The Teresa Jusino Experience

Create Like An Activist

Tag: Fiction (Page 1 of 2)

No Three-Word Fiction Prompt This Week!

3-Word Fiction Photo

As you may have already noticed, there was no Three-Word Fiction prompt today. Sorry about that. With work on the final episodes of Incredible Girl in progress, taking time to celebrate my L.Aversary yesterday, and various other life goings-on, I haven’t been able to be as consistent as I’d like to be here at the blog. But I’m working on it.

Also figuring out exactly what I want this blog to be. All of that is still in flux, and I’m figuring it out as I go. Please feel free to tell me what you think either in the comments below, or at theteresajusinoexperience[at]gmail[dot]com.

And before you start to worry, Steve A’s story is still coming! I’ve already started it, and I hope to post that on Friday night to get us back on track with weekly fiction. What’s it about? Time-travel in India, that’s what. 🙂

I hope you’ll join me then! In the meantime, you can read the stories I’ve already posted:

Horchata (8/16/2013)

The Concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space (8/28/2013)

Thanks so much for riding this ride with me! I hope to continue to bring you original fiction, in whatever shape it happens to take.

 

(LATE) FRIDAY NIGHT FICTION: The Concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space

I’m sorry my tumultuous week last week prevented me from putting up my Friday Night Fiction. This edition of Friday Night Fiction was inspired by Experience reader, Gryffud. Thanks for commenting on the blog, Gryffud! You will be sent a purdy, signed, handwritten copy of this story! It will be the only handwritten version of it IN EXISTENCE you lucky thing! 🙂 Thanks for helping me exercise my prose muscles.

And now, for the rest of you, here’s the story inspired by Gryffud’s Three Words…

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A Concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space

By Teresa Jusino

Below is a sampling of the first few entries from the concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space, the centuries-old legend written by Bera Klár that was lost to the ages until 2012, when Icelandic archaeologists discovered the tale etched on tablets buried in the Lava Caves in the Hallmundarhraun Lava Flows in Western Iceland. The legend indicates that space travel has existed for centuries on Earth in the Bear Community. The full concordance can be purchased on Amazon.com, as can a full English translation from the Old Icelandic.

Astronaut [as-truh-nawt, -not]
Page 2…..The Astronaut, proud though he stole the technology…
Page 5….. …Astronaut’s routine, which included replicating his oats…
Page 6…..Though the Astronaut was a horse, he didn’t think that bears…
Page 9….. …Astronaut, who always dreamed about space travel, now had a ship all his own…
Page 12….. …when suddenly the Astronaut heard a thumping sound…
Page 14….. …took the Astronaut by surprise, binding his hooves…
Page 56…..She asked if he’d come home to her. the Astronaut said “Neigh…”
The Astronaut’s Wife [th ee as-truh-nawt, -not ‘s wahyf]
Page 51…..It was the Astronaut’s Wife, and she didn’t like what she was seeing…
Page 53….. …the Astronaut’s Wife called her a “cheap, space-exploring whore!”
Page 55…..“I’m the only one allowed to lay hooves on my husband!” the Astronaut’s Wife shouted…
Baby Bear [bey-bee bair]
Page 17….. …and Baby Bear, members all of the Bear Space Program.
Page 21…..“This engineering room is just right,” said Baby Bear.
Page 25….. …which disappointed Baby Bear, even though it was never as good replicated.
Page 31…..Baby Bear was young, but he knew a thing or two about shuttle engines.
Page 54…..Baby Bear didn’t want to admit it, but he had a crush on her.
Page 55…..She put Baby Bear in an escape pod and sent him back to Earth.
bunk [buhngk]
Page 55…..She slinked into his bunk, not caring what his horsey wife thought…
Exodus [ek-suh-duhs]
Page 10….. …he hoped to signal the beginning of the Horse Exodus from Earth…
Page 18…..Though the Bear Exodus had already come and gone, still they wanted more…
Page 19….. …the Exodus led them to several Bear worlds, but they wanted Earth most…
Goldilocks [gohl-dee-loks]
Page 45…..“My name is Goldilocks. I came to kick the shit out of some bears.”
Page 47…..Goldilocks stroked his mane, and immediately felt something stir inside…
Page 48….. …the animal revolution, but Goldilocks was in love, and she couldn’t hurt him…
Page 49….. …quickly dispatched of the mother and father, but Goldilocks couldn’t hurt the child.
Page 50…..He nuzzled Goldilocks, and she responded with a kiss…
Page 56…..Goldilocks would let the animals have this battle, she’d win the war…after making love.
Mama Bear [mah-muh bair]
Page 17….. …Mama Bear…members all of the Bear Space Program.
Page 15…..There was no bigger proponent of defeating the Horse menace than Mama Bear.
Page 16…..If there’s one thing Mama Bear hated more than Horses, it was Humans.
Page 49…..“Get away from him, you bitch!” Mama Bear shouted.
Papa Bear [pah-puh bair]
Page 17…..Papa Bear…members all of the Bear Space Program.
Page 15…was an idealist. His wife would’ve said that Papa Bear’s idealism was weakness.
Page 25…..He hated the stuff. Papa Bear was more an oatmeal kind of Bear.
Page 49…..Papa Bear knew that reconciliation with the Humans was the way…
porridge [pawr-ij]
Page 25…..His mother set the replicator to “porridge”, her son’s favorite…
Page 26…..Papa Bear turned his nose up at the too-hot porridge…
Page 55…..She brought a bowl of porridge in with her, like a trophy.

A Winner #3!

Steve A.

Well, from the three entries I received yesterday, this week’s Friday Night Fiction winner is Steve A! Congratulations! You will soon be the proud recipient of a signed, handwritten piece of original fiction inspired by you! I’ll be in touch with you via email.

Steve’s three words are:

Mastodon
Hydrolock
Cholera

Oh boy… 😉

As for my Concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space…you know how when you bite off more than you can chew, and rather than doing the straightforward thing, you decide to be all “experimental” or whatever, but the choice to do that makes what you were working on take longer? Yeah, that.

I hope to have that story up tonight, and I hope it’s worth the wait. (Hey, I think it’s pretty funny…if kinda weird)

Sorry, gryffud! It’s currently in my Google Drive, and is coming! Promise!

THREE-WORD FICTION #3

3-Word Fiction Photo

Hello everyone! As you know, I still owe you a story in response to last week’s Three-Word Fiction prompt by Experience reader, Gryffud. But rest assured, there WILL be a story, and Gryffud WILL be receiving a handwritten copy of it signed by me!

And I’m still going to be looking for a prompt for this week!

I’d like as many of you as possible to comment below and give me a list of three random words. Do this by 5PM Pacific time today, and I will put the names of everyone who comments in a drawing and choose a name at random. I will then write a story at least 500 words long inspired by and/or using the three words that person gave me and post it here on the blog as my Friday Night Fiction.

And the person whose words I choose will receive a signed, handwritten copy of my story in the mail! :)

Comment below and inspire me!

THREE-WORD FICTION #2

3-Word Fiction Photo

Hello everyone! As you might have seen over the weekend, I posted my first piece of Friday Night Fiction thanks to a response to last week’s Three-Word Fiction prompt by Experience reader, Ian Johnson.

Well, it’s that time again!

I’d like as many of you as possible to comment below and give me a list of three random words. Do this by 5PM Pacific time today, and I will put the names of everyone who comments in a drawing and choose a name at random. I will then write a story at least 500 words long inspired by and/or using the three words that person gave me and post it here on the blog as my Friday Night Fiction.

And the person whose words I choose will receive a signed, handwritten copy of my story in the mail! :)

Comment below and inspire me!

FRIDAY NIGHT FICTION: Horchata

This edition of Friday Night Fiction was inspired by Ian Johnson. Thanks for commenting on the blog, Ian! Please email your mailing address to me at theteresajusinoexperience[at]gmail[dot]com, and I will send you a purdy, signed, handwritten copy of this story! It will be the only handwritten version of it IN EXISTENCE you lucky thing! 🙂 Thanks for helping me exercise my prose muscles.

And now, for the rest of you, here’s the story inspired by Ian’s Three Words…

Horchata

By Teresa Jusino

Ever since Abuelita died, Adelaida’s parents always made her come straight to the truck from school. Luis and Gabriella, her older brother and sister, both had jobs now, so there was no one to take care of Adelaida at home anymore. She walked two L.A. blocks all by herself every day, and even though some of her friends felt bad for her, because she had to walk alone and couldn’t go home, she was still really proud that her parents treated her like a Big Girl.

Tienes hambre? her mother asked her when she walked around to the back of the food truck that day. Adelaida shook her head, but her mother knew better, and Adelaida smiled when her mother poured her a cup of horchata and put some warm tortillas on a plate for her. Adelaida’s father had set up a place for her in the corner of the back of the truck, and so she enjoyed her snack surrounded by stuffed animals at a Little Tikes table as the steam from the grill filled the air and her mother began preparing grilled meat for the upcoming dinner rush.

Adelaida was born in California to Mexican parents, so she was just Mexican enough to drink horchata regularly, but just American enough to still think the word “horchata” was kinda funny. She was chuckling to herself about the word, over-pronouncing and elongating it (“hoooorchaaaataaaaa….hoooooorchaaaataaaaa…”) to make her mother laugh (or make her annoyed. One or the other.) when her father poked his head inside the truck.

¡Ven afuera!, he said, smiling. Adelaida was intrigued, and so she did as she was told, and exited the truck. What she saw when she got outside made her squeal with delight.

Tied to a lamppost in the parking lot where they ran their business, was an eight-week-old  dachshund puppy, who immediately began to wag its tail when it saw Adelaida. ¡Ay, que lindo, Papi! Adelaida exclaimed, running over to the dog and kneeling on the ground to play with it. It climbed up on her lap and started licking her nose, which made her squeal.  Adelaida’s mother looked out the back door of the truck, and she didn’t look pleased.

¿Y, qué es eso? she asked, giving Adelaida’s father a pointed look.

Ella necesita algo para entretenerse, he replied. Estar aquí sola con nosotros trabajando…? Eso no es bueno.

Lo que no necesitamos es otra boca para alimentar. Adelaida’s mother frowned and went back into the truck.

Adeleida agreed with her father. It would be good for her to have a puppy so she could have someone to play with. Watching her parents cook food for people was no fun, and she was tired of her stuffed animals. She was glad she could have a real one!

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She called the puppy Horchata, because he was brown like cinnamon and you put cinnamon in horchata and it made perfect sense to her. For weeks, Adelaida ran to the food truck after school to find Horchata laying down by his water bowl waiting for her to walk him around the empty parking lot. When Horchata was 13 weeks old, Adelaida walked him as far as she was allowed to walk in the parking lot before turning back, then let go of his leash and raced him back to the truck the way she always did. And he won, the way he always did.

When Adelaida caught up, kneeling next to Horchata on a patch of grass behind the truck, she heard arguing from inside the truck. Something about money and responsibility and stuff that she couldn’t really understand, because her parents’ Spanish was getting too hard. Then, she heard her mother say,

…después tu compraste ese maldito perro! ¿Y porque? ¿Para que ella te quiere mas que a mi?

And she heard her father say,

¡Lo compre, porque ella necesita alguien que la demuestra afección mejor que tú cuando yo no estoy aquí!

And her heart sank. She didn’t realize Horchata could be so much trouble! But she knew what she had to do. She didn’t want her parents to fight anymore, and if they fought over the dog that much, she shouldn’t have a dog anymore.

Adelaida reached into her school bag for some construction paper and a crayon and made a sign. She picked up Horchata and his bowl and walked to the edge of the parking lot. Her heart breaking, she snuggled the dog one more time, allowing him to lick her nose and cheek, before putting him and the bowl in an old shopping cart. She wheeled the cart to a lamppost next to some parked cars, stuck the sign onto the handle with tape, and ran back to the truck before she could change her mind.

__________________________________________________________________

Mom! Come here! Look! Brian called out as his mother packed their groceries in the trunk of her car.

What is it, honey? I don’t have the energy for games right now…

No, look!

Brian’s mom looked over at the lamppost near her car and saw a puppy in a shopping cart with a sign on it that had “PLEASE TAKE CARE OF THIS DOG. HIS NAME IS HORCHATA” written on it in crayon. It was whimpering. Brian’s mom looked around and didn’t see anything on that side of the parking lot except a food truck.

Can we take him home, Mom? Please?

Who would leave a poor little dog like this in a shopping cart?

THREE-WORD FICTION

3-Word Fiction Photo

So, many of you know that I write things. You may have even seen these things all over the internet. However, you might not know that my heart lies in writing fiction. As much as I’ve made a niche for myself in examining geeky pop culture through a Feminist Brown Girl lens (and enjoyed the hell out of it), all I really want to do is make things up for a living. It’s why I want to write for television. It’s why I want to write comics. It’s why I have a box full of notes for a novel and chapters of that novel languishing away in a folder on my desktop. That chapbook that is available for sale right here on this very blog? That’s got fiction in it!

And so, in order to get back to the thing I love, and to exercise my prose muscles (I’ve been writing a lot of scripts lately), I’ve decided to include more fiction on The Experience!

But I’d like your help.

You see, I’ve always been the kind of person who works really well with guidelines when she writes. I think that’s why I’ve gravitated toward television – because that allows for creativity within a structure. Someone tells you “Write a story about this,” and you figure out the most creative way to do that within a set of parameters. Rather than seem stifling to me, I love how that kind of thing forces me to be more creative; forces me to figure out how I can put my personal stamp on this thing someone’s given me to do.

This isn’t to say that I don’t have original ideas. Au contraire. My head is bursting with them. What I’m not bursting with at the moment is the facility with which I can put those ideas down in print. My fiction muscles need exercise, and to get that, I’d love some guidelines to get me going.

So, here’s where you come in.

I’d like as many of you as possible to comment below and give me a list of three random words. Do this by 5PM Pacific time today, and I will put the names of everyone who comments in a bag and choose a name at random. I will then write a story at least 500 words long inspired by and/or using the three words that person gave me and post it here on the blog on FRIDAY in a new weekly feature I’m calling Friday Fiction.

Because I’m creative.

And the person whose words I choose will receive a handwritten copy of my story in the mail! 🙂

Because I’m old-school like that, and think handwritten things in the mail are cool.

So, go on then! Comment below and inspire me!

TERESA’S BOOKSHELF: Mockingjay and Wild Nights!: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway

Welcome back to Teresa’s Bookshelf! It’s been a while since this has been a regular feature. But just because I haven’t been writing about it doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. At the end of my last post, I mentioned that “up next” on The Bookshelf was Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, and that I was “currently reading” Wild Nights!: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway by Joyce Carol Oates. I’ve read those SO long ago that I couldn’t do a proper review at this point. However, here’s the short version of what I thought of those books, just in case anyone’s keeping track. 🙂

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – I thought this was a harrowing, inevitable, and completely appropriate ending to The Hunger Games trilogy. What impressed me most about the entire series, culminating in this book, is that Collins never gives her characters what’s easy or palatable. Everything Katniss goes through is eerily close to how something like her situation might play out in real life, warts and all. The deaths and injuries that occur are not merely for shock value, but are integral to the kind of story this is, and deeply meaningful to Katniss. I love that Mockingjay doesn’t give Katniss a happy ending or a sad ending. Or an ending at all. It gives her a new chapter as an adult, a clean slate, to do with as she pleases.

Wild Nights!: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway by Joyce Carol Oates – To be completely honest, I prefer Joyce Carol Oates the short story author to Joyce Carol Oates the novelist. I’ve only read two of her many novels, and while I enjoyed them intellectually, for their craft, I didn’t enjoy them in that soft squishy place in my heart where books are beloved. Whenever I read her short stories, however, be they in The New Yorker, or in a collection, they always make me feel something. Wild Nights! is not only some of her best short work, but it’s one of my favorite short story collections of all time. Each story shows us each author in a completely honest (albeit fictional) way. They are none of them canonized or demonized. Oates is wonderful at wearing these writers’ voices and showing us the good and the bad, making us feel for the characters she’s created. I think that if any of these writers were still alive, they would choose these stories as their eulogies for themselves! Wild Nights! also contains one of my favorite sci-fi stories ever, “EDickinsonRepliluxe,” which tells the story of Emily Dickinson as A.I. years in the future; a future where people can have cylon-like dead celebrities live with them in their own homes. I don’t usually read books more than once – why reread things when there are so many other books I haven’t read yet? – but this one will be getting a reread in a couple of years. The stories are that good.

Well, that’s it for now! I’ll be playing catch-up with my reviews for a while, but from the next Bookshelf post on, each will be getting its own review. Hopefully, you’ll encounter a title that interests you and give it a read yourself! I hope so. And if you do, do me a favor and buy a copy from an indie bookstore, won’t you? Support your local bookshops. They need you.

Next on Teresa’s Bookshelf: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Currently Reading: Embassytown by China Miéville and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke

Save Crossed Genres!

Hey there, everyone! I know that I’ve been really lax about blogging recently. I had a friend in town and frankly, hanging out with my visiting friend was more important than you people. 😉 But I’m back on the blogging train, and I wanted to tell you all about something really important.

You might have heard of a wonderful sci-fi literary magazine and anthology publisher called Crossed Genres. If you follow my work at all, you know that Crossed Genres was responsible for my first-ever fiction sale (my horror short story, “December”) to their Characters of Color issue! I was so proud and excited to know that a magazine that was doing so much to not only further the careers of new sci-fi/genre writers, but to make sure that points of view not given much attention in the mainstream were heard wanted to publish my story (in a genre I’d never tried before!). Even when later, they decided not to publish a second submission of mine for their Fat Girl in a Strange Land anthology Kay, one of the editors, took the time to critique my story when I asked her to, giving me solid, constructive criticism while continuing to encourage me. It was one of the best rejections I ever got in my whole life. 🙂

Well, Crossed Genres is in trouble. As you can imagine, this economy is taking its toll on small enterprises like indie literary magazines. The thing is, Kay and Bart have been OK with losing money on Crossed Genres, because they cared about it so much! So long as they had their day jobs, they could continue to produce quality fiction collections as a labor of love. However, they’ve recently unexpectedly lost their day jobs, and simply can’t afford to keep Crossed Genres alive anymore. Not without your help!

So, they’ve started a Kickstarter, which you can find HERE. I’ve just backed it myself. They’re only asking for $4,000, which would be just enough to carry Crossed Genres through their planned publications for 2013. Thing is, I don’t want them to just meet their goal. I want them to exceed it. This is a publisher bringing readers work from undiscovered talent and giving voice to those who are often marginalized in speculative fiction, and I don’t want that outlet to disappear. I don’t think any of you do either. I want to do my part to ensure that this publisher stays around for a long time. Let’s see if we can’t get them to $8,000. Maybe even $12,000…

Please support Crossed Genres by BACKING THEIR KICKSTARTER. Do it, because they had the good sense to publish my fiction first. 🙂 Do it, because you want speculative fiction to be a place that’s safe for diversity. Do it, because you love quality fiction. Whatever your reason, just do it.

Thank you!

My First Published Fiction! (and Other Money-Making News)

Despite the craziness of my housing situation, I’ve been having a run of good luck with regard to my writing. My first published short story, “December,” is out NOW! 🙂 It’s in Issue #24 of the sci-fi magazine, Crossed Genres, which is the “Characters of Color” issue. While my story is available on the Crossed Genres website, I highly recommend purchasing either a print copy or an ebook copy, as this is a great issue filled with wonderful writing that features characters that aren’t often prominently featured in sci-fi. Also, Crossed Genres is a unique magazine that is worthy of your support!

In other writing news, I was so pleased to have several copies of On The Ground Floor to get out in the mail today! Thank you so much to those of you who have purchased a copy. For the rest of you, there are still copies available, and I’d love for you to have one! 🙂 And now that I’m settled into a new home, I’ll be able to mail them out more reliably. Snag your copy of On the Ground Floor today!

There’s still an Awesome Seekrit Project that I can’t announce yet, but I’m DYING to! Do you hear me?! DYING. 🙂

Lastly, I think I did get that job I interviewed for at the comic shop where I applied. I say “think” because my phone wasn’t working when I got the job offer call, they sent an email instead, I called, then emailed, and I haven’t heard back since. I hope to start training this week. So, yay? I think?

One thing about life as a freelance writer? It’s never boring. 🙂

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