Break “You want to be a what when you grow up? A sassinak? I bet you don’t even know what that is.” “Yes, I do. They’re like pirates only they come from England.” I rolled my eyes and put my head in my hands. My little sister; a different stupid dream every day. As I stared at the floor, I noticed a colourful piece of paper lying beneath our bench. It was the cover from an old magazine, from before the war. It showed a picture of a woman in a pink uniform, a stewardess on an airline maybe. She was young, beautiful. I imagined her waiting for her plane to arrive to take her across the world to incredible places. The picture said one thing to me. Opportunity. “That’s what I want to be,” I said to my sister. She picked up the paper and stared at it without saying anything. “Ha,” said a bitter voice. It was Warder Clarke, her club twitching menacingly as she glared down at us through the battered metal cage of her faceguard. “You won’t be getting off this rock for a very long time. Now, grab those drills and get back to work.” … Read More
Mostly day job and shopping yesterday but I did manage to scrape together a surprisingly productive hour of creativity and add another 727 words to F Bomb. That brings the total word count to 1693 and the end clearly into view. My plan is to finish it tonight and although I do want to go back and fill in a bit more detail in a couple of places, I’m still very happy with the story. That’s unusual for me so we’ll see if that’s still the case when I’ve written the ending. Weird Fiction Review posted a great story yesterday. Originally published in 1892, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a wonderfully disturbing tale and it’s well worth a read. Of course, if you like your fiction weird then Weird Fiction Review should already be on the list of sites you visit regularly. In other news, the proofs for So Long, and Thanks for All the Brains arrived yesterday and it’s looking very good indeed. Matt Nord has put together a monster collection (over 420 pages of Zombie fiction plus the first five chapters of the upcoming Collaboration of the Dead novel). And I still love the cover. Cover for So … Read More
No zombies, but I did manage to get back to writing yesterday and I started a new story – F Bomb. An hour and a half of writing resulted 966 words which I think puts me about halfway through. It’s an interesting little story and I’m not entirely sure what genre you’d pigeonhole it into but I like it so far. There’s a (hopefully) humorous edge to it that appeals to me. I was also planning on editing Rainshine but I decided to postpone that for another few days and come back to it once F Bomb is finished. I also wrote an entry for my other blog – something I’ve neglected to do for far too long and submitted a story to the One Buck Horror anthology series – fingers crossed on that one, it would be good to end the year with another acceptance. With all the talk about music and running, I neglected to mention the new book I’m reading – Cate Gardner’s short story collection Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and other curious things. I read the first couple of stories on Friday night and already I’ve got a good feeling about it. Finally, I’ve created a Free Fiction page and posted links to the first two stories … Read More
Yesterday was our last race for 2011 – The Santa Shuffle. It’s a 5km fun run round Stanley Park and the seawall and this year was the third time we’d taken part. The weather was great (one of those amazing Vancouver mornings we didn’t get last weekend) and we timed our arrival perfectly so we didn’t need to stand around in the cold for too long. Despite having run the half marathon last weekend and promising to “take it steady” we actually ended up finishing in around 25 mins 30 which is our fastest 5km yet. The post race refreshments (beef chili and some granola bars) were good as well so it was a successful event all round. One of our local HMV stores is closing down – presumably falling victim to the relentless advance of digital content – so in the afternoon I dropped by to take a look at their 60% sale. It turns out that it’s mostly a 10% sale (although if you want a Metallica clock then you can indeed save 60%) but I did pick up a copy of Murder by Death‘s album – Red of Tooth and Claw. I first discovered Murder by Death (or … Read More
Aftermath “This is what happens?” said Nathan. The creature nodded. A thin trickle of frozen green pus dangled from the scratch Nathan had left in its cheek. “But I didn’t realize.” The creature shrugged. “Is there anything I can do?” The creature looked around the frozen wasteland and scratched its head. Grimacing with concentration, it poked around in its ear for a moment and then tugged a few wiry hairs free. Nathan watched the creature twist the hairs into a tiny braid. The creature opened its mouth and mimed swallowing the braid and then handed it to Nathan. Nathan shuddered. Story originally submitted to the Tuesday Tales 17 Flash Fiction competition. This is an example of a story where I took Anne McCaffrey’s advice so there’s a detailed back story behind those 100 words. Maybe one day I’ll extend it into a full length story.
At some point this blog will stop being about events I’ve attended. But not today. I got into Goth music by accident in my late teens and it quickly became the soundtrack to my life and although I have somewhat more varied tastes these days, Goth is still where my heart is. Bauhaus – one of the first British goth bands – were a key part of that soundtrack and although they split up years ago, I’ve been lucky enough to see them on a couple of reunion tours and still listen to their music. So, when I heard that Bauhaus lead singer, Peter Murphy was coming to town, along with LA based She Wants Revenge I had to go. She Wants Revenge set list The evening was actually a double headliner show with She Wants Revenge also playing pretty much a full set. I’ve seen them in Vancouver before and liked them enough to buy both their albums. They’ve got a bit of a British Goth feel to them that appeals to me and I’m obviously not alone – they had a lot of very vocal fans in the audience last night and it was a great start to the evening. They mixed in some … Read More
Chuck Palahniuk’s advance for Fight Club was just $7000 dollars and both the film and the book were failures. At least initially. That’s two of the things I learned at the Chuck Palahniuk reading on Wednesday. I also learned that he likes to throw candy at his audience and I mean at, not to. The event was part of the Vancouver International Writers Festival and if you live in or near Vancouver, it’s well worth keeping an eye on their website – they bring some great authors to their annual festival in October and other events throughout the year. Chuck’s visit kicked off with a limited signing for people who had bought one of the one hundred book-and-event tickets that were available. I was lucky enough to be able to get one so I arrived early, got my copy of Damned inscribed and a couple of photos and then sat down and waited for the reading to start. I’m Damned It was obvious the evening was going to be special when Chuck came on stage, explained how important it was to pay attention and then proceeded to throw candy around the packed theatre. And this wasn’t small candy either, it was … Read More
Okay, NaNoWriMo is over. If you completed your 50,000 words (and if the Twitterverse is anything to go by, a lot of people did), congratulations. If you didn’t…don’t give up. Think back to the beginning of NaNoWriMo and the fresh faced young author eager to prove to the world that their story was worth telling, worth reading, maybe even worth publishing. If that enthusiasm is still there keep hold of it. If it’s gone or life has worn it down to a less exuberant level, nurture it. Think about what you love about writing and what prompted you to attempt NaNoWriMo in the first place and try to rekindle that spirit. Imagine your story out there in the world being read by thousands of people. Imagine the joy you’ll bring. Imagine the huge advances if you like (although I hope there’s more to your interest in writing than money). Whatever it takes, don’t stop writing. What THEY Don’t Want You To Know I’ll let you into a secret…There’s actually no rule that says you can only commit to writing during November. Shocking, I know. And guess what, even if you did complete your NaNoWriMo novel (and congratulations again by the way), … Read More
Some unexpected writing yesterday, 100 words worth to be exact. I happened to catch a tweet directing me to a Tuesday Tales challenge on the Glitter Word blog. The challenge was to write a one hundred or less word piece of flash fiction inspired by the image below and including the word Twist. It happened to be lunch time and I was taking a break from my day job so I noodled around for ten or fifteen minutes and wrote a story called Aftermath. This was the first time I’ve taken part in this type of challenge and I really enjoyed it – it was a nice to be able to take a quick creative break in the middle of the day and the one hundred word limit forced me to keep the writing focused. The Tuesday Tales challenge takes place every week so I’ll be dropping back next week to see if Ethel the Muse has anything to say about next week’s photo. You can find my story, along with the other entries here.
You get some amazing autumn mornings in Vancouver. Crisp, clean air. Clear blue skies. Bright sunshine reflecting off the sea with snow capped mountains in the background. Wonderful. Yesterday was not one of those days. It was cold, wet and grey. It was also the day of the first ever Vancouver Historic Half Marathon and the fifth half marathon that my wife, Ann, and I have run. Medal for the Vancouver Historic Half Marathon The route started at the naval base on Dead Man’s Island and followed the seawall around the edge of Stanley Park, looping round twice before finishing back on the naval base. As well as the half marathon there were 5km and10km races along a subset of the Half Marathon route. It was raining heavily when we arrived but although it stayed pretty gloomy for most of the race, the rain eventually died off and it wasn’t as gruesome as we’d initially feared. It was a fairly small race, roughly 400 people with 250 of those running the half so as the race progressed the field thinned out nicely which meant we could focus on running not dodging other runners. The seawall is a beautiful place to run, … Read More