Do You Hold On to Your Anger?

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. Gautam Buddha


Hold on to Your Anger

Hold on to Your Anger

Anger is a negative emotion. All the saints and all the scriptures, and of course, all the anger management gurus say so.

To an extent, I agree.

But if you hold on to anger not because you want to punch someone in the face, but because you want to remember never to be a victim again, is it such a bad thing?

If you hold on to anger against injustice, and express it in song, in art, in writing is it such a bad thing?

Do you hold on to anger, or do you let it go? Or does it depend on the circumstance?



Bite-sized Stories of Life and Death

Bite-sized Stories of Life and Death

Today, Kelley at Writtled is hosting my interview about the process of writing and about A to Z Stories of Life and Death. My thanks to Kelley, and hope some of you will come chat with me there!

Writing Memories for Your Characters

CHaracter Memories

Childhood Memories by Pigarot on DeviantArt

One of the first memories I have of myself is burying a lamb bone in the garden, hoping to grow a Meat Tree. I was two/three years old, loved lamb curry, and meat was scarce in our diet.

While I don’t know if that particular memory would some day make its way into a story, I know quite a few incidents/scenes in my published stories have transformed from memory to page. In doing so, they may have lost some of their circumstantial  truth, but they have gained a fictional truth, and a wider resonance…I’ve been told by readers it made them feel it was them out there, that it brought back memories.

I think most authors use their childhood/growing up/adult memories in their writing. Most fiction borrows from truth. An author is like an hourglass, memories trickle down and become fiction.

But nowadays, I’ve begun to indulge in a new activity: writing memories for my characters. Using exercise from the book “Old Friend From Far Away” by Natalie Goldberg, which is all about writing memoirs, I pretend I’m a character, and then write down his/her memories—sense impressions of an event or a particular moment. Writing character memories helps in two ways: getting into the skin of the character, and also generating new material for my WIP.

Fiction is all about the game of pretend, and I’m quite enjoying this particular game that helps me shape characters and write scenes.

Have you ever tried writing the memories/memoirs of your characters?


Rule of Three Fiction Blogfest

Rule of Three Fiction Blogfest

Sign up for the Rule of Three Blogfest, a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza starting 5th October— with some great prizes, and of course, a lot of fun and exposure for your writing. This is one Blogfest fiction authors ought not to miss. 

Guest Post by Author Marian Allen: Things my dog has taught me about writing

One of the biggest gifts I’ve received from the A to Z Challenge, and my resultant collection A to Z Stories of Life and Death, has been the kind and gracious author-friends I got to meet in the process. Marian Allen was one of the first of these friends to suggest I put together the A to Z stories, and for that I would be forever grateful.

She has supported me ever since, including this guest post she hosted yesterday. Today, she shares with us some great writing advice in her inimitable style. So take it away, Marian!




When my oldest grandson was little, he got a puppy from a box of puppies in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. The puppy grew to be too big for the house, and we took it to live with us in the country.

Now, eleven years later, Joe is still with us. He gives the deliverymen and my mother’s friends merry hell no matter how often he sees them, but let a deer or a rabbit head for the garden and he throws a white cloth over his arm and says, “Where would you like to be seated today?”

We feed him, go for walks, throw sticks, take him to the vet, provide shelter–and, after eleven years, he’s still our oldest grandson’s dog. He loves us, but he’s NUTS about that man.

Things my oldest grandson’s dog has taught me about writing:

  •     Sometimes a project outgrows your plans for it.
  •     If a project doesn’t fit one place, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for it. It just needs to find the right home.
  •     Your project will probably not do or be what you want it to do or be.
  •     A project is never “over”. After you finish writing it, you have to edit it. Then you have to polish it. And again. And again. Then you submit it. If you sell it, you have to edit it and polish it some more. Then you have to market it. In these days of author-marketing and never-out-of-print POD/eBooks, that never quits.
  •     Your book or story might be out in the world and other people may buy it and read it, love it or hate it, recommend it or warn against it, review it, feature it, parody it or rip it off, but it will always be YOURS. Go ahead and love it.

I’m running a contest through October 31, 2011 EST for a free eBook, a MomGoth’s Sweet Little Baby Angels pin or your name in a short story. Drop by and enter.



Marian Allen

Marian Allen

My writing reflects my love of network. I try to remember, in my books and stories, that no one exists in total isolation, but in a web of connections to family, friends, colleagues, self at former stages of maturity, perceptions and self-images. Most of my work is fantasy, science fiction and/or mystery, though I write horror, humor, romance, mainstream or anything else that suits the story and character.

Please feel free to connect with me on my Twitter feed or my Facebook Author Page.

Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Guest Posting for Marian Allen, and the Rule of Three!

I’m guest posting at Marian Allen’s blog today, so come check me out there. It is another piece of flash fiction, a mystery thriller about a man, his knife, his art and the people out to catch him—an excerpt from my WIP.

And of course there’s the Rule of Three Blogfest, which features about 50 writers so far to create characters and stories in a shared world. Stuart Nager@Tale Spinning ,  J.C. Martin@Fighter Writer , Lisa Vooght@Flash Fiction  and yours truly are helping organize this month-long fiction challenge. Some writers are having fun this October! If you want to know what it is all about, here’s a trailer. Lisa Voogt writes very eloquently about it, so go read it here.

Rule of Three Fiction Blogfest

Rule of Three Fiction Blogfest

We at the Rule of Three would also be featuring some great author interviews in the coming weeks…authors whose book can be won as prizes, so watch out for those!

1.Michael Hicks,    “In Her Name: Empire
2. Marcus Clearspring, “Walkabout Gnomes
3. Alex J Cavanaugh, “Cassa Star
4. S.L. Pierce, “The Hate”, “The Devil’s Game”, “Secrets”
5. Faith Mortimer, “Echoes Of Life and Love
6. Talli Roland, “Watching Willow Watts”
Last date to sign up is 3rd October, so if you’re a fiction writer, visit this link to sign up!
See you at Marian Allen’s Blog, please come chat with me there!

Writing About my Love Affair: Looking Back Three Years

E-books and Book Nostalgia

E-books and Book Nostalgia

Three years ago, when I first started this blog, the post below was one of the many I wrote about reading. (Here’s the original post and the comments it received.)

Reading is such a big part of any writer’s life…today, from my Kindle-d  and Kindle-published self, I look back on the reader who knew nothing about e-books and wrote poems about the nostalgia of used books and the stories they tell us not just through the printed word.


I’ve been writing about books every now and then, books I am reading, books I wish to read.

Back when I was a student, and sometimes did not know where the next meal would come from, I would still buy books. Books sold by weight on Indian pavements, because in those days in India they wasted nothing, and I could not afford shiny new books.

But now, when I can afford to buy any book I might possibly want, used books still call to me.

I tried to write about this love affair (in prose, mind you!) but I can’t help it, I think each books speaks to me in verse, in words which are garbled prayer and temptation,  so here goes (sigh, again, “a poem”!!!! Rick, you are laughing, aren’t you?)

Thumbed, dog-eared,
cover torn in places
names written, forgotten
crossed out, passed on.

I come with a tang
of lazy afternoons,
of mildewed bookshelves
falling apart,
of cheap colognes
on a young man
looking for a start,
of pungent desires
shakily denied,
salted airs in a
pickle factory where
I almost died,
of this dusty pavement
where I am to be sold
made into packets, bags,
my story untold.

Come pick me up
take me with you
and you shall know
of whispered confessions,
innuendos, half-written
poems, and shattered
dreams, as I talk
to you and you listen
with your eyes closed and
an open heart.

For my best secrets
were not printed
on my body
but written
into my soul
by all these years
I spent waiting,
waiting for you,
my love.

Interview With Romance Author Paula Martin

Today, Cherie Rich is reviewing my book A to Z Stories of Life and Death at Surrounded by Books Reviews . Am grateful to her for taking the time—and excited to see what she has to say.


I read all kinds of books, from literary to fantasy and horror to romance, and am always curious about the authors who write in each of these genres. Today, I present you an interview with Paula Martin, an established Romance writer.


You have written Romance for a long time indeed. Would you like to tell us about your publishing journey?

My first book was published in 1968.  It was the first full-length romance novel I ever wrote and it was accepted by Mills and Boon, the first publisher I sent it to.  How lucky was that?  I was also contracted for two more novels, which I duly produced.

For personal and family reasons, I then had a few years not writing, and by the time I wrote my 4th novel, M&B had changed their requirements and my kind of novel no longer suited their new ‘formula’.  I sent that novel to Robert Hale, one of the only other romance publishers in the UK and it was accepted.

After that, I had a long gap before writing novels again, but wrote quite a few short stories for romance magazines.  When I started writing again, it was much easier to submit to American publishers.  I submitted my first novel to Mills and Boon/Harlequin again, but it was rejected (I still intend to rewrite that story!).  In the meantime, I had my two novels accepted by Whiskey Creek Press.

What would be your advice to a writer who is just starting out in the Romance genre?

Read, read, read!  Read the romance novels published by different publishers, so that you get a feel for the kind of stories they want.

Are there any writing tips you would like to share with new writers in general?

Don’t get ‘bogged down’ in reading books or courses about writing or else you’ll never start writing anything!  So much of the advice given to prospective writers is contradictory, and you can become intimidated by all the so-called ‘rules’ that you’re thinking more about those than about your story.

Also write in the way that suits you.  Some writers plot in detail and analyse all their characters before they even start writing the story; others start with a vague outline and see where their characters lead them, and some do a bit of both.  Find out what method works best for you.

I have read Romance, but I’m not a regular follower of the genre. Could you describe some of the subcategories in this genre for readers like me?

There are so many subcategories that I’m not sure about them all!  Even the category which I write, contemporary romance, can range from ‘sweet’ (i.e. no sex) to sensual (some sex but not explicitly described) to hot (very sexy) and also there are erotic romances which are very graphic.

Some publishers distinguish between different kinds of contemporary romance e.g. young adult, medical, suspense, intrigue, western, international.

Historical romances can cover any period. Regency is popular, but this category can cover anything from Ancient Egypt to 20th century.

Then, of course, there are the paranormal and fantasy romances – everything from vampires and werewolves to elves and fairies.  It becomes confusing because each publisher tends to have its own definitions and its own ‘names’ for the different categories.

You’ve been traditionally published for a long while. What are your views on self-publishing?

Personally, I prefer the satisfaction that comes from having a novel ‘accepted’ by a publisher, but I accept the world is changing, and I know many writers do self-publish now.  My main reservation about this is that, while there is a lot of good self-published work, there is also some appalling work by writers who haven’t studied the craft and don’t take the time to edit their work properly, or to have it professionally edited.

On a purely practical note, I’m not sure I have the computer skills to self-publish! Some people seem to find it easy; others have problems with formatting etc.  I think I’d be one of the latter!

His Leading Lady by Paula Martin

His Leading Lady by Paula Martin

What are your forthcoming publications, and where can readers find your books?

My recently released novel is ‘His Leading Lady’, set in London’s West End theatre world which is available as either e-book or paperback from Whiskey Creek Press and from Amazon.

My next novel, Fragrance of Violets, will be published by Whiskey Creek next February.  The title comes from a quotation by Mark Twain:  “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”


Paula Martin: Romance Author

Paula Martin: Romance Author

Paula Martin was born in Lancashire, England.  She had some early publishing success with short stories and four novels, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years.  She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching.

She lives near Manchester in North-West England, and has two daughters and two grandsons. Apart from writing, she enjoys travelling and loves Ireland.  She has also travelled extensively in Britain, mainland Europe, America and Canada.  Her other interests are musical theatre and tracing her family history.

Blog :


Bad Movies Give Birth to Fiction

Alex J Cavanaugh decrees in his blogfest:

On Monday, September 19, post a list of up to ten of the worst movies you’ve ever had the misfortune to watch. Films that just oozed awfulness and featured plot holes so big you could drive a bus through them.

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

Alex's Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

So without further ado, I present the 10 worst movies ever, imho, but instead of writing about them, I’ll use as many of their titles in a piece of flash fiction (that would hopefully make more sense than the movies it was inspired by, lol.) Hopefully Alex forgives the liberty I’ve taken…(* I’ll run hide under the table right after posting this*

So here are my 10 worst picks:

1.   Heaven’s Gate (1980)                           2. Mommie Dearest (1981)

3. Showgirls (1995)                                     4.   Battlefield Earth (2000)

5. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)              6. Gigli (2003)

7.   The Room (2003)                                 8.   Derailed (2005)

9.   Alone in the Dark (2005)                   10.  I don’t know How she does it (2011)

So, ahem, now for the flash fiction:

Mommie Dearest, M.D.

Mommie Dearest, M.D.

Mother to Son, Mary Gallagher Stout

I don’t know how she does it, but Mommie dearest manages to derail my life every time she steps into it, which is often. By Mommie dearest, or MD (as I call her when I’m alone in the dark), I mean my wife Gigli’s mother.

Mine, bless her, gave up the ghost when I was still a fairly runt-sized boy, and just about the only thing I remember of that woman is the smack of her hand on my bottom.

MD uses big words like Heaven’s Gate, Hellfire, the Earth as a Battlefield Between Good and Evil. I’ve grown up with small words like cold, hunger, roof, money, food, knife, rain, dark, sun, blood, water, hate, winter, and done just fine.

So MD’s words are lost on Gigli and me, who, unknown to her mother, is a showgirl at a gig I got her in the next town, Muck City, in our sweet old state of Alabama. Gigli is what they call her there, and what I call her ever since I married her ten years ago. MD calls her Gertrude.

Just yesterday, MD stopped by, and tried yet again to take me to church, being Sunday and all. She calls herself my soul-doctor.  It has always been like that in my marriage; me, Gigli, and MD makes three.

I left, of course, so Gigli could deal with her mother like she always does. I got drunk as a skunk, and came back home hoping MD had left. Not.

So I went to The Room, where I take all ladies who remind me of MD, to be alone with them in the dark. Knife, blood, Heaven’s Gate, we did it all, as usual—me and the woman I found. I left her in a trash bag, the letters M and D scrawled on her pitted bottom.

I’m tired now, and if you know me, you’ll know I’m a man of few words. I like it straight and narrow. So the next time MD stops by, she comes with me to The Room, and I don’t care what Gigli has to say about it. I’ll make an honest, spiritual M.D. out of her yet.


A to Z Stories of Life and Death

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

If you liked this piece and would like to browse through more of my work, check out  A to Z Stories of Life and Death, available on Kindle and Smashwords.

P.S: The story came from the movie titles and the picture, and I took it down as it came. It is not meant to offend sensibilities.