14 July 2014

Four Questions, Four Disturbing Insights

Hat tip to Britt Ringel, author of the This Corner of the Universe series of military sci-fi novels, for tricking me into participating in this “Writer’s Process Blog Tour.”  Each week a new set of writers answers four questions about what they are working on, and how they work on whatever it is they’re working on.  I've invited three more brave souls to join me in this tour by blogging their responses next week.  If they do not maintain the chain, bad luck will befall them.*  You’ll find links to their pages below.

Question 1: What are you working on?

I've typically got way too many irons in the fire, and right now is no exception to that rule.  I am working in fits and starts on two books: One is The Kraken of Cape Farewell, which is the sixth volume in my Magnetron Chronicles series.  The other is a paranormal/psychological thriller called Station Five (honestly, I haven't even looked at it in months).  I'm also putting the finishing touches on a deluxe edition of my previously self-published Rise of the Hogalum Society to be published later this summer by a small independent press.  And speaking of irons, I recently joined a flash fiction writing group at The Iron Writer Challenge.  I've had two winning stories so far, and as of this date I am in the running for the TIW Summer Open Finals.

06 July 2014

Elegy for a Mayfly

A short time ago I found out I had clinched a spot in The Iron Writer Summer Solstice Open, and the Preliminary Round is underway now.  The challenge elements for this story are:

The Avengers vs. The Justice League of America (as if I know anything about superheroes)

A Minion (yes, one of those Twinkie-looking creatures from Despicable Me)

A Traveling Chamber Pot Salesperson (as if I know anything about traveling chamber pots)

Also, the story must be told from the point of view of Death, the Grim Reaper.

I was up against three other writers in my bracket (The Anne Rice bracket) but two of them bowed out, a craven dodge I'm presumptuously attributing to my intimidating reputation.  One brave soul dares to defy me, however: Danielle Zwissler.  She must be destroyed.

To that end, I humbly beseech you, dear reader, to vote for my flash fiction (525 words) short story, "Elegy for a Mayfly."

Please read and vote, or save time and just vote.  I won't tell!

22 June 2014

Iron Writer Challenge Update

And the winner is... me!
Thanks to everyone who voted for my flash fiction story, "Like a Steel Trap" during the Iron Writer Challenge #67.  I came in second in the reader poll but the panel of judges selected my story the winner!

Obviously, the judges were more discerning than the mob of philistines who voted for my competitors.

Now, on to the next challenge.  I think this win qualifies me for the upcoming Iron Writer Summer Solstice Open.  Details and shameless importuning for votes to follow....

14 June 2014

Leonardo Cerebelli: Gadfly scientist and man about town

In preparation for an upcoming release of a deluxe omnibus edition of The Magnetron Chronicles, I've finally gotten round to finishing the biographical sketch of the redoubtable Leonardo Cerebelli....

Although no official written documents remain, credible accounts indicate that Leonardo Cerebelli was born in 1830 in New York’s Flatbush community to grocers Enzo and Aurora Cerebelli.  Nevertheless, Cerebelli was dogged for much of his life by rumors he was truly the son of notorious Cosa Nostra mafioso Nunzo “Il Capo” Tosto, fearsome patron of a post-feudal Sicilian cosca, or crime family.  Il Capo had reputedly sired dozens of illegitimate children and sent them abroad to appease his domineering spouse.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that Leonardo was spirited out of Sicily as an infant, hidden in a shipment of castelvetrano olives bound for New York.

Clever and industrious, young Leonardo excelled in his schoolwork but chafed at his duties in the family business.  This fractious state of affairs was typified by one of Leonardo’s earliest experiments, an inquiry into chaos theory in which the eight-year-old prodigy dropped hundreds of fragile inventory items to the floor and took detailed notes.  His father was horrified, as was his instructor, who labelled Leonardo’s pioneering work “unadulterated rubbish.”  Leonardo’s wry humor began to emerge as he coined derogatory Latin nicknames for regular customers, until his sly linguistic indiscretions were detected by one of his father’s business associates, after which time Leonardo took up Ancient Greek.

Read more »

07 June 2014

Like a Steel Trap

I recently joined a great online writing group called The Iron Writer, which challenges writers to write 525-word "flash fiction" stories using four preselected elements from a mystery basket.  My first Iron Writer Challenge story is called "Like a Steel Trap" and includes the following four elements:

The Gods
Irrigation boots

That's right.  Irrigation boots.

I chose Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, and put together a gritty little tale that answers the question, "what if forgiving and forgetting just isn't an option?"

Read and vote, please! (Update: voting is now closed)