Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

Hello, ducklings. 

As we draw this year to a close, we have to look back on where we came from. The beginning of this year saw my addition to the InkySuki family. Once, this press was a lone gunship under the watchful eye of our own Captain. She saw fit to add a mad scientist, and the laboratory has been churning out wonderful products ever since.

We have conquered so many hurdles this year. The day jobs (which have been abysmal), two interstate moves for the Laboratory, a period of itinerant editing, cover troubles and website woes have found us stronger than ever. We move forward into the new year with releases ready to go out, new editors and artists, new authors, and scheduled conventions.

The next year will see us guesting at Frolicon and many other excellent conventions. New short stories, anthologies, and novels will be released.  With any luck of the winds, new authors can be brought to the stable and will join our ever-growing press. 

The Lost Laboratory salutes you all. May the winds be fair as you reflect on 2013 and emerge ready for 2014. It's only been 2 years since the world ended, and nothing makes more sense in a post-apocalyptic world such as ours than to write, be creative, invent, and learn.

Happy New Year, in the name of Auld Lang Syne.

Gabriel Belthir and all the labrats of the Lost Laboratory

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy Holidays from the Harborage

Hello, ducks.

It's been a busy week here on the Airship.
The Solstice was celebrated with properly pagan observances.
There was a lengthy journey to bear gifts to the family.
Younger Son, and Incorrigible Pirate, Jon turned 16 to cheering family.
Christmas was duly celebrated with the Christian side of the family.
The return journey was followed by a visit to the Dentist.
And now, our wee Cabin Girl is having her 14th birthday party. The actual date is New Year's eve, but Oldest Son heads off to the Grand Army of the Republic tomorrow, and she wanted him to come.

We've been sorting the last submission for Dominant Tendencies and Hungry Hearts. There are still three days for those.

So, from all of us, to all of you,
Happy Holidays, and may the New Year be good and prosperous to us all.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Lost Laboratory's (Early) Friday Update

Oh, my fellow travelers, we have some very exiting times these days.

Outside of the releases scheduled for January, February is our official Steampunk Month.

That is to say - All Hail Alternate History! We here at the airship consider our natural state to be alternate, and as such proudly sail our gypsy/pirate ship across the skies.

In preparation for Steampunk Month, we have a few special announcements.

Firstly, the announcement of a special anthology call!

Auld Lang Syne

Deadline: February 1st, 2014

Once something has been around for a while, it tends to peak. Steampunk is one such fascination. With this peak, however, comes the most practiced and interesting of fiction. In memory of 'days long past', we offer the one and only InkySuki steampunk anthology. Give us your best and brightest! Reprints welcome, new authors encouraged.

Pairing: Any
Happily Ever After encouraged but not required.
Tentative Publishing Date: May 1st

Secondly, the Captain and I will be releasing a 4 week serial steampunk story here on the Inky Suki blog as a free read. More on this when I release the Sewing Ninja to resume hir duties.

Once again, feel free to send us your steampunk best - poems, drawings, stories, and memories of steampunk endeavors!

I'll be in tow!

First Mate and Mad Scientist
(Who should probably pay more attention to derelict Tesla Coils...ew.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Long Haul

It's been a  long duty trick here on the Airship, ducklings.

The Mad Scientist has redone the website a couple of times.  We had a disagreement with our aetheric provider, who failed to see reason and has been dumped overboard. At this time, we are only taking PayPal through the site. Many of the books are available at the Literary Underworld http://www.literaryunderworld.com, and of course, Kindle editions are always available at Amazon.

As you can see, there are a lot more author pictures and a lot more coming soon. We have releases through April! I'm excited, but it means being chained to my desk [rattle, rattle] and trusting the navigator instead of being at the wheel.

There was a slight issue with folks who pre-ordered Misfit Prophets Beneath a Bankrupt Sky being told they were getting Dreadmire instead. Those responsible have been flogged. And more importantly, the website is repaired. Never fear, you will get your copy of our lovely oracle boys in February.

We have a map. We have a plan. We have a full tank of propulsion fuel, a half-ration of tobacco, my navigator is nightblind and my goggles are polarized.
Full throttle!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Leaks From the Deadly Ninja Sewing Circle

Oh my brothers and only goslings, we have some exciting times for you today.

The captain is allowing me to give out some leaks this December, shadows of things to come. I feel like a ghost coming to Scrooge for Yule to give him duck l'orange and small Legos. Or maybe you remember A Christmas Carol slightly different from me.

Anyway. Here is the leak of our new releases:

January brings bountiful blessings of bloody vampires, brutish werewolves, and blushing cyberpunk programmers.

First, HC Playa blesses us with Fated Bonds, in which a strong cop finds love, trials, and terrible prices in a world of vampires, werewolves, witches, and the government agency that keeps them in check.

Tala perched on the edge of the bed. She took a towel and dampened it with some of the water from his glass and then she wiped his brow. "Rest. Okay? You're safe here." He stared at her in silence, watching her every move. She set the towel aside. "Thank you for saving me. Most of the time, I can take care of myself. But then, I’ve never dealt with a werewolf before."

He remained silent for a full minute, always watching her with those eerie, yet beautiful tawny eyes. 
"You fought him," he finally said.

She quirked up an eyebrow. "What? Was I supposed to sprinkle salt and pepper on my head and hand him flatware?"


Secondly, we have The Beast Within, a re-release of the first installment of Jimmy Gillentine's hit series Of Blood and the Moon. Re-edited, re-imagined, and brought forward into the author's vision, this book of secrets, lies, and love will bring a shiver to your spine.

The Beast tracked the trail of his latest victim through the quiet forest. His senses strained to find his prey as the burning hunger insider his belly continued to grow in strength, summoning the Rage from within.

The Beast finally caught the scent of prey. As the Beast drew closer to the scent, he crept into the brush behind a tree. From his hiding place, he saw what he was after. In the morning fog of the woods, a young doe drank from a shallow pond, oblivious to the danger she was in as she quenched her thirst. The Beast studied his prey’s movements and felt his mouth water with anticipation.

So young…so full of life…so full of blood.

The doe’s head went up with a jolt as the wind changed, and she sensed the danger at last. The Beast could see the fear begin to course through the doe’s body and knew it was time to spring and did not waste another second. With an unrestrained roar, he pounced. The doe struggled in the iron grip of the Beast and inwardly he laughed at her futile attempts to escape. He grabbed the doe’s head, pulling her neck tight and biting down on her with his huge maw. Feeling the doe’s body spasm, the Beast tore a large chuck of flesh from her throat. Blood sprayed onto his face as he slowly chewed the meat. The warm taste of blood and flesh making his head swim. The Beast’s cock went stiff with the pleasure of the taste.

He bent down to drink his fill of the red fountain bubbling from the opened wound. The warm elixir pumped into his mouth and he felt the life of the doe begin to fade away. Pulling away from the meal, he watched the last bit of life flicker away. However, what the Beast saw made him choke on his meal; he was no longer holding the body of the doe. In his arms, he held the naked corpse of a young woman. Her blonde hair covered her face and the Beast fearfully moved it away with a free hand. Pushing the locks aside, he saw the lifeless, blue eyes staring into nothingness. The Beast knew her.

Angela! Angela…no!

“Angela!” He screamed as the image of the forest around him began to fade.
That’s how Andrew Bane woke up.


Lastly, we have Peter Tupper’s An Angel Has No Memory, a stand-alone short story so good we couldn’t put it down. Diving into the secret fantasies of a cyberpunk programmer who wishes to be a guileless Toy, we’re treated to heat and scandal that might just blow a few fuses.

The Fulfilment House, which occupied several floors of an office tower, reminded Rose a little of a casino: dark earth tones, no clocks, no windows, nothing to remind people of the outside world. Plus the security cameras watching everything, like the eyes of a tarantula. She could see attractive people in exercise wear doing yoga, exercising or painting. They must be the Assets she’d heard about. 

Teo pointed out things as they walked across the main concourse. “The Assets exercise there, relax there, eat there. You won’t be dealing with that part of it much. That’s Dr. Wilkins’ office over there. If you spot any injuries or health problems, just let her know. Programming is up there.” She pointed up at the glass-walled area on the mezzanine that overlooked the concourse. 

“That’s where I’ll be working,” she said, belatedly realizing her lab coat probably gave that away.

“Good luck. Programming’s been a one-man operation for months. Sumner practically never leaves the place. He’s very picky about who he lets touch the equipment. The boss sent down three other people to be his assistant, and they all came back and begged for a transfer.”


And for a little further leak, my dear dibbuns, February is Steampunk Month here at the InkySuki base. We’ll be releasing a collection of Steampunk stories by our own ‘Scourge of the Doritos’ Angelia Sparrow, as well as Misfit Prophets Beneath a Bankrupt Sky, a novella about two lost boys who join a rundown circus as fortune-tellers by S Zanne. I might be keelhauled if I send out excerpts on these too soon, and please remember that this is terribly uncomfortable, as we’re in the sky and not on ocean. However, I’ll leak them as soon as I manage to disable the cyberpunk GPS brace she keeps putting on my leg. Magnetic bolts are awfully difficult to disable.

Keep in touch, my lovelies. During Steampunk Month, we’ll be posting your blurbs, poems, and pictures of all things Steampunk right here on the Inky Suki blog, as well as a few surprises in store for all Steampunk merchandise.

I’ll be in tow!

Gabriel Belthir

First Mate and Mad Scientist

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New calls for 2014

All sorts of news here, dear ones.

We're busily into edits on a great many things.  It looks as though the Hungry Hearts and the Dominant Tendencies anthologies are going forward as scheduled.

And after much palaver and confabulation and hobnobbing, we are indeed delighted with out new story calls for the 2014 anthologies.

So sharpen up your quills, dear ones. The Ferret Delivery Service stands ready to bring your work to the attention of the airship.

All anthology calls are 3000-15,000 words, pay $20 plus royalties, and must be submitted according to procedure laid out at http://www.inkstainedsuccubus.com.

Special Note!
Hungry Hearts and Dominant Tendencies are open under extended deadlines until Dec 31.
Bring your erotic horror or m/m BDSM out to play.

Open Calls for 2014
All submissions must adhere to the Submission Guidelines. Please email us for a house style sheet if you wish to submit.

Epic Tails
Deadline: Mach 15, 2014

Adventurous bunnies, daring foxes, magnificent furries of all kinds come out to play in this anthology. Adventure and swashbuckling encouraged, all genres welcome. While we welcome romantic plots, let's close the door and make it family friendly. Anthropomorphic only, no shifters.

Pairing: Any, no erotica.
Happy ending required.
​Expected Release: June 1st 2014

Taking Flight
Deadline: June 15th, 2014

Whether angels, demonics, birdfolk, elves, or the Tuatha de Dannan, we have always been fascinated by wings. For this anthology, we ask for your greatest erotic fiction with wings. Let us touch the soft feathers or spidersilk and be wrapped in them, strange sensations against flesh. All pairings welcome, all genres considered.

Pairing: Any (M/M, F/F, M/F, Trans* inclusive) erotic
Happy ending required.
Expected Release: September 1st, 2014

Candle in the Dark
Deadline: September 15, 2014

Deck the halls, and pull out the holly and the ivy. The longest, darkest night of the year should be brighter because of the warmth of romance and the heat of passion. Winter holidays abound in this anthology, with a wide welcome to any traditional (or inventive) winter holiday. Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Saturnalia, or Solstice, if your boys celebrate it, we want their story.

Pairing: M/M erotic
Happy ending required.

Expected Release: December 1st, 2014

Somewhere Out There
Deadline: December 15th, 2014

​Beyond our understanding lies a great, wide galaxy full of adventure, romance, and very, very hot beings. This anthology is fully science-fiction, both far and near future, with or without dystopia. Introduce us to your finest worldbuilding and storytelling, and show us your view of the future...and who will be with whom in it.

Pairing: Any (M/M, M/F, F/F, Trans* and Poly inclusive) erotic
Happy ending not required, though Happy For Now encouraged.
Expected Release: March 1st, 2015

Note: This is a line, not just an anthology. With a good response, we'll be launching a SF/F line. Therefore, submissions for this call should be 3k-15k for the anthology, but 15k-100k will be considered for simultaneous release.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

An Unexpected Hiatus

The Airship was unexpectedly docked for the month of November. (and part of October)

Angelia spent the month in a small town, with minimal internet (only when she went uptown to the library) and almost no cell service. There was brain surgery and Angelia ended up full-time caregiver.

Gabriel made yet another multi-state move and is now firmly ensconced in an apartment less than five minutes from Angelia. Expect productivity to skyrocket.

The business meeting on Dec 3 covered many things. The website will be seeing updates. If you've sent mail, look for an answer soon.

The Hungry Hearts anthology is going forward.
So is Dominant Tendencies.

Projected release dates for many projects should be available in the next week.

We're sorry for the difficulties. When every text feels as if it's being snuck out via carrier pigeon to the Resistance, communication is quite difficult.

But we're flying again!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dreadmire as a benefit book

We had printing issues. So we are stuck with a lot of Large Print Dreadmire.

Elizabeth Donald explains what we're doing with them.

Basically, a portion of all sales will go to the Gulf Restoration Network to help preserve endangered wetlands Go see how you can help.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Dreadmire Tour Starts Today!

Thanks to all the lovely folks who chipped in on her kickstarter, Elizabeth Donald is off on a tour.

This is your chance to see her in places she doesn't usually go.
You can get a copy of Dreadmire, or of any of her other excellent books, hang out and chat.

From Elizabeth:
"Some of these are still awaiting final approval, and in others we've given up and are scheduling a Starbucks Stop. That's where I settle into a table, stick the sign in front of me and you can come by and say hello if you like.

Others are "author dinners," which is fancy for "we all have a meal and you can pick up a book if you want." Email elizabethdonald at yahoo dot com if you're interested in one of those.

Watch Twitter and Facebook for changes - everything will be tagged #furloughtour. Spread the word if you know someone along the route... and come see me! That's the whole point of this thing!"

• Harvest Thyme Festival, Carlyle City Park, Carlyle, Ill. 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

• SoHo Cafe, 620 S. Range Line Road, Carmel, Ind. noon-1 p.m.
• Chocolate Cafe, 122 S. Michigan, South Bend, Ind. 6:30-8 p.m.

• Fort Wayne, Ind. noon-1 p.m. Location TBA.
• Columbus, Ohio 6-7:30 p.m. Location TBA

• Crazymocha Squirrel Hill, 2100 Murray Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. noon-1:30 p.m.
• Author Dinner in Harrisburg, Pa. Email if interested!

• Signing at Singularity & Co., 18 Bridge St. 1G, Brooklyn. 

• Visit to Bryn Mawr School, Baltimore
• Author Dinner in Baltimore, Md. Email if interested!

• Passing through Charlottesville, Va. Email if you'd like to meet up!
• 7:30 p.m. Starbucks Stop, 8951-A South Tryon St., Charlotte, N.C.

• Atlanta! Plans pending, watch for news.

• Possible Starbucks Stop in Birmingham, plans pending.
• 3 p.m. signing at Booksellers at Laurelwood on Perkins Ext., Memphis, Tenn.

Get out an see her!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Free Paranormal Romance

Hello, ducks. 

Your Captain, in the spirit of the season, is giving away a free horror ebook every Sunday.

 This week, it's Inkstained Succubus' Riding the Nightmare.

If you like gay paranormal romance, from gods to werewolves, supernatural truckers to incubi, go sign up to win a copy!

 The giveaway is here: http://angelsparrow.blogspot.com/2013/10/sunday-sweets-with-free-ebook.html 

 or here: http://valarltd.livejournal.com/1878188.html

Be sure to leave your email address.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Sexy Saturday: Wicked Sexy Game

This is from "Paying Forfeits" in the Into Dark Waters collection.

Sam and William like their Friday board game night. They like it even better when they start playing for sexual forfeits. When William's godson, Billy, joins the household, he joins in the games as well.

“If we are to play this, let us do it by the book." William flipped his own lacy cuff out of the way and showed Billy how to properly hold the flintlock pistol. “You don’t say ‘stick ‘em up’ or ‘reach for the sky.’  Say ‘stand and deliver’ instead.”

“Stand and deliver. Got it.”

William dropped into a full accent. “Aye, now, into the woods withee." He watched as Billy clumped off in the thigh boots, the red heels making his gait awkward. The claret velvet coat and the lace made the young man even sexier. He adjusted his own powdered wig and riding clothes as he walked to where Sam was waiting, already astride a dapple gray. His own bay mare whickered at him.

“Those boots make his ass so tempting,” Sam sighed, watching as Billy disappeared into the trees.

“So, we indulge your harpaxophilia, lover.”

“My what?”

“Your taste for rogues, especially highwaymen." William swung into the saddle. “We are fortunate young Billy is here. I fear I would hardly cut so fine a figure.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bit of a Mea Culpa

There are lots of good reasons why I haven't kept up on the blog.

It has been a difficult month aboard the Airship, my dear ones.

Work picked up astronomically and so I am awake at all hours, and exhausted when I am home.

Mudd the Mighty, your captain's Love Muffin, was in a major semi accident. He rolled it in West Virginia on the 10th, and has been home ever since, on Workman's comp. We did the MRI today and back to the orthopedist tomorrow.

I've coped with all this by mucking out the Airship. The bilge is downright vile, dears. There's a reason we put the unattractive hostages on that job.

We have also been swamped at the Press. Dreadmire, our new release, was a priority order, and got mainlined through so it can be ready for Elizabeth's Big Book Tour! Go find Elizabeth Donald on Facebook and tell her where to go. Or rather, tell her to come see you.

We're pounding along on three other novels and a pile of short stories.
So yes, work is happening here.

And in the middle of all this, my cabin boy and his sister are failing a couple of classes so there has been schoolwork crackdown.

But this should pick back up soon.

Release Day! Dreadmire

A float trip into hell, 

Dreadmire follows four adventurers on a quest through the dismal haunted swamp that lies on the edge of their land as a living nightmare. Tam, a disgraced Moor Knight, and his best friend team up with a guide and a seer to find Tam's lost love, and perhaps free the land from the evil that corrupts the creatures of Dreadmire into unspeakable horrors.

Available in print and ebook.

We're tickled to be able to re-release this nightmarish trip.  I first read it when it came out from the original publisher. I was in the laundromat and ignored my finished driers in order to finish it.

If you like quest fantasy, sword and sorcery, witty banter and True Love (or maybe just delusional obsession) this is definitely a good read. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Twenty-One Gun Birthday Salute!

There is much rejoicing aboard the airship today.

Our First mate and Mad Scientist, Gabriel Belthir, yes, the lovely who answers all your submission letters, is having a birthday!

So, in honor of this, I am making a proclamation:

Be it known, that today, and every 6 September hereafter, is Gabriel Belthir Day.

On this day, Gabriel may do as zie pleases, enjoy all things that come zir way and generally have a happy birthday.

Extra rum all around, and don't blow up the lab!

Captain Angelina Calamity
of the Airship Inkstained Succubus

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Deconstructing the Elmore Leonard Rules, part one

Elmore Leonard died today, on what would have been HP Lovecraft's  123rd birthday.
He was a very successful writer and famously laid down a set of ten rules for writing.
1] Never open a book with weather.
2 ]Avoid prologues.
3] Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
4] Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.
4] Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
5] Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
6] Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
7] Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
8] Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
9] Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

"My most important rule is one that sums up the 10:"

10] If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

I think they are useful guidelines, especially if you want to write like Elmore Leonard.
But the thing is, they are only guidelines. After all, there are two rule 4s in there.

Today, we'll be talking about the first of them.

1] Never open a book with the weather.

Nobody wants a weather report.
"It was a dark and stormy night." is arguably the most famous weather line in all writing.

or you get the extended forecast:
  My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. I was wearing my favorite shirt - sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearing it as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was a parka. 
  In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It rains on this inconsequential town more than any other place in the United States of America. It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old. 

She lost me at rolling down the windows on the airport.  And the temperature says April or October, because Phoenix is a lot hotter than that between May and Sept.

On the other hand, George Orwell did it beautifully:
"It was a cold bright day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen."

My position, unless the weather is vitally necessary to the story, do not start in with it.
Even Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" where the Venusian rain is practically a character in its own right, doesn't start with the rain.

Also, when talking about weather, please don't tell us things we already know. "The rain fell wetly, saturating the ground." We know rain is wet. We know night is dark and the sun is hot. Telling your readers these things annoys them and makes them think that you think they're stupid.

2] Avoid Prologues.

I can't argue much with this. Most of the time, a prologue is something that should have gone into the body of the story as a flashback or a narrative within the story. It can often be safely skipped without losing the story. If you need the reader to have that information, it's better to either make it the first chapter and put a time stamp on it or include it at the proper point in the story.

3] Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
4] Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.

These two go hand in hand. So many people, doubtlessly prodded by English teachers, have a Fear of Said. So they use things like "Enunciated", "quipped" or "thin-smiled." Said is a perfectly good dialogue tag. But it is not and should not be your only one. If your characters are in a library, they can whisper. If one is snake-like, he should hiss (but only if there are sibilants in the word!).

Before you use a dialogue tag, make sure you know what it means and that is is the right one.

This can also apply to creating action to avoid tags. That's using a verb to carry dialogue, since only part of communication is spoken.

And watch your adverbs. You end up with Tom Swifties if you use them in dialogue.
"Here's your allowance for the next two weeks," Tom advanced.
"You have the right to remain silent," said Tom arrestingly.

Just don't. Use adverbs sparingly.

4] Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 

I agree with this, at least until the period. I don't like set number limits. There are times when people shout. Exclamation points probably should not appear in narration. You aren't shocked and they are the equivalent of shouting at your readers.

They should be rationed in dialogue. Unless you have characters who simply gush! And use italics and exclamation points at every turn. Because ZOMG, reasons! But those should be limited to very specific types of character. And those types quickly become annoying. The best use I've seen has been Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson.

Also, exclamation points are solitary creatures. They don't like sharing a page, let alone the same sentence with others of their kind. And they don't herd with question marks.

Excuse please, the galley is calling.
To be continued

Friday, August 16, 2013

On Forbidden Words

This article from Chuck Palahniuk's blog, is making the rounds in writers' circles:

It reminds me of some of the publishing houses I've worked for. One said no colons or slashes or parentheses in the work. One hates dialogue tags. One isn't a fan of adverbs.

Personally, I think removing all of ANYTHING from a manuscript is a bad idea.
Adverbs, ellipses, exclamation points, dialogue tags, was, they all have their place. Everything has its time and place.  (Except interrobangs. That piece of punctuation needs to die in a fire, or at least be restricted by law to the diaries of those under 16)  These places are not every place.

Some of the things I see in manuscripts:

1) An overabundance of ellipses. Trailing off or hesitating happens. Especially in actual conversation. But to quote Larry Niven, "Everyone Talks First Draft." Finish the sentence. Show us the pause.

"I'm not sure...let me think...Yes, the night of the twenty-fourth."
This is fine, once or twice. Adding lots of hesitation or pregnant pauses into your dialogue ends up making your character sound like a bad William Shatner impersonation.
"I'm not sure..." He trailed off and looked out the window. "Stop badgering me and let me think!" A long silence while he studied the moonlight on the waves. "Yes, the night of the twenty-fourth."

1a) Dialogue Morse Code.
"Are you sure-" he began.
"Of course!" she snapped. "Well, maybe..."
"What the-" Their friend's protest was cut off by a great rumbling from behind them.

All dots and dashes and incomplete sentences. Realistic? yes. Annoying? Oh yes.  See the Niven quote. Finish the sentences.

"Are you sure it's this way?" He hoisted his torch and looked dubiously down the passage.
"Of course!" she snapped as she consulted the map. "Well, maybe not."
"What the-" Their friend's protest was cut off by a great rumbling from behind them.

2) Was. Being verbs have their place.
"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." The opening line of William Gibson's Neuromancer is one of the all time greats. As is 1984's "It was a cold bright day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen." (more great SF openings here.)
But "was" is a weak verb to hang a whole sentence on, much of the time. Using vibrant verbs helps color the writing.  I suggest checking to see how often you use "was" in your writing and see if some can be transposed out for something more exciting.

Also "was verbing."  Learn the difference between progressive verbs and passive voice.  If you can add the words "By zombies" after the verb, you have passive voice.

"Mistakes were made (by zombies)" is the classic example of passive voice.
"He was going to the store when he saw the alien," is a progressive verb. He is taking one action when something alters it.

 "The rain was falling." is a state of being. This should be altered to a more active verb. "The rain dribbled down in intermittent spurts that always landed just as he had to get out the car." is better. "The steady gray rain obscured the view more than ten feet in any direction." is good, too.

3) Adverb abuse. Adverbs have their place. It's simply not every place. Consider them as pepper and sprinkle in with a light hand.
3a) Adjective abuse. This is most commonly done by piling on two or three descriptors before the word, and then adding a couple afterward. More than two is probably pushing it.  "They pushed through the rank, unwholesome weeds toward the leaning decayed spire of the decrepit church which thrust against the sky like a finger broken and reset badly which now clawed at the leering, orange, gibbous moon."

4) Exclamation Point Herding. Exclamation points are tricky things. Too many make the reader feel shouted out. But you need them when someone is shouting. Here at Inkstained, we suggest no more than two per page, and limit them to dialogue. This is a flexible guideline.

5) Dialogue tags. These are the bane of my existence. Please, please, PLEASE know what your dialogue tag means and don't just yank it out of the thesaurus. Remember Stephen King: "Any word you have to find in a Thesaurus is the wrong word. No exceptions." Quip has its place. But unless you are Quentin Crisp, Oscar Wilde or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you should approach this word as though it is nitroglycerin. Do not try to hiss a sentence with no sibilants. It's a matter of using the right word for the job.

"Let's go!" he shouted, fending off the swarm. is all right.  "Let's go!" He raised his shield between himself and the swarm while their wizard mumbled the last words of the fireball. is better.

6) Creative punctuation.  Dialogue is punctuated like this:
"Let's go," he said.
Not like this:
"Let's go." He said.
"Let's go", he said
"Let's go". He said.
This is the only non-negotiable rule. Punctuate the thing properly!
Periods, quotation marks and commas should be the most common items. Question marks and exclamation points should stay in the dialogue bits. Approach em-dashes, parentheses, ellipses, colons, and semi-colons with care.

7) Present tense or second person (or both). Don't do it. Really, just don't. It sounds like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. This is the only thing on the list that will get an automatic reject.

I'm not saying don't use the things I've talked about above, barring the last two. We have no forbidden words here. No forbidden punctuation.

I'm saying use the most effective word for the job.
Sometimes that word is "was" or "believed" or "knew."
Sometimes a colon or slash is the right punctuation.
Sometimes it isn't.
Know the difference.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Deadlines Flying By

Ah, ducklings, I have to admit to you, I adore deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go flying by.

It's been an interesting road getting anthologies off the ground. We just don't have enough people throwing stories our way. We need more people to submit, even though we've had some amazing submissions so far.

In this vein, I'd like to leak a few new deadlines and some exciting up-and-coming tidbits of novels.

Firstly, Monstrously Ever After is getting its deadline extended. I'd let you see a peek of the gorgeous submissions we've gotten, but I'm not keen on the Captain keelhauling me to the airship. Let me tell you, we're wanting to gather up a few more, and you can see for yourselves. Deadline is now September 1st, come one come all.

Secondly, we've got a new novel coming out called Fated Bonds. My squidlings, this is amazing. Memphis' own HC Playa, while already published with a short story, has graced us all with her very first novel and it'll be a bash. It's shiny! New up on the site is her bio and contact information, so friend now and save some time. We'll be getting an interview with her soon enough, and you can tune into the Lost Lab for that! I always adore sending that congratulations letter.

Lastly, little monsters, there has been a time of renewal this summer. Jimmy Gillentine has been rewriting his famous series and it should be coming back out, better than ever. Those fans should faint like Elvis' girls when they see how shiny the new one is. Also, Angelia Sparrow is working on rewriting some of her signature Nikolai verse work. Yours truly has been asked to come in on the project, so we'll see where the wind takes us. A little genderqueer never hurt anyone, right?

So keep your ears to the ground and noses to the grindstone. Deadlines are evil, terrible things that are necessary! Catch a ride on one and find your next masterpiece in the pages of antiquity.

I'll be in tow!

Gabriel Belthir
Mad Scientist and First Mate

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Because you keep asking that question

 The title of the post is Joss Whedon's famous answer to why he writes strong female characters.

In recent weeks I've encountered several members in good standing of the He-Man Woman Haters Club. They all say roughly the same thing.

"Women have no business in SF/Fantasy/Horror. They don't understand it, because they're stupid and they just gloop it up with their romance."

As with so many things, the hateful seem extra empowered lately, as if they realize they are winning.
So, since romance in science fiction is a recent thing, thrown in by silly women who can't handle space ships, I guess the following never happened.

1) John Carter never courted Dejah Thoris under the light of Thuria and Cluros in the ruins of the city of Thark.

2) Antonius Block never played chess with Death over the whole of Sweden so he could see his Karin one last time before death.

3) Brunilla never found Uncle Einer sleeping under his green wings.

4) Jim Kirk never fell hard for Edith Keeler.

5) We were never introduced to group marriages, line marriages and polyamory. Because a man like Heinlein would only writer about giant bugs being blown to bits!

6) Logan made his run alone, without the romantic entanglement of Jessica. He also didn't spend two more books hunting for her across the post-apocalyptic world after the domes fell, or on an alternate earth.

7) Buttercup and Wesley, enough said. William Goldman preferred to write the emotional violence of Lion In Winter instead of True Love.

8) Dracula simply came to England to feed, not in search of his long-lost love. And he was quickly put down by clever men, who acted solely out of fear and not for love of the same lady.

If you're wondering why I left out Star Wars (me, who thinks Brian Dailey sitteth at the right hand of the Great Flanneled One), the big romance occurs in The Empire Strikes Back, much of which was written by Leigh Brackett, who died during filming. Production was shut down for her funeral. So, it's just a woman glooping things up with her romance.

Women have been writing in the genre since the beginning. We are not a new feature. Many, like Alice "James Tiptree Jr." Sheldon published under pseudonyms. More, like Andre Norton, Leigh Brackett and Julian May took advantage of androgynous names. Still more used initials, CJ Cherryh, AC Crispin, JK Rowling.

Here at Inkstained Succubus, we are proud of our women writers. We are proud of our men writers. We are proud of our trans*, gay, lesbian, bi, asexual and straight authors. And we do not require anyone to hide. The only way we won't be proud of YOU is if you send us the usual cliche-riddled stereotypes that make us wonder if you know any women, regardless of your actual sex.

For more reading on the subject of sexism in fandom and SF in general:
(this explains the dust-up that started it all)

(as does this)
(A chronicle of a recent incident at ComiCon)

Seanan McGuire on being GeekCred checked at ComiCon




Friday, July 19, 2013

My Sexy Saturday Blog Hop: Sexy is my Drug

This is a blog hop. The point is seven words or sentences or paragraphs of The Sexy. Please go check out the other tastes on the blogs listed at the end.

Today's bit comes from Nikolai, by Angelia Sparrow, a kinky gay Pygmalion story in a dark future.
Available at Inkstained Succubus.

The evening proceeded as all the others had. Nick cleaned up the kitchen then did what homework he had left. Ligatos read in his favorite chair, a very large stack of printouts which he supplemented with occasional taps on his handheld.

Nick finished what math he had, went over his Italian once more, and could not concentrate on the sonnets he’d been assigned. He caught himself glancing over at Ligatos, watching the large hands work the touch pad or examining how the kissable mouth twisted as he read something distasteful.

He tried to control himself, but Sir noticed anyway. Finally, when Nick was on the fourth glance in less than a minute, Ligatos stood up. He turned off the handheld, set it atop the printouts and beckoned Nick to follow.

Nick marked his place, set his book on the coffee table and went. He knew what was coming next: what he’d wanted for weeks. As he stepped into the bedroom, he started unbuttoning his shirt immediately.

Large hands stopped his movement and pulled him close. Nick’s arms went around the taller man’s neck and he bent with the embrace. Very gently, so softly he almost didn’t feel it, Ligatos kissed him.

Nick melted into the long-awaited kiss, wanting it to last. In bare seconds, it was gone and the big hands were unfastening him, barely ghosting over his skin. He stayed very still, concentrating on the touches,  shaking just a little from pent-up desire and fear.

A brush of lips at his ear accompanied the whisper, “Take what you want.”

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Hello loves.

There's some upheaval on all fronts here at the Press.

The Lost Lab is moving house and will probably be out of commission for at least 3 weeks. Editing will be slightly slowed.
There are changes happening here at the Den, but they shouldn't impact the press too much. (My husband, Mudd the Mighty, is off on a long term adventure, so today is a day of much hustling and bustling)

A note:
Email, contracts etc will only be dealt with during office hours. These are Monday-Friday, 9-5.
Anything that comes in on a weekend will be dealt with Monday, so don't panic if you send your manuscript of The Greatest Novel Ever, Really! to us on Saturday and don't hear before Tuesday.

Author Packets.
We now have an author packet. You should get this when you are accepted.
It has
The Pre Edit guide and Template
The Book info and cover art form
A FAQ file
A sample contract. This is NOT your contract. This is a standard one for you to read over before you get the Echo Sign one.
If you prefer paper contracts, let me know before I send the Echo Sign one.
A reminder that all IS contracts are negotiable on most points. (the royalty percentage is not. It is as high as I can make it and still pay the other people involved in the book)

Please let me know. We are here to work with you and make your experience a good one.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A week of much chaos

Forgive me, dear ones.
Things have been very difficult at Chez Mudd and the Lost Lab.
Posting will resume in July.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Oh ducks, I have discovered Pinterest and made it all my own!

That place is the bad monkey crack. I can waste hours enjoying the porn.

Food porn of yummy looking meals and fabulous desserts.

Craft porn of every sort. Crocheting, knitting, decoupage, building and painting and I am SO making those cute little lamps!

And of course the beautiful places I will never visit. Okay, I've been to a couple of them.

And sexy people? They abound, their pictures appearing between luscious desserts and adorable free fonts.

Pinterest is more dangerous than Facebook or Livejournal. While those places may induce you to spend real money for virtual games, Pinterest suggests you go out and buy ingredients and make your own avocado popsicles and glass mushrooms for your garden.

It seems to say, with a few pallets and paint, you can build all the furniture you need! Here's how to silkscreen those free fonts and public domain maps onto your spiffy new bench!

I'm valarltd there. And the press is there too, as inkySooky

Happy Pinning!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

No blog post this week

This is your captain speaking. The airship is in for repairs (the captain has repaired to her bunk with a great quantity of rum).  Normal posting should resume next week.

Sorry, loves. I broke two teeth today and am about to go be hopped up on pain pills rest of the night.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Angel in the Galley

I'm sorry, ducks, I haven't anything exciting to write about.

So let's talk about something everyone likes: food!

Here on the airship Inkstained Succubus, we like our food. In fact, I've written two cookbooks, neither of which is readily available.

However, on my Wednesdays when I can think of nothing else to share, you'll get a new recipe, tested in our galley and force fed to our authors and crew.

I've discovered the fun and games that is Pinterest. You can find me, goggles and all, there quite often.

As I mentioned, my oldest son recently graduated. To celebrate, we made Awesome Brownies of Awesomeness
They are loosely based on this pin: http://pinterest.com/pin/517914025868101651/

4 packages of brownie mix (eggs and oil to make them with), mixed as directed
1 bag of chocolate chips
2 packages mint oreo cookies

I just did these in a pan, but I think a muffin tin is a wiser choice.
Line the muffin cups with paper liners and pour just enough brownie batter to cover the bottom.
Add one oreo to each muffin cup.
Mix chocolate chips into remaining batter.
Cover oreos.
Add second oreo to cup. Cover with batter.
Bake as directed until brownies are done.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream on top of these is complete overkill, so please, go for it.

Be good and don't blow up the kitchen, and maybe later this summer there will video footage of ice planets and how my own genius children cope with problematic food.

Clear Skies!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our Notification system

So, what happens when you send a submission to Inkstained Succubus?

Once the missive arrives by Aetheric Tank aboard the airship, our Mad Scientist seizes it and scuttles below-decks, cackling maniacally, thrilled to have something new to read.

Up at the wheel, I will hear clanks and bangs and the occasional chortle of laughter or shriek of terror (depending on the manuscript). If zie deems it worthy, zie will send it up to me, employing our specially trained Ferret Delivery System. Ferret Delivery: we'll get it there or we'll eat it. You never know. I'm always tickled to see one of the little beasties climbing up the rigging, the manuscript in a wrought brass tube on its back.

The ones our Mad Scientist deems Not Right will be sent a nice note, saying "Thank you but this isn't right for us at this time. We encourage you to submit for other calls. And please, the pigeon is on us. Pigeon pie is especially good."

Once I get the manuscript, I read it over and decide. There are two primary sorts of missives that come off my heap of a writing desk.

"Please revise and resubmit."  This means I liked the story. A LOT! Enough to consider it even though the author didn't pay attention to our formatting requirements. Even though the author didn't read the submission guidelines. Even though the story is 1/4 as long as it should be. Even though the author doesn't know the difference between they're, there and their. Even though the author has made creative punctuation an alternate lifestyle choice. (On my airship, we keep our punctuation firmly clapped inside the quotation marks, where the devious boogers belong)

"Your contract is attached." This may come with a "revise to our formatting" missive as well. This mean you are about to become an Inkstained Succubus author, if you accept our generous terms of a comfy oar and bench all your own, padded collar and chains and all birds and skyfish you can eat. And a daily rum ration, of course. You can't sail with a Sparrow without a rum ration.

On occasion, I have to have our Mad scientist flogged because zie sends up a true stinker. I think it's mainly to keep me on my toes. Or maybe because zie has a crush on the Quartermaster. Never can tell with pirates or geniuses.

There are any number of calls still open. Please have a look at the website. Our Ferret Delivery System is getting restless.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Seen Around the Net

Hello dears.  The Lost Lab is having a Mental Health Week so I've got the blog.
(The Angel has the Phone box! Horrors!)

This will be link salad today.
I should have something interesting for Wednesday. But today, it's other smart people and the smart things they say.

The most amazing article for anyone who wants to write female characters:
Woman have always fought: Combating the Women, Cattle, Slaves narrative

It references James Tiptree Jr's The Women Men Don't See. The link is to a .pdf.
James Tiptree Jr. was the pen name of Alice Bradley Sheldon

Retronaut.com is the most amazing collection of vintage pictures. 1908 x-rays, 1930s telephone repairman, Oscar Wilde in Greek national costume and a 1690s map of the world without water. And phone hats. Mustn't forget the phone hats.

Just for fun, a Novel Plot Generator. Comes in straight and QUILTBAG romance, paranormal and mystery.

A poll on digital piracy for Google News

La Maupin is growing popular again as more discover this swashbuckling and amazing woman.

Where to store food to make it last. We're all tightening our belts, and throwing away food hurts.

Interstellar distances...by meme. This is funny. Alpha Centauri just got Rick-rolled and Arcturus is still on "You talkin' to me?"

For fun historical research, especially for you horror writers, spend an evening at the Grand Guignol.

If Earth had a ring like Saturn. Gorgeous pictures.

A very large, very busy map traces out American Accents.

Gallup is polling on moral issues. Times, they are a-changing. Polygamy's approval rating has doubled.

C.S. Lewis on theocracy.

11 things Mad Scientists shouldn't do.  I disagree on keeping decapitated heads in cake-pans. It's shallow enough to be covered with plastic wrap so the nutrient solution doesn't short out the speech head gear.
As a companion piece: The Evil Overlord list.

That's all for today, dears. Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Updates

Hello dears.

It's Wednesday again, so Angelia has the blog.

There's not a whole lot happening at the  Den of Debauchery. We're arranging blog tours and generally doing promotional work.

However, all that is on hiatus this week as we prepare to launch one of the kids.  My oldest son, Christopher, is graduating from high school this week. In the fall, he's headed off to college in Fayetteville AR, over 300 miles from home. It's up in the mountains and absolutely gorgeous, but quite possibly the most rugged college campus I've seen. I would not want to drive those roads in icy weather, at all.

We're also going to see about getting him a driver's license this summer and he may be taking the written test tomorrow. He's already done three Advanced Placement tests, what's one more this week? He is trying to set the school record for passing the AP exams.

My oldest daughter and my father are coming into town Friday, so the Den will be offline most of the weekend.

We'll be back Monday, with more goodies. We may hear from the Lost Lab in the meantime.

Enjoy the May weather!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Filing off the serial numbers, part 2

When I came up short of stories for Adventuresses, I decided to try filing off some fanfic.  The original piece is called Sources of Power and originally appeared in the Star Wars slash zine Sanctuary Moon.   I considered redoing Hunter in the Shadows, but it is too closely tied to the universe.

And now, you've read both and you're sitting there asking me, “How can a story where the line--“Whoa, kid. She’s going to make a spectacle of torturing you to death in the public square, you’re gonna come up with the method, and you’re counting on Darth Vader to rescue you?  Have you gone crazy or am I dreamin’ this in the tank?  It sure ain’t making sense.” -- is a major plot point be LESS tied to the universe than a vampire piece?

Let's watch and see.

This is the opening to “Recovery” in Adventuresses

“Of all the beings in all the worlds, I am probably the only one talking to a rock.” Zora kept her eyes on the wind-scoured sandstone five centimeters in front of her nose. She clung to the shallow handholds and toeholds that held her to the cliff face. “Probably. Then again, it's a big galaxy.”

She didn't dare look up at the endless expanse of blue sky, clear of clouds, that soared above her for kloms in every direction. It had made her a little lightheaded to realize how vast it was. Looking down would be even worse. She'd climbed about two hundred meters up the cliffs.

She cleared her mind and thought of Talla. Pretty Talla, all pointed ears and furry tail, a Felina. The humanoid cats came in a variety of colors, but Talla was a rare tri-color, mostly white, with black and orange spots. Ordinarily tri-colors were more a patchwork of black and orange with white markings. The spotted ones were much rarer and considered quite lucky among her people.

The climb had begun easily enough. There was a path, steep but smooth, and she had followed it. It
narrowed and became more treacherous as it went until it ended a hundred meters up. The next phase offered handholds and footholds, carved into the rock, obviously by the Xingas family. These would likely peter out, leaving her grasping for a fingerhold on the rock.

She took a deep breath, imagined Talla under the mediwebbing, her pointed ears twitching even in sleep, her whiskers quivering at every change in air movement, and her silky tail held immobile to mend. The image started her climbing again.

The early part took little more exertion than climbing a ladder. Zora had scaled the furniture, trees
and walls of her house with her favorite stunt since she was a toddler: climbing the hallway like a lizard and dropping from the ceiling, much to her da's dismay. She and Talla had climbed most of the local rock formations, growing up together, each daring the other to climb even higher this time. Talla's Felina tail gave her the balance advantage, but Zora's primate hands were more flexible for gripping. Talla's people had only evolved opposable thumbs a few millennia ago. The climbing skills returned quickly and without thought. 

The handholds and footholds did become shallower about two hundred meters up. Zora rested on the last solid ones and caught her breath. She was halfway to the cave.

The winds were stronger up here. She pressed to the rock face, leaving no place for an errant gust to get
under her and pluck her from the cliff.

This is one of the sections I lifted whole-cloth and embellished.

From “Sources of Power”

The climb began easily enough. There was a path, steep, but smooth, and he followed it. It narrowed and became more treacherous as it went until it ended a hundred meters up. The next phase offered handholds and footholds, carved into the rock, obviously by the Tagges. These would likely peter out, leaving him grasping for a fingerhold on the rock. He touched the collar once more, imagined Han in the bacta tank, and started off.

This part took little more exertion than climbing a ladder. Luke had scaled the walls of his home on Tatooine, much to his aunt’s dismay, from the time he was a toddler. He and Biggs had climbed most of the local rock formations, and even tried a stretch up the walls of Beggar’s Canyon. The skills returned quickly and without thought.

The handholds and footholds did become shallower about two hundred meters up. Luke rested on the last solid ones and caught his breath. He was halfway to the cave. The winds were stronger up here. He pressed to the rockface, leaving no place for an errant gust to get under him and pluck him from the cliff.

Many basic action beats can be lifted. You see where the character names have been replaced. And you see where embellishment has been added. My fanzine readers all knew what Han looked like and what a bacta tank was. My original fiction readers needed some description of Talla and what mediwebbing did.

I also rearranged this story some. The fanfic opens with the freighter crash. That doesn't appear until the flashback in chapter two for our girls. The dialogue remains much the same, although Talla, a catgirl, calls her lover “Kitten” instead Han's usual flip “Kid.”

The crash, the capture by their arch-enemies, and the trek to the cliff to retrieve the scrolls of power all translated nicely. This is classic action-adventure stuff and would fit into any universe. I even gave Eska Xingas the same grudge Domina Tagge had in the comic book series and left the name of the planet the same.

However, I had to change the end, which was very much tied up in the Star Wars universe. (See above, the line about Darth Vader to the rescue)

So, I brought in Rafe Fioved, yes the same one from the recent Cliff Cody Story,  here the leader of a rebel group fighting the Xingas crime syndicate. He intercepts the ship, rescues his gun-runners sees them safely back to work. He serves the same Deus Ex Machina role that Chewbacca does in the original. Although, if you have a running distress beacon, is it really Deus Ex?

When you are doing this, the basic cookbook method is this.
Chart out the action in the plot. In “Sources of Power” it went like this:
-waiting for rescue
-taken by enemies
-bad bargain for medical treatment
-harrowing journey to get object
-return to homeworld
-death by torture, as bait
-arrival of the big fish
-escape in the confusion

Identify the elements that are too tied to the universe to translate
-The character names
-The tech names (most of it comes from Brian Daley's Han Solo novels)
-the Force blocking collar
-the Force

Remove those elements and see what is left. This is your base story/

Don't be afraid to alter the story.  I had to removed the last half the story and make things a straight-up rescue.

Add more description to your characters. Everyone knows what Luke and Han look like. But they've never met Zora and Talla.

All we know of Zora is that she's human female. Talla however, is a Felina. She's white, with tri color spots. The orange one on her head is her favorite skritching place. She has a tail and pointed ears as well. She has opposable thumbs and walks upright, but can travel on all fours as well.

I made the same mistake in “Recovery” as I did in “Sources of Power.” I didn't describe the antagonists at all. Domina Tagge was a minor character in the comics. I should have described her and her brother Silas. And I failed to describe Eska Xingas and her brother Byct in the same way.

Check yourself for that.

Have people both in and out of the fandom read it. This will be your test. If the fandom folk say “Dang, since when are the boys lesbians?” you didn't do enough filing. If the non-fandom folk say, “Hmm, reads like something out of this fannish universe,” you blew it. If they like it, don't identify it and generally think it's original, you've done it right.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Tutor Trenches; Necessary Introductions & Retarded Ostriches

<3 Welcome~! <3
Language Disclaimer: If you're easily offended by stupid jokes or offensive language, kindly go on your way.

It can be hard to find a “nice way” of telling someone that you want to burn their paper and break the hands that wrote it.  I often sit, recalling the ever-present words of my boss: “Be sure to say something nice; you know, for encouragement-!” But somehow, it falls on the deaf ears of someone who grew up loving books and writing a various number of things. Because SOMEONE had to let this student out of kindergarten without being able to spell brick, and SOMEONE told them that they did a “passable” job on that essay, and that they totally deserve this grade because I never want to see your stupid face ever again, because the next time I do, I might very well shoot myself and drag you straight into whatever fecal-ridden Hell awaits me.

This is what one might call dishonest tutoring. I call it a living. I also call it happy hour, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to tell someone that they did a “good job” on that essay without being shitfaced enough to wonder why I can’t feel my eyelids. Because regardless of the alcohol, I’ll probably be vomiting later anyway, so I might as well have a reason with some kind of aforementioned positive.

Where I come from, English is a second language, and Ebonics is as close as you can get to a primary one. If you don’t speak Ebonics, you probably should run in any other direction until you stop seeing signs that say “Memphis”. At that point, you certainly won’t be safe, but you will certainly not be here and therefore on the better end of the eventual coin flip on whether or not to drink the funny blue cool-aid in the garage. Don’t get me wrong: I love Memphis. Here, there is music, the occasional good person, and you can even make toast. But not in May, which is the month of perpetual rain. It will then be soggy toast, and nobody likes soggy toast.

On a strange aside, I wonder if the Mississippi River is annually taking revenge on all those music loving bastards during the month of May, as one should usually take either a boat or a snorkeler depending on the number of people one might bring to see the annual concert(s) here. Or maybe it’s God trying to create a new flood, steadily building a workable scientific basis to continue being a constant question to scientists, and all the while he, Buddha, and Thor get wasted and bet on who can kill more Jews.

There is one thing I do dislike however, and that is the product of the local educational facilities. Specifically in the area of reading and writing. I have no idea if this is a widespread phenomenon, but if it is, I’d prefer if you told me at a later date, because I’m really not looking forward to building a nuclear device in my garage to free as many of us as humanly possible. But I do know that the number of times I see college papers that might have been written by a retarded ostrich is, to be quite frank, somewhat disturbing. Because God only knows what a smart ostrich can do, I mean fuck.

Why does this happen, I often ask myself. HOW does this happen? Are we living in a society where it’s acceptable to write on a 5th grade level and pass High school? Will college students have this problem later, and thus be forced to write super-doctorate work where one must endure twelve years of hard physical labor under brutal raptor overlords to get to a college level in writing? I often wonder why some people might opt out of tutoring. Then again, some of my co-workers are so sick of it that they just make fifty individual comments on shitty work and move on to the next assignment, not bothering to help the student build the tools necessary to fix their own work. I mean, I get it, because trying to save the academic careers of some students is like trying to get a toaster to make Subway. A whole fucking Subway, cheapskate Indian owner and all.

Thus, I’d like to welcome you to my world. The world of Tutoring in Memphis, or what currently has a “working title” of The Tutor Trenches. Why the trenches? Because some days, I sit in the bottom of the mud pit and wonder why I ever leave, as I see someone walk away with a song in their heart and something new that I taught them, with which they are quite happy. Other times, I wonder when Robert’s guts fell out, or what shade of beige I should paint Charlie’s skull with today. While some might call that crazy, I call it Stockholm syndrome, wherein I am the prisoner, and every new sentence with two misspelled words, a double negative, and a repetitive statement that could probably be omitted anyway is just another poisonous scorpion gently flung onto my naked, sweaty body: At some point, you've got to learn to enjoy the pain.

The Tutor Trenches is written by Naniar; It runs on Saturday nights, and will until the boss(es) decide to fire him for public drunkenness.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Early Wednesday Post: Writing advice

This should be going out Wed, but I have a booger of a day job and will likely be hard at it all day.

So. I know you'r expecting the next installment in filing off the numbers of fanfiction.
Instead, we're giving Writing advice.

Tonight, Jonathan Maberry, well known writer of zombies, asked us on Facebook if we outlined our books or went with it. I'm a pantser until the story presents itself, then I come up with a rough outline to get me through all the events.

A young man friended me, asking for writing advice.  So here is my accumulated collection:

" A magic trick is:
Pledge: Establish the ordinary.
Turn: Events reveal the ordinary to be extraordinary.
Prestige: Pay off the Pledge and make the extraordinary meaningful.

A joke is:
Feed: Sets up the scenario.
Strait: Events affirm audience's assumptions.
Punch: Twists to reveal the assumptions were false.

If the story doesn't do one of those 2 things it probably isn't worth telling."
(A piece I learned just tonight on that very thread)

"If anything can dissuade you from writing, it should." --Harlan Ellison

"Remember, only 2% of writers make a full-time living at it. Only 2% of them make more than $30,000 a year." --Poppy Z. Brite

"Write a story every day. Write it. Finish it." ~Ray Bradbury

"Write 2000 words every day. Some days I am done and about my errands by 10 AM. Some days, I am still at 1500 as Tabitha is calling me for supper." ~Stephen King

"Write. Put one word after another. Find the right word and put it down. Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it!" ~Neil Gaiman

"You can do anything for fifteen minutes." ~Flylady

"Write five words. Tell yourself only five. If after the five, you have the urge to continue, finish the sentence, maybe the paragraph, maybe the page. But start with five." --Victor Milan (author of 50 novels)

"Write it down! It does no one any good in your head!"--Schikaneder in Amadeus

"Mood's a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It's not for fighting." --Gurney Halleck, Dune Same goes for writing

I didn't manage all I was hoping to in the month of April, but I did get one short story submitted.
So, why are you listening to me?
Listen to them. Go write!