I see this as a chance to persuade everyone out there to take a look at 10 of my short stories and see if you like what I do. I think there’s an excellent chance that you will, especially if you favor the science fiction/speculative fiction genres. What I aim at is writing a good story, not fitting in a genre necessarily. If you enjoy good stories but don’t normally read science fiction…
…why not give it a look anyhow? It’s FREE.
Please read and enjoy.
I’m eating apricots and I think: these are basically tiny peaches. But they have smoother flesh, they’re sweeter, they’re more flavorful than their larger cousins.
Same with cherries. Tiny plums, just way more delicious.
People like the giant Red Globe grapes, but they are bland and watery, if crisp. The modest Concord blows them away in flavor.
And yet producers breed for bigger fruit. Bigger and less delicious.
Where are the visionaries breeding for smaller, tastier fruit? Where are my tiny apricots the size of a dime and so delicious I’d collapse to the ground with my eyes rolled back into my head?
- What’s hot in the fruit garden? (blackmoorfruit.wordpress.com)
- Aprium’s (earthtreatsblog.wordpress.com)
- April is for Apricots (foodsfromspain.wordpress.com)
- All for making the king of fruits sweeter (thehindu.com)
- Syrian Dried Apricot Paste at Pars Market Middle Eastern Store in Columbia Maryland (parsmarketcolumbia.wordpress.com)
- Broadway Basketeers Dried Fruit Extra-Large Gift Basket (eyeoncelebs.com)
I just minutes ago drove through an intersection near my home. There had obviously been an accident there very recently. How do I know this?
Because, although the stricken cars are gone, there are big hunks of metal and plastic littering the intersection. They are right in the path of traffic. Perfectly placed to puncture tires.
Public servants and city employees of Norfolk: I know some of you care. But when I see something like this, this ‘screw cleaning up, it’s not my tires that will be punctured by this trash’ attitude…
…how am I supposed to BELIEVE you give a damn?
Corn is starting to show up in the grocery stores in my urban habitat. What I am used to this meaning: figuring out which store has the yellow corn this year, not the white corn that is most prevalent.
This is what I’m looking for. So far this year, nobody has it. Instead, they have white corn.
What, you ask, do you have against white corn? Well, just that it is bland, flavorless, and tastes more like sugar than anything else. It doesn’t taste like corn. It doesn’t have that corny corniness that is corn. White corn is sweet baby food. Yellow corn is corn.
So where is all of the yellow corn? Is the white corn early, greenhouse-planted corn, earmarked (no pun intended) for the supermarket? Is it all white because that’s what most people seem to want to buy? Is the yellow corn still all in the fields, is it going to be late summer before I see any?
Is it all being made into ethanol to add to gasoline? Is the less desirable yellow corn all slated for export? Is it all being turned into syrup to make soft drinks and bread and… well, that crap seems to get added to damn near everything, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was in the ground beef, too.
Maybe I should have my eye on the field corn being grown in the fields right outside of town, waiting to be made into animal feed because it’s too starchy for my fellow Americans’ taste… which is itself sort of odd, because we’re all about potatoes, and it doesn’t get much starchier than that.
I bet that field corn is the corniest tasting corn that ever corned.
- a-MAZE-ing MAIZE ! (with corn soup recipe) (thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com)
- Some Iowa July 4th picnics may lack sweet corn (siouxcityjournal.com)
- Is Corn Healthy to Eat? (latestlifestyle.wordpress.com)
- SWEET CORN: Relax Everyone…Crop Is Okay (whotv.com)
- Comparison of GMO and non-GMO corn – the real statistics will astound you! (philosophers-stone.co.uk)
- Wet spring brings troubling start to corn planting (rapidcityjournal.com)
I don’t always write the title before I have a story in mind… but when I do, it’s a damn good title.
At least, I think so. I wonder how many other writers do this, this writing from the title?
Don’t get me wrong, most of my stories have proceeded from an actual story idea, and the title came later. But for me, I often get an idea for a title I really like, and then I strain my brain to think up a story that makes sense with that title.
Just off the top of my head, Child Full of Stars worked that way. “Man, that’s a great title. I need to write a story with that title.”
The Tomatoes Bloom in Winter, too. Bullets for Buddha. The Fourth Dog. Nice Weather We’re Having Today. There are others, too. I think at least a quarter of my stories start that way.
So, fellow writers, do any of you do this too? Do you think the stories that start this way are better, worse, about the same as your story-first-then-title writing?
A note: originally, I was going to make all of those story titles in the body text into links for the corresponding story at one of the several outlets it is available in. But when I gave it a second thought, it seemed like a weenie thing to do. Maybe you agree with that, and maybe you don’t; in any case, there are links to lead you to where my ebooks are sold over there on the right sidebar if you’d like to do some reading. The only one of them that won’t have all of them is Amazon, where you can’t get my freebies but you can still get everything else. My paperback collections are over there on Amazon as well, but not anywhere else.
- “Does This Need a Title?”: Helping Students Generate Titles (whatsnotwrong.wordpress.com)
- Let Us Speak of Titles! (gettingawordinedgewise.wordpress.com)
So, I’ve been tinkering with this Flowers of Dawn story. So far, a diplomat on leave following the death of her spouse has been befriended by an alien she’s previously only interacted with professionally. The alien accompanies her to the graveyard. She leaves a stone. The alien leaves a… well, a green bean-thing. I won’t go into what happens next, because I can’t swear it won’t change in editing.
But I’m not writing this to get into the plot. I’m writing this because, as I was writing, I found myself thinking about my protagonist. We’re so different. Man, I hope I’m writing her well. I mean, she’s human and I’m human, so we definitely have some common ground. She’s definitely a product of Western culture, and so am I. Okay, that’s good.
I’m definitely heading down diversity way in writing her, though. I’m an atheist Caucasian straight male writer and, for the second time in my life, student. I’ve never been an aspiring career guy. And I’m writing a bereaved Jewish lesbian career diplomat.
Writing someone very culturally different than myself is a bit of a challenge. Writing an alien is easy, I can just make it up as I go along. But writing a very different human… well, that’s more challenging ground. I’m not so worried about an alien showing up and saying I wrote it all wrong. In fact, that would be awesome, I’d love to meet an alien in person. At least, I would so long as it wasn’t one of the world-conquering humanity-enslaving types. But I am a little concerned that when I publish this story, a Jewish lesbian career diplomat might just stop by to tell me I’m full of shit.
Oh, well. At least with her being a diplomat, I can pretty much count on her doing it politely.
- Discovery of Alien Life… What would happen? (diaryofdennis.com)
- Where is the creativity? (meritaking.com)
- Rule W: Write what you know and write only the stories you can write (garridon.wordpress.com)
- Writing my life : Storytelling trauma (dorasnow.wordpress.com)
Here’s my little blogging delay, 9 lbs and 1 oz of brand new baby boy named Cuinn. He was born late on the night of the 17th and we’ve been busy ever since adjusting to his new presence. We’re not the only ones adjusting. His two big brothers, 15 and 2, are adjusting as well.
On the writing front, I’ve managed a few hundred words on a promising little short story about aliens, death, love, duty, and flowers—working title, “The Flowers of Dawn”. I know that’s a sadistically tiny teaser for anything, but I’m not sure where it’s going yet and most of my attention is on, you know, domestic stuff. I’m also not saying more about that story because as those of you who write probably know, sometimes a promising story stalls and goes into the trunk or gets cannibalized into other stories, taken apart into ideas and recycled.
But that’s enough about writing. I just wanted to do the thing all the cool new parents are doing and tell you how awesome I think our new baby is.
He’s awesome. And he still has that new baby smell.
Aren’t you jealous?
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in an unusually long time.
I have a perfectly good… PERFECTLY good, I say… explanation.
We’ve been expecting a baby any minute now, and have been convinced, constantly, for two weeks, that the little guy was going to make his appearance ANY MOMENT.
He’s a tricky little scamp.
We’re in the hospital right now, me and my wife and my teen (step)son, waiting as labor is being induced. Our 2 year old is with trusted friends until his little brother is born.
I’ve been too distracted to write much of anything. Now, somehow, sitting in this room watching the contractions go by and realizing there are probably a couple or few more hours to go, I can write.
The human mind is a funny thing. Now that it’s happening, I’m calm. For the previous two weeks when nothing was happening, I was a nervous wreck. Go figure.
From time to time… okay, often… I decide to embark on a culinary adventure. Sometimes it’s as simple as buying a new spice and trying it out on everything that I cook for a week or two. Usually it’s trying something I haven’t tried before. Lately it’s bread pudding. This is the second one I’ve made. The first was much the same, only with the zest of an orange rather than the cocoa powder. Both have come out delicious. I’ll give you the recipe of this one, if you’re interested in trying it out. It’s not as sweet as some bread puddings I’ve had. So pairing with ice cream or a sweet sauce of your own creation is recommended.
I am a ‘by eye’ home cook. By that, I mean: I am not a chef, I have never been a food service professional of any description, my understanding of recipes is that they are rough guidelines meant to be played with, and my concept of measuring ingredients is sloppy at best.
One loaf of french bread or similar (about a pound)
One loaf of rosemary olive oil bread (about a pound) (I’d have added the leaves of a healthy (what, maybe 3 or 4 inches long?) sprig of fresh rosemary, minced, if it hadn’t already been rosemary bread)
A stick of unsalted
7 large eggs
3 1/2, maybe 4 cups of milk (I measured 3 and freehanded the rest when the mixture was too dry. You want wet, but no free liquid wandering around)
Cocoa powder — I’m guessing I probably put half a cup in. Maybe a little more. It’s definitely chocolatey.
1 cup sugar
Molasses — at a guess, a quarter cup? I drizzled it in until I was happy with it.
Cayenne pepper — a pinch. Less than half a teaspoon, more than a quarter. You don’t want to taste it, you just want it in the background giving the chocolate a little boost.
Cut the bread roughly into cubes. Put about half of them into a large mixing bowl.
Melt the butter.
Drizzle the bread with melted butter and sprinkle with cocoa powder & cayenne.
Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl of their own.
Add the milk, sugar, and molasses to the milk and beat until the sugar dissolves.
Pour about half of it over the bread and mix it around a bit with your (clean) hands until the bread soaks up the liquid. This reduces the volume of the bread, giving you room to add more bread and liquid until it’s all in there. Try not to mix it up too much. You don’t want mush, you want the bread soaked but most of it still holding its shape.
Grease (butter, shortening, lard, or other edible solid cooking fat) the ramekin and flour it.
Put into a 350 degree oven and cook it until a knife plunged into its chocolatey heart comes out mostly but not completely clean, and hot.
Let it rest for half an hour on the counter.
Remove from ramekin, slice, and devour. If you haven’t tried it before, chocolate plays remarkably well with a bit of rosemary. If you want to try it with ice cream, I’d start with good old classic vanilla. I think it’d be a good counterpoint to the relatively aggressive and rich flavor of this bread pudding.
- recycle, reuse, reinvent … BananaBread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce (stresscake.wordpress.com)
- Blueberry Bread Pudding with White Chocolate (jtm71.wordpress.com)
- Bourbon Apricot Bread Pudding (savorysaltysweet.com)
- Traditional bread pudding … (archantnorfolk.wordpress.com)
- Peanut Butter Bread Pudding…I may have a PB problem. (jbake7.wordpress.com)
- Coconut Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bourbon Sauce (prettygirlscook.com)
- Finding Rosemary in the Stow (walthamstowfoodies.com)
- Chocolate and Caramel Bread Pudding (lollygirl3.wordpress.com)
- Fruit Bread Pudding (michaelericoberlin.wordpress.com)