February Review

In order to keep myself on track, I make monthly do-lists for my writing. I’m going to be posting them here for accountability.

February’s do list was:

1) Finish revision on Lethemia Book 4 (seven book fantasy series) and send to Christine (early beta reader). Check! I did this and Christine already gave me a slew of excellent and useful feedback.

2) Revise The Gantean based on feedback from latest readers: Check, mostly. I finished the in line comments yesterday, but I still have some big picture tweaking to work through. I will do some of that today but I probably won’t be officially finished until next week.

3) Send The Gantean to Beth for beta read. This one has to wait until I’m done with the revision, so I’m adding it to my March list.

4) New writing. I did a little new writing, though not as much as I wanted.

5) Finalize blurbs for The Velocipede Races. I spent the past two months asking for blurbs for my sports action femme-punk bicycle romance which will be published by Microcosm Publishing sometime next year. I collected seven blurbs, so goal met!

6) Beta-read/edit Tamara Shoemaker’s Kindle the Flame, a YA fantasy story with dragons and romance. Done! Tamara’s book was a great read. She plans to release it sometime this spring.

7) Draw and edit map for The Gantean. I didn’t get to this one, though I have a rough draft map ready to go. I’m helping Tamara with her map for Kindle the Flame, so I plan to combine these map-making activities into one task for March.

And here is my do list for March:

1) Finish revision on The Gantean and send to Beth for reading.

2) Read The Gantean on my kindle for flow.

3) Revise Lethemia Book 2.

4) New writing. Possibly begin Lethemia Book 7 since I finally had an idea about it, thanks to feedback and discussion from Christine after her comments from Book 4.

5) Maps for The Gantean and Kindle the Flame.

6) Beta-read Tony Caruso’s massively revised A Town Called the End. I beta read for him last year, so this is a second go. Looking forward to it!

7) If I have any time left over (ha ha!) I want to read through Lethemia Book 5, which has been stewing in rough draft form for over a year.

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Spotlight: Flash Dogs

Learn more about the Flashdogs via Flash Friday’s interview with founders Mark A. King and David Shakes!

Flash! Friday

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When I (Rebekah) joined the flash circuit in the spring of 2012, it was already a thriving community, centered on contests as colorful and vibrant as the writers themselves. Among my favorites were Nicole Wolverton‘s “5 Minute Fiction” (you had 15 minutes from when the prompt posted, to submit your story. WHAT A RUSH!) and Jeffrey Hollar‘s “Monday Mixer” (up to 9 difficult vocab words to incorporate in your 150 word count). We writers followed each other throughout these various weekly contests, and we got to know each others’ styles and flavors. It was glorious.

All too soon and to my horror, that circuit began petering out as contest hosts moved on to other projects; so I launched Flash! Friday in December 2012 in a desperate bid to keep the community alive. I needn’t have worried, of course. Two years later, and look at you!!! In 2012 we couldn’t…

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Liebster Award Post

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Tam Rogers tagged me to participate in something called the Liebster Award. I have no idea who Liebster is or what the award is, though I wish it involved money, food, or at least a ball gown. Apparently it only involves questions.

The premise:

Share 11 random facts about yourself

Answer 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you (in my case, the lovely and multi-talented Tam Rogers!)

Concoct 11 new questions for 3 new bloggers

Here are my 11 random facts:

1) I have a navel piercing.

2) Maple syrup>honey>sugar. This is the true hierarchy of sweeteners according to Emily.

3) I own a 1966 Mini Cooper.

4) I nearly got married hanging upside down but the officiator balked at the last minute and asked my husband and me sit and receive an Indian blessing called deeksha instead. The blessing seems to have been successful. We are on our ninth year.

5) I spend the vast majority of my time barefoot.

6) I found my dogs on the streets of Costa Rica. One had been shot with a pellet gun, the other was a tiny puppy abandoned in a shoebox in the gutter. They are now 12 and 11 years old, and my best friends.

7) I enjoy editing.

8) Cold is defined as any temperature under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I hate the cold.

9) I need art more than I need furniture.

10) My first published work was a poem I wrote when I was eleven about surviving the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California.

11) Eleven facts is a lot for me to self-disclose. I’m an introvert.

And now, for Tam’s questions:

  1. If you had to live in a fiction book, what book would it be and why?

Honestly, I think I’d like to live in a fantasy romance of some kind: magic, love, and happily ever after. Most books have more conflict, strife, and suffering than I’d ever want to endure. What I like to read isn’t what I like to live. Or maybe I could just be a hobbit who isn’t called into any higher service.

  1. Cat or dog?

DOG. DOG. DOGS. Because:

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  1. When your muse is on holiday, what do you do to bring it back?

Like me, my muse is a workaholic. We don’t do vacations. We are on a schedule. If one story doesn’t work, we make a new one. If fiction doesn’t work, we do non-fiction. If non-fiction doesn’t work, we take a nap or a bike ride and try again.

  1. The Dinner Party question: you get to invite three people, dead or alive, from the entirety of human history, to your dinner party. Who would it be, and why?

Can they all magically speak the same language? Just for today, I’ll go with Joseph Pilates, BKS Iyengar, and Martha Graham. They could talk about movement and the body and I’d listen like a fly on the wall.

  1. What is your favourite short story or piece of flash fiction, and why?

I’m horrible with favorites. One that is memorable to me is: “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” by Ambrose Bierce. It has a great twist.

  1. What is your favourite film that’s been adapted from a book you’ve read?

Oh, no, another favorite. How about Blade Runner, from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Usually I like the book better than the movie, but in this case I’m not sure.

  1. If you were a superhero, what would your name and special power be (bonus points for including a costume)?

I’d be Flying Spider Monkey, who shape shifts into a spider monkey body, complete with prehensile tail, but also able to deploy amazing skin flaps like a flying squirrel so I could hang-glide through the air following my daring leaps.

  1. Who is your favourite unsung author?

Me?

  1. What book or film has had you scared to the bones?

Virunga. It’s a documentary about the fate of a national park in Congo. Greed and enduring colonialist thinking are going to kill the last mountain gorillas and upset a very delicate balance in a country long devastated by genocide, war, and colonialism. What I found terrifying about the movie was that it made clear how complex the problems facing the human species in the next few centuries will be—the situation in Virunga being only one of many—and how poorly equipped we are to fix global-scale problems. Human greed might be the scariest thing on earth.

  1. What is the best piece of writing/creative advice you’ve ever had?

Do you love it? Do you hate it? There it is, the way you made it. This is a workshop saying I picked up from my sculptor husband. It reminds me that my work is always mine to make as I will; I have the power to fix it, change it, or leave it as is.

  1. You’re travelling. Where are you going to, and is it about the journey or about the destination?

It’s about both, and I can’t decide. I may be biking up the Pacific Coast (in this case, it’s the journey.) Or I may be flying to Budapest (in this case, it’s the destination).

And here are my questions, for my victims: @Beth_Deitchman, writing partner and editatrix, @TamaraShoemaker whose new website would be a perfect place for this activity, and @oxyborb, Harrison Aye, my latest critique buddy and a real smarty-pants.

1) What was your dream career when you were a kid?

2) What is one physical activity you want to do before you die?

3) What is your favorite trip or vacation you’ve ever done, and why?

4) Do you dance?

5) Editing or drafting?

6) Your favorite myth or fairy-tale and why?

7) Where (and when) did you grow up and how do you think it shaped you?

8) You have $100 that you must spend on yourself by the end of the day. What do you buy?

9) Pick any three objects or people to be stranded with you in a lost space ship.

10) What’s your favorite piece of music and why?

11) Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Dustless

I have a fascination with the Dust Bowl, as an event and as a symbol. It comes to my mind often as a setting for stories. Usually it feels too big for flash fiction, but I went with it last week because I had no other ideas. I got a runner-up nod for this story, which surprised me, as I thought the conflict wasn’t dramatic enough, even though it may have been deep.

Dustless

The old jalopy sputtered to a halt. Tim was grinning like he’d swallowed cream. That boy had been nothing but trouble all day.

“What the hell,” Herb said. “Tank’s half full.”

“Maybe we ain’t going to California after all,” Tim crowed. “Won’t be picking beans in Fresno.”

Herb frowned. Tim might not like it, but this drought brought tough choices. Herb got out and checked the engine.

Tim stepped onto the parched land, so dry even dust wouldn’t settle here.

Herb stared at the damage. The accelerator cable had snapped—that couldn’t have happened without help.

The boy stood, a dark, stubborn shadow beside the last living tree in western Texas. He’d set their single valise beneath the tree, as though he already knew the car was busted.

“The hell’s wrong with you, boy? This ain’t no game, marooning us in the goddamn desert!”

Tears streaked Tim’s face. “I ain’t leavin’, Uncle Herb. I buried my momma back home. I’ll hunt jack-rabbits, and when the rain comes—”

Herb covered his face with his hands. “What rain, dammit? It’s gonna be a long, dry walk back to the farm, but we got no choices left. You win.”

Tim slipped his hand into Herb’s. “We’ll make it.”