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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Blog: Flashes - Visual and Text


Hey all, this is the fifth Thursday of the month. I decided for the fifth Thursdays instead of pointing you to someone else's blog, to write my own. For this one, I thought I would let you in on how I write a little.

You may have noticed I sort the Sunday Flashes into "Visual Flashes" and "Text Flashes". So, what is the difference? After all, nearly every post I do seems to have a picture associated with it.

First off, flashes are very, very short stories aimed around 1,000 words. Most of mine fall between 500 and 1,200 words. For fifth Sundays, like in January, I will be posting a flash of around 2,000 words. Flashes are meant to be written flat out and tend to be more "scenes" than full short stories requiring character development, plots, and growth. Since I am posting the flashes instead of hiding them away, I do a little editing - correctly the worst of my grammar and spelling errors - before letting the world see my babies.

The difference between Visual and Text flashes is what inspired them. With visual flashes, I am working from a visual prompt. I saw a picture and tried to create a story around the picture. Visual prompts started my blog.

Back toward the end of 2013, I discovered Breathless Press's blog where they posted a picture every Sunday and asked readers/writers to post a line inspired by the picture. I wrote a few flashes - about three-week’s worth. Then I decided to start my own blog and posting the stories there as well. That way if anything happened to Breathless Press, I would still have my stories. Man, am I glad I did that. Because in 2015 the small press died, as so many have done. Publishing is a tough business.

I no longer have any of the original pictures, unless I was able to hunt them down and find the correct permissions. I am a stickler about creative attribution - but that is another blog (likely for the fifth Thursday of June).

Text flashes were written without any visual inspiration. I don't have to tie them to a chair being red or a man wearing suspenders because that was in the picture. These stories may have been inspired by a conversation with a friend, an observation at work, or just spring from my head like Athena from Zeus' (after a very nasty headache). Before posting, I try to find a good picture to go with the story.

A cool note that using visuals as inspiration and using writing to choose a picture have publishing industry equivalents. During the pulp era, sometimes publishing houses would buy a cover from an artist and give it to an in-house writer to build a story around. Modernly, author write the stories picked up by publishing houses, and an in-house artist builds a cover around.

I find that my visual inspirations tend to create new worlds and storylines, while my text flashes revisit and expand the worlds I have previously created.

As a reader, do you have a preference on the stories? Do you find the visual or the text flashes to be more interesting?

As a writer, have you used visual or text prompts for inspiration? Do you find one or the other easier to work with? Have you ever tried to find a picture for a story you wrote or work with an artist?

Comment below.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Art Projects: Gardening 2016

I Never Promised A Rose Garden - but I am going to deliver it!

This month has both a fifth Tuesday and fifth Thursday, making the blog a little more challenging. I want the "fifth's" to be special. The fifth Sunday is a 2,000 word story (as seen in January). The fifth Thursday will be a blog of my own ... but what to do for the fifth Tuesday.

Decision made - I will be posting an "art" project I am working on. I've talked about my embroidery and calligraphy before. Last year I started learning the art of mosaics. But for the first fifth Tuesday of 2016 I thought I would touch on the gardening.


In between taxes, I have been using my one hour of sunlight per week to work outside. I've always wanted to garden to play with. Twenty months ago I got it when I bought my very small house. The yard is big enough for tons of fun, in between being too busy.


 My first goal was a rose garden. Which I arranged October 2015. I moved bushes from around the house. The previous owner for some reason had three bushes - one behind the garbage cans, one where it could grab a skirt every time a passenger left a car, and one slowly being overtaken by sunflowers and weeds. I dug them up and combined them in one area.

Since the roses wouldn't bloom until summer, I added crocus, tulips, and pansies for springtime. The crocus popped up in early March for two weeks. Now tulips are reigning with support from the pansies.

Yes, the garden is completely overgrown with spring weeds as well. That needs to get fixed. But my first attempt at putting my mark on my house has worked out well.

The red leafed bushes along the cement should have a continuous display of red and white roses come June. Fingers-crossed!

The major problem is the curved corner dips low and constantly floods. I need to get that fixed along with the weeding sometime soon.


The next thing I concentrated on was the ornamental grass in the back of the house. I worked on this most of February and March during the odd moment of free time my day job allowed during daylight hours. As you can see below, I trimmed the tops off.



But reason work was needed on the grass was the entire center had rotted out. Took me three weeks of digging and fighting to clear everything out. One online website on the care and maintenance of Pampas grass recommends trimming with a chain saw, then burning what is left to the ground and let it grow back. No, really - the blog instructed to trim grass with a chain saw while wearing leather to keep the razor sharp leaves from cutting you.

I just went out it with a shovel, hoe, shears, and while wearing a denim shirt and jeans with heavy gloves. My wrists still were slit to heck and back where the fabric gapped, but I did get the center cleared out.

This is what the grass looks from the other side after all the rot was removed.



I hope it will recover. The grass is beautiful and hides my neighbor's shed which is falling down and covered by a tarp.

The original idea for this post was to tell you all about the herb garden put in near my kitchen ... the one I was going to work on in March. I got everything together two weeks before this post so I could show pictures and brag about how accomplished I am.

Yeah, no. The next two weeks have been working late every day I had a chance of getting home before sunset ... or rain. Spring rains. Lots of them.

So what I have to-be-assembled pictures:

The plot which the previous owner covered with the oh-so "effective" weed tarp. I somehow need to dig through the weeds to the tarp. The problem is the weeds have grown through the tarp. To get this up will require removal of four inches or more of weeds, tarp, and roots at one time. I didn't realize how involved until I started the first "easy" lift off of the tarp. Nothing moved.





On one of the rainy days I went shopping for the assembly kit. The brick borders, new soil, and a turtle big enough to sit on while working the little plot.

Last year I dug out the dead bush by the front door. I had really hoped to have a full herb garden this year.

We'll see what happens.





The other big goal this year is remove as many stumps a possible. The house came with close to a dozen stumps everywhere. I have dug two up so far. The previous owner was an older lady who took care of her yard for a while, but it just got away from her the last few years she lived there. So I have inherited a yard with lots of potential, but to reach that potential, I need to first clear the slate.



From the azalea bushes gone wrong. These should have been blooming by now.







To the ever present stumps.





And more stumps, plus the bushes which now run the entire fence.



Oh, and the trees growing THROUGH the fence.




Anyway, one of my ongoing art projects is getting my yard in shape. A multi-year project, obviously.


The goals for gardening in 2016 are as follows: 
(1) Get the ornamental grass fixed - COMPLETED late March
(2) get the rose garden fixed
(3) get the herb garden in
(4) get as many of the stumps out of the yard as possible.

I think that should be enough. The other fifth Tuesday will show off other art projects. I am thinking covering an embroidery, a calligraphy, and a mosaic project.

I will post pictures to the facebook webpage as this year's gardening projects are completed.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Flash: Coffee Urn

Image courtesy of the Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Foundation
Painting entitled: Coffee Pot
Shared under the Creative Commons attribution
[Coffee Urn - flash story]

Coffee. Warm, wonderful, life-giving coffee.

The silver urn bathed in the late morning sun, alone on the banquet table, steam curling from the lip. The steam barely visible to my unfocused eyes but glorious all the same.

Hot caffeine. The motion of my life's blood. The function of my synapses.

Throbbing, my head ravaged me for last night. My tongue ached for the Columbia Black to spill over the cotton-parched muscle, burning away ... burning away everything. If only there was a mug.

If only I could move my arms.

I twisted my shoulders to see how tight the bindings were.

My dry tongue pressed against whatever was stuck in my mouth preventing me from screaming, adhering to the terrycloth fiber. Blood and sweat-sock duked it out for control of my taste buds. I think the blood is mine; at least one tooth is loose. So much for the extensive orthodontic work my parents paid for during my teenage years.

Bile rose from the flavors but I manage to dry swallow it back down.

Did they, whoever they were, leave the urn as torture? For torture it was to have coffee so close and so far.


(words 196 - first published 3/27/2016)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Other Cool Blogs: SFWA January 8, 2016

Bio: Iz Spezial - Luv Mee!

So you need a bio. Could be because you are appearing in a con, publishing a short story in anthology, or actually got your novel accepted somewhere. Maybe you are just setting up your Facebook page, a blog, or website. Could be you have a speaking engagement, displaying some art, or signing up for a dating service.

Anyway, you need to create a short biological sketch. One of the toughest things in the world. You can write 100,000 words of fiction, but writing 100 words of "I done good and is spezial" is tough.

Never fear, Luna Lindsey wrote a great blog on the topic, "Tackling the Dreaded Bio" for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website. The website has several great blogs including focusing on the "Craft of Writing" and the "Business of Writing".

Hop on over to http://www.sfwa.org/2016/01/35531/ to find out all about writing a bio.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Writing Exercise: Switching Out Words

freedigitalphotos.net
[Exercise #2 - Writing Exercise]

Use Better Words

Write a generic scene - no more than 100 words. Then go through and change or add one or two words (no more than that) per sentence to make it better. Then try again, using the same generic start for a totally different genre or feel.

*****

After walking into the bar, a guy sits on a stool. He signals the bartender for a boilermaker. Beer and whiskey appear, and his money gets whisked away. The bartender returns to the girl he was flirting with. The guy knocks back the shot, then walks over to the couple holding his beer. (words 53)

*****

After sauntering into the bar, a guy hops on a stool. Smiling, he signals the bartender for a boilermaker. Beer and whiskey appear, and his meager cash gets whisked away. The cute bartender returns to the girl she was flirting with. The guy knocks back some courage, then walks over to the couple holding his beer.

*****

After walking into the darken bar, a guy mounts a stool. Furtively he signals the bartender for a boilermaker. Beer and whisky appear, and his money disappears. The bartender returns to the working girl he was flirting with. The guy knocks back the shot, then slips closer to the couple swirling his beer.

(first published 1/31/2015; republished new blog format 3/22/2016)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Flash: It's Dirty

Image acquired from the Internet Hive Mind, specifically Wikipedia
[It's Dirty - flash story]

"When can I put ActionMan down, dad?" The four-year old held the toy over the conveyor belt.

Joe reached across the moving rubber. "Let me just put the bar between mom's stuff and yours. That let's the cashier lady know to ring up your ActionMan separate."

"So I get to pay with it with my money!" His parents had decided he was old enough for his own allowance. Joe and Scott had spent most of the shopping trip picking out the perfect toy to spend his first week's allowance while Cheryl and April, still relegated to sitting in the cart, did the family groceries. Joe was pretty sure Cheryl had the easier task. Once the bar was down, Scott dropped the toy. He gripped the side of the machine to stand on tippy toe and watch its slow movement down the belt.

After a while he got bored and started looking around at all the impulse items specifically placed at child level in the candy aisle.

"Keep an eye on him," Cheryl instructed her husband. "He wanders."

"My son, the explorer."

"Your son, the destroyer." She placed the last of the baby food on the belt, after moving the bar and toy back a bit. "Eyes on him."

Chuckling, Joe watched as his son bent at his knees and carefully studied things on the bottom-most shelf in the squat position small children did so easily. "He isn't that bad."

"Karen," Cheryl addressed the cashier, "what do you think?"

The black lady behind the counter smiled at her realtor while moving the merchandise over the scanner. "We do show a profit on your visits."

"Well said." The blond turned back to her husband. "Sweetie, every stocker in the store knows Scott's name."

Joe came over to kiss Cheryl on the cheek. "That is because he is an extrovert just like you."

"Goldfish!" Scott explained.

Both parents turned around to see Scott waving a small carton of Goldfish in the air.

"Do you want that, buddy?" Joe asked, approaching the boy and gently taking the carton out of his hands before he crushed it.

The four-year old nodded vigorously. "Yes!"

"Inside voice." Cheryl's automatic response drifted from the front of the line as Scott's expositions finally crossed the threshold of too loud.

"Yes." He stage-whispered to his dad.

"Well, let's look at the price." Joe knelt down beside the child. "What do the numbers say?"

"One...zero...nine."

"Okay, do you remember how much money ActionMan is going to cost?"

Scott's young face scrunched up in thought. "No."

"It's okay, I do." Joe recited the numbers. "That leaves just eighty-nine pennies leftover of your allowance."

"Which is more than one-nine, right?" Scott looked up eagerly.

"Yes it is more than nineteen, but this is one hundred and nine. That zero is important." Joe held the carton in front of him, lifting it up and down as though weighing it. "You got a choice buddy. You only have so much money. Do you want ActionMan or the Goldfish?"

"But I'm hungry!"

"And mommy just bought a whole bunch of food. When we get home we will unpack it and then I'm going to start cooking dinner." Joe stood and picked up the toy from the belt and then knelt again, with the toy in one hand and the food in the other. "Which do you want? We can only get one."

Scott gazed longingly at one and then the other. Sighing deeply, he pointed at the toy. "I want ActionMan."

"Good choice buddy." said Joe, giving a response he decided to give no matter what the choice was. At this point making a choice instead of throwing a tantrum to get both options was a great choice. But overall the engineer in Joe liked the fact his son went for the long choice instead of the immediate result. He passed the carton to his son. "Now put this back since we are not getting it." He stood up as he watched the tiny learning machine put the food back on the bottom shelf.

Subdued Scott returned to his dad's side, who gave him the toy. He stood on tiptoe and placed it back on the conveyor and watched until the bar hit the cashier area. His mom pulled out the little coin purse where she was storing his allowance.

"Ready for me to scan this, little man?" Karen asked.

Scott nodded solemnly.

"Listen for the beep."

Once the scanner made its noise, Scott's face lit up again. "Was that beep mine?"

"Yes, it was." Cheryl handed Scott the two bills making up his allowance, while the cashier bagged the toy. "Now you need to pay for it."

Smiling from ear to ear, he handed over the money.

"Eighty-nine cents is your change." Karen leaned across the counter, placing the money in the two small outstretched hands.

While trying to get the coins into the money holder, the dime escaped. Scott looked at it a moment.

"Aren't you going to pick it up?" Joe asked.

"It's dirty!" Scott declared, before handing the coin purse to his mom and going to get his toy from the bagging area.

Cheryl opened her mouth, then closed it, looking at her husband in consternation. 


Joe shrugged. "Which rule do you want?"

Seeing her son engrossed with the toy, Cheryl quickly bent over, picked up the coin, and dropped it into the purse.

"Hygiene wins." Joe smiled wickedly before adding, "Good choice sweetie."

"I'll good choice you." She whispered back in pretend anger.

"Promise?"

"Tonight, after dinner and laundry ... if April doesn't wake up."

(words 934 - first published 3/20/2016)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words March 16, 2016

Original Image from Unsplash, created by Redd Angelo
Words added by Erin Penn

So I am reading along in the The Weird Wild West anthology by eSpec Books, going through the "about the author" section when I ran across a book title that intrigued me: "The Six-Gun Tarot". Saw the author was R.S. Belcher and went to read "Rattler", the short story in the anthology. Not bad, not bad. From there the search went to Amazon to see if the blurb intrigued me as much as the title. It didn't, but I fooled around a bit (because BOOKS!) and discovered the just released (March 2016) book "The Brotherhood of the Wheel". Picked the sample up on my Kindle and two days of fighting myself later about dropping money on a new book when I have so many other books to read, write, and edit, I bought the book.

Templar meets Teamsters would be my tagline for the book.

And the next day I run across Mr. Belcher as a new blogger on Magical Words! His "The Great Pants-Plot Comprise" captures one of the many answers to whether plotting (figuring out everything in advance) or pantsing (writing with the flow) is better ... and is perhaps the closest to the answer I would provide if anyone asked me how I approached the question.

Flash, which I do a lot of, is a pantsing project; write about 1,000 words quickly. But the novels take a bit more work to be coherent. By nature I am a plotter. Plan life, plan trips, etc. Lists, lists and more lists. Pieces of paper everywhere.

I like the blog because Mr. Belcher tells about two failed novels, one because he approached it from a plotter beginning and the other from a pantsing beginning. Then he found the mix for him. Read about it here: http://www.magicalwords.net/really-i-mean-it/the-great-pants-plot-compromise/.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Author Spotlight: Janet Kagan

Book Cover from Amazon

Mrs. Janet Kagan is ... was ... one of my all-time favorite authors; she went to play in the Big Sky in 2008. In her time she managed to write only two full novels for publication and one collection of stories assembled from magazines articles (the overall arc makes the sum even better than its parts, which is very appropriate for Mirabile). The full list of her works can be found here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?1485.

Her demanding scientific dayjob kept her world count unfortunately low but brought a richness to her worldbuilding few writers ever reach. Uhura's Song is arguably the most critically acclaimed of the Star Trek prose. Most people are familiar with her through this work.

My personal favorite is Hellspark (alternately pronounced Hell's Park and Hell Spark - read the book to understand). I love worldbuilding on a sociological level, and this science fiction story truly captures why sociology is important to creating alternate worlds of the science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction genres. People on other planets are not just going to be Americans on strange new worlds, but people being shaped by the worlds as much as the star-travelers are shaping (terraforming) the planets. Hellspark captures both the sociology and the biology of future planetary explorations in ways which hold me spellbound as I read through it for the third or fourth ... and eventually the fiftieth time if my books hold up that long.

Only the Star Trek story is available on Kindle. Maybe if enough interest continues in her other publication, Tor will release them in Kindle format too.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Flash: Barefoot with the Rain Falling Down


http://onlyinthestorm.blogspot.com/2008_06_01_archive.html
(Seems to be a public image - found at the above website as well as other locations)
[Barefoot with the Rain Falling Down - flash story]

Why couldn’t the rain have waited just a few more hours to break the drought? Alison thought as she stood in the law office foyer where she worked as a receptionist. She pushed up her umbrella before joining the throng outside on the sidewalk. She elbowed her way into the moving mass.

Unlike most, she did not have a short walk to one of center city’s numerous parking garages. Her massive school debt made owning a car a distant dream. Alison reminded herself, as her left sneaker was soaked in a deep puddle, the walk saved on gym fees. Exercise was good for her.

She huddled under her portable shelter, bringing the umbrella in tight, so its ribs touched her head, and scurried with the rest of the rat race from work to home. Alison tried not to think about the mountain waiting at home from her second job in medical transcription. At least between her two jobs, she managed to pay off the credit card debt from college last month.

If she could keep from punching Mr. Jewels, Esquire, for another six months, and kept dumping everything onto the loans, she would be debt free. She could spend a few more nights in sleeping bag in her little rented room. Ten years from the beginning of school to the end of debt. Show her parents for kicking her out.

Alison turned through the park. Normally more crowded than the sidewalk, the rain drove the bicyclists and basketball enthusiasts home for the day.

She focused her eyes on the concrete walk and picked up speed.

Mr. Jewels really needed to be knocked on his ass. She couldn’t believe he ripped up the contract he had her prepare in front of the client. All because of a clause he had told her to add. She thought it didn’t look right and had even braved his ire to double-check the wording with him. … But no, HE couldn’t look foolish in front of his client, so he screamed .. screamed! … at her for the mistake.

If she wanted screaming, she would go home. The only difference was here she was being paid to listen to his rants. The other lawyers of the partnership were so desperate to have someone act as his secretary, they paid her a bonus for the work she did over and above being the general receptionist.

Still no one should be treated like that. Churned her stomach.

She really should consider having her résumé hit the pavement.

No, no … just six more months, then she could start saving for her master’s degree. Must stay focused.

The sidewalk ended. The rest of the park was grass until she hopped the low brick wall near the project where she rented a room. Alison removed her canvas sneakers and placed them in a plastic bag. They might dry before tomorrow, but not if they go through the puddles covering the park lawn.

She tucked the bag into her carryall next to her office shoes and started crossing the grass.

She dodged the puddles as best she could, trying to stay upright in the slippery grass. The wind picked up and tugged at her protection. She firmly kept the umbrella close. A losing battle to stay dry, but she was getting good at fighting losing battles. Juggling her now thicker and heavier carryall made the umbrella harder to manage in the growing wind.

A gust blew the umbrella away. “Perfect”, she muttered.

She dropped her bag chasing the umbrella. The weather protector stopped in the pine needles between trees. Rushing to catch it while it was stopped, Alison slipped and fell.

Water slashed everywhere. She pushed up and stood. Her business suit was sopping.

Walking more carefully, watching for pine cones, Alison bent over to grab the umbrella handle. Her underwear crept up uncomfortably. The perfect end to a perfect day.

She returned to her carryall, keeping the ineffectual umbrella above her in sheer obstinateness. Water inside the umbrella dripped onto her wet face. Again she thought, the perfect end to the perfect day. She shouldered her heavy bag.

A flower bed was in the way of her beeline home. She looked for harder dirt between the flowers that wouldn’t leave evidence of her steps.

For a second, her eyes focused on the beautiful purple blooms lining the bed. She didn’t know the name of the flower.

… The perfect day.

Maybe it is, if I let it be.

Beside the flowers, she dropped the umbrella to the side and leaned back. The rain stroked her upturned face. Water trickled down her body and for the first time since her parents and her started nightly screaming matches all those long, angry years before she left … she didn’t think.

Alison let the heavens wash her and wash over her. She breathed in the ozone laden air and held it deep in her lungs. A hidden part of her unfurled.

Tears she didn’t know she had in her flowed out. Salt water at the corner of her eyes diluted in the fresh rain drops.

She started whirling and laughing, barefoot with the rain falling down.

(words 863 - originally appearing at Sunday Fun on Breathless Press 4/16/2013 and on blog 4/16/2013; republished 3/13/2016)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Other Cool Blogs: Pictures

Image acquired without permission from (multiple) Facebook postings



I've got to be on some list by now because of research for editing and writing. In one week I had to look up "bomb fragmentation within crowds" (found a lovely FBI paper) and "famous statues in Chicago". The following week was "the smell of blood" - looking for a description other then "new penny" scent.

Off to work on becoming an expert in ... let's see ... radiation control on spaceships.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Editing Rant: Naming Things

Quote from the Internet Hive Mind (verified for accuracy)

Naming Things
So you are a writer and you have things to name - people, places, countries, animals, monsters, wars, machines, magic spells, conspiracies, historical events, future prophecies. The list goes on and on.

Hints
1) Avoid the name "Will" because it will constantly come up in grammar check as a verb showing up where a noun should be. Just make life easier and avoid this common name. "Bill" works just as well and doesn't have the issues. (I've edited two books with this name so far. Ugh!)

2) Don't have main character with the same first and last letter in their names. When reading, Ray and Rey ending up looking the same - in addition, this becomes very hard to edit especially when the two characters are talking to each other. Unless you want the characters to blend in your readers mind, try to have everyone start with a different first letter.

3) Make things pronounceable in the language you are writing. Do not just randomly put together letters to create a word - for example "Xchotlogz". Break out the dictionary and play with real words. This makes the grammar and spell checks easier, and also gives your audiobook voice actor some chance of pronouncing things.

4) You don't need to be really unique for all the things you name. Remember we have things named "fireplace" and six towns in the state of New Jersey are named "Washington".  Things are often named after people and enter the language as a word - Sandwich for example - others can be found here - http://mentalfloss.com/article/56282/12-things-you-didnt-know-were-named-after-people). Have fun, but don't sweat it if you name something "Looking Glass" or "Unihorn."

THINGS NOT TO DO ... be overly cute with naming characters.

REASON FOR THE RANT (this time) - Names for men in the menage a trois erotica: Mr. Hardwood and Mr. Woodsman. The woman is Ms. Amor.

Some winking at the reader is allowed ... but there is a line.


WRITING EXERCISE: Write down five words or names and research their origins. Example - Wendy (name), Fireplace (item), South Fork River (location), Unicorn (monster/animal), elevator/lift (machine - and why is it different in America vs. UK). This will help give you some ideas of how things have been named in the real world.

READING EXERCISE: Go through the five most recent books you read and choose the three strongest characters of each. How are the names different within the book (spelling and pronunciation and syllables); are the name easy to pronounce based on the spelling; and how well do you remember each character uniquely? Compare the five books - did the names of the three strongest characters impact you ability to read and REMEMBER the story?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Flash: Funner (Part 1)

freedigitalphotos.net
[Funner (Part 1)– flash story]

Cheryl wrapped her legs around Joe’s midriff again, delighting in the unhurried strokes that were slowly driving her out of her mind. Inside a coil of molten emotion was building, getting ready to explode. Meanwhile, she was enjoying the quiet moment with her husband. Two careers and two young children didn’t leave them much couple time.

The sliding of his cock slowly stopped. Her man stilled, deep inside her. She waited a few breaths to see what next he had in mind, watching his beloved face, hands resting gently on his broad shoulders. Her arousal relaxing, the delicious molten feeling cooling waiting to be reheated to lava levels.

“Hey, are you okay?” she finally had to ask.

He blinked and looked down as if suddenly discovering Cheryl beneath him in the middle of a pushup. “Sorry, just thought of work.”

“This is the only work you should be thinking of.” Cheryl said firmly, giving her hips a wiggle. Taking his face between her hands, she added. “Besides, it’s more funner.”

Restarting his rocking movement at a brisker pace, he smiled innocently. “More funner?”

“Yes, more funner.” She arched as he began to hit her G spot, momentarily closing her eyes.

Taking advantage of the arch, Joe sucked her left tit. Finding no additional reaction, he switched to her right tit. He sucked it a second and then bit lightly down. A moan escaped his wife’s lips. Quickly he switched back to the left tit and sucked again. This time she bucked as though an electric shock went through her. He pushed himself back up for better bracing and increased speed again.

“Is funner really a word?”

The coil was getting ready to explode, but even so she had to ask, “Really? ... Grammar police while we are having sex?” She tried to keep her face stern as he hit the perfect place again.

He chuckled, throwing off his strokes. Cheryl’s lips twitched as well. Suddenly he collapsed on her and they were both laughing. The molten emotions switched to humor and joy. His dick shrank a little, then equally suddenly he kissed her full on the lip and pushed himself back up. He pounded into her, and she had to tighten her legs in order not to move into the metal headboard. Within seconds her orgasm took her and he followed her over the cliff, spilling his seed.

(words 397 - first published 12/26/2012)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cool Other Blogs: Magical Words July 14, 2015

Image acquired from the Internet hive mind

Magical Words draws from bloggers throughout the publication industry. Previously I have recommended posts by authors, now one from a content editor. Emily Leverett has assembled several anthologies over the years as the primary editor or supporting editor including The Big Bad and Weird Wild West. This woman breathes words and grammar. And her short stories are lyrical masterpieces.

In the post "What I don't want to see...", Ms. Leverett covers what she looks for in an opening paragraph when choosing short fiction as content editor; what is she willing to spend her precious time polishing for publication and making money for both the author and herself.

She then continues that even if you have moved the info dump from the first paragraph to the third - THIS IS STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Dole out your information, do not stop the action.


Full blog is here: http://www.magicalwords.net/really-i-mean-it/what-i-dont-want-to-see/

WRITING EXERCISE: Review the first five pages of your work-in-progress (WIP). Any places where you stopped trusting the reader and started filling in all the holes so they don't need their imagination?

READING EXERCISE: Read the first page of your present book again - at what point are you immersed in the story? At any point thereafter are you slowed down because the author started an information dump?


Another good blog on info dumping can be found in the NaNo Novel Book Camp at this blog entry: http://ellenbrockediting.com/2014/07/03/novel-boot-camp-lecture-3-how-to-avoid-info-dumping/

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Book Review: Emanations Series


Book Cover from Amazon 


BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON
Nolander by Becca Mills

Beth Ryder knows she's different. In a tiny rural town, being an orphaned and perpetually single amateur photographer crippled by panic disorder is pretty much guaranteed to make you stick out like a sore thumb.

But Beth doesn't understand just how different she really is.

One day, strange things start cropping up in her photos. Things that don't look human. Impossible things. Monstrosities. Beth thinks her hateful sister-in-law, Justine, has tampered with her pictures to play a cruel joke, but rather than admitting or denying it, Justine up and vanishes, leaving the family in disarray.

Beth's search for Justine plunges her into a world she never knew existed, one filled with ancient and terrifying creatures. Both enemies and allies await her there—a disturbingly sexy boss, a sentient wolf with diamond fur, body-snatching dinosaur-birds. Separating the allies from the enemies is no easy chore, but in this strange new world, allies are a necessity. A plot is afoot, and Beth—whose abilities no one seems able to explain—may well hold the key to solving it.

Nolander is the first novel in the fantasy series Emanations. The second novel, Solatium, and a short story, Theriac, are also available.


Book Cover from Amazon


BOOK BLURB ON AMAZON
Solatium (Book 2 of Emanations) by Becca Mills

Beth Ryder’s dangerously sexy and seemingly all-powerful boss has disappeared, leaving an increasingly desperate group of Nolanders — and one inept Second — in charge of policing other-worldly activity across much of North America. What better time for a legendary monster to emerge from the Second Emanation and make New York City its hunting ground? But little does Beth know that dealing with the voracious Thirsting Ground will pale in comparison to a shocking betrayal that threatens to destroy her new life among the Nolanders.

***

MY REVIEW - Nolander (Book 1)
Anyone that has read my reviews know that I am a world-creationist lover. Give me a new world, solid and levels deep and I am in heaven.

The world of Nolander delivers, a new magic/psonic system, a new alternate reality system, and all wonderful.

Plus the book defies convention - New Adult about a girl, but no romance, is it urban fantasy or alternate reality or sci fi or fantasy - doesn't matter. What matters is this book a very, very good - just shy of perfection. 

Characters either had too much hidden or were too predictable, a lighter hand is needed there to match the complications of the world. (And having read the next book of the series, the author's skill with character creation does get better.)

***
My Review - Solatium (Book 2)

Book 2 of the series (book 1 is free, as is the short story) and the world-building just keeps getting better. The character building does as well, and the plot, and the complications. For fairly new readers this may be the best book you have ever read (for those of us who have been gobbling books for decades, this is a surprising gem).

I believe these worlds - the way each splits off the First Emanation provides millions of years of dinosaurs throughout the Second Emanations - so I believe the biology and geography of the alternate universes. I believe the sociology - on the First Emanation, the biggest and strongest kept going until eventually systems of humans were shown to work better and safer and were more beneficial (even for the biggest and strongest). The problem in the Second Emanations are the Powers are not only bigger and stronger, they are also nearly all either half-mad, all-bored or both and learning the benefits of a parliament or republic system doesn't work for them.

Then Beth, the new girl, maybe a power, is added to the mix.

***
... and then the series ends. (sad face) Becca Mills released all these stories in 2014 but recently updated Nolander at the end of 2015. Maybe she will be working on more soon!