Tag Archives: Speculative fiction

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Miller and Esposito

Darwin Winters, reluctant pet physic, is determined to shed her family’s stigma in Savannah, so she strikes out on her own and opens a pet boutique in St. Pete. When a local homeless man she befriends is found dead, Darwin uses her gift to help collar the killer. She adopts the dead man’s grieving mastiff, Karma, and with the dog’s help pieces together the events of that fatal night. Accepting visions is one thing, but can she succeed without revealing her powers to the jaded yet drool-worthy detective in charge of the case?

Shannon Esposito is a Florida science and mystery writer. Her two speculative fiction novels are STRANGE NEW FEET and SAHARA’S SONG. In between her day job of wrangling toddlers, she is working on a paranormal murder mystery, THE MONARCH. Exploring the unknown through writing fiction is her idea of magic. Her novels are sometimes steeped in science and sometimes wrapped in the paranormal but, as in real life, the heart of all stories is the mystery.

Soon available on Amazon and in every other format on Smashwords.com

***

Frank Potter, a young, divinely inspired black man, and Samson Boudreaux, a white man of great power and greater weakness, live in a house of haunted women.  And when the possibilities of miracle surrounding Frank become all too real, a tragedy of Christ and consequence unfolds in the American Deep South during the years of the Great Depression.

“Heroic morality, supernatural insight, and a unique authorial voice that will please any lover of quality American literature. Readers will also recognize and appreciate the novel’s historical authenticity… winner of the Oklahoma Writers’ competition for best mainstream novel, a Deep South Writers Prize from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and an Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award.” Reviewer: A.M. Stickel, The Pedestal Magazine

M.G. Miller is a Southern Gothic novelist and former fiction editor for a national horror magazine.

Available on Kindle Christmas 2011 from Southern Exposures Press

One picture is worth a thousand drafts

You’ll see that these notes for a short story aren’t notes at all. Not in the usual sense:

As a first draft, recently I started making schematics of stories instead of writing pages of words that might or might not be changed later.

Using a schematic lets me think about the story without falling in love with or worrying about how it’s going to be written. It frees me from the words, structures, cadences the story will be communicated by, and lets me concentrate on the story itself.

You see a beginning at the left top, the story progression along the middle and the end at the top right. The piece of paper torn from a small spiral notebook shows the first ideas about the story captured in a sketch.

Those sixteen cartoons along the bottom represent possible endings, of which fifteen have been rejected. The ending I’m still considering is represented by the little car, which isn’t crossed out yet. There’s still room in the middle to add other possible endings or sketch some significant details.

The theme of the story is shown by that sequence starting with the word, “why.”

Doesn’t look like much to you, does it? But it doesn’t have to. Preverbal, I guess it’s called? This isn’t communication yet because it doesn’t have to be. This picture shows the state of the story in my mind. The communication–the writing–will come after the story has a form.

Once I get used to this new method for short stories, I’ll probably try it at novel length. Already that sounds like a great relief to me–not to be bogged down in all those words just to plan a story. And the words will be fresh since they’ll come later.

Do you think this technique might be useful to you?

Maybe we could start NaNoSkeMo–National Novel Sketching Month!

By S.J. Driscoll

The other world

Another world intersects with our city world of work, cars, media, shopping.

Our ancestors knew it. Few of us do.

This other world isn’t supernatural. It’s not in another dimension.

It’s where we came from. It’s still here, but we left.

So sometimes it comes to visit.

The squirrel steals the figs off our fig tree. The armadillo roots up our newly planted rosebush. The deer eat our young crepe myrtle down to the roots. The feral sow, with her thirty-six piglets, feeds in our garbage can. The coyote pack, which we hear at night howling at the edge of sleep–howling until the neighborhood dogs yelp in envy–the coyotes disappear our cat. The panther, en route from Colorado to Mexico, growls at us out of the brush at the side of the road when we take our evening walk.

They’re just saying hello. They’re saying, we’re here whether or not you acknowledge us.

They’re saying, come out of your house.

A deer trail angles across our front yard. When we first moved here, we were shocked every time the deer passed through. It was as if someone’s herd of cows was roaming free, browsing on our grass. Fawns are born twenty feet from our front door. They and their mothers bed down at night on our side lawn.

Now, when I go into the city, I’m ill at ease. Something’s missing. Everyone’s human. Where are the other beings?

There’s a legend in this area that a herd of bison once escaped through a break in a fence. A whole herd of bison. No one ever found them.

They’re here, though, living down in Devil’s Hollow. If we hide in one of the caves tonight, we’ll see them pass by.

Two sides to my head

I was elated when Daily Science Fiction accepted “In Vivo,” one of my speculative fiction stories.

That’s my third pro level spec fiction publication since I had a story in Asimov’s and one in Interzone under my previous name.

For the last few years, I’ve been learning to write novel-length contemporary romance. I’ve garnered helpful editorial rejections that taught me to focus on strengthening my plots. Selling this little story in my old genre came as a delightful surprise.

I was uneasy to return to the quicker pace of short story writing after the long, slow haul of writing at novel length, but my mind’s boiling over with spec fiction ideas and there’s now a sheaf of drafts/ideas on my writing desk.

Which to concentrate on is the question, isn’t it? All I can do is write both spec fiction and romance, and see where it all leads.

So these days I’m getting up earlier. If the birds have started twittering, I’ve stayed in bed too long. (And sometimes I do.)