Tag Archives: poems

Genres of Literature – Bizarro Fiction


bizarro

Bizarro fiction is a contemporary literary genre, which aims to be both strange and entertaining,  containing hefty doses of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque  along with pop-surrealism and genre-fiction staples, thus creating subversive, weird, and entertaining works. The term was adopted in 2005 by the independent publishing companies Eraserhead Press, Raw Dog Screaming Perss and Afterbirth Books.

The first Bizarro Starter Kit described Bizarro as “literature’s equivalent to the cult section at the video store” and a genre that “strives not only to be strange, but fascinating, thought-provoking, and, above all, fun to read.”

In general however, Bizarro has more in common with speculative fiction, such as science-fiction, horror and fantasy than with avant-garde movements (such as Dadaism and surrealism, which readers and critics often associate it with.

It seems to be a small niche genre and one that appeals to a select audience. However, I think it would be a fun exercise to write a story in this genre.

How about you? Have you written this genre? Or read any books in it?

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Writing Prompt


Apologies – I forgot to schedule this post.

The prompt today is ‘ a glimpse out of a window’. What do you see?

window

Here’s my effort.

It started with a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. A movement passing the opened window but when she turned there was nothing there. Dismissing it as possibly a bird or a butterfly floating in the warmth of summer sunshine, she turned back to her work.
Just one more chapter and then she would treat herself to a walk to ease and stretch her aching muscles. Janice had woken bursting with inspiration at five o’clock, now six hours later a major part of the novel was complete. With a flourish she hit the keypad and straightens up. There in front of her was a beautiful face peering through the window. Instinct makes her jump and involuntary utter a gasp.
“Hello, who are you?”
The lady smiles but does not answer just reaches out her hand to beckon Janice outside. Her dark shape and long ebony locks float as if in water, it is surreal. Fascinated Janice opens the patio door and enters the warmth of the day time sun.
“Come follow – you will find.”
“Find what, where are we going?”
Without waiting the lady turns toward the rose garden, the oldest part of the cottage garden. The floral scent permanents the air as they approach the blooms. The dark lady stops in the centre of the path and points. Janice’s eyes follow her fingers direction – there blooms an ebony rose so dark it gleams.
“Write its story, Janice and release me.”
“Release you – I don’t understand?”
“My spirit resides within the bloom I am relying on your gift of words to free me forever.”
“What shall I write? Tell me what to write.”
“You know my story it is deep within you.”
Janice’s mouth opens to ask another question but the dark lady has disappeared. Was she dreaming? Everything seemed so real, so tangible – the warmth on her skin, the grass beneath her feet. Janice returns to her desk, puzzling thoughts race through her mind. There she finds a dark rose petal lying upon the laptop keys. It was real?
A blank page faces her and her fingers begin to type – a story unfolds.
Esmeralda’s roses were well renowned even as far away as London. Each bloom was perfection itself due wholly to her unwavering commitment to their care. After years of trial and error with combinations of manure, egg shells and herbs, Esmeralda had found her ‘secret’ formula. Each season demanded another ritual before the first buds appeared in April. With careful attendance each bud was nurtured to its full potential. Every flower show saw Esmeralda take first place much to the dismay of her rival, Vanity. The competition between the two women was fierce.
During the sixth annual London show Esmeralda was summoned by the Duke of Suffolk. He commissioned her to produce a truly black rose – something never achieved before. With a deep bow Esmeralda had thanked him for his obvious confidence in her abilities but felt she would not succeed. The Duke took her hands and solemnly stated that if anyone could succeed it was indeed the Rose Queen herself.
Upon her return home Esmeralda began researching the deepest and darkest strains of rose. Using grafting techniques and cross pollination she grew several young plants. As they grew and flourished she waited patiently for the first blooms. She achieved deep burgundy and the darkest crimson but never ebony. Three long years past each new bloom took her a step closer to her goal but never close enough. Then in the fourth year a tiny shoot grafted to the main plant produced a bud unlike any Esmeralda had ever seen. It was the darkest green she had ever seen. She tended to this special bud as with all her charges and waited in anticipation for it to blossom.
Sunday 14th April would be a date Esmeralda would never forget – for that morning she witnessed the darkest most beautiful ebony bloom gleaming in the sunlight. She would send word to the Duke that she has succeeded in making his wish come true. However, Esmeralda died that day at the hands of her arch rival, Vanity. It was a dagger to her heart as she breathed sweet words to her special bloom. Vanity took the plant and professed it was her own creation. She became famous over night and reveled in the adulation.
As for Esmeralda her body was buried beneath her rose garden- a place she had loved above all others. Her spirit lived on in the multitude of blooms until one day it rose up and made its presence known. She was the Rose Queen and the ebony bloom her creation.
The words flowed so quickly Janice could not read them quickly enough. At last her fingers ceased their frantic tapping and she realized who her visitor had been. Janice would make sure the real creator was acknowledged for her Black Rose.

Why not share yours in the comments?

Author Interview – Shawn Bird


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shawnlbirdtealsmall

1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Generally, it’s an energizer while I’m writing; however, when plot problems or new ideas keep me up all night when I need to be teaching in my high school class room bright and early, it can lead to exhaustion! When I can write all night, during summer and holidays I’m in a constant state of creative euphoria

2. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Yes. I think if I decide to do something with that Romance manuscript in my drawer I would publish under a pseudonym to establish a separate audience for that genre.

3. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

From regular attendance at Surrey International Writing Conference (SiWC), I have developed a wide social network of writers. I probably interact the most with Carol Mason, Eileen Cook, CC Humphreys, Tyner Gillies, Sylvia Taylor, and Diana Gabaldon. From workshops, blue pencils, social time at events, and then continued social media or email contact through the years, I’ve benefitted from the experiences they share and the feedback they give. Diana in particular, has helped with a historical novel I’ve been working on and been very encouraging of other projects, including providing a cover blurb for Murdering Mr Edwards. When someone who’s sold millions of books is willing to put her name behind your project, it’s a profound gift.

I’m presently doing a mentorship with Giller nominated , local author Gail Anderson-Dargatz on a literary novel project.   There is so much to learn, and it’s wonderful to know people who are willing to share their knowledge.

When you become a regular at a conference, you have a built in support network. I love presenting at conferences, too, which is great way to give back. I’ve enjoyed meeting beginning writers and helping then bring their projects to life. At SiWC I also met Leena Niemela who’s an awesome Finnish Canadian poet. I’ve stayed at her place on Vancouver Island to play in poetry together. It’s wonderful to have friends who understand about the voices in your head.

Dreams

4. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I seem to be writing many distinct things at this point. I have published poetry books; Grace Awakening is an urban fantasy YA novel (modern romance and Greek mythology), and the most recent project, Murdering Mr. Edwards, is a series of a short stories that became a ‘noir-vella’. I’ve got drafts of two more books in the Grace Awakening series, but lots of other projects, too. I suppose if something really took off, I’d turn my focus to that genre, but at the moment I just write what I’m in the mood to write at the time. I read a lot of different genres, so it’s not a surprise I write several, too. That said, I love Charles de Lint’s books that are set in Newford, with assorted characters that wander into each other’s stories. That’d be fun to do someday. I could send some of the teachers in Grace Awakening to teach at Canterbury High, perhaps they’ll want to murder Mr. Edwards, too…

Dreams & Power

5. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The money I spend each year to attend writing conferences is an annual expenditure of around $4000, but I think it’s well worth it. I’ve been signed by an agent and two publishers as a result of pitches at conferences. I learned how to pitch at conferences. I network with others at conferences. They are worth the investment. You get the tools, the tips, and the encouragement at conferences. You get out of the slush pile and meet the people you need to impress face to face. I try each year to attend Word on the Lake Writers’ Conference in Salmon Arm, BC; When Word’s Collide in Calgary, AB; and SiWC in Surrey, BC. Usually I manage at least two of the three. Last summer I attended a fantastically inspiring poetry retreat with Patrick Lane on Vancouver Island. There is so much to learn from these masters.

6. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I remember the laughter of the grade 3 class audience when I read stories or put on puppet shows I’d written for Show and Tell. I guess that means I can blame all of this on Mrs. Thompson.

Power

7. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I’m a chickadee.  

8. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Hmm. Half a dozen or so novels done or in progress, three completed novellas, and a dozen or more completed short stories. Hundreds of poems are published on the blog, but there are more in the computer, I don’t know which are which any more.

2011

9. What does literary success look like to you?

People laughing in an audience when I read my work. People writing or stopping me in the street or in the grocery line to tell me they’d read and enjoyed my books. I love it when that happens. I’m so honored that strangers will take the time to comment.

10. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Depends on the project, of course. Usually I just write, and if there’s something I need to check, I look it up later, rather than interrupting the flow. Chris Humphreys and Diana Gabaldon have both cautioned about the research rabbit holes. It’s so easy to get lost in fascinating stuff, and forget there’s a story to be telling. I do some general reading on the topic, perhaps, but then I dive right in. There’s an exception to that. I have a historical piece that is on hiatus. I own translations of 600 year old texts and 300 year old volumes. I am not quite ready to pull it all together. I want to go to France where the events took place and immerse myself. I visited a few years ago, but that was only enough to tell me that exploring the museum and chatting with the curator was not enough…

11. How many hours a day/week do you write?

On various projects (including editing and promotional tasks, educational and curriculum writing, blog, poetry, and whatever novel project has my attention at the time), somewhere around twenty to twenty-five hours a week. More in the summer. When I don’t have to be in my class room at 9 a.m., I write all night and go to bed at 4 or 5 a.m.

12. How do you select the names of your characters?

Sometimes baby name books, sometimes I use the name of students (with their permission, of course), sometimes they just introduce themselves with names in place, and I have no idea where they’ve come from.

13. What was your hardest scene to write?

I did a lot of weeping when I was writing a scene on a logging road about Josh and a Sasquatch in Grace Awakening Power. But apparently readers do a lot of weeping there, too, so that was a good emotional investment.

14. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I don’t think about it. I’m writing what I’m writing when I’m writing. I don’t have anyone telling me what to do with my projects, so I just do what speaks to me at any given time. Of course, Coffin Hop has been a priority this fall. If they’ve sent edits or whatever, everything else stopped while I dealt with Murdering Mr. Edwards. That’s been a fun, and completely unexpected project.

For me the harder balance might have been sorting out teaching life and writing life. I’ve decided to blur the boundaries a bit by sharing my work and experiences with my students. Lots of them would like to be writers, all of them need to know how to write something. Lots of advice applies to both situations: “You can’t edit a blank page.” “First drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be written.” I show them manuscripts covered with editor marks so they know it’s normal to have to re-write, edit, and polish repeatedly! So many scribble something on the page and think it’s perfect. None of us is perfect the first time!

15. How long have you been writing?

I won my first writing prize at age 9, and received my first rejection letter at age 10. Both for poetry. I paid for my husband’s wedding ring with short story prize money. Then I was busy with university and only did non-fiction writing for about twenty years while I raised kids. The month after the kids moved out, Grace awakened.

16. What inspires you?  

Almost everything. There are stories EVERYWHERE.

17. How do you find or make time to write?

I sit in the chair and I write. I write in the evening after dinner. I write while watching TV (if I’m not knitting). At this precise moment, I’m sitting in the tub, typing this on a waterproof keyboard. (I think about a quarter of Grace was written in the bathtub). Like Nike, I just do it.

mr-ed-ebook-d

18. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m promoting Murdering Mr. Edwards. It’s a noir-vella that’s a collection of 12 tales. The same annoying English teacher is murdered in each story. The literary novel I’m mentoring with Gail Anderson-Dargatz explores the relationship of a couple dealing with his mental illness. I’ve got some short stories brewing for contest season. I am trying to get back to daily poetry on my blog. I’m compiling a curriculum guide for teaching poetry. I compiling a collection of non-sectarian invocations for Rotary Clubs. I keep lots of stuff on the go all the time; that’s one of Diana’s recommendations for avoiding writers’ block. It works for me.

19. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing a few unfinished projects, editing a few completed projects, touring around telling people about Murdering Mr Edwards

20. Share a link to your author website.

www.shawnbird.com   Twitter and Instagram @ShawnLBird (I share a lot of shoes on Instagram. My shoe collection is infamous).

Bio:

Shawn Bird is a high school English teacher, an author, and a poet in the beautiful Shuswap region of British Columbia.  After 2 years as a graduate student in the Faculty of Education at University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus Shawn can no longer say she’s a  “jack of all trades master of none” ’cause she’s wielding a certificate that proclaims she’s a Master of Education! 🙂

 

Author Interview – Lina Rehal


 

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Lina

1.Does writing energize or exhaust you?

A little bit of both. When I’m really into a chapter and it’s practically writing itself, I get pumped and full of energy. When I’m having trouble with a chapter or scene that isn’t coming easily to me, I end up at the computer working on it for hours. That is exhausting.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Sometimes a little too much narrative. I can go overboard with detailed descriptions. I end up taking a lot out when I edit.

  1. What are your writing strengths?

I’m a good storyteller and I’m good with dialogue. Dialogue can make or break a story. It moves the story along and shows how the characters relate to one another.

Kisses

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No. I’d get too confused.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’ve been in a few writing groups and have formed friendships with several authors. I was the founder and facilitator of a group of women writers for 9 years. I currently belong to a group of men and women writers at a local library. We all help each other. I have a writing buddy who also writes romance books. We critique each other’s work on a regular basis. This is a great motivator. I highly recommend it to other writers, especially aspiring ones.

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I write my books to stand alone. I am working on a series called Tucker’s Landing. LOVING DANIEL and LASTING IMPRESSIONS have many of the same characters and they both take place mainly in Tucker’s Landing, but each book can stand alone.

Daniel

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Probably when I started writing for newspapers. I did travel and feature stories for a while. It always amazed me when people came up to me and asked questions about a story of mine they’d read and wanted to know more about what I thought.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

At least two half-finished and a couple more only in the early idea stages.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

My favorite authors: Nora Roberts, Anita Shreve, Barbara Delinksy, Debbie Macomber. That’s success. To me personally, it’s getting my stories and books out there and having them read. If I can do that, I’ve achieved success.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I rarely do much research before beginning a book. I do my research as I’m writing it. Certain things that I need to know come up in the process. That’s when I look things up. Research is not a part of writing I like doing, but it has to be done. You have to be accurate.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

It varies, depending on what else is going on in my life. I try to do a couple of hours a day. When I’m deep into a chapter, I can spend several hours on it.

New York

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I often drive myself crazy trying to come up with the “perfect” name for a character. In LOVING DANIEL, I wanted to use my grandmother’s family name of McRae. I researched names to go with it and used Aidan because I liked it. When I was looking for a name for my hero in LASTING IMPRESSIONS, I told my ten-year-old granddaughter I needed a name for a male character. (She likes to write.) She thought about it for only a minute or two and said, “Dylan.” Just like that. Kids don’t hesitate. Dylan Granger was born.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

My first love scene. I wanted it to be hot, but not too hot and I didn’t want it to be explicit. I brought it to my writing group for critiquing and was too embarrassed to read it out loud myself. I had to have someone else read it.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I liked writing essays and personal stories and found I had a knack for writing nostalgia. I loved doing that, but always wanted to write fiction. Now that I have more time, I’m into the fiction writing and loving it. I balance them by writing whatever I’m in the mood for or whatever my muse tells me.

  1. How long have you been writing?

For as long as I can remember, which is a long time. I used to make up stories when I was a child. I wrote a short piece with a couple of other kids in the fifth grade that was published in a yearbook. I think that was my first published piece. I still have the yearbook.

  1. What inspires you? 

A lot of things. I never know where it’s going to come from. Even the smallest of every day events and happenings can create a spark for a story or a scene. Observing people often inspires a character. Listening to conversations in restaurants, at the hairdresser or in line at the supermarket.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

It’s much easier to find time for writing now that I’m retired. I do a lot of my writing in the morning. If a chapter is working for me and I’m on a roll, I just ignore everything else and write for hours.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

Book Two of my Tucker’s Landing Series, Lasting Impressions. I’m hoping to have it out in late February or early March of 2018.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Definitely another romance novel. Most likely, book three of the Tucker’s Landing Series, Worth Waiting For. It was supposed to be book two, but it wasn’t working for me at the time so I made Lasting Impressions the next one. I’d like to write another Carousel Kisses book of nostalgia. It’s one of the half-finished books I mentioned. Maybe putting together a book of short stories. I’m also working on a presentation on self-publishing that I’d like to do at local bookstores or libraries or writing groups.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.thefuzzypinkmuse.com

Amazon Author Pagehttps://www.amazon.com/Lina-Rehal/e/B008L5FNPS/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

Facebook Author Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/thefuzzypinkmuse/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/CarouselKisses

Bio:

Lina Rehal is a self-published author who writes nostalgia, memoirs, slice of life stories and contemporary romance. Her first book, Carousel Kisses, is a collection of nostalgic stories, personal essays and poems about growing up in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s.

She combines her passion for fiction and love of storytelling in her contemporary romance novels. Her two seasoned romance books, October In New York and Loving Daniel, Book One of her Tucker’s Landing Series, are available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle formats.

Lina is currently working on Lasting Impressions, Book Two of the series and plans to write a second Carousel Kisses book in 2018. Email her at rehalcute@aol.com or visit her website http://www.thefuzzypinkmuse.com

I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Lina as much as I did.

Writing Prompt Wednesday


9781608636921

Tell a story of when you broke something…

This is my story.

baubles

I was sure the glass bauble was secured on the tree. I’d made a point to check the wire. As a family heirloom it was important to me to keep the shiny ornament high enough on the Christmas tree so little fingers and large paws did not dislodge it. As I turned to retrieve another bauble I hear a crash – my heart sank. There on the tiled floor was my great-great grandmother’s bauble in a thousand pieces. I fell to my knees, tears brimming over my cheeks. Shock held me still for several moments. With great care I gathered the glass shards, tiny pinpricks cutting my fingertips as I did so. The light glanced off the opalescent pieces. My heart ached, how could I ever replace it. With the last few pieces held in my hand, I began to get up, but a small piece of paper tied with a silk thread caught my eye. Placing the shards on the tiles, I picked up the small paper bundle and unwrapped it. Inside was a beautifully written note in cursive writing.

                To whoever finds this note, may your wish come true, Celia

That was my great-great grandmother’s name. Why had she hidden such a note in the bauble? I turned around at footsteps – there in front of me was my daughter. What a wonderful surprise and one I’d wished for. Her global travels had taken her away for so long and she had once again said she could not make it home for Christmas.

                “You’re here, oh my love it is wonderful to have you home.”

                “I was given a free ticket from a friend, who had other commitments. It was so unexpected. I wanted to surprise you.”

My wish had come true, had the bauble made it so?

Why not write one and share it?