Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Cathy Coburn tagged me for a little thing called the 777 challenge.  I will post seven lines from page seven of a work in progress and then tag seven other writers. Because I’ve never been good at coloring inside the lines, I’m changing this up a bit.  How about the first seven lines of the work or seven lines from page seven.  I want to introduce you to some great writers, so I’m tagging them and I’ll leave it up to them if they want to post some lines.  But do follow the links to their blogs or websites.

Brian Braden

Rachel Walsch

Kati Thomson

Melanie Martilla

Tara Sheets

Nikki Andrews

Julie Eberhart Painter

Here are the first 7 lines from a YA fantasy I’m currently writing called INKER WAR: THE FIVE PENS OF JOHANNE

Sure, we die; we always die, but this time something’s gone wrong. Our algorithms pointed to the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria in 642 AD. Ryan and I Inked into the consciousness of the right people 1369 years in ancient Egypt’s past. We stole the Al Chemeia papyrus scrolls for their alchemical formulas. Our plan should be working without a hitch. Instead I’ve got a very large Islamic warrior in a fighting tunic covered in blood and dirt, yelling at me in a voice, oddly reminiscent of 20th century New Jersey.

“Stop, Inkah’s.”


Total ChaosTotal Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first in a trilogy set in Marseilles. Izzo’s Marseilles takes the city off my list of places to visit. The town, dark, gritty, with a raging undercurrent of bigotry, however, provides fertile soil for a crime thriller. A flawed protagonist moves through the plot struggling with his past and his present with a detail for the internal life of his character that seems more the norm with European writers.

Hits: Marseilles provides a gritty setting and becomes a character int he story; the well-developed interior life of the protagonist; a twisting plot that will keep you guessing

Misses: The plot involves a large number of characters who, after a time, I started to feel like I was watching a football match (pick the shape of your ball) with endless substitutions until I didn’t have any room left on my scorecard. If you want to completely get this plot — who did exactly what, when, where and why — you’ll need a whiteboard handy for keeping track of the players.


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Ah, Time Travel!  That magical  staple of science fiction.  As I ponder my own path through the science fiction landscape, one recurring plot device would have to be time travel.  The following is a list of the formative time travel plots, not comprehensive at all and not necessarily in order of quality, but more chronologically that I encountered growing up.

I think my earliest encounter with anything resembling time travel had to be Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” and of course, I am not referring to the novel, but the 1962 Mr. Magoo version that haunted the television airwaves in the early sixties.  Being my first exposure to Dicken’s work, Mr. Magoo still feels like the authoritative version of the story to me.  Watching Ebeneezer Scrooge break the bonds of the present to travel back to Christmas past, present and future truly messed with my young developing mind.  Of course we could argue whether Eb visited his Chrismas Past in a vision, but I like to think the Ghost of Christmas Past actually transported him there.
I can still remember my formative experience of the time travel paradigm seeing “Time Machine,” the 1960 flick based on H.G. Wells book of the same title.  Do you remember that really cool time machine that looked a bit like Santa Claus and the Elves doing a bit of mescaline?
The first TV show I can remember that revolved around time travel has to be “Time Tunnel.”  I always liked the cool spiraling infinity visual effect used to “transport” James Darren repeatedly into the time-space continuum.
“Bewitched.”  True confession.  As a boy, and I don’t think I was alone in this, I was madly in love with Elizabeth Montgomery.  What a babe! (Hey, it’s the 60’s and I’m a little kid, so I think I can be a little anachronistically sexist.)  She had a way with her cute little nose and with time, conjuring up Benjamin Franklin, Sigmund Freud and Leonardo DaVinci, to name only a few.  And I seem to recall she visited Salem during a rather awkward moment  for witches during the 1600’s in that part of the world.
Certainly I’ve got to add in the Star Trek episode, “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” when USAF Captain Christopher finds himself on the USS Enterprise after the star ship, in attempting to break the grasp of a black star, sent itself plummeting through time and space to be conveniently in the vicinity of planet Earth in 1969.  The moral here is not to use a tractor beam from a Starfleet vessel on a 1960’s vintage USAF fighter.  Duh!
“Back to the Future.”  The big plot advance for this cinematic franchise was the substitution of a DeLorean for that old Model A of a contraption in The Time Machine.   I understand the DeLorean is a much better time machine than sportscar.

So what are your formative time travel plots?   Just to prime the pump, here are a few more come to mind as memorable and more recent additions to the time travel lexicon:


  • Time Bandits
  • The Terminator flicks
  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • 12 Monkeys


  • Dr. Who
  • Torchwood
  • Lost
  • Journeyman
  • Life on Mars

I have tossed the idea of a blog around for awhile — okay, at least a year. I’ve been hesitant to pull the trigger because I look out in the ‘webiverse’ and see thousands and thousands of blogs. So the real question has been, if I’m going to blog, what exactly will I blog about. I thought of a blog about writing. Many of my compatriots who live in the world of publish, about to be published, hoping to one day be published post blogs regularly. There’s a wealth of great blogs about writing, publishing, social networking and even how to blog your blog.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I don’t have any empirical evidence to support this claim, but I’m sure many writers have had the experience of walking into a large library or a big box bookstore to find themselves surrounded by thousands upon thousands of novels. My most recent experience occurred in a Barnes and Noble here in Seattle, doing some market research. I’ve got a humorous sci-fi novel in the can and wanted to know where on the shelves I’d find that genre and the writers represented on that shelf. Among the many, Douglas Adams had not simply a shelve, but more of a literary shrine on an eye level shelf. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, numerous other titles, dictionaries, compendiums, boxed sets and glossaries loaded the shelf. Standing at the Adams altar I noticed that the store had neglected to set up votive candles and then I turned to see, as theologians like to say, a cloud of witnesses. Hundreds, thousands of authors, known and unknown, commercial successes and flashes in the pan, literary greats and not so much, encompassing me on all sides.

I turned to them, shouting, “Who am I to write a novel? How on earth can I compete not only with my contemporaries, but every Tom, Dick and Jane who has lifted a pen, tapped on a typewriter or a flipped open a laptop since Beowulf?”

The answer is long and complicated. Which leads me to the purpose of this blog. If I were going to give the blog a title it would be something like, “Just Who the Hell Do You Think You Are?” How do any of us stand in this moment and create? What does it mean to be creative? Do I have to make money at my art to be successful? Has everything already been done and if so, why bother? Is there room for anything short of the Great American Novel? Do I have to be the literary equivalent of the next American Idol, Top Chef, or at least the NYTimes Book Review?

So that’s my plan. Ponder the meaning of writing and creating, sharing book reviews of books I enjoy and tossing in the occasional story about food, the world and life. Should be fun. Hope you’ll come along for the ride.