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Turning a Wrong into a Right July 21, 2013

Posted by techtigger in interview, writing.
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I was recently asked to submit a quick recap to a serial community I’ve supported for years. They needed content for a podcast, and while I didn’t have much time for it, I tossed something together anyway. I have always enjoyed promoting serials wherever I find them on the web. I did it for years on The Penny Dreadful because I simply love the format. Serials are fabulous.

I have to say, when I hit the send button I wasn’t expecting to get kicked in the teeth. It was patently obvious from their comments that they had never bothered to actually read my serial. It’s hard to hear someone who knows nothing about your work putting it down. I trusted them, I supported them, and I paid for it.

There are a lot of things I could have done. But let’s face it, this sort of thing happens all the time in the writing and entertainment biz. You can’t let it get to you. So I have decided to take my bad experience and turn it into something good.

You see, I have missed doing the weekly interviews on The Penny Dreadful. We always took the time to learn about the writer, their work, and asked intelligent questions. We treated them with respect. And why? Because we are writers too, and know how hard it is to do what we do.

My day job does not allow me time to do the weekly twitter chats anymore. But there is no reason why I can’t interview a serial author and post it once a month on my blog. I want to get back to doing what I love – reading and supporting serials.

So, starting in September, I will be resurrecting TPD at my new site – http://www.pennydreadfulpress.com. Nothing there yet, but I have scheduled time over the next month to gather up content and roll it out. Watch this space for announcements – and if you write a serial, don’t be surprised if I come knocking at your door, wanting to learn more about that wonderful thing you do 🙂

Brain Freeze May 12, 2013

Posted by techtigger in writing.
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Writer’s block is a bitch.

Not sure when it started creeping in, but for some time now I’ve been fighting it, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by the lack of stories. The odd part is I’ve been writing. I just haven’t been keeping any of it. If writing was merely a game of numbers I’d have a full series of novels all set to go, but I’ve never worried too much about how many words I’ve written. I need to have the RIGHT words, and being something of a perfectionist I refuse to pour out crap just for the sake of saying I wrote X number of words, or X many stories. Quality over quantity.

But what to do when you hit a wall? I have had the good fortune to win a 3 month mentorship with the Evil League of Evil Writers, and got the best advice I’ve ever had. Stop writing.  I know, sounds crazy, everyone says the only way to get better is to write. But sometimes, you need to just put the pen down and give yourself some breathing space.

Actually, i think their exact words were that I had a one week license for fuckwittery. 🙂

Note, there was a time limit.  The danger of taking time off is that if you don’t set a limit on it, the little fears creep in, the excuses, the games on facebook… and suddenly you haven’t written a word for a month.  (yes, i’ve fallen into that trap too, in the past.)  So, I gave myself one week off, spent it with family and friends, slept in late and generally screwed around. Fuckwittery.

The pages that had me stymied were still there when I came back, but i didn’t dive right into writing. I sat down and tried to explain the problem to my Evil mentor. And lo-and-behold, as I tried to write out what the problem was, I saw the answer.  Yesterday, I sat down for 4 straight hours, got a chapter done and the bones of two more worked out. That was the best writing session I’ve had this year, and suddenly writing was fun again.

I also noticed that the TV was off, the wifi turned off, and I had a quiet morning alone.  I’m beginning to understand why some writers rent a hotel room and disappear for a week or two when they are working on their novel. Too many distractions. I might just have to use up some vacation time this summer, and find a place with a bottomless supply of tea and cookies 🙂

So, I still have to finish the next installment of Gathering Shadows (the breakthrough was for a novel I’ve been working on).   I’ll be sitting down this week to try to put into words where I’ve run into a block with GS. With any luck, the muse will fire off another flashbulb over my head, and I’ll see my way through the tangle.  When I do, you will be the first to know. 🙂


Nanowrimo – the annual madness returns! October 29, 2012

Posted by techtigger in NaNoWriMo, writing.

It’s that time again, when writers everywhere start stocking up on enough caffeine and chocolate to survive a month-long writing binge…NaNoWriMo… (cue ominous music…)

I haven’t done this seriously in years, I’ve just been too darned busy. But this year I actually have a project to get done and NaNo will be the perfect way to motivate me to get things going.  When asked by Maria Kelly, “How do you plan for NaNo?” My answer was, “I don’t!”  🙂  But she said, write a blog post about that anyway!, so here it is!

I know there are a lot of plotters out there. They outline, they color code their sticky notes, they plan to the n’th degree. Sadly, I am not that organized. You see, I am a visual person. I need to ‘see’ the scene in my head, and when I see it clearly, I know I’ve got it nailed. Since I can’t tack sticky notes to my brain, (okay, i could but you have to admit it’s not a good idea) and I’ve never stuck to any outline i’ve ever written, I am trying to think of a way to plan ahead without actually writing outlines or getting anywhere near a chart or binder.  So then it hit me – why not story board it?

I do this all the time for video shoots at work. I make little sketches with notes on camera angle, set dressing, etc. I can even toss in a line or two of text if i think of something particularly amusing.  (… Virgil thumped the metal side of the black hawk helicopter and yelled over the noise of the rotors, “You wanna know what’s wrong? I’m going to Hell in a mil-spec handbasket!”…)

I have no idea if this will work, but I’m willing to try anything once. And that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about, just tossing things out there and seeing what you can do.  I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

Good luck to all of you who are joining in the madness!


Write What You Know – new blog post at #amwriting October 8, 2012

Posted by techtigger in writing.
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I’m always excited when I get asked to do a guest blog, and even moreso today since I’ve been asked to take part in the relaunch of the updated #amwriting website!  Check out my new writing blog post – “Write What You Know – but what does that really mean?”    Includes some tips for fantasy/sci-fi writers 🙂

Hope you enjoy it!



Serial Fiction Roundtable October 4, 2012

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This week I had the honor of taking part in the first of a series of roundtable discussions about publishing Serial Fiction, hosted by the wonderful folks at #TuesdaySerial.  Here’s the video (i come in about halfway through, my day job made me late – doh!). Lots of great insight, and a lot of fun too.  🙂




Safe Haven – on the amwriting blog! May 12, 2012

Posted by techtigger in short story, writing.
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I am thrilled to have my short story, “Safe Haven” over on the #amwriting blog today!   It’s based on the characters from the paranormal espionage novel I have in progress (also found in my story, 10 Lordes.)  Hope you all enjoy it, nothing like a bit of noir to start off the weekend right, eh? 🙂  You can view it here:


(and yes, I am busy polishing this week’s Nox and Grimm. Stay tuned!)



Bookmarket Twitterview January 3, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction, interview, writing.
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Just got #twitterviewed by the lovely host of the #bookmarket chat, @claudiac!  We talked about web serials, publishing, Nox and Grimm and my dislike of moping vampires 😉  If you missed it, you can check out the transcripts here:

twitterview transcripts


Interview on WebFictionWorld! December 22, 2011

Posted by techtigger in writing.
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  H’ray!  The lovely folks at WebFiction World were kind enough to invite me to discuss the merits (and problems) that come with writing a webseries.  Also featured was the talented John Wiswell, author of many wonderful and strange flash fiction stories.  I also got to talk about Nox and Grimm, a paranormal espionage novel that’s in the works, and a bit about the #fridayflash community.

Check it out, lots of fun facts and info for aspiring webseries writers 🙂


Neither a Plotter nor a Pantser Am I June 15, 2011

Posted by techtigger in writing.
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Over the past year I’ve tried to figure out what my writing style is. Everyone says you have to find what works for you – outlining the story before you start, (Plotters),  or just writing without a plan and cleaning the story up after (Seat-of-Pantsers).  I’ve tried every method recommended for those types of writers; the snowflake, phase drafting, a collage of sticky notes spread around the room, etc.   (The last one was pretty, btw, but my handwriting is atrocious and I could never figure out what was on the notes a week later.  Oops.)

Then I heard a phrase that fit me to a tee  – I’m a Puzzle Piecer.  That is exactly how I write, I get an idea, then jump ahead and write something miles down the proverbial road, then jump back to flesh out the backstory, which gives me an idea for something in chapter 29… well, you get the idea.  The problem is, I now have pieces for at least 4 different books, and not a single one of them more than halfway done.  Don’t get me wrong, I know where the story is going, and how it will end. I just don’t have all the pieces to fill in the blank spots yet.  Believe me, it’s every bit as frustrating for me as for the folks who keep asking me, when will it be done?  The only answer I have is that I don’t know, since I have yet to figure out how to get my brain to write in a straight line.

So, here’s my question to the world – are there any other puzzle piecers out there?  If so, how do you manage to get a piece finished?  If I ever find a trick that helps me, outside of dogged perseverance, I’ll be sure to share it.  In the mean time, please be patient with me and my wayward muse.  I have a feeling all my WIP’s will end up getting finished around the same time. 🙂



A Story For Japan – Day 6 March 25, 2011

Posted by techtigger in A Story For Japan, writing.
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A Story For Japan BannerThis story is a stand-alone Nox and Grimm tale, being written to raise funds to help the Red Cross Japan relief fund.  For every dollar donated, I will add a sentence to the story.

As of this morning, we are at 252 lines! And there is still a day to donate – Pitch in, help the Red Cross and watch the story grow!

To donate, click on the button below.

Thank you!

To read Day 1 –  click here

To read Day 2 – click here

To read Day 3 – click here

To read Day 4/5 – click here


Time compressed, and sped up in another blinding flash of light.  The next thing Nox knew, she was hurtling through the air, limp as a rag doll. That was probably the only thing that saved her, when she hit the brick wall. All of the air whooshed out of her lungs and she plummeted to ground, landing on a heap of stinking refuse.  She lay there and waited for the world to quit spinning, while every bone in her body started to ache. The good news was that she was alive, and it didn’t feel like anything was broken.  Unfortunately,  she acted on that knowledge by trying to stand up.  Her stomach lurched, and she was violently ill against the wall.

It was only after her stomach quit imitating a geyser that it occurred to her there were no brick walls in the middle of the wastelands. She could still sense the elements, so she created a handful of snow to clean out her mouth while she examined her new surroundings.  The buildings to either side were tall enough to keep the alley in permanent shade. Boxes made of metal, and others of dense, brown paper covered the ground, leaving only a thin, puddle strewn path open.

Nox staggered for a few steps, but the ache in her bones was spreading. Her whole body started to shake, and she clutched a hand to her chest. The last minutes of the fight came back to her in a rush – Loki going down beneath the blades, and Grimm… panic set in as she realized the ache was spreading out from where their soul-bond had been. That link was the only thing that kept the curse he suffered under from annihilating him.

It was gone. She had failed him.  She threw back her head and screamed.

Miles away, alarm claxons sounded throughout a tall, ordinary looking office building.  John ran full tilt through the hallways, knowing the Director was going to want all hands on deck. The Nexus had been spitting out unusually high levels of radiation all afternoon, and every member of the task force had been put on standby.

He nearly bowled over one of the junior medical officers as he turned a corner.  They spun around and lurched to a halt, apologizing profusely as they extricated themselves.  He was one of the new recruits, just in from the central office in D.C.

“Sir, both of the staff empaths collapsed!”

“If they’ve gone down, the Director may have taken a hit as well. Let’s move.”

They pelted through the halls, past rooms full of empty desks and banks of elevators with Out of Order signs tacked on them.  Pulses from the Nexus played havoc with electronics. At first they had mistaken it for a terrorist group using an EMP. Once they realized it was a natural phenomenon, they had set up a heavily shielded bunker in the basement to use as a command center whenever the Nexus got frisky.  Only a quick response team stayed topside, keeping their eyes, and any other senses they had, open for the signs of trouble that always followed a pulse.

Five flights of stairs later, they were ushered through a pair of airlocks into a large room lit with the multi-hued glow from an entire wall of computer screens. The Director was sitting with his head tilted back, using a handkerchief to mop up the blood from his nose.

John put a hand on his shoulder. “Are you okay, Stephen?”

“Just a black out. I banged my nose on the desktop when I heard that scream.”

“Do we have a reading on where it came from?” John asked, turning to look at the map of the city on the wall behind them.  There was a smear of blood near the waterfront.

“I marked the hit,” Stephen said, “but I can’t give you an exact location. Take two men, and proceed with caution. This one is suffering from severe emotional trauma, as well as having a strong talent blown open. Class two, maybe even one.”

John didn’t wait hear more. Stephen was a class one psychic, and it had taken him years to learn how to control his skills. John was a class two telekinetic, and he could knock holes in buildings with nothing more than the force of his will.  The thought of someone with that kind of power, out of control in a heavily populated city, made his blood run cold.


<-Back to Day 5


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