Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: Something New



I don't normally jump right into the Insecure Writers Support Group post, but today I've really not got much else to talk about. My choices were to not post for September IWSG, or just fly by the seat of my pants and see what farts out.

I don't have any bragging to do as I've not really been writing, and of course since I've not been seriously writing I don't have any complaints. You know the old cliche: nothing ventured, nothing gained . . . .

This month's question is: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??

My writing has surprised me from writing anything at all, to writing in a genre that I don't typically read in.  I've written flash fiction in category romance, children's, YA, Urban Fantasy; even some mystery, Noir, and sci-fi.

I've always thought I would become a horror/thriller or dark fantasy author. I consistently read in those genre's. I prefer horror and fantasy by authors such as Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Dean Koonts; Anne McCaffrey, Ann Rice, David Eddings, Stephen R Donaldson.

Zombies from The Walking Dead don't scare me nearly as much as a barbie doll with a grudge that has spent the last ten years languishing under my child's bed; or the possibility that my cheese and yogurt are plotting total annihilation of the potato salad and bacon in my fridge to save me from excess carbohydrates.

Books by authors such as Danielle Steele and Debbie McComber insult my intelligence as a human being, not just a woman; Nora Roberts/JD Robb make me feel as if I'm not living in the real world; and the tendency to anthropomorphize everything from a toaster to a hot dog has left me disgusted and paranoid of leaving anything organic or inanimate in my house alone in the dark of night.

So why was my first novel trilogy a Women's Fiction? Well, its actually four books; I was writing a character profile for my MC Amy and it sorta turned into a prequel, and there is actually a fifth novel start. But this is not a genre I typically read in, so why is it the only completed, full length novels I have been able to write?

This month's question haunts me because for several  years I've considered myself nothing more than a "hobby" writer. I've not been able to complete a story in any genre unless it was a short story or flash fiction. If I'm the only one to ever say so: I'm pretty awesome at creating worlds and characters that draw the reader into my vision; but put that into a full length novel with both overall story and character plot? Nah.

Have you written in a genre you don't read in? Do you think an author can be successful if they are an eclectic reader?

Please be sure to read posts from other IWSG participants on the linky, and also visit creator/host Alex J Cavanaugh and this month's minions: Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant,  and Beverly Stowe.

Oh, and have you got your submission ready for the next IWSG anthology titled SHOW US YOUR WRITER INSECURITY? Deadline is quickly approaching.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

WEP: REUNIONS



Ok, I'm late with my Write..Edit..Publish Reunions excerpt. I started this thing about three weeks ago, and the more I write/edit it, the longer it gets. I think dear old Isaiah thinks he should be a short story; I've been reading (listening to) lots of detective novels. Isaiah, a really bad guy, sort of developed from my book and movie preferences. Aargh!!

My submission is nearly 1300 words, unedited. I just ran out of time to fix this. Blame my MC for being such a needy, impatient brat. If his story feels like an unfinished prologue, it probably is. If I'm lucky, my muse will stick around long enough for me to find the time to work this into a Noir short story. I know what comes next, just don't have the time to develop it. Yes, I do hate that writing is not my priority at this moment.

WEARY

“Welcome back Mr. Harvey,” a young man in gold and crimson cheerfully said. “Please, step this way so we can expedite your registration.”

Isaiah stood his ground in line. Twenty years in maximum security prison had trained him to distrust special treatment.

“Sir. If you would follow me. Please.”

The fresh faced boy looked distressed as he motioned for Isaiah to step out of line and follow him.

Isaiah looked left, right; up and down the lobby. He made a production of checking out all the angles. His eyes lit on cameras on the ceiling, ornate columns, fake flower pots and fountains. His gaze lingered on this man, that woman, a trio of foreigners. He looked everywhere.

“Please Sir. We have been expecting you. The Management wishes that you not linger overlong in the lobby.”

“I am weary, and have come a long way,” Isaiah intoned.

“For sure, Sir. This way, if you please.”

Not the response Isaiah had expected. “Lead on,” he agreed, and grabbed the handles of his suitcases.

The concierge led him to the right, and then the left along a brightly tiled path through the casino. Isaiah huffed and sighed, letting his guide know his bags were heavy as he fell behind.  Another right brought him to a set of elevators.

“The bell hop has your key Sir,” said the fresh faced boy.

A Cuban appeared, his oversized attire garish in white and yellow. Isaiah frowned, looked back the way he’d come. “I am weary,” he began.

“Yes sir,” the Cuban bell hop interrupted. “Shall I attend to your bags for you, Sir?”

Isaiah nodded and allowed the Cuban to take control of his luggage. He loaded his two bags onto a wheeled rack, then pushed the button for the elevator to arrive. Isaiah wondered if all his preparations had gone awry. Years he’d planned this reunion. He’d called in all his markers, promised money he wasn’t sure he still had access to. Now he was free. But, had his patience paid off?

The elevator arrived and he stepped in. The suite was more sumptuous than Isaiah could have imagined, even at the height of his nefarious career. He’d climbed far, risked much, and when finally cornered by the FBI he’d kept his mouth shut. He’d expected support and special treatment for his loyalty and silence. His position had guaranteed him certain considerations. He’d been wrong.

After inspecting the three rooms, paying particular attention to areas that might logically conceal video and listening devises, he was surprised to see the bellhop still standing near the door.

“Oh, uhm,” Isaiah started, hands in his empty pockets in embarrassment.

“No need, Sir,” the disheveled man assured him with an ingenuous smile. “I’ve been generously taken care of.” He stuck a hand into his back pocket, pulled out a wad of papers, and offered them to Isaiah. “For your entertainment, Sir. Address is on the coupons.”

“Thank you,” Isaiah said dubiously. Entertainment was the last thing on his mind

Alone in his rooms, Isaiah sank to a knee and let his emotions overwhelm him. Where had he gone wrong? No one had appropriately responded to his carefully crafted codes. Were any of his old contacts still viable? Had everyone been bought, killed, or just been dormant so long they’d forgotten their allegiance?

No, he decided. He would not despair. He would shower, shave, and dress as if he still had a plan for his revenge. He had hoped all the players would be together in a spot of his choosing. But he still had his patience, his most valuable skill.

He stood, and angrily tossed the papers into the waste can. They fluttered as they fell, and he recognized a slash of writing. Retrieving the two slips of paper, he noted one was a prepaid entrance to The Right Spot night club. The other, the one that caught his eye, was a hand written note stating, “See you at ten. Don’t be late.”

Isaiah checked the ornate wall clock and noted he had an hour and a half before his appointment.
***
He entered the club amidst angry cat calls and profanity from the head of the waiting line.  By the time he ordered his second whiskey he was getting antsy. Crowds still made him nervous. The waitress that delivered his drink was not who he expected.

“Hello Darling.” She set his drink on the table; kissed him softly on his left cheek, right cheek, lips; then flopped into the empty chair opposite him.

“Helen,” he said, hoping his monotone conveyed displeasure. In truth, he was delighted to see this dark and deadly beauty.

“Don’t be rude Darling,” she admonished, draping her overlarge and voluptuous form into the chair opposite him.

He waited while she sipped her white Russian. He’d learned not to rush her. But he was growing impatient, the noise of the Club grating on his delicate nerves.

There was a lull in the music. The DJ announced a break and the crowd shifted and cleared around them. Helen leaned towards him. “Your network has been compromised.” Her voice was a husked whisper.

“Compromised,” he repeated, looking desperately around the room.

Helen flicked a manicured finger under his chin. “You’re safe here, Sweetie. You know I adore you?”

Isaiah leaned back and picked up his melting drink. Helen wasn’t his type; he preferred his women natural born, petite. Race wasn’t important, but gender was.

She laughed again. “I adore you, Isaiah. Your honesty, in this depraved business.” Her eyes remained on his, though he wanted to look away and assess the crowd.

“You’re safe here,” Helen assured him. “For now. Maybe not tomorrow though.”

“What happens tomorrow?”

“I don’t know,” she said, sadness pursing her red lips. “I had control of today, and you were late.”

“Well,” he began.

“Never mind,” she interrupted. “Someone leaked your codes, and they were prepared for your scheduled reunion.”

Isaiah choked on his whiskey. “I’ve been very careful,” he sputtered.

She raised her hand again. “You’ve been gone a long time, and your payments are suspect.”

“I’m good for it,” he grumbled.

“I know. Which is why I’m still here,” Helen said, her smile somehow sadistic.

Isaiah glanced around, knowing the gesture was fruitless, but unable to help himself.

“You’re safe here,” she said. “But everyone that knew your intentions are dead.”

“Except you,” Isaiah said, working hard to keep the dread out of his voice.

“Except me, yes,” Helen agreed. “As I said, I adore you.” She slid a bulging envelope across the table to him. “Had you shown up to your ‘reunion’ tonight, you’d be dead too.”

He eyed the package skeptically, then seeing no reason not to take it, he snatched it up and quickly perused the contents.

“Walter Cronin,” he asked.

“I owe you,” she said.

“And – “

“Nothing,” she said, sipping her drink and looking into the milling crowd.

The DJ had returned to his kiosk. Looking closely, Isaiah realized he was the shabby bellhop.

“I, ah,” he began, looking through the lavish documents.

“I hope never to see you again Isaiah,” Helen said, carefully dabbing tears from the corner of her eyes. “But, knowing you, I will.”

“I hope not too,” he said with a smile he did not feel in his heart. “Thank you.”

Click here for the linky to more WEP Reunions participants.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: PEEVISH

Hey Y'all

Well, its been over a month since I last posted, or visited. And here I am, multitasking, trying to upload work pictures on the tablet, place orders, and blog all at the same time. Yeah, not cuz I'm so good at balancing all that, but because the internet is soooooo slow. I'm impatient and just want it all to just get done. Like those idiot drivers on the road in slow traffic, darting in and out of lanes to get one more car ahead. Ack, like that helps you get any closer to your end destination!

I'm working really hard at getting everything done the last minute due to poor planning (yeah yeah, laziness). I remembered I was co-hosting IWSG this month, I just kept putting off writing the post. TIME is the villain here, lol.



August 2 Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I guess my pet peeves are the same as peeves with drivers and tasks: impatience and laziness. Even in my own writing. Sometimes I get impatient to get to certain scenes or concepts in a story I'm writing and I narrate through action or relationships, or use those dreaded cliche's (rolling eyes, furrowed brows, clenched fists) to make the writing faster, easier. Or use a bunch of modern day swear words in an off-world fantasy cuz I'm too lazy to make up story-relevant verbiage. I hate that kind of writing in books I'm reading.

And if you've ever received a critique or editing from me of your work, you know I'm just as hard on m writing friends as I am on myself, or a published work. Anything that seems an author was too lazy, or too impatient to get through a story - either writing it or getting it published - to write a developed story line, is my pet peeve. I want to read - and write- something original.

Even if that author is myself.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 2 posting of the IWSG are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

So . . . ready to test out those original writing skills? How about entering the Writer's Digest, Popular Fiction Awards contest with a grand prize of $2,500.

Categories:

  • Mystery/Crime: Mystery and crime fiction focus on the dramatization of crimes, the detective work and procedures in solving said crimes, and the criminal motivations behind them.
  • Horror: Horror fiction is a genre which intends, and/or has the capacity, to frighten, scare or startle readers. This genre may induce feelings of creepiness, horror and terror, and is generally unsettling for the audience. Horror can be supernatural or non-supernatural.
  • Romance: Romance fiction can encompass and draw themes, ideas and premises from other genres and can vary widely in setting, dialogue, characters, etc. Generally, however, romance fiction should include a love story involving two individuals struggling to make their relationship work and an emotionally satisfying ending.
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy: Science fiction and fantasy are genres that take place beyond the boundaries of “real life.” In the case of science fiction, this often involves futuristic settings, science and technology, as well as space travel, time travel, extraterrestrial life, and parallel universes. Fantasy fiction touches on similar elements such as world building, magic and magical creatures, and generally does not include the scientific themes.
  • Thriller/Suspense: Suspense fiction uses the threat of personal jeopardy and tension to dramatically affect the reader. A thriller can provide surprise, anxiety, terror, anticipation, etc., in order to provide a rush of emotions and excitement that progress a story. It should generally be based around the strength of the villain and the protagonist, as well as their struggle against each other. This category might encompass several other genres, including horror, science fiction, and crime.
  • Young Adult: Young Adult fiction is generally fiction meant for readers age 12-18.
Dead line to enter is October 16, 2017

Or perhaps you want something a little more (blog) local?

Check out Write..Edit..Publish August flash fiction blog hop. 1000 words or less, posting date August 16, story concept is REUNIONS. Click here for prompt details and to link your blog to the hop.

OK I'm outa here for now. My laptop battery is dying, my wine glass is empty, and I gotta hit the pillow to work tomorrow and have the energy to bop around and visit everyone.

Patience my Precious- I'm slow but steady in getting there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WEP: Bridges




Hello;

I have three separate story starts labeled WEP BRIDGES in My Documents. At the last moment (well, over the last few days of looming deadline) these two little boys nudged their story into my wandering attention as I listened to a book I lost interest in during a looooong drive. I kept telling the kids I already had a story start for this challenge, but when I opened the story I decided to finish and post - this is what actually/eventually got written. You know how demanding children can be sometimes? If not, you know how demanding ignored characters can be?

Its been through three days worth (intermittently) of editing, deletions and revisions; to the point I'm not sure I even see it anymore. All that for a thousand word flash!?! I should be this dedicated to my novel writing, lol.

(Mutant ninja space monkey's are winging their way to Denise and Yolanda to shower them with crappy ideas for 20 minutes to extract retribution.)

Ok, onward. . .

Below is my 996 word contribution to Write..Edit..Publish BRIDGES challenge. Click here for details on the challenge, links to other participants, and to meet and greet the WEP hosts.

full critique acceptable

AARON

Jack and Carl huddled together in Carl’s bedroom closet. Jack cradled his six year old brother as their father’s tirade beat through the downstairs rooms. Their mother screamed and cried. Carl whimpered with each crash and curse.

“Shhh,” Jack whispered urgently. “He’ll forget us if we’re quiet.”

“Not this time,” Carl said between hiccups. “Aaron said so.”

Jack cursed and hugged his brother tighter.

Aaron wanted to say something, encourage Carl to get out. He’d shown Carl where he would be safe. But Carl couldn’t hear Aaron when anyone else was around.

Their mother’s screams abruptly ended. Jack’s whimpers rivaled Carl’s in the sudden silence.

Aaron tried again to contact Carl. He advanced through the bunched clothing and knelt among the mismatched shoes. He merged one hand with Carl’s, and in desperation and fear, laid a hand on Jack’s shoulder.

“Run. You know where to go Carl.”

“Run where?” Jack asked, leaning back in surprise.

Aaron couldn’t believe Jack had heard him. “Come to me Carl. I can save you.”

“And Jack?” Carl removed his hands from his head and looked directly at Aaron.

Aaron nodded. “It seems so. He heard me just now.”

Carl hugged Jack, pulling their heads closer. “I know where he can't find us.”

“Jack? Where are you Son?”

“Shit,” Jack said. “Your Dad only calls me ‘son’ when he wants to hurt me.”

The door to Jack’s bedroom crashed against the wall of Carl’s closet and both boys screeched in terror.

“You have to go now Carl.”

Carl nodded and untangled himself from Jack as furniture crashed in the other room. He stood and tugged his brother’s shoulders. “Come on. Aaron says we have to hurry.”

Jack stood as his step father called his name again. “Aaron? Your imaginary friend? Go where?”

“I'll show you.”

They could hear their father still searching Jack’s room. Carl stepped over Jack and pushed open the closet door. He grabbed Jack’s arm and tried to get him on his feet. Aaron was at the bedroom window beckoning them to hurry.

Jack jumped to his feet and looked to the locked bedroom door. “Dad’s in my room. We can sneak down the stairs, find Mom, and call 911.”

“No!” Aaron and Carl said together.

Aaron relocated to Jack and again placed his hands on Jack’s shoulders. “She's dead. You and Carl will be too if you don’t come now. Please Jack.”

“Please Jack,” Carl echoed from the window.

“Jack!” Their father called from the hallway.

"That deadbolt won't hold for long," Aaron warned.

“Help me Carl,” Jack said as he ran to the dresser.

Carl raced silently across the carpet in his bare feet and helped Jack teeter-push the four foot tall dresser towards the door. Then the banging sounded, the door almost caved in, and Jack ran around to Carl’s end. He bent down and tried to lift the dresser. Seeing what Jack intended, Carl also bent down and added his weight to the lift. The dresser toppled and they shoved it in front of the door just as another crash nearly buckled the door off its hinges.

“Hurry,” Aaron yelled from outside the window.

Jack lifted the lamp off the nightstand and aimed it at the window. His window was nailed shut; but Carl rushed to the window and unlocked the latch.

“Open this door NOW,” their Dad yelled.

Jack dropped the lamp as a fist sized hole burst through the door. He ran to the window as Carl scrambled out onto the roof of the porch.

“We have to hurry Carl,” Aaron advised. “I can’t hold the portal long.”

“I won’t go without Jack,” Carl yelled.

“I’m coming,” Jack said as he slid on the slate roof. He stopped himself just short of sliding off the edge. It was eight feet to the ground. “How we gonna –“

“Like this,” Carl said. He hung onto the gutter, then swung his legs over and disappeared.

Jack leaned over the edge, scared his brother had fallen. But Carl was shimmying down the post and was nearly to the ground.

“Hurry,” Aaron called from the fence. “You can both make it.”

Jack saw the flash of blue and red Spider Man pj’s as his brother disappeared through a missing slat in the wood fence. He looked back as his step father crashed through the bedroom door. Carl was safe for now, but he might still be able to save their mother if he could get to a phone. Jack swung easily over the edge and wrapped his legs around the pole.

"Little creep, stop right there," his step father yelled, leaning over the gutter.

Jack screamed and slid down the pole, his hands and forearms stinging from splinters. He let go and let himself drop half way down. He heard more cursing and crashing of furniture as his father thudded back into the bedroom. It wouldn't take him long to get down the stairs.

Jack ran to the front door and twisted the knob. It was locked. He shook the handle and banged on the door but it wouldn't budge. Giving up, he turned and sprinted for the hole in the fence. He ran down the wooded path towards the ancient oak tree, barely noticing the sharp rocks digging into his bare feet. He and his friends had traded stories about this area, but Jack had never seen anything weird. Seeing his brother’s imaginary friend made him rethink the impossible.

Ahead, he could hear Carl calling his name. Rainbow lights filtered through the leaves, and the sound of music and laughter. He burst through the trees and shaded his eyes against the brightness.

Carl was in the center of the rainbow, smiling. He waved at Jack as he slowly disappeared into the lights.

"Run Jack," Aaron called.

Jack hesitated, torn between rescuing his mother or following his brother. He glanced behind him, then turned back to tell Carl to wait.

Aaron and the magic had disappeared also.

* * * *

If this writing inspired you to undertake some prompt writing of your own, please visit the WEP Upcoming Challenges page to plan your future participation.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: ARE YOU A QUITTER?

Hello

Guess this is as good a day as any to remember to blog. With the warmer weather its hard to be sitting inside on the computer while everyone is out swimming, hiking, or generally soaking up the sun.

Not me though. I'm a white girl! And I don't mean that just racially (sorry if you are offended); my well developed summer tan looks like most people's winter pale. My skin will burn to the point of blisters if I leave my shade too long. To the dismay of most of my family, I quit sunbathing for the sake of social acceptance a very long time ago.

I do allow myself to pink-up for walks in the park or woods, small amounts of yard work, and the occasional swim in a back yard pool. Everybody needs a bit of summer fun - even me.

So how is the writing going for you this time of year? Do you have to modify your writing time to catch early morning or early evening coolness? Or to work around kids, partners, or other's vacations? Or do you simply QUIT writing for the summer and save yourself the frustration?



This month's IWSG question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

  Well yes, I have said "I QUIT!" and meant it. Like a smoker (or any other addiction), I did quit writing - well, quit writing on my books and short stories. For about three years, or less. I was writing blog posts, and comments, and even started a SOP at the day job.I wrote emails - like really long ones - and critiques for writing partners, and quite a lot of book reviews. Even wrote some story starts.

So I have quit writing. And came back. And quit again. Repeat.

One of the things that bring me back to writing is a thought provoking question that has surfaced several times over my blogging/writing career and goes something like: if I'm not actively writing, can I still call myself a writer (author)?

The question terrorized my guilt for a few months, which is probably when a good many of those story starts smeared a word document. I did not agonize over it for long however. I realized that many famous celebrities are not "actively" participating in their professions either. Athletes, actors, singers, musicians, models. And even some writers.

When I took the pressure off myself to produce non-stop, I again found my enjoyment in the craft of creating stories. Of spending time letting the voices in my head out onto the page. I would still be a writer even if I was never published. I will still be a writer even if all I ever produce is flash fiction for blogfest prompts.

Having my short stories published occasionally is AWESOME as incentive to continue to write. And I still pull out my story starts and the trilogy and do some serious writing/editing. I do hope one day to be a famous author and have my books sitting there next to Stephen King, Joy Fielding, Jodi Piccoult. But writing is a hobby, and I doubt I will ever QUIT forever. I enjoy it too much. Even when I hate it.

If you are new to the Insecure Writers Support Group click here for the details on this once monthly blog hop. You can visit other participants and sign up on the list if interested in participating yourself. Be sure to thank our host Alex Cavanaugh, and June's co-hosts JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Gwen Gardner.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WEP Winner




Sweet; I won first prize in the WEP: Peace and Love challenge. I won a $10 Amazon gift card and a guest spot on Write..Edit..Publish blog.

So do me a favor and click here to read my guest post on BRIDGES. Perhaps you'll be encouraged or inspired to write your own vision and join us in June.



Water under the bridge? Or interpret this prompt as a setting, or as an overture after a breach, or just the word inserted somewhere into your writing/images.

Thoughts:

Literally--

Prisoners of war building a bridge, thinking of loved ones, inspiration to survive...

Explorers building a bridge to an unexplored site…

Engineers building a bridge that collapses...

Metaphorically--

Building bridges after a feud

Water under the bridge--let bygones be bygones . . .

Visit the WEP: 2017 Upcoming challenges page for details on all the challenges.



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: THE RABBIT HOLE OF RESEARCH

Happy May Day all.

When I think of May Day, I think of may pole dances, picnics, family gatherings at the park.

Although after reading Stephen T McCarthy's Battle of the Bands post on the less harmonious aspect of International Workers Day, I'm not so inclined to celebrate. But as happens with so many things that intrigue me, I decided not to let one reference get me down. I opened a new tab and entered MAY DAY into Google search.

The CNN link said a lot the same as Saint Mac's Wikipidia, and I got a lot more interesting info by clicking on The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) article. Of course I did not stop there - but you don't want all those links, lol. Suffice it to say, this rabbit hole about, basically, Labor Unions,
which brings to mind gang violence . . Hey, did y'all see GANGS OF NEW YORK? Great movie, which I did not have time to look up on NetFlix last night because it led me back to my own research on gang violence for my novel. Which let me pretend those distracting hours were "research" for, ya know, revision ideas. Or perhaps another story start . . .

This month's IWSG question of the month is: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you've ever had to research for your story?

As you can see from my opening paragraphs, I'm not sure I can succinctly answer this question. I find just about everything I research fascinating. I've found cool and weird in places I did not expect to see by following link, or changing my mind about what to research.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Now that A-Z is over the IWSG sign-up list must seem pretty small, huh?

Thanks to Alex for the creating this monthly group, and to his co-hosts Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Lisbet, Michelle Wallace and Feather Stone, for taking the time to visit as many of us as possible.