Welcome to the place where I rant, rave and discuss books, writing, the town of Cobourg Ontario and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions:

I’m sure most or at least some of you are sick of the holidays and the holiday posts. I’ve refrained from posting many, or any, but this subject has been haunting me for days.

What is a New Year’s resolution? Well, it’s no more than a promise we make to ourselves for improvement.

But why, oh why, do people make New Year’s resolutions? It’s my opinion that there are two factors here:

#1 – Somehow in the deep bowels of our minds, we see New Year’s as a fresh start, and we want to begin that fresh start on the right path. (That’s the obvious one)

#2 – (And maybe not quite so obvious to everyone) is that leading up to the new year is a stressful time, when all schedules are thrown to hell and our worlds are chaotic. That’s right, The Holidays! They can wreak havoc on our good habits and switch our goals from inside to out. What can start as simply, “I don’t have time for this right now, I’ll deal with it after the holidays,” can turn into a form of beating yourself over the head with a frying pan for not getting any of your usual business attended to. (Exercise, eating well, working, cleaning, staying in touch with friends, volunteering your time, ad nauseum.) In effect, all of these little slips can easily snowball into a New Year’s Resolution.

I’ve looked up quite a few stats on New Year’s Resolutions, and I’ve got to say, it’s not pretty folks. The numbers appear to be stacked against all resolutioners. But let’s ignore the half-empty glass for now and focus on how to do it right. I’ll admit I’m no expert on getting my goals accomplished, but a sneak peek at what it feels like, visited me with my accomplishment of NaNoWriMo this year. And it feels GOOD.

So how is it done? Let’s look at what the experts say:

#1 – Write a list of what you want to achieve. Sounds easy right? Think again… this takes time. And if you have any bit of philosopher inside you like I do, the question can be more intimidating than a grimacing twelve-foot giant with small-man syndrome.

#2 – Ok so let’s assume you’ve got your goals all written down. Some may be simple, some a little more complex. Now it’s time to use that other side of your brain and figure out how to achieve those goals realistically. Be Specific! Saying: “I’m going to eat better,” is not specific. Learning how to eat better, then applying those goals, that’s specific. REMEMBER: A resolution is not a wish, you can’t resolve to lose 20 pounds in a week and think that by making it a resolution it will automatically happen. Re-look at that list, make sure it’s realistic and alter what is not. Then research where necessary to find out HOW to reach those goals – then, you guessed it, more lists.

#3 - So now we’ve got the basic list of what we want to achieve, and with a bit of work and some research, we have a realistic list of ways to get what we want. Now get even more specific. Timeline it. Realistically. If you did your research in step two, you already have an idea of when and where and what you can do to achieve your goals. So now is the time to timeline it. Here’s an example:

Step #1 - Resolution: I want to read a book a month for the year of 2012.

Step#2 – Research: I want to read these specific books. I can afford them or I can make it to the library to get them. There are 500 pages in the first book, that’s between 16 and 17 pages a day.

Step#3 – I must read 16 to 17 pages a day, that’ll take me 25 minutes a day. I can sneak that in on my lunch hour with time to spare, or, if I get too busy at lunch, I can read for 25 minutes after dinner before doing the dishes. (You get the idea). (Write it down, that’s right, list it.) Now add: I will go to the bookstore/Library on December 29th between 1pm and 2pm to get the first book. I will go the bookstore/Library on January 30th to get the second book. (I know it sounds redundant and like unnecessary listing, but do it anyway.)

Step#4 – Reward yourself. If you’ve done the above, you now have a journal of sorts, whether you planned to or not. Write in a reward system for a goal you’ve achieved, heck reward yourself for getting through the list!

Here are some FREE online tools you can use:

http://lifetick.com/
http://www.goal-buddy.com/

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - A Book Review

Pillars of the Earth

It took me… oh a few months to read it, and I believe I wrote one or two blogs about it while I was reading it, but last month during NaNoWriMo, I finally finished Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. What a ride!

An epic tale to say the very least. This novel is brilliant and spans over a lifetime. Some parts made me cringe, some made me cry and some made me WHOOP and cheer. From the very first line “The small boys came early to the hanging.” You know you’re in for a ride. (I actually used that first line as a prompt in the Thursday version of the Prompt-and-Share, and the results were unforgettable.)

The characters in this novel are so fleshed out that you think about them on a regular basis. I had a personal connection with the building aspects of the storyline because my honey is a stonemason, so it did add that extra touch.

If you haven’t read it yet, this is a great novel to get you through the cold winter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Top ten list of things I learned from participating and winning



Top 10 things I learned by winning NaNoWriMo

That's right, on my first attempt, I managed to write over 50,000 words in one month.
No plotting, no planning, no character developing, just pen to paper (or in this case, fingers to keyboard) and voila, done. (okay, a little less on the voila and a little more on the sweating like a small business owner on audit day)
So now I will share with you what I've learned from this experience.

#1 - Life doesn't seem to care one smidgen that you've planned to devote an entire month to writing, and if the powers-that-be do in fact care, they show it by putting as many obstacles in your way as possible. Despite all of that, I did it.

#2 - When I write by the seat of my pants, it's crap. I wouldn't even read this story - there's nothing to it. The characters are weak, the storyline is all over the place and the writing gives a bad name to writing. It plays out kind of like a soap opera. But I did it.

#3 - Character Development is apparently my forte, according to Drew Nicholson. This does not work if you don't plot your characters BEFORE you write your story. When I don’t develop my characters ahead of time, they wind up as one-dimensional as a paper cut-out. Regardless, I did it.

#4 - Telling people "Hey I wrote a novel in a month. Oh no, no, no, I'm not going to publish it, it's crap. But I wrote a novel in month!" will have them look at you like you escaped from an insane asylum. Or perhaps just think that you are plain stupid. But I did it.

#5 - Putting your good sense aside, and writing even though you know you could dry your words out to fertilize the lawn, is quite difficult for a perfectionist. But I did it.

#6 – Waiting until the last day, then writing 10k+ words thus producing a red and swollen blister on your wrist is probably not the best way to go… But I did it.

#7 – All those tips and rules and tricks you read about in those “how to” writing books completely disappear when the actual writing starts. I believe that when I re-read those books now, the information will stick far better with the NaNo experience under my belt… but during the first process, it was hell. Regardless… I did it.

#8 – For those who pester me, that I never finish what I start, (specifically, my own conscience) Screw you! I did it.

#9 – I’m in awe of the creative things that come out of my head when I’ve got to get those words down. At times it was downright scary, but I did it.

#10 – Winning NaNoWriMo does not make you an amazing author, it does not mean you have mastered the art, it does not give you the next great internationally renowned novel, it does not mean you will be famously published one day – but it’s a step in the right direction, and I did it!

A huge Congratulations to all of you who DID IT too 

Friday, October 28, 2011

A social network just for writers??

Thanks to my awesome friend Drew Nicholson, I've been directed to a funky new site - here's the info!

WAE Network is the first Social Network for Writers, Agents & Editors. Join WAENET.com for the opportunity to interact with agents and editors like never before!

The first 1000 people to sign up for the launch and Share with their friends below will receive a FREE lifetime membership!


Something worth looking into? Here's the link: http://waenet.com/

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Winter Wonders: Call for Submissions!


Scriptorum Tantillum’s Call for Submissions!!!

In the northern hemisphere, Winter is coming, and with it, come the winter holidays -- not just Channukah, or Christmas, but the old holidays of yore: Yule, Mōdraniht, Winter Solstice, Samhain, Saturnalia, Imbolic, Festivus, Sadeh and more. (find more holidays at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_winter_festivals)

Write a story or poem of winter, inspired by one of these holidays, or any other winter holiday you can find, or even just the season of Winter itself. Write a story or poem of heroes or everyday people who were inspired by the holiday to do inspiring things.

Requirements:
You must give us the name you want used.
You must give us an email so we can contact you.
You must not go over 1000 words.
You must indicate your approval to have an illustration in your story.

Unlike the Letters To Your Ten Year Old Self, we're not going to be accepting every entry, so we will announce which stories made the cut two days after submissions close.

Please send all submissions in Microsoft Word format to scriptorumtantillum@gmail.com with “Winter Holiday Submission” in the subject line.

At the top right of your submission and in the body of the email, please include the name you would like associated with the piece as well as a valid email address.

**Deadline for submissions is November 25th**

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Free ebook! It's been released!


After much groaning and moaning, sweat and tears, the first Scriptorum Tantillum Publishing has been released!

Family, friends, all:

Today, Nina Pelletier and Drew Nicholson are proud to announce the very first e-book published by Scriptorum Tantillum, "Letters To My Ten Year Old Self."

If you could write a letter to your 10-year-old self, what advice would you give? Which lessons do you wish you didn’t have to learn the hard way? What message do you feel would have made the greatest impact on your life?

Find out at "Letters To My Ten Year Old Self."

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95604

Give it a peek if you would, leave a comment or a review if you would be so kind :)

Writing Prompt-and-Share #44


Prompt-and-Share Thanksgiving Monday for you Canadians out there in writerland. For everyone else, it's back to the grind.
Character-development Monday is going to meet Dialogue Sunday today. Scenario : Your character just got something they really really wanted. Something life-changing or something small, no matter, as long as it means a lot to the character. I'd like to see a lot of back-and-forth dialogue in this piece please. During the editing/feedback I'll be focusing on proper punctuation for dialogue - which is more for me than for you, because I'm constantly asking myself, "Where does the punctuation go in this line?" So I'll have to look it up as I'm editing/feedbacking.
Submit your flash fiction/short story below in the comments, or on your own stream with a link below. 500 words or less, please :)
Have fun!

Writing Prompt-and-Share #43


Prompt-and-Share Happy Weekend writers! Because it's the weekend, I like to keep things pretty open. This prompt is going to take over the rest of the weekend, so have fun with it.
Today's prompt is a picture prompt, only this time, YOU get to pick the picture. Pick any picture you like, whether it be art or a photograph or merely some scribblings - (Artistic nudity is fine, but please no pornography) Then write a story inspired by the picture you choose.
No rules really, just please try to keep it under 750 words, and woo us with entertainment please :)
Add the picture as a link to the end of your piece too please, so we can see your inspiration.

Writing Prompt-and-Share #42

Prompt-and-Share Happy Friday all!
It came to my attention yesterday that some people are confused as to what the Prompt-and-Share actually is. For those who are wondering, it's a myriad of things, but first and foremost it is a call for short stories/flash fiction. The premise is to take the prompt I put before you and weave a tale to share with others. Feedback and comments on every piece is encouraged! Mainly, the Prompt-and-Share is a probe for your creative muse and a sharpening tool for your skills. Plus it's great entertainment:) That pretty much covers it, but for more detail, feel free to check out the Prompt-and-Share tips, tricks and rules page here: http://writingofanovel.blogspot.com/2011/08/about-writing-prompt-and-share.html

On to today's prompt:
It's another No Swifty Friday! (No adverbs, or in this case, no adverbs ending in ly ) Take a lyrical phrase from any song you like and use it in the piece. Please verify at the end of your post, which line was the lyric and what song it was from. 400 words or less, NO SWIFTIES! :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Writer's Humility

How many of you have read a book and thought “Wow, great story, but I could have written it SOOOO much better”? I know I have. It might actually be one of the pushes that made me want to become a writer.

On the other hand, I’ve also read books that were so completely amazing, that they encouraged me to believe, “I want to do THAT. I can do THAT.”

Right now, I’m reading a book that has me thinking “I will never be THAT good”. It’s almost depressing how wonderful this novel is. Strange isn’t it? The best I can hope for is to learn a little something from the amazing writing and story-weaving this author has accomplished.

If you haven’t read it yet, and you don’t mind feeling a little humility about your writing, check out Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

There is also a movie based on the book, if anyone has seen the movie and read the book I’d love to know your take on how the movie measures up.

Have any other writers here read a book that shamed them a little?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #41

Prompt-and-Share: Word Prompt Thursday! Plot is of obvious importance to any story. Though stories can be very different, let’s focus on the basics. There needs to be a character in your story, at least one. It has to happen somewhere, so we need a setting. Finally we need a conflict and a resolution.
So from now on, Thursdays prompts are going to focus on a random word generated Prompt-and-Share centering on plot. That’s right folks, we are putting some rhyme and reason into this chaos of Prompt-and-Share madness! The rules will be a little more strict, please adhere to them, they are there for YOU to learn how to work your creativity within certain guidelines.

Remember:
#1 -At least one character
#2 – A conflict AND a resolution
#3 – Give us a setting
#4 – Your story must include the 3 random words chosen
#5 – No more than 400 words please
#6 – Have fun with it! Today’s random words thanks to
http://watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx

Groove
Apostle
Errand

For those of you who are new to the Prompt-and-Share, you can find tips, tricks and rules here: http://writingofanovel.blogspot.com/2011/08/about-writing-prompt-and-share.html

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #40


Prompt-and-Share Happy Hump Day! Midweek my lovely writers, the weekend is in sight! First Sentence theme continuing on the Prompt-and-Share. We all know how important the first sentence is to any story, it grabs the reader and pulls them in. We've been taking the first sentence of famous novels and writing our own little stories with them. Today we are gonna steal from Jack Kerouac's On the Road.
In 400 words or less, write a short story/flash fiction starting with this as your opening line: I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up..
Take it away folks!
(Sorry to those who have been doing serials if this doesn't fit your story-line :( )

Writing Prompt-and-Share #39

Prompt-and-Share Tuesday Textures. That's right, it's time to use those senses. I suspect this one is going to get umm... interesting? The sense of touch. That's what we are focusing on today. Last week when we did the sense of smell I added some pretty harsh requirements to it. Not today though - today you are free to take this anywhere you like.
The only challenge I add to this prompt is that you pay attention to the word count - keep it under 350 please.
Good luck, have fun!

Writing Prompt-and-Share #38

Prompt-and-Share Hello Monday, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
Character Development Monday is in full bloom. Last week we focused on Fears. That was a creepy day at the Prompt-and-Share... shudders
This week we are going to put your character (or yourself) in a specific situation. Your character is late, he/she's late for a very important date, no time to say "hello", "goodbye" they're late they're late they're late.
400 words or less - Show your character rushing against time.

Writing Prompt-and-Share #37

Prompt-and-Share Friday! Woot woot, Hello weekend :)
We have a bunch of new participants to the Prompt-and-Share which is very cool, diversity rocks! Welcome all!!! Anyhoo... yesterday, setting seemed to be an issue for some folks, so guess what we are focusing on today? You Betcha. Character development. Nyah just kidding, we are focusing on setting.
But that's pretty boring on its own so let's spice it up a notch shall we? Let's hit the 5 main senses (smell, touch (texture), sight, sound and taste). I know what you may be thinking, Setting and taste?!? Is she mad?!?! Well yes I may be, slightly anyway... But that's beside the point. This will help you get all imaginative and stuff. And just because it's Friday, we've gotta make it hard as hell add a little extra fun to it, right? NO TOM SWIFTIES! Which, in this case means very limited adverbs. And since I'm not cool enough to go through and check each sentence for an adverb, for today it simply, easily and obviously means no words ending in "LY".
So there is your prompt folks - it's a toughy... or should I said it's harsh_ly_ difficult!

So a recap:
- Focus on setting
- Use all FIVE of the main senses
- No Tom Swifties! (Words ending in "ly")
Word count limit - 500.

For the new contributors: WELCOME and please leave feedback where you can. Also you can check out the tips, tricks and rules at http://bit.ly/rcsGtF

Writing Prompt-and-Share #36

Prompt-and-Share: Word Prompt Thursday! Plot is of obvious importance to any story. Though stories can be very different, let’s focus on the basics. There needs to be a character in your story, at least one. It has to happen somewhere, so we need a setting. Finally we need a conflict and a resolution.
So from now on, Thursdays prompts are going to focus on a random word generated Prompt-and-Share centering on plot. That’s right folks, we are putting some rhyme and reason into this chaos of Prompt-and-Share madness! The rules will be a little more strict, please adhere to them, they are there for YOU to learn how to work your creativity within certain guidelines.

Remember:
#1 -At least one character
#2 – A conflict AND a resolution
#3 – Give us a setting
#4 – Your story must include the 3 random words chosen
#5 – No more than 250 words please
#6 – Have fun with it! Today’s random words thanks to
http://watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx

Residue
Master
Parasite

Please don't be offended anyone - this was done all in good fun - and 250 words on the nose!


“Where are we?” Angus asked, as he looked around the motley assemblage in the room.

“Forget where,” Lynn answered taking in Roan’s attire. “My question is, when are we?”

“Indeed,” Bastian agreed, taking in his surroundings.

“Huh?” replied Richard, rubbing his head. He let out a feminine scream as he spotted Alex sitting in the corner. “A monster! A monster! Kill it! Kill it!” he reached for his sword but it was gone. All eyes were on him, rendering him quite uncomfortable. He took a moment to gain his bearings then tried to justify his outburst by stating, “It’s an animal! It could have diseases or parasites or… something…”

The group watched curiously as Alex moved his hands in a fluid and mesmerizing dance.

Richard approached one of the four white walls and smudged his finger in the strange black images before him. “What is this residue?” he asked, smudging the substance between his fingers.

“Ink,” Bastian replied. “Four walls, no doors, and ink. What _is_this place?” he wondered aloud knocking on the wall, testing its material structure.

“What sort of master sorcerer could concoct such a prison?” Mr. Appel marveled.

Bruce leaned casually against Alex, who grunted in disapproval“Maybe it’s like, you know man, like there’s writing, and ink and white stuff. Maybe we are like, in some sort book like shit. Or maybe, none of this is really happening, and that stuff I smoked last night was just primo-shit man. Yeah! That’s it man! Ummm…Anyone got any Doritos?”

(This piece involves a good chunk of the characters that are being developed through the Prompt-and-Share on G+, by different authors.)

Writing Prompt-and-Share #35


Prompt-and-Share Happy Hump Day Writers! - We are officially half way through the work week, if you live in the EST timezone that is...
It's Wednesday's First Sentence theme continuing on the Prompt-and-Share. We all know how important the first sentence is to any story, it grabs the reader and pulls them in. We've been taking the first sentence of famous novels and writing our own little stories with them. Today we are going to steal from Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Remember to give us at least one setting, character, conflict and Resolution.
In 900 words or less - (let's make a valiant effort to stay under the word limit today) tell us a story that starts with "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun."
I'm very curious to see where you all take this...

I kinda got a crush on the two characters I created yesterday. So I've renamed them (Bob and Doug could be too easily attributed to the famous duo Bob and Doug Mackenzie) and used them again below

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Almost ninety-three million miles away from the afore mentioned unregarded sun lies an even more insignificant planet. On this insignificant little planet called Earth, lives two patently trivial young busboys in their early twenties: Bruce and Wayne.

In a far more significant Galaxy, for no apparent reason, the Watcher known as Penemue, found fascination with Bruce and Wayne’s mundane lives. Penemue did as his position implied, he watched. At first the two humans irritated him. In their early years, the two young men were responsible for more than a few lumps on his forehead from repeatedly forcing him to smack his skull against the Great Mirror in frustration. Over time though, Penemue became accustomed to their idiocies, and found himself amused by their senseless meanderings… well, most of the time…

But on this specific day, and this specific hour, Penemue was beyond bored from the scene before him. He had risked his freedom, thousands of earth years prior, by bringing knowledge to the humans. Today he despised this prison, the chains that held him to the Great Mirror that aired only one station. At this moment he wanted more than the same routine.

He sat dumbfounded at their lack of adventure. The typical standard scene passed before his eyes. They cleaned dirty dishes form checkered tablecloths. Clouds of steam rose from the silver sinks as they scrubbed away half eaten morsels from porcelain white plates. They stole glimpses at the big heavy clock on the wall waiting for their ten o’clock break. Once break was announced by the heavy hands of time, they would each grab a bag of garbage and a shiny bag of sustenance on their way to the dumpsters in the back parking lot.

Penemue knew what came next. He wished for an accident, a falling meteor, an explosion, anything to break up the monotony of the reruns that had become these boys’ lives. Sadly, nothing of the sort was to happen. His eyes teared with boredom as the day-to-day sequel played on. Wayne would produce the marijuana cigarette, Bruce would light it. They would smoke the long stick in turn, killing brain cells they couldn’t afford to lose and numbing themselves to the mediocrity of their existence. If only he had such a tool.

The busboys would then open their loot-filled crinkly bags. Bruce would open it slowly, crackling the material. Wayne would smash his Dorito bag between both hands causing a loud bang. Penemue always knew what was coming, but would jump at the sound regardless. They would crunch away at the triangular treats repeating the same conversation daily.

“These are so good, dude.” Wayne would say with orange speckles leeched to his teeth.

“I like the jalapeno ones better, man.” Bruce would complain.

“You should get them next time.”

“Yeah I should, man.”

He swore if he were ever released, he would break the mediocrity of Bruce and Wayne’s lives by introducing them to knowledge yet to be understood by their race. Oh yes, he would blow their minds far more than any drug ever had… and then promptly indulge himself in a bag of these Doritos . Upon contemplation, he licked his lips unsure as to which task he would relish in first.

Penemue yawned deeply from boredom as he watched the two dimwits munch away. Suddenly there was a choking sound. He sat on the edge of his seat. This could be it, something to break up the monotony. A death? An epiphany of the afterlife? SOMETHING ??? He dared not dream of things unlikely, but Wayne was not recovering quickly. This was a different choking than what he had witnessed when they smoked the joints. Wayne’s eyes were tearing and his lips were turning blue. Bruce was emphatically thumping on his back. This was it! Penemue was convinced this would be a pivotal moment.

Finally, as quickly as it had come on, the choking stopped. The color returned to Wayne’s lips and he was breathing, though sporadically, and with orange spittle dangling from his chin. Penemue waited, paused in the moment, in hopes that the episode had delivered some enlightenment to the young man. He held his breath as the busboy spoke.

“Wow that was trippy, dude,” was all Wayne had to say about his near-death experience.

Bruce simply nodded.

Penemue sighed in exasperation, shook his head, and sat back at his post. He was left with an overwhelming feeling of desolation. He wanted to weep, scream, tug and tear at his chains. He stood up and paced the few steps his restraints would grant him. He shuffled back and forth and back and forth as he had done countless times before, averting his eyes from the Great Mirror’s screen that he despised.

Consumed by his thoughts and disappointment, he didn’t notice that his encumbrance had slacked. He had taking several steps past his standard pacing path without cognizance. Then it dawned on him. He looked down at his emancipated feet and felt as if his eyes would pop right out of their sockets. A slow maniacal smile edged along his lips as his soul lifted into the light, the recognition and the endless possibilities of freedom.

Writing Prompt-and-Share #34


Prompt-and-Share It's Tuesday! Why is that exciting? Because it's not Monday! Okay... on to today's writing prompt. Tuesdays we've been focusing on senses. Today's sense is "Smell". I know, I know, easy right? We've been playing with new and fun senses like the "sense of time" and the "sense of space" - so let's take this one up a notch. Here's what I'm looking for...
I want the sense of smell to set the mood.
I want to feel a sense of space.
I want dialogue, yes dialogue - I'm not the only one who is going to pay for missing Sunday's dialogue prompt.
And finally, to take it up even one more notch - I want a debate, or an epiphany, I want the characters to philosophize about something ANYTHING! Mundane or supreme, microcosmic or macrocosmic. Have fun with it.
750 word limit

My Submission:

The stench of grease and sweat filled the car as Bob and Doug pulled the old Camero unto the sandy beach. Doug tucked his long stringy hair behind his ears and glanced at the clock on the car stereo. They had finished their shift at the Diner at 2:00am, it was now 2:17am. They had made good time.

He snatched the plastic baggie and some rolling papers from the glove compartment and made fast work of rolling a joint. Bob shut the engine off, turned the key backwards to ignite the stereo, and leaned into his seat. This was the beginning of their nightly ritual, and the thoughts and worries of the day were already drifting away to the sound of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.

They didn’t speak, not yet. They never spoke in the car. Doug finished crafting the perfect pinner and handed it to Bob to light, as was the custom. Bob examined the joint, nodded his approval and said a silent prayer of gratitude to whoever may be listening before blazing up. They passed the spliff back and forth, choking and coughing, but never uttering a word. The sweet smell filled the car, masking all previous odors of the greasy spoon they had escaped.

When there was nothing but filter remaining, Bob butted it out in the ashtray. Smoke billowed out of the car as they opened the doors and exited the vehicle. They climbed onto the hood of the car, stretched out and balled up their jackets to use as pillows. They breathed in the cool, crisp lake air and stared at the cosmos above.

“I don’t get time travel,” Doug said.

“What don’t you get, man?”

Doug lit up a cigarette and stared into space. “Well, time is a man-made device, it can’t go backwards.”

“What do you mean, man? Time exists no matter what, it’s not ‘man-made’.” Bob scoffed.

“Well yeah, time itself isn’t man-made. Like, ya know, it would still happen if we didn’t name it but like, it’s like a man-made measurement. You can’t go back an inch ya know? Like if you have a piece of word and it measures an inch, well an inch is an inch. It can’t measure minus and inch or it wouldn’t exist. It’s like time.”

Bob watched as a cloud of Doug’s smoke hazed the starry sky before him. It was a clear night and they were alone on the vast beach. The waves lapped gently at the shore and the smell of dew was already settling in the field behind them. “You’re looking at it all wrong, man. What about those astronauts that travel to space and come back and they’ve only aged a year, when like, everyone else is fuckin’ old.”

“Good point.”

“Yeah man. It’s like the speed of light man.”

“What’s the speed of light got to do with it?”

“Everything man, everything. If some dude gets in like a rocket-type-of-space-ship man, and travels faster than the speed of light, he can like, go far in no time at all to him, but like, it would seem like forever to us.”

“How is that though? That’s what I don’t get.” Doug glanced at the crescent moon and began wondering what it would be look to live in space.

“It’s like this man. If the space rocket dude travels to another like, galaxy, and he’s going so fuckin’ fast, right man? He can make it there in like a couple of weeks ‘cause he’s going so fuckin’ fast! All the while we here on earth are going about our regular business right man? So like, the earth is spinning all normal and stuff, it does its orbiting thing around the sun all regular and shit, right? So, time goes by normal for us but he’s going faster than that man, he’s going faster than it takes for the planet to like orbit the sun man. So when he comes back, we’ve all been puttin’ along normally, aging and shit, but he’s only been gone like a month. So he comes back the same age, and we all grew older and shit.”

Doug nodded along with him. “That’s crazy-assed shit, dude.”

“Brilliant right man?”

“Abso-fuckin-lutely”

As they sat there contemplating their latest discovery, imagining a world far beyond their comprehension, they spotted a bright shooting star cross the horizon.

“Holy shit! Did you see that man?” Bob said as they both sat up straight.

“That was so wicked!”

“That’s what I’m talking about, man. That star probably died out a million years ago and we’re only seeing it now man.” Bob smacked the hood of the car for emphasis. “That’s time travel man, that’s fucking time travel!”

“Did you make a wish, dude?” Doug asked.

“Ah shit, no man, I forgot. Did you?

“Yeah.”

“Well what did you wish for man?”

“Doritos.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Unorthodox Interview with Glenn Gamble

Glenn Gamble is the author of five books: A Thousand Chances, Bon Appetit, Escape, On the Run, and James. When he’s not writing books Glenn can be found 1+ ing on Google +, slamming Facebook with updates, and dropping twitter bombs from the sky. When he’s not online, Glenn can usually be found in a housing project apartment building somewhere in America betting on rat and roach races.

#1 – Do you have a routine when writing, if so, what is it?

I write a scratch outline first, then I use that outline as the foundation of my story.

#2 –What possessed you to start writing?

A blog reader of mine from MySpace told me that I should write fiction because she enjoyed the style of writing that I employed on my blog posts. I laughed at her because writing a novel was the last thing I thought I would do in life.

#3 – What is your favorite quote?

Shit happens

#4– How long did it take you to write your first novel?

A month off and on. I remember my approach to writing being so unorganized and although A Thousand Chances turned out to be a great book, if I could do it all over again, I'd write out a scratch outline and base my writing around the outline. Had I done that, I think I could have wrote A Thousand Chances in two weeks.

#5 – What books have influenced your life the most?


#6 – Do you have any writing quirks? (like having to walk around your desk 3 times before sitting down)

None that I'll admit to.

#7 – If you could spend an afternoon with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Charlie Sheen, that way I'd know what it would be like to have tiger blood.

#8– What do you like most about your book?

I like the pace of the books in the Jim Money series. They're very fast paced with a lot of action.

#9 – If you didn’t write, what would you want to be doing with your life?

I'd find a way to write. Everything me revolves around writing. Without the ability to write, I'd be voiceless.

#10 – If Dante’s Inferno were real, what level of hell would you be stuck in if you were sent there and why?

Who is Dante? He sounds like a guy who owe me money.

#11 – If Heaven is a real place, and you were sent there with the opportunity to ask God one question, what would it be?

If I were to ring Donna Summers's bell, would I get my wings faster?

#12 – If Heaven is a real place, and you were sent there with the opportunity to tell God one thing, what would it be?

Give me Solomon's wisdom and James Patterson's book sales.

#13 – What would be the one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?

Respect the artform of writing. Your number one focus, especially as an aspiring writer is to write the best books that you can. Write good and write often. Also read as much fiction as your time permits. Money is meaningless because most likely you'll make very little starting off. With that said, keep in perspective what inspired you to write books --your favorite authors who delivered the best books they could. Don't upload unedited, badly formatted ebooks just because you can. Make sure that you hire an editor to look over your book so that you can make necessary changes that you'll never be able to catch. If you have a small budget, seek out indie authors on twitter and Google+ and ask them who they recommend for the best price. Personally, I don't know what I'd do without my editor. My grammar is above average, and the same can be said for my punctuation; yet my editor still marks up my ebooks with red ink highlighting grammatical errors, punctuation errors, and suggest fixes for my dialouge --its never pretty and the experience is humbling each time.

Don't focus too much time making your first book a best-seller. In fact, as soon as you finish your first novel turn it in to your editor, get the book cover designed if you hadn't before you finished your book, take a few days off from writing, and start writing the next book whether it be a novella or a novel. Its more important to build your catalog than to promote your way to selling 100,000 copies of your .99 ebook--that's only $35,000 before taxes--and if they liked it they can't buy your other books because they don't exist. I know of some authors who spent a year working towards making their book sell 50,000 downloads on Kindle and when they released their next book, they found themselves starting over again because they couldn't carry the momentum from the first book to the next book.


#14 – If there was a major motion picture made of your life, who would play you?

Andrew Dice Clay

#15 – Is there a question that people never ask you that you’d like to answer? If so, what is it?

Why should readers buy books from indie authors?

Because we have proven with the likes of Amanda Hocking, JA Konrath, and John Locke that many times the traditional publishers can be and have been wrong about which stories can be sold to the public. Traditional publishers have rejected novels from Amanda Hocking and JA Konrath that have become Kindle best-sellers. There are many other authors who have produced excellent books without needing a traditional publisher to “vet” them, so our books are just as good as the ones being published by Simon and Shuster, St. Martin’s Press, etc. No one needs the big publishing houses to determine which books are released to the public. For the first time in history, people get to decide which books are good and which aren’t.

Another reason is because your purchasing dollars are going directly to the author whenever you buy a Kindle book. Good sales leads to indie authors like myself being able to sustain a living which enables us to continue writing more good books.

Speaking of good books, you can download the first five chapters of Bon Appetit free. Here's the link http://www.mediafire.com/?ms52d8eaer0ez7z


--
Glenn Gamble
author of A THOUSAND CHANCES
http://amzn.com/B0050D1WB8

Bon Appétit (available on Kindle)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YWNW0K

Read My Blog: http://www.GlennGamble.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/GlennGamble
Join my Facebook Group: http://on.fb.me/kOB4pl

Monday, October 3, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #33

Prompt-and-Share Through all of the computer crap I've dealt with this weekend, including losing all of my writing folders (which included my novel) I kinda slacked on the Prompt-and-Share. I'm still going crazy trying to get my newly reformatted computer to behave properly, but regardless, I'm here to give you your prompt for Character Development Monday! Ain't I a trooper? (that was my passive-aggressive way of begging your forgiveness for missing Dialogue Sundays)
So here is the prompt! You or your character have a fear - at least one I am sure. Give back story on why you or your character have said fear. Use of distinctive dialogue will gain you extra points (there is a point system? Well... no. But work with it) since we missed Dialogue Sundays.
400 word limit


“What’s your greatest fear?”

I just looked at him. What kind of question was that for a first date? He sipped his wine, not once breaking eye contact with me. The question and the intense stare made me nervous, though I was uncertain as to which affected me more.

I forked around the food on my plate and chewed on my inner cheek while contemplating an answer. An honest answer. I would not start another relationship without complete honesty.

Spiders? Yeah they freaked me out. Bugs of any kind really… Falling. That was a fear for sure. My mind probed further, deeper and my throat clenched at the thought of losing my mother. That was a big fear, but I shooed it away and went deeper.

Somewhere inside of me there was a flicker. I remembered how I trusted her and him and him. All of them. The closest people in my life. My heart shivered against my pink blouse as memories of betrayal, murder and lies flooded my thoughts. The people I loved and trusted the most had committed unspeakable acts of terror on my very soul, and here I was, allowing myself to be vulnerable again. Who was to say this man across from me, in his beige Dockers and pressed blue shirt, wouldn’t do the exact same thing?

In a moment of clarity, my fork clanged to the ground and metallic ooze flooded my mouth as I bit my cheek a little too hard. My greatest fear was simple and horrific. I feared my own judge of character.

I fought back the sting of tears as I fiddled to get my fork from under the table. With a deep breath I sat up straight and met Blake’s concerned gaze with a flirtatious smile. I signaled the waiter to bring me a fresh fork and answered his question nonchalantly.

“Spiders.”

Writing Prompt-and-Share #32

Prompt-and-Share TGIF all! Today's prompt is inspired but a suggesting from +Adam Boenig . Though Fridays are busy for Adam (check out his picture prompt) I still expect him to set the example but giving us an awesome piece. (How's that for passive aggressive persuasion? :P )
So the prompt today - Pick an object, any object. Imagine it has all of the senses a human would normally would have. (sense of smell, taste, sight... etc...) and write a scene from the objects Point-of-view.
For those of you who are veterans of the Prompt-and-Share, try to include the skills we discussed on "sense of time" and "sense of space" - just for kicks.
It's the weekend, so have some fun with this - the object can be as wild and crazy as you like. I do not believe I've got anyone on here under 18, so feel free to be crass and crude and vulgar. OR, hmm... I suppose AND/OR celebrate Friday's diety and planet: Venus. Give us something loving and beautiful.
500 word limit

Writing Prompt-and-Share #31

Prompt-and-Share: Word Prompt Thursday! Plot is of obvious importance to any story. Though stories can be very different, let’s focus on the basics. There needs to be a character in your story, at least one. It has to happen somewhere, so we need a setting. Finally we need a conflict and a resolution.
So from now on, Thursdays prompts are going to focus on a random word generated Prompt-and-Share centering on plot. That’s right folks, we are putting some rhyme and reason into this chaos of Prompt-and-Share madness! The rules will be a little more strict, please adhere to them, they are there for YOU to learn how to work your creativity within certain guidelines.

Remember:
#1 -At least one character
#2 – A conflict AND a resolution
#3 – Give us a setting
#4 – Your story must include the 3 random words chosen
#5 – No more than 250 words please
#6 – Have fun with it! Today’s random words thanks to http://watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx


Downright
Spike
Risking

“Did someone spike your drink or something?” he asked.

“What ever do you mean?” she batted her eyelashes at him.

He brushed her hand off of his shoulder. “What I mean is, we’ve been coming to the same bar for months, I’ve asked you for your number a dozen times and you’ve never even given me the time of day. What’s with the heavy come-ons?”

She shimmied onto the stool next to him and rubbed her thigh purposefully against his. “Can’t a girl just change her mind? Did you ever stop to think,” she licked the straw in her cocktail suggestively, “that maybe I’m just shy?”

He jerked his head around to face her. “You know, maybe at the beginning I did. Maybe before I saw you mount a guy by the pool table. Maybe before I watched you leave with a different bloke every night, maybe then. Maybe then I thought you were shy, but reality kicked in sweetheart,” he snapped.

She wasn’t the least bit phased by his tantrum, in fact she seemed to be enjoying his rage. With the tip of her tongue, she teased the cherry from the end of the yellow plastic sword that garnished her drink. “Well, that’s downright naughty of you to think I’m easy,” she teased with a little pout.

He stood up trying to ignore the twitch in is trousers, slapped a twenty on the bar and looked deeply into her green eyes. He continued to stare her down until she blushed and looked away. He leaned in close, nuzzled her hair and whispered softly in her ear, “I don’t do whores baby, risking disease isn’t my thing.”

Writing Prompt-and-Share #30


Prompt-and-Share It's Wednesday's First Sentence theme continuing on the Prompt-and-Share. We all know how important the first sentence is to any story, it grabs the reader and pulls them in. We've been taking the first sentence of famous novels and writing our own little stories with them. Today we are gonna steal from Ami Mckay's The Birth House.
In 400 words or less, write a short story/flash fiction starting with this as your opening line: My house stands at the edge of the earth.
Take it away folks!

“My house stands at the edge of the earth,” she said, sifting her tiny fingers in the sand.

“It does not!” he countered.

“Does too, there is a big cliff right off the porch and it just falls and falls and falls into the water.”

“No way stupid, the earth is round, there are no edges.”

She sat quietly for a moment, staring at the teeter-totter. Her eyes lit up. “Momma says we don’t live in the middle of nowhere, but she can see it from her bedroom window.”

“See what?”

“The middle of nowhere, silly.”

He shook his head, making tracks in the sand with his toy truck. “You really are stupid. Everywhere is somewhere so you can never be in the middle of nowhe…

“Ack! An ant! An ant! Kill it before it pees on you!” she screeched pointing at his arm.

He flicked the bug away and gave her the oddest look. “What is your problem? Ants don’t just go around peeing on people. Moron.”

“Momma said daddy moved us to a piss-ant town…”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #29


Prompt-and-Share Tuesday Torture! Nyah just kidding... A few weeks back, we discussed an extra sense, the sense of space. It was a fun a prompt - and today we are going to focus on another sense that doesn't fit into the typically "5 senses". The sense of Time.
In 400 words or less, take a character (or create one) into a scene that shows time. Year, time of day, hurried time, prolonged time... any "time" sense you choose to use.

Example: Moonlight rippled across the water as the children snuggled themselves into their sleeping bags, zipping up the sides to ensure security against the mosquitoes and other critters.

Okay not the best example, but you get the idea. Without "telling" we know it's night, or dark enough for moonlight. We know it's summer because of the mosquitoes. We know the scene likely takes place in the present or recent times because of the sleeping bag and zippers. Also the movement of time is slowed, there is no rushing here, children are wrapping themselves up for the night, which slows the pace.

Now it's your turn, show your "sense of time"

P.S. this idea originated from a lesson on senses in the Free online F2K writer's course. If interested, give it a look. I enjoyed it immensely.

Writing Prompt-and-Share #28


Prompt-and-Share Just another manic Monday... First off, I’d like all of you wonderful writers to grab some licorice and start whipping +Matt Hardy with them… or just encourage him to join in…whichever suits your fancy. Yesterday’s dialogue prompt was a BLAST! We will be continuing that theme on Sundays.
Last Monday I really screwed you all with a tough prompt. Sorry ‘bout that. A big shout out to +Nancy Cavanaugh who rocked this prompt, and was the only one other than myself who attempted it.
Since characterization seems to be such a hard angle for so many, we are gonna work on it a little more today. For those of you not worried about an MC, don’t fret, there is a twist.
Prompt: (500 words or less) You or you’re character witnesses a miracle… an honest to goodness, unexplainable in their time, miracle. Describe what you or your character experiences, while focusing on you or your character’s reaction. Not as hard as the prompt from last week, but still a toughie.
Good Luck! (point of view and tense is your choice)

Writing Prompt-and-Share #27


Prompt-and-Share Dialogue. I love reading dialogue, it’s my favorite part of a story, if done correctly. As many authors will attest to, if dialogue IS done correctly, no tags should be required. The character, the scene, the plot should all be visible through the speech text. So let’s give it a go.
This prompt was recommended by +Drew Nicholson
500 words or less, write in dialogue ONLY please.

Hints on dialogue for beginners:
1 – Dialogue is always done within quotation marks Example: “Hello there”
2 – Use single quotation marks when to enclose quotes within quotes Example “Helen said that she was an ‘unfit mother’ before she ran away”.
3 – Always start a new paragraph when a new person is speaking
Example:

“I despise you.”

“Yeah well, I hate you more!”

“No, I hate YOU more!”

Anyhow, you get the idea. GOOD LUCK!

Writing Prompt-and-Share #26

Prompt-and-Share Friday - This prompt comes from +Adam Boenig ! Have fun with it folks! I won't be posting a prompt tomorrow so feel free to take your time with this one. Limit 1500 words! That's right, when Adam says EPIC, we listen!
Take something you do every day; say, making breakfast or cleaning the house. Write a story about it in "epic adventure" style.


My Submission: I tried to kill two birds with one stone on this one. My attempt at the prompt AND an action scene…

Helen shut the door behind her, enclosing her into the white-washed room. She locked the door and rested her hands on the cold white marble surrounding the sink. She checked the mirror and smiled maniacally at her reflection. Like a madwoman she tilted her head back and forth, up and down and side to side, eyes focused on her smile.

After careful inspection, she reached for the cup beside the faucet with stealth and agility. She poured the contents into her hand, grabbing at her first weapon. She had eyed up the enemy long enough, it was time to attack. Pulling the string taught between her hands, she strangled out various forms of her enemy in short calculated strokes. Her weapon weakened and limp, she discarded it in the bin beside her.

Helen wiped the moisture from her upper lip and snarled at the basin. This was war. Slowly, silently, her hand reached for the bane of her enemy’s existence and squeezed a large dollop of foe-killing goo onto the bristles of death. Poised and ready, she winked in the mirror and attacked. Long hard thrushes, quick jabs and smoothly guided strokes caught her nemeses unaware.

There was no doubt in her mind she had won the battle. Her guard was down and her ego was up – a deadly combination for any warrior. Her enemy seized the moment of carelessness and struck her in the chest with a foamy bullet. She screamed in horror at the white splotch on her black sweater. Throwing her weapon, she spit in spite, ridding her battleground of all offensive tactics.

The arena was silent as she decided between moves. Should she tend to her wound or continue her massacre? With a nod at her reflection she had chosen. Drowning in poison would be her final attack. With one swig, she submerged the enemy territory with swooshes and waves. There was nowhere left to run, nowhere to hide. She had them exactly where she wanted them. One short grunt erupted from her chest as she tensed her muscles to spit out the remainder of the opposing army. She watched triumphantly as her microscopic foes twirled around before submitting to their fate and disappearing down the drain.

She removed her injured armor and flung it on the floor. She bared her teeth in the mirror. Smiling widely, she caught the glimpse of amusement and delight as she re-inspected the battleground – the coast was clear.

Helen unlocked the door, and stepped out of the arena, rejuvenated from victory. It was over, she was safe with only a minor loss to nag at her soul. She began to relax when a voice penetrated her inward cheers of delight. “Don’t forget to wash behind your ears dear”. Helen straightened her back and glared towards the door… a warrior’s work was never done.

Writing Prompt-and-Share #25

Prompt-and-Share: Word Prompt Thursday! Plot is of obvious importance to any story. Though stories can be very different, let’s focus on the basics. There needs to be a character in your story, at least one. It has to happen somewhere, so we need a setting. Finally we need a conflict and a resolution.
So from now on, Thursdays prompts are going to focus on a random word generated Prompt-and-Share centering on plot. That’s right folks, we are putting some rhyme and reason into this chaos of Prompt-and-Share madness! The rules will be a little more strict, please adhere to them, they are there for YOU to learn how to work your creativity within certain guidelines.

Remember:
#1 -At least one character
#2 – A conflict AND a resolution
#3 – Give us a setting
#4 – Your story must include the 3 random words chosen
#5 – No more than 250 words please
#6 – Have fun with it! Today’s random words thanks to http://watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx

System
Specification
Gibberish


My submission:

Nina tried desperately to get Drew’s editing done quickly so he could make his deadline. She often forgot her purpose as the story swept her away to the unfamiliar universe he had created with an artist’s touch.

She sat on the edge of her chair, cramped from hours of work, anxious to get to the conclusion and discover where the tale would take her. The climax was building and the action fast-paced. Her mouth fell open as the screen went black. Then blue. A message appeared stating: System overload. Please reboot with manual’s specifications.

Nina blinked, then blinked again. She smacked her monitor. She kicked her tower. She screamed, thrashed her fists around in frustration and spouted gibberish. After her temper tantrum, she dropped her head into her hands and sobbed. She had let her friend down, and yes that was devastating, but thought was overshadowed by her personal pain of being left in the dark, the characters of the story hanging in peril.

The tears flowed freely washing away the residue that had accumulated on her keyboard since its last cleaning. One droplet landed on her mouse and there was a popping. She lifted her head from her hands and looked around. There was a fizzle and the mouse began to glow. The monitor lit up and the tower choked. She looked at the screen to see the story had returned. She lit a smoke, wiped her eyes and let Drew’s words take her back into his universe, where the heroes would save the day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #24


Prompt-and-Share It's Wednesday's First Sentence theme continuing on the Prompt-and-Share. We all know how important the first sentence is to any story, it grabs the reader and pulls them in. We've been taking the first sentence of famous novels and writing our own little stories with them. Today we are gonna steal from Neil Gaiman's "American Gods". It's gonna be a tough one as he uses a character's name in the first sentence, luckily the name can also be an object so-to-speak.
In 400 words or less, tell us a story that starts with "Shadow had done three years in prison."
Take it away folks!

Writing Prompt-and-Share #23


Prompt-and-Share Uhh... happy Monday? Hmm... that just doesn't sound right. Ok the Prompt-and-Share today is going to be a little plot driven and character driven. It's the beginning of a new week after all, let's start it off by putting some good use to our writing tool belt. Each of us, and our characters, have specific traits - either we're mean or nice, cruel or passionate, sarcastic or boring, happy or brooding - regardless of what traits stand out the most, we have these traits, and something (and sometimes a group of things) make us who we are.
Pick a specific trait you recognize in yourself or one of your characters and write the story of which particular event influenced that trait the most in you or your character. Tough one right? GOOD! 700 word limit - I want to see the conflict AND the resolution clearly in this story - even if the resolution is that nothing was resolved. POV and tense is your choice completely.
Good luck, I expect there to be some very interesting reading material conjured up from this one.

My Submission:
This character, though much older now, is from my novel:

Jessica sat quietly coloring pictures on the dinning room floor. Her cousin Remi and his buddies started hooting and hollering at the TV from the orange tweed couch in the living room. Somewhere inside her, she knew they’d forgotten she was there.

She crawled around the corner of the couch very quietly and peeked to see what all of the noise was about. Women, beautiful half-naked women. They strutted with grace and ease across the screen. Jessica was mesmerized.

“Look at those legs” one man panted.

“Those tits baby, it’s the tits! Look at ‘em bounce!” Another man exclaimed before he made a motor boat sound with his mouth.

More women, one after the other, displayed their beauty across the screen.

“It’s the heels boys, look at what they do to the calves, makes that ass just pop!”

“Yeah man, I’d pop that ass!” Laughter and friendly shoulder slaps ensued.

Jessica leaned a little bit more into view, she watched the men intently. Their sweaty red faces were all focused on the TV and they sat at the edge of their seats. She watched as Remi, who was the handsomest man she had ever seen, licked his lips and tapped his thumb rhythmically on his knee. How she wished that a boy would look at her that way.

The comments continued, their attention captivated by the vixens. She watched silently taking in every ounce of detail. The long thick hair, the long slim legs, the long stemmed heels… everything on these women were so long. She looked down at her own budding breasts and willed them to get bigger and fuller.

Jessica noticed the men didn’t get up for fresh beers. They didn’t get up to go to the bathroom. They didn’t get up at all. They just watched and laughed loudly whenever one of them would comment on the beauties swaying across the screen.

She sneaked away with care, climbed up the stairs and went into her aunt’s closet. She grabbed the highest heeled shoes she could find, which weren’t nearly as long as the ones the women on TV wore, and slid into them. They were roomy, but she felt instantly like a young woman of style. She hobbled over to the make-up opened on Aunt Nan’s dresser and began applying it. Jessica learned a lot that day, some things she couldn’t even put her finger on. Somewhere deep inside she knew, beautiful women were powerful women, and she wanted to be one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions

Letter to my 10-Year-Old Self



There’s a reason that the term “Hindsight is 20/20” has become so popular, and this is the opportunity to prove it.

If you could write a letter to your 10-year-old self, what advice would you give? Which lessons do you wish you didn’t have to learn the hard way? What message do you feel would have made the greatest impact on your life?

We are asking that people look deep within and courageously write a letter to their 10-year-old selves (maximum 500 words). Submissions will be accumulated into a free e-book, any donations made will be sent to a literacy charity. We will accept anonymous pieces, your real name, or a pen name of your choosing.

Letters may be sent electronically to : lettersto10yearold@gmail.com

Or by post to: Letters to a child
251-B Division street
Cobourg Ontario
K9A 3P9

Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #22


Prompt-and-Share Happy Saturday! Ahh the weekend, YAY! Today's prompt is brought to us by +Ayoub Khote - He suggests: Your vampire / demon / super genius / whatever wakes up as just a normal human being.
Sounds intriguing n'est pas? 400 word limit - if you don't have a character who fits these dimensions, simply make one up! It can be as complex as a God waking up human or as simple as a writer-genius who loses his/her words.
Have fun with it! It is the weekend after all!

Writing Prompt-and-Share #21


Prompt-and-Share TGIF folks! Today's prompt is inspired by an idea from +Adam B. His suggestion, verbatim, is this: Take any short story or piece of a story you are working on, and rewrite it as though the characters are actually aware that is a story and you are writing it.
I'm going to open this up a little more and allow a piece to be written specifically for this prompt, though Adam's idea offers more of a challenge for you veterans. I'm also going to suggest that you may go back through the prompt-and-shares and do this to someone elses work. (That seems like a pretty daring and fun way to play this prompt, big kudos to anyone who manages that one) Word count no more than 500 please.
Already giddy to see where this goes!

My Submission:

Disclaimer: Please read my submission to yesterday's Prompt-and-Share to really get this. I've included it at the bottom of this post after today's submission.

Sergeant Hamstring? Really? What kind of frikkin name is that? She hates me, my damn Creator hates me. At least I get to yell at these little worms, so it’s not all bad. They may think standing out in the rain is an unnecessary abuse, but let them spend 3 years in a Vietnamese jungle and then we’ll talk about elemental insanity!

““Who here thinks they have the capability to withstand the forces of nature?” I could answer this one easily enough – not a one of these pansy-assed twerps could survive what I’ve survived. Shitheads. Let me see just one of them flinch, just one!

“The question is Sergeant, do you have the capability to withstand the forces of a woman?” Oh shit, not that one. One panty-raid, ONE and I’ll never live it down. I cringed internal and silently cursed My Creater as I approached the pipsqueak causing the issues.

“Back in line slug!” It was fun to yell at her. Exciting even, but did She have to make me spit? Women don’t take kindly to spitting. Wait! No wait! Woman Creator! She set me up! She won’t let me get away with this!

I cried out as my feet were swept out from under me. I arched my back as the pipsqueak’s knee dug into it, pain seething through my spine as she forced mud up my nose, in my mouth and my eyes, my poor eyes. Was there any hope, any mercy from Her at all?

Gasp! She’s giving me an opening. I can take the pipsqueak down! I lunged at her feet and flipped her on her ass. I was just beginning to think that maybe, just maybe My Creator didn’t hate me after all, until I saw the shoes, and realized she hated more than I could have ever imagined.

I sighed, curling into a ball against the onslaught, thinking once again, thus is the life of the perverted overly-assertive character.


Yesterday's Submission

“Who here thinks they have the capability to withstand the forces of nature?” Sergeant Hamstring barked at the row of young men and women before him. He walked up and down the human line, searching each face for any sign of movement. A nervous twitch, a smile, a blink even, could single out a soldier for his bullying.

“I do Sir,” a young woman shouted from behind him. He turned on his heels and quickly approached her, shoving his face into hers. It was a stare down. He concentrated on the drop of rain pooling on the tip of her nose. He as livid, it was a rhetorical question after all.

“The question is Sergeant, do you have the capability to withstand the forces of a woman?” She dared him. He thought of laughing at the little pipsqueak, but he had to be careful with the gentler sex what with all of these lawsuits going around.

“Back in line slug!” he yelled, purposely spitting in her face with the final word.

She swept his feet out from under him, kicked him in the throat and spun him onto his stomach. She rubbed his face in the muddy ground forcing dirt to enter all available cavities. He regained his breath, though not without effort and grabbed both of the pipsqueak’s legs out from under her. He was about to show her what a real man was made of when he noticed the amount of shoes surrounding them. Upon further inspection, he realized they were all womens shoes, and the men were still standing at attention in line.As the first boot-to-head was about to make contact, he felt overwhelming regret regarding the panty-raid the night before.

Writing Prompt-and-Share #20

Woohoo! 20th Prompt-and-Share!



Prompt-and-Share: Plot is of obvious importance to any story. Though stories can be very different, let’s focus on the basics. There needs to be a character in your story, at least one. It has to happen somewhere, so we need a setting. Finally we need a conflict and a resolution.
So from now on, Thursdays prompts are going to focus on a random word generated Prompt-and-Share centering on plot. That’s right folks, we are putting some rhyme and reason into this chaos of Prompt-and-Share madness! The rules will be a little more strict, please adhere to them, they are there for YOU to learn how to work your creativity within certain guidelines.

Remember:
#1 -At least one character
#2 – A conflict AND a resolution
#3 – Give us a setting
#4 – Your story must include the 3 random words chosen
#5 – No more than 250 words please
#6 – Have fun with it! Today’s random words thanks to http://watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx
Rain
Capability
Searching


My Submission:

“Who here thinks they have the capability to withstand the forces of nature?” Sergeant Hamstring barked at the row of young men and women before him. He walked up and down the human line, searching each face for any sign of movement. A nervous twitch, a smile, a blink even, could single out a soldier for his bullying.

“I do Sir,” a young woman shouted from behind him. He turned on his heels and quickly approached her, shoving his face into hers. It was a stare down. He concentrated on the drop of rain pooling on the tip of her nose. He as livid, it was a rhetorical question after all.

“The question is Sergeant, do you have the capability to withstand the forces of a woman?” She dared him. He thought of laughing at the little pipsqueak, but he had to be careful with the gentler sex what with all of these lawsuits going around.

“Back in line slug!” he yelled, purposely spitting in her face with the final word.

She swept his feet out from under him, kicked him in the throat and spun him onto his stomach. She rubbed his face in the muddy ground forcing dirt to enter all available cavities. He regained his breath, though not without effort and grabbed both of the pipsqueak’s legs out from under her. He was about to show her what a real man was made of when he noticed the amount of shoes surrounding them. Upon further inspection, he realized they were all womens shoes, and the men were still standing at attention in line.As the first boot-to-head was about to make contact, he felt overwhelming regret regarding the panty-raid the night before.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #19


Happy Prompt-and-Share Wednesday! Remember how I mentioned a week or so ago that I was going to start putting a little order to the madness of Prompt-and-Share? Thursdays are going to be random word generated prompts focusing on plot - but Wednesday's are going to keep in stride with the First Sentence Theme.
We all know how important the first sentence is to any story, it grabs the reader and pulls them in. Last time we used the first sentence from "Pillars of the Earth" and we got some amazing entries.
This week we are going to use the first sentence from the first chapter of "Twilight". (Stifle your groans people, it was best-seller for a reason).
In 400 words or less, start your story with the sentence: My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down.
Infect me with your diversity folks!

My Submission:

My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. I loved the way the wind played with my hair, even though it meant I’d have to deal with tangled masses before I exited the vehicle.

“Are you wearing clean underwear, dear?”

I sighed, shaking my head. “You know mom, I never really understood that question. I mean I get it, if I’m in an accident and my clothes are removed, I will be grateful that I was wearing clean underwear. But really, mom, has anyone ever said ‘no’ to that question?”

I felt my brow furrow and I began chewing on the side of my thumb nail. “Clean underwear,” I muttered into my hand while rolling my eyes and shaking my head at her absurdity.

Without warning the car lurched towards the shoulder. Gravel and dirt enveloped the vehicle with tiny tings and loud knocks. I screamed, holding on to the window frame as a cloud of dust smacked me in the face. My body flung forward against the restraint of my seat belt, and then flew back smashing my skull on the headrest with a thud. I was dirty, sweaty and so scared I almost peed in my clean underwear.

It took moments before I realized we had not been in an accident, mom had purposely pulled off the road and was now staring at a vacant spot on the windshield in front of her. Her jaw muscles crinkled under her skin. I was going to whine, bitch and moan, but there was something about her expression that stole the bratty words right from my mouth. I simply stared at my mother in the driver's seat, a woman I no longer recognized.

“Sophia. I asked you a question.” She stated through clenched teeth.

“Yes mother," I said hastily, "yes I’m wearing clean underwear.”

“Good then.” She put the car back in gear, checked her mirrors and merged back into traffic.

It took a few years in the Peace Corps and many experiences before I realized how much of an impact that day had on me. My mother needed her own way to say she loved me, she was scared for me, and it broke her heart to let me go. Regardless, from that day forward, I chose to go commando.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #18

Happy Monday! err wait, Happy Tuesday!!!! School has started, people have returned to work after a long weekend, the summer vacation is over... An end and a new beginning all in one! This weekends entries into the Prompt-and-Share were a blast! Though as usual, my appetite for linguistics was not satiated. I wanted more more more! Which leads us to today's prompt..
Prompt-and-Share You or your character is at work, and some annoying customer, boss, or co-worker is being ridiculously demanding. How does you or your character deal with this little piggy crying MORE MORE MORE!??

Writing Prompt-and-Share #17

Prompt-and-Share It's the last day of the Fun Long Weekend of wacky writers on whimsy topics! We did Death, we did Vampires, we did Superheroes! But who could possibly be left? Well there is the literally Satan, Lucifer himself... but nyah... maybe another day. Let's check out his God! Yeah yeah you know who I'm talking about, wait what? You don't? Oh c'mon everyone knows of at least ONE God. So pick one, male or female or both-in-one! And here's the scene:
(1000 words or less please)
You or your character has just finished their morning urination, they

open the bathroom door to find GOD standing there... Take here from here folks.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #16

Prompt-and-Share Happy Sunday of the Long Weekend Writers! For the rest of the weekend we are going to expand on Friday's prompt. A weekend of supernatural adventures! Hey why not? It is the long weekend after all, so take a vacation from the mundane reality of this world and let your mind wander into an anything-but-natural world.
Today's prompt was inspired by +Ayoub Khote 's submission to Friday's Prompt-and-Share. In the same spirit as yesterday's visit with Death, today we are going to take ourselves or our characters into the realm of Vampires. (Shush your groans, I know for some of you it's been overdone).
But in a world where vampires don't exist (assuming so) what would you or your character do if you were to meet one? Is the vampire an evil looking beast, or the dreamy specimen of perfection found in an Anne Rice novel? Do they sparkle? (heh) More importantly, how would you or your character react to such an encounter? The field is wide open for your imagination on this one. Loathe vampires? Go ahead and belittle them. Love vampires? Make the skeptics amongst us believe. 1000 limit word count today, to allow you the opportunity to voice yourselves.
(P.S. +Ayoub Khote you still have to submit Sir :P )

My Submission:

“The world is a vampire”, I sang into the microphone as the words scrolled across the screen. There was nothing like spending a loud Sunday evening alone with guitar hero to feel like a star, and to let the worries of the week before and ahead drown away in the undertow of the music’s flow. I bopped around my living sneaking peaks at myself in the full length mirror, admiring the way my hips moved and cursing the lack of strength in my knees.

I attempted the moonwalk and backed into a wall. I was momentarily stunned. There was no wall behind me in the mirror’s reflection. I spun on the balls of my feet to find my vision filled with a blood-red solid surface. I inched my gaze upward from what appeared to be a silk shirt, and looked into the face of an angel. I gasped, my knees gave way to liquid form and I fell backwards. He caught me, with about as much effort as it would take a normal human being to catch one of those multicolored, blow-it-up-yourself beach-balls. He had me angled to see myself floating serenely in the mirror’s reflection. There were too many thoughts running through my brain to count. He answered most of them in three words.

“I am vampyre” he spoke in a strange accent.

Okay so I was wrong about the “face of an angel” thing. It happens, I’ve been wrong before. New questions plagued my mind, one of which he answered immediately.

“I will no hurt girl.” I immediately hoped I was the girl he was planning on “no hurting”. The Smashing Pumpkins were cut off with booing from the crowd, since I had failed miserably to finish the song. I looked at the TV, the floor, the mirror,the floor and then the mirror again, trying desperately to decide what to do next. No decision was necessary, before I knew what was happening, I was sitting in my blue lay-z-boy chair and he was squatting before me so we were at eye level.

“I need, uhh…” he waved his hands around as if he could catch the words he was looking for from thin air, “refuge”. His eyes pleaded, my heart ached.

I looked at him blankly

. “Sanctuary?”

I continued to look at him blankly.

He made a tsk noise with his mouth, and I got the feeling he wanted to punch himself in the head. Better him than me, I supposed.

He smacked his chest with an open hand and said “I not safe.”He then touched my chest in the same manner but lightly and said “Girl not safe.”

I feel, in my defense, I must point out I’m usually a witty woman, full of crazy puns and mind-altering conversation, but at that moment, I just continued to stare blankly at the handsome figure before me.

He stood up and it took a moment before I realized I was now staring at his crotch. I tore my eyes away from the view and looked up, way up, to watch his face.

“I, Luther, protect girl while dark." He pointed to the window. "You, girl, protect Luther while sunlight. Yes?”

What the hell was I suppose to say to that? I mean sure, I didn’t have any plans, but what was I going to do with a vampire? Why did I need protecting? Why did he need protecting? When did vampires become real? Why didn’t he want to eat me? Was I not good enough? Why did he pick me? How did he get in? What was I going to feed him? Where was…. As the questions plagued me I saw a flicker of doubt shimmer in his eyes and his shoulders sank a little.

I reached for the microphone that had fallen to the ground, handed it to him and asked hopefully, “Do you sing?”

Writing Prompt-and-Share #15

Prompt-and-Share Happy Saturday! Woot Woot long weekend! For the rest of the weekend we are going to expand on Friday's prompt. A weekend of supernatural adventures! Hey why not? It is the long weekend after all, so take a vacation from the mundane reality of this world and let your mind wander into an anything-but-natural world.
So today's prompt is inspired by +Drew Nicholson 's submission on Friday prompt. Here's the scenario: Death arrives to take you or one of your characters into the afterlife. Write out the scene that goes down between you or your character and death. 300 words or less.
P.S. +Drew Nicholson this does not give you an out - I want another submission from you!

My Submission: Dang I wish I had more room for this one, I could have gone on for pages! (I almost didn't post this on my blog site because it kinda sucks. I didn't have the space to convey all of the points I wanted to, but hey - even the crappy submissions deserve to be peaked at now and again)

"_Niiiiiinaaaa Pelletieeerr_ " an ominous voice woke me from my slumber.

"Who's there?" I fidgeted with my bedside lamp as the voice haunted the otherwise quiet room.

"_Niiiiiiinaaa Pelletieer_"

The switch on my lamp clicked on and the room illuminated. Standing before my bad was a black robed man holding a scythe. His hood hid the face that repeated my name.

"No, I'm Nina Pelletier, who are you?"

"_I ammmm deathhhhh_, come to take you" he paused to point a skeletal finger my way, "_awaaaaaaay_"

"Well it's about frikkin time" I said.

"Uhh... what?" he said, his voice sounding normal, if not a little deep.

I wore a t-shirt to bed, but figuring Death had likely seen it all, I flung off the covers and reached for a pair jeans that was thrown carelessly on a pile of laundry. "Is my sister with you? My dad?" I asked, while I zipped up my jeans and reached for my hair brush.

"You aren't going to argue with me? Bargain? Yell? Scream? Anything?" he sounded upset.

Normally I would have tried to console a stranger that I'd hurt in some way, but I was in a rush. "Look man, you've taken so many of the people I've loved and left me here behind to rot. I feel like I'm late for a party I wasn't even invited to. So, I'm sorry if I'm being a little short here, but can we hurry things along? I've got people to see."

Death's shoulders slumped as he bowed and shook his head back and forth in a slow rhythm.

"Is there going to be a lot of walking? Should I wear my sneakers or my heels? Probably sneakers right? Okay yeah, sneakers it is."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #14


Prompt-and-Share Happy Friday Folks! What a great week of submissions, thank you all for participating:)
Now it's time for some Funky Friday Fun. The rules are relaxed today, but let's try to stick by them as much as possible. I'll even be open with the word count, try to keep it under 500 words pretty please.
So here's the scenario - you or your character are stuck on a deserted highway with another person who has super powers (any power of your choice). Take it away folks! Have fun with it, go anywhere ya like!

My Submission: Including a MC from my WIP

Luc never had any use for children. This particular 9-year old walking with him on the deserted highway between Port Hope and Cobourg was no exception. Had he been alone, Luc could have made the trip in the flash of an eye, but he had heard a lot of blah blah blahing about how easily kids could be traumatized. He tried to ignore the game of running around in circles the little tyke had decided to play and focused on the long walk ahead of them.

The kid stopped running in circles and began jumping on his right foot in stride with him. “So what’s your power Luc?” He asked in a high pitched voice befitting a little girl.

“What makes you think I have any ‘powers’?”

“They wouldn’t have sent you to get me if you didn’t have powers too,” he said, as he switched to hopping on his left foot.

“Humph.”

The boy gave up on hopping all together, walked a few steps ahead of Luc and pretended to play swords with an invisible opponent. “Do you wanna know what I can do?” he asked.

Luc continued walking, cursing his new found babysitting duties under his breath. “Not unless it involves moving rapidly to our destination.”

“If I stand perfectly still and concentrate” he gasped for air, breathless from the imaginary sword play, “real hard, I can become my surroundings.Watch!”

The child stood still as death, he didn’t even appear to have a pulse. Luc ignored him and kept walking.

“WATCH!” the child cried out. “Luc you aren’t watching,” he whined and ran up to Luc tugging on his pale blue scarf. “Watch me Luc, watch me! Luc, watch me do my trick Luc, WATCH!"

“ALRIGHT!” Luc hollered and stopped dead in the middle of the road.

The child blinked twice, debating between tears and triumph. He skipped past a picnic table on side of the road and leaned against a lamppost. Luc watched as the previous stillness overcame the boy. Within moments, there was no distinguishing between where the boy had stood and the lamppost itself; they had become one.

Luc’s eyes widened and his jaw hung slightly ajar. Within moments the boy re-appeared with a huge smile spread across his innocent face. “Cool huh?” he asked.

Luc nodded.

“Wanna see what else I can do?” the boy asked with mischievous pride.

“Sure.” Luc muttered.

The boy ran over to the picnic table and laid on it as if his body had become a board. Luc waited, but nothing happened, the child just laid there stiff.

After a few moments, Luc asked, “What are you doing, child?”

“Duh!” he turned his head to look at Luc before resuming his position. “I’m planking of course.”

“Planking?”

“Yeah, it’s so cool!” he said, getting up from the table. “If you had a camera you could take a picture and we could post in on Flickr!”

“Flckr?”

The child sighed and shook his head. “You old people don’t know anything.” He walked a few steps ahead, leaving Luc to stare after him in wonder.