Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

June 26, 2013
Anyone think this week went by fast? Well here's the prompt!

Hi Friends! Last week we experienced some technical difficulties with getting the submission link to work correctly, but it looks like we've fixed the problem! Since the prompt went up late (and
one of us I didn't get the prompt up at all), we are re-running last week's prompt in order for everyone to have an opportunity to participate. :)

We'll gather all the stories from both weeks and post them all for your reading pleasure next Wednesday. In the meantime check out the stories that birthed from our photo a couple weeks ago. We've got a lot of creative talent in this group!

S-M-A-R-T-F-E-L-L-A by JP

Stopping Along a Well-Paved Road by Tony Roberts

The Adventures of Cap't Monkey and Tooele Boy by Scott Taylor

Mother's Instinct by Leanne Sype

The Assignation by Sally Stackhouse

And now for the photo prompt; Tena was our lovely hostess...


It's that Time of week. Time for this week's Blog Hop.

I decided to use one of the pictures that I took while on a little camping/train swap meet getaway the weekend before last. A cute little coffee shop with (I think) a cute and unique name.


The rules are simple:

The story must be related to the above picture and include the random words below. It must also be under 500 words.

Most important, have fun and don't stress out.

When you’re done, link your story to the linky at the bottom

Random Words:






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Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - We're Late, But It's Here!

June 21, 2013

I know, I know - it's Friday! Not Wednesday! So where the heck has the writing prompt been? Aside from this being a long, long week, a couple of your hosts have been on (or will be going to) vacation this week or soon, so that threw us all off!

Anyways, Tena has the prompt, but first, let's take a look at the stories from last week!

"S-M-A-R-T F-E-L-L-A" BY J.P.

Stopping Along a Well Paved Road by Tony Roberts

The Assignation by Sally Stackhouse

The Adventures of Cap't Monkey and Tooele Boy by Scott Taylor

Mother's Instinct by Leanne Sype

Awesome stories everyone!!!

Now, here's Tena with our prompt for this week!


It's that Time of week. Time for this week's Blog Hop. I decided to use one of the pictures that I took while on a little camping/train swap meet getaway the weekend before last. A cute little coffee shop with (I think) a cute and unique name.

The rules are simple: The story must be related to the above picture and include the random words below. It must also be under 500 words. Most important, have fun and don't stress out. When your done link your story to the linky at the bottom
Random Words:
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How Do You Make Your Characters Real?

June 17, 2013

Wanted: Charlie Brown

I started reading this book over the weekend and it wasn't before long until I tossed it to the side. It isn't an uncommon thing for me to do, as not every book is worth finishing, but I did ask myself, "What made me lose interest?" 

I then realized why - I had no connection to the character. I had no sense of their background, their desires, their fears, nothing. I may as well have been walking past a group of strangers in the mall and catching tidbits of a conversation. I like when characters jump out of the page at me and when they begin to feel real as if they could step out of the page and talk to me.

It's really easy for me to criticize when an author of a book I'm reading isn't doing it, but how about if I want to try to do it myself? How can I make my own characters real?

1) Learn the idiosyncrasies and unique behaviors that make your character stand out from everyone else.

I remember I took a psychology class (I dropped it after one class session, but that's besides the point) and the instructor asked us: what made us unique and special snowflakes? All snowflakes are different, right? So, why are we different?

What makes your character different? Do they take a scooter to work? Do they bike? Drive? Walk? While we may not think so at first, these small matters do make us different in some way. The person who bikes to work has a different story than the person who drives.  Even the coffee we drink can make us unique. The calm guy who drinks chai tea in the afternoon can be way different from the jittery female who drinks six cups of coffee a day.

2) Get inspired by people around you.

I take the bus so this can be pretty easy to do. If I just start paying attention to people, I can note the unique characters that surround me. There are people who choose to spend their time talking with the bus driver, people who find comfort in the bus community and have no problem chatting with other bus riders, people who shut out the world on headphones, bookworms, business people, and so many other characters that surround me. All of these behaviors can be plucked out of reality and placed into the character I've created (and these are just people I don't know!).

Take a notebook and go into a public place and it won't be long before you are building a set of characteristics for your new character. Or start taking a discerning eye to the people that surround you in your life (and if they happen to see themselves in a character or two in your next book, well, that's just coincidence, right?)

3) Write their backstory.

While this story may not even be used in the novel or short story you are creating, write your character's history. Imagine your character has walked into group therapy or even individual therapy and you are the therapist guiding the discussion. What would your character talk about first? What are their parents like? What was growing up like? What were significant moments of their past? What are stories they tell everyone more than once from when they were growing up?

It's a unique way of giving your character depth and you may not use an ounce of a word from the "therapy" session you wrote out (or thought out), it will make your character stand out from the page.

Now, I know I could go on with the type of things you can do to make your characters real, but I want to hear from you instead.

How do you make your characters real? What do you do to give them depth? 

Disclaimer: This post contains a link for which I have received compensation using in my blog. The content within the post is my own.

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Making Difficult Decisions as a Writer (and Making One of My Own)

June 14, 2013

Over this past week, I have made a very, very difficult decision. I tentatively blog about this, fearing I may slide backwards and jump right in again. But, I often use my blog to express my thoughts, so I will use this chance tonight.

I am saying goodbye to my fantasy novel.

This decision hasn't been an easy one, but since I did complete my novel last year, and reading back over what I've written, I have been shocked with how much work would lie ahead for me. A lot of the beginning chapters are years - and years old - and I'm not sure I can put in the work needed to improve this novel. I started this novel as a kid and now that I'm in my mid-twenties, I need to weigh the decision as to whether the time and effort is worth it. I'm not sure it is.

Like I said, I think most of all, I want to continue to grow as a writer. Holding onto this novel at this point feels a little bit like holding onto a crutch. Maybe I'm afraid of letting go. Maybe in some way I feel like I need to hold on as an homage to my younger self that started this journey.

I've learned so much and I'm still proud I finished it.

So what's next? I do have a few ideas under my belt and embracing an idea is a little bit like an embracing a new love. It takes nurturing, time, and attention and while I'm in the bed of another (my fantasy novel of my youth), I could never fully explore a new opportunity and idea.

I haven't quit put the novel in a drawer in my desk. I do have a plan for it as it's been part of my growth as a writer. I plan on making into a type of scrapbook and adding my own notes and thoughts on what certain sections represent to me.

One thing is for sure, I have prioritized my life lately. I have found a balance in my blog, my writing and my job. I have more energy now as I am not extending myself too much (you may have noticed I am not blogging as much lately!). I am opening myself up again to the muse that can only be found in being still.

Anyways, I wanted to formally announce this to my writing friends - to you - as a way of marking a new chapter. And you will bet I will blog about that as I go along too.

What difficult decisions have you made as a writer? How do you know they are the right ones?
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Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired

June 12, 2013

5 words, 1 picture, and a whole lotta talent-- it's blog hop photo reveal day!I'm going to get right to it, my friends!

First up? David Bastiani was our blog hop ad winner! Here is his button to display on your site so people can hop on over to his blog after they've hopped over to yours (see what I did there? ;)).

david bastiani button

Congratulations, David!

Okay, here are the stories from last week's photograph. Be sure to hop over to each blog and read the stories ( ;)) and show some love to the authors in the comments!

Hop vs. Prompt? by JP

Climb by Carrie K. Sorensen

Ice Drop by Leanne Sype

J'Sharn's World--Episode II

Where's your Stick? by Scott Taylor

The Birthday Treat by Sally Stackhouse

Here is a reminder of this works
1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story

2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.

3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.

4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.

5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

And drumroll please for this week's photo-- badadadadadadadadaaaa


(randomly generated) Mandatory words






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Remaking Hollywood - Guest Post and Giveaway

June 11, 2013
I'm happy to feature the guest post, cover reveal, and giveaway of writer Joshua Silverman's book.

This weekend, I was on a panel at Denver Comic-con with some other distinguished writers like Kevin J. Anderson, co-author of the Dune prequels, Star Wars Expanded Universe, and The Saga of the Seven Suns. The panel was about the current trend in Hollywood of remaking movies and what we, as writers, thought about it. In case you couldn’t attend, I’ll share some of the insights developed during our hour-long discussion.

1. It’s a business, stupid. Writers become writers because we love our story, love our characters, and love writing. We don’t become writers to “make a million dollars” (most of us don’t, anyway, or you’re under some delusion about the writing industry). That being said, big Hollywood is not about the “art” or “craft” of movie making—they’re in it to make money. They have investors, and investors want a return on investment (ROI). This means if something is successful once, they’ll keep repeating the formula so long as they keep making money. Much to the chagrin of the writing community, we have to accept that there is a business component to our work.

2. Upgrades in technology. In every new generation, technology improves. I know my ten-year-old nieces and nephews won’t watch a movie that was made pre-2000 because it “looks cheesy.” As our technology improves, so must our movies. For example, nobody would believe Adam West’s Batman of the 1960’s would survive sixty seconds on the streets of Gotham/Manhattan today. But Christian Bale’s Batman? With his tank of a Batmobile and seriously awesome armor…now that is a superhero.

3. People get old. They say that the average age of a movie attendee is 19 years old. That means every 19 years Hollywood is going to produce a remake of a film because they want to tap into a new generation of youth. Wait long enough, and people don’t even know that Jim Carrey’s Fun with Dick and Jane was a remake of Jane Fonda’s version in 1977 or that Nicholas Cage’s Gone in Sixty Seconds was originally made in 1974.

4. Classic stories always rule. How many times have they remade the classic tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? How many Robin Hoods have we seen? Movies focused on classic mythology, legends, and folklore which speaks to all of us are always relatable and endearing. These stories stand the test of time. These characters will always touch our hearts and souls. Therefore, they get remade, a lot.

5. Sometimes, it’s about a contract. Want to know the real reason Universal remade Spider-Man so soon after Sam Raimi’s disastrous Spider-Man 3? Legal contracts. Marvel’s licensing arrangement with Universal is that if they don’t put out a new Spider-Man movie every two years, all of the intellectual property rights of the Spider-Man character revert back to Marvel. And we’ve seen how awesome they can do with Thor, Hulk, Iron-Man, Captain America, and the Avengers. So you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll be seeing a lot of Spider-Man; bad or good, you’ll see him because Universal won’t want to lose out on billions of dollars.

There you have it: money, age, classic stories, and relatable characters. Pick your poison, but those are the reasons you see so many remakes and reboots in Hollywood these days. It’s not about a lack of “ideas.” It’s that you don’t fix what’s not broken in any industry.

About the Author and Book

The Emerald Tablet

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Leoros doesn't have many friends. The son of a scientist and archeologist, he is constantly on the move. But when his parents make a startling discovery in Egypt, Leoros' world is turned upside down.

Do you wish you could have the power of a god? Would you use it for good…or for evil?

When an archaeologist discovers the mythic Emerald Tablet buried beneath Egypt’s desert, her son decodes the ancient text leading him to a distant world.

On that world, a slave girl begins a journey towards a destiny she cannot imagine. But when an ancient foe rises from the ashes, they will be brought together by forces neither understands.

Leoros, who dreams of being like the heroes in the comic books, must fight to unlock the secrets of the universe to save a people he never knew existed.

Atlantia, whose bloody visions wake her in the night, senses the darkness coming.

Together they will face an enemy with the power of dark energy, lose a mentor to the assassin’s blade, and be betrayed by someone they trust. Their fight for the future is just beginning, and before it is over, a final sacrifice must be made. When the darkness comes, will they stand and fight or will they join it?

There is darkness in everyone.

Purchase the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Joshua SilvermanJoshua Silverman

Joshua Silverman was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Orange County, California.

While attending California State University, Fullerton and studying Criminal Justice, Joshua was introduced to a creative writing class where he wrote a series of paranormal stories. As a child, he has always been an amateur historian, focusing on ancient Egypt, Greece, and Roman civilizations.

Since working in the legal environment, he has combined his passion for creative writing with his love of ancient history by penning his debut novel, The Emerald Tablet, the first of seven in the Legends of Amun Ra series.

Follow Joshua Silverman:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Let the Games Begin - Collaboration Challenge

I'm taking part in another collaboration challenge hosted by Carrie and continued by myself and a bunch of other awesome bloggers. Make sure to check out part one before you read this continuing part two. I have a sneaking (and hopeful) suspicion I may surprise my co-writers with the direction I've taken this story!

Game Instructions

Kip drove up the driveway of his friend's house. Five cars were parked out front. Five guests. He was late, of course.  It was 8 o'clock and he was supposed to have been there an hour ago. But he needed time to think.

Summer choices party. It was the theme that kicked off the summer when they first graduated. When his best friend, Mick, signed the seven of them up, they started out innocent enough. Laughing about the challenges and the games set before them. Until people got hurt and things changed. Eventually, his girlfriend Janet quit the games and left on her own. Her excuse was a pre-college program she wanted to take part in before leaving in the fall, but he knew the real reasons she left. 

Kip turned off the idling car and put in park. He grabbed the keys out of the ignition and shoved them in his pocket. He took out the folded invitation from his pants pocket and flicked on the overhead light.

"Summer Choices: End of the Year Party - A Night to Remember." the invitation read.

From what he knew about the game so far, he just hoped he would survive the night.

Kip shoved the invite in between the seats of the car and got out. Usually, he would bring a six pack with him to parties, but this wasn't that type of party. He glanced around the neighborhood and a dog barked in the distance. It smelled of freshly cut lawn and soil. He crossed the graveled walkway and pressed the doorbell. It ding-donged inside the house and the sound of movement by the front door erupted. 

The front door was unlocked and it swung open. Mick greeted Kip with a wide grin.

"Let the games begin."

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Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Write With Us!

June 5, 2013
I swear I'm already inspired by this photo! Maybe I'll get lucky and get a story done this weekend instead of the last minute. By the way, if you are struggling to get your creativity revved back up, these prompts are a wonderful way to get yourself started. If you have any questions on how to link up, let your blog host know and we will lend a hand! Anyways - here's Carrie with the prompt - 

It's a new month, and we have a new winner! Congratulations go to:

Thank you so much for joining in some of our weekly prompts. :)

For the stories posted from last week, take a look.

Thank you, everyone!

For those who may not know, Nicole and I have put together a free ebook filled with the stories inspired by our prompts. You can get it here at BookRix where the file is convertible to multiple eReaders.

Okay, now for this week's prompt!!

The Photo from Flikr Commons:

The Words:






And the links! :-)

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Why Are You So Obsessed with that Place? - A Bit of Short Fiction

June 3, 2013
I finally did a story for the weekly blog hop! I'm not too settled on this story, though. I think if I had more room to add words I would explore it a bit more. Considering I wrote most of this on my bus home, I think I did good!

What plagued me about the building was how alive it seemed. Ii was an old apartment complex from the 1920s. I often imagined the fanciful cars and carriage's chauffeuring rich tenants to and from their elaborate parties and balls.

It had been empty for years. Yet, everytime I walked past it, I sensed its loss. It's grief over the emptiness inside.

Until one day, I saw a light in the window.

"I don't know why you're so obsessed with that place." My friend Tiffany said one night at the gym, a downtown locale we met at after work. Although she usually insisted we go to a bar instead.

30 minutes later, I stopped. Tiffany looked at me a bit horrified and I fanned myself to let her know I was too hot. She shrugged and I went to the locker room to change. Tonight was the night.

Soon I left the downtown gym and headed North towards the building. I turned left at the poster that advertised the nearby performance theatre and just down the way was the building.

It loomed in the darkness and only the distant street lamps provided light. I was the only one on the street. An unusual feature to this usually crowded thoroughfaire. I touched the walls of the building and it seemed to breathe in and out against my hand.

"What's inside you?" I whispered. I neared closer to the entrance and I hesitated a moment. Was this foolish? Should I just go back?

I ignored my instinct and went for the front door. No one was around and no one would see whether I belonged there or not. I pulled on the rusted iron door handle and tugged on it. It didn't budge at first, and I yanked again. It groaned open and I whispered an apology.

I peered inside before stepping in. Shadows danced across the hallways and I made out features of people that ghosted towards me with their long dresses and faded grins. They wanted me to join them. I could feel it. I stepped closer and saw someone reaching out towards me. Take my hand, they said. I reached out and...

honk honk

I looked away for a second and saw Tiffany in her car idling at the side of the road.

"You freak! What the hell are you doing?"

I looked back into the building and the shadow were gone. I could feel the disappointment.

"I'm not sure anymore," I said to her, the spell broken. I stepped away from the door and let it shut. I crossed the street and walked to Tiffany's car, ignoring her mutterings of how much of an oddball I was, but before I got in the car, I took out my cell phone and snapped a photograph of the building.

A few weeks later, I developed the photo and discovered the faint resemblance of a person at one of the windows, holding a lamp, and watching me drive away.
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