Jet lag is a small price to pay for a creative jolt

I was running on fumes all last week. When I went to bed on Monday, around half past eleven, I stared at the ceiling and thought, I’ve been awake for almost twenty-four hours straight. Now why can’t I fall asleep? The jet lag finally wore off sometime around Thursday. Unfortunately, its place was quickly taken by anxiety over something I won’t bore you with here. Besides, it had nothing to do with writing, so why would you care? Well, apart from the fact that exhausted and anxious = not too much writing getting done. And I’m not all that enjoyable to be around when that’s the case.

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‘Nathan’s Monday Flash Fiction Draw, drawn by me!

…yes, I know it’s already Wednesday. I’ll blame jet lag as I’ve just gotten back from a writing retreat and book festival in Nottingham, England for Bold Strokes Books. In a word, wonderful. In another word, exhausted. More on that later.

Be that as it may, the last day I was there, my friend ‘Nathan Burgoine (go buy his books, by the way) had me draw cards for his latest May Flash Fiction Draw. Go check it out here. Stories are supposed to be done by next Monday, but rules? Pfft. ‘Nathan would be the first to tell you forget the rules and do what works. So I’ll say the same.

Friday Flash Fiction: A Beautiful Disguise

So, I deleted my Facebook account this week.

Not my Facebook page, where I talk about all things writing related,  but rather my personal account. The news about the social network’s data (mis)management didn’t make me want to trust them with any more of my personal information than I have to.  But, that also means I no longer have access to the Friday Flash Fics group where I was getting all these photo prompts. (To be honest, that group was one of the few reasons I’d remained for as long as I did.) I’ll try to keep up with them all the same, though I might wind up being a week behind.

Details, details.

That being said, here’s the last photo prompt I was privy to:

Photo of very sexy muscular man with handlebar mustache, beard and long hair.

And what a photo it is!

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Don’t measure success using someone else’s yardstick

Four years is not such a long time when you think about it. On the other hand, in such a short time a lot can happen. Leaders change, geniuses die, Kate Bush stubbornly does not come out with a new album.

Did you know that in the last four years you’ve traveled 3.76 billion kilometers at approximately 8,800 km per hour? That’s how far the Earth has traveled around the sun in four years. And yet, give or take a few thousand kilometers, here we are, back where we were then.

Cover of The UnwantedWhat’s my point, you ask? (Bless you for assuming I have one.) This: it’s been four years almost to the day since my last novel, The Unwanted, was published. Time flies, right? And just like the example above, more often than not I feel as if I’m right back where I started.

What’s the source of this perception? My lack of a third published book. The way I saw it, after my first book took eight years to write and my second took four, I figured book number three was maybe two years away.

How wrong I was.

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Friday Flash Fiction: A Room with a View

For this week’s installment of Friday Flash Fics, we’re back to the story that I revisited most recently in the post titled An Unlikely Suspect.

Anyway, the photo prompt is certainly… interesting.

Photo of a small dining table in a glass-walled room at the bottom of a pool or pit.

Granted, I don’t mean “interesting” in the same way as (ahem) some other photo prompts (if you scroll through the previous posts you’ll see what I mean). But it’s definitely an odd one, huh? It got me thinking about the character we met in the last installment, who was also kind of odd. Without further ado…

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A Breakthrough Over Lunch

photo of a lightbulb with soft focus lights in background
They call breakthroughs “lightbulb moments” for a reason, don’t they? (Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash)

I had lunch recently with a friend of mine, Karen. In addition to mutual appreciation of many things (wine is high up on the list), we also have a deep and abiding love of pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches of infinite variety, and pizza. So, as we caught up over a plate of spaghetti and a margherita pizza, she also asked me, “So what happened to the sequel to The Unwanted?”

[It occurs to me that perhaps I should insert a spoiler alert right here, in case you haven’t read The Unwanted (And you can solve that by buying the book! This is a subtle hint, right?), but also a spoiler alert for this unnamed, set-aside sequel that likely never will see the light of day. If you’d rather not, just skip down to the part that says “[end spoiler alert]”. So…


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Friday Flash Fiction: An Unlikely Suspect

Again, this week’s Friday Flash Fiction entry is a continuation of last week’s story. And it’s getting to the stage where I’ll probably have to pause and figure out where it’s going before I continue. This is a common occurrence in my writing process: I write for a while with no particular idea of where a given story is going. Then, once I find it maintains my interest, I pause and map it out.

Anyway, here’s this week’s photo prompt:

Photo of a shirtless, bearded man sitting at a chest press machine in a dark gym.

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