Tag Archives: guest posts

Guest Post by Erin Zarro: Opening a New Window

Erin Zarro author photoThis week I’m on a blog hiatus, so my fellow Turtleduck Press author, dark SFF and horror writer Erin Zarro, is here to fill in. Please give her a warm welcome!

They say that when a door closes, a window opens.  And that has never been more true than it is right now.  Long story short: in February (8 months ago to the day), I began having severe, excruciating pain in my left eye.  I was checked out, poked, prodded, and tortured by 3 MRIs (hello, claustrophobia!) and as of right now, no one can conclusively say what precisely it is.  The closest thing is optic neuritis, a painful inflammation of the optic nerve.

I’m not a wimp about pain of any kind, and I usually write through everything (including migraines and recovery from surgeries), so that was my first instinct.  Problem was, I had severe vertigo that made it impossible to stay focused on the screen.  After that went away, it was just too painful to work on the computer.  (I do have a day job, and I *have* to look at a computer screen most of my day).  Soooo I took three months off writing, and that nearly drove me insane and made me wish I were dead.  Not writing was like not breathing to me.

At some point, I determined that maybe I *could* do a little bit of writing, just not the novel revision I’d planned to do.  (Revision is tough, even under the best of circumstances).  So I thought, hey, I’ll just write 100 words a day.  When it’s flowing, and I can bear the pain, I’ll roll with it.  But surely I can crank out at least 100 words, right?

So I did.  And it felt amazing.  It was like coming home after a long time away.  It was sunshine and autumn leaves and Christmas all at once.  It was just what I needed.  But something was missing.

I’d done this for about a month or so when I discovered Holly Lisle’s How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck class (yes, that’s the actual name).  It was free and short-term, just 3 weeks.  I’ve always been curious about flash fiction, but never considered it because I’m a novel writer, and I write long.  How could I write a story that feels like writing haiku? I figured I’d give it a whirl.  Worst case, I suck and no harm done.  Best case, I learn something new and can use it in the future to write flash fiction.

So I signed up and waited for lesson 1 with trepidation.

Long story short: Holly Lisle is a genius.  Seriously.  She has an actual methodology for determining what to write about, what to throw at the character (s), and how to end it, usually with some type of twist.  It was broken down so easily and went so smoothly that it felt like a dream.  But most importantly, I really, really enjoyed it.  And writing 500 words in the span of 2 or 3 days was just enough to get me back to writing with purpose.  It felt amazing, and I discovered that I’m actually pretty good at those twist endings.

There was also a board set up where students can talk, mingle, and critique each other.  I met some wonderful people, and learned a lot from the critiques. My stories are so much better for it.

One of the things Holly talks about is self-publishing, and getting people to start the process — just dipping their toes in, starting small, nothing too intimidating.  And she suggested we take the flash stories we wrote in class (I wrote 7) and put them into an anthology.  I decided to put mine up for 99 cents as a gateway into my writing.  I figured no one will turn down 99 cents.  But hopefully they will enjoy it, and maybe I’ll get some sales of my other stuff, too.

Cover of In Flames by Erin ZarroIt took me about a month to get my anthology, In Flames, put together and up at Smashwords.  It was a learning experience.  I’m very happy with it, and I did everything myself, even the cover!  I feel good.  I feel like the months I spent not revising were put to good use.  But even more importantly, it kept my hand in it even when I wasn’t feeling up to anything intricate.  It saved my sanity, too.

So, if you’re curious, you can download In Flames at Smashwords at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/349458.

I’m still in pain, but I’m back to writing fully again.  I still don’t have a diagnosis, either, but that really doesn’t matter.  I was able to come back to writing, opening a window I never knew existed.  And that’s enough for now.

Guest Post by Liv Rancourt: That Ol’ Work-Life Balance

To round out my semi-hiatus, I’m excited to welcome Liv Rancourt. Liv is a kick-ass woman who writes about kick-ass women in a paranormal and/or romance setting (and she also has a shiny new author website that you might want to go look at because it’s so pretty). She’s here to share how she turns a common complaint on its head…

Thanks, Siri, for the chance to share a post with your readers. I hope the move is going well!

I was leaving work one morning at the end of a twenty-four hour call shift. It’s not as bad as it sounds – in fact, I think it’s a great gig, but we’ll get more into that later. I work as a nurse practitioner at a major academic medical center that boasts a top-level pediatric residency program and arguably one of the best nursing schools in the country.

But then I do have a  bias.

To get to my bus I have to cut through the school, and on this particular morning I was following a bunch of young nurses, shiny copper pennies with trim size-Small scrub pants and bouncing ponytails.  They made me feel every one of my years. Down to the hour. In fact, it occurs to me that I might have started working in hospitals before some of these girls were born.
I wasn’t exactly eavesdropping, but I couldn’t help overhear the following conversation. One of the new nurses  leaned over to another and asked about her schedule. The answer?

“Well, as long as I get Fridays and Saturdays off, it’ll be okay.”

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Guest post by Patrick Thunstrom: Game Review: FATE RPG

I have two more fantastic guest bloggers for you this week, and I’ll be back for real on the 9th. Today I’m hosting Patrick Thunstrom, a geek (in the best possible way), writer, and computer guru. Gaming is not something I can talk about intelligently, so I’m thrilled to have Patrick here to talk RPGs…

I’m sure we’ve all heard of Dungeons and Dragons. Between a strange firestorm of controversy in its early years, through two movies, and pop-culture references that half the audience doesn’t even get, the other half are split between knowing of, and understanding the jokes.

It’s a good game with a lot of constructive things it can teach you. But it’s not my favorite RPG.

Yes. There are more than one.

In this case, I’m going to talk about the FATE system, a ‘rules light’ game that really encourages players and game masters to tell a story together!

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Guest Post by KD Sarge: Just Don’t Stop

My second guest blogger during my semi-hiatus is KD Sarge, a science fiction and fantasy writer and fellow Turtleduck Press member. KD is a working single mother who somehow finds time to write — a lot — because it keeps her sane. She’s also a dear friend. I knew she’d been through a lot, but I didn’t know what she’s about to share today…

Twenty years ago I was on my own for the first time, living in a tiny ugly studio apartment where most of my neighbors spoke a language I didn’t. I was working forty hours a week, and I was going to school full time—more than full time. I was taking eighteen credit hours. I was working nights, getting home at one in the morning and three days a week my first class was at 7:30 a.m.

What can I say? I was young. Not only did I want to know everything, I wanted to know everything right now. And working my butt off unnecessarily was romantic! As my high school English teacher used to say, not “kissy-face huggy romantic” but adventure! Excitement! I would look back on that time, I thought, and laugh about it. It’d look great in my author bio when I got published.

You know what happened, right?

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Guest Post by Rabia Gale: British Authors I Love

As part of my blog semi-hiatus, I’m thrilled to introduce my very first guest blogger, Rabia Gale. Rabia is a fellow science fiction and fantasy writer who’s here to talk about her biggest childhood influences. Whether you grew up knowing that a boot was a trunk and a torch was a flashlight, or discovered British literature later on, come on in and tell us about your favourite Brits.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne JonesBorn in a former British colony, I grew up with the Famous Five rather than the Boxcar Children. In school I studied Thomas Hardy and D. H. Lawrence instead of Steinbeck and Hemingway. My biggest source of books was the subscription library run by the British Council.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the three authors whose works influenced me the most as a child and as a teen are British. Their books made me think and feel deeply, moved me to tears and laughter, and have earned a permanent place on my bookshelves.

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