Monday, May 17, 2021

Patricia Josephine: The Challenge of Writing Short Fiction

Patricia Josephine is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. Her dreams were of becoming an artist like Picasso. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head for fun. That was the start of her writing journey, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes Young Adult Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. 

You may think writing a 200-word story isn’t that challenging, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some writers may actually say it’s harder than writing a full-length novel, and I know a few who don’t write shorter fiction because they can’t wrap their brains around it. Their muse only works in long form.

Writing short fiction is different from a novel. With novels, you have an unlimited number of words you can use to paint a picture for the reader. Short fiction you have restrictions on word count. You may only have 1000 words. You can even have as little as 50. When you have that limit, you are forced to choose more carefully. Your strokes have to be broader instead of going into minute details as you can with a novel.

The way I approach short fiction is similar to my novels. I just start writing. I figure out the story as I go and when I get to the end, I edit. I edit until the story is at the word limit I’ve imposed. That’s done by cutting descriptive words. The sentence doesn’t need the color of someone’s shirt for example. Thoughts the character has might get axed as well. If it doesn’t serve the basic story I want to tell, it can go.

Sometimes that doesn’t always work. Sometimes the story I’m trying to tell needs to be longer. When that happens, I stop worrying about word count and let it end as a novella or novel. I have a zombie apocalypse story I hope to release in the future that I initially intended to be 100 words. It ended at over 10,000!

Writing short fiction is a great exercise. It makes you think about word choices and their importance to the story. I encourage anyone who enjoys writing to give it a shot.



Magic.
Myths.
Fantasy.

We are bewitched by what we can't see.

Conjure delight with a fantastical collection of tales. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to delight your imagination no matter how busy your day is.

Will you believe? 



Thursday, February 04, 2021

Guest Post: It's Just Romance, by Edale Lane


About the author:
Edale Lane is the author of an award winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Vlad: a Novel, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature. 

Please visit her website at:    https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co

Twitter:   @EdaleLane


It’s Just Romance

By Edale Lane

The Night Flyer Trilogy is a blending of drama, action, mystery, and romance creatively splashed on the backdrop of Renaissance Italy. One protagonist is an inventor’s child and student of Leonardo da Vinci who has a secret identity as the masked vigilante known as the Night Flyer, because of a set of glider wings granting the power of flight; the love interest is a young widow, mother of two, whose brother is one of the richest merchants in Milan. Both of them are women. One of my beta readers gave me an interesting response: “I’ve never read a lesbian romance before; turns out, it’s just romance.”

I was always taught, “Write what you know.” When one is a woman who loves women, I suppose telling a story about women like me is the natural thing to do. I am also a historian, so that is where my passion lies. One of my philosophies about history is that while styles, governments, religion, culture, and technology have changed drastically through the ages, basic human nature hasn’t. People of the 1500’s had most of the same hopes and dreams, fears and ambitions as we do. They went to their jobs, looked after their families, and wished for something better, be it health, position, wealth, or love. Dangers abounded from much of the same sources as they do today—criminals, war, bankruptcy, wild animals, natural disasters, and social ostracism. Maybe they didn’t worry about car wrecks, but being run down by a panicked horse or injured in a carriage accident were genuine possibilities. Some people were religious, others not so much, and social functions were just as important in the caveman’s life as they are in ours. We aren’t that different from the characters in Chaos in Milan—we just have computers and cell phones. And just like modern times, as long as there have been people, there have been women who loved other women, and men who loved other men. Like today, they were the minority, and history has ebbed and flowed with the acceptance of and opposition to these relationships, just as there were matriarchal societies in the past in addition to patriarchies. There is nothing new under the sun.

I know Madelena and Florentina because they are me. I became a widow at a young age with two small children just like Maddie did. I, too, had always been attracted to girls but felt compelled to fill my “proper role” and meet everyone’s expectations. Like Maddie, I had a good husband and loved my children more than anything in all the world, but upon becoming a widow was faced with a decision: do I continue to live the life others have planned for me, or do I now get to choose to be who I really am? Florentina loves learning, music, art, nature, and has a thirst to constantly expand, improve, and experience more of life. She is creative, resourceful, and fearless; she also hides behind a mask, keeping her true identity secret. I am also Florentina. Her day job is as a children’s tutor; I was a teacher for twenty-four years. I had a secret identity for most of my life, because when and where I grew up, you simply weren’t gay. I could have lost my job, been kicked out of my church, or ostracized by family and friends if anyone ever found out. Truly, I was a phenomenal actress hiding behind a mask of normality. Thankfully, those of you today who read my books live in a different, more accepting world. 

What really sets a lesbian romance apart from a “regular” romance? Two people meet: maybe they are attracted to each other right away or the total opposite, but at some point in the story they realize how they feel. There is excitement, but also insecurity. What if he or she doesn’t feel the same way? Do I risk losing a friendship to possibly gain something more? There are obstacles to overcome, and with the Night Flyer Trilogy life and death situations to get through and mysteries to solve. The only thing that sets these books apart is that the love develops between two women; that is also the only thing that sets me apart from my straight friends. We like the same movies, laugh at the same jokes, attend the same churches, and listen to the same music. We all love our pets and our families; I just have a wife instead of a husband, and even that isn’t so different because it’s just as hard for me to get her to put her dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor as it was to get my male husband to pick up his!

Edale Lane novels are historical fantasy lesbian romances with action and intrigue thrown in to boot, but they are not erotica. The reader will never be shocked with detailed love-making scenes or explicit language, however there will be fight scenes and even epic battles. Chaos in Milan features two strong women, each with a unique skill set, who work together to secure their own happiness, safety, and that of those around them. There are also several important subplots that carry throughout the series, including Antonio’s star-crossed romance with the daughter of a family rival and villain of book one, Don Benetto, who subsequently sets out on a road to redemption. Who is behind the assassination attempts? What clues can our heroes uncover in the Chaos Manifesto? What new weapon will the Night Flyer invent this time? How can a wealthy widow and a hired tutor from different classes but the same gender ever realize their desire of making a life together? Find out in Chaos in Milan!

Kindle Version: https://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Milan-Three-Night-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B08Q7H6DFX/

Amazon Print Version:  https://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Milan-Three-Night-Trilogy/dp/B08PXK13B3/

Barnes and Noble Link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/merchants-of-milan-edale-lane/1136051210?ean=9781654780197



One woman stands between chaos and order – the Night Flyer.

When chaos strikes at the heart of Milan, it is up to Florentina’s alter-ego the Night Flyer to stop it. As Florentina and Madelena’s love deepens, so does the well of danger surrounding them. The race is on to discover the mysterious Shadow Guild and uncover who is behind the deadly rampage, but Florentina’s mission is threatened by a gang of assassins. Can the Night Flyer prevail, or will Maddie’s love be ripped from her arms?

Chaos in Milan is the third book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like action and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and a sweet romance, then you’ll want to complete the Night Flyer saga.


Tour Schedule and Activities

2/3 The Literary Underworld http://www.literaryunderworld.com

2/3 Jazzy Book Reviews https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/

2/4 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E Glenn http://saraheglenn.blogspot.com/

2/5 Kim Smith, Author http://Kimsmithauthor.com/weblog

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2/10 Sapphyria's Books https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/



Saturday, October 03, 2020

Believable, But Is It Believed?

It's sad when something very logical and even expected happens, but no one believes it. The news is shrieking it everywhere: Donald Trump has the coronavirus. And this makes sense: he refused to wear masks, he has been hosting rallies, include the one in Tulsa where Herman Cain may have caught the virus, and overall showed a general disregard for caution, berating people who wear masks. He even pressured the federal agencies that are supposed to protect the public health: the CDC has made several announcements and recommendations they then had to walk back, so we no longer know if we're getting good information or not. 

It is logical that someone who meets many people and doesn't follow precautions might catch the coronavirus. Many of the people recently in contact with Trump have tested positive. Unfortunately, some people are suggesting that Trump doesn't have the virus at all; that it is a publicity stunt. Michael Moore is one of the most visible proponents of the theory, but Twitter users were exploring the idea within hours of the announcement.

Moore: "He’s an evil genius and I raise the possibility of him lying about having Covid-19 to prepare us and counteract his game. He knows being sick tends to gain one sympathy. He’s not above weaponizing this."

From Twitter: 


Why would he do this? The motivations are many: if he's sick, he can explain away his behavior at the first presidential debate, which was succinctly described by many as a "shitshow". If he's sick, no one can question him about the disastrous business history his recently released tax statements have revealed. If he's sick, no one can question his direct statement on television to the Proud Boys ("Stand by"), which implies that he has future orders for this far-right group with a violent history

The press smells blood in the water, and Trump is unlikely to say anything that would help his campaign at the moment. Being sick gets him sympathy. It also gives him a chance to redeem himself by claiming that he "learned his lesson" in the future.

Trump's physician claims that he is doing very well, but other sources have painted a more concerning picture. Whom do we believe?
Vox.com: We’re well aware that Trump has a disease that is particularly deadly for older, overweight men, but we have no reason to trust anything the White House says about the state of his health. What happens if Trump is truly incapacitated, or worse? Who will we trust to relay that information?

Whom, indeed? When someone has told so many falsehoods, it is hard to believe them now. Even when the truth would be perfectly believable.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Review: Upload, Season One

Like many people these days, I'm binging shows on Netflix and Amazon. Unlike most people, this has little to do with the Coronavirus lockdown, and more to do with inheriting a smart TV from my sister-in-law. I'm finally getting to see things like El Camino and Jessica Jones, plus a ridiculous number of superhero shows.
When I saw the ads for Upload, I knew I had to watch at least the first episode. The premise: if you have the money, you can have your mind uploaded to an Internet Heaven when you die. I used to spend a lot of spare time in Second Life, and I was getting that vibe from the ads. It was a great idea, and it was up to Greg Daniels to either succeed with it or screw up. 
The show did not disappoint me. Upload is a lot of fun, and I plowed through the season in a matter of days. The longest episode was the first, where the main characters and Lake View (a very tony Internet Heaven) are introduced, and it only lasts forty-five minutes. The rest of the episodes are about twenty-four minutes each. Bing, bing, bing!
Nathan Brown is a computer programmer engaged to Ingrid, a very wealthy and self-absorbed girl. When Nathan is seriously injured in an accident with his self-driving car, Ingrid pushes for him to become an upload to Lake View, where her family plans to spend their afterlives. Nathan accepts.
Lake View is visually based off the grand hotels of the early twentieth century, with virtual bellhops and large rooms where the dead meet and make new friends. The exterior shots taken for the place are from the Mohonk Mountain House, which I'm adding to the list of hotels I'd like to stay in (the Chateau Frontenac and the Grove Park Inn are on the same list). 
Every resident of Lake View has an Angel, someone available 24-7 to answer questions and serve the needs of the well-heeled residents. Nathan's Angel is named Nora, and it's hard not to like her. She and the other Angels work cheek to jowl in a large room with rows of computer screens, and they aren't paid very well. Nora's father is dying of vape lung, and she wants to borrow enough money to get him into Lake View. Unfortunately, Nora's ratings aren't high enough at work (or in the bedroom, which is another story) and her boss is a petty bitch. Her father also wants to go to 'regular' Heaven to be with her mother, which means when he's gone, he's gone. Nora's emotions bleed over into her job, and Nathan, hungry for real interaction, is supportive. She begins to bond with him.
Meanwhile, Nathan has his own problems. Since Ingrid is paying for everything, his existence is dependent on her happiness and whims. She dresses him in kneepants for his own funeral (perhaps she likes calves?) and considers 'pausing' him when she's too busy with other things. He also has some damaged and missing memories, which isn't supposed to happen with the elite service Ingrid is paying for.
Nathan begins puzzling about it, sharing his concerns with the other uploads. I goggled when they introduced his neighbor across the hall - William B. Davis, best known for playing the Cigarette Smoking Man on the X-Files. The character, David Choak (Koch backwards, I presume), is fabulously wealthy and takes an interest in Nathan. He doesn't believe Nathan died in a freak accident; he believes Nathan was murdered. And if CSM says that, you can take it to the bank.
Nora joins Nathan in his quest for the missing memories, risking her approval ratings and even her job. Before the end of the first season, she's also risking her life.
Upload is a great dystopian sci-fi comedy, with hilarious situations and a handle on cultural developments down the road. One of Nathan's new friends is a kid who's been dead for at least a decade, but is still stuck in a child avatar. They sneak off to the virtual black market and the kid buys a puberty upgrade - which doesn't work out the way he planned. When Nora's dad takes a tour of Lake View, technical problems turn Nathan and the horses they're riding on into block figures. Corporate branding is everywhere, including on the leaves of the trees. Pop-up ads appear regularly in public rooms and paths, just like they do on Second Life. Angels promote virtual products, and receive bonuses if their clients buy.  And everyone is given rating stars for their performance in everything, including the bedroom.
I recommend watching the show. It's full of entertainment and a lot faster than reading this review.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Old Spice Strikes Again!

Circa ten years ago, I wrote a post about two young men who consumed a large amount of nutmeg in pursuit of a legal high. Chubbyemu, one of my favorite YouTubers, presents a more recent case of a fellow who took it even further:

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