Kay: New Dogs, Old Tricks

Can you read the caption? “Andrina Wood at the console of a BTM computer. Tabacus: The Magazine of the British Tabulating Company, August 1958.” The photo was republished on the Twitter account of Mar Hicks, a professor and historian of technology. Many of the vintage photos I’ve seen show women at computer consoles working with a legal pad or paper notebook.

I’ve started a new book. For lack of any better ideas, I went back to a project I last worked on in about 2006—the adventures of my genius computer hacker and the FBI agent who arrested her.

I wrote two books of these characters before I switched to lighter storylines—there’s just something about your hero sending your heroine to prison that tends to get dark pretty fast. And it’s hard to write genius, too, if you’re not genius yourself. Using Sheldon Cooper as a role model, especially for a female character, has its limitations.

The reception I got for these books after I’d finished them was lukewarm. The first book is about stealing an election, a topic that every agent and editor I talked to said would be stale in months. And we all know how that turned out.

Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to the our first Writing Sprints of the year.  Hope you are all well rested, refreshed, and ready to put your creativity to good use.

I’ve been reading lots of mysteries lately.  For the investigators in the stories, it’s a case of asking, “and then what happened,” over and over again to reach the truth.  From the writing perspective, the start of a new story is more often a case of, “what would happen if?”

  • What would happen if someone down on their luck suddenly won the lottery?  (I happened to someone in real-life just recently).
  • What would happen if a close-knit community suffered a devastating fire? (This is a real-life what-if, culled from the headlines.)
  • What would happen if “the detective investigating a crime fell in love with the suspect?” (This happens in my current contemporary mystery).

This year, our story prompts are going to focus on “what-if” scenarios, and we’re going to see what happens from there.  I’ve got lots of story ideas floating around in my head – either left there by Santa or fueled by all of the holiday treats I may or may not have consumed.  Regardless of where they came from, I’m going to try to put them to good use by giving today’s story prompt a try as soon as I get home from work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Can you believe we’ve made it to the last Friday of the year?  That means we’ve made it through 51 weeks worth of writing sprints and creative short stories based on random themes and even more random words.

That’s a lot!

A big thanks goes out to everyone who has played along this year.   There have been some very fun stories posted with a lot of interesting characters and creative situations.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have.

What better way to say goodbye to the current year that with a last burst of random creativity.  I’m going to give today’s words a try as soon as I get home from work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Michille: Last Minute Gifts for Writers (or Yourself)

Chakras_map.svg

By mpan – Own work, based on File:Czakry.png, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49510274

For those fellow writers out there who celebrate Christmas, or those who give gifts to those who do, there isn’t much time left to buy a gift. The big e-tailers can still ship, some for free for a day or two more, and some at a premium. But what can you get a writer in your life without resorting to those big e-tailers? Many writers like to set the stage, so to speak, in their writing corner. They have certain things around them to help stimulate creativity, or block distractions, maybe add comfort, or improve ergonomics. I use candles, colors, hot tea, and my spirit animal. My choices are often based on universal archetypes, ancient teachings, and modern research. Here are some ideas for you based on the seven Chakras that can be turned into gifts based on color and scent and placement on the body. Continue reading

Kay: Quiz for Y’all—Now What Do I Do?

I finished my last book. I’ve revised it. It’s done.

Usually when that happens, I get a new idea. For a long time now, like clockwork, when the old book ends, the new one appears. It’s like the Girls were thinking about it while I was concentrating on other things, and when I’m ready, they send up the next demand, er, suggestion. The transition is flawless. The second I type “The End,” I can type “Chapter One.”

Not this time.

This time, I the Girls are on vacation, asleep, or, heaven forbid, dead.

I’ve got nothing.

There are ideas I could pursue, extensions of ideas I’ve already worked on. For example: Continue reading

Michille: Romance Story Ideas

 

amazingstorygeneratorCreativity has abandoned me. I hope it’s temporary. I googled ‘romance writing prompts’ to jump start my creative mind and got some interesting results.

The Write Practice. 20 Romance Story Ideas.
These are interesting and a little twisty with a gender-bender thrown in. A cop and a jewelry store owner who it tripping his alarm on purpose. Humans and aliens communicating through a plant. There is only one tried and true – the hero who has sworn off love falls for the spunky rookie with a joie de vivre. Continue reading

Kay: Play It Again

 

Lumberjacks in Love (2008 production): Chase Stoeger, Doug Mancheski, Jeff Herbst, Jane McAnanney, Fred “Doc” Heide. Photographer: Len Villano

I’ve been on vacation to my home state of Wisconsin, and I spent almost a week in Door County, the area at the farthest end of the peninsula. It’s been a destination spot of locals for decades, thrilling the population with every form of cherries, cheese curds, ice cream, and beer, which everyone can wear off swimming and boating in the area’s waterways, as well as hiking through the county’s many parks and forests.

There is also a very fun musical theater group that performs in Peninsula State Park every summer.

Northern Sky Theater has written and produced at least one original play every year since 1988, and by now they have more than 50 plays in their repertoire. Continue reading