Category Archives: short story

Author Interview Courtney Wendleton


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Courtney

1. Does writing energize or exhaust you? It depends on how I feel before I start writing. If I have been having problems writing anything for a couple of days, I’m apprehensive to sit and write. On those days, if I can actually get something out, I feel energized and go for hours. Then there are days where I’m full of energy and ready to write and come out a few hours later exhausted and having to put on wrist braces because the carpal tunnel sets in.  

2.What is your writing Kryptonite? Like a topic I won’t touch? Harming little children and elderly. Something that kills my writing would be Netflix. I get sucked into the black hole that is Asian TV/movies and it will be days before I write anything because I’m watching.

Touchdown

3.Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Actually I have a book in the works that will be under a pseudonym because it contains a lot of personal information that my family probably wouldn’t appreciate me putting out there, but I feel like I need to write it and have others read it. Then there is another work in progress that I’m thinking about using a pseudonym for but not quite sure if I will or not.

4.What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I have many on Facebook through different writing groups, but Zoe Ambler has been the most influential and active in my writing. We just talk about our writings and give different points of view on different aspects of the work. Although recently I’m hoping to expand my tiny writing circle through a group I’m putting together where authors help each other out more than just posting advertisements. I’m trying to help authors that don’t necessarily have the money to pay an editor or don’t have any support and help them in a sort of exchange thing.

Luna

5.Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? Most of my currently published are stand alones, but there are two that are part of a trilogy and one is becoming part of an unintentional series. For the most part, I just let the stories take me where they want to go and if that leads to a standalone or a series, I just go with it.

6.What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? I broke down and spent some money on two book covers. Until then I have always made my own and wanted to try having them professionally done. I think those are the best two book covers I have right now.

Innocence

7.What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? Since I was born my great-grandma read stories to me, then she taught me how to read at the age of three because while I was living with my great-grandparents and my mom, great-grandma thought I needed to be quiet. I’m not sure if I ever had that brilliant “A-ha” moment because it has always been there for me.

8.What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. It is a sci-fi novel about a mentally challenged man and a mouse that undergo surgery to make them smarter. The surgery is a success and Charlie eventually surpasses the intelligence of the doctors that created and performed the procedure. As he became smarter, Charlie’s friendships break off because of his major attitude changes and eventually all he has left is his mouse. He finds a flaw in the research, and the result is Algernon, the mouse, goes back to his original state and dies. Knowing he will lose his mind, he tries to reconnect with friends and family, but decides to live at a state-sponsored institution where no one knows about his former intelligence. I loved the book because it shows a harsh reality of how people treat others that are different from themselves. Then it flips the coin and you can see how the change can twist a person into a shadow of their former selves. I think this is the first book that made me cry and really feel for the characters.

Vampire

9.As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A Pokémon called Ditto. Over the years I have felt my spirit animal change because of what is going on in my life at the time and how it effects my writing. With Ditto, it can change into any animal with the same characteristics but always revert back to a pink blob of potential.

10.How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? *Laughs manically in a corner wearing a strait jacket* The last time I counted, it was at 47. However I have added more to that list, and put a couple in an “I’m not sure if I really want to do this but I’ll keep it just in case” pile. I’m crazy I know.

Authors Romance

11.What does literary success look like to you? I’m a simple girl when it comes to my idea of literary success. While it would be nice to be a big name like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, I am happy with reviews from customers who enjoyed my books. I write because I have to get the words out, but nothing makes me feel like a big real world writer than when I read how much a person loved one of my books.

12.What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? Aside from reading other stories inside the genre that are similar to what I’m working on, I do not do much research. I might look up how things work or certain types of devices I want to use or non-stereotypical attributes for characters to ensure I don’t make a mistake but mostly I write about what I know or invent in my imagination. That said, one of my favorite current works in progress is involving a lot of research into Japanese culture and history. I am looking on websites that are educational reference worthy, reading books about the culture and history, watching movies to figure out how their stories differ from Americans. I have even started to attempt learning to read/write Japanese and the Kanji.

Perfect Murder

13.How many hours a day/week do you write? I try to write a little bit every day and have set up spreadsheets to keep track of daily/weekly/monthly/yearly goals. Daily, this month, I’m just trying for 540 words a day. I have been trying to climb out of a slump and find smaller goals work better for me when this happens. Come July I would like to be back up to at least 2000 a day so I can feel confident going into Camp NaNoWriMo. Other than the goals, I do not mark how long I write daily because sometimes I don’t have the ability to sit and write for so long or I am sick and don’t feel like writing. Other days I can sit and write for four or five hours at a time.

Love & Drugs

14.How do you select the names of your characters? I love looking for new names. Sometimes the names just pop into my head and other times I search baby name websites and apps looking for the right name. Any time I find a name I like I write it down and add it to a running list on Excel for when I need help.

15.What was your hardest scene to write? The hardest scene I have written involves the book I plan to use a pseudonym for. It involves a taboo sexual experience between two characters and one does not know what they feel. They don’t know how they should feel about it because in one way the other person wasn’t supposed to do that to them, but they felt it was the only way to gain that person’s love. If they tell someone else it could either cause legal problems or mental issues because they wouldn’t be believed. This scene is based on a true event and because I’m still unsure how to feel it makes it hard to put it down on paper.

Revealed

16.Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? In the broad sense I write in the romance genre. It is just the one I latched on to based on the sheer number of them that I read. Inside that I write paranormal, LGBTQ, historical and I guess contemporary romance sub-genres. I try to write in the fields that I like, but at the same time those are the types of stories that just come to me. I kind of just write the book and figure out where it fits in the market afterwards.

17.How long have you been writing? Publication wise five years. I have been writing stories since I was like ten, but have lost many of those manuscripts through the multiple moves I made growing up.

18.What inspires you? Everything. I know it sounds like a copout, but I could be reading or watching a movie and get an idea. Watching my family interact with each other. Talking with friends or just watching people walking down the street and coming up with the type of life I think they live.   

19.How do you find or make time to write? I mostly write in the middle of the night. Aside from always have been a night owl, I live with my aunt and her two adult children. She works night shift and in the past year or so her youngest (21 or 22) has started having seizures in his sleep. So to keep me awake on the nights she works, I stay up writing and listening for him. I can’t really watch TV or listen to music because I need to be able to hear if my cousin has a seizure I need to be able to hear him so I can go help him. Plus it is one less thing to worry about if I have to call for an ambulance. On the days that she has off, I wake up in the afternoon and it is part of my wake up routine. I try to write a few hundred words before joining the rest of the family. Then I’m usually up most of the night and write more. Other than that I come up with ideas in the shower and write them down when I get out. Same while I’m driving and doing dishes. When I am doing something that can be done on “auto-pilot” my mind composes and I write it down soon after I’m done. I use a note app on my phone when I’m not near my computer.

20.What projects are you working on at the present? 2 Werewolf projects, a Japanese project, a Mermaid and a couple contemporary romance are a few of the most prominent.

21.What do your plans for future projects include? Because I am neck deep in works in progress, my future lies with whichever book idea comes to mind next.

22.Share a link to your author website. Website I need to update: http://charliesangel-0069.wixsite.com/cmwauthorpage

        Amazon website: https://www.amazon.com/Courtney-Wendleton/e/B00KYMLGKC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog: https://charliesangel0069.wordpress.com/

Bio:

Courtney M. Wendleton is a nation traveler, covering mostly the Midwest. She has lived in Alaska and currently resides in Hawaii, after graduating from high school in Missouri. Since a child of 10, Courtney has wanted to travel and write stories. She has been traveling her whole life, and writing since childhood but only two years ago did she publish her first book.

Touchdown Interruption is her first short story, and has paved the way for six other books currently on the market with more in the works. Courtney toils through her day reading, writing, and striving to be a better author.

A near death experience during her time in Alaska proved to her that life is short and she needs to spend her time doing something she loves. It took three years for her to build up the courage, but she published her first book and started going to school again. Now she happily lives in Hawaii with family, still hoping to inspire her readers to chase their dreams.

Writing Prompt Wednesday


alleyway

Using this image write about an incident in an old alleyway. It can be a poem or a short story or a list of words that come to mind when you look at the image.

This is my response.

With my back pressed against an old wooden door in the weathered stone wall, I glance back along the alleyway. The early morning light shows the pathway clear of pursuers. I inhale in a bid to calm my beating heart and the fear crawling under my skin. 

Why had I been so stupid? Walking alone at night is a really dumb thing to do. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing such a thing at home, so why here in this ancient town? My holiday mood had gotten the best of me, obviously. 

The slap of running feet on the stones makes my head snap upward. It isn’t possible to press my body into the door any further. If I run now they will be able to see me. My eyes search the doorways on the opposite wall but all are closed. Praying for a miracle, I knock gently at the door behind me. The warm touch of a hand startles me. I turn to face a hunched old lady in black. Her face is wrinkled and brown from decades of sun exposure but her smile is friendly. 

“Please help me. There are men chasing me.” 

“Non capisco.” 

How do I make her understand? The footsteps are closer now. I don’t have time to explain so take her hand and close the door. With a finger to my lips we face each other in the dimness, listening intently to excitable chatter, halting steps and then running feet fading away. Once silence returns I take her hands and nod hoping this gesture conveys my thankfulness. She nods back and leads me into a kitchen with pots and herbs hanging from the ceiling. Motioning me toward a wooden chair, she places a kettle upon the stove and opens the oven door, releasing the scent of freshly baked bread. 

My stomach grumbles and she smiles as she places cut tomatoes, olives and oil beside the sliced bread. The coffee is strong and makes me wince, my companion signals me to continue drinking whilst patting her chest slowly. So much caffeine may calm her nerves but to a confirmed tea drinker it is only makes my heart beat faster. I dip the warm bread into the oil and lay a tomato slice upon it before taking a satisfying bite. 

I will have to return to my hotel shortly and deal with the ramifications of a police report but for now I am enjoying the peaceful surroundings and kind company after my misadventure of the night.

 

Genres of Literature – Cli-Fi


cli-fi

The literary genre climate fiction is commonly known as Cli-Fi. The narratives deal with climate-change and global warming, although not necessarily speculative in nature the narratives center on the world as we know it or in the near future. In essence it is an off-shoot of eco-fiction addressing the effects of climate change in short stories or novels.

 

Although the term “cli-fi” came into use in the late 2000s to describe novels dealing with man-made climate change, it is certainly not a ‘new’ literary topic as natural disasters have been themes to novels in the past. For example Jules Verne’s The Purchase of the North Pole in 1889 relates to a change due to the Earth’s axis tilting. His Paris in the Twentieth Century, written in 1883, relays a sudden drop in temperature lasting three years in a titular city. J.G. Ballard used persistent hurricane-force winds in The Wind from Nowhere in 1961 and melted ice-caps and rising sea-levels caused by solar radiation in The Drowned World in 1962 (somewhat of a prophecy!)

This genre has grown as scientific knowledge of the effects of fossil fuel consumption and resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations has become the global warming phenomenon.

Other novels include Susan M. Gaine’s Carbon Dreams, Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake, the Year of the Flood and MaddAddam.

Have you written Cli-fi?

Did you know of this genre before today?

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday


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old library

Your inspiration today is this fascinating picture. An old abandoned library. I wrote this response some time ago.

Refuge

The huge facade of a building emerges among the trees, as we trek our way westward, hopefully toward the rumored survivor town. With the light fading, our small group welcomes the opportunity of proper shelter instead of the tattered tents we have been using for the last four months. Greg, Tom and Jacob lead us into the dappled shade of the building; we stand in awe at the sight that meets us, the remains of an old library with huge floor to ceiling shelves covered in books, dust and debris. The interior has a surreal quality with trees growing within the library walls and bursting skyward through the roof.

Discarding our back packs and bed rolls, we all start to explore the interior before the light completely disappears. Some books totally disintegrate upon first touch but others are sturdier, these we put aside but the remains of crumbly pages are piled together to start a fire, then topped with pieces of several broken chairs. Constructing our tents into canopies along the rear wall with the fire in front, we enjoy the warmth, whilst waiting for the rabbit meat to cook. We all enjoy a deep slumber within the security of the brick building, no sudden noises or movements startling us awake into fear of the unknown, within the blackness of the forest.

As the sun rises its light runs across the floor from the roof opening toward our enclave, rousing us. Gradually, one by one, we stretch and shake away the heaviness of a luxurious sleep and begin to look around the book clad walls. Another fire is started to curb the morning chill and heat water for a weak brew, whilst Greg and Tom go hunting. Carefully testing the staircases Alice and I climb to the upper walkways looking for treasure’s within the shelves, only to find more crumbling books and a few scampering bugs.

We both wish we could stay here within the security of these walls instead of continuing our trek toward an unknown future.

Have fun with this prompt. Please share your response in the comments.

Genres of Literature – Urban Fiction


urban

Urban fiction is also known as street lit or street friction and is set in city landscapes. However, it is defined by the narrative’s content of soci-economic realities and culture of its characters as well as the urban setting. This genre is usually dark in tone with explicit violence, sex and profanity and is commonly drawn from the author’s own experiences. Largely written by African American authors, this genre covers the separation of their particular community and culture and the life experiences of its characters in inner-cities.

Earlier urban literature depicted low-income survivalist realities of city living, these included Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist (1838), Stephen Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893) and Langston Hughes’ The Ballard of the Landlord (1940). These narratives did not just relay African American or Latino experiences but stories of diverse cultural and ethnic experiences.

In 1999 Sister Souljah’s narrative The Coldest Winter became a bestseller and with Teri Wood’s True to the Game there became a standard for entrepreneurial publishing and distribution of contemporary urban fiction.

Urban fiction has experienced a renaissance from 2000 boasting thousands of titles, which include the new Latino fiction novels. There is also a literary wave of hip-hop fiction and street lit, which take a more literary approach using metaphor, signifying and other literary devices. These books are also used for socially redeeming or classroom capacities, while maintaining love and positive outlooks.

In recent years, some urban fiction authors have joined with hip hop artists such as 50 Cent to further promote the genre by penning the musicians’ real-life stories.

Have you written urban fiction?

Have you read urban fiction?