Monthly Archives: July 2011

Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (pt. 10)

“Secrets aren’t the same thing as lies.”  But they can be.

As always, you can catch up on the entire story (for free!) here: Inkling

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Decorating for Creativity

So I’m heading to St. Augustine, Florida next week to look at condos for sale. If the stars align correctly and luck is on my side, I’ll find something affordable AND awesome! If not… well, it won’t be the end of the world and we’ll just keep looking.

While other people will be using it as well, Reesa and I are envisioning a tropical writing retreat. So the topic I’m throwing out there today is how would YOU decorate for a creative retreat? What inspires you when you’re ready to start cranking out the art?

I love flamingoes… they’re my collectible weakness… and since it IS Florida, obviously they have to be in the plan somewhere. I love tropical colors like turquoise and pale green and light pink. And coffee, I can’t write without coffee! So turquoise walls with a mural of flamingoes drinking lattes and frappacinos under the palm trees? I actually kinda like this idea, but I think I might be vetoed. *grin*

Ideas? Suggestions? Thoughts? Support for my flamingo coffee shop mural??

Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (part 9)

In which Grays is licked by the supernatural, and Collin may or may not be lying.

As always, you can catch up on the entire story (for free!) here: Inkling

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Ménage a trois

Good friend and fellow writer Connor Wright tweeted the following:

Unless the characters are living together, it’s NOT a ménage, it’s a threesome. Stop abusing a phrase you don’t understand. #petpeeve #argh

The Slipstream Con is a legitimate ménage story. A random couple or trio hooking up for a one-night stand is not. #petpeeve #example

Obviously this is a topic of interest for me!

The definition of ménage a trois is a household (emphasis mine) of three, generally a married couple and a lover. A threesome, however, is just that: three people of varying combinations of gender having sex. Is there sex in a ménage a trois relationship? Sure. Is it the be-all, end-all of the relationship? Nope.

I think this is where we might have confused some folks with Slipstream. Generally when readers hear “ménage”, the automatic assumption is that the story will favor sex over relationship. This isn’t a bad thing. Read those stories, enjoyed those stories. But it’s not Slipstream.

Let’s go back to that key word… household. There’s inherent equality in that word. (SPOILER ALERT) Tal and Vanya are married. Happily married. They each love Kellen. Kellen loves them. It’s balanced. Think back to your geometry class and picture that equilateral triangle. Will there be all sorts of carnal shenanigans? You bet. But it could be Tal/Van or Tal/Kellen or Kellen/Van or Tal/Van/Kellen. You get the picture. The point is, all three of them want this, whatever the particular configuration of the moment happens to be.

So yeah. Thank you Connor for letting me ramble about this!

Now the other twingy thing is Slipstream containing three bisexual characters. I dunno, apparently this is unusual as well. But I’m going to save my “Yes Virginia, Bisexuals DO Exist” lecture for another day!

Connor Wright can be found at

Title of Book

Titles are worse than summaries, taglines, or pitch packets. A title has to grab you, has to promise something about the story, has to invoke an instant reaction from a reader, so they’ll pick up your book and get a look at the pretty cover, or the blurb that makes them want to buy it.

Naming books is like naming children – unless something strange happens, they’re going to be stuck with that name for the rest of their lives.  Sure, some of us do things like randomly rename ourselves, or get packaged up into omnibus editions.  But by and large, you’re making a decision that is going to influence everyone that book ever comes in contact with, and you don’t want to get your manuscript beaten up on the playground.

My current working title for this manuscript is The Memory Keeper.  There’s nothing wrong with that title, but it rings kind of boring in my ears.  It tells you something about the story, but makes it seem distant, as though the grand adventure has passed, and someone is telling you about it.  That’s absolutely nothing like the story itself, and I can’t saddle my book with a title that makes it sound like a pensioner recounting his glory days of hunting mutant river otters.  This story is about movement, fighting, the family you make, and the home that finds you, even if you can’t stay in one place.  It’s not a stationary story, and it needs a title with some hustle and flow.

Because it’s such a stumble for me, I decided to take the main concepts and keywords that jumped out at me and write them out on Post-It notes, so I can shuffle them around and play with the language until I find something.  Even the notes for this book are fidgety, it seems.

After careful consideration, the only possible title has been chosen:

Jessup’s Wasted Running Memory of Dust Stained Wind

Or not.

I’ll hit on just the right title soon enough, and then this poor book will finally have a name of its own.  Until then, I’ll just keep adding to the Post-It’s.  But I probably won’t go with For God’s Sake, Please Buy Two Copies, either.



Book Review – Something Secret This Way Comes, by Sierra Dean

Something Secret This Way Comes (Secret McQueen #1)Something Secret This Way Comes by Sierra Dean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I read this book because I know the author through our shared editor, not because I had any real zest for yet another scrappy first-person urban fantasy heroine. I was expecting decent writing, but I wasn’t expecting to really LIKE the book.

Secret’s biology reads like something out of a RP chat room in the mid-90’s (Glenshadow’s Tavern, represent!) – half vampire, half werewolf. She’s a supernatural bounty hunter. She’s a young, pretty woman in a gritty urban setting. She’s a smart-ass (which I really enjoyed) and she can kick your ass.

Not only does Sierra Dean’s writing save her concept, it completely overshot my expectations and pulled me right into the story. I think first-person narration, almost the default for this genre, and most often meant to create an instant relationship between the protagonist and the reader, can actually work the opposite way. Done poorly, it buffers the reader from really feeling the book with distracting commentary, or my least favourite trope, the narrator refusing to see what everyone else does. Secret avoids that. She’s knee-deep in the action all the time, and most of her witty asides keep pace with that. I also really enjoyed that while Secret is sarcastic, she’s not needlessly antagonistic.

The few places I felt like the book faltered were the introduction and interactions with Secret’s love interests, but Dean managed to make even the rough spots true to Secret’s character, and again, her strong writing pulled me out of those minor issues and kept me eagerly reading until I hit the last page, when I might actually have been heard to yelp at the cliffhanger ending.

I’ve got the prequel novella, The Secret Guide to Dating Monsters, loaded up to read this weekend, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. I loved Sierra Dean’s writing, and I’m sure it’s only going to get better as she goes. Secret McQueen is fun, funny, and well worth spending some time with. Something Secret This Way Comes was a wonderful surprise, and I’m glad I took a chance on it.

View all my reviews

Fifteen Minute Fiction – Inkling (part 8)

Part 8 – In which Our Heroes arrive at their destination, only to find that it’s still out of reach, and Grays contemplates his next Facebook status update.

As always, you can catch up on the entire story (for free!) here: Inkling

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Kittens and Writing

Quick, name two things that DON’T go together. Yeah, yeah, if you cheated and looked at the subject line, you already know. Kittens and writing. And kittens and laundry. And kittens and grocery shopping. Kittens and getting off your butt to do anything productive.

Pretty much the only thing that DOES go with kittens is hours on end of bemused cuteness coma. And here I thought the internet was a time sucker!