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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Character Development Tip

Character Development Tip


After finishing the last novel I read, I had an epiphany on character development, that has probably been said a million times before in different medias, but is new to me so I thought I'd share.

 When picking a characters traits, think of something that would both hindering and helpful in life.

Sounds simple right? Well it probably is, and probably would have helped in my own character development in the past had I thought of it.

Here's a very obvious example, though there could be a million (just look at your friends and family):

Completely obsessed with appearance: 

The Bad: Critiques everyone's fashion sense or personal commitment to looks. 

The Good: Murder mystery? This is the character that would notice that it was Jane's diamond earring found at the scene, because she would have noticed that kind of thing.

Chick-lit? This is the character who would have the best makeup selection in a pinch. Who else would you call on to tell you if the outfit you chose for that important is right for the venue?

Just happened to be watching a show with this character type in it, so thought I'd use it for the example. Next time you catch a movie or a show pick the characters apart - where have their negative traits worked for a positive outcome, where have their positive traits not worked out so well?

It's not always as obvious with Main Characters as they tend to be focus on the good side only, but watch the side characters.  The nosy neighbor who winds up nosing his way into calling 911 when abusive sounds erupt from the household. The unfriendly neighbor who doesn't pay attention when the MC drags a body out of the house. The friend who fills you in on all of the town's gossip, but sadly loosens her lips about you to everyone else.  There are so many catches and hitches that could develop from these tactics.


This is a great writing prompt if you're feeling stuck.  Pick a character and write a scene with both the positive and negative effects that trait could unravel.


Write On!






Monday, February 22, 2016

The Smoking Section: Anthology


As a contributing author to this anthology, I got this package in the mail full of fun goodies. Lizzy Miles did an amazing job at putting this book and package together; thanks Lizzy!  You can get your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Smoking-Section-Memories-Americas-hated/dp/1937574083/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= in kindle or paperback. 

This is not a pro-smoking book.  It is not an anti-smoking book. This is a compilation of funny stories about cigarettes and human experiences. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 1

NaNoWriMo Day 1

            I didn’t outline.  I meant to, but procrastinated.  Last night I had a hard time falling asleep in hopes of figuring out the opening to my NaNo novel.  And so it begins.  The month of self-inflicted hell.

            I toyed with the idea for this novel when I first started this blog.  It was the novel mentioned in the blog’s title.  I had ideas stacking up in my head like a madness.  I had most of the story laid out (mentally, not on paper) and was just beginning the first chapters when all hell broke loose.  (yes, the murdered-sister thing). 

            I put the novel aside.  It was gory and scary and focused on an evil that any one of us could possess.  I had more than enough of my share of all those things, I didn’t need to focus on writing a book about them at the time. 

            But somewhere inside, I still wanted to write that story.  I liked the characters, I liked the message, I loved the twists.  So this year, this NaNoWriMo, I’m going to write that original novel that sparked the writers-urge in me years ago.  And you know what? I’ve learned a whole lot about writing since then.  I’ve been published, twice. I’ve self published once. I’ve created the prompt-and-share, reviewed novels and done my share of editing. I’ve completed a writing course, AND, I’ve got one NaNoWriMo certificate under my belt.  That’s the good stuff.

            The not-so-good stuff: I haven’t written in a while.  That trumps all of the positive accomplishments listed above.  When it came time today to sit my butt in that chair and fly the words off the keyboard, I got stuck.  That’s the simple way of putting it.  Stuck.  The true definition of “stuck”? Scared, unsure, self-conscious, weary, leery, confused, over-whelmed and more importantly, doubtful. 

            But here’s the thing, NaNo is about more than writing a novel, it’s about getting into the groove of writing everyday.  And let me tell you, if you don’t keep at it, like any other muscle in your body, it’ll atrophy.  

            So to all of you who got their word count in today – Kudos and congrats! Beyond all the self-doubt and procrastination that reared its ugly head with distractions of all shapes and sizes, I too began my NaNo journey today.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sandcastle and Other Stories - Book Review

The Good, The Bad and The Personal Context  Book Review

Sandcastle and Other Stories By Justin Bog

I recently read Sandcastle and Other Stories by Justin Bog, and I’m excited to say it was pretty darn fantastic.  I read a lot of Indie books, and have been in a position where I simply could not review some of them without feeling I was putting a lot of negativity out there… in fact sometimes I can’t even get past the first few pages.  This was not the case with Sandcastle.

This compilation of short stories was a unique experience for me.  They were not filled with the basics I encourage in my flash fiction, that being conflict and resolution.  In fact, there was very little conflict and/or resolution in Mr. Bog’s tales, the opposite actually, any action was relayed in a cool and calm way.  Instead of grand twisted stories, the author takes us on a journey into the everyday (well… not always) lives of individuals and internal conflicts.  Not necessarily exciting, but definitely interesting. 

Okay because this a “The Good, The Bad and The Personal Context” review, I should hit on these points. 

The Good: As mentioned above, this book of short stories is filled with insightful tales.

The Bad: I have to dig on this, and before I mention it I want to give major kudos for the lack of typos and grammar errors that are so often found in self-published works (some of them could easily be caught by simply re-reading ones own work before publishing).  If I had to pick a “Bad” about this book, it would be that a good editing job could tighten up the writing.  Though actual errors were close to none, I did find myself being pulled away from the story a few times while having to re-read a sentence that could have been worded in a more reader-friendly manner.

The Personal Context: I loved the psychological aspects of these stories.  One of my favourite parts of doing the Prompt-and-Share is reading how differently people’s minds work and the diversity of the stories that erupt from the same prompt.  Though each of the stories in Sandcastles are by the same author, the insights into each character is quite unique.

So if you happen to be lazing on a beach this summer, or looking for something light to read before bed, I highly recommend this very reasonably priced collection of short stories.

I grant 8.5 out of 10 Golden Bookmarks for this book.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lark's Labyrinth: A book review

The Good, The Bad and the Personal Context

Every experience is tainted by personal context, no matter how un-biased a person might think they are.  These reviews touch on the good, the bad and the personal context.

Lark’s Labyrinth by Cathy Cash Spellman

The Good: Wicked suspense story, mixed with magic, history, video games, Nazis and the Church. The book holds a few very cool characters that the reader gets attached to. There are excellent twists and turns.

The Bad: This book is really long, and I don’t think it needed to be.  The best characters were hardly touched on and I had a hard time investing myself in the main characters.

The Personal Context: I’ve loved Cathy Cash Spellman since I first read “Bless the Child” almost 20 years ago.  I read this novel every few years and learn something new about myself every time. Since “Bless the Child”, I’ve read three other novels by this author, Lark’s Labyrinth  being the third, and I’ve never quite gotten the thrill I received from the first book.  My standards, nonetheless, remain high when it comes to Cathy Cash Spellman’s books and I thought this novel fell short.

All in all, I grant 7 out of 10 Golden Bookmarks for this book.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Prompt-and-Share Special Contest Edition

Prompt-and-Share special contest edition

Below you will find 3 short stories that were chosen to win the Prompt-and-Share by their peers.  First, you’ll see the rules set out for this particular Prompt-and-Share, followed by the three winning submissions.  (In no particular order)

The Prompt:
750 words max
We've all heard the expression "Be careful what you wish for" and for this edition of the
Prompt-and-Share that's exactly what we are going to focus on.
Your character makes a wish that doesn't turn out quite as he/she/it expected it to.
Typical guidelines still apply: At least one character, one setting, one conflict and one resolution.

By Adam Boenig:

She had said it would make him beautiful. She had also mentioned a price; but he hadn't cared. He had given her her money, taken the potion, and left the old crone in her alley.

Jim had been a homely man, to say the least. Long ears, long nose, and a uni-brow were the defining features of his existence. He had been teased for his looks for years, and it had left scars on him; he was afraid to go outside, afraid to meet strangers. He would complain about his love life but that would imply he had one to complain about.

So he had taken the potion, thinking anything could be better than this. He needed something; anything.

He drank it without thought.

Now he stood in front of a mirror, looking at himself. He was handsome; no, gorgeous. He was a sculpted Adonis of a man, perfect in all aspects. And he was happy about it, flexing his new muscle and falling for himself in the mirror. However, he knew that the only way for it to matter was for him to go out.

Getting dressed in an old pair of jeans and a button-up shirt, he took a deep breath and stepped outside into a world he had feared so long. He walked down the hall; people staring as he moved, taking in his breathtaking beauty; and he knew it was good. He made it to the door, opened it, and for the first time in a long time, looked out over the sun-lit streets unafraid.

Now people were staring. He felt proud. They didn't say much, they didn't stare for long, but they certainly liked looking at him. Which is the point, right?, he thought to himself.

He strolled down the sidewalk, catching eyes and turning heads, enjoying the air off the tree-lined street and the view of the red brick buildings in the historical sector where he lived and worked. He made it to a tiny local bar, his destination in which to test his newfound glory. He opened the door and stepped in.

Everyone stopped. They turned and stared at the new face that had just stepped in. All eyes were on him; he could feel it.

And then they went about their business.

He was mildly surprised, but thought nothing of it. He sat down at the bar, feeling happy and like he "fit in" for the first time in his life. He offered to buy an attractive woman a drink; because, that is what you're suppose to do, right? She ignored him as though she didn't hear him.

He tried again. She still ignored him.

He waves his hand in front of her face. Touched her, poked her. Eventually he grew frustrated and pounded the table; soon, he was throwing furniture.

The crowd complained about the broken furniture, but not him.

That's when he realized: the price. He would be noticed, yes; but only once. He was beautiful; but no one cared.

Find out more about Adam at: gplus.to/chaoticmotion as well as chaoticmotionfiction.blogspot.com

By Telzey Lee

“I’ve got to go.” Marissa’s voice was a reluctant whisper.

“I know.” Blake said quietly.

Neither of them moved as the seconds ticked away. She didn’t want to go; she wanted to stay wrapped in his arms forever. That wasn’t an option, however, and the conflicting pressures threatened to tear her apart. She let it build to the point where if she was going to go, she had to go now, or not at all. She squeezed him convulsively, and rose from the bench, clasping his hand as she moved away, until finally their arms were stretched as far as they could go, and she had to let go. She hurried away down the hall, to the door where the royals entered. The king, her husband, was already seated on his throne, and she sat next to him.

Court began as normal. Several minutes later, she saw Blake slip in, and she couldn’t help but gaze at him. Soon after that, the king held up his hand.

“There is one among us who wants my place.” he announced, “He won’t challenge me honorably, however, but instead creeps around behind my back, betraying me. I won’t have it anymore, and I challenge him.”

Marissa froze, hoping against hope that Reginald meant something else, meant someone else. That hope died, however, as the king stood and pointed at Blake. Her stomach dropped.

“Guards, seize that man.” he commanded.

There was some hesitation, and Marissa could see people wondering what was going on. Was this part of the entertainment? Blake rose as the guards approached him. Marissa put her hand on Reginald’s arm.

“Don’t do this.” she pleaded. He shook her hand off and stepped away from her. She could see the crowd’s interest sharpen. Entertainment, or reality? Or both? She wanted to disappear.

“Reg, please, this is private.” she tried to mitigate the disaster that was occurring, to no avail.

The guards had escorted Blake to the base of the platform the thrones were on.

“I don’t want your throne.” Blake said evenly.

“No, you just want my wife.” Reginald yelled.

The crowd gasped. Blake was Reginald’s best friend and most loyal knight… and Reginald was accusing him of having an affair with Marissa?!? They looked at Marissa,and she could feel that her face had paled, all but the two crimson spots she could feel burning on her cheeks as the whispering started.

Reginald had gone down the steps, and taken off his gauntlet. He backhanded Blake across the face with it, the classic challenge to a duel. Marissa stood and rushed down the steps, stepping between the two men.

“Stop it.” she shouted. She turned her back on Blake and put her hands on Reginald’s arms. “Let’s go someplace private and talk about this.”

He jerked away from her.

“Don’t touch me, you betraying bitch! He can have you, if he lives through this.”

He threw his wedding ring at them, then drew his sword – his real sword, she noticed, not the practice one he was supposed to wear at events. The crowd hastily drew back, forming a wide half circle around them. Wasn’t anyone going to try and stop him, or call the police? One would think they were really in the Middle Ages, not just the SCA.

“Are you crazy?” she said, stepping in front of Blake, hoping that Reg wasn’t really so far gone that he’d hurt her. She hadn’t wanted to hurt Reg; she still loved him. She loved Blake too, though.

Reginald stared at her for long seconds, then threw his sword on the floor, turned, and walked away. She scrabbled on the ground for his ring, then turned to see Blake walking away in the opposite direction.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, she thought, tears beginning to flow. She gathered her skirts, and half-ran in a third direction. She found a bathroom and hid in the handicapped stall, trying to stifle her sobs.

When she was a young girl, she had thought the King Arthur stories were so romantic. She had wanted love like that. She had overlooked the fact that Genevieve had ended up with neither King Arthur or Sir Lancelot, that she had ended up old and alone, after losing the love of two good men, and helping to destroy something good and true.

Marissa sank to the floor and gave in to her sobs, her heart broken, and her soul with gaping holes in it.

By Tressa Green:

"Son of a...!"

I stomped the brake—squealing tires protested. Fresh coffee tumbled from the holder. My jeans drank the scalding liquid and I bit my lip to keep further expletives from rolling off my tongue. Burnt rubber smoke wafted through the open windows before I took off again. The idiot driver who pulled out in front of me bebopped along, five under, as if nothing happened.

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. So typical. The little inconveniences of my life piled up so high that any green in the other pasture could only be seen in my imagination. My ill luck blocked out true vision of those lush fields long ago.

Home took longer than normal, but I didn't have anything to go home to anyway. Silence greeted me behind the locked door. I dreaded weekends for that reason. At least my job, as ho-hum as that nine-to-five was, occupied my time.

I plugged the house key into the lock; it refused to budge. I jimmied it until it finally gave in. The plastic bags numbing my fingers as their weight turned those narrow handles into cutting strands. I refused to set them down while I juggled keys and turned the knob.

One step.

I kissed the floor. Groceries scattered—rolling out in a noisy spray of cans, boxes, and bags. Peeling myself up took effort. I sat on the floor amid my dumped groceries and empty life and wished.

Wished for more. For better. For different.

“I wish things were different,” I said out loud.

Nothing happened. Not that I really expect it. I sighed and picked up the mess. Scuffled to the two-steps-across kitchen. Cool wind ruffled the lace curtain in the tiny window, bringing the scent of late Spring flowers. I sighed again.

Maybe things could be different, I thought.

A smile dared to grace my lips. The wonder of that sensation only caused it to grow.

Yes. Things were going to be different. I would make it so.

Sunlight shafted through the window and the whole cubicle of the kitchen glowed with an almost heavenly light.

I rushed to put things in their place; though, as usual, I dropped cans on my toe, the contents of my freezer spilled out when I opened the door, as did the upper cabinet. None of it mattered anymore.

I wanted to twirl about my three room house; lift my voice to the heavens. So what if I banged my elbow on the door frame or bruised my shin on the end table? The sun shined all through my home, the breeze carried birdsong and sweetness of new buds. It was as if God, Himself, smiled upon me.

My heart leaped with joy my skin couldn’t contain. The breeze became a wind, the birdsong merged with a great chorus, and the light grew so bright, vision fled.

“What’s happening?” I cried out.

“Don’t be afraid,” a whisper cut through the noise.

“I’m not,” I replied.

The light dimmed as did the wind and the song.

“Welcome home.”

I opened my eyes and wept. Things, indeed, had changed.

Find out more about Tressa here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TressaGreen

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Support request

Hello everyone! I'm reaching out to the blogger community for support with the anthology that will be publishing my story Apocalyptic Erasures! The Kickstarter program... well... it has Kickstarted (smirk) and so I'm here to beg on bended knee (okay not really, I have a bad knee, but theoretically...) for your support.

Here's the link to the program and all of the fun The Memory Eater swag you can get for your bucks :)