Monday, May 31, 2010

Uh, oh! Randomities Won the One Lovely Blog Award!

This is a very nice award, granted by Amy K. Nichols, who I'm happy to have met on Twitter.

It came incredibly timely, as I was musing on a way of welcoming some new twitter friends I've come to appreciate really fast.

I felt incredibly welcomed on Twitter, once I found out how to interact there that is, heh, so I wanted to spread this feeling around. There is no better opportunity than this. :)

So, to the fun part, I grant the One Lovely Blog Award to:
  1. Jodi MacArthur, of Fiction Writer - Jodi MacArthur
  2. Annie Syed, of Trial of Words: Writings and Fragments
  3. Valerie, of As the Moon Climbs
  4. Jeanne V. Bowerman, of ramblings of a recovering insecureaholic. A small confession here: I've known Jeanne for a while on twitter. She's the #twitterPIMPangel everyone talks about, and the incredibly cool moderator of #ScriptChat. Since I've found out about her blog only now, I gave myself the liberty to bend the rules a bit, heh. ;P
  5. Susan Bearman, of 2KoP: Two Kinds of People
  6. Kathryn Magendie, of Tender Graces
  7. Jim Wisneski, of writers 'n writers
  8. Estrella Azul, of Life's a Stage
  9. Margo Gremmler, of Margoblog
  10. Catherine Russel, of Ganymeder
  11. Barry Northern, of 21st Century Writer. Psst, check out his cool CYOA project - Choose Your Own Adventure. ;)
  12. Jem, of Jemfyr
  13. Claudia Hall Christian, of On a Limb With Claudia. I've also known Claudia for a while, but I just found out about her blog. She's the co-moderator of the incredibly educating and welcoming twitter chat #BookMarket, along with Carol Corbett. Must check out!
  14. Carrie, of Purelycarrie Blog
  15. Aindan Fritz, of Aidan Writes.
Whew, what a generous award! Finding fifteen new blogs to spread the love isn't as easy as it seems. Sorry folks, for the extra work I'm giving you with this thing. ;P

Just a final reminder, here are this award's rules:
1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guest Post: Olive O'Brien - Writing for Kids

I often wondered how would it be to write for this audience. It sounds really interesting and challenging. However, since I know absolutely zip about it, I've invited the author of no less than two picture books -- Perry the Playful Polar Bear and Perry the Polar Bear Goes Green -- to explain things a bit.

Please meet Randomities' first honorable guest, Olive O'Brien. :)
Olive O'Brien is a children’s writer based in Cork, Ireland. You can find out more about her at Silver Angel Publishing or at her blogs, where she spends most of her time, at Write Olive and Movie News First.

If you’re like me and thought one day, I’d like to write a children’s book, it’s important to look at the differences between writing for adults and writing for children.

First, I guess it’s important to remember that children are intelligent creatures! One of the more common mistakes that children’s writers make is they think that they can throw a story at a young reader and expect them to like it.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Trust me, I’ve learned that lesson. So, in that sense, writing for children isn’t a whole lot different than writing for adults.

You still have a main character with whom readers can identify with. And you have a plot which faces that character with a situation, which he or she will have to struggle to resolve.

But, there are other significant differences between writing for children and writing for adults.

1. One of the things I love about children’s writing is that the characters can be as crazy and as fantastical as you want them to be. For example, animals who talk, sing, dance and do everything that humans do, is a fairly common occurrence in children’s books. And it’s such fun!

2. Most children’s books are pretty short. I’m not talking about teen fiction, which can often run to hundreds of pages in small print or indeed middle-grade fiction. I’m a picture-book author and most stories in that genre do not run over 1,500 words. But, sometimes it’s harder than it seems to try and write and condense a story down to 1,000 words, which is the average picture-book length.

3. Many books for adults involve long descriptive passages. Try this in a kid’s book and they will quickly tire of the “padding.” For picture-books in particular, sentences need to be short, easy to understand and you also have to bear in mind that each page will be accompanied by an illustration.

4. If you don’t grab a child’s attention within the first paragraph, you can forget about it. I’m sure we all have ploughed through a book or two, in the hope that it will somehow grab our imagination halfway through. This isn’t the case with children. The very first sentence must capture young readers immediately.

5. Children’s stories usually end on a positive note. There are books and poetry out there that have dark themes, however most end on an encouraging message which gives children hope.

6. Children like to read stories about characters and themes that they can relate to. As a children’s writer, you need to focus on themes that children often experience in everyday life, such as being afraid of the dark, adjusting to the arrival of a new sibling, their first day at school or moving home.

7. Children love heroes! When you look at many popular children’s books, they involve characters saving the day, the world even.

8. Most children’s books involve child characters or animals. Books with characters based on inanimate objects aren’t as successful. There are some quirky exceptions though.

Overall, writing for children is so enjoyable and entertaining and you can allow your mind to wander to some amazing places. But maybe some day I’ll start writing again for “big people.”

Monday, May 24, 2010

Changing Mood

Whew! The last two weeks were pretty intense here at Randomities. I had much fun experimenting with zombies and other stuff, but I think it's time to switch back to the usual cheerfulness, don't you agree? (Well, at least for a while. Randomities is not random and erratic for nothing, heh.)

So, for starters, do have a laugh. ;)

Ok, a chuckle.

Oh, well, at least tell me this is not annoying! (heh)

Ok, this quickie I'm sure will make you smile. ;P

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Retirement - #StoryCraft

#StoryCraft is a twitter chat with discussions focused on the craft of writing. This week's challenge is to write a piece of 200 words using exposition (telling) sparingly but well.

Here's my attempt. Let's see if I've met the challenge. ;)

Note: Warning for bad wording. The characters are what they are, just saying. ;P

“So, are you in?”
“You know darn well I’m retired.”
“C’mon Cloud, we’re about to score big time, but we need you in this one!” You fucking moron.
Claudius McNair was the cool headed sort that wouldn’t flinch before a gun pointed to his head. He looked up to his hot tempered friend and said, “I’ve paid the price for this kind of greed,” he paused, looking straight at Mike’s eyes, “and I don’t intend to come back there.”
Mike frowned and Cloud continued, “Just leave me be a fat old guy who likes to shoot some deer once in a while.”
You used to like your killings back then, you son of--
“It’s no good,” said Cloud, interrupting Mike’s thoughts, “don’t waste your time trying to convince me.”
“Nah, I was just thinking of who could fit your suit.”
“There’s a new guy in town, haven’t you heard?”
“Why didn’t you fucking say so? I’ve lost a whole afternoon talking to an old fag who knows fucking well how tight our schedules are!”
“You never asked.” Cloud grinned.
* * *
Note: I found the gorgeous sunrise picture here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What's It Like? - #FridayFlash

Note: Warning for gore and some violence. No exaltation of it of course, but be prepared.

What's It Like?

Everyone else was having fun. She was shaking internally, and drinking. At each filling up several eyes met, narrowing at the inconvenience. She wanted to smack off their yellow smiles.

She was finally getting anesthetized by the alcohol when the cute blondie Maria turned to her, "Say, you're Jeniffer, right?"

She nods.

"So Jeniffer, what's it like?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know..." Maria leans her head in the cutest way she knows, the way even girls fall for.

Jeniffer frowns, "I don't know what you mean."

There's a sudden silence. Maria pauses, unsure whether to press on or not; she sees her best friend's eager eyes and makes a decision; she clears her throat, "You know, to be abused."



"You want to know how it feels to be abused?" Jeniffer asks incredulous.

"Well, yeah?"

"No, you don't."

Jeniffer stands, carefully holding her cup with both hands, as well as the incoming tears. She swallows them, walks calmly to the buffet and serves herself with another beer, wishing it was something stronger. The memories are back in full swing.

Damn therapy, she thinks, it only works for their own peace of mind. It's all bullshit.

Jeniffer takes her time, hoping that the topic will be dropped. Maybe she should go home, it's not as if she's having a great time, is it?

"So?" she hears from behind.

With tensed shoulders she turns, "I beg your pardon?"

"We're waiting," Maria says, leaning back in her chair, wearing a mischievous grin.

Not a single gaze is diverted from Jeniffer's burning eyes. Most guests shift position, the hostess squeezes her boyfriend's hand searching for comfort. He doesn't squeeze back.

Jeniffer presses her lips together and refrains from crushing the plastic cup. She too makes a decision. She rests the cup on the table, gently, and circles it towards the other girl.

"You want me to tell you how it feels to have someone hurt you so badly that you're damaged for good, that you feel like, like..." She swallows, "No matter."

Jeniffer shows her teeth, pausing to see the effect it creates on her newest friends. When she reaches Maria's chair the remaining smiles are gone, including Maria's. Jeniffer wonders how's the look on her face, ugly, scary, pathetic?

From behind Maria, she leans forward putting a hand on the table and whispers in her ear, "I'll show you what it feels like."

Before anyone can react, she makes room with her left arm, grabs the scared girl by the neck, shoving her on the beer washed table and lifts her pink skirt.

This is when the audience realizes what her intention is. A broad shouldered guy stands up, jumps behind Jeniffer locking her both arms and suspending her. She throws her head back, breaking his nose. Released from his grip, she elbows him in the ribs and puts her right foot behind his left, making a lever and pushing him down by the bloody cheek.

While he grunts on the floor, she grabs a half eaten salami, puts Maria back in place, rips her panties off and touches it on her most sensitive parts.

Holding the salami there, she leans on, "Oh, don't you worry, I'm not going further with this." She smiles against Maria's choking, "Now you'll know what's it like not wanting to talk about something bad that has happened to you."

Jeniffer can't hear anything but the ringing in her ears, although she knows that all breaths are held. She releases the girl when seeing her tears flow.

"You wanted to know how it feels to be abused, as you put? Multiply this one moment by, say, a thousand, and you won't be even close to the sensation of being raped, tortured and starved for the eternity."

Jeniffer takes a deep breath and turns to the open mouthed birthday girl, "It seems I'm not a good company just yet."

To the party's bulged eyes she adds, "Maybe never?"

With a bitter smile, Jeniffer circles the table back to the far couch where she left her purse and heads for the door.

"Wait," Cathleen shouts, "you just kicked Little John's ass. I didn't know you could do that!"

Sliding the door open Jeniffer answers, "You didn't think I'd go through all that and not take self defense classes, did you? Happy birthday."

Note: The "Woman Frowning" I found here, and the artist's page is this. Pretty cool things in there. ;)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Uh, oh! Randomities Won a Creative-Creepy Blog Award!

Not that this is a creepy award by itself, but who awarded me is a horror writer, Jodi MacArthur. She gave it a chilly reading that was rather entertaining, so I decided to play along.

Thank you Jodi, for this fun award, and the twisted idea for theme, heh. ;D

Here are some facts about me that I'm supposed to share. This time I seriously doubt you'll guess what is true and what's not, but go ahead and give it a try.
  1. I have a gremlin. Not one of those cute fur balls, I'm talking about the post-water midnight thing.
  2. Do you know the movie Paranormal Experiences? Yeah.
  3. I have an insect-eating carnivorous pet that is not a pony, but it's creepy all the same. (Just to clarify, Jodi's Pony doesn't feed on insects. Well, that depends of one's point of view, really.)
  4. I've met vampires. Yes, I did use the plural here on purpose. I'm sorry to say that I didn't meet cool mermaids or fairies or unicorns, but the old cliché. I'm a bit worried after these encounters, as lately I've been less garlic-tolerant, the light hurts my eyes, and I feel sleepy in daylight. Should you fear meeting me in person?
  5. My skin is marked forever. It's blackened.
  6. I hear voices. They tell me to do bad things to people.
  7. I've once had a vision. A few weeks later it became true.
Now to the fun part. I'm going by the rules when I nominate seven bloggers for this award, but I'd like to propose a challenge of the sorts, hereby changing said rules just a bit. (see original below)

I dare the following bloggers to spread the chill. Make your lies and truths the more scary, ugly, grotesque as you can. Of course you don't have to, but I do dare you to, heh. ;P

Finally, the dreaded and mostly disrespected rules (at least by me, heh):
1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth – or – switch it around and tell six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie.
5. Nominate seven “Creative Writers” who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Zombie Walk - #FridayFlash

This is my first attempt of #FridayFlash. This is also my first horror story, and my first zombie story as well. Contrarily to what you might think, I don't like Zombies. I've set a challenge to myself to write something zombie-themed after a most amusing conversation with Jodie MacArthur and Jim Bronyaur. I hope you'll like it. :)

Zombie Walk

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” said Claire.

“C’mon, this is fun! Look at that awesome costume,” replied Silver, grinning to a half exposed brain.

“Besides, you look cute with these unseeing eyes.” She winked.

“Eww! How can you think that someone looks cute dressed up as an undead?”

“Just play along Claire. You might even have some fun.”

Claire decided to follow her friend’s advice, managing to find the stumbling bleeding corpses somehow amusing.

These people take great care to make the best costumes they can, I’ll give them that, she thought.

At some point she spotted a different zombie. He was an excellent actor. She couldn’t prevent staring at his walk as he approached her. Her lips twisted up when realizing that she actually 

found him cute, which she rationalized into the lack of open wounds in his costume.

When reaching her, he took her arm and said with a rough voice, “I was looking for you.”

“You were?” she replied with raised eyebrows.

“Yes.” He smiled rigidly, and Claire noticed his contact lens. They were the best she had seen so far, chilling even. Before she could control herself she smiled back.

Seeing this exchange, Silver smirked at Claire and let herself go with the mob. Claire rolled her eyes but grinned at her friend’s back. This is what she most liked about her friendship with Silver, very few words were needed.

The zombie guy woke her from her reverie by approaching for a kiss. She froze at the 
suddenness, made a minor effort to retreat but changed her mind.

What the heck, she thought, what do I have to lose?

When their lips met, she noticed that his were strangely cold. The kiss was deep and passionate, so she put the thought aside. Suddenly she wrinkled her nose at a putrid smell. Oh, no, this is too much dedication for me, she thought.

She tried to step back but he held her by the mouth. She grunted and pushed him away, which got her a deep cut in her lower lip.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

The guy’s mouth fell, he mumbled something inaudible and stepped back. Then he licked her blood off his own lips and fled, leaving her gawking at the moaning crowd.

Frowning, Claire sped up towards the direction Silver had gone.

The next morning Claire felt a bit feverish. By the afternoon the flu was fully installed in her organism so she left her job early. At night, she could barely call Silver to take her to the hospital. Before dawn Claire was declared dead.

There was an interesting smell nearby she couldn’t identify or locate. She was laid, that she knew, and it was dark. Before she gathered her wits, a thundering sound followed by a cracking wood that let in the moonlight and strong arms, which carried her up, laying her in the cool grass.

“How do you feel?” she heard an oddly familiar voice asking.

Claire cleared her throat and frowned, “Now that you ask, I feel nothing. At all.”


“What? What’s going on?”

“We’ve met in a zombie walk, right?” asked the cute guy, “You’re a full zombie now.” He smiled a fetid smile.

With a loosely open mouth she accepted the mirror he was offering to see herself in grey skin and those well made contact lens.

“This is a prank right?”

“Oh, no, no-no.” He shook his head, still showing his once beautiful teeth, “We’re the real thing. Isn’t this cool?” He nodded as to encourage her. “I didn’t want this to happen so soon, but it’s better this way. You won’t feel pain, you won’t feel cold, you won’t even feel the grass prickling your skin.” He twisted his mouth and nodded again, seriously this time.

“How can this be cool? I’m dead!”

He leaned back, tense shoulders and confused eyes.

“Who said I didn’t want to feel anything?” She continued, being interrupted by a rumbling sound. “Well, apparently I can feel hunger.”

He smiled and releasing a sigh he happily deposited random body parts before her. They looked quite fresh, making Claire want to salivate despite the impossibility.

That’s the smell I was trying to identify! She thought with a mixture of exultation and disgust.

She looked up at him for assistance. Nodding encouragingly he gave her a female arm.
What the heck, she thought.

Note: The zombie pic I found here, along with many other good ones. ;)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cliffs and Girls - #StoryCraft

"I can't do this," Wilfred whined.

"What do you mean? After a five hour bus trip my ass is squared. You've got to jump."

"Jeff, I told you I'm afraid of heights."

"That's the point of all this you moron! You've got to stop being such a wuss."

"I'm not a wuss," Wilfred mumbled.

Putting a hand on Wilfred's shoulders Jeff said, "Look, everybody says that the best way stop being afraid of something is confronting your fears."

"Confronting your fears..." Wilfred repeated, as to reassure himself.

"Yeah, now jump."

Wilfred crouched to peek at the deep blue below. "This is too high. We should find some other place."

"No. It's high enough and the currents aren't dangerous here. You'll be fine."

"You know I don't swim well," he said looking up.

"I know, that's why I'll jump right after," Jeff said, pointing at his lifeguard badge.

"I have to do this."

Jeff grinned encouragingly.

With a pitiful smile Wilfred asked, "If I jump, will I be able to finally get a girl?"

Jeff refrained from snorting, "My guess is that you'll have better chances, since you'll have more confidence in yourself."


Wilfred got up, stepped back and said with a trembling voice, "I'm going."

Jeff crossed his arms and nodded.

Taking several deep breaths to gather all his courage, all his manhood in this single act, Wilfred frowned. Right after his shoulders slumped, "Let's just go home."

Jeff marched towards him, passed a tanned arm around his shoulders and strolled back while whispering fervently, "Come one Wil, you're a good looking guy, you can get all the girls you want if you change your attitude."

Wilfred looked up, "Good looking? Are you insane? Look at my belly."

"We can work that out later. Lots of... err, big guys get girls too, think of Charlie."

"Fat Charlie? He takes them by force."

"Right, bad example. My point is that you don't need my kind of abdomen to get laid," Jeff said, stopping at the edge.

Wilfred looked up to his older brother with the doggie eyes Jeff knew so well and opened his mouth to speak.

"Sorry bro, this is for your own good," Jeff said, and pushed him.


Well, this was my first challenge for #StoryCraft twitter chat, which this week is focused on dialogue.

I hope you enjoyed this little tale about bravery and tanned men, heh, and will join us next Sunday at 11pm GMT (5pm EST) to discuss the craft of writing. Psst, this is not public knowledge, but I've heard there'll be a special guest next week. ;)

Note: That awesome picture I found here. It was taken by Eric Chan.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day - Twitter Chats Blog Tour

Welcome to the Twitter Chats Blog Tour, organized by Anne Tyler Lord at Don’t Fence Me In and by yours truly. ;) Today's theme is Mother's Day.
You'll be traveling with us through the blogs of some of the fantastic authors and writers who participate in our weekly -- funny, entertaining and educating -- Twitter chats. This tour will feature writers from #writechat, #litchat, and #fridayflash.
You will be directed to your next stop at the end of this post. Please feel welcome here, and have a happy Mother's Day!
Where Is Mom
Where's mom?
She's not here dear, but she'll be back by night.
I want my mom.
I know honey...
Why she's never here? Doesn't she love me?
Of course she loves you!
Then why is she never here?
Because she's working...
Well, people have to work to buy food, clothes, to keep a house.
These things.
does she
have to work?
Why don't you go so she can stay with me?
Will you be my mom instead?
Oh no, pumpkin, I can be your friend if you want, but I'm not your mother.
I want mommy...
Come here sweetie. Lie down on my lap.
I'll tell you a nice story while we wait for her to come back.
A story?
What kind of story?
An adventure, with magic swords and all!
I love magic swords! Can I have a hot cocoa too?
This once, ok?
Thanks for stopping by! Your next stop for the Mother's Day Twitter Chats Blog Tour is Jon Strother, at Mad Utopia, who is the creator of one of the most prolific and supportive Twitter Chats, #FridayFlash. If you are on Twitter, it's worth checking it out!

Below you'll find the complete list of participants, in order of appearance. Have fun! :)

>> Anne Tyler Lord of Don't Fence Me In (co-host of Twitter Chats Blog Tour)

>> Mari Juniper of mari's randomities (co-host of Twitter Chats Blog Tour)

>> Jon Strother of Mad Utopia (creator of #FridayFlash)

>> Carolyn Burns Bass of Ovations, and also at the Red Room writing community (creator of #LitChat)

Note: I found this gorgeous picture that we used for the tour here.

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