Mr. O’Grady as she looks up at the North Star to hide the tears in her eyes. June thinks of family back home.

Mr. O’Grady starts to sing, “And when that blue heartache starts hurtin'. You'll be doin' all right, with your Christmas of white, But I'll have a blue, blue Christmas.”

“Mr. Presley is that really you?” June says startled.

The man with the cornflower eyes is silent. June tucks bleached covers around him kissing his forehead goodnight.


“I'd rather go on hearing your lies, than to go on living without you.”

Elvis Presley

Prompt from

Tell a story that Ellis is in fact not dead from Kristen Doyle

Indie Ink Writing Challenge this week, KristenDoyle challenged me with "Tell a story that Elvis is in fact not dead" and I challenged ChaosMandywith "Tell me about caring for your mother who had a stroke".


Bobolinks are a native Mississippi lark like bird that eats insects and grains and has a long undulating flight.

The use of John O'Grady's name is fictional use and no reference to any real person.

Copyrights 2012 caroline gerardo for all short story and photographs reserved

I incorporated a bit of my own prompt to make it harder. I also used the prompt idea I gave to Chaos Mandy about caring for someone with a stroke. I haven't been a part of your group as much as I enjoy, busy finishing my next book. Please tell me what you think.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Unwanted Gift

I sent you this photograph, a painting and a poem for your birthday.
With no response I offer it to other hearts to find encouragement.

A present for you, though

you are gone from my life:

Window towards the future.

A birthday offers promise

beyond the trees.

Leaves clink in the wind,

mist is upon your jacket,

smell rainfall of the past.

Sing health, happiness and prosperity.

Believe in your plan and take each day

a joyful syrup of achievement.

Poem/ flash fiction in response to Story Dam

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tools for Authors and Writers

Jackson Pollock using paint as a tool.
Here is my gift of tools for writers who want to publish ebooks, or print on demand.
 Please feel free to rate or add input to sites you feel are helpful.
ebooks, paperbacks, editing software, books, tools for writers


Advanced Authors or Do it Yourself Indie Publishing

Author uploads files (Mobi, Epub, HTML, PDB, PDF, RTF, LRF, plaintext, worddoc etc. ) directly to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Diesel and a multitude of foreign sites that can also translate to other languages. This allows author the most “commission split.” Author provides camera ready format to each different site (all have a variety of size and pixel requirements) Author is savvy enough to either hire an editor or contract with artist to complete cover art. Author determines price points and manages own “platform.” Authors talk about their platform as their whole brand that includes blog-site, website, social marketing, attending conferences, public speaking, blog tours, and face to face marketing. This Advanced author is usually a midlist author who has more than four novels and has been published traditionally. Author might have copyrights reverted back from books published prior to 2008 and they are now uploading and selling old “backlist” books as e-release. Ebooks can boost visibility and sales direct to author.

Moderate Skill levels for Authors needed to use:

Split your profits direct with a publishing site while they provide conversion software

Publishers who will convert your word doc file completed for free into all ebook formats:

Smashwords owned by Mark Coker

Takes a percentage of sales with no upfront costs. Uses their converter called “meatgrinder” from a word doc file that has no text boxes, no tab spaces into all formats. Not simple to get a clean enough file to fit Smashword’s format. Book is live published worldwide in a week. Smashwords’ own website is not reader friendly nor optimized to attract readers to purchase direct.

LuLu another site that offers independent publishing and an Author “store”

Bookbaby $99 or $199 plus monthly $19 conversions, editing, cost for corrections a little steep

No skill needed, the publisher charges for the uploading and takes a cut of sales:
Ones that charge fees or are considered vanity publishers: TATE, Dorrance Chronicle,,Iuniverse Outskirtspress, Author House, IPRC, Independent Publisher, Hayhouse, Authorsolutions, Author solutions is $2000- 3000 super pricey Sillowaypress UpublishSpannetBerhahn, Continuum, justbookingJustbooks, instantpublisher, bookmarket, Baen, and a couple hundred more...

Blogging sites that are free and easy: Blogger owned by Google and Wordpress privately owned

Wordpress is more user friendly owned by Matt Mullenwag ( also owns buddypress and Akismet)

The reason why authors will choose these as opposed to their own website the posting is fast and Google will rank a blogspot (Blogger site) better than a new website. Author controls content and can sell Adwords, make links, create page rank and link directly to Amazon, B&N, Sony, Diesel and Apple. Author makes a little side money from the blogs.

 Createspace (owned by Amazon) is a pay site that is cheap. Authors can print on demand a book paperback only and ebooks by coordinating with Amazon (Kindle Direct) for little or no cost. Create Space offers a smorgasbord of services needed: cover art, full editing, blogs, chat rooms, advice, some goofy scams.

Penguin’s Bookcountry allows authors to find agents, Harper Collins has Authonomy Authonomy. Etc.. Traditional publishing houses (Big Six) already have their own e-publishing, promotion sites and market only their own contracted author media.

Author promotion sites: Redroom, Red Room charges a small annual fee and is a well-respected author website

Also: Absolutewrite, Authorsden, and Salon are a few others to review and compare.

Online editing as we all know is not infallible. Word’s understanding and auto correct can give a write a false sense of spelling.

Editing online software:

Grammarly annual fees

Prowritingaid FREE

Whitesmoke software pricey

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brain Food For Writers?

Your New Year’s Resolution is to finish that novel and lose ten pounds? Want to write 4000 great words a day? You know those ads that say they will tell you the secret to a flat tummy? It is the same with brain foods.
These ten foods will increase your brain power and sustain you across those late night cravings.
The base foods in your diet should be raw fruit and vegetables. Add these foods in variety and have your brain never suffer from writer’s block again.
1. Nonfat Greek yogurt 14 grams of protein, calcium rich and easy to digest
2. Tuna with more than 3 g of leucine, a can of tuna contains a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids
3. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids in salmon to lower your cholesterol and increase brain function.
4. Quinoa is an ancient grain with 8 g of protein per cup, including a complete set of branched chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. A cup contains 39 g of complex carbohydrates that will keep you from craving junk.
5. Coffee is one of my favorite foods. (FOODS? You say?) Humans can work-out harder/ longer if they have caffeine before exercise. Writing can be tough work. Combine caffeine, carbohydrate and a brisk walk with your notepad and you will be generating your brain into creative drive.
6. Eggs/ (egg whites mostly) This lean snack at 50 calories has intense 6 g of protein and 330 mg of leucine per egg. Yokes are O. K. once in a while with the nutrient choline, which supports acetycholine, the most abundant neurotransmitter in your body
7. Blueberries are antioxidant, reduce belly fat and anthocyanin, the selenium, the vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, the zinc, sodium, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese prevent and heal neurotic disorders by preventing degeneration and death of neurons ( brain-cells). They also rebuild the central nervous system
8. Flax seed (not my favorite) big nutrient punch, but eat sparingly
9. Avocados, known as pear butter, but the fats in this delicious guacamole reduce bad cholesterol and increase blood flow to the brain.
10. Old fashioned oatmeal and whole grain bread are excellent brain foods improving circulation.
Need easy recipes to fit these into your writing schedule? Coming soon just for fun!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Censorship is a Dirty Word


I worked for INDEX ON CENSORSHIP compiling an anthology of censored poets

My novels and poetry have been pirated 67 different websites that I discovered.

SOPA is not the solution

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wash Your Ramen

Outside the House of Noodles (Photograph Title)

“Why don’t you wash your Ramen?” Mei asks.

“Package doesn’t say to-” Helen pushes sandy bangs from her indigo eyes. Orange cellophane crackles her right leg glides slimmer than the left, “vermin factories motivate cleaning?”

“Grandmother claims noodles are wax covered.”

Steam rises smelling of auburn kelp.

“Hospital gowns carry pathogens,” Helen says.

“Did your homework?” Occupational Therapist is on the pocket of Mei’s uniform.

“Yes, Newport Coast past his old house rather than driving long way around.”

“How’d feel?”

“Dull ache, 366 days since the floozy.”

“Release from lies?”

“Yes, not confined inside, I’m kayaking again to spot fulmars.”

Abandoned (photograph title)

My response to Justin's video is not a literal translation. See my video below and links to Justin's acoustic version.

This is a work of fiction.
fulmars refers to Fulmar Gulls : 
Top Ramen does not suggest washing.
Bon Iver
written by Justin DeYarmond Edison Vernon

For Caroline Smailes fiction anthology: 100 words flash fiction responding to a utube video of a favorite song
for One in Four Charity

all rights to my words, photographs and video are reserved copyright © Caroline Gerardo 2012


Abandoned       (photograph title)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Diagram of Interaction, Teenage Venn

Diagram of Interaction
Caroline Gerardo
©copyright all rights reserved
Included in Bare Hands Poetry Magazine Issue III January 2011

Burned Venn Diagram by Caroline Gerardo copyright 2011

A Venn Diagram Burned on the Ends

“Call me Lauren now,” the fourteen year old removes the clips of blonde extensions in her scalp.

“What is wrong with Winny?” Jenna moves her dry curls splayed off her sequin thin neck. Jenna inspects her split ends.

“Tyler says my name, Winnifred, is ugly,” Lauren says as if Tyler is some demigod creator of the cosmos. Lauren tucks her shirt over her round belly, self consciously sitting her bottom square against the bathroom door. The girls legs cross tangle on the grid of tile floor.

“How many minutes is it since you peed on the EPT?” Jenna asks.

“You’re supposed to be counting on your phone Jenna.”

“Two minutes, is there a cross or a line? You look-” Jenna says.

“Nothing yet-”

Jenna does not reveal she too has kissed Tyler. Not with jealous arrows, merely proximity and raspberry flavored vodka, Popov, the cheapest brand propelled the particulate to connect. It went down hot as the desert after a brush fire.

Tyler said, “All the pigs get songs and the chickens aren’t allowed to squeal.” Tyler has relationships organized on flow charts. He believes himself a Greek song dividing human contact into labels for which they are not. He uses the Google website to arrange Venn Diagrams of his female friends.

Lauren dreams of being a pop singer even though she ditches choir. She cups her tongue to allow sweet caramel tones, her diaphragm ringing the cello strings of her core, “Time is up.”

“It’s negative,” Jenna holds the white plastic bar between them, “Text him.”

Lauren types on the cracked iphone keyboard unaware her number has been blocked.