Fallout of Friday the 13th

This is not the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT I said would be coming this week.  It is still coming.  Never fear.

This is an announcement of merely average dimensions, to let you know that a new story has been added to the heap here.  Lucky Day is an outcome of yet another of the Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Friday challenges, and since it fell on the 13th last week, the challenge was something to do with luck.

Luck was with me, and I finished briskly, so there will be the two announcements this week.  Hopefully, you will feel that this is also a stroke of luck (“Oh, boy!  Extra words, and all of them free!).

The challenge was not concerned with what flavour of luck was involved.  I decided, because the world needs more of it, to go with good luck.  Of course, me being me, there’s a particular slant to the interpretation of “good luck.”

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Outright Theft

Something that troubled me in my tender years, when idea of writing as something I might do first surfaced, can be articulated thus: All the good titles have been used. Back then, I thought that the title was sacrosanct, and since H.G. Wells had used The Star then neither I nor any other person could title a story with those two words.

I then went back to pushing a small plastic Luke Skywalker around the floor in a Kenner-made Landspeeder while enjoying Saturday morning cartoons.  My view of the world was a little naive for a very good reason.

I now know that this is not the case, and that the same title can grace diverse works of literature, and even films!  Still, childhood notions are sticky, so I sometimes baulk at a title that I know hangs on something else.  I’m hoping the latest flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig has burnt some of that idea out of me, because he’s instructed people to take a title from a Stephen King novel– just grab it and use it!

And so I have.  My little tiny Bag of Bones has nothing whatever to do with King’s fat bundle of words, bar the fact that it has the same three words stuck to the front.  I’ve slightly exceeded the word limit for flash, but since I’m on very good terms with the editor here, I’m not getting in trouble for it.

And while I’m here, I’m going to tease– stand by for a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT next week!  I’m so giddy about it I could burst, but I’m also quite good at keeping secrets.  See you then, I hope.

…ALSO also, I’ll also point out the newly-minted donation button, for those who incline that way, in the left side-bar, which looks rather like this one:
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Vacation Time

Boy, that sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it.  This winter, the living skies have been more than usually lively, and have offered freezing rains followed by the kind of temperatures only Antarctic explorers look upon as acceptable, screeching winds, and the usual crop of parhelions (which I understand some places treat as a rare source of wonder).

I mention this for two reasons.  First, I am still labouring along on The Novel, from which no vacation is allowed if it is ever to be finished.  Second, there has been another flash-fiction prompt from Chuck Wendig, on the topic of travel woes, which I thought I should pursue to remind myself that something other than The Novel exists.

Thus, Getting There is Half the Fun.  Yes, a well worn title.  I know.  My brain is riddled with the cracks of temperature stress.

(Not) Alone in the Dark

Alone in the dark?  Oh, heavens, no.  It’s the solstice, and thus dark for everyone in the northern hemisphere… although I guess those below the tropic line will hardly notice.

It being that time of year, I am once again offering a story for Christmas, because it’s something Charles Dickens and M.R. James did; I am weak enough to hope for if not to quite believe in sympathetic magic, and so try to do what they did with an eye to becoming what they were.

…perhaps, now that I think of Dickens’s last days, this is not a great plan.

Anyway, this year’s story is Snowman.  The title is a bit of a giveaway; there is a snowman mentioned in it.  They’re a staple of kids’ songs and Rankin animations, but the snowman is something of a rarity here in the land of the living skies; we get snow, but it’s usually so dessicated that you can’t form it.

I hope you enjoy reading it, and I also hope you have plenty of people of cuddle up with in this season of long nights and chill winds.  The dark is more tolerable when there’s someone to share it with.

Terrifying Return of All True Ghost Horror!

In honor of the best event the calendar year offers, I’m posting another little look at my own interactions with the misty realms of which we know but dimly, with an explanation of Why I Believe in Ghosts.  Like last year’s excursion, the most startling thing about the whole affair is the title of this announcement post.  Also like last year’s post, this is not to say that there aren’t chills to be had from reading it… if you consider the broader and ongoing implications of true ghost stories.

Something Short About a Tree

The season of incandescent ursine juggling has passed, and I am able to bash out a story in pursuit of the Friday Terribleminds Challenge.  The most current item is to be about a tree.

So that’s what I’ve done, and it’s called Sheltered.  Like the last time, it’s more fantasy than anything else.  I appear to be running all my horror into the novel… and into my reactions to current events, which I will not mention in any further detail.

Blatant Filler

Well.  Last week I didn’t get anything in on the flash challenge, because, as I mention in a couple of places, the day job briefly took on all the power to distract and exhaust of attempting to juggle bears which are on fire (without actually being interesting, alas, alas).  This week, there’s no challenge in the hopper, and it only just now occurs to me that I could work up a story based on the previous one, even if I’ve missed the chance to effectively brag about it in the comments of someone else’s blog.  Later, on that.

For the moment, though, I wanted to share a picture I’ve just seen over on Facebook:

“Yew ain’t no Revenuer, are ya?”

The description of this photo was “Lovecraft with the Lee boys in West Guilford, Vermont, June 10, 1928.”  Before we get into mundanity… I would be somewhat concerned if I were to step out of my Vermont farm-house in 1928 to discover this motley bunch of roughs.  This is somewhat before Dillinger, Floyd, Barrow and Parker made the US famous for its swarms of tommy-gunning celebrity thieves, but all the same, this looks like a proper crime-film wrecking crew. From right to left, you’ve got:

  • The Burly One whose heart probably isn’t in it. He’s there mainly to try to keep The Kid from getting into trouble;
  • The Little Guy with something to prove. If only his brothers hadn’t teased him so, he might have gone off to the city and devoted what is a real potential to something positive, just like Brenda in school told him he could.  He never even noticed how much she doted on him;
  • The Handsome One, but really just the one who thinks he’s handsome. He also thinks he’s the leader, and is utterly unaware of how badly things are about to spin out of control;
  • The Kid, who probably ain’t right in his haid.  He tags along, the way he’s always tagged along.  They’d have ditched him back at home, if it wasn’t for that one time which he refers to as, “When I hugged Ma too tight and made her cry.”
  • The Mastermind, bright only by comparison to the others.  Not family, he’s less bound by fraternal loyalty and knows that this runs both ways.  All the worse, then, that he’s prone to sudden fits of seething anger.  He always carries a straight-razor in his jacket pocket, seldom letting go of it.  He calls it Evelyn, and has whispered conversations with it when he thinks the others are asleep.

Heck, you can even picture it as a poster:

WANTED
Lovecraft and the Lee Boys

These men are dangerous.
DO NOT APPROACH!
Cash reward for information leading to capture of one or all.

For those who take an interest in reality, a very little research reveals the Lees to be neighbours of Vrest Orton, who I will call a journalist with a rather diversified career, and who Lovecraft knew and vacationed with.  They’re (probably) not a dangerous bunch of backwoods moonshiners.

Picking a Side

Well, look at that.  I’m holding to a resolution, at least for a second week, and developing a story for the Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge again despite huge if unconscious opposition from the non-writing elements of my life.  This week’s challenge was a quite simple one: a story about good versus evil.

He who provides the challenge declares that its inspiration was no more than the fact of watching a horror film.  I will admit that I allowed a little of current events to colour the small not-quite-steampunk fantasy of Between Good and Evil, Some Grey; there are some things that you just can’t claim neutrality in without at least tacitly supporting one side.

What? New Content?

Yes, indeed.  While I am still devoting the largest part of my creative energy and time to the novel, I’ve decided that I’m going to make a serious effort at posting some fresh fiction here more than once every… six(ish) months.  I am motivated in this by reading the work of other authors.

Particularly, by the blog of Chuck Wendig.  He does a regular flash fiction challenge over there, and while spending idle moments at the day job reading through back numbers, I was struck with this thought– a prompted flash fiction is something that I can probably do during these same idle moments, and a prompted flash fiction with a deadline means I might actually put words where people may enjoy them (hopefully) before the projected end of the second draft effort on the novel.  Which may, possibly, be done by early December.

So, today we have I Held Your Heart Once.  The title comes from the challenge, as do the first and last sentences.  I might have been at this sooner, but those three elements were the products of the previous three challenges.  You can, therefore, understand me to be blaming a famous and rather good author for keeping me from posting any new writing here for a month.

You can.  But I think I’d prefer if you didn’t.  I’ve been busy.