Friday, May 31st, 2013

Writing Prompt – How Do People Travel?

Airplane on the RunwayI attended Balticon this past weekend. (Had a terrific time, as usual.)

Balticon takes place at a hotel in Hunt Valley, Maryland and gets booked solid by the time the event rolls around. On the opening day, the hotel entrance is over-crowded by folks who come from all around loaded for bear with all the things they can’t live without for four days.

It’s amazing to see what folks travel with, and how they travel: like the eight folks that traveled together down from New York in a single car, but got separate rooms because they needed the space.

Then there’s the dichotomy of those who will travel as light as possible, forgoing even a change of clothes (I hope they brought their toothbrush!) so they’ll have room in the car for all the treasures they’ll take home; and those who travel with trunks filled with costuming gear, and you’ll see changed several times a day.

I’ve seen folks come in with several coolers and (little red) wagons loaded with food so they never have to leave the hotel in search of a less-expensive meal. (And NOT at Balticon, I’ve seen these same folks pull their wagons and coolers up to a gaming table so they can play all night without having to leave their chair!)

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Make a list of things your characters absolutely can’t live without when they’re traveling. And/or, make a list of things your characters can’t live without when they’re just “about town.” Now: lose those items.

    Write the scene where your character needs those items and discovers that they don’t have them. What happens? How do they work around the loss?

  • Send your character on a road trip. Have the car (train, bicycle, airplane — not in the sky!) break down. What happens?
  • “THE silent room, the heavy creeping shade, The dead that travel fast…” — Fabien dei Franchi, Oscar Wilde.
  • Write a scene about how the travel (the view, the journey, the people met) affected your character in a life-changing way.
  • Put your main character in a situation where he or she has the opportunity to embark upon an affair. The setting is a country he’s never been to with a language he does not comprehend.
  • “How heavy do I journey on the way When what I seek, my weary travels end, Doth teach that ease and that repose to say, Thus far the miles are measur’d from thy friend! — Sonnet 50, Shakespeare
  • If you journal, write about a time you traveled that had some profound affect on you. Did you make a promise to live life differently after that? Have you kept that promise?

Good Luck!


Cover of Sky Lit Bargains by Kelly A. Harmon depicts a woman dressed in armor, leaning against a stone wall.

Have you read Sky Lit Bargains?

Forced to leave her home when her twin sister marries, Sigrid takes up arms to make her own way.

$2.99 – Kindle | $4.99 Paperback | $2.99 – Nook

Photo Copyright: © Clarita | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Deep Cuts Anthology Now Available!

Deep Cuts Horror AnthologyI have a new story out in a horror anthology called Deep Cuts: Mayhem, Menace, & Misery.

My story is in the “Misery” section: a psychological thriller/ghost story called Lucky Clover about two high school grads who embark on a road trip before college, and get more than they bargained for.

As I said in October when I signed the contract, I’m super excited to be in an anthology with great writers such as Nancy Holder (of Buffy fame, and a five-time Bram Stoker Award™ winner), Mehitobel Wilson (nominated for a Bram Stoker Award™ and awarded Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror Anthology five years in a row!) and Yvonne Navarro (also a winner of the Bram Stoker Award™).

Published by Evil Jester Press, the anthology is part of a month-long celebration of Women in Horror.

You can read more about the anthology (or the players!) at the Deep Cuts Kickstarter page (campaign now closed) or the Deep Cuts Web site. But, of course, I hope you’ll buy Deep Cuts: Mayhem, Menace, & Misery.

The folks over at I Like Horror Movies have posted a review, too. (Rare, that, I think: a book review on a horror movie review site.) I think I more than like “I Like Horror Morvies!”

If you live on the West Coast, there’s a book signing coming up at the end of the month:

Mysterious Galaxy Book store, Redondo Beach Location: Saturday, February 24.

I’ll be there in spirit!

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Writing Prompt: Road Trip!

Sandia Park Tramway, New Mexico
Sandia Park Tramway, New Mexico

Some years ago I flew to Denver, Colorado with my soon-to-be Husband of Awesome™ and my in-laws. We were going to hike, see the sights, and take a train ride up to Pike’s Peak.

It was all planned.

The plane landed in cold, rainy fog.

We were up early the next morning, watching the national weather report, and saw this huge storm system stalled over Denver. It could take a week to clear, said the weatherman.

My soon-to-be father-in-law joked, “Well, there’s sunshine in Albuquerque!”

I joked back, “Roadtrip!” only to be met by dead silence, save for the drone of the TV, and then slow-appearing smiles.

We reached for our luggage, checked out, and drove six-and-a-half hours to New Mexico.

I have about a half a million photographs of mountains taken from inside the car on the road between Denver and Albuquerque. (Funny, each appeared different when I took it. Now all these mountain pictures look the same.)

I hiked in the Cibola National Forest in 80-degree weather, then rode the “double reversible jigback aerial tramway” at the top of the Sandia Peak where a squall dumped an inch of snow on us the same day.

And I still managed to do a few things in Colorado, like walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge and dip my feet in the Colorado River.

To this day, it remains one of my most favorite vacations.

Here’s Your Prompt: This prompt can go two ways:

1 – Write about towns and cities you’ve passed through or have stayed less than a week. Or, pick a specific moment from a longer vacation and focus on that. Write about a car trip, a train ride or a flight. (Choose one you really liked, or one that made you so miserable, you’re still angry about it to this day.) Write about a hotel you’ve stayed in or a campground or a motor home. Or, write about a vacation you’ve planned for later.

— or —

2 – Write about making a split-second decision to do something. Were you better off for it, or worse? Why? Are you still affected by the decision now? Or, is it all in the past? What did you think of the decision when you made it? How do you feel about it now, any regrets? Any ‘should have dones’?