Friday, September 28, 2012

My First Interview!

AmyBeth Iverness asked last week if she could interview me as part of her spotlight on the Precipice authors.

I want to say thank you, AmyBeth. I'm still giggling with joy.

Please pop over to her site and check it out. I'm pretty candid for being a shy person.

Interview with Shelton Keys Dunning

Thanks again!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Write On Edge: Writing Goals

Red Writing Hood this week is asking us about our writing goals, 300 words or less.

So I offer the following: Goals and an Update

I can pile my goals up into one lump sum: I want to be a writer by profession. (Readers can check out the epiphany I had on July 3rd of this year.)

Since I made this decision, some very wonderful things have happened. Cameron asked me to lead off her Story Circle for July. I received announcement that both stories I submitted to Precipice were chosen for the inaugural publication. I was asked to offer some guest posts for Write On Edge. And AmyBeth Iverness asked to interview me (as one of the 17 chosen for Precipice) for her blog.

That I am honored by these events is an epic understatement.  I’m excited – no, elated – that I have received recognition from some very quality folks within the writing community.

Next on my agenda, to self-publish my novel The Trouble With Henry. Trouble is currently with my editor and good friend. The goal was to have the final edit complete by summer of this year, but life corrupts the best laid plans of mice. Hopefully, we will be able to sit down together soon, brush the dust out of the crevices of the story, apply some finishing touches, and go in search of cover art.

I am approaching self-publishing as a professional should, trading my creative hat for a business hat. It is a slow process for me, because I’m so new to the arena and scared of where the next steps will take me. It is a painful process because each week my parents lean on me, asking me why my editor isn’t done, where my book is, why they can’t purchase 20 copies yet to distribute to their friends.

Baby steps.

The tortoise won the race against the hare with a slow and steady pace. I can too. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Write On Edge: Clue Challenge

Red Writing Hood this week's challenge gives us three words inspired by the popular Hasbro board game CLUE: Scarlet, Library, Candlestick. The word limit (including the three mandatory words) is 250.

I love this game. I suck at playing it. I never managed to develop a strategy that worked. Never winning has never curbed my appeal for the game. I happily roll the die and plop my plastic pieces in any nearby room and cheer the winner when a successful accusation is made.

The game was originally published in England, I believe, in/around 1947? (Don't quote me on that, my knowledge is rusty and I'm too lazy to research it this week). Several spinoffs exist, but the original is still my favorite.

When the movie starring some of my all-time favorite actors was released, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Quotes from the film wind their way into my daily speech often. I'm a geek that way.

I offer the following in response: The Deception Hour

Anastasia peeled the mask from her face, disgusted at the whole affair. Gaudy wealth dripped from every inch of the masquerade. Prancing puppets, she thought, retreating from the dancers to the library. Spying candlestick after garish candlestick wedged between leather-bound books, she scowled on principle.

“May I offer you a drink?”

She tilted her head towards the voice. “Thank you,” she accepted the small crystal-clad cordial from his silver tray. “A fine mess this is. Butlering for us must be dreadful.”

A sly smile surfaced to his mouth. “Dancing among you would be worse.”

She laughed, “Agreed. They are vultures, vampires seeking blood and bragging rights. And, according to my mother, the elite from which to choose a spouse.”

His smile grew toothier. “M'lady, isn’t it scandalous to discuss such matters with servants?”

She displayed her mask to him, “No one here is who she appears to be.”

“Have you yet seen the gardens?” he gestured towards the glass doors to the patio. “I understand the Scarlet Pearls are quite lovely to behold.”

She paused. Her mother would be furious, but the servant was the most promising companion of the evening. “Are you at liberty to escort me?”

“I am…for you.”

Anastasia welcomed the crisp air as they escaped to the outdoors. At the edge of a sculpted herb garden, she forced introductions. “Anastasia Dumarche.”

He kissed her hand. “Arik Lyon, Count of Monteschell, your humble servant.”

Her heart flitted like the hovering stars above. Her mother would be pleased.

Today's Spotlight Special

A couple weeks ago, the editors of Write On Edge gave me an offer I simply couldn't refuse. Along with a few very talented bloggers, I was given an opportunity to "Guest Speak" on their site for the autumn season.

If you have the chance, please stop by Write On Edge and check it out!

Thank you Write On Edge editors for this wonderful opportunity. I'm humbled and thrilled to play a small part with such an amazing team!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Precipice is Coming!

Today at Write On Edge, Cameron announced the launch details of the first volume of Precipice.

Congrats to both the editorial team who sacrificed their time to bring this publication to fruition, and to all the talented writers represented in this inaugural edition.

On October 30th, Precipice, the Literary Anthology of Write On Edge, 2012 will be available for purchase in print through Amazon for $9.99, for Kindle, Nook, and all other ereaders for $3.99.

There will be a format for every discerning taste. I will have the appropriate links available when the time comes. I'm warning you in advance: there will be happy dancing and back-patting in the Dunning Corner.

I'm excited to be a part of the Write On Edge community, and I can't wait to hold a copy of Precipice in my hot little hands! Again, my congrats to all who made this possible!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Write On Edge: Photo Challenge

This photo is the challenge Red Writing Hood gives us this week. Word limit of 500.

It was a little too happy-go-lucky for my tastes apparently. Everything I tried to write came out like Zombies Invade Wonderland or Jack The Ripper, The Return, anything but happy umbrellas, suspended in a happy sky over a happy world.

I think I need to see a shrink. Who but I could look at that picture and see the Apocalypse? I know what the feeling stems from though. When I was a teen, my mother and I worked jigsaw puzzles often. One in particular was of a rainbow of umbrellas. That...insert every possible curse word of foul origin here...bloody puzzle was impossible. It took forever to complete as every single blasted piece was cursed to never go where it looked like it should.

It did inspire me to write, however, and I believe that is the true message to be conveyed here. I have a short story soon to be published (yea! shameless plug) and I thought (after the other failed attempts with zombies and Jack) why not give a prequel, a backstory, if you will indulge me, for one of the characters.

So this week I offer in response: Burned

Available balance: $0.00
Would you like to perform another transaction?

Mitch gripped the sides of the ATM as the rain washed blood from the side of his face. He was surprised he was still breathing, not at his empty account. The zero balance mocked him like a neon sign. He chuckled softly, wincing as his ribs reminded him they were cracked. Something within him instructed his legs to move and he turned to walk away. After ten years of The Game, he learned to trust his own gut.

“Excuse me, Sir? Your card?” a voice called after him. Mitch ignored her, slipping into the collective blind spot of a thousand umbrellas, moving to the throb of the city. His foggy mind began to clear, revealing the flashing images of a car crash. The impact had thrown him against the front seat. His handler was incapacitated, possibly even dead. He reached across the body for the door handle, tumbled out of the car and unexpectedly down the steep ravine housing the creek below. The forty dollars in his wallet purchased a cab ride to the city where the ATM informed him of his burn notice.

Where am I? Berkley’s on Third Street. What’s my situation? Broken…fubarred. His memory pulled the picture of the foreign operative from the files, the one his partner silenced three years ago, the one he saw pull the trigger on the senator the day before yesterday. Marston. This went sideways fast.

He headed west, traveling like a salmon against the waterfall of pedestrian traffic, avoiding eye contact. Disappearing from sight meant hiding in plain view. With the rain, the umbrellas as camouflage, he limped towards his safe house on Sidle Park.

His place was already tossed, but that wasn't the problem. His partner lay in a pool of black blood, her fingers stuffed into her abdomen like the Dutch boy at the dyke. “Mitch, you look like hell,” Vanessa’s voice cracked and strained.

He knelt at her side, fighting to contain his rage. “They got your liver, Van.”

Her laugh was short lived. “I forgot to duck when Marston pulled the trigger.” She sucked in a long breath, the color draining from her eyes. “You just missed him. Maybe ten minutes? I almost got tired of waiting.”

He kissed her forehead. “I’m here. I won't let you go alone.”

She smiled, “When…you going to learn? I can take…take care of…my…”

Vanessa went limp. He gently shut her eyelids. “I know. I needed you too.”

Mitch rose, crossing to the fireplace. Using a poker as a crowbar, he pried some bricks loose from their setting, revealing the hiding place for his bug-out box. Inside, there was a hundred thousand in cash, a handful of passports with aliases that weren’t on file with the Agency, a couple of burner phones, his Seals knife, and a loaded 9mm. All that was left now was Marston, and payback was going to be fun.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Write On Edge: Local Items Challenge

Red Writing Hood this week, challenges us to develop our setting by referencing an item or industry specific to a locale to help enhance a story. We have 350 words.

I grew up in Southern California. The history around here is rich, but fewer and fewer people each year remember that orange groves dominated what landscape the dairy farms didn't cover. Hollywood and Disneyland have both served to drive the entertainment industries and transform the individuality of the surrounding communities. What was once vast, never ending farm/ranch lands are now a giant, widespread, concrete jungle, saturated with heavy traffic on the freeways and granite counter-tops in the humblest of homes. Time is the great equalizer here, I think. When one local item fades by the wayside, another rises to take its place. And sometimes, sometimes that item reaches global success and no longer belongs entirely to its beginning.

I'm stepping back in time to an item, a product created and nursed to health in 1932 that no longer belongs to one man in Buena Park.

I offer the following in response: A Pie of a Different Berry

Lily peered into the basket of fruit, “Them blackberries ain’t ripe, E’gar.”

Edgar looked up from his newspaper, “T’ain’t blackberries, Lil. Got them from Walt’s berry place just off of Highway 39.”

She brushed flour from her hands and picked a purplish berry for closer inspection. “I don’t know…you sure them’s safe to make a pie with?”

“Them beachy folks bought them by the bucket-load, an’ they’s all gossipin’ about how Cordy’s pies and jams were the cat’s pajamas.” Edgar returned to his paper. “That Sharp woman committed suicide, according to this.”

She rinsed the debris from the berries, trading their basket for a bowl. “Well them cops oughta be ashamed of themselves, driving a grieving woman to that.”

“Maybe she was the kidnappers’ inside man?” he challenged.

“I don’t buy it.” Lily stared at the berries for a moment, wondering what her options were. A cobbler, maybe? The unfamiliar color of the fruit made her hesitant to taste one. “That sweet woman wouldna put Little Lindy in danger. No sane woman could.”

“Lil, I don’t think suicide is the sign of a sane mind, nor an innocent one for that matter.”

“That’s ‘cause you ain’t a woman, E’gar. Women’ll kill to protect their babies. But murderin’ a baby? I tell ya no woman’ll do that.” Cautiously, she bit into the end of the darkest berry. The tartness made her jaw tingle. “Oh, them’s gonna need sugar. What are these called again?”

“They called them boysenberries.”

She picked a large seed from her teeth, still unsure. The berry aspired to be a raspberry in flavor, yet there notes of wild huckleberry in its finish. The juice stained her fingers pink. “Well, I don’t know about them.”

Edgar rose from the table and wrapped his arms around her waist, causing a giggle to work its way through her heart and escape through her mouth. “Well, I know that Cordy’s pies might be famous, but that’s ‘cause them beachy folks never tasted yours.”

She laughed again, kissing his cheek. “I guess a cobbler just won’t do then. A pie it is.”

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

If today is Labor Day, why is it banks are closed? Shouldn't they be working, too?

Well, whether you're working or resting, or playing hard, I hope you are surrounded by people you love and your day is fabulous!

Happy Day!