Friday, January 29, 2010

Awww, Oh No! HA HA!!

OK I was going to save this for a saturday silly, but its just too funny to wait. I love it! Not only is it hilarious to me, but it works perfectly for what we want our stories to do.

First introduce you characters in a way so the readers care about them.

Second have something horrible happen to them.

And last but not least, make it worthwhile.

Check out the MOUSE.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Madness!

Ok I just found this place called It's freaky fun! Thought you might want to see what The Wulver's Stane looks like on an art kick. :-) I know I enjoyed it.

It's easier to eat the steak...

As a writer you have got to be a number of different people.

When you write you have to be sensitive to convey emotions. When you research you have to be inquisitive and find all those cruitial bits of detail that bring your story to life. When you submit you have to be patient and accept it takes time for an editor to get back to you. And when you get critiqued you have to be a thick-skinned rhino ready to take whatever the critiquer has to say.

This last bit is crucial. more crucial I think than any other piece of the puzzle. Like I've said in earlier posts, if you only want to write for your grandkids then your good, go write whatever dribbles out of your pen and they'll be thrilled. But if you want to get published then you have to get other peoples opinion.

"But Wolf," you say "isn’t that what submitting to editors is for?"

The answer is not only a no, but a HECK NO! Their job is to see if you offered something that will make their magazine money. End of story. Now some very few will offer tips on what was wrong and tell you to send something back. But by and large the best place to get help polishing your craft and producing things that editors will want to buy is a good circle of critiquers.

I recently had an experience with a new critique circle. It has a good mix or writers at different stages so they'll give you a wide variety of input. Just what you, or at least I, want. There was one particular writer who is newer and submitted a piece for review. I hope this guy keeps writing. He has a great love of his subject matter and can really turn a phrase when he wants to. But he hasn’t gotten that rhino hide yet. The piece he submitted had some major flaws and some good points. Unfortunately when all the reviews came in saying the same thing. He took it personally and stormed out.

This bugs me. If your gonna be a writer you gotta learn not only to spot the flaws yourself but also be able to admit when someone else points it out.

Now does this mean you have to listen to every piece of advice given from a critiquer? No! For heaven sakes it's your story you can do with it what you will. But if you are hearing the same problem mentioned over and over again you may just want to fix it. Because an editor is sure to notice the same thing.

This whole scenario prompted me to say one of the few things I've ever considered truly wise.

"It's easier to eat the steak, when you actually cut the bull."

Readers want steak. they want the words of your story that are gonna connect with them and make them think even after they put down your story. That lovely little tidbit about Aunt Martha’s broach, bull. The vivid description of ancient forests and cascading waterfalls that doesn’t move your story forward, bull. And the detailed account of the third generation of cheese makers who make the best cheese in the state when the story has to do with alfalfa pellets, BULL!

So let's cut the bull and give our readers what they really want. Steak.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Money? Yes please.

So I found something the other day I think any starting writer should do. its a free workshop starting February 1st on how to do a book video. Now it is on a romance blog, not my favorite genre, but they do have the most videos so it should be interesting. Check em out at Happy Endings Blog.

What is a book video you may ask? I hadn't seen them myself until recently but essentially they are for a novel what a movie trailer is for a movie. One that I think is great is on YouTube for Katie Macalisters novel Steamed

So why do I care about this and why should you if your a writer? Money. Pure and simple its all about the Benjamin's. I want to make money off of this eventually. So if that's the goal I better start learning now how to do my own marketing and promoting. This book video thing could cost hundreds of dollars as time goes on. So if I can do it myself not only do I not have to pay that out but i get more money coming in my way cause no one is going to look out for my interests better than me. :-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good News and Upcoming Good Stuff

In some earlier posts I talked about why I thought I'd get published and set myself the goal of submitting pretty much every week. That was 3 weeks ago.

That first story I sent out, a steampunk story, was rejected. Not because of writing craft but because they had some similar stories within the last year and didn't want to revisit similar territory so soon. But they did ask for me to send more to them. A good sign I think.

And yet, as any starting writer would be, I was a bit crestfallen and was tempted to let it sit for awhile in a drawer. Thank heaven for good friends and ego. My friend Jean told me in her trollish way to get over it and get it out. And even more motivating I figured I couldn't very well face you, my readers, if I couldn't take my own advice and shoot it right back out.

So I did. And guess what happened? It didn't get rejected! I heard back from the main editor that she liked the premise of my story and was sending it on to her editing team. No it was not outright accepted, not yet, but this is forward progress. I'll take it!

So Maybe in a while you'll see a post of me doing the happy dance with my first acceptance letter. Guess we'll see. Until then I'm getting back to writing, you should too. ;-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


“I’m telling you I saw it! Big as a house and with eyes as wide as saucers.” he said.

“Sure ya did Duffin. And I bet it sprouted angel’s wings and flew right up Jacob’s ladder.” Seamus shook his head and took a sip of Guinness.

Who would you believe? Why? More importantly why do you care? Our job as writers is to make people, not just characters. Anyone can make a character, just ask any Dungeons and Dragons group, so what makes a character into a “person?”

For me it’s opinions. You will never find two people who agree on everything completely. Even those who think in the same vein as us will disagree on something. So how do we put this into our writing? there’s a number of ways. One of the funnest ways for me to do it is an argument. Not necessarily a drop down drag out fight, though those can be fun ;-), but something as plain as what I have up top here.

We are never as firm in our opinions as when we are defending them.

It’s basic human nature, fight or flight. So if we have these opinions and reactions then our characters need to have them too. Give this a try. Take one of your stories and place two of the characters at odds with each other.

I think you’ll like the outcome. And let me know what comes of it. I love a good debate. Just ask my friends. :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Happy Birthday everyone! Today is the 201st birthday of the master of macabre and a hero of mine. Edgar Allan Poe!

Tragically I fear his toaster failed to honor the day for the first time in over six decades. So as a small bit of recompense I thought we'd celebrate here on The Wulver's Stane.

My favorite Poe story I'd have to say is "The Cask of Amontillado." Mainly because it was the first piece of Poe's that I read and it showed me a mind that appreciated the darker things I thought I alone comprehended. Yes I was in Junior High School when I discovered Poe. But I've grown to appreciate him even more as I've aged.

So whats your favorite? Leave a comment then grab a cognac and help me toast the memory of one of the greatest, most tragic men ever to live.

And if you haven't read Poe before check his work out online for free at The Literature Network.

To Poe!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Save the Gems

The other day I got a bit of bad news. I learned one of my favorite chats for writers was being canceled. I'll be honest, I am horribly and very selfishly upset about it. I have loved being able to pick the brain of a sustained writer and take those things into my writing.

Apparently though I'm one of the few who are more verbal about this and it got me thinking. Why would you not want to save something that works and is good? One of my associates took the stance that change should just be accepted for changes sake. that since progress can only happen through change then change must be good.

I heartily disagree. Granted progress can only happen through change, but it can only happen through good change. I doubt that anyone out there would say that the Holocaust was progress.

So what does all his have to do with writing? Well, the same can be said for any story or novel out there. One of the biggest problems that I as a beginning writer struggled with was editing. I looked at my story, looked at the word count, and I changed it. I took a chainsaw to the thing to get it to fit. It was not good change.

The key in any story is to keep the fantastic little bits, the gems, in there. Now not all cool bits are gems for that story. Sometimes you have to kill your babies and take them out of the story all together. But for heaven's sake DON'T THROW THEM AWAY! Put them in a file or notebook or something that you can look through later.

A lot of stories are either inspired or enriched in this way. I call mine the "Cool stuff to use at some point" file it's on my hard drive and it has helped several times. It's created progress, good change.

So don't just kill your babies but save your gems for a later setting. you never know when it just might bring about a treasure.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Parrot Talk

So today I decided to share some bits of wisdom I recently found by looking at other blogs. Both of these come from published authors, one of which I am happy to call friend, and I hope will give you something to chew on and inspire you. I know they did that for me.

So without further adieu I give you Jean Lauzier and Larry Brooks.

The first one is from Jean a post she calls "Chex Mix, Writing & Reading." check it out here at Her newest blog Under the Trolls Bridge. Check it out here @.

The second is from best seller Larry Brooks about discovering which ideas are really worth the time to write. He calls it "For Your Consideration: Questions at the Heart of Your Story Idea" Check it out here @

Both of these people have helped me tremendously in my writing and I hope they inspire you as they have me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Game Time!

So, you knew this was gonna happen sooner or later. Aside from being a writer I am also a gamer and I wanted to share my love of a classic I recently played.

If any of you are near your 30's or have kids in that range you probably remember back in the 80's when a little plumber came to your house and never left. MARIO! Yes I admit it I love that little Italian guy and definitely played my share of Super Mario Bros growing up. Luckily my dad was as much a kid as we were and played right along with us, my mom on the other hand I think still has nightmares with that distinctive synthesized theme song.

I think Any gamer will tell you that Mario was just about the most important little man in their life for a good portion of their childhood. I definitely can. But as the years went on Mario changed with the new consoles going from sewer stomping to go kart racing to flying around in a 3D world. And they were good games too but they just didn't have the nostalgia as the original side scroller.

Now after years of waiting Mario has hearkened back to his glory days of old and he has never looked better!

A friend and I recently sat down to the new Super Mario Bros WII and it's a blast! Its a simpler game just like the in the beginning with plenty of koopa baddies and mushrooms to squash. And now it has the power of letting up to four people play at once. I was ecstatic! The controls now have the ability to actually respond to your jerking the control around--come on admit it, you did it too--and the Wii Remote's motion sensor has been well integrated into puzzles and activities throughout the game. The graphics are classic and crisply rendered and there's just something satisfying about helping you friend get a goal one minute then picking him up and throwing him down a hole the next. It was an accident I swear... the first time. ;-)

So, If you can get your hands on a Wii, pick up this game. We old timers will get our nostalgia fix and you newcomers will get a taste of a great game. Pure and simple.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Good Stuff.

One of my favorite authors right now is Brandon Sanderson. If you don't know who that is I seriously suggest you go buy or borrow his book Mistborn. Its a great epic fantasy. He's also been chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series for the late Robert Jordan.

He's a hero of mine I guess you could say. Hes imaginative, creative, has the same religious background as me, and he's a bloody good writer! The other day I found something great on his website that I wanted to share with all you speculative fiction writers out there. He has teamed up with Dan Wells and Howard Tayler to do a podcast called Writing Excuses.

It's great! I've listened to quite a few different podcasts on writing and by far this is the best one I've found for speculative fiction. These guys know what they're talking about, they're from different genres of spec fic so you get different takes on everything, and they have fun!
Go check 'em out! They've inspired me on a number of things and given me different ideas on how to do things that I can't wait to use.

The site is and for even more fun they end each podcast with a writing prompt to get ya moving if your having a stall day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Staying the Road.

I'm going to wax a bit philisophical in this so bear with me.

It's recently been brought back to my attention how lonely the road of a writer can be. In many ways I'm sure that's why many of us seek it out. We're either tired of the world with its harshness and hypocrisy, or we find we can relate to people better if we create them and can understand why they do the crazy things they do. It's comforting.

But no man is an island, as the saying goes, and even those of us who have chosen this less traveled path find fellow travelers. Sometimes they're our editors who help us with polishing our words, sometimes they're kindred spirits dredging through words just like us, and sometimes they are even more than a kindred spirit and come to twine their lives with ours, our true friends and families.

So when one of those closest to us voice doubts about our writing what do we do? Should we simply stop because someone we value finds little or no value in what we do? We have to decide what writing means to us. Is writing for you a hobby done simply to pass the time or is it something deeper in you? Is it something that burns so deep in your soul that you will never be... can never be truely happy without it?

Ultimately the choice is up to you. But if you choose this road be prepared to stay it. Because there will be naysayers, there will be hecklers, and there will be traitors. At some point it will take everything you have to pick up that pen or pull out that keyboard and write.

I dont know where you'll chose to go, but I'll see you on the road.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Proof is in the Puddin'

OK folks here we go. The year has officially begun. Why you may ask? Did I not see the fireworks, hear the Newscasts and observe as the media as a whole pounced on the fact a new decade has begun?

Well of course I did. But now the year truly begins for me as a writer. I have just now, after hours of surfing different resource sites on the web, Submitted my first story of the year. HUZZAH!

The last few days I have been scribbling like mad on several new stories working on fleshing them out to a writable state. But I got tired of waiting! I want to see those words in print! So taking a deep breath I scoured the bottom of my hard drive and pulled out an old story that once got a kind rejection slip, actually looked at the story with fresh eyes and saw what the editor was talking about! The story is good but needed a little loving craft work.

So after a couple hours reworking and doing everything I can, it's done. Or at least as done as I can get it with my current skills. So off it goes to another pair of scrutinizing eyes to see if its good enough for their magazine.

Here's hoping. I'll know in the next 4-8 weeks whether this baby has a new home --and I have a nice check-- or if it got me another rejection slip and one step closer to getting it in print. And from now on I'm gonna do my darnedest to either submit one story or finish one rough draft every week!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


As a writer I am very interested in what the new and upcoming forms of publishing and reading media will be. Unfortunately the days of leather bound novels, gilt in gold, lining every shelf are long gone. The days of hardcover books are dwindling and even the paperbacks days seem numbered. With more and more people gaining access to the Internet and getting comfortable with it more and more books and magazines are going to electronic media.

So what has come from this? apparently the “Slates.” What most of us may have heard of as tablet PCs seem to be changing name to the slate PC. Microsoft just unveiled several to less than rave reviews but I kind of like the name. It brings to mind Tom Sawyer school room antics for me. But is it really where we want things to go?

Frankly, I’m torn.

On the one hand we as a society are getting so caught up in electronics and the ease they bring us that we are, as a whole, forgetting simple things that we need. Like exercise and outdoor activities. I heard recently that more Americans are near sited now than ever. In fact its gone from twenty-five percent in the 70’s to over forty percent now. Combine that with the ever rising obesity and diabetes and It scares me. We’re killing ourselves. That’s the one hand.

On the other hand as a writer It excites me. A lot. With more and more people getting access to these easy read devices it means more people are going to be publishing in that format. That’s cheaper for the publisher, hence more publishers, hence more chances I’ll find a good fit for my novel. And since there’s less money being spent on things like paper and glue and ink by the publisher, they can sell it cheaper and it still brings more money my way. A writers dream, or at least this writers dream. ;-)

So where will we go? will we do the self preservation thing and someone set off an EMP that destroys all electronics or will we go for the money and leave the trash for the next kid to deal with? Personally, I’m already near sighted and I need the money, but I think I’m gonna go for a walk outside.

What do you think?

Oh no, not the numbers game!

Alright so if you didn’t gather from my first post I am a writer of speculative fiction. Mainly I stick in SciFi and Fantasy--what I like to call Fanta-Sci-- but I do meddle in a little horror too. Right now I haven’t been published…Yet.

And that right there is one of the reasons I know I will eventually be published. A lot of things go into it. Anybody can write. And if your writing purely for your own enjoyment or to hand down stories to your kids in a dusty shoebox one day, GREAT! Your done. Write away as you are now and your good. But if your looking to actually get your words out in front of people then more than likely you have some work to do. First you’ve got to learn about the bones of the story, then how to fit all those pieces together with words, and then you have to edit it all so the ‘T’s are crossed and the ‘I’s are dotted and all that lovely punctuation is in its proper place. Fine any decent writing course or school will get you those eventually.

But then there’s the thing that turns a writer into an author. Sending it out. It scares the living bajeebus out of you. Or at least it does me. You wrap up your nice new baby and send it out to the dark mysterious land of editors. Congratulations you’ve just sent out your first story.

Then, after a few weeks or months, in comes a familiar beige envelope with their response. And guess what. It’s more than likely gonna say something akin to a soda pop cap. Sorry, Please play again. YAY! Now you’re an experienced writer. And you can do one of two things with your baby here. Either put it safely back in its drawer-- where no more unkind eyes will ever dare defile its splendor-- or you can get real, get serious, and get it back out there in the numbers game.

Believe me I hate to say that. I’ve developed a true hate for the numbers game as a whole, thanks in no small part to playing the numbers game door to door lugging a two ton vacuum cleaner along for the ride. But a cad’s a cad and if you want to be published you gotta play the game. Right now I have 3 frames in my office. One is full. It has my first rejection slip. The next will soon be filled with my first acceptance letter and a photocopy of a, hopefully large, very cashed check. And once that’s filled the last will hold my latest acceptance letter of many to come in my career. Hopefully they both get filled this year. I can't really control that. But what I can control is the fact that I’m going to be annoying editors as much as I can this year with as many good stories as I can pump out.

I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What’s a Wulver Anyway?

Okay. So I know that most of you, well probably all of you, who come here are going to ask this eventually if not right off. So what IS a wulver and why did he name his blog after it?

Well last things first. Why did I name this place The Wulver’s Stane? Frankly, because I think its cool. With a name like Wolf it’s hard to find a good interesting name that either isn’t taken or doesn’t conjure up images of Native American mysticism. Not that those are bad, I actually like Native American folklore, but I digress. I wanted something that would encompass my love of Fantasy, mythological creatures, and pondering and have a bit of an edge to it also.

Several friends of mine tried to help with ideas but they didn’t work for one reason or another. And so donning my fedora and bullwhip --aka mouse, the fedora is real enough though-- I set out into the steamy depths of the internet to find something fitting. Luckily the internet gods were kind and I found this rather quickly. And when I found it, it just clicked. It was exactly what I wanted.

So onto the first thing. What the heck is it anyway? A Wulver is a scottish werewolf for lack of a better term. It doesn’t change form but it is a wolf-headed man covered in short brown hair. But beyond that a Wulver isn’t aggressive. You leave him alone and he’ll leave you alone, or if you happen to be lost he may help you find where your going. But if your really lucky, and in need of a meal, he may just bring you some fish he caught while standing on his favorite fishing rock, known in Scotland as The Wulver’s Stane.

If you want to see more about this the most referenced place to look is in Jessie M. E. Saxby’s book Shetland Traditional Lore, But that hasn’t been in print for decades so another place to get the info is right here on blogger/blogspot check out and look for the July 1st, 2009 post.
cryptozoo-oscity: Wulver: werewolf or man?

And it's an interesting place to hang out if, like me, you like the things that go bump in the night.

Let the madness commence!

Welcome one and all to , what I hope will be, a fun and educational little place to park your mouse.

As a matter of forewarning I am crazy! Not so much the bouncing-off-the-walls mad chuckling sort of crazy as much as a Willie Wonka distorted-view-of-the-world sort of crazy. But don't rule out the occasional mad chuckle. :mwa ha ha::

Mainly I'm going to bring you the best I can about writing speculative fiction and the market and culture surrounding it. But like I said I am crazy and easily distract... oh shiny thing.

So be prepared because I'm liable to go from something on writing and story craft one day to jabbering about the latest drop dead gorgeous video game the next with a bit of rambling about kids and family life thrown in for good measure.

So come along and be careful of the gremlins. They do love to mangle words so.