Writing prompt: The sky was aflame

Looking for some inspiration?   Sometimes that little bit of umph you need for a scene is no further away than your back yard.  Stay alert when you are out and about.  Keep your cell phone handy and snap pictures of things that  stir up emotion in you.  it is likely that the photo will bring up those same feelings.  if you can pause and notice the smells and sounds that will make your writing even more vivid.

The sky was aflame. 

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Is this a beautiful sunset?  Is it a natural or magical disaster? 

Should we run away or is this a chance for a romantic moment?

 

An extraordinary sunset from my back yard:  I think I was barbecuing one spring evening trying to finish dinner before the sun went down.  I had been staring east watching the sky darkening and keeping an eye on the meat, most likely.  I remember turning and thinking, I was to see this again.  

Feel free to add what you come up with in the comments.  Share a line, or a few hundred words.  I want this to be a safe encouraging place and will not allow nastiness.  (My house, my rules.)

We have a Tween!

Somehow Robert and I have kept this child alive for 10 years.   It’s been quite the ride!  Treb has the most amazing mind and the twisted sense of humor that makes him both a Flanigan and a Rose.  

I won’t lie, we have had our rough times, because we are so much alike.  He is my “mini me”.  When he opens his mouth and my words come out.  


This is a rare year that school hasn’t started before his birthday.  He is already in the mindset to have the mature birthday.  Low key.  Pizza and a cake. We have a tween!

Do you have advice for a 10 year old?  Or the parent of a tween?

Back to reality

Sometimes after vacation I need another vacation just to get myself back to my normal routine.  This year’s vacation was a mix of truly amazing and just plan crappy.

If you want to read about an amazing vacation with no complaints see this post by @bryndonovan.

A bit of back ground:  I don’t travel well at all.  Every trip in the car tests my knowledge of traffic rules and reaction time.  A day of running errands is rarely uneventful.  Cross-country trips usually just leave me unconscious from anxiety.

This year I was determined to have an awesome vacation and go somewhere I have never been.  I enlisted the help of my sister inlaw Tracy.  She is awesome.  She is a great traveler.  We rented a lovely beach house on Tybee Island, Georgia.  We had 2 couples, 4 kids, and my parents with us.  


Everything went with out a hitch.  The drive was uneventful.  None of the usual bodily fluid crisis we usually have on this trip.  Previously we had torrential bloody noses or car sickness from the oldest.

Tuesday we went on a tour to find dolphins as a birthday gift to my oldest niece.  Wednesday we went to the beach.  Amazing.  I was horribly hungover but it was still fun to be in the waves.  The water was so warm.

When we go home I had that nagging feeling that something was not right and texted the friend that was feeding the guinea pig.  

Our second car was stolen.  I spent the rest of my day calling the police and worrying.  The trip was still pleasant.  My husband and I worked on our relationship while we had the time.  Sunrise and sunset walks.  We went to see Fort Pulaski. We visited the beach again to play in the waves.  

Then we woke up late the morning of our departure.  We managed to leave on time for our 16 hour drive and we were all ready to get home.  We got to Atlanta, 3 hours into our trip, and we were rear ended.  

I waited until we knew every one in the 4 cars behind us were unharmed, before I wailed, “I just want to go home.” In my head, I dropped to my knees and clasped my hands over my face.  In reality, I blinked back my tears and walked away from the driver that was behind us.  

A few hours later we found out our Escort was recovered.  At this time I only know the steering column was torn out.  Our SUV needs over $2800 in repairs.  This is why we have insurance.  State Farm has been amazing.  They reached out to me on twitter when I was lamenting my bad fortune, and made my day a little brighter. 

So we had the best and worst vacation ever.  We won’t be traveling for a while.  My sister inlaw kinda understands now that I am not being dramatic when I say I don’t travel well.

Do you have any misadventures?  Share your tales in the comments.

it doesnt look like much, but the door has to be replaced

Sharky’s Bait

 

It’s Friday again!  This week’s new friend is Robert Sharkbait Pruneda!  He is writes horror.  It’s not normally my thing, but I am exploring the darker side of the art.   He has been a voice of reason and motivation on Twitter; he promotes and encourages fellow writers.  He knows how hard it can be to get started and stay motivated.  Definitely add these books to your bookshelf on GoodReads.  

What do you like to be called? I don’t write with a pen name, so I go by either Robert or Rob, but my friends also call me Sharky (short for Sharkbait). If you’d like to find out a little bit about the origin of my nickname, read this post here.

Is creating your day job or night fling? I wouldn’t quite call writing a full-time thing just yet, but over the past couple of years I’ve been focusing more of my time dedicated to building my writing career. I’d say it’s somewhere between full-time and part-time right now. When I’m not focused on writing and dealing with the business side of publishing, I do small business administrative support from home and moonlight at a local funeral home.

 

Banner Image (SharkbaitWrites)
get Sharky’s Devil’s Nightmare  and Premonitions* and Pursuit of a Dream*

In six or fewer sentences describe your daily routine? After dragging my butt out of bed and going through the regular “rise and shine” routine (which is usually around noon, since I’m a night owl), I typically start my day checking emails, catching up on news, and spending a little bit of time (okay, too much time) on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll then check off a few book marketing items before working on my current writing project until dinner time. If I’m not working at the funeral home or working on a small business administrative support project, I’ll spend the next couple of hours catching up on shows recorded on the DVR before firing up the computer for some more writing, research, or marketing for a couple of more hours. Then it’s time for video games or bing-watching Supernatural or other shows on Netflix until I hit the sack.

That’s a typical day, but then there are times where I’ll put in an all-nighter editing or working on other writing-related projects. Earlier this year, my publisher went belly-up, so I had to republish my two horror novels, thus throwing my normal schedule out the window and delaying a couple of other projects. Needless to say, regular routines are hard to keep sometimes.

Okay, that was a little more than six sentences. Sorry.

Where do you like to do your creating? Coffee shop, library, your sofa, bed? I do all of my writing from an old leather chair in the bedroom. I have my laptop connected to a 55-inch television, so I work with a wireless keyboard and mouse with my feet propped up on an ottoman.

What does you workspace look like? My workspace is in my bedroom. I’ve got a desk next to my bed where I used to do all of my writing, but ever since purchasing a laptop with an HDMI port, I now use my television as a monitor. So, I swing the leather office chair around and use a wireless keyboard and mouse. And if I need a quick power nap, I’ll either snooze right there on the chair or scoot the dog aside and hop onto the bed for a few Zs. I love being self-employed.

Do you prefer your first draft to be hand-written or digital? I do all of my writing digitally. I’ve tried writing longhand before, but I type a lot faster than I can write. Plus, my hands cramp up after writing with a pen and paper for too long.

• Do you have a favorite application? A year ago I would have said Microsoft Word was my favorite application, but over the past few months I’ve started using Scrivener on a more regular basis and absolutely love it! I’m currently hopping back and forth between the two programs, but I think by this time next year I’ll probably be doing all of my writing exclusively with Scrivener. It’s a very powerful piece of software that has greatly improved my organization and productivity as a writer. Best forty bucks I’ve spent in a long time.

Do you have any writing rituals? Does the house have to be clean? Meditation? Not really. I do like it to be quiet when I’m writing, though, with the exception of some soft instrumental music playing in the background. It’s one reason why I tend to do much of my writing in the evenings due to having less distractions. The dogs aren’t barking, the phone isn’t ringing, and the door-to-door salesmen aren’t trying to convince me to switch my home security system or electricity carrier for the umpteenth time. What part of “I’m happy with my current service” did you not understand? Would you like to buy one of my books? Seriously, I need to do that next time, just to throw them off.

• Tea or coffee? Or other artsy drink? I drink a lot of water, so it’s usually just H20 for me, but I’m slowly turning into a coffee junkie now that I have one of those single-serve Keurig K-Cup coffee makers. Dark Magic dark roast coffee is my favorite.

• Is procrastination a thing? I think I’ll answer this question after I brew myself a cup of coffee.

• What do you find yourself doing when it is? Probably playing video games, my favorite pastime and addiction.

• In Horror writing, is fear building a pain or pleasure? Ha! Definitely pleasure. Mwahahaha!

• What was the last thing you read? Did you enjoy it? I just finished reading Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon. It’s the first book in a trilogy set between the movies Alien and Aliens. I loved it! I’m currently reading Alien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore.

• Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction for fun? I prefer fiction, but I also enjoy reading anything related to history, especially military history.

• What is your favorite genre? My favorite genre is horror, but I also enjoy reading fantasy, science fiction, and psychological thrillers.

• Have you ever creeped yourself out so much you have to leave the light on? Not yet, but now you’ve given me a challenge. I did get some chills up my spine when I was writing Devil’s Nightmare, only because there are parts of the story that are loosely based on actual things I experienced when I was a kid.

• What’s your favorite flavor of Skittle? I’m more of an M&Ms kind of guy, but if I had to choose, I’d probably say the grape or strawberry flavor.

Contact Robert

Author Website
Author Contact Form

Sharky Newsletter
Newsletter (Freebies included) 

Find Sharky on Social Media

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Devil’s Nightmare Book Trailer

Scrivener: order from chaos

If you follow my twitterings, you have figured out I am a HUGE fan of Scrivener*.  Many people wonder why I don’t just use Word or something more mainstream.  It’s a long and emotional story.   The short story is that I lost 4 months of revision on Soulchaser (180K words).

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An outline of my manuscript

I was having some issue where Word stopped saving my changes in my documents.  After a lithe research, I determined that scrivener was the most versatile editor for my needs.   and used my discount from NaNoWriMo to buy Scrivener for Windows*.  The 3-4 hour tutorial was a bit intimidating, but I worked through it while still on the trial and fell deeply and passionately in love.  after some issues with windows 10 deciding to crap all over dropbox, I am using Scrivener 2 for OSX* on an ancient Mac.

Often, I am asked what Scrivener does that other word-processing applications can’t.  That’s a boggling question since I haven’t discovered its complete capabilities.

My favorite things:

  • Create summaries and outlines,  storyboarding, and organizing easily.
  • Make internal links within notes.
  • Special collections based on search criteria that won’t change the order of documents.
  • Almost infinite ways to organize your work.
  • Use meta data to sort to create collections.
  • It will render your ebook files, along with just about any file time you might want.

What I don’t like:

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 4.36.33 PMI have 4 major projects I am working on right now:  Soulchaser, Tempest, Waterloggedapp, and Wordcrafting.    For the blog, I am using a pretty simple  monthly template.  The books needed a bit more depth.

There are a lot of good templates out there, but my favorite so far is Belinda Crawford’s World Builder Leviathan.  I have tweaked it to give me a place for all the backstories and now I have a pretty detailed timeline leading up to the story.  I work on the timeline in Aeon Timeline.

Build what you need as the need arises.  If you cannot figure out how to compile something or organize it, the community around Scrivener is very supportive and helpful.

I recommend picking up the trial and setting a few hours aside to work through the tutorial.  Then come back here and let me know what you think.  If you love it as much as I do, please use my affiliate links on this page.

A Windows writer using Scrivener

A Mac writer using Scrivener

 

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)
Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)

Who am I?

I don’t have an interview today.  Not for lack of trying, I just didn’t get any back yet.  I will answer questions you leave in the comments.  Ask me things about stuff.  As long as I wouldn’t mind my mom reading it I will answer.  


1)What do you like to be called? 

Treb and Tagg call me mom.  I am not sure when they stopped calling me mama.  It just really hit me yesterday that they won’t ever call Mama again.  I like being Mom.  You know unless someone is hurt, hungry, or misbehaving.  Parenting is hard.

On World of Warcraft I am Druci or Fio .  Depends on if they met me pre- or post-baby. I switched mains around the time of Tagg.  

My mother calls me Pumpkin.  I must have been orange and round as a baby.

My husband calls me … wait that’s private.  

2)Is creating your day job or night fling?  

I write  whenever.  My paid job customer service and running social media for an iPhone app.  It’s kind of creative.  

3)In six or fewer sentences describe your usual routine?

If wake up thinking about my story; I write for a little bit, then get up and do whatever needs adulting/parenting at the moment.  

More adulting/parenting sprinkled with procrastination, writing, texting and social media, caffeine, housework, and a tiny bit of paid work.

As Mom, you are expected to clean, feed people, and in general be available for emotional stability at least until bedtime.  Then I turn into a dragon. 

Some nights, I run away to Starbucks around 7:30 to write and stay until closing.  If not I fire up WoW or stare at Scrivener until 11:30.

4)Where do you like to do your creating? Coffee shop, library, your sofa?

I kind of move around.  We have done some remodeling and I love my desk. but Tagg uses it during the day.  It can take 30 min to clear off all the Lego (he just informed me adding an s is incorrect) and drawings.  

I get a lot of writing done in bed, walking the kids to school, and stuck at railroad crossings in the car.  I have to get out of the house when I have deadlines.  Housework suddenly becomes a thing.  During the school year, I go to the library a few times a week.  I am trying to limit my Starbucks trips to once a week.

5)What does your workspace look like?

This is my desktop.  We just did a big remodel and I designed and built this.  Right now there is an empty box of cookies, markers, toys, and Tagg’s drawings all over it.  He probably drank my Diet Pepsi too.  

6)Do you prefer your first draft to be hand-written or digital? 

Digital.  My hand cannot keep up with my brain.  Autocomplete is invaluable for the hard to spell names that I make up.  I have some visual processing issues and a page full of chicken scratch is anxiety producing.  

I do most of my initial creation on my iPhone.  I wrote my entire 180K word draft on my iPhone in 5-10 minute bursts around housework and childcare. Don’t judge.

7) Do you have any writing rituals? Does the house have to be clean? Meditation?

If I have an idea that will take a while to work out, I check to make sure the kids don’t need anything.  Nothing breaks your flow like having to stop to cook.  Or clean up someone’s attempt to be independent.  So it just makes sense to make sure everyone is happy first.  Otherwise,I find a quiet corner to stand or pace and tap out a few paragraphs on the phone.

8)Tea or coffee? (or other artsy drink)

Caffeine.  I am not picky about what form it comes in but I’d better get that 400mg by noon or I may need blood sacrifices.   Sometimes I drink water.  There might have a few wine induced scenes.  At night I try to drink tea since waking up at 3 am wired makes adulting/parenting difficult.

9)Is procrastination a thing? What do you find yourself doing when it is?

Can you believe it?  Sometimes I feel guilty about not cleaning.  I work on my blog usually.  I text and chat on Twitter.  Tackle hug my kids.  Cinnamon rolls, from scratch.   

10)In fantasy writing, is world building a pain or a pleasure?

Depends.  I don’t just sit down to world build.  I let the narrative build the world as the characters move through the story.  That part is easy.  The pain is when I have to go in and revise to fix how magic works or work out some political aspect.  The next person who says writing fantasy is easy because **MAGIC** or “you just make up a country”, might get punched.

blog_28175121344_o11)What was the last thing you read? Did you enjoy it?

This is embarrassing.  I haven’t finished anything in a long time.  The last thing I finished was Pick Me (Kindle Single)* by Kalisha Buckhanon. I enjoyed it a lot.  It was set in Chicago, about an interracial couple and the pressure to start a family.  I could relate to that.  

 

I’m currently reading a few books.     I  listen to The Shore of Women: The Classic Work of Feminist Science Fiction* by Pamela Sargent when I cut the grass.  So far I like it. I have a paperback copy of Grudging: Birth of Saints Book One* by Michelle Hauck.  I think I just need to have some time alone with it to finish it.    

My Kindle App has about 150 books on it that I need to get to.  Those sales and free books are killing me! 

Part of my trouble with reading is  “English Lit major mindset”. I start reading it as if there will be a test on it later.

12)Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction for fun?

I like fiction. Fantasy is my favorite. I love new lands with magic and swords and beasts (O MY!). I am not as into sci-fi.   Ursula LeGuin is one of my favorites.

13)What’s your favorite flavor of Skittle?

Not sour apple.

 

 

 

*Affliate links

Application Submitted and …

 

It’s hard sending your first manuscript off to be judged.   In the case of an application, you are in a way asking them to judge you–your ability to write.  The questions can make you question yourself.

 

“Am I good enough?”

“Do I have enough skill to benefit from your program?”

 

It took a lot of emotional energy to get the  application for Ossabow Island Writers’ Retreat done and sent in.  In the end it all worked out.

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from the retreat web page

I was accepted into the program!

 

Right now I am still revising Soulchaser and trying to clean up the ending.  At the Retreat I will work with the faulty on my first few chapters.

Our family vacation will be in the region of the retreat.  I am looking forward to exploring nature, bringing back some photos and inspiration to share.  I generally post my pictures to Instagram.