As we move into Spring in Arizona, Rhonda and I are putting the final touches on Alexis Aggravation: Murder in the Southwest. We know you are looking forward to seeing the novel in its final form, just as we are. In the meantime, I have added another story to our collection of short stories here on this site. You can read The Goddess Housekeeper here.
Good morning gentle reader! I have posted a new story in the Collaborative Fiction section of the site: Nothing but the Best for Our Guests. It is the latest effort by Rhonda and myself in the NYC Flash Fiction contest. While we did not place with this story, this one and the previous story, Fresh Peaches and Old Business did bring us to the 13th place in our group. We will be entering a NYC Short Fiction contest in the spring and will post our stories here.
Now, for an Alexis Aggravation update. We have completed the first edit of the first draft. We will be looking for beta readers this month so if you are interested, please let us know. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.The novel has been subtitled: Murder in the Southwest. At this stage is just over 30,000 words and should take no more than a few hours to read. Beta readers are volunteers who read the story for content and story-telling appeal. There is no need to worry about grammar, etc. We will take care of those edits.
Good morning! I have added a few more stories to this site. First, there is a quick, 100-Word story I entered in a flash fiction contest. The story had to include the words jade, effervescent, and conduit. It was a challenge to get an entire story, beginning, middle, and end, into 100 words and make sure the three prompts were included. Let me know how you like Escape. the
The second story is the Round One entry in the 2014 NYC Flash Fiction contest. My writing partner, Rhonda Jackson, and I placed 9th out of 25 entries, earned 7 points toward the Round Two entry. We will write that story on October 4 and, if we earn enough points with that entry we will move on to Round Three. Let me know what you think of Fresh Peaches and Old Business.
Ben Sharpton has never hesitated to take on a controversial topic in his fiction writing. He does it again in his latest novel: The Third Option. When he asked me to do a review, I was flattered and then I read the book. First, let me say I enjoyed the book very much but had a difficult time in figuring out how to approach the review. I did not want to give away the story, but at the same time I wanted the reader to understand what Ben was trying to do with the plot. He accomplished his goal quite admirably, I believe. Here is the review I ultimately posted for his book,
The Third Option
by Ben Sharpton
I teach problem solving and decision making classes to corporate clients and one of the tenants of a good problem solving/decision making process is the development of multiple options to choose from. What Ben Sharpton has done in this well-written, suspenseful fiction story is take this basic business tenant to the world of personal decisions. When faced with a problem that will impact heavily in a very personal way, the options may appear to be two-dimensional, black and white, either-or solutions. What Sharpton has done here, although it is a fictional account, is to plant the idea that there are always other options, we just need to look for them.
Sharpton wove a bit of science fiction into the process, envisioning a third option that is not currently in the realm of possibility. This begs the question, however, of the possibility of something like his Third Option becoming reality sometime in the future. I remember, as a kid, the idea that one day everyone would have a telephone they could carry in their pockets, with one number that could be reached no matter where they were. Pure science fiction, right? It was then, and now?
Sharpton has taken an issue discussed in court rooms, across dinner tables, in churches, and across social media and turned it into an international thriller, combining elements of fiction, science fiction, controversy, and even love into a story that you won’t want to put down, and one that will make you think about options – there is always a Third Option.
This weekend I will be attending the annual Arizona Press Women’s Writer’s Retreat in the cool pines near Payson, Arizona. It is hot down here on the desert floor where I live, so this will be a welcome relief from the heat as well as a good time to relax, recharge, and reflect on my writing projects.
I will be coming back here each evening to write about the day and the activities I will be participating in.
UPDATE: Unfortunately there was no Internet access at the retreat. If you would like to read about the retreat, you can go to my blog post at the Center for Writing Excellence.
I have two works-in-progress: Book one of a planned 6-book murder mystery series based on the short story Alexis’ Aggravation. Both the original story and the novel are collaborative projects. My co-author and I have been really busy the past few months and have sorely neglected Alexis – we need to get back to her. The story was written as an experiment to see if we could collaborate on a project and it turned out very well, which is why we decided to go forward with the novel. We got the first three chapters done, and stopped. We have been thinking about setting the novel up as a subscription series – where readers can read the first chapter free, then subscribe to subsequent chapters. This would give us an incentive to get it done, with deadlines for each new chapter to meet the subscription requirements. We will discuss that plan next month when we meet to discuss our progress (or lack of) on the novel.
The second novel is one I started in NaNoWriMo Camp in April. I did not meet my goals there, but did get over 5,000 words down — a mere drop in the bucket for a novel. The working title is 100 Years from England. It is a fictionalized version of a murder that took place in London in in 1849. I found the story when I was researching London in November, 1849 – 100 years before I was born. I had discovered that my great, great, great grandmother was born on the same day as I was – exactly 100 years before me. My premise for this story is based in some fantasy/witchcraft idea about the woman who was hanged in London on November 13, 1849 being ‘re-born’ in a baby girl in rural Montana on November 13, 1949. I am stuck on making the transition. I have the London background and the current day girl (now experiencing her 18th birthday). I have established a tentative link by talking about odd dreams the girl has every year on her birthday – becoming more vivid as she gets older. And there I am.
I plan on updating this status within the next month – with good news!
The Internet is a great place to save your work. I found two more of my fiction stories lurking around in obscure files on my computer and thought I would share them here with you. My goal is to eventually find all the fiction short stories I have written and get them published here so they don’t end up lost somewhere in the archives of my laptop – or inadvertently deleted. Some of them have been published in an anthology I gave my kids a couple years ago for Christmas and maybe someday I will put together another anthology, but for now, they will reside here where I know I can find them!