Archive for category Writing

Podcast Mania – Jan 2018 Update

The time has come to post an update on which podcasts I presently listen to. A lot has changed since my last post, and a lot has stayed the same.

This time around I have added an identifier to signal the primary reason each podcast is on this list.

Here they are in the order they appear in my podcatcher:

Ask Alli: Self Publishing Advice -Writing

Beyond The Trope – Geekdom

Coffeehouse Questions – Christian

Create If Writing – Writing

Escape Pod – Story

Galactic Suburbia – Geekdom

Girl In Space – Story

Helping Writers Become Authors – Writing

How Do You Write – Writing

I Should Be Writing – Writing

Novel Marketing – Marketing

Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing – Marketing

Self Publishing Journeys – Writing

Smart Author – Marketing

So You Want To Be An Writer – Writing

The Author Biz – Marketing

The Book Speaks – Story

The Career Author – Writing

Creative Penn – Writing

Creative Writers Toolbelt – Writing

Crypto News Podcast – Business

Functional Nerds – Geekdom

Introvert Entrepreneur – Business

Joined Up Writing – Writing

The Petal To The Metal – Writing

Portfolio Life – Business

Self Publishing Formula – Writing

Sell More Books Show – Marketing

Smarty Pants Book Marketing – Marketing

Worried Writer – Writing

Unemployable – Business

Wordslinger – Writing

Write Now – Writing

Writing Excuses – Writing

Enjoy your listening.


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Mission Creep – Tighten the Screws

The story continues, taking up where Mission Creep – The Dance left off:

“No rush. As I said, no one’s watching out for me at my modest room.”

This was getting better by the moment. “It’ll take a little longer, but we can avoid the crush by heading this way to my car.”

“You’re such a considerate gentleman.”

The side route he led her through still contained too many prying eyes for him to get closer to this gem. Played right this could only heighten the desire she’s sending his way. To keep up appearances, he quizzed her on basic aspects of Stellar Dynamics.

She faultered in her rudimentary answer to his last question when they approached the sportiest car on the lot. He’d paid a lot of money to elicit that response from the ladies. And from the men who could only be jealous of his prowess for that matter. Bright red. Low slung. Every line said speed. And money. And comfort. The average person could never tell this machine from an actual super-car.

His remote caused the passenger door to rise as he led her around the sleek nose. “What do you think of my little rocket?”

She looked at him. “This is really yours?”

“Every last gram of luxury power. Take a look at where you’ll be sitting.”

The body molded seat sat so low she’d be more comfortable, and more enticing, leaning back the way he had it preset. As the driver he didn’t have quite as much freedom but plenty of time behind the wheel had helped him get even that just right. His one regret, the centre consule made cuddling a challenge.

“I get to ride in there?”

“You certainly do.” A little gallentry always did the trick at this moment. “Give me your hand and I’ll help you in.”

“I don’t–”

“Come now, how often do you get a chance to try out a ride like this?”

She looked from him to the car. “I’ve never even been this close to such a car before.”

“And you’re about to get closer. Please, climb in.”

She accepted his hand and slid in with a litheness that promised so much more. He lowered the door while she explored the comforts within and hurried around to take his seat.


I envision completing this story in 2 to 3 more segments. This raises the question: Do I continue posting them here before bringing them together in a polished final work or hold them back until it’s done? The comments below is your one and only chance to have a say in my decision.

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Mission Creep – The Dance

This is the follow up to my Mission Creep, A Beginning post, filling in a few more of the details that lead to my original Plot Bunny Escape event:

A squad of muscle bound athletics blocked his view.

She wasn’t there when they moved on.

By the door. She’d stopped to flash another smile his way. Their gazes met. She slipped outside.

He abandoned his coffee.

The promenade proved almost as busy as the cafe. He couldn’t see her anywhere. A flash of just the right shade of violet across the tree lined medium. He had her headed to a side walkway. One that didn’t lead anywhere popular, and would be relatively quiet at this time of day.

Around a corner past a flowering bush in desperate need of trimming, she stood beside a gentle fountain finishing off the last of her roll. A pleasing blush flushed her cheeks. Or maybe a touch of what am I doing? So much the better.

Time to make his move. “Excuse me, Ms?”

She wiped her hands on a cloth taken from a back pocket. An exotic beauty from head to toe. “Sheila.”

“Sheila. That’s a pretty name. I’m Marcus, Doctor Marcus Orling, at your service.”

“Doctor Orling? The Doctor Orling? Who wrote that paper on refinements to threshold detection limits?”

This could be easier than he hoped. “The same. Haven’t I seen you around the Stellar Dynamics section? Is that how you discovered my work?”

She wouldn’t quite meet his gaze. She felt undeserving of his attention. He moved a little closer. “I’m not faculty. You can treat me as just another man on campus.”

“Just another man on campus? You? I’m honored you even noticed an outsider like myself. There are so few of us, and, so many of you locals keep your distance.”

He touched her forearm, which she didn’t pull away. “Come now. You read my opus. Not many students can say the same. That makes you special in my eyes.”

Her shoulders slumped. “It’s not that simple.”

“Why not?” He moved a little closer.

She wouldn’t look at him. “I know of your work, but I’ll be lucky to just continue my studies long enough to make sense of the basics.”

Another clue he could make use of. “I can’t offer this to just any student, but one who knows my work enough to recognise me?”

This time she touched him. “Offer what?”

“I like you Sheila. There’s a spunk about you that could blossom under the right conditions.” It had been a while, but oh the possibilities if he could get her to see him as a mentor. “I can’t promise it will work out, but I can offer a little tutoring. Enough to pass your exams. If you are willing to put in the effort to make it worth both our whiles .”

“You would do that far me? A complete stranger?”

“We all start out as strangers. It’s what we do after meeting that determines where it goes from there.” He puffed out his chest at having come up with such a profound statement at a time like this.

She ran a hand down his arm. “No ones ever been so generous to me. Without better grades I might not even be allowed to continue my studies. I can work hard. You’ll see.”

Her hand had not lifted from his arm. So close. Would she agree to the next step?

“I have a couple hours free right now. My lab is off limits to students, but I only live a short distance from here. I could evaluate where you are right now.”

She blanched. “Your place? Now? Wouldn’t that–”

“You forget, I’m not faculty, and it’ll be quick. Enough to let us know if a more formalised arrangement should be entered into.” He turned his arm to take her hand. “No promises. No commitments. We can sound each other out, and take it from there ”

She touched his chest with her other hand. “There’s no one waiting for me at home, and my parents will be so hurt if I get sent home after all they did to get me here.”

Yes. “Then it’s settled. I even promise to take you home when the evaluation is over.”


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Mission Creep, A Beginning

I have officially dubbed this plot bunny Mission Creep. This scene happens a short time before the action depicted in my previous blog post.


Marcus Orling nursed his unadorned coffee. Though his trusty rum bottle weighed down the inner pocket of his jacket, the unusual crush of bodies in his favorite off campus coffee shop had so far made it unwise to add the much desired brace.

An elbow pushed into the space between his shoulder blades. High pitched giggles told him it could only be a group of feminine students pushing through to the counter. A glance confirmed his conjecture. Fourth year examples of fine womanly flesh, on the ordinary side.

He returned his attention to his too plain coffee. Not being faculty, he didn’t have to live by the constraints of his fellow researchers, but that didn’t mean he could be overt in his actions. Though maybe such a distraction would take the edge off the stress of the upcoming assessment of his work.

A flash of violet drew his attention up and three tables over. Short cropped brown hair, angular face, narrow eyes, and skin pink enough to show blushes real well. Such exotic beauty had to mean she was one of the latest crop of off-worlders to grace the institute. Hadn’t he even seen her in the vicinity of the Stellar Dynamics section a few times over the last week?

She almost met his gaze, then looked down at the roll on her plate. A moment later, she glanced back at him. This time a tentative smile brightened her face.

This could prove to be just the distraction he was looking for.


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Plot Bunny Escape

20170423_141929All writers wrangle with plot bunnies at one time or another  Like real rabbits plot bunnies can appear at any moment and have a tendency to breed prolifically if not kept under tight control. From time to time even my plot bunnies manage to escape their hutches and force me to chase them down. This plot bunny would not be caught until I put finger to keyboard.

My hope now is to build this out into a full short to go with my One’s Place teaser. Comments welcome.


The Point of View character has brought young Sheila home on a date. They arrived to discover a trio of escaped convicts have holed up in his house. Things have gone from bad to worse…

Other characters:

Burly, the leader, Nose, and Scarface

Plot Bunny Wrangled:

Sheila let go a loud sigh. Then, without lifting her head or straightening her cowed shoulders, said, “I can’t let that happen.”

Burly spun about and pulled her chin up.  “What did you–”

His head snapped back as she drove her palm up under his chin before he doubled over. She’d slammed her other fist into his gut.

Nose stepped forward only to be driven into the wall by the foot she planted in his chest.

Before Scarface could even bring his knife up she’d snapped his weapon arm behind his back and had the blade at his neck.

She leaned in close to his ear. “It would be so easy, but then some poor grunt would be stuck cleaning up all that blood.”

She did something to pull Scarface off balance.  He let out a yell as a loud snap came from the knee she’d side kicked.  Nose had come off the wall but before he could close she had taken his out stretched arm, dropped to her knee, and thrown him over his shoulder to crash through the coffee table.

Sheila stood. “Now would be a good time to call the police. I recommend you tell them the whole story.”


More Thoughts On Podcast Mania

A while back I wrote a post discussing my plunge into the world of listening to podcasts.

Some of the podcasts I list there are no longer on my to-hear list while others have been added.

Along the way, though, I have begun to wonder if it isn’t time to cull the size of my list. Hard to do when I have little to fill that time with during my commutes.

My main complaint falls into two general categories:

  1. Multiple podcasts all carrying the same guest in a short period of time. One guest may appear in my rotation discussing the same subject 4, 5, or more times within a given month.
  2. Hyper-driven guests that can’t not get things done.

The second category of guest is the one that’s getting to me the most. There are times I wonder if I’m exaggerating by describing them as:

  1. Waking up with the thought, it’s time to write a book.
  2. Having that book written by 9am.
  3. Published by noon.
  4. Number 1 on Amazon by 6.

How can a person who faces his own personal entropy every day hope to ever have anything in common with such dynamos? Much less get anywhere in my writing life when such people dominate the charts?

I want to hear more about people who struggled to get started. Struggled to get traction. Struggle to keep going.

I want to hear more about how those people are making it in the hopes of gleaming ideas that will help me to continue forward.

Until then I am finding this constant exposure to the Hyper-driven exhausting. Thinking that cutting them out of my listening schedule may help me to maintain the progress I am capable of making based upon where I am now.

I’m sure the Hyper-driven would have long since made their decision and moved on. I just don’t work that fast.


Scheduling Conundrum

img_6351Creative Ink Festival is upon us in a month. As usual I have not purchased my membership until I can confirm I have time off to attend. This year is different.

For some background, the place where I work has a 7 day schedule. My co-worker does 10 hours days Monday to Wednesday and I do 10 hours each Thursday and Friday plus 9 hours each Saturday and Sunday. We are the only people qualified to handle the day shift, which means if one of us can’t make it the other has to fill in. Over the course of the average year this in not generally a problem as time off for each of us tends to balance out.

This year is different. I took extra time off over Christmas for what would likely be the last time I would see my dad, then more time in January to attend his funeral.

Now I feel as if I’d be pushing it too far to ask for yet another Friday to Sunday so soon after all that.

This will be the third year they have run Creative Ink Festival and I have been looking forward to attending since last April. It has become the 2nd biggest fan con of my year, not some auxiliary I’d like to attend if I can event. Letting it go would be a big let down. It just feels so unfair to my co-worker.

All I can do now is have a talk with him to see what he thinks.

It stinks to find myself caught in such a position.


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Character Interview, Carryl Runderfiord, President Runderfiord Enterprises


My last interview in this series is a busy man. It took more than a little wrangling courtesy of Miss Whittager to get a few minutes chasing after him as he refused to slow down.

What is your greatest fear?

A little incident somewhere around a year ago reminded me of how vulnerable my nearest loved ones can become if I let my guard down.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I have to lose too much valuable time sleeping.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

That’s a hard one. In my line of work you expect all kinds of underhanded dealings around every corner. I almost deplore honest people because they present no challenge.

Which living person do you most admire?

The Merchant Lord Spaeker. Now there’s a man with a mind for business.

Which living person do you most despise?

The Merchant Lord Amberoon. So many toys and so little ambition.

When and where were you happiest?

That’s easy. In the middle of a tough negotiation.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

There’s this one lady, a so-so trader, but one of the finest engineers I have ever seen. Those were the only things she would ever agree to do for me.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Here I am, president of one of Uitnep’s fastest growing corps without the benefit of any Merchant Lord patronage.

What do you most value in your friends?

There is a core of people who will stand with me during even the bleakest of times.

What is your greatest regret?

That little incident I mentioned above? I made it possible. If the most unexpected of interventions hadn’t come along at just the right time…

Visit my Published Works page to find stories involving this character.

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Character Interview, Jonine Whittager, Engineer


It took some digging, but I succeeded in tracking down a bar frequented by my latest interview. Her language is, to put it mildly, a little flowery, so the answers below have been a wee bit edited in accordance to my Clean Reads policy.

What is your greatest fear?

Discovering all the bars are closed after getting off a long shift. Er. Not the answer you were looking for?

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Not being able to wait until no one is looking before flattening an overly annoying person? You should patent that look.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

An inability to match me drink for drink. Okay, seriously, if you’re going to be that way, double minded people who don’t know what loyalty is.

Which living person do you most admire?

You may have trouble believing this, after all he is neither from Merchant Lord stock or supported by any major merchant consortium, but my boss. Not the little guys I have to answer to on a day to day basis, the big man, Carryl Runderfiord. I mean, look what he has build without the benefit of all those aforementioned connections.

Which living person do you most despise?

I have to name just one? You may want to move onto another question.

When and where were you happiest?

In spite of our present surroundings, I’m really the happiest when I’m elbow deep in a tricky engineering problem. Machines don’t make unreasoned demands on your time and attention.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’m told I need to cultivate a modicum of self control. Refer back to my comment about waiting before flooring an, um, annoying person.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Surely you see this jagged scar above my right eyebrow. You’ve been glancing at it often enough. There’s quite the story, but I don’t think you’re up to it.

What do you most value in your friends?

They don’t give me that look when my language gets a little, shall we say, colourful.

What is your greatest regret?

I’m where I want to be, doing what I want to do. Well, my glass is empty.

Visit my Published Works page to find stories involving this character.

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Character Interview, Elder Roggi Exavent



I was told Elder Roggi Exavent is too busy to speak to the likes of me. He offered me a cup of tea and all the time I needed.

What is your greatest fear?

I’ve lived so long and seen so much that it’s hard to talk in terms of a greatest fear, but there is one matter, steps I’ve taken. I know I’ve done the right thing, but there’s a shadow over my prayers that haunts me when things are quiet.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

This has changed many times over the decades, but more and more I deplore the way I have coddled my grandson Nivpul when even his father has implored me push him more to break out of his shell, socially speaking.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

The rigid adherence to religious doctrine among my peers when scripture drives us to be so much more.

Which living person do you most admire?

You’ve caught me there. I admire how well my son Peaul has done since that fateful day the Loabaycle was lost with all hands aboard, including my sweetest Ssilsnia and all five of Peauls siblings. I lost so many years after the news, years spent alternatively smothering and ignoring my son’s very real needs. That being said, I also admire my grandson Nivpul. So much like me in my early years before Ssilsnia came along. Maybe too much given he has yet to meet his Ssilsnia.

Which living person do you most despise?

The current Duke of Argodr. His father and grandfather were dangerous to be sure, but the present Duke, his ego and his avarice, surpasses that of any Noble I have ever had to mispleasure of dealing with.

When and where were you happiest?

The day my dear departed Ssilsnia cornered me into courting her affection. We had so many happy years together before the tragedy.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To be honest. I am what the years have made me, there is little worth changing this late in life.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Marked characteristic? That has to be my refusal to limit myself to the rigid patterns practiced by most of the devoit aboard Motherload when asked to pray in public. As if I allow such rigidity to restrict me in private.

What do you most value in your friends?

Really, the fact that they are my friends. Once you’ve risen to my status as an Honoured Elder it is easy to surround yourself with status climbers or to spend too much time easing the status climb of your children.

What is your greatest regret?

Sigh. Even so many decades later I find myself torn by that question. Do I regret not clearing my calendar so I could be with my family when the Loabaycle was lost. Or regret letting Ssilsnia take the rest of the family ahead while Peaul stayed behind with me for the father to son talk.

Visit my Published Works page to find stories involving this character.

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