Friday, November 30, 2007

Horror Show at Seton Hill Tonight

Come hear Seton Hill University professor and horror author Michael Arnzen read from his latest book, Proverbs for Monsters. Listen to his new spoken word CD, Audiovile. See his short horror movie, Exquisite Corpse.

An entertaining multimedia presentation followed by discussion and book signing.

THIS FRIDAY!
NOVEMBER 30, 4-5:30pm

Seton Hill University
Administration Room 308

Free and Open to the Public
NOT FOR CHILDREN


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HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Susan Sullivan

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSusan Sullivan

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Diet Coke. The Coca-cola company would love to know that I'm hopelessly addicted.


4. What else can you do besides write?
I'm a pretty mean tap dancer. And I can still twirl a baton. I recently put both of those talents to good use in a community theater production of South Pacific this past September. And speaking of community theater, I played Mickey the cop in the female version of The Odd Couple last April, and had several small roles in Little Shop of Horrors in May.

I'm also an amateur cat wrangler. I have this Persian cat that can jump through hoops and shake paws, as well as perform basic dog-obedience commands. She's a hoot at parties. Once I started teaching her, three of my four remaining cats wanted to get in on the act. So, we've got a little feline circus going on at my house.


5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
The most emotionally wrenching scene was the end of a short story where a stray dog a couple had wanted to adopt but had to put down due to catastrophic injuries from a car accident, comes back from the dead and lives with them as a ghost dog. The story was inspired by a real life incident. Every time I read the ending, I choke up. That dog (the real one) really touched our hearts. We've since adopted a dog from the shelter very much like him, but before we did, the story served as a way for me to deal with what happened. I was able to lay that dog to rest, so to speak.


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I can not outline to save my life. Okay, that's not quite true. I used to pretty much just wing it when it came to creating a story, but after attending the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop, I now partially outline and then discover the rest of the story as I go along. I've recently begun using David Morrell's plot-talking technique and find this quite helpful in the initial stages.


13. Celebrity crush.
Matthew Perry. Johnny Depp. Yo ho ho.


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
My two writing teachers, Laura Anschicks, former instructor of the College of DuPage Writers' Group in the Chicago area, and Jeanne Cavelos, the director of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. I'm a firm believer in that old saying: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I found each of these women at different times in my life and they were exactly what I needed at that time. I attended the COD Writers' Group from '99 to '01, and Odyssey in '05, returning the past two years for The Never Ending Odyssey. I honestly don't think I would have made the strides I've made without their influence. I certainly don't think I would have sold any stories or poems.

The biggest authorial influences would be: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Frank Herbert, Harper Lee, Richard Adams, Robert Jordan, and most recently, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, Laurel K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, and Carrie Vaughn.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Susan Abel Sullivan lives in a one hundred-year-old Victorian house in Anniston, Alabama, with her husband, five cats, a dog, a ferret, and a snake. She has a B.S. in Exercise Science with a specialization in Dance, and in her former life, worked for the YMCA as a Fitness Director. Her stories and poems have appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Peridot Books Online, Alien Skin, Beyond Centauri, Artisan: A Journal of the Craft, and Writers' Journal. Susan is currently working on a novel.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Mark Deniz

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketMark Deniz

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?

2. Tell me about your travels.
I started travelling properly when I was 28 (only eight years ago) and quickly realised it was something in my blood and something I should have started much earlier. I lived in Barcelona, Sweden, Istanbul, Copenhagen and California, before settling in Sweden again, due to my wife.

Since Maddoc (our 19 month old son) was born, we thought the travelling would drop dramatically. However we have managed two trips to England, a week in Barcelona and a month in Australia in the last year or so. Australia was where we launched In Bad Dreams and I thought it was important that both editors and publsihers were there to promote our first book.

My travel highlights would have to be San Fransisco (spent three months there in 1999), Barcelona (twice) and an Eastern Europe interail in 2003. I've been to some great places but would love to see more!


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
I've just moved into the scary and overwhelming world of editing and publishing and so I might need to get back to you in a few months to see whether I can actually do them. In Bad Dreams is getting some good reviews though and we have a few stories nominated for various awards so this feels good.

I'm a bit of a mean bread baker and was very impressed when I surprised my wife with some 11th Century Italian bread for her birthday a couple of years ago.


5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
Well that's going on at the moment actually. This novel I'm writing for NaNoWriMo has this plot that revolves around a boy who can make crop circles by merely touching the wheat with his fingers (oh and due to magical ability). He creates pictures that relate to future natural catastrophes, which then lead to something even darker and more dangerous. The feeling I get when I see him do these things is immense but reading what I've writen down is weak at best. I try and tell myself it's because of the NaNoWriMo set up but I know it isn't.


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I'm interested in so much music and all of it speaks to me in different ways. Lyrics can affect me greatly and can inspire me to write. Artists like Tom Waits, Eels, Stina Nordenstam, Pink Floyd and The God Machine have made me think of stories, based around their songs. I wrote my second novel whilst listening entirely to The Smashing Pumpkins and that was a real kick!

For my current novel, I'm listening to lots of dark soundtracks as I don't need lyrics, I need a mood and these fit perfectly. Underworld, The Machinist, Alien3 and Batman Begins are favourites for this book.

I've listened to classical music too when the mood takes me, or when I feel the story would benefit from that.


12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I'm not very good at outlining to be honest and that seems to come in the editing stage. I tend to have a vague idea of where I'm going and then my characters appear and start deciding who they are, what they want to do and so on. Then the plot forms itself around these.

Then I finish, read through it, wonder what the hell I've written and why nothing makes sense and then the editing starts...


13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
I am inspired by those within the music, film and literary world that break ground or that have a message to say (or both) and there are masses of them to be honest.

If I had to pick the absolute favourites at the moment then they would be:

Directors
David Lynch – the man is the god of cinema, the things he can do with a story, with an idea, with his characters. He inspires and humbles me in equal measure.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet – He seems best know for Alien 4 in the U.S.A., although in truth that is probably his weakest film. Amelie was original (and has been copied so often since), Delicatessan and The City of Lost Children are just amazing pieces of cinema and A Very Long Engagement is THE perfect war film.

Musicians
Stina Nordenstam – The kooky Swedish artist has lyrics that just have me in a state of awe. I once wrote a short story with one of her protagonists as a character (which was awful) and every time I listen to her I am reminded of why I write.

The God Machine – Or more importantly their album, Scenes From the Second Storey, which is filled with so much angst and pain and raw emotion that I can't help but want to write.

Writers
Philip K. Dick – I came to the genius of science-fiction late but it's never too late to read him and be inspired by what he did. The stories he tells are so relevant and so powerful and he is easily one of my favourites.

Michael Ondaatje – The only writer I know who consistently makes prose look like poetry. His writing is breathtakingly beautiful and even though I don't write what he writes, I want to write like he writes.

Paul Auster – The man is just a genius when it comes to story telling and his unbelievable characters are so believable because they are real. He is the master of the hook and once I get started with an Auster book, I have trouble putting it down!


15. Do you still watch cartoons?

A novelist, short fiction writer, editor and publisher, Mark Deniz recently turned his hand to screenwriting and his short film, Silverudden (Silver Bay), was completed earlier this year. His published short stories "Welcome to the Machine", "One of my Turns" and "Outside the Wall" (under the nom-de-plume Sin Deniz) can be found in three Big Finish collections. Mark has also had two flash pieces accepted for publication: "Fatal Mistake" features in FlashSpec: Volume Two and "Teething Troubles" is due for publication in the horror e-anthology Black Box, January 2008. He has also received an honourable mention (and an e-publication) for his gothic horror short "The Hunter". He started his publishing company Eneit Press, with Australian author, Sharyn Lilley and their debut anthology In Bad Dreams - Volume One: Where Real Life Awaits was launched in Canberra, September 2007. Mark lives in Norrköping, on the south east coast of Sweden, with his wife and son.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Paul Melko

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPaul Melko with Tim Pratt's Hugo

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Er, none of them. They're just characters! Come on. They're there to tell a story.


2. Tell me about your travels.
Japan for WorldCon was amazing. The flight was atrocious. Who put Japan so far away?


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Lots of Mt. Dew.


4. What else can you do besides write?
What else can I do? Just about anything. I'm an omni-competent man. ;)

What else do I do? Have fun with my four kids: Audrey, Eli, Graham, and Claire. Spend time with my wife, Stacey. And study: I'm getting an MBA at OSU. And I volunteer for SFWA. And...


5. Who are you reading right now?
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital.


6. Pop culture or academia?
I love pop culture. I love to learn. I can't pick! My browser brings up a random Wikipedia entry as my home page.


7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
I'm sure it's coming up soon.


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
The pay check.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
McDonald's Fries


10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
The older kids and I are all taking Tae Kwon Do.


11. What kind of music speaks to you?
80s Music. ;)


12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
Yes.


13. Celebrity crush.
*shrug*


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Philip Jose Farmer, Harry Harrison, Joe Haldeman


15. Do you still watch cartoons?
SpongeBob, Little Einsteins, Backyardigans, Ben 10, Kim Possible. Er, yes.



Paul Melko lives in Ohio with his beautiful wife and four fairly wonderful children. He is an active member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, where he sits on the board of directors as the South-Central Regional Director and is chair of the Grievance Committee.

Paul's fiction has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Spider Magazine, The Year's Best Science Fiction, and other magazines and anthologies. His work has been translated into Spanish, Hungarian, Czech, and Russian. A collection of his science fiction stories, Ten Sigmas and Other Unlikelihoods, is scheduled for release in 2008. Paul's work has been nominated for the Sturgeon, Nebula, and Hugo Awards. He recently attended WorldCon in Japan where he was honored to accept Tim Pratt's Hugo Award for Best Short Story. He however lost his Hugo to Robert Reed. All things considered, accepting for Tim was almost as good as winning his own.

Singularity's Ring (Tor Books, Feb 08) is Paul's first novel. The protagonist is actually five humans who can chemically share thoughts, allowing them to act as one entity. Strom's story, "Strength Alone," (part of
Singularity's Ring) made the Nebula preliminary ballot. Paul's novella "The Walls of the Universe" was nominated for the Hugo in 2007. It is the basis for his next novel.

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - WEEK 39

This week on HEIDI'S PICK SIX:

Tuesday - Paul Melko / Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy

Wednesday - Mark Deniz - Horror

Friday - Susan Sullivan - Speculative Fiction


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Johanna L. Gribble

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketJohanna L. Gribble

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?

2. Tell me about your travels.
My mother, father, and stepfather are all military, so by the time I graduated from high school I’d lived in Ohio, Texas, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, and the Philippines. I’ve also visited Mexico, Canada, various Caribbean islands, and had a six-hour layover at an airport in Taiwan. My mother and I left the Philippines when the volcano erupted in 1991 and during one of our cross-country relocations our moving van caught on fire. After all this, you’d think I wouldn’t much like traveling, but while I live a relatively boring life in Baltimore now, I take an average of three to four plane flights a year to visit family and friends all over the country.


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
At home, it varies between green tea, hot chocolate, and spice chai mix. I work too close to a Starbucks for my wallet’s pleasure, so I’m often seen with a vanilla Italian soda or hot caramel cider depending on the season.


4. What else can you do besides write?
By day I’m an assistant editor to a rehabilitation medical journal, which means that I spend a lot of time verifying references and formatting tables. By night I play a lot of World of Warcraft, which means I spent too much time hanging out with a group of people online and killing big monsters—the words “raiding guild” might mean something to a few of you, and for those that don’t, I sincerely hope you remain in ignorant bliss! I adore both “jobs,” but I still try to find time to go dancing, feed my movie and House and Heroes addictions, and spend time with my friends and sister.


5. Who are you reading right now?

6. Pop culture or academia?
My senior thesis in high school was on the history of the fantasy genre, my senior project in college was a series of short novellas set in an urban fantasy world, and I have a graduate degree in “Writing Popular Fiction.” I read books of essays on utopia/dystopia and alternate world theory and Harry Potter and Firefly for fun. Making an attempt to separate pop culture from academia has never really been an option for me.


7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Life around me in all forms. My novel contains elements loosely inspired by aspects of everything from the new Battlestar Galactica and World of Warcraft to my relationship with my mother.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I tend to start with a general idea of where I want the story to begin and end—always leaving the option open to take a ninety-degree turn somewhere in the middle if I feel like it. For longer works, I try to stay outlined a few scenes/chapters in advance so that I’m writing with a direction.


13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Johanna L. Gribble works as an editorial assistant in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for a rehabilitation medical journal. After writing a collection of novellas for her senior project while working on her BA in English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Hanna decided to continue the trend and write the novel-length sequel as her Seton Hill thesis. Eventually, she hopes to both see her novel published and become a science-fiction and fantasy editor for a small publishing company. When not working or writing, she can often be found out dancing in Baltimore or DC, or immersing herself in the World of Warcraft raiding with her level 70 hunter.

She can be found online at her sorely neglected book review/blog.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Acceptance at Eye Contact

My short story "Mr. Johnson's Boy" was accepted for the Fall 2007 Issue of Eye Contact. Those of you who were in the critique workshop when I first brought the African-themed story to residency will remember it with the title "The Sands of Deng".

After three previous attempts, this will mark my first appearance in the literary-art magazine of Seton Hill University. Obviously, I'm feeling pretty good about it.


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Monday, November 19, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Tim Waggoner

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketTim Waggoner

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee, black. Period. No half-caff, low-fat, steamed mochafrappachaiaccinos. No mountain of whip cream with thick chocolate syrup drizzled on top. No goddamned plastic lid with a hole in it for sticking in an overlong straw like the proboscis of some gigantic plastic insect. Just. Coffee. Dammit.


4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?

6. Pop culture or academia?
Why choose? I’m completely egocentric when it comes to things like this. Low culture, high culture, all I care about is if it’s interesting to me. Does it stimulate my imagination and feed my creativity? I recently saw an interview on TV with Walter Mosely and he said that when people ask what his influences are, he answers “Langston Hughes and the Fantastic Four.” Fuckin’ A.


7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
I was writing a story called “Keeping It Together,” which first appeared in the anthology Between the Darkness and the Fire and was reprinted in my collection All Too Surreal. The story was about a closeted gay man who refuses to accept his sexual identity. I had a friend who’d lived a gay lifestyle for years until one day he decided he wanted a “normal” life (whatever the hell that is) and married a woman and started a family. Before that, my friend had told me about an extremely painful experience he’d had in college, when a straight male roommate got curious one night and wanted to see what it was like to play for the other side. Afterward, the roommate ran to the bathroom and threw up. When I was working on “Keeping It Together,” I realized I could use this experience to help establish why my character was so determined to live in denial. I felt like a greedy vulture feasting on my friend’s memory, but it contained an emotional reality and rawness that the story demanded. I rationalized that my friend rarely read fiction and would never see the story, and if anyone else we knew ever read it, they wouldn’t connect the experience to my friend. So I sat down to write the scene. In the middle of writing it, the phone rang. It was my friend, calling to tell me his mother had just died. After offering my condolences and talking for a while, I said goodbye. I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, and returned to my computer to finish the scene.


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Everywhere. We live in a damn strange world. The other day a student told me about sharing an elevator with a man who kept leaning forward to lick the emergency speaker. About the same time I saw some graffiti on the back of a restroom door. Someone had written Mr. E in black marker, and someone else had later come along, written the word Mystery in silver marker, then drew an arrow between them, just to make sure no one missed the connection. Seeing weird stuff like this makes me do a WTF? And the next thing I know, a story starts brewing. (I’m thinking of combining these two tidbits and making the speaker-licker Mr. E – for elevator.)


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
A while back on a message board someone suggested my horror was a combination of Clive Barker and Edward Lee. While I didn’t disagree on the board, neither of those writers – good as they are – influenced me. My greatest influences are the two authors I was reading during my formative years in high school: Stephen King and Piers Anthony. I loved King’s characters, his sense of place, and the way he built suspense. In Anthony’s work, I admired his fast-paced writing style, his almost manic free-form invention, and his skewed sense of humor. Throw all that into teenaged Tim’s mental Mixmaster, and you eventually get novels such as Like Death (which falls a bit more on the King side) and Pandora Drive (which edges a touch more into Anthony territory).


15. Do you still watch cartoons?
You bet. Cartoons can be wildly creative, like Spongebob Squarepants, and often contain better characterization and action than most live-action TV shows and films. The latest incarnations of Batman, Superman, Justice League, and The Legion of Superheroes are all quite well done. Miyazaki’s animated films are brilliant, but I have to admit I’m not into anime cartoons. The ones I’ve seen strike me as empty exercises in style. A few years back, my brother convinced me that Dragonball Z was a worth giving a shot. I watched the show for a month, and as near as I can tell, it’s about two godlike beings who stand on a barren landscape and yell inarticulate battle cries while shooting devastating power rays from their hands at each other. Over and over and over . . . In the last year or so I’ve started getting bad Dragonball Z stories (sometimes knock-offs, sometimes straight fanfic) from some of the younger students in my creative writing classes. If you think the cartoon is boring, imagine that type of story with no visuals and no sound. Makes me wish a godlike being would press his palm against the side of my head, unleash the full force of his cosmic fury in one tremendous blast, and put me out of my misery.


Tim Waggoner wrote his first story at the age of five, when he created a comic book version of King Kong vs. Godzilla on a stenographer's pad. It took him a few more years until he began selling professionally, though.

Overall, he's published over 70 stories of fantasy and horror (some of which are newly available at Fictionwise) as well as hundreds of nonfiction articles.

In addition to writing fiction, Tim has worked as an editor and a newspaper reporter. He currently teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, and in the MA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University. He has two bright and beautiful daughters.

Tim hopes to continue writing and teaching until he keels over dead, after which he wants to be stuffed and mounted, and then placed in front of his computer terminal.

His latest novel is Darkness Wakes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Jerry Ryan

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketGerald Ryan

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Pieter VanderHaar- In a SF novel in progress (Working Title – K/T Trek) about time travelers at the Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary, Pieter is an accomplished villain that you can’t help but understand and almost encourage. I’ve had as much fun writing about his history and past that won’t ever make it into the novel as writing about his thoughts and actions in the novel.


2. Tell me about your travels.
Five years ago, I had a chance to vagabond through central and western Ireland for three weeks, staying in B&B’s, and seeing parts of the Old Sod that I never thought I would, due mainly to getting lost trying to follow the poor signage in Ireland. I’d live there if I could ever tear myself away from Chicago.

I do a fair amount of bicycle touring. Two years ago, I cycled the KATY Trail, a rails-to-trails route across northern Missouri. I’ve cycled around Lake Michigan, in upstate New York, on Caribbean Islands, and in Ireland. I usually find a bicycle to ride wherever I go. It’s a way to quickly immerse myself in the area where I’m traveling.


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
With the other side of my brain, I’m a manufacturer’s rep in the transportation industry. I’ve been a serious cyclist for over thirty years and 35,000 miles, a tourist and day-tripper, not a racer. I tent camp four or five times a year. I enjoy the flower garden that I tend.
Both my children are out of the house, so my wife and I are discovering each other again. Turns out we’re still best friends.


5. Who are you reading right now?
I’ve had a case on Charlie Huston for the past two months (Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things, Already Dead, No Dominion). He’s sort of noir on speed. I always enjoy flawed characters who try to make the best of bad situations.


6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I’m constantly surprised at what my characters end up wanting to do, despite my instructions to them. I usually have a pretty good idea of the story I want to write. Before I put pen to paper (yes, I do write my first draft longhand),I use the cluster method from Gabrielle Rico’s, Writing the Natural Way, to help me figure out what the scene, chapter, or character intent really is. The stream of consciousness that results surprise me nine out of fifteen times.


13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Edgar Rice Burroughs and Richard Brautigan. I was weaned on Burroughs as a lad and always enjoy the ability to take a reader to elsewhere and elsewhen. Richard Brautigan had a way with words and an appreciation of popular culture (popular for me as a child of the sixties). His short stories were poems, dense in language and colorful of character.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Jerry Ryan is an award winning freelance writer and has produced weekly columns for the Courier Sun and monthly columns for Windy City Sports in Chicago, Twin City Sports in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Metro Sports in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. He has regularly contributed to the Chicago Amateur Athlete, the Liberty Suburban Chicago Newspapers, and has produced and aired weekly radio spots for WDCB-FM in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Jerry has had poetry published in The Prairie Light Review, won the Mountainland Publishing Poetry Grand Prize, and received an award for the best U.S entry in the Fifth International Poetry Contest in the Firstwriter.com Magazine. You can read another interview with him at Firstwriter.com.

He has also won the Short-Short Story award in the national humor magazine, the Funny Paper.

In May 2007, St. Martins Press published the short story, “A.K.A.”, in the anthology, Next Stop Hollywood; Short Stories Bound for the Screen.

Please visit his website and Windy City Sports and Next Stop Hollywood to view samples of his work.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Sally Bosco

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSally Bosco

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Cevin from my novel in progress, Cevin's Deadly Sin. It's a YA novel about a hetero male cross-dressing teen. He's a mass of contradictions but so lovable and a really good guy.


2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
I think that once you start writing, ideas are all over the place. I especially draw from my friends and their experiences. Also, I go into my dungeon, light some candles and turn on my lion-head fountain to get in the mood.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
Indian food, especially Mali-Kafta Kasmiri (vegetable balls)


10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
I life weights and do cardio 4 to 5 times per week.


11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I like Goth/Industrial, the more tortured and bleak the better.


12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I never used to outline, but after writing lots of novels that turned out to have severe plot problems, I'm now a born-again outliner. (I use the quickie plot formula I developed for my Seton Hill teaching module.) I do let the outline change as the story evolves, however.


13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Sally Bosco is a graphic designer and software trainer by day, mistress of the macabre by night.

Sally had an idyllic childhood in Cheshire, Conn. where she lived in a white farmhouse surrounded by trees and a lush green lawn. Her dad had a home cabinet-making business and she remembers fondly his coming home for lunch daily and helping her build little projects of her own.

She attended Florida State University in Tallahassee and began as a Dance major, then got practical and switched to Graphic Design, finally graduating from University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Art. Early writing influences were: Ray Bradbury (R is for Rocket), Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land and Friday), Herman Hesse (Steppenwolf and Demian), Anais Nin (Cities of the Interior), D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterly's Lover), Collette (Cheri and The Rainy Moon), Lawrence Durrell (Justine), William Shakespeare (The Tempest), Isadora Duncan's autobiography, My Life. More recent influences are: Lucy Taylor (Unnatural Acts), Tannith Lee (Dark Dance), Donald Barthelme (Overnight to Many Distant Cities), Andrei Codrescu (The Blood Countess), Nicholson Baker (Vox and The Fermata), Mark Danielewski (House of Leaves).

Sally recently earned a Master of Arts Degree in Creative Writing from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

She lives in Florida with undoubtedly the most spoiled cat in the world, MiniKitty. Her first novel was AltDeath.com, which she co-authored with Lynne Hansen. Her next novel Shadow Cat comes out from Phaze in 2008.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Fran Friel

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFran Friel

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I guess I'd have to say that Mama from my novella, Mama's Boy, is my favorite. She's one nasty broad and I certainly don't like what she did, but as a character, she came to me in something akin to mental Technicolor. A loud and vivid character, she was exciting to write and fascinating to discover as the story unfolded. She certainly added a lot of “flavor” to an already wicked story.


2. Tell me about your travels.
I don't like preparing for trips, and I don't really like to fly (long story for another day), but I LOVE visiting new places and meeting the people who live there. I'm an American and I was born and raised in the lovely little state of Maryland, so of course I've traveled up and down the east coast. I went to college in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and I lived at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, with my daughter and first husband for about sixteen years. It's absolutely beautiful there along the Hudson River.

A few years back, I had a logistics/seminar job that took me to many different cities in the US and one of my colleagues and I had a little game where we'd try to visit the local baseball stadium in each city we'd visit. It was a hoot, and quite interesting to see how differently fans from around the country behaved. Big difference between Yankees fans and Mariners fans. Those Seattle folks were especially polite for baseball fans.

Not long after my baseball stadium hunting days, I found myself a new and improved husband. He's from Scotland and we lived in the UK for a couple of years. What a great place for traveling. It's so easy to get around by bus or train, and there's so much to see in close proximity. Many spots are my faves, but I guess topping my list is the Chalice Well Garden in Glastonbury, England, Tintagel in Cornwall, Kew Gardens in London and Findhorn in Scotland. I'm sure after this is published, I'll think of dozens of other places I should have mentioned.

Currently, we live in southern New England, and recently moved across the street from the sea. It feels like living on vacation here, and after just a few months, it's fast becoming one of my favorite places in the world. Still on my list of places I want to visit: Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Vancouver Island, Victoria CA and Bali...heck, really just about anywhere.


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Dang, they're everywhere! I've gotten story ideas from a pattern in a blanket or dust bunnies under the dryer. It's kind of a constant flow thing for me. Story prompts are also a great source of inspiration for me. I belong to AJ Brown's flash fiction group at Zoetrope.com, and we do a weekly prompt for a one hour writing challenge. It's a friendly competition and the person that wins offers the prompt for the following week. I've found that hammering out a flash story in an hour is not only a great way to silence that nagging first draft editor (with an hour there's no time to dawdle over the "right" word!), it provides some good story bones for expansion into longer fiction. Plus, it's fun as hell.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I'm an outliner. When an idea strikes me, I start out by jotting a few notes, usually a scene or two - they roll out of my mind like scenes of a movie. Then I lie around a lot day dreaming at this point and just watch the scenes in my head and ask questions about what's really going on. Eventually, I'll have the feeling of something clicking into place, a knowing that I've jumped on a sort of story train and things begin to take off, falling quickly into place. That's when I start writing down everything I know about the story and all the questions I still have about it.

When I feel like I have a general idea of what's happening in the story and to whom, I begin listing the scenes – they kind of spill out of my mind while riding story train. The scenes will eventually stop spilling, and that's when I organize them chronologically. Once I have that sorted, I can begin to see the best way to structure the piece. This process feels like a puzzle to me, and finding the best way to structurally tell the story is a challenge, which I love. Of course, it's all flexible. As the actual writing progresses, sometimes the whole puzzle game changes, and that's fun, too.


13. Celebrity crush.
If I were a few years younger, I'd admit that Orlando Bloom is quite a honey, but since I'm not, we'll just pretend I never said that. However, whenever Gerard Butler is on the big screen, I become exceedingly happy. Finally, I have such admiration for Neil Gaiman, I suspect when I finally meet him, I will become giddy and mute, or my tongue will swell up choking me to death at his feet. Besides being one of my greatest writing inspirations, Mr. Gaiman's such a cutey pie, and from all accounts, he's also one of the nicest guys in the business.


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?

15. Do you still watch cartoons?
I don't watch my old Warner Brothers faves much anymore (Pinky and Brain, remain at the top of my list), but I'm a true lover of animation. I suspect if I had an additional 24 hours in each day, I'd become an animator. I know it sounds silly, but watching great animation makes me feel giddy with joy. From greats like Hayao Miyazaki to a plethora of wonderful young animators sharing their wares at MySpace or YouTube, they all make me a very happy camper.


Fran Friel is a Bram Stoker-nominated author, residing by the Cthulhu riddled sea in rural New England with her husband and mad dog Labrador. Her latest project is a collection of short stories, including her Bram Stoker-nominated novella, Mama's Boy, due for release in Spring 2008 from Apex Publications. Fran is also the cyber-warden and a weekly columnist for The Horror Library Blog-O-Rama. You can check-up on her latest antics at her MySpace page and at her lair.

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - WEEK 37

This week at HEIDI'S PICK SIX:

Tuesday - Fran Friel / Horror

Wednesday - Sally Bosco / Horror

Friday - Gerald Ryan / Crime


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Friday, November 09, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Ben Rome - 100th Interview

Today marks my 100th Author Interview on HEIDI'S PICK SIX.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBen Rome

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Any that have a flaw of some kind that keeps them from being black or white. I love "gray" characters, because they're the most relateable to the human experience.


2. Tell me about your travels.
I've been to about half of the states in the Union and Canada; my international travels are less, though it helps to be married to a travel company's HR guru.:) We've done a wandering drive of Ireland and been to Bermuda several times. We're currently planning a 12 day jaunt through New Zealand next fall. My better half has been to many more places than I; I live through her copious amounts of photos (she's a semi-amatuer photographer).


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
I play a lot of tabletop wargames, and to a lesser extent I can be slaved to my Xbox. And I seem to be the rare male who actually doesn't need to ask for directions; I have a near-photographic memory when it comes to maps.


5. Who are you reading right now?
Stephen R. Lawhead - Scarlet (King Raven Book II), N.G.L. Hammond - The Genius of Alexander the Great, Vince Flynn - Act of Treason (audio)


6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
In Jihad Hot Spots: 3070, there was a scene where I had to convey a surprise space attack that wipes out several WarShips - the trick was, I could only do it through radio chatter. That was really, really difficult to do in order to 'paint' the scene right.


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Everywhere. TV shows, books, nature, family, friends. Inspiring me isn't hard. It's the execution that's difficult sometimes.


9. Food you could eat everyday.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
I used to play hockey until a bad check by a rival frat house twisted my knee. Fortunately it wasn't torn, but that ended my days as a winger. I'm an avid hockey fan; I don't follow many other sports.


11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
A little of both. Because game writing is a slightly different animal than fictional storytelling, you have to have a structure of where to go, what to cover. But within that framework, I just cut loose.


13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Ben Rome is one of those people you don't hear much about because the books he writes aren't usually found in the fiction aisles of any bookstore (unless a shopper forgot to put them away) - he writes gaming material. That's right - rules, universe background information, and stories within the universe. His name may not be on the front, or mixed in with a compilation, but it's still there. In 2006, he wrote and had published over 100,000 words in game material; he's on track for 2007 to see nearly 130,000 words. His work as a primary author can be found in the Classic BattleTech (CBT) line in Dawn of the Jihad, Jihad Hot Spots: 3070, Jihad Hot Spots: 3072, TRO: Vehicle Annex, TRO: 3050 Upgrades, Mercenaries Supplemental: Updates, and Starterbook: Sword and Dragon. He's also contributed to several other CBT publications as well in varying capacity.

Most of his writing has been for FanPro LLC and Catalyst Game Labs, in the Classic BattleTech license (owned by WizKids, LLC). He's also done contracted work for the International Spy Museum and several radio scripts for stations in the Pittsburgh, PA radio market (his former residence). In addition to writing for games, he also does extensive playtesting; he's been involved with various incarnations of Classic Battletech, MechWarrior: Dark Age, MechWarrior: Age of Destruction, Crimson Skies, and other games he can't talk about. He's been doing this since 1998.

In Ben's "real life", he works as a website content and writer for a consulting firm in Vienna, Virginia. His wife and he have two cats and currently reside in Alexandria, VA. And for anyone who cares, he has a BA (English) from Northern Illinois University. His primary blogsite is Word of Ghost Bear. He usually mirrors his posts from there to his Live Journal - ghostbearmw. Ben is also a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - K. D. Wentworth

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketK. D. Wentworth

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Haemas Tal of Moonspeaker and House of Moons is my favorite. I learned a lot while writing her, and she grew quite a bit over the course of the two books. She appears in a third novel, Moonchild, which was supposed to come out from Hawk a few years ago, then didn't because of financial troubles. I'm currently seeking a new publisher for it.


2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Actually, I don't like any of them. My mother told me I'd never be truly grown-up until I learned to drink coffee and I was delighted to find out that not-growing-up was that easy. I'm addicted instead to Diet Dr. Pepper. So far it hasn't seemed to help with the not-growing-older thing, though.


4. What else can you do besides write?
I taught elementary school for 27 years but now I'm free at last! These days, in addition to writing, I also work on the con committee of a local literary sf convention, Conestoga, and serve as Coordinating Judge for Writers of the Future. Every quarter numerous boxes of stories come to me with the manuscripts in plain white envelopes with no authors' names and I read them to pick eight finalists. The best aspect of that job is that every year I get to travel to the WOTF workshop and teach for four days with Tim Powers. It's always fun to meet the writers of the stories and get to know them. Then in my spare time, I take my two dogs, an Akita and a Siberian Husky, for walks and hang out with my husband.


5. Who are you reading right now?
I'm reading a Sharon Shinn book at the moment, then I have a Naomi Novik book on the to-be-read stack, along with a Robin Hobb and a Tim Powers. I recently finished C.J. Cherryh's Deliverer. Diana Gabaldon's Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, and Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union.


6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
For years, I didn't write a novel because I kept hearing from professional writers that "you have to be able to outline if you want to write a book." Then I read Lawrence Block's Writing the Novel from Plot to Print. Block doesn't outline. He just "kills" someone on the first page and goes on from there. Cool, I thought and set to work. Six months later I completed the first draft of my first novel. Since then, I've asked a lot of professional writers this same question. It turns out that about fifty percent outline and fifty percent, like me, can't. Their access to their subconscious just doesn't work that way. Unfortunately, your life as a writer will be much easier if you can outline, because publishers want an outline from you before they'll give you a contract. So, if you can outline, you should.


13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Andre Norton, Ann McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, Octavia Butler, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Hmmm. Those are all women. I wonder how that happened!


15. Do you still watch cartoons?

K. D. (Kathy) Wentworth was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in a subsequent dizzying tour of the nation, managed to attend thirteen different schools by the time she graduated from high school in upstate New York. Returning to Oklahoma to attend the University of Tulsa, she earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts and has had the sense to stay put ever since, although she dodges the occasional tornado. She taught elementary school for more years than she cares to admit and retired in 2003.

She got her start winning in the Writers of the Future Contest in 1988, and then later won the Field Publications Teachers as Writers Award in 1991. She has sold over fifty short stories to such markets as Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Aboriginal SF, Pulphouse, Return to the Twilight Zone, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Realms of Fantasy. She published three novels with Del Rey, The Imperium Game (February 1994), Moonspeaker, (November 1994), and House of Moons, (July 1995). Her more recent Hrrin novels Black on Black, and Stars Over Stars, were published by Baen in February 1999, with the sequel in 2000. Her most recent book was The Course of Empire with Eric Flint published by Baen in 2003. Her earlier novels have been reprinted by Hawk Publishing Group and are available at bookstores or from Amazon.com. Three of her short stories have been Nebula finalists: "Tall One," "Burning Bright," and "Born Again."

Ms. Wentworth is an active member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, (SFWA) and was elected Secretary in 2000 and in 2003. She became a Judge in the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest in 2000 and now also serves as Coordinating Judge for the contest. She loves teaching in the Writers of the Future Workshop with Tim Powers each summer. She attributes her success to having two very large dogs and a wonderful husband, not necessarily in that order.

Monday, November 05, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Brian Keene

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBrian Keene

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
It's a tie between Tommy O'Brien, the blue-collar bank robber from Terminal, and Levi Stoltzfus, the Amish magician from next summer's GHOST WALK.


2. Tell me about your travels.
I've been lucky enough to see every continent with the exception of Antartica. I spent a lot of time overseas when I was in the Navy--everywhere from Kenya to the Middle East to Guatanamo Bay, Cuba. And in the last ten years, I've been lucky enough to see most of America as a result of book signing tours and appearances and such.

One place I always wanted to travel to but probably never will is Mars.


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee. Black. And lots of it. If there's no coffee, then tea will suffice, but none of that decaffinated stuff. I don't drink milk. Milk is the devil's work.


4. What else can you do besides write?
Play harmonica. Cook. And I'm a pretty accurate target shooter.


5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
Chapter Two of Dark Hollow


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

13. Celebrity crush.
Sandra Bullock and Julianne Moore.


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Brian Keene is the best-selling author of many books, including Dark Hollow, Ghoul, Dead Sea, Terminal, The Conqueror Worms, The Rising, City of the Dead, and more. Several of his short stories have been adapted into graphic novels and several of his novels are slated for film and video game adaptations. The winner of two Bram Stoker awards, Keene’s work has been praised in such diverse places as the New York Times, the History Channel, CNN.com, Fangoria, and Rue Morgue. Keene lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Cassi, and his dog, Sam. He communicates with his readers online at www.briankeene.com.

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - WEEK 36

This week on HEIDI'S PICK SIX:

Monday - Brian Keene - Horror

Wednesday - K. D. Wentworth - Science Fiction

Friday - Ben Rome - Gaming


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Friday, November 02, 2007

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Geoffrey Girard

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketGeoffrey Girard

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
I can play piano, guitar and drums well enough to make money at it. I curse well and can draw dragons. I can program in C and build a MAME machine from scratch. I can still run a mile in six minutes. I can drink when necessary and never get a hang over. I can make dead authors interesting to high school students. I can talk in public without saying “um.” I can foresee each and every potential terrible outcome in any situation.


5. Who are you reading right now?
My nightstand, as usual, is a total fiasco. Right now, it’s….. Bradbury, Tad Williams, Jonathan Swift, Palahniuk, Dostoevsky, King, Dickens, John Irvin, Robert Chambers, James Joyce, Edgar Rice Burroughs and a bunch of non fiction on Colonial America, D-Day and William Shakespeare…

I’ll usually do two of three chapters a day of about seven different books. Channel surfing with literature. Eventually the pile will get so bad, it will topple over and actually grow on the floor another full week with more books added to the mix each night. Eventually, I’ll come home and discover that the Mrs. has had enough and that all the books are magically back in my office. This particular routine has about a three week cycle.


6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
They’re almost all a nightmare as writing is typically pretty painful for me. I don’t do rewrites at all. So once it’s on the page, it’s on the page. But that means it sometimes takes me a week (!!!) to write that one page. Or an hour to write one paragraph. You’d think I would have learned better while writing advertising copy for ten years. Quick, get it done, etc. etc. Yeah well, I’m still convinced this fiction stuff actually matters. So, it can be slow going at times. 500 words an hour max. I’m somewhat comforted to learn that Vonnegut wrote this way.


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Burning jealousy. Ideas are all over the damn place, it’s finding the drive to sit down and actually put the suckers down that’s the challenge. My very first published tale (a Writers of the Future winner), I wrote in about three days because I’d seen that some guy I knew had won the contest the year before. It pissed me off, so I started writing the same day I found out. Now, I do a lot of my writing at the local bookstore. I wander the aisles first, see all the people who are doing something great. I get envious, resentful, then pissed. Then, I start typing.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

13. Celebrity crush.
I would peel grapes for Judith Regan.


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Barbara O'breza and Joe Truitt, my English teachers from Jr. and Sr. year of high school. My first “big book” will be dedicated to these two certainly, but let me give some love and respect now. They taught me how to read and write. Period. My plots and ideas are completely driven by theme, a direct result of learning how to really study and appreciate the masters. I could list fifty writers who’ve influenced me, but it was because of these two teachers that it occurred to me to even be influenced in the first place.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?


Geoffrey Girard is an award-winning fiction author of fantasy, horror and historical tales whose works have appeared in several best-selling anthologies and magazines, including Writers of the Future (a 2003 winner), Damned Nation, Prime Codex, Aoife's Kiss, The Willows, and Apex Horror & Science Fiction Digest.

His first book, Tales of the Jersey Devil, thirteen original tales based on the legendary monster, was published in 2005. Tales of the Atlantic Pirates (2006) and Tales of the Eastern Indians (2007) followed. Apex Digest is currently serializing his suspense/horror novella, Cain XP11, in four issues.

Geoffrey graduated from Washington College with a literature degree and worked as an advertising copywriter and marketing manager, later shifting to computer programming and now to teaching high school English and Creative Writing. He has presented seminars and workshops on creative writing at colleges, elementary schools, bookstores and writers' organizations and can also be spotted speaking at various fantasy/horror conventions. Born in Germany, shaped in New Jersey and currently living in Ohio, Geoffrey is also a musician having released an album of piano songs he composed and recorded. He is currently at work on two more Tales Of... books and a new horror novel.

More info at www.GeoffreyGirard.com.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Day 1

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1200 / 50,000
(0.2%)

Paul S. Kemp and Four Bit Stories

Paul S. Kemp is doing something very interesting at a site called Four Bit Stories. If you haven't already visited, check it out for the downloadable short story "One Thousand and One Words". If you like it, consider sending him four bits via PayPal, just like throwing 50c into a virtual hat.

It's a very cool concept, like the Amazon shorts, but without the Amazon involvement.

On his blog, he will be giving us results of this experiment in a few weeks, including number of downloads and the percentage of downloaders who gave four bits.

You can also find him on MySpace and be his friend.


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NaNoWriMo 2007

Good luck to all of you who are participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Feel free to add me as a buddy if you're registered.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm actually just working on a novel-in-progress, but want to see if I can manage to double my daily word count. I'll be posting the word meter again. (Yes, I know that's more for me than anyone else, but it's only for this month.)

Cheers,
Heidi


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