Writing Away, Procrastinating, Writing some more

First, please check out these links:



These posts explain very well what’s been going on with me and what I need to do about it!

I have been writing, and now I’ve got 2 rough drafts for flash submissions. They are both at the point where I need human beings other than myself to read & give feedback before I submit them to Daily Science Fiction, Flash Fiction Online, or Every Day Fiction. I don’t want to post them on this blog – yet.

I will be able to meet a writing club this weekend, I think. I definitely want to get more content on this blog next week – I’m thinking 1 post a week might be the best way to go, considering my work habits and the ways I’m trying to change them.

More to come soon, but figured I should get something up before February completely ends …

Liebster Award Part 2 – My questions


Like I said before, I like the spirit of this award. It’s a good little thing to do to get involved with other blogs.

My previous post answered the questions from Lisa Vooght, so now it’s time for my questions. I’ll repost the rules for this award, too:

The rules I’m using for the Liebster Award:

1. Each nominee should link back to the person who nominated them.

2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate 5 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.

4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

I’m going to send the questions to these blogs:

1. Just Get It Written

2. Write Orr Else (Yeah, I know – it was around with that name first!)

3. Rhys Timson

4. Dreaming of Publication

5. Midlist Writer

Here are my questions:

1. If you could rewrite the end of any movie, what movie would you choose?

2. What theme do you wish more fiction tackled?

3. Have you ever witnessed or been in a natural disaster?

4. If you could go to a bar (or coffee shop) with any fictional character, who’d you choose for your drinking buddy?

5. What’s a common trope in fiction that really bugs you when you recognize it?

6. Have you ever tried writing something completely out of your comfort zone? (For example, if you never wanted to be a poet, but tried writing poetry anyway.)

7. Was there ever a book you just couldn’t finish? Why not?

8. Which author (living or dead) would you most like to meet in person?

9. What was your least favorite book assigned to you in school or university?

10. It’s Halloween and money is no object! What character would you dress up as?

Oh, and anyone else who stops by and sees this is welcome to answer any or all of these questions in the comments!

Liebster Award? Okay, I’ll bite.

I like the spirit of this award, so I figure I’ll give it a try. User Li @ FlashFiction wanted me to answer these questions, and I figure this is a good way for me to discover some new blogs myself. I’ll have to think up some questions I can ask other bloggers, but for now, I’ll answer the ones she made.

Her questions were:

1. If you could completely re-write the ending of a book, which would you choose?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Everything had built up to a final confrontation between Voldemort and Harry, but it ends up being far less interesting than the other characters’ stories that get wrapped up in the process (in both book and movie form). The trick to defeating Voldemort relied on overly-complicated rules about wand ownership. Instead, it should have been more clear that Harry’s skill, patience, and training were responsible for the victory.

2. Pick any two fictional characters to be your new parents. (They don’t have to be from the same time period – or even the same universe.)

Ellen Ripley as my mother, Leon the Professional as my father. When you have two parents who can kick ass and yet show strong caring instincts, how can you be anything other than kickass yourself?

3. Have you ever witnessed a truly heroic act by someone else?

I was once with a friend while he was working at a suicide helpline. He took a call, and I listened as he talked a desperate teen through a serious issue. Just that conversation may have been enough to save a kid’s life.

4. Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Why or why not?

I usually make a card for my lady. I don’t usually buy anything. I’m convinced the whole St. Valentine thing was concocted in a conspiracy between Hallmark and the Vatican.

5. You’ve just had a novel published and the fanfiction community is going wild. How do you feel about it? Are you flattered, angry, resigned?

To have others want to write in a world I imagined? It would stroke my ego in dangerously flattering ways! I’d be insufferably egocentric for a few days, at least.

6. Have you ever written a love poem and given it to someone? What was the reaction?

I wouldn’t call it poetry, but I certainly have written to my wife to tell her how much I love her. She likes it mainly because it helps her study English, and then she’s happy about the message and its deeper meaning!

7. Name a topic that you would never, ever write about.

The Holocaust. My family was blessedly spared any direct consequences, so it would feel severely insincere  if I tried to write about it in any detail. It’s probably about the only topic I’d avoid completely.

8. You are accepting an award in front of an audience and you experience a wardrobe malfunction. Do you run from the stage in tears, pretend you don’t notice anything and continue, or laugh it off and try to make the necessary adjustments?

I stand, proudly laughing as I shrug it off. The YouTube replays are bound to bring in more readers. Any publicity is good publicity, eh?

9. You can choose any location in the world to pursue your writing, but you must remain there for the rest of your life. Where would it be?

Probably my hometown, Waterloo (in Canada). I know so many talented people back there, and there are many good writing schools & workshops in town and in nearby cities.

10. You’re going to a party. If money were no object, what character would you dress up as?

Iron Man, without a doubt. If I can spend any amount of money on the costume, I’m totally going to rock the most detailed suit, plus I’ve already got the goatee.

That was fun. I promise to pay this forward to more bloggers (probably 5 instead of 10, though).

Flash Reviews – Flash Fiction Online, February Issue

Doing a short review post this week – I’m getting caught up in some really juicy writing projects. I took a look over at Flash Fiction Online and the stories they have up for February:

The Faerie and the Knight on Valentine’s Day by Izabella Grace

My rating: 3.5 / 5

This story uses poetic and poignant language. The love between the two characters is clear and well-described. I especially liked the details about spelcasting and the setting – I could see the environment clearly in my mind. My only complaint is that Sir Magvelyn’s “dragon hunt” is retold through narrative. I think having the story in his words, through dialogue, would have added an extra layer of immersion to the tale. That aside, it was an engaging work with great prose.

Love in the Time of Cthulu by Gary B. Phillips

My Rating: 4 / 5

I loved the descriptions of the Elder Gods in this tale, as well as the light, simple prose. As someone who hasn’t read any Lovecraft (yes, I know I should!), I still found the story accessible. I think most readers (especially fans of horror and darker tales) can appreciate this, with only a passing knowledge of the Cthulu mythos. The only drawback I found was that I couldn’t see the environment very well – I thought the story could use a bit more description of the setting. Otherwise it was a fun and humourous take on speed dating.

Pranked by a Pixie by Matt Mikalatos

My Rating: 4 / 5

This story features a very nice setup and payoff. I had to read through it a few times to realize why Grissom had each item on his list at the end. There is some ‘telling’ about Grissom’s wife and his cancer. I thought that if his wife had called during the meeting with the faerie, the reader could learn more about their relationship through the dialogue. Overall, this story has a wonderful concept and an entertaining execution. I want to watch this reality show!

#FlashFriday – Accident

Photo Source: Me!
My pride took much more damage, and was more difficult to repair.

I wave back at Josh, pulling away slowly. The window zips up as I turn, cutting off the saltwater breeze from the ocean obscured by countless sprawling towers surrounding the side street. Once Josh’s smile has left my mirror, I hastily plug my smartphone into the audio deck, my ears eager to devour more of Pi Patel’s ocean odyssey. I smile as the narrator’s soothing take fills my ears, my hands handling the growing traffic evenly. Even long waits at red lights fail to bother me – some part of my mind savors each wait and the extra minutes of story granted. A green light, and a green arrow under it now shine ahead. I accept the arrow’s invitation, guiding the car left across the wide intersection.

A loud bang jars my rear right side. The steering wheel tears at my grip. For a fevered, breathless second, the back of the car inches into the oncoming lane. A klaxon sounds from a transport truck, slowing sharply as it grows to fill the frame of my windshield. My hands, knuckles white, fight the wheel, wrenching the car back into the proper lane just as the transport barrels past.

Shivering, I guide the car to the curb, berthing it next to a looming sign, forbidding any parking in angry red letters. A mad imagining passes my mind – a cop, face hidden under huge sunglasses, scrawling a ticket just to add further insult to my injured pride. I shake off the vision, and tear out the cable connecting the still-playing smartphone. Silence, followed by many shallow, shaky breaths of composure.

I’m out of the car, legs wobbling. A blue van is behind my car – it passed through my vision before, framed in my mirror in a mad instant as the car spun, but now I grasp its reality. The left headlight is caved in, it’s bulb shattered in small fragments still held in the empty cavity.

Then I turn to my rear bumper. It dangles, with one corner barely attached to the car. A black foam insert lies on the ground under it. Dazed, I circle my wounded car. A ragged concave gash consumes the rear left door, along with a few inches of space above the wheel. The taillight is gone, its glass scattered across the pavement in a trail of red fragments.

Something vibrates in my hand. I realize I’ve got my phone gripped tightly. I look, and my wife’s smiling picture looks back at me from the screen. The beefy driver of the blue van prowls toward me, anger stretched over his large face.Another vibration, and my fingers swipe and take the call, before my mind realizes it. My wife’s voice, in lyric Korean, asking where I am. The big man, a full head higher than me, stares down at her voice. A sigh escapes him, his frown softens. He pinches the phone between two sausage fingers, and I let him take it. He answers.

I follow the dialogue intently, mind working overtime as I decipher the rapid fire Korean. The man’s calm belies his momentary anger. Surprise dawns in me as I realize the man is claiming fault. He insists that his insurance will take on all damage to both vehicles.

A curt smile plays across his face as he presses the phone back to me. My wife’s voice is even and calm as she begins to repeat much of what I’ve heard in English. I assure her, in my ever-shaky Korean, that I understand the fine details.

A tow truck appears from around the corner, just as I hang up. I quickly turn my phone in my fingers, aiming its camera at the wounds to my car. I open the trunk, relief beginning to seep through my nerves as I see no damage within its confines. The big man helps as I rescue a backpack and my laptop’s shoulder bag from the trunk. My most needed items in hand, I’m left to watch as my car is pulled off to join other wounded vehicles in a repair shop.

A few awkward minutes of conversation leave me with the big man’s business card, insurance numbers, and license plate number. He points to an oncoming car as it pulls to the curb. My rental, a temporary car provided by his insurance.

We shake hands, and he climbs in to his van. I watch him pull away, moving with careful grace as he rejoins traffic.

A handsome young man is climbing out of the rental car. His English is flawless, but I only barely listen as I imagine myself at the wheel of this spotless vehicle worth twice as much as the one I’ve abandoned. Another call comes from my wife. My fingers answer again, pressing the ‘Speaker’ button as they do. My wife’s confident English assures me that I’ll be fine driving the rental. The young man smiles as he hefts my bags into the car, and then passes a key into my hand.

Behind the unfamiliar steering wheel, I glance at my smartphone. Pi Patel’s voyage might calm my jangled nerves, I think. I sigh, heart still slowing to its usual cadence, still recovering from that second after impact. No, that story will have to wait. I have my own voyage to finish.

At the start of this blog, I shared prompts from other sites, along with my responses to them. I’ll keep doing this on occasion, but I’m also planning to share revisions suggested by reader feedback – I hope that seeing my revisions can help readers as they improve their own writing.

This story is a response to the prompt on One Minute Writer for February 2, “Accident”. What I wrote was a fictional account of an accident I had in downtown Busan. I put up the #FlashFriday tag so I could join the fun of the FlashFriday.org community (and it’s still Friday by GMT, even though my own clock says differently). I’d love to hear what regular #FlashFriday participants have to say about this quick piece.

Free eBook!

My eBook is now free at Smashwords and Lulu.

It’s still listed at $0.99 at Amazon, but I’ve notified them that it’s free elsewhere. If they keep with their price matching policy, it should eventually become free there.

I hope you enjoy this sampling of my fantasy and science fiction – see this page to find out more about the book.

Wednesday Writing about Writing – A Self-Publishing Dilemma

Today’s post is also a contribution to 2paragraphs.com. Here’s what I posted there:

With self-publishing now easier than ever, only one voice holds back most aspiring writers. This voice, Self-Doubt, tempers writers’ enthusiasm with a tough dilemma – “What if it sucks? What if it’s so dumb, so banal, or so pointless that it poisons any chance of a career?” In my mind, this voice won for years over the voice of my Muse, who whispered ”Write! Share! Now!” Last year, the Muse lost patience, as more and more seedlings of ideas took root within my mind. Finally, the Muse began outshouting Self-Doubt, and I couldn’t ignore either voice any longer. I was left with this classic dilemma – which voice is right, the one that urges me to share and be damned, or the one that demands a more cautious approach?

The best answer I’ve found? Share polished work, enjoy sharing, and accept that despite best efforts, sometimes it can still suck. Self-Publishing offers unique ways for readers and publishers to connect – authors can set prices and offer books for free to gather fans and reviews, and can reward those fans with special offers, contests, and other goodies. If the work needs further editing, most ebook publishers offer something that traditional publishers aren’t ever likely to – the ability to revise already-published work. This does not mean you should go at it half-assed and wait for reviews to set you straight. It means that you can share your works with friends and writing circles before publishing, use feedback, and proofread as much as possible within reasonable time limits. I go with one month limits for short stories and flash fiction, and I’d say one to two years of proofreading should work for most novel-length fiction. Once the time is up, publish, no matter what Self-Doubt screams at you. You will get negative feedback – this happens to every single writer, regardless of skill or experience. You will also get positive reviews – maybe not as many, but they will come. You also have to think about the time readers spent to create either kind of review – during that time, your work took root in their minds, for better or worse. You will have what your Muse truly wanted – a captive audience.

What’s your own answer to this dilemma? How much proofreading is ‘enough’ before sharing your work?