Fiction Mingle

Photo + 100 Words + Audio = Fiction Mingle

Photo by Mehmeturgut
Words by Syl DeLeon
Audio by The Doors (The End)

Nothing fancy, just a going out of business notice. It's a trend. Up goes the flag, then down soon enough.

Fiction Mingle is going on an indefinite hiatus. Pretend it’s a beach vacation. This is a good thing. It’s a natural progression. A full behind the scenes article on the life and times of Fiction Mingle lives here.

Many thanks, hugs, and confetti sprinkles to all who contributed and experienced the mingles. You’re all invited to the party in my head (there will be trampolines and moonshine).

Keep in Touch. Stay Sweet. Best Friends Forever. Call Me.

Forever Yours,


I couldn't sleep last night.
Art by Maureen Older
Words by Annelise Jensen
Audio by HalloweenHauters

It was like lying in an empty tub waiting for the taps to turn on. Playing catch with a ball that doesn’t fall. I was a dead battery that wouldn’t charge.
It felt ridiculous to be suspended in the darkness thinking up similes and metaphors. So I got in the bath, turned on the taps and threw a ball.
No, I didn’t plug in my phone charger and sink it into the water. The metaphor saved my life.
Parchment dry and late for work, I awoke in my bed. The phone alarm echoed in the bathtub’s deep end.

The Last Morning
Photo by Amanda Oliveira
Words by George Eyre Masters
Audio by Richard Hawley (The Ocean)

Before dawn I listened to the house breathe.  From the pillows, came a trace of my ex-wife’s perfume.  Outside in a big elm, crows and seagulls argued like drunks leaving a bar. Then they did.

Black to grey, the morning developed like a Polaroid.

The house was sold. The bedroom sighed, the refrigerator kicked on.  Across the street, a rip of orange burned above the trees.  Enough light now to see a bedroom uncluttered by her things.

Making coffee, I went outside and sat.  Like a beautiful woman passing by, the smell of autumn and ocean turned my head.



George Eyre Masters was born in Philadelphia, PA, grew up in Vietnam, and later attended Georgetown University. He has recently written the crime novel, "Trouble Breathing."

Amanda Oliveira is a photographer living in Brazil. Please visit her gallery on DeviantArt.

Richard Hawley is a singer and songwriter in Sheffield, UK. Please visit his website to browse his albums.

The Family Tree
Art by Aaron Earley
Words by Rolli
Music by Mehotep ("Brother's Death")

Shall I tell you my fear, brother, the fear that all thinking is to keep me from thinking, shall I? Brother, I will die here. In this tree. I will quietly die, with the sun. I have, as wind and seasons moved it, moved, with the tree. My limbs, in its own limbs, fit. My back has bent, with it. I shall soon ... be frozen. I shall, within a tree be - a tree. Men will walk by, not knowing. A tree, within a tree. It is terrible. It can only happen. Unless ...

   But brother. There is no unless.   


Aaron Earley studied Sculpture and Painting/Drawing at East Carolina University. His senior exhibition can be viewed at "Into the Half-light."

Rolli is the author/illustrator of the tasty poetry/art book Plum Stuff, and the forthcoming collections God’s Autobio (short stories), and Mavor’s Bones (poems/drawings). Visit his blog (www.rolliwrites.wordpress.com), and follow his epic tweets @rolliwrites.

Mehotep is a mysterious force of creation existing only by name on the internets. Can be found here: Mehotep

Un Million De Roses
Art by: ExCom
Words by:
Tawna Fenske
Audio by: Bonjour Russia (
Un Million De Roses)

The heady smell of urinal cake moves him every time.

He can’t help it. One minute he’s whistling “American Pie” and taking aim.

The next, he’s zipping his boxers into his fly and dashing breathlessly past startled
couples eating escargot. He pauses long enough to singe his wrist on a candle and knock
over a bud vase.

The door says ladies. His heart slams against his ribcage, and she opens the door before
he can knock.

“I missed you.”
“I missed you, too.” He drops to one knee. “Can I squeeze your Charmin?”

“God, yes. Did you wash your hands?”

Author Bio:
Tawna Fenske is the author of MAKING WAVES, released August 1, 2011 and listed as a Top 10 Notable Debut in Writer's Digest. She writes a popular daily blog "Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing" and is a member of Romance Writers of America. MAKING WAVES is the first in a trio of quirky romantic comedies from Sourcebooks, Inc.

Red, White, & Blue
Photo by editundo (Spencer Delamore Photography website)
Words by
Maggie Stiefvater (m_stiefvater )
Audio by
Charles Trenet (Verlaine)

“There are three things I’m good at,” the congresswoman says. “Sex, politics, and religion.”

“Cocktail parties,” I reply. My shed clothing dampens my voice. Also, she’s just told me I’m a god; true deities never speak above a whisper. “Aren’t those what not to talk about at cocktail parties?”

“The only thing not to talk about at cocktail parties,” she says, “is other cocktail parties.”

I know this uneasy, tactile alliance here in her room is meant to be a temporary occupation, not a true conquest.  

But there are three things I’m good at: love, anarchy, magic.

“Stay,” she says.



Spencer Delamore is a photographer in the San Francisco Bay area. Please visit Spencer Delamore Photography to browse photos for purchase for use or art prints.

Maggie Stiefvater is a NYT Bestselling author of young-adult/urban fantasy novels. Her work has been spotlighted on lists such as: Amazon Top Ten Books for Teens; Indies Choice Book Award Finalist; ALA Best Books for Young Adults; Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2009; ALA 2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults; and ALA 2010 Best Books for Young Adults.

FOREVER will be released July 12, 2011.

SCORPIO RACES is scheduled for release in October 2011.

You can view and purchase Maggie's books here.

Happy Hour

Found slide photos by Unknown
Words by Chloé Leisure
Audio by
Andrew Kramer

This house is like a movie. Dressed up in our fancy outfits, anything anyone says gets a big laugh. But the audience gets to leave when the curtains fall.

I didn’t do it. And they know I didn’t. But it doesn’t matter.

I get these flashbulbs in my head. I see my fist go through a window and shards of glass explode everywhere. I watch myself flip over the coffee table and bright pink cocktails splatter the carpeting. In my head, everyone stops and listens.

It’s like being stuck inside of a wall. And no one will pull me out.


Portrait of Mother
Art by Karina DeLeon, "Portrait of Mother" (2009, age 6)
Words by Syl DeLeon
Song by The Beatles, "Your Mother Should Know"

Who has time to think and rhyme? (Must be lazy (slightly crazy?))—to do nothing
but recline (jotting silly lines).

Cleverness is well and good in a more pastoral neighborhood,
where the views unfold pristine as in pages of a magazine.

Ladies may dabble there undisturbed by piddly chores—just words
to occupy their fruitful minds with more substantial works than mine.

Self-indulgence in pretty prose never got dinner on.  Clever comparisons are like…
too much makeup on tired eyes, hon.

Roses don’t bloom on cheeks.  The face of today is no moon
descending in oceanic sheets.  It’s me—pulling covers up.

Tags: ,


Photo by Eric Morrison
Words by Chloé Leisure
Audio by Johann Sebastian Bach

Afterward, it didn’t seem right to stay. The crocuses would always announce the lengthening of days, their delicate purple crowns nudging through fecund soil. The oak tree would only grow taller, its branches thicker and stronger, its fallen leaves never to be raked into embracing mounds. The snow would blanket and silence. The aurora would shimmer and fade.

And so, boxes were packed but not labeled. Animal-shaped pieces of driftwood bedded down with kitchen utensils, candlesticks, and worn sheets. Late-night donations were made at St. Vincent de Paul.

Whether or not to lock the front door: this was not anticipated.


Birthday Cake for Theodore
Photo by Judea Franck
Words by Judea Franck
Audio by Paul Whiteman with Johnny Hauser: Gloomy Sunday (1936)

Sugar. Flour. Eggs. Stretch for the vanilla on the far shelf. As long as she can see them from the window, never turn her back. Down by the murky water, their three little bodies crouch. Is it too much to ask for frogs to stop laying eggs among the reeds?

Damn. The cocoa is in the pantry, but she'll have to make do with what's in reach. Was chocolate really his favorite or was it simply his last?

Yet, what could she do really if she saw another one slip? All those years living by the lake and she never did learn how to swim.

Special Announcement
Photo: Unknown
Words: Mingle crew
Audio: Unknown, "Television/Radio"

We interrupt your week for an unscheduled announcement.

Fiction Mingle will no longer post every Friday.

Superlative mingles of Photo + 100 Words + Audio will now be posted only on the first Friday of every month, to coincide with First Friday Gallery Shows across the nation.

The next dose will be doled out March 4, 2011.

As always, submissions of any style are welcome.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled websurfing.

Unfinished Symphony

Photo by Arthur Kales (from The Denishawn Collection)
Words by Chloé Leisure
Audio by Maria Sans Jacoby

The electricity.
Draped in cool cloth, illuminated by heavenly spotlight, our shadows touch and tangle in negative space.

The silence.
Our bodies search and discover.  Hearts open, toes point, spines arch and match the curve of the moon.

The anticipation.
We are long mythic limbs.  We are never-ending moonshadows in a snowy forest.

The revolution.
Oceans are sailed.  Imaginary children are named.  Petals and words are pressed into books.

The fall.
We move as one through music and breath.  Arms follow arms, legs echo legs.  We slowly swell like drops of water and gasp as we fall to the ground.


To My Valentine
Photo: New York Public Library Digital Archives. Postcard: "To My Valentine" (190-)
Words by Elena Solodow
Audio by Khedara Ariyaratne, "Birds Singing (March 26, 2010)"

To my Valentine. Digital ID: 1588434. New York Public Library

Sinatra sang it.

I have tried, though you sleep on.

Could a Prince wake you? Hack at thickets and lay a kiss on your chapped lips?

Though Beauty you are, you do much more than Sleep, my love.

Sleeping is an elected resignment to the day.

You have no such choice.

Narcolepsy comes knocking.

My Valentine to you is a pillow under your bruised noggin.

Dragons don’t snore so loud. Will you breathe fire next?

I should check for scales.

If I find some, dear, have no fear.

Sinatra sang it.

You make me smile. Here I tend.

Sweet dreams.

Siren Song

Photo by Ralf Kracke-Berndorff
Words by Stuart Kramer
Audio by Herkko and Asaguare 

Some songs are amazing with Doppler, and we'd hope they might circle the block twice.

"Stop," you'd say,

"there it is,            here it is,            there it is."

I loved that.  You’ve always made me feel like we're walking along a fence, wobbly behind and wobbly ahead, but presently on pitch, dancing the right steps with the proper partner and tune.

Some songs are amazing with Doppler, and we hope they might circle the block twice.

"Stop," you say,

"there it is,            here it is,            there it is."

I love that; it shows we picked the right spot, so you say.

( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )


Photo by Nickolas Muray
Words by Lesa Alison-Hastings
Audio by Maria Sans Jacoby

When her hair is down it smells of Morocco, tight tall alleyways filled with strays and whitewash. Patience never belonged to her, especially when she owned so little she could pack like a soldier. She misses carpet on her feet, the way it absorbs smoke. Garters remind her of a childhood feather collection. Small pieces of fallen wing she confined in bottles, carefully placed on the windowsill between the bars her parents installed to protect her from the street. Now she keeps scraps of letters, notes scribbled on tissue, sized and added to her deck—a corrugated record of time.

The Difference Between ‘I Love You’ and ----
sound check
Photo by Jean Sander
Words by Molly Reid
Audio by Unknown, "PaperShuffle"

It was never anything more than it was, I hear you say.

You might not have said this. Your words fly away the second I try to pin them down, like dreams.

I know your hair in my hands, the first time our bodies pressed together, a moan from the formless, wordless oh-shit.

But I broke the rules when I tore a page from my favorite book. Stole someone else’s words, folded them like a gift into your mailbox.

Like the mangled birds my cat leaves on my doorstep.

Like, isn’t this cool. Now clean it up.


Photo by Noah Bates
Words by Chloé Leisure
Audio by Andrew Kramer


Each person, including the children, was allowed to bring one item.

And so, as they had before, and would again, one by one they placed their papered regrets, their penned goals on the great cradle of boughs.

The trees bowed in reverence.   The crows perched about, watching with golden eyes as the procession moved forward.

This year, a dark-eyed girl of thirteen was selected to strike the ceremonial flint.  The lighting song was a mixture of mournful bellows and birdlike bells.

And when the whole year lit, the trees stood tall—ushering the collective offerings toward the cold, accepting sky.


First Kiss
Photo: New York Public Library Digital Archives. Postcard: "Woman on Ladder Collecting Mistletoe"
Words: Syl DeLeon
Audio: A Penny A Kiss by Dinah Shore And Tony Martin

[Woman on ladder collecting mi... Digital ID: 1585722. New York Public Library

I promised ye my first kiss, Johnny;

seeded the house with mistletoe.

But whilst revelers were many,

no sign was there of my beau.


The hall filled with neighbors and cousins,

Santa bounced kids on his knee,

carolers caroled by dozens,

whilst I wrung my hands waiting for thee.


I gave up on you ‘round midnight,

hid in a gabled window,

My heart grew dim as the moonlight

wearing a veil of snow.


When Santa appeared with the wine,

eyes sparkling wildly as thine,

what he wanted I could not but think,

'til a bough he produced with a wink.

Staff Party
Art by Carrie Shaw
Words by Kamil Michnicki and Carrie Shaw
Audio by
Louis Armstrong

Hey Bub!
Who Me?
Yeah you! What're you havin'?
A scotch and a rest... she's a beauty, that one! Melody's her name...
On the rocks?
Yeah, make that a double. Just look at her dancing with that guy! Looks like he's from the treble clef...trouble I say! I'll take another, please.
Slow down Bub!
D'nt~ tell meee ~ what t' do!!! *hiccup*
Bub! Hey! *wink* Wanna dance?
Mel'dy! Umm, rrr... uh... *hiccup*
Um :/, nevermind. Bye...
Gotta say Bub, you fell flat on your face on this one.

How To Approach Celebrities
Photo by Jenny Neudeck
Words collected by Syl DeLeon from WikiHow--How to Know when to Talk to a Celebrity
(Please note that "..." means words were cut out from the original article and content in parentheses "()" was written by Syl DeLeon)
Audio by Unknown, "The Duck," available at Our Media

Were it not for general celebrity worship and admiration, they would not stay at the top of their tree for long.

If you see a celebrity in person, however… extend some courtesy, and you can make the interaction a pleasant one for the celebrity and yourself.

Nonchalantly approach him or her. Stay composed. Don't start freaking out and start screaming.

Watch their body language. If they appear rushed or if they keep walking as you are talking, or if they glance at their watch, be sensitive to that time crunch. If they seem distressed, (camouflage the rifle with leaves and mud).

Avoid overly gushing. Too much enthusiasm on your part may embarrass them, or scare them off.

Converse with them if they appear to like you, but remember they may just be trying to be polite. It is usually best to avoid conversing about his or her family or other private issues. At the extreme, this can seem very creepy.

If you spot a celebrity in a restaurant, keep your distance. (Unless they’re a menu item, in which case, commence forking.)

Note: this page assumes that you are meeting a random celebrity randomly, not at a planned event like a meet-and-greet or convention.

Photo by Madalyn Yovanoff
Words by Syl DeLeon
Audio by Eftos, "Methanphetamin"--(Pseudo-Reality under the influence of C10H15N.)

He was mine first.

Before the hair cut and fittings.

Before the serial code tattooed on his wrist.

When nights were polar in duration and dawn arrived with the splintering of boards pried loose off windows nailed shut, before they tore him from my hold, he was mine.

And though you dressed him for every season, like a shroud is perennial, and drilled his memory with rote equations for balanced structures, he will age a hundred years and more with my taste in his mouth—almonds and moist earth.

Still, and forever, bare branch tips remind him of my fingers.

Black Friday
Photo by sylsome
(Found) Words by Chloé Leisure
Audio by
New Old Men

Bayou Maiden
Photo from Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Creator: Trovillion, Ned, Source: WV-9374-Centennial, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildife Service, Contributor: NATIONAL CONSERVATION TRAINING CENTER-PUBLICATIONS AND TRAINING MATERIALS.
Words by
Audio by Aaron Lennox, Periodical Cicadas (Magicicada Septendecim)

Some claimed they had seen her in the bayou, an Ophelia of the swamps. Floating on her back, her dark hair radiating in tendrils around her, white dress translucent in the water. The glimpse of form beneath her gown was enough to drive men mad; many had jumped overboard to go after her. They met ragged alligator teeth or the sharp poison of moccasins before reaching her arms.

Others did not see her, but they describe a sweet, lone voice in the darkness. And there are some who swear it was her hands that first made water lilies grow there.


Just an Act

Photo by Mélina Bernhardt
Words by Brian Hull
Music by Brian Hull

Every day I hold up Somebody’s Name at the airport like some jerk.  I have no idea what I’m getting into when they climb into the backseat.  Their faces empty, like blank billboards.

I gotta feel them out, test the waters.

“I don’t know about you, but I ain’t buying the whole global warming thing.  There was the blizzard 2009.  In 1996 you had cars buried in Virginia.”

Some come back with something cute.  “They should call it ‘global weirding.’”

Yeah, yeah.

The tea baggers couldn’t agree more.  Who cares?  It’s just an act: a new sign, a new name.


Seize the Night

Photo by Stephanie Hall
Words by Chloé Leisure & Viviane Vasconcelos
Audio by ElishaNicViv

The earth echoed with each footfall, cheering her on, applauding her speed and conviction.

Perhaps the root was waiting, a wet cedar snake arcing out of moss and rock.

Her bleeding kneecap lingered like a stubborn autumn leaf.  The fog was cool and moist on her face.  The way the coast will feel.

She’d never before stood still long enough to hear the beating of a bird’s wings.  She marveled at the rhythmic whoosh, whoosh of crows as they passed over her and through the tall pines.

The horizon was somewhere.  The rest was behind her.  And so she ran.



And the winners are...
sound check

On the eve of Dia de los Muertos, we gathered for the culmination of Fiction Mingle's Trick-or-Treat Book Giveaway--the drawing of names!  Wax was spilled, scarves were nearly scorched, and spirits possessed cameras, causing technical difficulties. We humbly thank all who visited the site, tweeted, linked, and left comments.

And a big THANK YOU to our contributors!

And now, the winners of the contest!

List of Winners!Collapse )
Please send us your mailing address to claim your prize!  fictionmingle(at)gmail(dot)com

Halfway There
Photo by editundo (Delamore Photography website)
Words by brennayovanoff
Audio by Psychomelodic

Sometimes, the hardest thing is simply opening a door.  You want to be inside, because who you are on the outside is familiar.  Forgettable.

The Prophet Club is where the demons go.  And so I hang around, hoping against hope that someone will see the unnatural sheen dripping off me.  I'll say the word, reach for the handle, and this time the door will open.  The bouncer will step aside, say welcome and come in.

I'm human, and not.  Demon, and not. 

But human is all that shows.

Soundtrack (turn volume up to hear intro):

(If the music player isn't working for you, please go here and play "Prophet Club.")

Trick-or-Treat Book Giveaway!

To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff, simply leave a comment with a way for us to identify you (i.e. signed in user, or a name).

For official rules and ways to increase your chances of winning, go
here :)

Still time to leave comments for PRIZES...
sound check
The Trick-or-Treat Book Giveaway has one more week to go!  So far there are four wicked posts up.  Leave a comment on each one to be entered into each drawing.  (For official drawing rules and ways to earn extra entries, go here.)


To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of THE REPLACEMENT, by Brenna Yovanoff, simply leave a comment on the post "The Replacement."

To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of DEMON THEORY by Stephen Graham Jones, simply leave a comment on the post "Meat Cindy."

To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of AN INFINITE THREAD, short stories by Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff, and Maggie Stiefvater, simply leave a comment on the post "Small Favors."

  To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of Todd Mitchell’s THE SECRET TO LYING, simply leave a comment on the post "The Doll Maker."



The Doll Maker

Photo by Rebecca McGoldrick
Words by
Todd Mitchell
Audio by

The wagon played a cheerful tune before stopping in a wheat field at the edge of town.

Children gazed at the mirrored stairs and sequin-studded door. Who could resist such music and cotton candy smells?

Only a handful suspected that something might be wrong. Fortunately, the puppet clowns, dancing on their strings, distracted them until the last could be lured in. No one likes a frowny face.

“A miracle!” the parents exclaimed, arriving later. “To be young forever.”

Of course, tags had been attached to toes by that point, so each couple would know exactly which one belonged to them.


(If the music player doesn't show up for you, go to Psychomelodic and click play on "The Doll Maker.")

BIO: Todd Mitchell writes YA fiction and teaches at Colorado State University.  His debut novel, THE TRAITOR KING (Scholastic 2007), was a Colorado Book Award Finalist.


To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of Todd Mitchell’s second novel, THE SECRET TO LYING, simply leave a comment below with a way for us to identify you (i.e. signed in user, or a name).

For official rules and ways to increase your chances of winning, go here.

Small Favors
Photo by [info]editundo (Delamore Photography website)
Words by
Audio by

It’s the only time I bother with cigarettes, when the smell of blood disguises the harsh scar of smoke.

He said, Don’t you want to put some gloves on?

I humored him, though what are gloves when I’m in a tee shirt and don’t bother pulling up my face mask? At least my fingernails will be clean.

Besides, it’s his last request.


He wanted to experience everything.

Everything? I asked.


“What about evisceration?”

He laughed.


In the last moment, he knew me better than anyone.

When I leave the butt rests between his lips. A last kiss.


(If the music player doesn't show up for you, go to Psychomelodic and click play on "Small Favors.")

BIO: Tessa Gratton writes speculative YA fiction.  Her debut novel, BLOOD MAGIC will be available April 26th, 2011 from Random House Children’s Books.

Trick-or-Treat Book Giveaway!

To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of AN INFINITE THREAD, short stories by Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff, and Maggie Stiefvater, simply leave a comment below with a way for us to identify you (i.e. signed in user, or a name).

For official rules and ways to increase your chances of winning, go
here :)

Meat Cindy
Photo by Kati Moen Johnson
Words by
Stephen Graham Jones
Audio by

She wasn’t like the other girls. On basketball trips, they’d all be rabbits at the salad bar, but she’d sit with us, the boys’ table, and actually eat. I didn’t fall all the way in love with her until summer, though, and, once school started, instead of me asking her to the Harvest Moon Dance, she asked me, said she had her dad’s truck, that we could sneak out to the old airstrip, watch the moon bob on the horizon. Yeah. So that’s where I’ll be tonight, out there with her. See you tomorrow. You won’t even recognize me.


(If the music player doesn't show up for you, go to Psychomelodic and click play on "Match Made in Hell.")

Stephen Graham Jones teaches at CU-Boulder and is an author of experimental fiction, horror fiction, crime fiction, and science fiction.  Forthcoming work includes IT CAME FROM DEL RIO and THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY.

Trick-or-Treat Book Giveaway!

To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of DEMON THEORY by Stephen Graham Jones, simply leave a comment below with a way for us to identify you (i.e. signed in user, or a name).

For official rules and ways to increase your chances of winning, go
here :)

The Replacement
Photo by sylsome
Words by brennayovanoff(2 excerpts from her novel, The Replacement)
Audio by Psychomelodic

“Light her up!” yelled someone from the crowd.

He saluted and stuck a match between his teeth, lighting it with an easy flick, then
holding it out. Carlina put one hand against her collarbone and closed her eyes, bending
to the match. He dropped it.

He lit the second one by striking it on his shirt-cuff, but when Carlina leaned in, it
went out by itself. The third, he didn't strike on anything, just snapped his fingers and it
flared to life.

He held it to Carlina's cigarette and she breathed in, making the flame waver and
gutter. She started to pace back and forth and the lead guitarist followed her, playing a
solo that made me think of cracked glass and scrambled wires.


The chill started at the top of my head and poured down through my chest and arms. I
knew him.

The angle of the stage made it hard to see his eyes, and the top hat shadowed his
face, but even in the dark, I knew him. I'd seen him on the footbridge. He'd called me
out on my dark eyes, sneered at my shaky hands and my blue mouth.

I stood in the crowd, looking up at a scary man with a scary smile. I knew his
secret and he knew mine.


(If the music player doesn't show up for you, go to Psychomelodic and click play on "Edinger.")

Trick-or-Treat Book Giveaway!

To enter the drawing to win a signed copy of The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff, simply leave a comment with a way for us to identify you (i.e. signed in user, or a name).

For official rules and ways to increase your chances of winning, go
here :)

Trick-or-Treat Book Giveaway!

The Trick:

Every week in October, we will post ghoulish, wicked, and spine-tingling mingles.

The Treat: 
5 Prizes!  Signed books by featured authors!

Simple Rules

1.  Each Mingle in October will feature a signed book as a prize.

2.  Leave a comment to one or all mingles in October with a way for us to identify you (i.e. signed in user, or type a name for us to enter into the drawing) and your name will be entered 1x per week you left comments on.  Only comments on the main LiveJournal site will count (not comments on the Facebook page). 

3.  To increase your chances of winning and to help spread the Fiction Mingle love, doing the following will get you more entries:
Link to the post on Facebook= +1 entry
Link to the post on Twitter= +1 entry
Link to the post on a public blog= +1 entry

This will only work if we can verify, so please make sure to “Like” FM on Facebook, or follow Syl on Twitter, and let us know about the links in your comments.

Please remember, the post you comment on is the drawing you will be entered in.  To be entered into all 5 drawings, you should comment on all 5 posts in October!

EXAMPLE Comment/Entry:
“Hey, love the creepy photo and the music is so chilling I had to make hot cocoa! 
I posted a link on my FB, Twitter, and this blog (http://sylsome.livejournal.com/).  ~Syl”

That comment would get me 4 entries into that week’s drawing :)

Contest closes at 11:59pm Pacific Time October 31, 2010.  Winners to be announced November 1, 2010.

(Feel free to ask questions in the comments below!)


Photo by sylsome
Words by Juliette J. Guilmette
Audio from Musopen (public domain), Glorious Hill, performed by Gavin Bryers

Fiction Mingle,Syl DeLeon

S pinched the folded knife out of his blue jean’s pocket, skin-tight against his thigh. Light
brown hair hung straight into his pretty eyes—eyes that M depended on to be seen by.

M flicked a stained strawberry tongue at the diamond-shaped candy ring on her finger, said theirs
would disappear too, like the rest of the fading names. She wanted something permanent, she

S pulled M into his arms, exposed her unflawed thigh. He scratched the dull blade gently against
yielding skin—drew their names into her—in raised red letters.

A promise against the elements.


Photo by Eric Morrison
Words by Chloé Leisure
Audio by Eric Morrison


When I was three, they found me in a cedar tree.  I didn’t break the choke.  I only pulled it like the pinball machine at the pizza place.  When they yell, I become an owl.  My wings are so wide.  Mice, beware.  I’ll gobble you up.

Once, I woke up in the root cellar and I knew the names of every constellation.

Once, I tied myself to the train tracks to see who would rescue me.

When the door slams, the house shakes and I yell Earthquake! and get in the bathtub.  My teacher says the big one is coming.


Photo by Library of Congress, 1942 (FSA, OWI)
Words by
David F. Morrison
Audio by Andrew Kramer


The sun beats down on the man. He who has worked the fields for ten years must keep working. A toil of a different type this is. A lion watches from afar. War with thy neighbor? War for sustenance? The man paces back and forth gripping his ax. Whose blade of grass is this? Whose tree is that? Night falls and the new dawn breaks. Shadows once cast disappear. Is that fire in the distance? No. Light of a different color we see. Blood. The war hath been waged, and a victor declared. Body slung over a shoulder, heavy.

The Unscientific Study of Bug Eyes
Photo by sylsome
Words by sylsome
Audio composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, performed and recorded by Matt Milne

Fiction Mingle,Syl DeLeon

Consider that our eyes bring images in upside down.  It’s for the brain to flip and process the input.

Ever wonder how even slowpoke gnats escape when you swat?

Compound lenses allow for optic flow.  As the predator lurches, its facade jumps ahead.  Ahead to the next hexagon, like a predictor, like seeing the future.  Little probability machines.

Much like invented plotlines, inevitabilities of logical progressions.  I already see you on the airplane buckled fast against the backdrop of forecasted storms, dodging the sweeping hand.  Bare-knuckled you climb the ceilings of memories to see the world inverted right side up.

A Controlled Burn

Photo by Tom Zidon
Words by Jen Zidon

Music by Susane Reis and Eric Morrison

Lyrics by Woody Guthrie

Dad drove the dusty hour on forgotten gravel roads to watch the old barn burn. The slacked clothesline and the overgrown lilac bush still framed the back corner of the house. Nearby, the outhouse had been choked by weeds for years. He used his pocket knife to help harvest the remaining raspberry bush free from encroaching prairie grasses.

 The fire chief had gone to school with his son and asked him a few polite questions about the old place before he lit the match. Dad listened as the hot laps and the quiet rage of the flames took his home.

One Who Fasts
Artwork by Pamela Colman Smith, 1878-1951, Blue Cat, 1907 (Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
Words in Ossetian by Khetagurov Kosta, 1859-1906
Translated into English by Sveta Valieva
Audio read by Ania M., recorded and mixed by Psychomelodic

Лæг кæрдзынæй дæр æфсæды
     Гутоны фæстæ.
Рагæй нал фæци нæ гæды
     Урссаджы хъæстæ.
Зæрдæ нал агуры хъазын,
     Аргъæуттæй фæцух,
Удхæссæг ын фестад зарын,
     Хъыгкæны æдзух.
Амар æй фæлтау фырнадæй,
     Акъах ын йæ цæст,
Фесаф æй бынтон, æгадæй, –
     Бафсад æй æрмæст!
Йе стонгæн бæргæ ис цары
     Иу нæртоны хос,
Фæлæ йæм фæндаг нæ ары, –
     Аскъуыйа йæ бос! –
Галы фиу... Йæ бын мæхъийау
     Фондз уæрдæхæй баст, –
Бурбурид ысси, фæткъуыйау,
     Афæдзваг у раст!
Ие рагъ афасти фырнæрстæй,
     Хус ысмаг хæссы...
Гъеныр дæр та йæм цъындцæстæй
     Стонг гæды кæсы...
Куыдз дæлдæр хуыссы йæ цуры,
     Уынæргъы, хъæрзы...
Бахудт æм æмæ йæм дзуры:
     “Скастæ та йæм, цы?”
Гæды фестъæлфыд... фырмæстæй
     Аныхта йæ сæр,
Ракаст йе знагмæ мæрддзæстæй, –
     “Гъæ, зæронд сæлхæр! –
Загъта, – ма тæрс, æз мæ цардæн
     Базыдтон æгъдау,
Ма тæрс, гуыдынхъус, æз нал дæн
     Мархохор, дæуау!..”


Translation recited on audio:

Ain't Gonna Study War No More

Photo by Chloé Leisure
Words by Rebecca McGoldrick
Audio by Golden Gate Quartet (Public Domain) 

Her bulldog stance and capacity for scorn helped her ace the interview for the position of Guard.  “You’re a tiptop candidate,” they said.   She knew neither what she was guarding nor how to handle trespassers.

First she was grateful for the job.
Then she wanted a uniform.
Then a sense of purpose.
Then cankers coated her heart. 

“For your performance review,” they said, “we note deficits in focus and efficiency.” And, “there is no professional development available at present.”  Then they left.

“I believe I’m meant for something nobler,” she whispered into the wall’s crevice.  “And I shall pursue it."

Performance Artist
Photo by Syl DeLeon
Words by Judea Franck
Audio from MuseOpen (public domain): Dvorak's Carnival

Curtain opens.  Front row teenagers text, feet on the railing.

Ball one (self). Ball two (marriage). The juggler smiles.

When ball three (baby) is introduced, nobody sucks in their breath.  Even the juggler looks away, wonders where the third row woman gets her highlights done.  Her fingers slip and three, it turns out, is enough to hold her own attention.

Four (a promotion), five (another child), ten (after-school activities, winning a Pulitzer/coffee mug with her name on it, getting children into Princeton/community college… spouse’s promotion).

Newton: Didn't you ever notice it was your mother who stood in the way of gravity?


Wedding Day

Photo by Unknown (Morrison Family Archives)
Words by Molly Reid
Music by Mildred Bailey (Public Domain)

This was the last picture taken. I had to lay down in the back seat to get the angle. You can see it in his eyes can’t you, behind them: soul stitches busted, everything ripped wide open. Poor girl. My mother always said never trust a well-groomed mustache: they’re always hiding something. My buddy said he knew a guy who knew a guy who was there when they found her. She still had the dress on. All that lace and blood. Can you imagine. It looked staged, he said, like paint in a snowstorm, like the idea of murder rather than murder itself.


come take a walk with me
Photography by editundo (Delamore Photography website)
Words by editundo
Audio by editundo

show me what you know, but let's imagine the rest. the time we had stolen can finally be made to test.

we'll light the trees ablaze. so come hold my hand, we can stand, and watch this land earn its right to burn.

they cannot miss what they do not know, for once i wake, not one will remain.

don't worry what the others might say, they will never even find us here, and we can rewrite the sky.

but can you truly not see my love, THE WORLD IS ALREADY ON FIRE.



hoto by Ralf Kracke-Berndorff
Words by Chloé Leisure
Audio by Viviane Vasconcelos (aka Maria Sans Jacoby)

In preparation, she’s lifted all of the pressed flowers from her books and placed them on her body.  Jungle flowers, forest flowers, wedding flowers, funeral flowers.  Like butterfly wings or exotic postage stamps, they stick to her damp skin.  A living illuminated text. 

He speaks a new language.  She simply listens.  How can she tarnish his pure vocabulary with the callous words of this earthly world?  She learns quickly, picking up each curious sound like a seashell.  She presses them to her lips, turns and licks each syllable with her tongue.  Repeating his words, she tastes an achingly familiar brine. 



Photo by Ralf Kracke-Berndorff
Words by Lesa Alison-Hastings
Audio by Rota, Fellini, and Leisure

Words never mean what they should where seats grow weary of popcorn and sweaty nights—equal parts salt.  A scene in the wrong show, she follows him to the janitor’s closet.  He moves the mop outside so it can’t judge.  Fostering shame, both are surprised how easily they give it up when the time comes. Hands grasp freckles, and her bones endure.  All she can think of is the baby bird in the corner, fallen in the park and wrapped in her slip.  Its corner-chirps are fading, a soundtrack behind film reels. She knows the words before they come.


Harmonic Feedback
sound check
Photo by Syl DeLeon
Words excerpted from the novel Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Audio by Tara Kelly

“We weren’t her dream kids, I guess.”  Naomi pointed to the sky.  “I think I felt rain.”

A drop fell into my eye as I gazed at the ashen clouds above us.  The trees whispered and danced with the salty breeze.  As we continued to walk, the wind ceased and an eerie silence emerged.

“Why weren’t you her dream kids?” I asked.

She stopped, putting her finger to her lips.  “You feel that?”

I dropped the stick and hugged my lunch box to my chest.  “I feel cold.  Are you going to answer my question?”

“I don’t want to talk about family.  It’s a downer.”  She closed her eyes, holding her arms outward like she was waiting to catch something.  “These clouds are going to open up any minute.”

Harmonic Feedback is available for purchase here.


Photograph by Sean Leisure
Words by Chloé Leisure
Audio by Emersonography

Shadows stretch across the pavement like long, inky brushstrokes.  Like the everlasting atomic shadows in Nagasaki. 

The wind blows dust and the aromas of sage and sweetgrass into the car.  I think of that song: his brain was squirming like a toad.

He’s looking straight ahead.  He says, “You could get lost here.  You could hide, and never be found.”

I think of that photograph: a mountain of skulls.  They say 60 million buffalo were slaughtered.  All those souls, roaming.

Sunset.  Headlights in the rear-view mirror.  The ghost car passes us.  We sing a mourning song beneath the full moon.


From Here to There
sound check
Photo and painting by Maya Lessov
Words by Kati Moen Johnson
Audio by Kamil Michnicki

1. Bring papers, your journal.  

2. Pedal past the stand with the curry fries and the spot where the strung out man barked like a dog and grabbed my leg. Past the gigantic couch sculpture. 

3. Pedal past the bar with the big screen on the sidewalk, broadcasting the World Cup to a jittery crowd. The prostitutes from around the world, glowing in their black-lit lingerie. 

4. Park your bike between two posts—XXX. 

5. I’ll be waiting for you.  In the graffiti-ed booth in the back of the smoke-filled room. With my stash, tea, and a hearty squinty-eyed embrace.

Flying Machine
sound check
Photo by Syl DeLeon
Words by Juliette J. Guilmette 
Audio by Psychomelodic

I saw the sign—warning me what to do. I kicked at the ground with the toe of my pink tennis shoe.  I licked sticky cotton candy sugar from my hand—sweet dust.     

I wanted to be the girl on the tight rope in leotard and rhinestones careless on the wire.  I wanted to meet the shifting gaze of the boy whose hands controlled the fate of the Ferris wheel.   

A man brushed by me wearing aviator goggles and a white scarf.  I reached.  Rusty metal and red paint splintered my fingers drawing tiny beads of blood.  My skin sang.  


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