Sunday Starters


Often people ask why I write what I write. It comes from within. I don’t block it or analyze it or try to change it. I let it flow. It runs its own course.  My rough draft is a raw draft. It often gives me the guts of the story, the feel, the theme, a direction.

Next, I go through and fill it with pretty fireworks. Vocabulary, smilies, metaphors, change the direction, rewrite the hook a million times, deepen it with onion layers, in short, add color. I rather enjoy the fireworks show. Purple prose and I have a torrid affair going on; one that must stop.

After the color comes the taking away. Good writers cut. I’m still learning to run with scissors.  I look for errors, rework longer sentences into tighter sentences, remove scenes or rearrange them. Sending the work off to betas and a developmental editor is the nerve-racking part of the edit/take way step.

Finally, I revise. I look at their comments and sometimes I start over. Sometimes I start in the middle and sometimes I just spruce. Recently, I revised a piece that I am now shopping. I can’t share the whole piece, but here is an excerpt.

Artificial by CL Steele (copyright 2017)

Overture – Year: 2033

Time and again, Joseph said, “When I can get my androids to move as gracefully and quietly as you, I’ll have accomplished the impossible.”

As he worked, he drummed his fingers, and my body moved to the rhythm, shoulders and arms popping to his contemplation. Our typical call and response. The Joffrey School of Ballet hadn’t taught me popping, that was learned on the dance floors of New York City clubs. I knew he preferred my sujet, even wanted prima status for me.

Joseph rolled his eyes and laughed.

I lifted an eyebrow, winked, and smiled. If he was going to annoy me with drumming, I’d find a way to pull him from his thoughts.

“Do you ever stop moving, Misty?” he asked.

“Do you ever stop thinking?” I answered.

“S’pose ya got a point, each to their talents.”

“Help me. You rinse and load the dishwasher, I’ll get the calamari fritti on the table and warm the breadsticks.”

“What do I get for my efforts?” he asked.

I loved the feel of his hands on my hips, pulling me to him. I pushed back against him, teasing as I slid the breadsticks from the oven, being careful to protect my long strand of pearls as I held them against my little black dress.

“Yea, yea, later,” I said.

The home automation system announced a car in the driveway. The hologram of Ian and Cynthia appeared in the center of the kitchen, confirming their arrival.

“Thank you, Alexa. Play dinner playlist,” I said.

Mozart’s “Overture” filled the upscale townhouse. It would be followed by Bach’s “Adagios,” Tchaikovsky’s “Finale,” and my new favorite, “Gymnopèdie No. 1” by Satie. I smiled, kissed the man I loved, and walked toward the foyer.

I turned with an Isadora Duncan flare and smiled. “Splash some cold water on those ‘dishes’, and hide the pans in the dishwasher. I’ll get the door now, and you later.”

I admired the Pollock hanging in the great room as I waited for our friends to ascend the steps. The Moon Woman was a perfect touch of warm colors for the room. Pollock’s stick-woman, highlighted in the center of the painting, with her woman-like lines—knee bent, ready to leap with grace, pulled all my loves together in one perfect rectangular gift from Joseph.

You can see it is a playful futuristic sci-fi that ponders if artificial life can overcome death. Indeed if love can be artificial. I’ve changed the ending many times on this, you will have to read it to find out. Again, I am currently shopping for a publication for this under 7K word short story.

Two of my shorts have been selected out of hundreds for publishing. Here are their excerpts both will be available in the fall through Literary Journals. I’ll keep you posted.

Unheard Scream

CL Steele

“I can do this. I can, Mom. C’mon, believe in me?”

“Don’t give me those puppy dog eyes.”

“Hey kid, those eyes are money. You just keep using them.”

Leeann’s eyes darted from her son to the agent. He leaned forward in his chair his arms wide on the glass and chrome desk cradling the contract his right hand tapping the black and white deal with a pen. Her dark eyes narrowed as she faced the man in a Tom Petty t-shirt, both sizing him up and shooting a warning. He put the black pen on the agreement and pushed it across the glass. Across the meeting of minds. Across the gulf between them–toward her. Leaning back, shoulders askew rocking in his office chair he said, “Look, opportunity comes once. This kid has a great look, good sound, and a hell of a growl the girls are gonna go wild for.”

The twenty something assistant with red hair and short plaid skirt raised her eyebrow, her half-cocked smile giving Leeann’s son, Jake, a come get me look.

“I know you’re worried about him being fourteen, but I take good care of my rock stars. I’m invested in him too. He’s got a year to prove himself. November one of next year, if he’s met the stipulations, showed up, worked hard —we extend the contract. If not, he’s done. I just need your Mommy Hancock and his dreams come true.”

Picking up the pen, she held it above the signature line, cutting the air with a few half formed letters. Every momma tiger stripe screamed, NO. Her mouth puckered into a frown. She leaned back.

“Please mom,” Jake said, his hazel eyes gripping her heart as she looked at him. Her eyes studied the room. She swallowed hard and scrawled her name.

This psychological horror occurs on Halloween. The characters lives are wrapped in a song by Bon Jovi called “I’ll Be There For You”. However,  they are anything but there for each other.


Lingering near death, I’d grown threadbare, a damaged plastic sack swirling in the wind, devoid of use. Indeed, I’d become a problematic mechanism demanding repurposing. I expected death, even welcomed death; although I’d not expected death to be a woman.

Death floated through the wall of my hospice room. Her white hair was swept into a French-Twist secured with a diamond comb, which aggrandized her black sequined gown pooling at the floor, as she glided to a hovering stop. I shuttered, but just then Death’s appearance evoked the reverence of a starry night-sky over a darkened ocean. Fear turned to wonderment.

Deaths elongated arms reached toward me. I was inexplicitly drawn to her. Her hourglass figure, her chic neckline accenting alluring breasts leading to a graceful neck and a face delicate with inviting color. Death’s features and empathizing eyes held my trance. How could death look so beautiful, so desirable? I pondered. Of course … how else would we surrender all we know for the unknown so willingly, unless seduced to do so?

It was the intrigue of her that piqued my curiosity and lessened my defenses. I’d almost forgotten why I was holding on to life.  

“No, I can’t die today,” I whispered. A veiled smile overcame death. Gracefully, she took a seat.

Why does life need death? This 1500 word story gives us one possible explanation. It will be out this spring in the Literary Journal Blood Puddles.

Finally, I have two WIPs.

One is a take on Alice in Wonderland through two songs – one is by Alice Chains the other by Looking Glass. Her our main character is Brandy who is in search of Alice. The tale is about that place between Wonderland where everything is curious and fun and Enchantment. You know the place, it is called hell, where nothing is known and all is doubt. It is where all love comes to die or survive. Poor Brandy, made of glass, just may not make it. But then Alice shows up 10 feet tall.

The second WIP is based on Rocket Man the song by Elton John and Swine and Pearl and the book by the great Ray Bradbury. It is about Badriyyah Marka, a daughter of African immigrants, born in the United States in 2030. She becomes the first woman to walk on the moon. The press, unable to pronounce her name, dub her Luna, the girl on the moon. But that is only her history. In this short, her husband, Torch is the Rocket Man in space. The tale is how she and her daughter Andromeda save him and rather than torn by loss, conquer loss to change the future of mankind.

I’m hoping to submit both of these by Valentines. Lots of work to do.







M. Lisa Cove is a close personal friend (Click link to like her page). We met at a writing workshop and I have promised her a write up on my blog. I hesitate only in that this is a sticky spider web for some. So, again, if this is a problem for you. Go no further. If it is your cup of tea, let me know and I’ll feature her and a few others more often. I really need your guidance here so more or no stay classic you in the comments, please.

M. Lisa has just gotten started in the field. I helped her set up her brand spanking new FB page. Her first erotic novel of short stories titled “69 Short and Sexy Tales” will be out on Amazon in time for Valentines.  Yes, 69 short stories about what keeps the world spinning. Here is an excerpt”

Firefly Night

Linda sprawled on the chaise, in the dark of his backyard, breathing in the musky smoke of the firepit. Drinking the last of her rum and coke, she felt the vibrations of his guitar playing wash over her. How Marcus had captured her, she didn’t know, but she had to admit she was taken with everything about him. She smiled at him. He smiled back. Her bent left leg moved to the sultry slow rhythm he played, opening and closing against her straightened right leg. She stretched slow and easy pondering the dark ink sky with its glow from the distant city lights. With a contented sigh she pulled herself out of this luxury and sauntered to the table where the bottles stood waiting to be consumed. She poured him a bourbon and her a glass of wine. Hips swaying as she walked toward him, her left brow raised in the question she knew he would not turn down, she smirked as he abruptly ended his song and placed the guitar aside. She handed him the whisky. They both took long drinks. Butterflies met her and she briefly closed her eyes. She wondered as she stood before him if they should take this further?

Yes, came the answer as his hand brushed against her outer thigh. She straddled him placing her legs through the arms of the lawn chair. He took their drinks and set them aside. Squeezing her thighs to get closer to him, she removed his glasses and set them on the table near the drinks. He smiled that wicked crooked smile he had and she felt the corners of her mouth turn up as she poured lust from her seductive eyes. She was giving him every indication of something new.

Gently she kissed his forehead, then eyelids, cheekbones. Soft kisses met his lips, which soon gave way to parted lips. She took his tongue into her mouth and played at biting his lip. His hands dropped from her waist to grip her hips that were slowly rocking against his growing hardness. He allowed her to remove his shirt and smiled as it fell to the ground. As she removed her shirt, his hands grabbed at her ass. As her bra fell to the grass, he slid his hands up her waist and cupped both breast.

“Neighbors,” he whispered.

Rolling her eyes, she left the comfort of his lap moving past the firepit, the low light highlighting her hourglass form. Retrieving a blanket, she swirled it around herself holding it lose and low as she wiggled out of her tight daisy dukes. With a laugh and a crinkle of her nose she flashed him as she walked by the fire. His laugh and grin forced her to do it again. She winked and stared at his shorts. By the time she had gotten within arm’s reach the shorts were being kicked off and she enjoyed the view of his cock. She straddled him again the blanket covering them. He took one, than the other of her breasts, into his mouth, sucking, nibbling. His soft moans exciting her to wetness.

Pulling at his nipples, she caressed him.

“Turn around,” he said.

She stood and turned feeling him grab her hips and guide her onto him. He grabbed the blanket as her weakened hands began to drop. He pulled the comforter over the front of them.

“Lean back, enjoy the stars.”

She did and wrapped her legs around the outside of his leaving herself exposed to his gifted guitar strumming hand. Fireflies lit the night but she didn’t notice them for long as her eyes closed in surrender. She moaned, just as the neighbor turned off the porch light and she and Marcus both held back soft, hushed laughter.

“More?” she questioned.

“Mas,” he answered.




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