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Tag: Between Light and Dark

Weekend Writing Warriors 2/9/14 #WeWriWa

Continuing with the love theme for February, and picking up where we left off last week, today’s excerpt is from “The Kindness of Strangers,” a short story I wrote for The Indiana Horror Anthology 2011.

In this story, Laura left her friend’s party after seeing her ex with another girl. It started raining as she was walking down the road, and Alec offered her a ride, and a chance to vent.

“If you can’t have him, no one should, right?”
“Exactly,” Laura agreed, still lost in Alec’s eyes.

 

“I have just what you need,” he said as he opened the glove box and pulled out a small paper packet. “Put this powder in his drink, and no one will ever bother him again.”

 

“It won’t hurt him, will it?”

 

Alec turned to her, stared into her eyes. Why had she thought his were black? His irises were yellow; a wolf’s eyes.

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Weekend Writing Warriors 2/2/14 #WeWriWa

It’s apparently February. Already. How is it already February??

Okay, enough of that. Since February is the month of love, today’s excerpt is from “The Kindness of Strangers,” a short story I wrote for The Indiana Horror Anthology 2011. It features one of my few recurring characters, a guy named Alec who makes a brief uncredited cameo in “Tim and Sara” as well as several as-yet unpublished stories.

In this story, Laura left her friend’s party after seeing her ex with another girl. It started raining as she was walking down the road, and Alec offered her a ride.

Laura couldn’t tear her gaze away from Alec’s. She’d never seen eyes like his before, two black holes sucking her in. “He broke up with me, said I was too unstable for a relationship.”

 

“That hardly seems fair.”

 

Laura found herself pouring out the story: her devotion to Sam, their unexpected break-up, her attempts to get back together, his refusal to have anything to do with her, her anger at seeing him with other girls. “He’s doing it on purpose, in front of me, just to rub my nose in the fact that I can’t have him,” she concluded.

 

“And that makes you angry, right, because you deserve him and no one else does?” Alec’s eyes gleamed.

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website. And come back next week, because Alec has a plan for Laura.

Genre hopping

One of the hardest things for me as a writer is to stay within the same genre. Many authors have no problem with this – they write all sci-fi, or thrillers, or romance. Me, I’m all over the place. My novel due out in December 2013, The Lone Wolf, is women’s fiction. My next one, A Handful of Wishes (tentatively scheduled to be released in December 2014), is magical realism. The one I wrote for NaNo last year, On the Other Side (aiming for December 2015), is steampunk. A short story collection I want to publish in the next year or so, Between Light and Dark, is a mix of horror and romance. The collection I hope to have out soon, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, is contemporary.

Fortunately my publisher, Evolved Publishing, is okay with my eclectic stories and novels. And I know many writers use a pen name when branching out to something new.

Part of the problem, however, is marketing to the right audience. If someone enjoys my horror stories like “Tim and Sara,” there’s no guarantee they’ll like my women’s fiction novel. Steampunk fans might not enjoy contemporary stories.

If you write in multiple genres, how do you deal with this? And as a reader, how do you feel about a writer hopping through different genres?

Weekend Writing Warriors 5/12 #8sunday

Today’s eight are from a story I wrote this week for the May Story a Day challenge, “The Commute.”

Adem has been dreaming about a garden full of roses, and when a street vendor comes by while he’s waiting for the afternoon bus, he buys two on a whim. On the ride he falls in love with the woman sitting next to him, whom he’s decided to call Jennifer, and imagines their lives together.

The bus stopped at Union Station, Adem’s stop, and Jennifer stood too. As they disembarked, Adem realized he would never see her again: no kids, no vacations, no smoothing her hair while sitting on the couch.

Jennifer moved inside the station, leaving him behind on the sidewalk. The scent of roses was gone, just the smells of the city lingering, exhaust and people, an Indian restaurant and Subway. Jennifer had taken the roses’ fragrance with her.

He pushed past the people coming out of the building, looking for her, and finally spotted her heading towards the train terminal. He shouldered through the crowd, ignoring their glares and exclamations, until he reached her and tapped her on the shoulder.

“This is going to sound weird, but these are for you,” he said as he held out the roses towards her.

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Y is for Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, and Procrastination #atozchallenge

Day Y of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: yesterday, today, tomorrow, and procrastination.

As evident by 4 days’ worth of posts all posted in a couple hours, I have a problem with procrastination. Or not enough of a problem with procrastination.

My thinking goes like this:

  • I have something that needs done by tomorrow.
  • I could work on it today. But I could be doing other more fun stuff today, like napping or reading or being sucked into YouTube or cleaning the ceiling fans.
  • Yesterday/last time I procrastinated, I ended up working super hard at the last minute and getting it done.
  • Therefore, I can procrastinate now just fine.

Fortunately right now I’m mostly working with self-imposed writing deadlines: my upcoming short story book release, May’s Story-A-Day challenge, a short story collection coming out in December. But I’m also starting grad school in a couple weeks, so deadlines will have a lot more meaning.

How do you overcome procrastination?

Weekend Writing Warriors 4/28/13 #8sunday

Today’s excerpt continues on with the story from the last couple weeks.  Basically, Alec is this incubus thing that feeds on negative emotions. He caused lots of problems in my short story “The Kindness of Strangers,” and he’s trying to do it again in this story. But one of the girls he’s fed on didn’t fear him, instead planting all kinds of doubts in his mind as he tries to remember his previous (human) life.

In this scene, he’s having a performance review with a representative (same concept as in my short story “Bardo Bureaucracy“). Alec is trying to find out more details about his past life and the woman he loved.

“So I loved someone, before,” Alec said as he sank onto the couch, trying again to remember who she’d been, relieved there really was someone. “And she loved me too?”

“It’s not about love,” the representative said, rolling his eyes. “She’s your other half; you’re partners, a team, two parts of a whole. Even now you have no choice but to search her out, do whatever you can to help her.”

“And she has to do the same for me?”

“She doesn’t have to; she wants to. She just does.”

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website

T is for my Kindle story "Tim and Sara" #atozchallenge

Day T of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: “Tim and Sara,” my short story available on Kindle (and soon to be Nook, whenever I get to it).

The victim of debilitating flashbacks, Tim is content to spend the rest of his life at Kirkbride, a state mental hospital. But his friend and fellow resident Sara is concerned that she has to save her soul before it’s too late, and so she devises a plan to break them out of the hospital. Can Tim help his friend while holding onto what’s left of his sanity?

Last summer I decided to try the ebook self-publishing route with one of my longer short stories, “Tim and Sara.” I put it on Amazon for $.99, gave it away for free for a few days, and sat back to watch the results.

To date, I have 9 reviews on Amazon (1 on Amazon.ca) and 1 on Goodreads: 7 5-star and 3 4-star.

What readers are saying:

“…a deep look into fragile minds, victims of sadness, coping as best they know how.”

“Martin sets a scene full of vivid imagery and compelling dialogue.”

“Her writing is clear and colorful, and Tim and Sara’s plight is immediately gripping.”

“…a fascinating look at a complex relationship and how we’re sometimes pulled into each other’s destinies.”

“Never guessed where this was going to take me. Surprises to the end.”

“Tim is a well-defined character, who will cast shadows in my mind for a long time.”

I’m really proud of how good the response has been, and it’s encouraged me to self-publish a couple short story collections, including the upcoming The Futility of Loving a Soldier, which should be out May 25th, and Between Light and Dark, hopefully out around Christmas (and containing a story about Sara and what drove her so “bat shit insane,” as Tim puts it).

If you haven’t read “Tim and Sara” yet, what are you waiting for?  For the price of a cheeseburger, you could read a story readers are raving about.

S is for Short Stories #atozchallenge

Day S of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: short stories.

I’ve been on a short stories kick recently.  Some good stuff I’ve read:

  • Russian lit always tops my list. Chekhov and Gogol, of course, but my most favorite late 19th century Russian short story writer is hands down Leskov. He combines Chekhov’s everyday life with Gogol’s wit, all with a dark edge.
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a master of short stories. I recently read Strange Pilgrims, and his magical realism is still the best – “Light is Like Water” is brilliant. And who can forget “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”
  • Hemingway, of course. He employs a reporter’s matter-of-fact sparsity, yet still conveys so much story and character development with what he doesn’t say.  I think A Moveable Feast is my favorite of his story collections.
  • I love anthologies and best-of collections; you never know what you’ll find. It’s generally mostly well-written but forgettable stuff which help you with craft, but every collection has some gems that stick with you.

And I write short stories as well. I plan to release two collections in 2013:

The Futility of Loving a Soldier should be out Memorial Day, assuming I finish the last couple stories that just this week decided they wanted to be included.

And I’m shooting for Christmas for a compilation tentatively titled Between Light and Dark, which will include 17 connected stories about the soul.

What are some of your favorite short stories?

    Weekend Writing Warriors 4/21/13 #8sunday

    Today’s excerpt is from the same story as last week’s.  Basically, Alec is this incubus thing that feeds on negative emotions. He caused lots of problems in my short story “The Kindness of Strangers,” and he’s trying to do it again in this story. But one of the girls he’s fed on didn’t fear him, instead planting all kinds of doubts in his mind as he tries to remember his previous (human) life.

    In this scene, he’s having a performance review with a representative (same concept as in my short story “Bardo Bureaucracy“), who’s wondering why Alec hasn’t fed recently per the terms of his contract.

    “Who was I, before?”

    “Oh, so is that what this is all about?” the representative asked as his lips curled into a vicious smile. “You were no one; less than no one. You had a dead-end job, few possessions, fewer people who cared about you. Your life was empty, meaningless, powerless. But you’re someone now, Alec, someone to be feared and respected. And look at what you have: a fancy sports car, the ability to make any being do anything you want, powers any man would envy.”

    “I don’t have love.”

    Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

    Weekend Writing Warriors 4/14/13 #8sunday

    Today’s eight are from one of the stories in the collection I’d like to release next winter, and I’m pretty sure this story is directly linked to last week’s.

    Alec (who also appears in my flash story “The Kindness of Strangers” in The Indiana Horror Anthology 2011) is some kind of incubus-like demon who travels around devouring souls and just generally causing destruction and chaos.  In this excerpt he’s lured Brianna, someone he met at a bar, back to her apartment and already incubus-ed her, but she’s not passing out/dying like they usually do.

    “I know it sounds like something from a bad romance movie but you complete me, Alex.” She giggled and reached out for him, saying, “Kiss me again.”

    Alec stared at the woman in front of him, barely believing what was happening; it had been so long since a woman asked him for a kiss, not since- A name buzzed in his subconscious, a name from before.

    He frowned, trying to catch that name, that memory. It had been so long ago, whatever life he’d come from, that he’d given up trying to remember any of it. For so long he’d been focused on sowing chaos and feeding on the ensuing fear and despair, unable and unwilling to think about before, and now Brianna was triggering it all for him.

    “Who are you?” he whispered.

    Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website

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