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Showing posts from January, 2013

Blogging From A to Z Challenge 2013 is HERE!


Hey people. The A to Z Challenge sign up list is open. I threw myself on there and plan to participate this year. It will be my second year doing the challenge. Last year I entered my old blog on a whim, and it really inspired me to focus my blogging and writing efforts.

A to Z (is what I call it), is a great way to jump start your creativity and to gain new readers. I don't know how many people participated last year, but I estimate that it was about a fuck-load (which equals about two and a half metric shit-tons).

For those of you who don't know what this is all about, the basic premise of A to Z is post every day during the month of April, except Sundays. (You can read all about it by clicking on the picture above, the badge to your right, or here.) You can post something each day (if you're one of those types), or you can pre-write your posts and schedule them (if you're my type). You can write about anything you want. Have a theme, be random, pictures, words, whatever. Then you blog hop around and meet new people.

One new thing they started this year was to allow categories for blogs. In past years it's been kind of a hodge-podge, and you really never knew what you were going to get when you clicked on a link. I kind of like that. However, I signed myself up as a writing blog, but since I have put very little thought into what I'm going to actually post about, I'm probably going to deviate from the script.

Are you going to A to Z this year?

Ready For Some Bad Cover Art?

Just playing around on the internet when I ran across a link for Lousy Book Covers. The following is in no means meant to be mean spirited. If left to my own devices I would create something far worse than anything featured on this site. Also, the guy who runs Lousy Book Covers points out several times that he doesn't condone judging a book by it's cover, and the negative comments that come with that type of attitude.

However, if you click on the link above, you will be hard pressed not to get all judgey. But really it's all in good fun. And maybe the attention they authors get for their covers will translate into readers. After all, not everyone can afford a top notch cover (have you seen how much that can cost?!?!?!).

This Tumblr is dedicated to some of the...interesting choices authors make when designing their book covers. I'm assuming, most, if not all, of the designs featured are from indie authors. And some of them - not being a design person and someone who is easily distracted by the color purple  - I don't think are half bad. A few look like something you might see on a cheap paperback from the seventies or eighties. But most of them...they're just...words can't describe.

The worst offenders seem to fall into four categories:
  1. Trying to squeeze every plot point in the book into illustrated form on the cover.
  2. They let their 12-year-old design the cover (or perhaps the author is also the designer, and 12-years-old, in which case - Bravo. You have accomplished more than I have).
  3. The cover itself isn't so bad, but the text is in 3 different fonts that are colored nearly the same as the background image.
  4. Really, really, really, (really), badly photoshopped images.
 Now, a few examples to entice you click on the link above:

This one, I don't hate. It feels like something that I would see in a book store. Except something is seriously wrong with this dude's arm:
 
 
 
Example of the anything goes school of thought:
 
 
I love how this faceless woman is threatening to shoot DNA:
 
 
 I...I might have to read this one:
 
 
 
 

Beginnings Blog Fest


Thanks to L G Keltner for this blogfest. Click the pic for a full list of participating blogs.

It's strange, but in the beginning, there was no fear. No panic. No questions. The news glossed over the mysterious objects that appeared from behind the moon. The internet was abuzz with silly memes combining War of the Worlds and cats. The government said nothing.

I didn't pay any attention to it. Coworkers would ask if I'd heard of the strange disks that appeared then disappeared from the NASA images. My cousin claimed to have seen something passing across the face of the moon one night while peering through his cheap telescope. I never saw anything myself. I rarely look at the night sky, and I had no time for TV or internet. I was too busy working two jobs to pay off my useless BA in English. At times I would have been happy for the world to end just so I wouldn't have to worry about my school loans anymore. Besides the government never said anything, no reputable scientist would give a name to the phenomenon, so it couldn't have been real. What was the point of getting worked up about it?

Of course, here I am now, huddled in a bunker in the middle of nowhere Kansas with a guy who always smells like onions (despite not have seen one for more than a month), a woman and her squalling brat who never shuts up, and an old man who doesn't know what year it is much less his name. The world ended. Surprise!

But let me get back to the beginning.

Inspiration Monday

I have so many plans, so many things I want to write this year: ideas for at least two other novellas, and two more novels. I also have a backlog of half-written short stories that need finishing

Where does all of this inspiration come from? I have no idea. It's as if when I started writing last year the faucet was turned on. I've always had ideas, those "That would make a good story" ideas, but never actually felt like I could write them down.

Now, all of a sudden, I'm writing dialog in my head while driving to and from work, and scribbling down scraps of scenes whenever I have downtime at work. I watch people, and listen to them talk, and I'm filing away their mannerisms, stories and anecdotes for future reference. I see a guy walking down the street glancing behind himself, and I wonder, "What is he looking for?" (Of course in my version of events it involves monsters).  One of my novel ideas came from a TV show that just left a plot line dangling (or maybe not, I haven't watched the whole season on Netflix yet. Maybe it gets revisited later). I had a dream two weeks ago that has a germ of an idea in it that won't go away. I CAN'T STOP SEEING STORIES EVERYWHERE I LOOK.

Not that I want to stop, but with all the ideas that I have I start to get a little anxious that I won't be able to get them all out.

Flashback: Yonder

 


Below is a piece that I wrote on my old blog for the A to Z Challenge last year. It was one of the pieces that reminded me that I liked writing, and maybe I could give it another shot. I'll be cross posting a few others in the next few weeks.

***
 
The following is a flash fiction, sort of fan fiction, borrowing a concept from Stephen King's Dark Tower series:

"The thinny takes you over yonder."
The old man gnawed a sliver of wood, rolling it from one side of his gummy mouth to the other. His black eyes, surounded by a web of wrinkles so complex it would have given a spider a run for its money, squinted in the harsh light of the desert. His head cocked to the side when the wind brought the sound of the the thinny to us where we stood at on the edge of the arroyo.

"Yonder?" The air was unbearably hot, and sweat poured down my brow and over my cheeks. The sound of the portal whined like a mosquito in my ear, and burrowed deeper in my mind. It was a profoundly unpleasant noise.

"Aye." The sliver rolled back and forth. "To the other side of the universe. So said my Papaw. It's bigger these days. Used to be you couldn't hear it from here." He sniffed and hiked up his sagging pants as if the suspenders he wore were just for show. "I ain't goin' any closer, and if I was you I would just head on back to the ranch and forget this."

"I can't." I stared down the arroyo that meandered through the scrubby bushes. The rains had ceased weeks ago and the stream bed was dry, hard and cracked. I had been in this world for 2 years and this was my only chance.

"No tellin' where you come out. Or if you come out."

"It has to be better than here." I turned to the old man and extended my hand. "Thankee Sai, for your help." He took my hand and shook it, a single pump up and down. Then he turned and left without another word. That's how they did things here. No long goodbyes.

I stepped down into the dried up streambed and started walking. As I moved down the arroyo the whine of the thinny grew louder, more intense, and began to shift and distort until it was no longer unpleasant. It called to me with sounds of home, promises of a world lost to me.


*Image from here


IWSG: January


The thing is, I really like my writing, but I'm terrified that no one else will.

It's like when my son was born. He was the most beautiful, perfect baby. When the Renaissance guys were painting pictures of cherubs, they used the future glory of my child as a model.

Now, when I look at pictures of him as a newborn, I'm horrified. He looked like that lizard baby from V-

-only he was all red and sweaty.

That's how I feel about my writing. To me it's perfect, but I'm sure everyone else just sees a sweaty, red, lizard baby with spazzy arms and weird facial expressions.

I know babies grow out of that (most of them do anyway), and I know my writing is starting to grow out of it too, but it's still my baby and I still see perfection everywhere I look when I know damn well there are a lot of flaws.

How do you deal with your lizard babies. I'm sorry, I meant your precious little angels?

Happy New Year: Resolutions and Changes

I'm not a fan of New Years. Generally, they just end up being the same as the previous year, only I just get older without feeling like I've accomplished anything. However last year, I put together a New Year's Resolution list, that I can't find, but I do remember three of those resolutions.
  1. Read A Tale of Two Cities. That did not happen.
  2. Lose 35 pounds. I lost 20.
  3. Write 2 short stories. Not only did I write several short stories, I wrote a whole flipping book. So for once I can say Resolution Achieved.
So this year, I'm going to try to re-create the success.  So here are my resolutions for this year.
  1. Read A Tale of Two Cities. It's on my Kindle, (and has been for a year) so no reason not to.
  2. Lose 15 pounds. (I'm going to brag here, and just say that if I achieve this goal it will be 70 pounds lost since July 2011).
  3. Finish my MS and start querying.
  4. Participate in a NaNoWriMo (either Camp NaNO, or NaNo Classic in November).
As far as blogging is concerned, I'm going to kind of loosen things up here. I started this blog in May of last year because I wanted a blog devoted to writing. I already had a blog that never really had any focus and shortly after I started A Creative Exercise, I just gave up on the old one.

However just writing about writing is boring, so I'm going to start bringing a little more non-writing related stuff here. Mostly pictures and videos that I think are funny. Starting now:
I'll try not to fill your reading list with pictures and videos that are funny.
 
I'm going to continue to do the book reviews, and IWSG, and Inspiration Monday, but I'm probably not going to participate in anymore flash fiction blog fests. They stress me out.  I'm also interested in trying to be bit more positive, since a brief look back at previous posts have a lot of woe-is-me-ism going on.
 
Except on IWSG. There's a reason why it's called INSECURE Writers Support Group.