Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pretty Amazing

My agent's assistant posted a link to this video on Twitter and it's too good not to share. This is powerful stuff. Please watch.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Sting of Summer

Mosquitoes.

Enough said? I did contemplate ending this post with that, but have decided to expand it just a bit more. I'm not going to say I hate the little bloodsuckers, because, well, do you know anyone who likes them? Maybe there's a mosquito researcher or two who finds them fascinating, but not I.

Nope. The fascination is the other way 'round. I am a mosquito magnet. As soon as they make their appearance, they find me. At any given moment in the summer, you'll find several bites on me in various stages of healing. Doesn't matter what I use, doesn't matter what I don't use - they find me.

I did a little reading and found out that mosquitoes can have victim preferences. Nice, huh? They're like serial killers, and I happen to fit their type. I am not going to go into all the juicy little details, but this is nifty article about the whole thing: WebMD Article - Are You A Mosquito Magnet?

So yes, I'm one of those unlucky folks who they love. And I've used several products that article mentions without luck. I think I'd need a head-to-toe mosquito net suit to save my skin from their proboscises (Quick. Say it three times fast. Fun, isn't it?). Blood-sucking bastards.

Lucky for me, I'm a fast healer. Now excuse me, I have a bite to scratch.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Father's Day Tale

For Father's Day, a bunch of us met for dinner at a local restaurant. The restaurant gave my five-year-old niece crayons and paper to occupy herself with, and while we were waiting for our food, my aunt took one sheet and drew a castle and moat and a princess with long flowing hair. She then told my niece that the princess was trapped in the castle by a dragon and was waiting to be rescued. My father leaned over, smiled, and said, "And the dragon got hungry and ate the princess."

I love my dad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Poem Published Today

Just a quick post today. Sorry about that, folks.

My poem, Spiral is available to read today on Everyday Poets. EDP features a new poem every day, and you can vote and/or comment or just read and enjoy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reading and Writing

I love to read. I always have. I have my father to thank for giving me that gift. But I like to read as a reader. As a reader, I can jump in someone else's world for a time and leave the real one waiting in the wings.

If I make the mistake of leaving my writer hat on when I pick up a book, the editing part of my brain becomes a nuisance, pointing out 'was' overuse, spotting unnecessary adverbs and striking them out (Mentally only, of course. I would not ever, ever deface a book with my scribblings.) with the skill of a trained marksman, unneeded backstory, or overblown writing. Needless to say, this dampens the enjoyment of the book somewhat and keeps one of my feet planted in the world of the real.

And to make matters worse, whenever my inner editor points something out, I feel like a literary snob. Don't get me wrong. My first drafts are often filled with the aforementioned issues and sometimes they do sneak into finished drafts. My inner editor doesn't always cooperate, you see. And the aforementioned things are not always bad. I think they're only pesky when they are noticeable. I also don't believe any writer should sacrifice their 'voice' to the grammar gods. I love the power of a well-placed sentence fragment.

But anyway, I digress. Back to the reading. I don't read with the intention of tearing the author's writing apart, and to be honest, that's not what my inner editor is doing. She's simply pointing out things I hope to catch when I'm editing my own words. And this, boys and girls, is why every writer should read. A lot. And then some.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why I Love Flash Fiction

I adore flash fiction, both reading and writing. For the sake of clarification, I'm referring to a story told in 1,000 words or less.

Flash fiction is like a finely spun web half in light and half in shadow. The light is the story as it's told; the shadow contains the pieces left out for the reader's imagination to fill in. The trick is figuring out what to include and what to leave out. Include too much, and the story can get muddled in details. Leave out too much, and the story will be too vague and unsatisfying. My first draft flash fiction pieces are usually too vague, so when it's time to edit, I go back and add flesh to the skeleton, so to speak.

Don't get me wrong. I love short stories that are longer, too. There's just something about a story that is perfectly condensed. A good flash fiction piece is much like a treasure waiting to be unearthed.

If you like flash fiction, here are some sites you might enjoy:

Flash Fiction Online
Vestal Review
Everyday Fiction
Everyday Weirdness

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Where Do the Stories Come From?

Most of the time, I can't answer that question. The stories just come out. A character might pop up to say hello, I'll 'overhear' a snippet of conversation from nameless, faceless folks who live in my head, an image will come to mind, or that great little question "What if?" will arise in response to something. From there, it's a mad dash to the laptop to get the words out.

I just put the finishing touches on a story, and for the first time in quite a while, I can tell you, without a doubt, what gave birth to the story. Ready? The movie The Human Centipede, The Tudors Season 3 (To be precise, the line "I like her not.", spoken by Henry VIII after meeting Anne of Cleves for the first time), and the dreadful oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

You are either shaking your head, laughing, or perhaps wondering if I'm a lunatic, but that's okay. The story contains none of these things and yet was born of a curious melding of the three. Inside my head of course, where all good little stories are born.

So tell me. Where do your stories come from?