Endings & Beginnings

Perhaps it’s because I moved, or Leonard Nimoy died, or the rejection letter I just got, but lately I’ve been thinking of endings. As to the latter, it said this (and please don’t think I’m terribly torn up about it- it’s all part of the gig):

We were left wanting to know what happens next, and that is difficult to do in flash fiction. We think your story would be better suited as a short story, or even a novel.

Which is probably true and all, but it’s a fairly common comment about my short work. In fact, it’s something I think about every time I come up with a story idea. “This would be a great novel,” I think. But it’s the leaving the reader wanting more that sticks out to me- to me, that’s part of the story, or at least the appeal. I love movies, books and stories that leave something unsaid or open to interpretation. For me, at least, those are the stories which are memorable and stick with you. That’s what I want to write- memorable stories, that stick with the reader long after they have been read.

Thus, I tend to write endings, at least in the short medium, which leave the ending subject to interpretation or ambiguous. Or, in the case of this story,  strongly implied.

Or I just can’t write a proper ending.


The Eleven Best Things About Bellingham

I promise I won’t go all in on the moving mopes, but I am going to swoon over Bellingham for a bit. Here are my favorite things about it:

11. Woods Coffee - Please take over the world. You’re so much better than Starbucks.

10. Artwood - Always a humbling place for any manner of artist. The creations people make out of wood is beyond amazing., and quintessentially Bellingham

9. .  GreenHouse & Ideal - Two great shops, full of wonderful and unique things. I can meander and drool for hours.

8. The Archer Ale House – Underground pub. What;s not to love? Great beer, scotch and amazing food. There are other boozy establishments on this list, but were you to visit, I would tell you to this one.

Rocket Doughnuts

7. Kulshan Brewery – Kulshan opened shortly after my last move, from literally across the street, but damn if it hasn’t established itself as one of the better up-and-coming breweries around. Awesome folk music on Sundays only helps.

6. BelleWood Acres - So, so many memories here. Apples, of course, are in order, but their peanut butter, gin, vodka and brandy make it beyond amazing (gin+blue cheese = OMG). The new building, with live music and food is a great destination.  Seriously, order the peanut butter.

5 Boundary Bay – The original and the best, or at least very close to it. The food alone is amazing, and their beer is world class.

4. Elizabeth Station – The fact that this place isn’t #1 on the list says how many great places this town has. I’ve been there since it opened, when it was a small store with five taps and the same dudes working the bar, to 20 taps, over 1,000 beers and a bunch of people I don’t recognize. But still – it’s the watering hole.

3. Rocket Doughnuts – They have a ray gun collection and the best doughnuts on the west coast. That is all.

2. Village Books – Home, sweet home.

And number one… well, that one’s mine.

Goodbye, Farewell, Amen

If you follow me on Ye Olde Twittre, you may have tolerated a certain amount of mopiness on my part. The last few months have been less than pleasant, and things kind of came to a head the last month or so. This may have affected my usually peppy demeanor.

That is, hopefully, at an end. While the last several months have been spent primarily on writing and not working for The Man, circumstances dictate that I need to go back to a ‘day job’, and as such, one has been agreed upon.

However, said circumstances will bring to an end my almost-decade long stay in the fine city of Bellingham. This may or may not mean much to you, but it’s a bittersweet moment for me. Bellingham resides in that sweet spot of not being a small town that is 45 minutes from anywhere (such as where I grew up), nor the middle of a big city. It has everything you need, and all the fun, quirky things that make it fun. There is a ton I’d miss about it here, even though I am excited for something new.

Anyway. Perhaps of small concern to you, but so many of you have shown me a great deal of kindness the last couple weeks. So -thank you.

Here’s to the next chapter.


Writing Prompt: Draculina

Two things, since these writing prompts are usually visual:

  1. Song lyrics inspire me as much as anything, and probably more.
  2. I listen to a purely unhealthy amount of Alkaline Trio because I am still an angsty 16 year old.

Which brings us to this weeks writing prompt, the first two lines from Alkaline Trio’s Draculina:

Whatever happened to Wonderland?

And where’d Alice go?

Have fun!


The Case of the Sherlock Clones

But first, a word from our sponsors:

Did you know I am writing an ongoing, Science Fiction, choose-your-own-adventure? Did you know you can support it on Patreon? Please do!

We return to your regularly scheduled rant.

One of my single favorite literary characters in one Sherlock Holmes. He is also one the most misunderstood, and certainly one of the most misrepresented. Part of the trick of writing smart and clever characters if that the writer must actually be smart and clever. There is a certain amount of it you can fake- your character can tell you what 42 times 326 is off the top of their head or what the capital of South Dakota is, and no one cares that you used a calculator or googled it.

Less of this pls

There is another side to the coin, and that is what we could term ‘The Sherlock Effect’. That is to say, Holmes is the inspiration for every modern detective, but not just in his methods. You see, Holmes is aloof, sometimes abrasive, sometimes apparently unconcerned, and frequently asexual. And because a lot of people who write detective stories are not smart and/or clever, or at least not as much so as Doyle, they latch on to those characteristics. Holmes was  jerk, they ostensibly reason, so in order for this character to be compelling, he much be a jerk.

i09 tackled the Smartest Man in the Room aspect of this a while ago, and did quite a good job of it, so I will try to avoid re-hashing that. But lately I’ve been seeing ads for Backstrom, who is just that- smarter than everyone else, and a complete jerk (which is essentially the tagline), and it’s exactly the same goddamn thing. Which, hey, I guess it sells, but would it kill some of these writers to come up with an orignal character, not one that is a poor facsimile that completely fails to capture the spirit, much less the nuance, of Holmes himself?

Or- god forbid- it was something other than a white male. Maybe an empathetic woman (you’re all watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, right?)? Or literally any person of color (Dule Hill in a lead role? He was amazing in Phsych)? Lord knows, set in the United States, one would have no shortage of depth of character with any combination of those characteristics. Social struggle? Social commentary? Half of it writes itself, oh and by the way, your character gets to come off as a good guy without being smugly superior, or, ya know, blatantly sexually harassing everyone in sight.

Or just keep writing crappy Sherlock clones. Whichever.


If You Read One Blog Post…

…Read this one. Why? Because this is the one where I ask y’all for the something.

In case you didn’t know, I write a SciFi choose-your-own-adventure. I would really appreciate it if you read it, and voted on it. It’s a really fun thing to write and, hopefully, to read.

Yesterday, I opened a Patreon to support it. Basically, if you’re not familiar, it’s like an ongoing Kickstarter, in that instead of larger one-time pledge, every time a new post goes up (every other week, in this case), a small pledge is made. This way, I get to keep working of fun projects like The Venturess. So, if possible and you’d like to, please, go and back it. Thank you!


A Sense of Purpose

2014, for me at any rate, was a bust. There was plenty of external stuff that’s not worth going into, but there was quite a bit of internal struggle, re: writing. The short version is that I wasn’t happy with the editing with 3024, but didn’t catch the problems until after the book was out. Sales lagged, and I didn’t want to push the marketing too hard on a sub-standard product, so it languished for a while. On top of that, I wasn’t particularly sure if self-publishing was the road I wanted to take in the future, for a whole list of reasons.

But now, I have a direction- or at least, I think I do. So here’s the roundup of all my projects, and my goals and plans for them for 2015:

3024AD: Series One: Finally, finally ready to roll. Books will be sent to Kickstarter backers shortly, along with the other rewards. From there, it is a matter of getting it into bookstores, and pushing marketing, etc. This will take place over the next month and change.

3024AD: Series Two (and more): This has been one of the sticking points for me. My original plan was for 3024 to be a novel, with the short stories being sort of complimentary to it. But, on the whole, I like the idea of telling the whole story through shorts. So, as my outline sits right now, there will be two more collections, but I’d wager that will expand to at least three. It will be like Pulp Fiction, but in space, and everyone dies. OK, not everyone. But most of them. My goal is to have editing done for S2 by June.

Full Length Novel: I am working on two- one is a sort of Steampunk thing, the other pure scifi fun and insanity. The latter is the one I am going to attempt to finish first. I do no know if I will self-publish it, or seek and agent/traditional publisher, and I think that will depend on how the 3024 stuff goes. But, it will be finished by years end.

The Venturess: This is, of course, pure fun. SciFi Choose your Own Adventure. This is a passion project, so my goal for this is to get as many people reading and voting as possible. But I also want to drink and need to eat, so I am in the process of organizing a Patreon campaign around it- that way if you want to chip in, you can, but will keep the project itself completely free. Incidentally, there are now social channels for The Venturess- Twitter, G+ and Tsu so far. Follow it, vote, and if you feel so inclined, keep an eye out for the Patreon.