Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stories of the Week for July 31, 2013

The photo for this week is courtesy of my visitor--a praying mantis, methinks--who was kind enough to pose for a few pictures on my screen door the other day.  I got the camera as close as possible in the hopes it would look like a scene from an old monster movie.  I think this one would be called "The Day the Mantis Ate Chicago."

No tip to Beat the Heat this week, as it's been quite pleasant where I am.  The Heat has been Beaten for now, at least in my neck of the woods. 

Speaking of woods, I've started a new story this week after seeing a call for submissions for an upcoming anthology.  The theme is environmental horror.  At first, all I could think of was M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening (which I haven't seen, but I haven't exactly heard great things about it.), but I put my old thinking cap on and came up with an idea that I really like.  It deals with the delicate balance of nature, and how important predators are to maintaining that balance. 

I'm only about 600 words in, having started it last night (it's supposed to be between 3,000-5,000 words when complete), so I can't say too much else yet. 

It's kind of refreshing to write a story about nature, though, as my first novel took place in purgatory (not a ton of nature there), and a lot of my other stories tend to take place in urban environments or within residential buildings, with an occasional apocalyptic wasteland tossed in for good measure. 

I guess you could say I'm "branching" out as a writer... 

Anyway, more to come next week, hopefully without the terrible puns. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Stories of the Week for June 24, 2013

This week's tip to Beat the Heat (sponsored by Try Not To Burn, now in refreshing Cherry flavor):

I've started to write exclusively in the bathtub, where it's nice and cool.  Sure, I'm no longer fully human, and am now a rather distressing human/prune hybrid creature, but at least I'm not all sweaty anymore.  I'd call that a win. 

Actual writing update:

I've written up a Prologue for Try Not To Burn Book 2: Second Chances (tentative title).  It opens similarly to the first book, as we hear the audio from a news report.  In Book 1, the news report was intended to show how Brandon could still hear the television from his hospital bed, and that he was subconsciously hearing about the events leading to his death as it occurred.

I originally had a different Prologue for Book 1, but I ended up replacing it with what's now in the book.  The original was from Victor Rellik's POV and showed his origins as a killer.  Since Rellik doesn't feature too heavily in the first book, it didn't quite make sense to show an entire chapter from his perspective.  It also didn't represent the overall tone of the book, and was much too dark of an introduction. 

It made much more sense to me to get to the main character as quickly as possible, since I didn't want readers thinking that the entire book would be about Rellik.  His chapter was intended to be inhuman and horrifying, while Brandon's journey is much more human and hopeful.  Brand is trying to redeem his sins and become a better man, while Rellik is rooted in what he is, with no hope of salvation. 

Oh, and I also managed to complete the noir story this week.  And by that, I mean I finished it late last night, after I remembered I'd said I would have it completed by this update.  The killer was a wily one, but I was able to track him or her down. 

I also dusted off an old flash fiction horror story that I had lying around, revised a rather clunky section in the beginning, and sent it off to a contest.  I really like this one, as it deals with a new, spindly creature that doesn't feel quite like anything I've seen before.  I'm hoping it will see the light of day soon, as I'm really interested to see what people think of the story. 

That's the end of this week's update.  Tune in next week for updates on my newest story, plus a photo of the giant green insect I found on my screen door. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stories of the Week for July 18, 2013

I'm thinking of starting a new weekly feature on the blog, where I update how some of my stories or books are progressing, maybe post a sample now and then, and generally natter on about some nonsense. 

And post random pictures of cats or iguanas or something.  I'm still working out the details.  In the meantime, feel free to send me cat or iguana photos at and I may include them in a future update, unless I come to my senses before then.  

Oh, and since it's summer time, I might include a tip or two on how to "beat the heat," as they say.  (I prefer the phrase Try Not To Burn, myself...)

Tip #1: frozen treats are your friend.  I thought I was going to die the other day after jogging under the sweltering sun.  But I got home, enjoyed a cool, refreshing Snapple Sorbet Bar (did I mention I would try to use these updates to get advertising?), and no longer felt like death had her hand clamped on my spine. 

Actual Writing Update:
For this week, one of the things I've been working on is a noir story.  With detectives, chain smoking, dames, and all the fixings.  It's my first attempt at a story like this, so I'm hoping I'm doing all right with it, and that it's still in the homage territory, and hasn't yet dipped into full cliche mode.  I'd wanted to get the story finished sometime last week, since a fellow writer in a facebook group I'm in sent out a call for submissions there, but the story wasn't cooperating with me.  In other words, I still didn't know who the killer was. 

I expect to have it finished by the next edition of Stories of the Week, or Nattering Nonsense, or whatever I end up calling this.