Monday, February 24, 2014

Over At Paragraph Planet - #FlashFiction

      Paragraph Planet publishes microfiction of exactly 75 words (including the title).  I've got a little something over there today - if you have a minute, stop by.  Better yet, stop by, browse, and take a shot at writing and submitting something yourself!  It's a great exercise in brevity.

     Click Here!   
 (A new story goes up every day so the piece displayed at the click here! Paragraph Planet link will change daily.  Mine will remain as the entry for Feb. 24th)

     Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget about the A to Z Challenge coming up in April.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Liebster Award - Thank You, John!

John Wiswell over at Bathroom Monologues kindly bestowed upon me the Liebster blog award.  As some of you know, I stopped accepting awards a over a year ago because of time constraints.  However, I am more than happy to participate this time because John is such wonderful member of the writing community.  His flash fiction ranges from the somber to the quirky to the downright hilarious - and it's always thought provoking. I'm honored that he thought of me, and I urge you to pay him a visit and check out his archives.
So here are the rules, and I'll be passing this on to 5 other bloggers.  Yep, I'm bending Rule 3 because I'm such an outlaw.  OK, lazy.  But John did it! John did it!  "If John jumped off a cliff, would you?"


The rules: 1. Each nominee must link back to the person who nominated them.
                 2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
                 3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers. (I chose 5)
                 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.

(Other winners nominated by John include:)
 John's questions for me:
1. What is the hardest you’ve laughed in the last year?
            I laugh a lot at work. It's a stressful job, but my co-workers have a wonderful sense of humor and are not above doing absolutely ridiculous things to lighten things up.  Oh, I also visit the website Dog Shaming.

2. What theme do you wish more fiction tackled?
            I'd like to see more fiction which features characters who have Down Syndrome or other medical issues - and not in a way which portrays them as pitiable, or uses them as a foil to show what a thoughtful, considerate person another character can be.  A current example would be actress Jamie Brewer's characters in the American Horror Story TV series.
 3. What was the last time you envied another writer’s work?
           I've been re-reading some of Dickens' work.  I'm jealous of the way he nails description of everything, and how he creates such unique and memorable characters.
4. What’s the next book you’re planning to read and why?
         Rangers In World War 2 by Robert W. Black.  I like military history, and since my Dad loaned it to me we will have something to discuss.  (He only reads non-fiction, which somewhat limits our book conversations.)
5. Does anything in fiction routinely scare you or creep you out? Whether it’s werewolves or doctor visits.
        Psychopaths.  Because they are out there.  When I was little I was afraid of skeletons, but my Mom always told me "the dead won't bother you.  Worry about the people who are still walking around."
6. If you could spend an afternoon hanging out with any villain, who would it be?
        Dr. Moriarty.
7. If you could delete any character from all of fiction, such that no one would remember it had ever existed, what character would it be?
       Jar Jar Binks. Oh wait, that's from a movie.  OK, Bella from the Breaking Dawn series.  A star-crossed love affair between Jacob and Edward would be far more convincing - and entertaining.
8. What’s your favorite nickname you’ve ever been given?
      My niece called me Aunt Elsa when she was a toddler because she couldn't say "Lisa". It always makes me think of Born Free.
9. Do the last ten books you read have anything in common?
      Only that they are all paperbacks.  They range from Christopher Priest's Inverted World to Richard Adams' Watership Down. The one thing I almost never read is horror.

10. By a unique snafu of publishing, you are legally obligated to write a crossover between two popular franchises of your choosing. Which two are they? 
     It would have to be Kinley MacGregor's Highland series (romance) and Cherie Priest's Clockwork Empire series (steampunk).  The new genre will be referred to as Steamkilt © and the first book in the series entitled "Laird of the Clockwork Castle".
(Steamkilt was coined by Stuart Nager)
I'm passing this award to:

Your questions:
1. If you could completely re-write the ending of a book, which would you choose?
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.)
3. Have you ever witnessed a truly heroic act by someone else?
4. Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Why or why not?
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?
6. Have you ever written a love poem and given it to someone? What was the reaction?
7. Name a topic that you would never, ever write about.
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?
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?
10. You're going to a party.  If money were no object, what character would you dress up as?

Hope I remembered to do everything.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Jumping Into the #AtoZChallenge

                                                    Sign up for the A to Z Challenge here

     After much hand wringing, soul searching, and general fence sitting I've signed up for the A to Z Challenge this year. What is A to Z?

From the A to Z site:
"The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day."

I last participated in 2012, and set myself the goal of writing a piece of flash fiction or poetry every day. No previously written posts - I had to get up every morning and write something for the day.

I don't have the time or energy for that this year.  Instead, I chose a subject which I've been having trouble with lately - character development.  My theme also includes a favorite field of interest.

I'll be posting about using psychological and career testing to aid in crafting characters.  There will be brief overviews of well-known tests (such as Myers-Briggs) and lesser known psychological assessment methods, as well as my own ideas on how we can use them to build or explore characters., wait!

I'll promise to keep jargon to a minimum and try to come up with at least a few fresh ideas on character building.  (I know there's a ton of info out there.)   And...well...I'll try to keep to the theme, although I might have to bail on one or two posts and generate a story. Or a picture. (No kittens).  Maybe even a really bad joke.

If you haven't signed up, there's time.  The list (this morning) has close to 600 sign-ups.  A to Z is a great way to find new content and meet other bloggers.  Hope to see you there!

Follow A to Z on Twitter (Twitter id and hashtag: @AprilA2Z and #atozchallenge )

Follow the hosts :
Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Author Stephen Tremp
Tina @ Life is Good
Jeremy @ Being Retro
Nicole Ayers - The Madlab Post
M. J. Joachim's Writing Tips
Heather M. Gardner
AJ @ Naturally Sweet
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian 

Oh, and maybe you could follow me too! (Twitter: @ficflash)