Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Medicine

With all the glamor and glitz its hard to tell a good bad guy anymore. Vampires are now diamond encrusted lovers, assassins are poor unfortunates who lose their memory, and pirates are silver-tongued confused souls who really are misunderstood. Really.

Now don't get me wrong I love these shows too. But sometimes its just nice to hearken back to the good old days when vampires burnt to ash in the sun, assassins were cold-hearted killers, and pirates were ne'er-do-well scallywags who thought of little more than the next bit of gold and drop of rum.

Enter Geoffery Armitage Ffolkes. Pirate, assassin, and scallywag extraordinaire.

Now granted so far I have only read the first few chapters, but I love this character. He's everything a pirate should be and the writing is a wonderfully smooth throwback to the 17th century.

Check it out and read the first few chapters for free.

Ffolkes' Medicine: The Adventures of Geoffery Armitage Ffolkes begin by B. R. Stateham

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Light in the Tunnel

"Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel / Was just a freight train coming your way"- Metallica

It's amazing how true those words can feel at times. In our lives we have good things happen, aka the light. And we have some pretty nasty bad things happen too. Betcha can't guess what that is. ;-)

So what do we as writers do about it? Do we suddenly abandon our humanity and take on the looks of a deer caught in that headlight? Do we scream and run at the thing in a final act of defiance? Or do we use that light to show us the way our and run like mad for the end of the tunnel?

Personally I'm in the survival group. What about you?

What about your characters?

If your writing is anything like mine then most of your stories put people in positions they never ever wanted to be in. How they react to this lets us know about them. But before our readers can get to know them we need to know them better than we know our own family. How do we do this?

I've tried a number of things. Some have worked really well for me others have failed miserably. For instance I know several writers who will take a ten page questionnaire full of details and fill it out. I can't do that. It bores me to tears. I discover my characters through action. whether I'm writing it out or just imagining it I have to put my characters in situations and watch them react. I'll imagine all sorts of things from their normal morning routine to how they act if they're hanging off a cliff with no one nearby to help.

but no matter how you do it you have to get to know them so they'll be believable. Otherwise the reader may just wish the freight train would catch up to them. :-)

What do you all do? How do you get to know your characters?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

That's Not Punny.

Well I have found out why they call what editors read through a slush pile.


It's amazing the stuff that comes through. Now a lot of it is actually half way decent. Maybe the author just needs help in one or two areas, or maybe its a good story but just doesn't fit the magazine. But holy crow every once in a while you get one that just makes you scratch your head or want to vomit.

Now I'm learning that as far as writing goes there are rules that aren't rules but fads, there are rules that are rules and can't be broken, and then there are rules that should only be broken if you realize your doing it and doing it WELL.

I read something today that tried to fall into that third category and failed miserably. Take note. Bad puns are not enough to carry a story. Especially if the majority are crass and vulgar with no more reason to be in the story than to say a pun. If it doesn't progress the story toss it out.

So what about you all? Have you ever read anything that was utter slush? Or can you think of something that would be a perfect slush story? If I get a bunch of good replies I'll pick the best and get you a real slushie as a prize. :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Well hooray for our side.

Well you live long enough and sure enough something completey unexpected and wonderful will happen. I am happy to announce that yours truly has recently joined the ranks of the Abanoned Towers Magazine editorial team!

Thats right. I'm an editor now! and not at just any magazine but at a top 10 magazine. Holy freaking cow!

So that's the big news in my writing life. On a slightly different topic, I have had some major computer issues the last few days. I will still try and keep up with my regular posting schedule, but if I'm running late, Like today :-), you know what's up.

Oh and if you're looking for a good place to submit your story send it on over to Abandoned Towers. Every submission gets detailed feedback whether we accept or reject. So instead of those lovely form rejections that tell you nothing about what may be wrong with a piece, you actually can see why things happened.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pirate writers? Oh yeah!

Today I have a special guest post for you all. Some of you may recognize the author, it's Jean Lauzier from Under the Trolls Bridge. I love what she has to say here and hope you all enjoy.

10 Lessons for Writers from a Pirate.
1. Get a Parrot - For writers, the parrot is a mentor. Mentors can speed up your trip along the voyage to publication. They'll teach you things it would take years for you to learn on your own. And while the proper mentor may be hard to find...they will definitely be worth the work.

2. Consider the Eye Patch - Writers must see things differently than non-writers. We pay attention to what's going on around us and sometimes we write it down to use later. Things that seem normal or of no consequence to others trigger story ideas and excite the writer's soul.

3. Funky Pirate Wear & Eye Liner - Just as pirates don't conform, neither do writers. Our characters become our best friends and meeting a word count goal is cause for celebration.

4. Any Weather, Any Time - A pirate's ship and crew can handle any weather. So can writers. We take the good days with the bad or the acceptance letters right along with the rejection letters.

5. Live Die by the Team - For a pirate, his crew is family and very important. Well, writers need a "team" too. Not only do we need a supportive "home" team, we need critique partners and readers. We need editors and agents. Then we need promo people.

6. Tricorn hat - Don't you just love the tricorn hat? Writers will wear the many different hats of our characters. We become our characters, we learn their jobs to get the details right. A writer has a varied barrel of knowledge to draw upon...and if we don't know, we'll find someone who does or take a class to learn our self.

7. Peg Leg - The peg leg represents our limits. These may be lack of formal education or shoulder vultures. But we continue to strive toward our writing goals. We don't let self-doubt stand in our way.

8. Hook - Got to have a hook! Not only do we have to hook our readers, we have to hook the agents and editors. Here's where the team will come in handy...they'll help you polish that hook until it shines!

9. Treasure - For the writer, the Treasure is having others read our words and be touched by them. We'll do just about anything to get that treasure too. All day sessions at the computer, up half the night arguing with our characters about the plot lines... Nothing is too difficult as we make our way toward the treasure.

10. They just arrrrrrr! - Pirates don't have to be told they are pirates. They know they are. Same thing with writers. We just know we are meant to write. We have a passion that burns within us...a passion that insists we write. And so we do!

Inspired by:

Jean Lauzier writes mystery and fantasy for the most part though she plays in other genres just for fun. You can find her short stories at and though she'd been published at several other places that no longer exist. At the moment, she's working on her novel Dragons of Jade which will be released sometime this fall. She invites everyone to stop by her blog at

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Beware the Turtle!

As writers we generally tend to the introverted side of things. Or at least I do. I like to hide in my shell typing away and then peak out just long enough to submit.

I think that's why it's taken me so long to get as far as I have.

We need to be fearless in going after life. Experience new things and be surrounded by people we can observe and learn from. And then, when we have taken it all and crafted our stories with it, we have to go after the publishers and editors like mad.

Perfect example.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tink Happy Tots

I've been taking a few classes lately, to make my self more marketable, that I think everyone should take at some point. Especially if you're a writer.

Granted these classes are aimed at making yourself more marketable to the rat race. But They look at what can be changed in human behavior to bring about a desired result. As a writer you have two uses of that. What most writers think of first off is, of course, characters. And you're right. But even more so, the writer can benefit for themselves.

For instance the class I had today was about reworking your thought to a more positive fame. As writers we deal with a lot of emotions and a lot of bad things happening to good people. It's called conflict, our bread and butter. And if your not careful you can let all that conflict tear you down as a person. DON'T! Take a break if your working on some depressing scene and go do something goofy. Just be down right silly. I dare you to say 'rubber baby buggie bumpers' to the mirror with a mouth full of marshmallows and and not at least smile at the result.

And as for characters, they too can benefit from your understanding this. If you have a character who is looking at life through ash colored glasses, change just a few words of theirs and see the difference.

For instance. Our brains don't process the word don't on a basic level. In higher realms we understand the concept of refraining from something but not in our core thought process. If your character is saying "I don't care about the world." they are conflicting their brains and causing a kind of depression. Because at the basic level their brain hears "I care about the world." but their higher processes get conflicting info. You can show your characters progress by having them put more active phrases into play. So "I don't care about the world." becomes. "I care more about god than the world." Or something like that.

See how the second one causes movement in your thoughts where the first is static?

I'm going to be working more of this into both my writing and my life. Give it a try yourself and let me know how it works for you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Under the Bridge.

Hello everyone!

Well I guess I'm getting some attention because I was asked to do a guest blog. Check it out Under the Trolls Bridge.

Watch the gears in my head turn a simple Bic into a possible story.