Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011


You can’t force it, she said.
I can, and I will, he replied.
It’s going to break, she said.
It did. It snapped. And he cried.
When will you learn, she asked?
Never, I guess, he lied.
In truth he’d learned it already.
It was her certainty of his failing he defied.

(From today's "Oneword")

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kind of a Funny Situation

Fellow Canuck, Nina Powers, has been posting a lot of really intriguing writing prompts recently. From the sounds of it, it's related to her recent adventures with Google+, but whatever the reason, there's been some super-specific ideas given out, which let the imagination run riot. Here's her most recent post.

I took a stab at this one, in which you have 200 words, in the first person, to explain yourself, after being caught stealing.

Here's mine:

A Funny Situation

"A'right...its kind of a funny story," I said.

"Not that funny," said Constable Lewis.

"Hear me out. We was drinking. A lot."

"That much I believe."

"Anyways, I says to Georgie, that if the fleckin' Buds blow another overtime, he can have my TV - 'cause I ain't watchin' anymore."


"And what? You seen the score tonight, no?"

"It wasn't your TV to give."

"Of course not! Sorry. Of course it wasn't. It wasn't even my house."

"That's the problem. And if there's a point, get to it."

"Me and my neighbour, right? Two doors away? Well, our front door keys fit both locks, his and mine."

"Your neighbour? The one who turned you in."

"Of course he did, I had his TV. But I thought it was my T.V."

"Your houses look the same. That's your excuse?"

"What do you mean?"

"That's the only difference between Bill's brownstone and mine. I have a bathroom in the front hall. He's got a closet, right?"


"And that is why he probably turned me in. Not 'cause of the T.V. at all."

"I think you're full of shit."

"Not anymore."

"You filthy bugger. Get back in that cell."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Year of Friday Flash

And check out this e-book, too!

On Friday, I posted an entry to Lily Childs' Friday Prediction. It's called "Sam Collins, P.I.B. (Paranormal-Investigator-Bastard). I'm happy with how it turned out, and the character is fun enough that he may just deserve a longer story some time.

Anyhow - with this entry, I've now thrown my work into the ring 52 weeks in a row. That's a year's worth of 100 words stories. Out of these, three became serials, one has started to become a novella, and another will likely be a book someday. From the remainder, I'd say that at least half have potential as full-length short stories.

This weekly exercise, deceptively simple in scope, has proven to be a wellspring of ideas and, indeed, there have been weeks in the past year when this is the only writing I've done.

So, all this is merely preamble to this - thank you, Lily, for hosting this challenge each week, for making it friendly and competitive, and for your insightful comments and "summaries" of the stories.

I may or may not be as regular a contributor as the next 52 weeks progress (I've finally started putting pen to paper on the book I've been putting off for months,) but it's been a crazy-fun year.

Best of luck with your blank pages, folks.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The New Flesh: Year Two (or: "It's been a pretty good week")

I haven't had many new stories up recently around the web. Mostly, I've been working on a few "longer" pieces, which I have earmarked for a few specific places. As of this writing, I've submitted one, and am rewriting the end of the other, which is topping out around 7k.

So - it's with a big smile that I share that two of the stories I had published for the New Flesh last year have been selected for their "best of" collection, Long Live The New Flesh: Volume Two. "Conveyor" was a piece that was too weird and dark for a lot of markets, while "Treasures of the Deep" was written specifically for their "Eye in a Pickle Jar" contest. The collection is a free PDF download, and features some other familiar, very talented faces, including (but in no way limited to) Angel Zapata, Erin Cole, Jodi MacArthur and Lily Childs! What are you waiting for?

That, in addition to the new story up on MicroHorror this week, "To Play with Fire", I'm having a pretty fun week. Here's a sample of this one (which I had a lot of fun with):

"One thing that may surprise you is that when you take society’s stereotypes about beauty off the table, it’s incredibly easy to get laid.
So, when I saw the chance to push the borders once more, I took it.
The Craigslist ad read “Sexual Immolation. Serious inquiries only.”
                                                                                                   ~To Play with Fire

Next up, I'm finishing the 7k story, and then I may get a little quiet, as (yes, yes, here we go again Allinotte, say it again...) I'm going to be spending time with my novel.

Hope all is well with your respective white spaces. Keep going!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You Can't Write if You don't Read.

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."

— Stephen King

This is such simple advice, but really, really important.

By exposing yourself to stories- all kinds of stories, from all kinds of voices, you learn. You learn what works, you learn what doesn't.

Once you take up a pen and start trying to do this for yourself, you start reading differently too. It may be a conscious thing, that you start out with a notepad handy when you read, or at the least, a highlighter (though the local library frowns on that sort of thing.) 

Regardless - if you write, and keep writing, and then write some more, you can't help but start to notice things. Things that just start to hit you, like "Ah - that was a neat transition into the scene," or "Oh - so that's how he manages to get his two main characters alone in the restaurant."

"It was the best of....zzzzzzzzzzz"
If you're not "studying" what you read, you should at least try to remain open to these "aha" moments. And honestly, when we read for pleasure, can we ever really keep up a serious focus on it? That's why most of us (well...ok... me) wouldn't touch half the books I was supposed to read in High School, but have since rediscovered, and fallen in love with them. If you have some of those in your past, do yourself a favour and pick them up. Those books are a double benefit, in that they're usually really good to read, and they've often got treasures of writing to teach you. Example - I was supposed to read "The Sun Also Rises," in Grade 11, and never touched it. Now - I've discovered the elegant, stripped power of Hemingway's storytelling. I now count "The Old Man and the Sea" among my top ten favourite stories. This style is not the right tool for the job all the time, but when it works. Wow.

"And the killer is... skipskipskipskipskip"
So - read. I've usually got three or so books on the go - two at home, and one in the car. During my commute, (which totals about an hour each day), I listen to audiobooks from the Library. I've discovered this is a fantastic way to catch up on "classics", and sometimes, hearing the language performed can help you penetrate some of the dense text. Moby Dick? Loved it. It took three weeks to listen to the whole thing, but I "get" it now.

Lecture's over now. Here's some parting goodies:

If you haven't joined "Goodreads", give it a look. It's very much like Facebook, but focused on books. You can catalogue and rate what you've read - and that's just for starters. You can recommend books to your friends, and get the same back. (Look me up if/when you get there!)

Finally - my most recent read was a great one. I've been meaning to get my hands on one of Matt Hilton's  books since I first became acquainted with him through Thrillers, Killers, n' Chillers. This week, I finished Judgement and Wrath, which is the second in the Joe Hunter series. I've always been a horror/fantasy type of reader, but after reading this one, I'll be getting my hands on the rest pretty quick. It's some of the cleanest, most fast-paced action that I've read in a long time. (You can read the rest of my review... on Goodreads) If you're unfamiliar with Matt, check out his site, and say hello! He's got the latest book in his series coming out soon, so now's the time to catch up on the rest!


Just got word that a new story of mine, "To Play with Fire" is now live on MicroHorror. I went a little outside my comfort zone on this one, and didn't shy away from the heat. (Alright - full disclosure - it's full of sex.) Check it out if you have a moment.

Keep @ 'er


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blog Award!

Nina Powers , who recently joined this cozy little Leaky Pencil group, has nominated this blog for an award! These are great little moments to share appreciation, and help generate traffic and followers for our fellow writers, so a big Thank You to Nina.

Now - to work:

The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

There's one last "unwritten" rule, in the spirit of helping your fellow writer's grow - it's meant for blogs with less than 200 followers.

So, my picks (they're numbered, not ranked.)

#1 David Barber's Fiction World - the editor of the Flash Fiction Offensive, and a damned fine writer in his own right. Check out "The Two Blokes". Trust me.

#2. Steven Chapman (writer) - full of insight, laughs, and commiseration on the periods of futility that all writers go through

#3. Erin Cole Writes - Author of "Grave Echoes", and contributor to my own anthology "Eight Days of Madness", Erin muses on muses and writes on writing. Meet her!

#4. R.S. Bohn - you want stories with edge? With heart? With "Holy $#% what did I just read?" - Check out the writing of Ms Bohn.

#5. Calling Shotgun - Laurita Miller is a fellow Canadian, an writer of amazing diversity, and as eloquent a blogger as you'd want to read. (So start readin'!)

Thanks again, Nina!