Lit Hub Daily: August 16, 2018 — Literary Hub

TODAY: In 1936, Italian writer Grazia Deledda, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature, dies. She’s pictured here with her husband and son in Rome circa 1905. Kidnappings, cold cases, and comedy: 5 debut crime novels to read this August. | CrimeReads Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says Crashed by Adam Tooze offers “insights into…

via Lit Hub Daily: August 16, 2018 — Literary Hub

The Door to Hell — raynotbradbury

xxx His mouth are standing in the line to the Gate. The hunger is dropping on the floor, surrounded by the awkward silence of the similar mouths. Waiting. The queue is moving. Slowly. He’s trying to practice on the way to the doors, shamelessly biting the fingernails between the moments of fear. He is across the […]

via The Door to Hell — raynotbradbury

Heaven, Hell and Something Else — Moonlighting Scrivener

I looked up And saw the sky Shimmering in all its glory They call it heaven An abode Where Gods reside I looked down And saw the depths of earth Fiery and smoldering This one’s hell They said Standing for payback And eternal damnation Then I ventured a glance Towards all that was around me […]

via Heaven, Hell and Something Else — Moonlighting Scrivener

“The Proverbs of Hell” (W. Blake) — words and music and stories

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and engraver. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. In the prose work “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” (1790-93), which is one […]

via “The Proverbs of Hell” (W. Blake) — words and music and stories

FF – A Hell of a Day — draliman on life

Here is my little story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle. This week’s photo was contributed by Dale Rogerson. I had to cut 39 words out this week so it’s not quite the epic I initially imagined 😦 Jimbo watched the sun, or what passed for the sun, rising. Everything, as usual, looked a […]

via FF – A Hell of a Day — draliman on life

Why No One Reads Your Blog (and What to Do about It) — The Art of Blogging

So, you’re not getting much traffic, right? I’ve been there, and well… it sucks. No other way to put it. And worst of all, it’s not always clear why it’s happening. It’s not like you’re a spammer. You genuinely care about your audience, and you try to publish content that’ll help them. But nobody gives a damn. […]

via Why No One Reads Your Blog (and What to Do about It) — The Art of Blogging

Grammar Purity is One Big Ponzi Scheme — Discover

“These ‘rules’ have shown impressive staying power. From cocktail parties to kitchen tables, these seemingly fascinating bits of grammar trivia have been repeated over and over, in some cases for centuries. Too bad they’re not true.”

via Grammar Purity is One Big Ponzi Scheme — Discover

Captain Ahab — Rockwell Kent — Biblioklept

Captain Ahab, 1930 by Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do […]

via Captain Ahab — Rockwell Kent — Biblioklept

Response to “The Daily Post”: Subtleties in Writing

Writing at Hasting's Hardback Café, October, 2015
Writing at Hasting’s Hardback Café, October, 2015

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Days are Numbered.”

I received this writing prompt from The Daily Post on November 8: “What’s the date today? Write it down, remove all dashes and slashes, and write a post that mentions that number.

I started to write a glib response about numerology, but then a bell went off in the back of my mind.

While I don’t believe in numerology, I do like to toy with things like this in my writing for the enjoyment of people who do. Having been a graduate student at one time, I know how grad students and other literati like to analyze a text to the nth degree, searching for hidden but profound meaning in every nuanced word or misplaced comma.  I seldom do this with the intent of relaying some arcane theme (people will interpret stories however best fits their worldview anyway), but just so the literati will have some fun analyzing and arguing about the story.  For me, this is part of the fun of writing.  But the more practical side of me also sees it as a way to build up a readership.

One way for a story to become known is via word of mouth.  They will discuss the book if they find it interesting or they find something in it to argue about with their colleagues in the English Department or with friends at work or with like-minded enthusiasts at the local book club.  So I give them something to debate.

Mostly, the understated connections I use are meaningless.  For example, I have been working on a sci-fi short story in which I wanted to mention a sidearm astronauts 200 years from now might carry, but I did not want to use a type of space weapon that has become a cliché in the sci-fi world like a Star Trek phaser or a Star Wars blaster or a Flash Gordon ray gun.    I named it the Hawking S-505 Black Particle sidearm.     Hawking, obviously, for Stephen Hawking, who I am sure will have tons of scientific stuff named for him in the future including spaceports and starships.  “Black Particle” as a form of dark energy relating to dark matter, which is cutting edge science these days, but will probably be trite in two centuries.  S-550: the “S” is for sidearm; 550 is a US highway that runs through the town where I live currently.  If I need a number, such as a serial number, I often use an old phone number or my birthdate or some other useless bit of trivia.   As the original post from The Daily Post suggested, I might use a form of today’s date or some other date with meaning in my life.  If the subject relates to magic(k), I might consult a book on numerology and choose/compose something appropriate.  For example, in one horror story I have been writing for a long time, the protagonist walks through a tunnel under a dilapidated castle, where black magick was once practiced.  The sides of the tunnel are covered in symbols and numbers including the number “4”, which symbolizes evil in some traditions.

For the names of characters, I frequently glance at the bookshelf to the right of my easy chair, where I write on my laptop, and combine the names of two authors to produce a name that has the right “sound” for the character or I might combine names from history or art or some other field.  For example, I see I have one book by Bill Moyers and another by George Plimpton.  I might name a character Bill Plimpton.  In another sci-fi work (yet to be published) I needed the names for a nine man reconnaissance team to go aboard a derelict starship.   I went to Google Translate and took the word for “warrior” from nine languages ranging from Gaelic to Swahili, so none would be immediately recognizable as a word for warrior (at least in the US), yet the names would express the cultural diversity of the crew.

Anyway, for me that is part of the fun of writing.  How do you have fun with your writing?

Thoughts? Comments?

Horrify This! for November 11, 2015

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “An Odd Trio.”

Here is Ben Huberman’s challenge for the day:

“Today, you can write about whatever you what — but your post must include, in whatever role you see fit, a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel.”

Here is my response:

On a cold winter day in Santa Fe, Nikki and Jay lay sunning themselves in the buff on beach towels under their living room sun lamp.

“I don’t understand why you hate Mr. Mann so,” said Nikki.  “He’s an awesome cat, clever and cuddly and cute with beautiful blue eyes.”

“He’s got an attitude problem,” said Jay.  “He’s always looking at me as if he were plotting something against me.”

Telmo the cat by Luizmo
Telmo the cat
by Luizmo

“There you go, hating on him again.  You just enjoy being cruel sometimes.  You always have some mean thing to say.  I really hate that new one you’ve come up with.”

“You mean ‘there’s got to be a better use for cats than violin strings’?

“That’s it.  Sometimes you can be a real bastard.  By the way, where is Mr. Mann?  I haven’t seen him since I got home from work.”

“He’s around someplace.  The little bastard has been under my nose all day.”  Jay reached behind him, picked up a thermos, and poured its hot contents into a small bowl they were sharing.  “How about some more soup?  I spent a lot of the day making it just for you.”

“Yes, please.  It’s delicious. It shows that you put a lot of time and care into it.”  Nikki took the bowl and sipped.  “What did you call this?  Cocoa van?”

“No, it’s not coq au vin.  We had that last week.”  He could not repress a smile.  “This is chat au vin.”

Nikki took another sip and then held her nose close to the soup and sniffed.  She reveled in its aroma.  “Chat au vin?  You’ll have to teach me French some day.”

Jay took the bowl gently from her hand and set it aside.  He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close.  “First, I have some other French stuff I would like to teach you.”

He wrapped his arms around her tightly and kissed her long and deep, delighting in the taste of cat upon her lips and tongue.

What can you write in response to Ben’s challenge of the day?

Thoughts?  Comments?

Horrify This

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Secret Admirers.”

Writing  at Hasting's Hardback Café in Farmington, NM, late evening of October 16, 2015 (self-portrait)
Writing at Hasting’s Hardback Café in Farmington, NM, late evening of October 16, 2015 (self-portrait)

In this prompt, Ben Huberman asks:

“You return home to discover a huge flower bouquet waiting for you, no card attached. Who is it from — and why did they send it to you?”

Horrify this.

My question to you is:  instead of a huge bouquet of flowers waiting for you, what horrific bouquet would be waiting for you (or someone else) and why was it sent?

Thoughts? Comments?

Question of the Day from Ben Huberman at The Daily Post

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Truth Serum”:

Phil Slattery at a literary costume part for charity in 2015, dressed as Lovecraft's Herbert West, Re-animator
Phil Slattery at a literary costume part for charity in 2015, dressed as Lovecraft’s Herbert West, Re-animator

Ben Huberman poses an interesting question:  “You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum.  Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?”

I would not give it to anyone with their consent.  Their permission implies they are telling me the truth anyway or would if I asked for it.

For a blog specializing in horror, It would be better to ask the following:

Who would you give it to without their knowledge, and by implication, without their consent?

Who would you give it to, without their consent, but with their knowledge?  For example, the s.o.b. you hold in the most contempt is duct-taped in a chair or is strapped onto a surgical table under blinding lights.

Now, under these conditions, what questions would you ask?

Thoughts?  Comments?