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September 2015

ROW80-3 - 08/23 - A bit more cash

Well, I won third prize in a short story contest recently. That was $20 and a certificate and publication in the Mensa Canada newsletter. The cash is gone after a few beers at my local to celebrate, but then I'm not really in this to make money. Yes, it would be nice, but my goals are the pleasure of writing, the possibility of improving at it, the camaraderie of my fellow writers, and feedback from happy readers. 

Here's a link to the story, The Traitor. Feedback welcome of course, to help me improve. 


  • Editing - slow but steady on novel #2. Need to get this cycle out of the way before NaNoWriMo planning. My beta reader wants me to just get it done and back to her before she forget what it's all about! 
  • Writing - Still thinking of re-assessing my existing Flash Stories. It was nice to get something published again. NaNoWriMo is in two months, so starting to think of a topic.
  • Publishing - As above - a short story out there. And since it's in a newsletter restricted to a specific group, likely doesn't count as 'previously published' if I want to re-submit somewhere else. 
  • Reading - I read The Dark Winter, by David Mark, First in a series, and a good mystery. I also read The Lost Garden, by Helen Humphrys. Romance and gardening, in WW2 Britain. Another good read. 
  • Other
    • I spent a week in Toronto, visiting my lady friend. Mostly quiet mornings on her shaded porch with paper and coffees, sharing bits of news. Plus a picnic and photos in some back alleys.
    • Netflix has tempted me once again. In addition to Farscape re-runs, there's a cute British detective series, Vexed.

Short Story - The Traitor

My stone flew true, hitting her just above the eyebrow. She staggered back, then straightened and calmly gazed back at me, blood already running down her face. Following my lead as high priest, the others joined in too, cursing her and her kind as they hurled their missiles, tearing her veil, exposing her blue skin.

Please, spare my children,” she cried.

We had found her babies, hidden near where she had climbed the barrier, and killed them all. I opened my mouth to taunt her, then just gathered my robes about me and turned away. I was a single parent now, with twin boys. Things had changed.

When the female finally collapsed, unconscious, the guards moved forward with their spears.

Continue reading "Short Story - The Traitor" »

ROW80-3 - 08/07 - Where do you get your ideas?

I was asked this question about my writing again the other day. It was from a fan, who was not a writer, and who seemed to think 'getting ideas' was the only step needed before a novel is produced. I tried to explain that all you really needed for that first step was to observe and imagine, but then realized that what I take for granted is not necessarily a skill everyone has. Also, as part of that imagining phase, I now automatically take that idea a bit farther, to see if there is some depth and some character development. Only then do I add it to my 'Story Ideas' notebook in Evernote. 

I did get her to admit to sometimes making up stories to tease her friends, proving that she did in fact get ideas too. Her next problem was that she couldn't write. I clarified that she was not illiterate, and that her real concern was not writing well. When friends get that far, I suggest they write then stuff it in a drawer. Nobody else has to see it.  I may make a writer of her yet. I did add how easy it is now to publish, but made sure to mention using honest peer reviews and editors to help improve writing skills.

As for ROW80 status, some editing was done, some reading, and some social activities, as follows.

  • Editing - some days it's one scene, some days several. Progress
  • Writing - I'm wondering if I should re-write some of my old Flash stories, for eventual publication, or write more. More means more feedback - a mixed blessing.
  • Publishing - nothing more on my re-pub of Book #1, but tossing around the idea of doing some ebook collections of my Flash Fiction stories, complete with prompts. 
  • Reading - I read Armada, by Ernest Cline. Disappointing
  • Other - The first election debate was yesterday. Unlike the American ones,, this only had four politicians on stage.  My take? May was excellent in the debate, focusing on issues, challenging the others with facts. Mulcair stayed strong yet calm. Trudeau was impressive but shaky. Harper made excuses, pretending all OK. Not a lot of changes in voting I suspect, but I'm looking forward to the next set of polls. And ads. 

ROW80-3 - 02/08 - An election

Sunday check in, with yet another distraction - a Federal election. The kick-off for the campaign was today, right in the middle of a long weekend, with the fixed election date of October 13. Making it the longest campaign, at 77 days, in 130 years. Why so long? New spending limits - higher than before. These were changed by the governing party, the one with bags of money, which means that with a long campaign they will be able to outspend the opposition parties and hopefully buy our votes with a barrage of ads.  

In addition, I now have the distraction of a forgotten TV series that I can now watch again via Netflix - Farscape. With Claudia Black and some other people.

But I have done some writing and editing done too, so all is not lost.   


  • Editing - a few more scenes. Trimming and fine tuning each one, while keeping in mind how those changes affect other areas. I am enjoying it a bit more.
  • Writing - None, other than adding to my Story Ideas file. I need to start thinking of my topic for NaNoWriMo this year, as I outline in October. Hence I need to kick around some ideas before that, eith form that Story Ideas file or my big set of Flash Fiction stories, 
  • Publishing - Re-publishing of Book #1 is still on hold. Our writer's collective idea is still being discussed, where we would all market under a common brand. No resolution on how to vet books for that brand, how to set the bar so readers know what to expect. I suspect friendships are getting in the way. 
  • Reading - Finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Very good. Also enjoyed The Lovely Bones
  • Social - Got over to the grandkids in the east end, then had the eldest over for a sleep-over. Not much sleeping though.  
  • Other - Still some video games-mostly my train one. Farscape on Netflix. And lots of election coverage. Need to decide how much time I have to volunteer, and for whom.