Monthly Archives: February 2014

Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 50

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 50!

This is a flash fiction challenge.  The prompt is a song.  You are not required to write about or even mention the song.  It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan.  If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

 The rules;

 500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.

 Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

 MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST.  IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

 The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at MIDNIGHT Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

 Now, you’ll probably notice the absence of a photograph of the artist in this week’s post. This is not an oversight. It’s a conscious decision made as a result of horror stories I’ve heard from other bloggers, stories about overzealous copyright enforcement efforts.

Let me state right here and now that I fully support the rights of artists to receive credit and compensation for their work, but when it’s being used in a way that the user derives NO tangible gain from, monetary or otherwise, I just don’t see the harm in it. Still, I can’t afford to be sued so unless I happen to have photos of artists that I’ve personally taken there won’t be any more pictures posted here.

Anyway…

This week’s song prompt is a great tune by The The… It’s entitled, “Dogs of Lust”.

Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/7T-c1x0ILWI

This week’s Judge is new to the Blues-Buster, so let’s give a warm welcome to first-time Judge Leslie Fulton!

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through midnight PACIFIC TIME on Friday February 28…

Now… go write!!!

 

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Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 49 WINNERS

Week 49 of the Mid-Week Blues-Buster turned out to be a good one.

Judge Mona Bliss had plenty to read & digest. Here are her decisions…

Wow what a great turn out this week.  Lots of creepy and angry…awesome!!
 
Third Place: Heaven’s Exile by @CharlesWShort.  I really loved how this whole alien world and culture was presented so clearly in such a short amount of time and in that same amount of time we watch a tragedy play out.  Well done.
 
Second Place: Untitled by @Lizzie_Koch:  This was spectacular for it’s description.  I wasn’t totally surprised by what happened but I was so immersed in the environment that I held out hope that he might have gotten the photos, but alas he did not.  Wonderfully creepy and mysterious.
 
First Place:  Untitled by @BrewedBohemian:  This is a wonderful example of just show me.  I love the whole twisted feel of this moment and how desperate the main character is.  It reminded me of a Tim Powers story that involved people snorting ghosts.  This is one of those pieces that just keeps sticking in my head.  Love that.
 
Thanks for writing such great pieces that it took me most of the weekend to choose.
 
Mazel tov to all of our Winners.
Jenn- here’s the Winner’s Badge;
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Thanks to all of our writers & readers, and thanks to Judge Mona Bliss.
See you on Tuesday!
 

Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 49

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 49!

 This is a flash fiction challenge.  The prompt is a song.  You are not required to write about or even mention the song.  It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan.  If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

 The rules;

 500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.

 Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST.  IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

 The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at 9:00PM Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

This week’s song prompt comes all the way from 1982. The artist is forgotten ’80’s new waver Peter Godwin.

Now, you’ll probably notice the absence of a photograph of the artist in this week’s post. This is not an oversight. It’s a conscious decision made as a result of horror stories I’ve heard from other bloggers, stories about overzealous copyright enforcement efforts.

Let me state right here and now that I fully support the rights of artists to receive credit and compensation for their work, but when it’s being used in a way that the user derives NO tangible gain from, monetary or otherwise, I just don’t see the harm in it. Still, I can’t afford to be sued so unless I happen to have photos of artists that I’ve personally taken there won’t be any more pictures posted here.

Anyway…

The song prompt is, “Images of Heaven”. Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/7cdrBBnAuBA

This week’s Judge is that fab California writer… Mona Bliss!
The challenge runs from the moment you read this post until midnight PACIFIC TIME on Friday February 21st.

Now go write!!!

 

 

My Writing Process – A Writer’s Blog Tour

A writer pal of mine, Miranda Kate, invited me to join in on the, ‘My Writing Process Blog Tour’. The purpose of said tour is self-explanatory– to share what I do and how I do with my fellow writers and readers.
Miranda’s post can be found here; http://purplequeennl.blogspot.nl/2014/02/my-writing-process-blog-tour.html

Mine, should you choose to suffer through it, is below…


What am I working on?

Well… my long-term work-in-progress– a noir novel– is fighting me. Hard. I’m hitting back, scoring points with the judges where I can, but that’s about all. In the meantime, I’ve got a noir serial going, with segments posted every other week on the Daily Picspiration Blog. I’m also working on three to four short stories at any given time. The longer works are almost always noir or hard-boiled. I sometimes branch out to ghost stories and fantasy in short stories.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t know that it does, and at this very early stage of my writing career I’m more or less all right with that. My voice is my own. I’ve had it since the first time I set pen to paper. However, as I make the transition from shadow boxer to published author I’m happy to follow in the footsteps of my heroes– Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross MacDonald, Jim Thompson, and Patricia Highsmith– while I hone my skills and learn to use that voice to greatest effect.


Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been drawn to the dark side of life. Monsters. Killers. All that fun stuff. I think my father has to shoulder some of the blame. He’s the one who introduced me to Poe at a very young age. For many years I thought I wanted to be a horror writer, to follow in the tradition of Algernon Blackwood, H.P. Lovecraft, and even M.R. James. A college friend turned me onto Jim Thompson. I took that road, bottomed out in noir country, and have never looked back.

How does my writing process work?

My writing process, such as it is, begins with an idea. A piece of an idea, to be more specific. A single image. One character trait– it could be a garment he or she wears, a facial feature, an idiosyncrasy. Most often, though, it starts with a line of dialogue.

I carry a little notebook around with me so I can jot things down wherever I am, but am still prone to using any available scrap of paper to scribble notes on. I’ve got eight, ten scraps of paper in my pockets at any given time.

I’m a walking trash can by the end of a day.

When it comes time to sit down at the machine I’ll take out my scraps, open the notebook, and start cataloging the ideas so I don’t have to keep track of a million little pieces of paper.

I run with whichever idea gives the the best in, whichever one I’m able to build off of right then and there. Fourteen chapter serial noir novels have started this way, as have two hundred word pieces of flash fiction.

Nine times out of ten my fragmentary idea becomes the point from which the rest of the story grows. I almost always have to go back and create a beginning to lead into it but the story develops from that initial seed.

There are days, when I’m really feeling it, on which I’m able to build onto both sides of the idea at the same time. Those are some pretty fucking great days. They don’t happen often, but when they do… oh, man.

Once my fragment begins to sprout sentences and reaches the point where I can call it a scene I start outlining. I build a skeleton of a story, branching out from the scene, and then decide whether or not it’s worth putting meat on the bones.

The more I work the scene, the more the characters start to speak. I know I’m onto something when they start arguing with me.

I must admit to editing as I go, a habit I’m working hard to break. It slows me down and has me doubting my own ability, often on a sentence-to-sentence basis. Definitely need to cut that shit out if I ever want to get any significant piece of work done.

Let’s see, what else?

Adverbs, you say? Don’t use ‘em unless there’s no other way to word it– and there’s always another way to word it.

Passive voice? Yeah, I’m not fond of it any more than you are, but I don’t get compulsive about it. My rule is this– if it sounds good when I read it out loud, it works for me.

How often do I write? I write every day. Every single day, even if it’s just a couple of lines or some brainstorming.

There’s not much more to it than that.

Coming soon to a theatre near you…

Three friends of mine, each of them wise in the arts of the written word, will be sharing their writing processes with us next week…

K.D. McCrite writes touching and funny stories that portray ordinary people living lives from the depths of their extraordinary souls. She has three novels listed under Kathaleen Burr: Home is the Heart, 1991; Wintersong, 1991; Rainbow Dreams, 1992, (published by Avalon Books) and Ozarks Farmer, Country Preacher: the Life of Paul Wesley Buchanan, 2008 (High Hill Press). Her “Confessions of April Grace” Series (Thomas Nelson Publishing) is an hilarious series for mid-grade ‘tweens. The titles include In Front of God and Everybody, 2011; Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks, 2011; and Chocolate-Covered Baloney, 2012. Cozy mysteries include: The Deed in the Attic, 2011; The Unfinished Sonata, 2011; A Stony Point Christmas, 2012, The Ring in the Attic, fall 2013, Raven Threads, 2013, Unraveled Stalkings, 2014(published by Annie’s Publishing). She has recently signed a 5-book contract with Deer Hawk Publishing for her Eastgate Mysteries series. Her book, Desolate Heart, is an unusual modern day fairytale, written under the name Sidney Archer. A second Archer book, Redemption, is scheduled for publication next year, and she has signed a contract for a third under the Archer name, Whited Sepulchres. McCrite’s novel, In Front of God and Everybody, has been nominated for the Mark Twain Readers award for 2013-14. Her short stories have won numerous awards and have appeared The Storyteller, Woman’s World, and Kansas City Voices, she’s had several articles published in The Ozarks Mountaineer, Ozarks Reader, and Ozarks Magazine.

You can find KD’s blog (currently closed for renovation) at; http://www.kdmccrite.com/

Ruth Long is an enthusiastic reader, writer, movie-goer, and music lover. She writes flash fiction and short stories across many genres as well as urban fantasy, urban sci-fi, and noir novellas.

Ruth’s blog is here; http://www.bullishink.com

Mona Bliss writes fantasy, science fiction and urban fantasy as well as ranting about social and political matters on her blog. She has written a comic book and is currently working on an urban fantasy novel involving Werewolves in North Central Florida. Miss Bliss lives in Southern California with her delightful husband and works in the entertainment industry doing a variety of jobs that keep the rent paid and lights on.

Mona’s blog… http://www.theblissblog.lunanina.com/

Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 48 WINNERS

Week 48 of the Mid-Week Blues-Buster turned out to be a good one.

Judge Laura James had plenty to read. Here’s what she came up with…

Wow, didn’t you guys all bring your A-game to this week Blues Buster. I have to say I enjoyed all the entries this week and it was very hard to pick my top three. When I first heard the tune I could only think of holidays, heat and beer so on that basis I chose the following.

 

First place : Adana’s Song by Jenn. I felt the heat and the tension from the start and when it was revealed that it was a ghostly occurrence, well that just won me over totally.

 

Second place : Untitled by Cecilia. Two kinds of heat in this tale and I was swept away with the MC as she ended her holiday on the best of times. 

 

 

Third place : Untitled by Becky. Who doesn’t love a bit of paranormal activity in their local pub and I was left will a feeling things might heat up between Sarah and her new partner. 

 

As for the rest I would give you all badges if I could, as always I’m left in awe at your skills to produce such wonderful work just from a tune. Xx

 

A hearty mazel tov to all of our Winners.

Jenn- Here’s the Winner’s Badge;

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Thanks to all of our writers & readers, and thanks to Judge Laura James.

See you all on Tuesday!

 

Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 48

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 48!

 This is a flash fiction challenge.  The prompt is a song.  You are not required to write about or even mention the song.  It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan.  If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

 The rules;

 500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.

 Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST.  IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

 The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at 9:00PM Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

This week’s song prompt is a beautiful instrumental piece by the guitar duo known as… Rodrigo y Gabriela.

The tune is, “11:11″… Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/V3veR_23Q9w

This week’s Judge is the Grand Poobah of Office Mango & host of the Love Bites Blog Hop…  Laura James!

The challenge runs from the moment you read this post until midnight PACIFIC TIME on Friday February 14th.

Now go write!!!

 

Cock-Blocked By Cupid – A Love Bites Blog-Hop Story

Written for the Love Bites Anti-Valentine Blog Hop… Read the other entries here!

http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/love-bites-anti-valentine-blog-hop-2014.html

Cock-Blocked By Cupid

The pain hit me just as I leaned in to plant a kiss on Monique, a stabbing pain, near my left shoulder.

I tried to ignore it, to concentrate on the task at hand, which, at the moment, involved separating Monique from her panties.

Then I lost my mind, Didn’t know how, didn’t know why, but I started running at the mouth.

“I love you, baby,” I babbled. “I’m all in, babe, as in forever.” The words fell out before I could stop them. “All in! Flower arrangements! Centerpieces! China patterns!”

She put her hands on my shoulders, pushing me back.

“You’re scaring me, Mack!” she yelped. “What the fuck are you saying?”

What the fuck was I saying?

And what was the sharp pain in my back all about?

I looked at her with pleading eyes. She looked back in a way that told me my chances of nailing her just went from, ‘iron-clad sure’, to, ‘not if you had the last dick on earth’.

I dug deep and opened my mouth to say something manfully insensitive, to get some swagger back.
That’s not what came out.

She bailed on me halfway through the first verse of, “The Wind Beneath My Wings”.

I watched, helpless, as she scooted out the passenger-side door and took off down the street.

Maybe I was dying. Death by Bette Midler, that’s a thing, isn’t it?

I sat back in the driver’s seat, then jumped forward as the sharp pain in my back flared up again. I got out of the car, reaching around to feel for a wound.

What I found was an arrow. An arrow. Lodged in my back, just above the shoulder-blade.

I took a deep breath, then yanked it out.

The pain stopped right away.

I took a look at the arrow, turning the gleaming red and white missile over in my hands. The shaft was covered in hearts. Hearts. Someone had painted hearts on the arrow.

I don’t know what inspired me to look up at that moment, but look I did, and when I did I caught a flash of motion in the trees just up the ridge.

A closer look revealed a man– a tall, thin, pale man dressed all in white– carrying a bow.

I cast one last lovelorn stare in the direction Monique had run off in, then growled and barreled out of the car.

“You!” I snarled, heading right after the guy with the bow.

He saw me at the last second and tried to run.

I tackled him, sending the both of us rolling down the ridge.

He got away from me when we hit the bottom. I leaped up, ready for a fight.

“What did you do to me?” I demanded.

“It’s Valentine’s Day, jackass,” he replied. “What do you think I did to you?”

I stared at him. He stared back.

He was a tall guy with long hair, but there was something… cherubic about his face.

“Oh no,” I muttered. “You’re… you’re… no. Can’t be.”

“Yeah, pal,” he said. “It’s me. Cupid. Eros. Doctor Love. Whatever. It’s me.”

“But you don’t look like…”

“I’m a god. I can look however I choose.”

“You fucking shot me!”

“What can I tell you?” He laughed. “You were there. She was there. Love was in the air. It’s what I do.”

“It’s what you do?” I glowered and grumbled. “Undo it,” I insisted. “Now.”

“Relax, buddy,” he said. “The feelings’ll fade in a couple of days. You’ve got one hell of a story to tell the boys at the bar.”

“I do? What am I gonna tell ’em? Hey, guys, the other night, down at the park? I was closing the deal with Monique when, bang! Cock-blocked by Cupid!”

“Get over yourself,” he said, “I’ve heard worse.”

He started to walk away.

“How could it be worse?” I called after him.

He stopped and turned back.

“I let you off easy with the Bette Midler, Mack. It could’ve been Celine Dion.”

 

685 words

Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 47 WINNERS – The Pilot Error Edition

This post replaces the previous Winner’s post due to pilot error.

Week 47 of the Mid-Week Blues-Buster is history!

Judge Miranda Kate had a big job in front of her and she did it well.

Take it away, Miranda…

Coming in at 9 entries, the arrival of each one made my job of judging more and more difficult. There was such an array of stories, with many different takes on the lyrics and the sense of the song, it was really hard. I wanted to comment on all of them really, and there were some I loved but they didn’t give me enough to put them in the Top 3 places. So don’t be disparaged, you all did good, so thank you.
 
First place – and overall Winner – Mark Ethridge @LurchMunster 
How could I not? This piece was so off the wall, so hilarious and worst of all his words enabled the reader to smell and feel it all too! It was disgusting, yet laughable at the same time. An original idea, told succinctly, with short bursts of descriptions, which got straight to the point and said it how it is. It certainly made me think about the carpet under my feet!
 
Second place goes to Nick Johns – @nickjohns999
This moody piece offered so many snippets a bigger story. It drew me in and kept me reading – I wanted to know more. I also liked the sense of rhythm of walking, and associating it to tunes and describing it so the reader could hear and feel it at the same time. Great imagery created with few words, painting and weaving an enticing tale.
 
Third place goes to Erin McCabe @disturbiakiss
This was a different take on the prompt song and lyrics, a sci-fi one. It contains a lot of story in such a short piece, and one I would gladly know more about. It also offers humour with this alien not quite knowing what to expect from a TV repair man. I also liked the undertone of the external view of human civilisation. A piece with hidden depths and one that could be expanded on.
 
Congratulations to all of our Winners.
Mark – Here’s the Winner’s Badge;
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Thanks to all of our writers & readers, and thanks to Judge Miranda…
 
See you all on Tuesday…
 

Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 47

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 47!

 This is a flash fiction challenge.  The prompt is a song.  You are not required to write about or even mention the song.  It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan.  If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

 The rules;

 500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.

 Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST.  IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

 The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at 9:00PM Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

This week’s song prompt comes courtesy of American singer/songwriter James McMurtry.

The tune is… “I’m Not From Here”.  Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/_JOwHt7uOzA

This week’s Judge is everybody’s favourite ex-pat, the Purple Queen herself, Miranda Kate!

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs until midnight, Pacific Time, on Friday February 7th.

Now go write!!!!

 

Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 46 WINNERS

Week 46 of the Mid-Week Blues-Buster is in the books…

We rebounded nicely from a low-turnout week in Week 45. Judge Lisa Shambrook had lots to consider…

So speaketh Judge Lisa;

When I heard the song for this week’s Blues Buster, a ripple of regret ran through me, I’d love to have written to this song! It spoke in epic terms to me and promised some great stories! I copied all the stories away from the net to judge, so I had no idea of who authored what…you didn’t let me down! Each story hooked and delighted me!

I fought hard between two pieces for third place…so I should mention how much I loved DrMagoo’s poetic and lonely journey into the next life, but I awarded third to Miranda Kate with her untitled piece. The story intrigued me, and I read on needing to know the outcome. I was aware of tension right away, and like Paul, unaware of the actual reasons… I’m not a huge horror fan, but I was teased all the way through and it was this sentence which caused my mouth to drop in realisation… “Yes, I marinated her well…” brilliant! Vengeance served.

Beautiful and chilling at the same time, second place goes to Fiery Gift by The Rogue Tinker. The words curled around my mind creating potent imagery and all the detail is there, stark and heartbreaking…what wouldn’t a parent do for his dying child? The farmer threw me and I wanted to forget he was even there…but he was. His presence remained and his chilling final words sent an icy chill down my spine. A story that remained burned into my mind.

In first place an evocative tale that left me craving more…Northern Time by Brewed Bohemian. This story whisked me straight to the dusty, orange desert as the sun set…and I didn’t look back. The imagery was gorgeous and I heard the creak of leather and the scent of sandalwood in the apothecary’s shop. I want to know Vlad’s backstory and his future and so much more! The subtlety of detail drew me into a story that replayed in my mind far beyond the first read. The imagery danced like a movie and visited all my senses. What more can I say? I’m a sucker for a lost man searching for his love…out in the barren desert. Beautiful!

Congratulations to all of our winners…

Jenn- here’s the Winner’s Badge;

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Thanks to all of our writers, readers, & to Judge Lisa Shambrook…

See you all on Tuesday!