Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Update, A Head's-Up, and a Writing Sample ("One Shot")

First off, I apologize for my lapse in posting -- it's been pretty crazy for me lately, and I just don't seem to have as much time to get to my blog as I would like.

So I'm putting this up as an update, a heads-up, AND a writing sample to try and catch up.

In terms of writing update, I still have some stories out in review, have gotten a few more (very-nice with positive comments) rejections, but as yet have nothing to announce regarding publication.  I know it will eventually happen, but it is a bit frustrating to be "close, but not quite..." so often.  Meanwhile, I continue to write (MUCH more slowly than I would like here lately), revise, and submit.

As for a heads-up -- In case I don't get a chance to post again before Sunday:  This Sunday, April 1st, starts the 2012 A-to-Z Blogging Challenge.  There are currently something like 1,400 bloggers signed up for this month-long insanity, of which I am one.   I know, I know -- Lately I haven't been able to update my blog on a consistent semi-weekly rate;  what makes me think I'll be able to put up 26 posts in April????  Well, for one thing, they're going to be short.  Not microscopic, but to the point, and concise.  The goal is to give readers a chance to hit as many of the 1400 blogs as they can through the month.  Also, I have some of the posts already done, so I'm hoping that will give me enough of a head start that I won't flame out and crash come mid-April.  We'll see...  Be sure to check in often during April to see if I can pull this off...

And because I haven't posted in a while, here's a writing sample from today's Creative Copy Challenge -- and it's prose, not just a 10x10!  How 'bout that?

Today's words were:

  1. Strike             
  2. Tough             
  3. Half                
  4. Swear            
  5. Whisper         
  6. Different          
  7. Hock              
  8. Cry                
  9. Shot               
  10. Slippery          

And the image I got from these words led me to this:

"One Shot"

Crandall fought the urge to cry out; to scream at the top of his lungs and flee in a blind panic.  He was so terrified he felt like he might hock up his stomach at any second, but he had to be tough.  The stakes were too high for him to break down now. 
He'd only have one shot -- the Overseer would probably be exposed for a couple of minutes, tops. Maybe only half that. Crandall had to make sure he was focused and ready to strike when the time came.
He closed his eyes and concentrated on his breathing to try and calm himself.  He even allowed himself to swear, if only in a whisper. It helped, but not much. 
Crandall opened his eyes, exhaled, and then crawled forward on the rubble-strewn rooftop.  He moved slowly to minimize noise, but also to make sure he didn't slide down the slippery tiles.  It would be just his luck to fall to his death before even reaching his chosen vantage point.
At the edge of the roof, Crandall pulled himself up and perched behind the broken shards of a balcony wall.  He unfurled his stealth wrap and covered himself in it, leaving only a tiny gap for his eyes and his weapon.  He had a clear view of the courtyard below, but he should now be well-hidden from almost every angle. At least he hoped so.  The stealth wrap would protect against infrared, EM, and gravity-density sensors, but he figured he could still be seen visually if any of the overlord's security force came onto the roof and scurried close enough.
He peered down over the rubble.  It would be at least another hour before the overlord's armored convoy arrived, but the Zeltran security forces were already setting up positions and deploying their sensors.  Crandall could hear the scuffle of their talons as they worked.  He was thankful he hadn't waited any longer to get into position.
He tried to steady his heartbeat.  It was hard to do.  Crandall knew this would be sure suicide, but if he could eliminate the overlord first, it would be worth it.  Without their head, the Zeltran hive might be vulnerable; maybe enough that the remaining humans could have a chance.
It was the only way Crandall could see a different future for his son.  To have a possibility for survival.  To have hope. To know more than to be steadily hunted and eliminated as part of the last remnants of humanity left on Earth.


Thanks for reading, and see you soon with the 2012 A-to-Z Blogging Challenge!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Writing Sample: "...Killin' What's Inside of You..."

It's been a busy week and I've been doing some writing as well some prepping for the the April A-to-Z blogfest, so I'm afraid I don't have too much to offer for a new post.  But I do have another 10x10 submission I'll gladly share with you, from yesterday's prompt at the Creative Copy Challenge.

By now you're probably familiar with my 10x10 convention: Ten lines of ten words each, using the prompt words in order and in number position within each line (the first prompt word as the first word in the first line, and the second prompt word the second word in the second line, and so forth).

The ten prompt words from yesterday were:

     1.    Strange
     2.    Track
     3.    Whatever
     4.    Band
     5.    Crush
     6.    Private
     7.    Leave
     8.    Wild
     9.    Recipe
   10.    Slang

I saw "strange" and the old Cream song "Strange Brew" started playing in my head.  For some reason, it also kind of brought out a murder scene, and that's what this piece ended up as -- perhaps the BOPO (body on page one) opening for a murder mystery?

“…Killin’ What’s Inside of You…”

Strange Brew‘ played endlessly — the iPod was on continuous loop.

The track featured Eric Clapton singing and playing kick-ass guitar.

But despite whatever the victim might have liked about them,

he and the band Cream were now both long gone.

Someone had decided to crush the skull of the guy,

abruptly ending the poor sap’s private sixties musical flashback review.

I needed to figure out who’d leave the music playing,

after breaking in and carrying out this wild, grisly killing.

On the wall, in streaky black paint, a recipe for

“electric blue stew” was written.  Was this warped, twisted slang?

 Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Writing Sample: "Martha Takes Out the Trash"

Another blog post, another writing sample, and another dog cameo...  

This is a 10x10 story I did today at the Creative Copy Challenge from yesterday's prompt words.  I like how this one turned out, and I'm even already working on an expanded short story based on it.  Once finished, the short story will go into the submission pool, where I have several items at the moment.  When (IF???) any of these actually get accepted, I will let you know, but for now, the 10x10's are kind of a fun way to keep the creative juices flowing, generate story ideas, and make new material for my blog.

As I've said before, the 10x10 concept uses the ten prompt words from the CCC in a specific way:  Ten lines of ten words each, with the prompt words used in order and in their numeric position (the first prompt word is the first word in the first line, the second prompt word is the second word in the second line, and so forth).  It's an artificial but interesting constraint that seems to inspire me, especially when I try to make it as improvised and off-the-cuff as possible.  Yeah, I'm weird -- I know it...   ;^)

Anyway, the words from yesterday were:

  1. Contain
  2. Pretend
  3. Knock
  4. Vision
  5. Wonderful
  6. Fun
  7. Magic
  8. Count
  9. Grab
  10. Seal

 ...and the story I created and posted today is:

"Martha Takes Out the Trash"

"Contain yourself," Martha said to her hyperactive dachshund Baron Fuzzface.

"Don't pretend you didn't hear me." Baron Fuzzface just panted.

"You always knock me over when we take out trash."

Martha sighed.  Her vision of wedded bliss had faded again.

Yet another potential Mister Wonderful had turned into Selfish Asshole,

and her souvenirs of dating fun had become hurtful reminders;

Worthless junk that emphasized how the magic had fizzled out.

Martha loaded the cans.  Baron Fuzzface kept count by jumping.

She watched the trash; saw the burly trash-man grab it.

He winked at Martha. Baron Fuzzface barked like a seal.


Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Writing Sample: "World Record Attempt"

Since I don't have much new to report as a writing journal since my last one (some pieces out on submissions, no responses yet, still working on other stories and my novel), how about another writing sample, hot off the press?

This is from today's prompt at the Creative Copy Challenge.

The words for today were:

  1. Turn
  2. Time
  3. Tide
  4. Struck
  5. Shift
  6. Sell
  7. Dominate
  8. Retain 
  9. Slip
  10. Root

I decided to do another 10x10* entry, based loosely on a news story I saw today about a failed World Record attempt (ABC News Story).  I Americanized it a bit because, well -- I'm American and it makes it a little more familiar.

*10×10 = Ten sentences of ten words each, using the prompt words in order and in number position within each sentence (the first prompt word as the first word in the first sentence, and the second prompt word the second word in the second sentence, and so forth).

Feel free to let me know what you think:

"World Record Attempt"

"Turn on the recorder," Jordan said. "This will be awesome!"
"The time has come to make history, Dude," Caleb said.
"Amaze the tide of humanity!" he added with a laugh.
Jordan smiled and struck a pose, flexing for the camera.
Kneeling, he made a shift downward, and then climbed inside.
He grinned, imagining all he'd sell. Caleb closed the lid,
and shoveled dirt on top. They'd dominate the news, Jordan
thought, until fear took over -- he couldn't retain his courage.
Screw the world record! Panicking, Jordan tried to slip his
hand out, but only grabbed dirt and a gnarled root.