Tag Archives: short stories

Writing Prompt Wednesday


prompt

Your prompt today is to incorporate these words into a poem or story – Scant, debonair, illegitimate

I hope you like my take on the Cinderella story.

Beggar to Belle

A stern look crossed her face

As she looked down her nose in disgust

At the scene before her

Speaking slowing she announced

Why ever would you stay in this place?

 

I cowered before my formidable aunt

Apologizing profusely for my humble home

Full of hand-me-downs and layers of dust

In stark contrast to her debonair looks

Even the sole chair was at a slant

 

She flicked at the dirt before sitting

And faced me with a furrowed brow

Crouched on the wooden floor I waited

A lady had no place in my home

To my surprise she began reminiscing

 

She told me of her youth and gentleman callers

The grand balls and finery

How she fell in love but was abandoned

Left with a broken heart in despair

But forced to obey her fathers orders

 

Subjected to a year in the country

Hidden away to protect the family name

Then forced to give away her daughter

She spoke through the saddest of tears

Scorned for her effrontery

 

Uncomfortable at her confession

I wiped my dirty hand and placed it on her lap

To my surprise she grasped it to her lips

Forgive me child for what I did

Realization showed in my facial expression

 

Through happier tears she spoke

Yes, you are my child and I want to take you home

There are no men to dictate to me now

I’m free to love you if you will allow

She stood and held me within her velvet cloak

 

Without a backward glance I exited my shack

Excited to start a new life with my mother

No longer suffering in scant conditions

My life would be full and wonderful

Never again frightened and running back

 

She told me to hold my head up high

No matter my attire

Soon I would be dressed in finery

And enjoying a courtier’s life

In the coach I imagined it all in my mind’s eye

 

A grand mansion my abode ever so noble

An illegitimate daughter finally home

I was treated with respect and courted

My secret completely hidden from all

I became a stunning society belle

 

Let’s see what you can come up with.

Genres of Literature – Short Stories


short-stories

The definition of a short story is a piece of prose fiction that can be read in one sitting. Short stories originally emerged from traditional oral storytelling in the 17th century. In terms of word count they are usually under 7,500 words, however this word count can vary. Due to the diversity of short story content it is not easy to characterize them, they may differ between genres, countries, eras, and commentators. They feature a small cast of characters and focus on a self-contained incident using plot, resonance, literary techniques or other dynamic components but not in as much depth as a novel.

Short stories are considered, by many, as an apprenticeship form preceding more lengthy works, however they are a crafted form in their own right. Short story writers usually publish their narratives within a collection as part of an artistic or personal expression form.

This concentrated form of narrative can be theorized through traditional elements, such as exposition, complication, crisis, climax and resolution although not all follow this pattern. For instance, modern short stories start in the middle of the action and do not include exposition. Slightly longer works do include climax, crisis or a turning point but many do end abruptly or are left ‘open’ and can or cannot have a moral or practical lesson.

Have you written short stories? Is that how you started writing?

Do you find the short prose form enables you to ‘refresh’ your Muse when immerse in larger works?

I have a steampunk story (7700 words) that I am hoping to find a venue for, whether in an anthology or some other publication. So if you have a lead please share it.

My publisher has a couple of awesome short story authors published. Karen Probert and Barbie-Jo Smith. Karen’s characterizations and attention to detail is incredible and Barbie-Jo has the most humorous tales. http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/catalog/books

 

Author Interview – P.S.Winn…


Please welcome Pamela – I asked her to participate mainly due to her book entitled Obligations, to tie into my near death topic, however as a prolific author it was soon clear I needed to highlight her other books too. Enjoy.

biopic

What inspired you to write your first book?

I think I began writing more to just preserve my ideas in book form. My husband was told he may not live much longer back in 2012. That was scary and we moved back to my hometown so I could be by my family. I almost threw out my poems and short stories due to the quick nature of the move. I decided then I needed to keep those writings and began then to actually write a novel. My husband has since stabilized, not improved, but is hanging in there and we are taking each day as it comes and cherishing the moments.

How did you come up with the title?

The first book is “Foretold” and is based on the last days found in the Bible and in the works of Edgar Cayce and Nostradamus. I never thought the world would just end, but I always felt it would never be the same and people may have to go back to the basics. The Bible has a quote about turning weapons to plow shares. I feel that means we won’t have the things we have now and we may all instead have small gardens and farms to support our families. Now, getting ready to write book #42 I still find that what I learned in the Bible, by reading Cayce, Nostradamus and others can be found in whatever I write.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

I have just finished book #41 entitled “Tidbits and Treasures” it is a collection of poetry.
I am having health issues of my own and having problems with my spine which in turn effects my hands, so I am slowing down in writing, but have finished the 41 in 4 years, with 42 being started and 3 more in my head.

tidbits-and-treasures

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In almost all my books I like to combine a bit of spirituality in with the other genres. I think I have two that show this best “Obligations” and “Of Jeebies and Journeys”. I also a couple of collections of short stories that definitely do. “Visitations” and “Wings to Whispers”

How much of the book is realistic?

obligations

In “Obligations” a near death experience takes a young man to the other side and then he is sent back because evil followed him. The young man, Josh, is given the gifts of seeing spirits and auras to help him. I haven’t had a near death experience, but know people who have and tried to base the book on what they saw and felt. I think the curtain between our world and heaven is very thin and think if people open their minds they may see that loved ones who have passed away are trying to reach us, protect us and let us know they are not too far away. In “Jeebies and Journeys” Jed journeys from this world to the next in hopes of returning something precious that was stolen from his wife Ellie by the Jeebies. I hope I captured Heaven and the possibilities we’ll find in that novel.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I think all writing has to be based on what we know and have lived through. I also think characters have many things in common with people we know or even ourselves. Don’t tell my friends though, I am keeping identities secret.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I really love Josh in the book “Obligations” and Nikki in the book “Tunnels”. The latter combines a bit of supernatural with spiritual as wormhole like Tunnels take Nikki to other worlds and alternate realities.

2-pswinn-sfs

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I wouldn’t change any books. I’ve had people say some books are too short, although I have “Tunnels” which is over 600 pages. I know I have been asked several times to write sequels to the books, especially “Obligations” and “Pacific Passage”, which is a novel where people live through a wreck of a cruise ship that heads through a vortex to an island where mysteries of ages are discovered..

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks, without readers vivid imaginations the books wouldn’t be finished. I think each reader brings their own ideas and images to the books they read and make them better. As an avid reader, I know when I read a book I see it just a little differently than the next person. I am positive that is why the book is always better than the movie. We bring our own mind with a personal movie screen along with us and as we read the story unfolds to each of us differently.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Just putting the words down on paper, I do this longhand. I think the best part is when I am not actually writing, but doing something else and an idea pops in my head, usually my characters taking to me, and they take the story in a route I never thought of.

1-pswinn-all-ages

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I’d have to say at least by the first grade, or as soon as I learned to write. I loved to write poems and short stories, I just didn’t try to write a novel until October of 2012.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I think I love it all, but when the work is done and I try to add in a special note to family, friends and readers that I hope is more personal and can express the gratitude I feel for all the support in this crazy world I find myself in.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I love supernatural. I think some may think supernatural is science fiction, but for me I like to think that supernatural is closer to what is possible.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I don’t write a whole lot of romance, although it is definitely in the books and I don’t write erotica. I think romance is good when we let our own imaginations fill in the gaps.

What book are you reading now?

Hard to say, I usually read between 4 and 6 books a day. I am a top ten reader on Goodreads and have done over two thousand reviews on Amazon since 2013.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

About a million. I’d have to say my favorite authors who have multitudes of books and genres would be John Dizon, Char Iverson and Angie Blake. I love Berkeley Rourke and John Putnam, especially for westerns. For books that touch the heart I love Phyllis McManus and Stephanie Parker McKean. For suspense Mark Tilbury is great and spiritual writer Doug Simpson is a must have. I know I have missed hundreds of people whose books I love and hope they will forgive me.

3-pswinn-short-and-spiritual

Do you see writing as a career?

That is what I do now. I used to work in customer services, but herniated discs, spine degeneration and my husband’s health problems make being an author with my own hours a much better choice. I am just thankful that I am able to do that. Being an author, unless you are a Stephen King or a J.K. Rowling doesn’t keep the lights on.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

I nibble when I write and when I don’t! My favorite is chocolate, but I love a good bowl of buttered popcorn too. I also live on coffee, both with and without chocolate added.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I don’t know if my habits are odd, but most of my stories are written in my mind in that place we go between being awake and asleep. Luckily for me, I remember the stories in the morning when I wake up. I think from childhood, the amazing thing and what I appreciate most are my parents giving me the love of reading, which led to the writing. My parents are gone now, but they still visit me once in a while and those moments are added into the short story collections “Visitations” and “Wings to Whispers.”

4-pswinn-ms

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I have no idea, if I am lucky, I hope to have a few more books out and also be helping other authors to do the say. I try to help get other writers noticed by putting their books on my face book page and on twitter where I have almost 17000 followers.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Slowing down, sometimes if I know how I want a book to end, it is hard to force myself to slow down and get the whole story in before that ending.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

I have no deadlines, my reward is always that first review and I have to say my readers have been amazing. So many touch my heart with the reviews and many explain my book better than I can.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Not yet. I have found a couple of times I was almost ready to throw something out and start over when the story changed, usually with my characters input, and the story turned out better than I could have imagined.

What book do you wish you had written?

The Bible or something like that. A guide for people to follow that would bring them happiness and also a type of guideline for morals, love and understanding. I think our world needs that. I wrote a short story collection called “Life Bridges” with three stories of people who used love and understanding to overcome hatred, bullying and prejudice. That is what is important in this life. I am not a religious person who regularly attends church, but I am spiritual and believe we can make a difference with one good gesture if we all try.

What is your best marketing tip?

I think it is running a book on a 99 cent sale. I promote in Facebook groups and on Twitter. When I sell a book on sale instead of just giving it a way I get more reviews. Although as a reader I grab a lot of freebies and always leave a review. The only time don’t is if it would be under a three star. I can’t do that to an author and try to find them and personally send a message why.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

The new book is about the paranormal, but it is also a mystery with some twists and turns as a spirit tries to share a tragedy in her past with people in the present.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

“Tidbits and Treasures” should be released in November and is a collection of my life through poems. I wanted to put a lot of the poems I have written through the years in book form. Mostly to preserve that writing, but also I hope to touch readers with what are treasures to me. The poems are on love, life and all that involves, including tragedies with the happy moments.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

The books are on Amazon @ https://www.amazon.com/P.-S.-Winn/e/B00E6XAR82/

on Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/p.s.-winn

My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pswinnbooks/

On Twitter I am @ https://twitter.com/pswinnauthor

You can also find me on Goodreads where I am an author and an avid reader!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6580862.P_S_Winn
Thanks so much for letting me spout my thoughts here and I hope that I have given you some good information and I hope you will join me on Facebook or Twitter, especially if you are a fellow author. I would love to share what others write on my pages.
Even though I have written 40 books, getting ready for 41, in 4 years I am still honored and amazed when asked if I would like to do an interview and am grateful for your asking me.

Summer Author Reading – 9 Tips to Prepare and Read…


 

Last Saturday I attended a local author reading, it was at a new venue – a local coffeehouse, Social Grounds Coffeehouse. The cafe owner is welcoming all local artisan’s to display or perform giving the community a new place to enjoy the arts.

Although this is not my first public reading, there are always steps to take in preparation.

  1. Firstly, you must determine what you are going to read. If you have several books, will you read from a new one or something you feel will grip the audience.
  2. Will the audience be young or adult? Tailor your readings accordingly OR take two pieces to read just in case. (Which is what I did for this reading)
  3. If there is a time limit to the reading, practice the passages out loud. It doesn’t work well to just read it. Practice inflection and if you are good at them, dialectics.
  4. Make sure to mark the start and finish of the piece you are reading, this will ensure you stay within the time limit.
  5. Remember to take promotional items with you including business cards, bookmarks and of course books. A small amount of petty cash too so you have change.
  6. Props are a good idea for children’s books. I have a soft toy I made for my Rumble book. I did take a couple of ornaments with me just in case children were present and I did read from Ockleberries to the Rescue as well as from The Rython Kingdom.
  7. Depending on the venue, there maybe a microphone, if not it is an idea to either purchase one or borrow one. Some venues have a lot of background noise so you want your audience to be able to hear you.
  8. Remember to smile, look up while reading and engage your audience.
  9. Be ready with answers to questions about your book and your writing.

The event on Saturday was an all adult audience which resulted in quite a long Q&A session.

What tips can you share about author readings?

Not the most flattering photo of Karen Probert and I – just wondering what we we discussing when the camera caught us! There will be another photo to add – hopefully!

IMG_0922

Karen is a short story expert – her books and mine can be found at http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca – Karen’s: Fragments of Lives & Colouring Our Lives. Mine: Rumble’s First Scare & Ockleberries to the Rescue and also The Rython Kingdom.

New photo from SGC staff – I had to share – loved the captive audience even though you can’t see them all.

SGC reading

Interview with Karen Probert – Adept Short Story Writer…


Karen WITP 2014

How did you come up with the titles of your books?

The working title while I was writing ‘Fragments of Lives’ was Chunks of Life. It sounded too harsh, too heavy. Pieces of Lives sounded too even and Slices of Lives sounded like serving pieces of pizza or cake. Because no one character is in each story and each story is just a piece, often rough around the edges, of a life Fragments seems descriptive of the contents.

With “Colouring Our Lives”, I wanted to use Colouring Outside The Lines but it has been used often by other authors. I polled friends and other writers and the consensus was to use “Colouring Our Lives” Each story in this book has a predominant colour associated with it.

Fragments

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

“Fragments of Lives” is my first book of fictional short stories.

“Colouring our Lives” is the second, both have been published by Dream Write Publishing. I’m working on a very long short story, which may turn into a novel if that is what the characters want – the working title is “Bloodlines”.

How much of the book is realistic?

Although all my stories are fiction, the characters and scenarios in them are realistic and believable. I don’t write fantasy or sci-fi but about innately human characters in realistic situations where there is tension or an attainable goal being pursued.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Although I have no favourite character I often portray characters who are flawed, as we all are in some ways, but have the strength to live their lives thoughtfully and with integrity.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Yes, there are always improvements that could be made.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project? The thought process. Hmmm.  A story begins with just one sentence or piece of dialogue. I just start there and follow the character’s lead. Once that story is written I go back, fill in, add other characters, or adjust the setting. I add details to embellish the idea of the story.

Colouring Our Lives

What do you enjoy most about writing?

My favourite part is creating the characters – what are their beliefs, how were these beliefs formed, how are they living their lives and making those lives work? Yes, they always have flaws or something has happened to them to change their perspective but they carry on. Not all of that information may be available to the reader, but it is in the back-story.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write?

Realistic fiction.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Probably I would never write about war or destruction. I could not write about a dystopian world where there seems no hope but only despair.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

I neither eat/nibble nor listen to music while I write – quiet and calm allow me to concentrate best.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The most difficult challenge for me is to make the people in the stories interesting but to also keep them like ordinary, real people that the reader might meet in everyday life. Each one has to have a secret or a flaw or be in an extraordinary circumstance that makes them act the way they do. That’s what holds the reader’s interest.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Many times an idea has not come together. It isn’t that I hated what I’d written but that I was disappointed that I couldn’t make the idea work.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

“Bloodlines” is about anthropologist, Hannah, of middle-Eastern descent who marries an African American whose genealogy is suspect, but whose family believes it is pure back to African slaves. Hannah is trained to follow the evidence and do the research. Doing the background research for this has been fascinating – everything from the gene causing red hair to Chilean bats – and I hope that comes through when I get to the end of the story. This story is purely fiction, but it could be true.

Links :

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010543031395

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/authors/karen-probert