Friday, December 13th, 2013

Writing Prompt – A Little “Best Of”

dreamstimefree_251887-eI’ve been traveling.

Last week it was a convention and this past week it was out of state for a friend’s book launch.

Since I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, I figured we’d do a little “best of” the writing prompts this week.

In honor of Friday the 13th, you could revisit the Attack of the Phobias Writing Prompt.

Here’s one for poets: Structured Poetry, The Tanka

Here’s a writing prompt about collections: What do your characters collect?

Writing Prompt: Lost

For something unthemed, you might try the Random Words Writing Prompt.

Have Fun!

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Writing Prompt – Something Wrapped

dreamstimefree_149098-eAre you buying gifts for the holidays?

I am.

(I’ve got about half my gifts bought and wrapped already–though I’m a bit behind this year. It makes me crazy to be this behind.)

I plan to do a bunch of online ordering in order to save time and effort. And internet shopping is the best!

I can’t stand crowds, I hate to browse, and I like the idea of being able to comparison shop from my desk chair. I can shop for almost everyone in the course of a single afternoon!

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the phrase “something wrapped?” Write about it. (You could write a story, an essay, a poem…whatever!)
     
  • If you journal, write about “something wrapped.” This could be a gift you received, a gift you gave – or something that was not a gift, but about something you only discovered once it was “unwrapped” or unveiled.
     
  • Write about receiving a surprise gift, or being surprised by the gift. Write abou unwelcome gifts or gifts cloaked in mystery. Write about the best gift you received, or the worst. Write about gifts from lovers, or ex-lovers, or from someone in the past.
     

Good luck!

 

Image Copyright © Simon L | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Writers of the Future – Another Honorable Mention

WOTF_3rd2013I just received my certificate in the mail from the Writers of the Future contest. Another Honorable Mention – this time for my story, All for Beauty and Youth, which I hope to see published next year.

All for Beauty and Youth is my first foray into steampunk, and I had a lot of fun writing it. I stayed away from zeppelins and goggles, and instead focused on trains and clockwork creatures.

It’s been accepted for an anthology due out next year, but I haven’t received the contract yet for it. Until that materializes, I don’t want to mention the anthology.

I’m fairly sure that I’ll find a place for it, even if the expected contract doesn’t come through. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

turkey-arsimagegallery

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Writing Prompts – Bits of Conversation

Couple in a bar having a bad date.I’m an eavesdropper. I admit it.

Wherever I go, I’m tuning in to the things that are being said around me.

I’m a snob, though. I generally don’t listen in on conversations between, for instance, the barista and the guy in front of me buying coffee. The guy buying coffee is passing time, waiting for his extra foamy tallboy. The barista is paid to be charming.

That conversation? Worthless. Usually.

I might listen in if there’s no one else around, but I’d rather listen to the old folks behind me, talking in hushed whispers. Or the goth couple hanging out in the corner arguing.

I love it when I’ve already sat down and gotten my coffee. (Black thanks, I’ll add a bit of cream for myself.) Because if I’m sitting, I can take notes. Awesome.

Conversation is great fodder for scenes. It can prompt entire stories.

Here’s Your Prompt:

(And your homework!)

Make time to sit in a place where you can overhear what other people are saying. With luck, you’ll start hearing things in the middle of the conversation.

After you’ve written a few lines, stop listening and re-read what you’ve written down. What story does it spark? Write it.

If you don’t like the first conversation, go listen to another. This time, stop transcribing when something catches your fancy.

If you can’t get out, do an internet search for “overheard conversations.” There are tons of them out there. Ignore the context and the celebrity of who said what. Find a conversation you like, and write from there.

Good luck!

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Writing Prompt – Putting the Garden to Bed for the Winter

© Mariykaa | Dreamstime.comThe Husband of Awesome™ and I closed up the garden last weekend. We wrapped up the delicate figs with blankets, hoping to baby them over until the spring. We gave the lawn a last once over, hoping it won’t need to be cut again this year. I hacked about a bazillion volunteer Rose of Sharon bushes out of the front flower bed.

There’s more to do, fertilizing and getting empty pots back into the shed, for instance. We just ran out of time.

I love tending the garden, whether it’s spring–and the ground is ripe for rebirth–or fall, when blooms are dying off and everything is ready for sleep. I love the dirt. (And puttering is a great time to noodle over plots.)

Gardens are so full of metaphor…and wonderful inspirations for writing.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write about the sending down of roots (or balling up of them -if the plant is trapped in a pot). Write about making roots of your own, or pulling up your roots and moving on. Write about severing your roots.
     
  • Write about a character that’s been transplanted. If you journal, write about a move you made.
     
  • Write about a garden in the spring, or the summer, or the winter, or the fall. Carefully choose imagery to depict the season. Does a tree look the same in summer as spring?
     
  • Weeds. Write about pulling weeds in a garden, or culling the weeds from your life. Write about a character living in the weeds. Write about weed. 😉
     
  • Is former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins correct, “The soil is full of marvels…”?
     
  • What grows in the garden of earthly delights?
     

Good Luck!

 

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Image Copyright © Mariykaa | Dreamstime.com. Used by permission.

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Writing Prompt – National Sandwich Day

Reuben Sandwich. Photo by Ernesto Andrade.

Reuben Sandwich. Photo by Ernesto Andrade.

November 3 is National Sandwich Day!

Yay for sandwiches! I love a good ‘wet’ sandwich: soft, fresh bread, good cuts of meat–and for cold sandwiches–heavy on the pickles and hots. My favorite hot sandwich is a Reuben: corned beef and Swiss cheese on rye with lots of thousand island dressing and sauerkraut. Yum!

Novelist Lawrence Sanders in his book “The First Deadly Sin” describes his detective eating a ‘wet sandwich’ over the sink, accompanied by a bottle of beer. It’s the first time I’d heard the term.

Sanders goes into such loving detail describing the making and eating of this sandwich–taking nearly an entire page to do so, if I remember correctly–that my mouth watered the entire time I was reading.

That’s good writing. (Or maybe it’s my Pavlov response to sandwich descriptions!)

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write a scene in which one of your characters eats. He doesn’t have to eat a sandwich. If you’re writing fantasy, it could be stew, or bread and cheese. If you’re writing contemporary, maybe it’s wings or tapas. The point is: spend time crafting a few sentences which will make your reader’s mouth water. Don’t spend a page doing it: that was Sanders’ schtick. Write it your way.
     
  • Write a scene where “the big reveal” is made during a meal. Don’t let the dialogue carry the scene. Bring in the setting: the tablecloth and silver salt and pepper shakers, or, the scarred wooden table and broken crockery.
     
  • Write a “long” haiku of four of five stanzas describing the perfect sandwich and building it. When you’re done, see if you can whittle it down into one stanza, but still keep the ‘flavor’ of the long poem.
     
  • If you journal, write family history, or enjoy memoir, write about a memorable meal. Don’t forget to include descriptions of the food.
     

Good Luck!

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Zero Arrives for Halloween!

Jack Skellington's Dog Zero, sculpted by Kelly A. Harmon

Happy Halloween!

A few folks mentioned that they would love to see my finished Zero sculpture. Here he is! He looked a little better pre-rain, but I don’t think he turned out all that bad (considering I’m in no way an artist).

He was certainly a big hit with just about everyone who saw him tonight.

The head was the hardest part, and I did that in about two hours. It’s molded from newspaper, tinfoil, styrofoam and masking tape. His body is an old pillowcase that I cut open. I hemmed all the rough edges and then ran some pliable wire through the hem. This enabled me to ‘bend’ his body into waves so that it wouldn’t hang straight down…and look like an old pillow case. It really looked cool when the wind blew.

I wish the flash hadn’t washed the photo out so much: his nose really glows in the dark. This photo doesn’t do it justice.

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did tonight! And I’ve got chocolate left over: it doesn’t get any better than that!

Monday, October 28th, 2013

What Do You Know About Selkies?

cover=selkskin-optimized-250If you’ve ever wondered where selkies come from, I’ve got answers for you!

Melissa over at My World…In Words and Pages asked me to talk a bit about them for her “Mythical Monday,” post today.

A selkie features prominently in my story, Selk Skin Deep, so it was a natural fit.

Go on over and take a look.

Even if you’re not interested in my tale, I highly recommend Melissa’s Web site. She’s an ardent book blogger and discusses all things fantasy. Her reviews are spot on, and she almost always has a book giveaway running.

So, I say again, go take a look!

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Writing Prompt – ‘Zero’ Procrastination

zero-e
Halloween is coming! It’s my favorite holiday of the entire year.

My candy’s bought, my house is decorated, and I’m chomping at the bit looking for activities to extend it a little. Tonight, the Husband of Awesome™ and I will be handing out candy at the local elementary school and watching their costume parade. I can’t wait.

I’m working on a prop for tonight: Zero, Jack Skellington’s faithful ghost hound. I sculpted his head from newspaper, tinfoil, masking tape and styrofoam. Today, I’m spray-painting him white.

I should have covered him in paper mache before painting, but I ran out of time. I’ve been procrastinating.

Ahem.

I’ve also been procrastinating on my writing. I haven’t even turned on my laptop for THREE days!

My word count is not looking too hot this week, unless you count all the non-fiction… (And who counts that?) The ‘Zero’ project–and other Halloween stuff–has kept me pretty busy.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • The main character of your WIP has a secret vice that makes him procrastinate. What is it? How might this procrastination up the tension in your story? Write it.
     
  • Essayists: Thomas de Quincey said, “If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.” Is procrastination worse than murder?
     
  • Procrastination eats away at our time, slowly eroding this valuable commodity. Poets: write about time.   (Artists! This one works for you, too: show us time.)
     
  • For journalers and essayists: What have you been putting off? Why?
     

Good luck!

 

Cover of Selk Skin Deep by Kelly A. Harmon depicts a Navy Aircraft Carrier on a moonlit night.

Have you read Selk Skin Deep?

JFK never envisioned a Navy SEAL like him: a selkie, ignorant of the ways of man, learns what it’s like to be human.

Electronic:
$2.99 at Amazon$2.99 at Barnes and Noble

Paperback: $4.99 at Amazon.com