Essays, Misc

Talking Pets – A Flash For The Freestyle Writing Challenge

It has been a while since I posted any writing. The reasons for that are many, but the main two are 1) I’ve been submitting some of the more recent pieces to magazines and whatnot, and 2) I’ve been working like a beast to finish the draft of the third book in my Papilion trilogy (IT IS DONE!). And…I amidt that the fact summer is finally here after a long and horrible winter has lulled me into a kind of comfortable laziness.

But just this morning I was thinking it was time to get back to writing something, anything. Someone was listening because about an hour ago I got tagged by Tanya Miranda to participate in the Freestyle Writing Challenge.

freewritingchallenge

It’s scary to post something written so quickly and under duress (15 minutes with little prep time and not allowed to edit!!), especially while being so rusty. The last thing I wrote was a novel, so massaging the muscle to ease back to flash fiction was tough. But, whatev. When the challenge is laid, you gotta step up to the plate. So here’s my ditty.

Tanya’s prompt: Your pet of many years suddenly speaks human. What does it say?

My story: Communion

I’d always wondered what my dog would say if he could talk. We’d been inseparable for what felt like an eternity. A gift to me on my fifteenth birthday, Pongo warmed my feet every night and blissfully licked me awake every morning. He followed me to the kitchen, sat by my side while I ate, calmly awaiting the scraps of egg or toast or bacon I’d cunningly flip at him when I thought he wasn’t looking. He caught the scraps every time.

I grew up, went to CEGEP. My body and face changed, and even my mother claimed she hardly recognized the well over six-feet tall grown man with a face full of hair, and a deep barrel-chest. But Pongo knew me. Mom said he’d sit by the window long before I returned each day from long hours of study, whimpering and whining before the car turned into the drive. Walking into the house to Pongo’s excited yips while he dumped a red ball in my hand in greeting were the best welcomes around.

Got married. Had a couple a kids. But now, I saw that Pongo was getting on in age. His habits didn’t change except he took longer and longer to get them done. His silky black and brown coat shone less in the sun during our walks, and I even noticed some tufts of grey coming in around his brows and muzzle, just like a ‘real’ old man.

Then one day, while sitting on the porch, my hand on his head, his muzzle in my lap, I noticed his breathing coming less and less even. In fact, he struggled to breathe. I knew it was close, yet didn’t know what to do.

The sun was going down then, dipping just behind the line of houses across the street. And just as the roofs eclipsed the last rays of sunlight, I heard, ‘I love you.’

Then he was gone.

I looked at my beloved dog, best of friends. He was at rest.

Don’t know how he did it, how he’d managed to speak those words. But on the other hand, I wasn’t surprised. I’d known the truth all along because Pongo had saying he loved me his entire life.

****

There you have it. 370 words in 15 minutes. Here are my chosen victims, er, nominees…

Phil Partington

Cairo Amani

Belinda Hughes

Lela Markham

Scott Toney

My Prompt is: Falling down the rabbit hole…

And here are the rules for the challenge:

  1. Open a new document.
  2. Set a stopwatch or your mobile phone timer to 5, 10, or 15 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.
  3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
  4. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you start writing do not stop.
  5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it’s only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules).
  6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
  7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
  8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).

Thanks for reading! Leave your comments below, if you’d like to share your thoughts.  🙂

Essays

Zoe’s Twitter Tips

Help for those confused about using Twitter!

Zoe Harrington, Apprentice of Words Zoe Harrington, Apprentice of Words

I (Phil, not Zoe) often feel like a social media dimwit, at least when it comes to networking for writing purposes. This is especially true for Twitter. Every time I log onto the site, I look at all these blasts of text people put out there, and I just…don’t…get it.

“I’m eating toast with mayonnaise for dinner today!”

“Religion saves, but coffee gets me up in the morning.”

“I’m excited to read this new book I’m looking at.”

“OMG, my lipstick is the SAME color red as the shirt I’m wearing!”

“I have TEN fingers…on EACH hand!”

I mean, seriously, what in the hell am I reading here? Determined to crack the code/WTF-ery[i] of Twitter, I consulted fellow aspiring writer, Zoe Harrington, for Twitter tips/insight. She’s young and hip, so I figured she must know what it’s all about. Her response…

View original post 524 more words

Misc

The Seven Things (About My Writing) Challenge

Recently, Ken Mooney and Lela Markham, two good author friends, tagged me in a fun and informal writing activity. The assignment: post seven things about your writing…

Only seven? Okay, okay. Write, then edit and revise, right?

*flexes fingers* Here we go!

Writing-Process-A-Blog-Hop

  • For the first time, I’m working on plotting a novel. For my first two published books, The Purple Morrow and Wolf’s Bane (and basically anything I have written until now), I wrote them based on what I felt the story needed as well as how the characters evolved. However, now that I am writing the last book of my trilogy, I decided to modify my usual method to make sure I hit all the essential story points. I’ll let you know if I survive.
  • I’ve been off my normal writing rampage in order to rest my elbow, which has been hit with tendonitis for the last few months. Not fun.
  • My kids like to write as well. I like to think they have been influenced by watching me. 🙂
  • I love to chat with readers and other authors, and I get really giddy when I find new messages and review requests in my inboxes.
  • Self-marketing and promotion are the biggest challenges for me. I just find them emotionally and mentally draining, not to mention time-consuming.
  • I’m thrilled to be surrounded by great author friends who include me in activities like this. When I started writing, it was a really lonely time. Now, it’s wonderful to know there are people I can turn to for ideas, information, contacts, writing activities and collaborations, and even a shoulder to cry on. Writing’s tough, man.
  • I enjoy blogging about writing almost as much as writing stories. I think it’s because I like communicating with readers in a voice closest to my natural one (i.e. without all the trappings affiliated with fiction writing). I feel like I’m still telling stories, just in a different, more conversational way.

Now, who to tag? Phil Partington, Katie Cross, Cairo Amani. You’re up!

 

Essays

Wolf’s Bane is here!

There were moments when I thought Wolf’s Bane would never come out. I started writing it in 2012, and it has gone through many rounds of beta-readings and even more rounds of rewrites, then proofreading, and followed by more tweaking since. I was determined that the book following The Purple Morrow would be as good as it could possibly be despite being an independently published book.

Why was producing this book such a challenge?

WolfsBane_Cover_2015_smashwords

There are a few reasons. Bane is my third completed novel but it is also the most complex one I’ve written to date. After having enjoyed building the world of Marathana so much, I wanted to explore it more fully and give readers more of a taste. This meant delving deeper into the various cultures and belief systems, creating new characters and people groups, exploring new terrain…no small challenge. As well, Bane is a bridge book, connecting the story’s beginning to its end, and it was a challenge to find the right story balance. Some betas felt there was too little back story, others that there was too much. And as the author, I didn’t want to give away all the secrets too soon, nor did I want to leave the story so bland that people wouldn’t want to advance to the final instalment. Finally, finding the right balance between my two main characters was tough. Morrow is Jeru’s story and Bane is Kelen’s, though both men are integral to each other’s lives, destinies, and the overarching storyline. It was a big challenge and I hope I did both characters justice.

Wolf’s Bane owes its existence to many people, and I will include them here. It’s been a long road to get here so if I forget someone please, please forgive me:

Beta Readers: Judith MacNamee, Authonomy’s Christian Lit Forum members, Zach Bonelli, T.A. Miles, Joshua Evans, Katie Cross, Bernard Cullen.

Thanks to my writing group for their support, enthusiasm and helping me feel that being indie is cool. And special shout out to Cora Siré, who gave me pointers on the poetic sections of the book.

To the Quebec Writers Federation for supporting local writers and for being an excellent resource over all (workshops, networking opportunities, etc.) It’s great to be around people who love writing so much.  

Thanks to William Bryan Miller for proofreading. He was quick, professional and on time!

To Phil Partington for keeping me grounded and for being a tireless listener (‘Being a writer is so hard!’). To Cairo Amani for having more infectious enthusiasm than anyone I know. And when it comes to editing, she’s almost as terrifying as Phil. To my super-talented sister Amy Hands for providing me with fantastic digital paintings of Jeru, and more recently, Bane’s  cover wolf in all its raging glory.

And to my family. Kids, you guys keep me motivated and I’m thrilled that you are proud of me. And to Sam Lampron, my super-supportive husband, for designing my book covers and for encouraging me to keep pursuing this ‘writing thing.’

Wolf’s Bane is available NOW at Smashwords and its affiliates. It is available now via Kindle on pre-order and for purchase as of Feb. 27, 2015.