Friday, February 2, 2018

Flash: Blind Date

Flash Fiction for Valentine's Day on display at my local library.

Teri tapped her toes to the beat of the background music in the coffee shop.  Early, as usual, she sipped an easy-to-drink grandé something or other while watching the door.  Every time it opened, she wondered if Steve walked inside.
Sure, she studied his photos before coming.  However, people tended to embellish or downright lie on the internet, especially on dating sites.  The profile stated that Steve was six-four, blond, blue-eyed with an athletic build.  His photos showed the blond part, the blue eyes part, and the not so shabby body part (under well-fitting clothes).  But, his blond might have gone bald and his athleticness could have been long before he found the glorious comfort of cake.  If those were even pictures of him and not ripped out of a magazine.
She glanced at her half gone coffee.  When she looked up, her stomach fluttered.  A man who looked a lot like Steve’s photos approached.  She met his gaze and his smile made his blue eyes dance.
“Teri,” he said, his voice deep.
Her insides melted.
“I thought I was going to be the early one.”  He chuckled.
“Hi.  Steve,” she said.  Her mind blanked before she continued with, “Sit down.  Please.  Did you get a coffee?”
“I will.  Do you need a fill up?”
She shook her head.
“I’ll be right back.”
While he joined the line, she dug a small mirror out of her purse.  She peeked at her teeth and her make-up.  Then, she watched Steve return with long, quick strides, stirring his steaming mug.
He sat across from her, his bright blue eyes sparkling.  He spoke.  She watched his lips move, trying not to imagine them on hers.  While they chatted, he inched as close as the table allowed.  Teri focused on his rugged, blond, stubbly beard, wondering how it would feel against her chin—scratchy or soft.  Blushing, he laughed, and she laughed with him.
He tipped his mug towards him.  “You wanna go for a walk?” he asked.
Teri nodded.  His gentle hand resting on the small of her back guided her outside.
As they strolled down the sidewalk, Steve took her hand.  She noticed the trees’ light green leaves fluttering in the breeze and flower boxes spilling onto the cement.  A slight giggle escaped her lips.  The city’s beauty promised such potential.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Iron Man and the Quest for a Better Beginning

Whilst wallowing in a sinus pressure haze, all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and veg-watch something familiar.  I chose Iron Man.

The movie begins with an attack on Stark’s motor envoy.  Then, it flashes back to all the important details about Tony and Stark Industries.  When it returns to the bombing aftermath, Tony begins his path to Iron Man (even if he doesn’t know it at the time).

It’s a great way to introduce a character, show character development, and create an origin story for a character that will last well into the series.

As I watched, I wondered if I could use the Iron Man method for my book.

The book about which I speak is Dreamweaver.  It doesn’t introduce a new character.  There’s no origin story here.  In fact, it’s a later book in a series with already well-established characters.  So, can I?

The next morning, I answered, “Yes.”

My main method for writing is to get the story out first, everything else comes later.  I have found that in my lapse with writing this book, I need to reread from the first page to continue.  I’m not keen about how it starts.  At first, I thought that mirroring the beginning of the first book was clever.  Then, I thought better of it.  Clever doesn’t always equal interesting to the reader.

For sixth book of the World In-between Series, I have an old character in a new setting.  How does he get there?  What’s the conflict?  How does he escape?

In flies Iron Man.

I’ve decided to start with Berty further into the conflict, where it will develop his character better than if I’d began earlier.  All the pertinent information about the what and how and magical fun can come in flashbacks.  I can sprinkle information instead of dumping, which I felt happened within my first chapters.

After rearranging, I like where it’s heading.  Berty’s in the thick and has to use his wit and know-how to get himself out.  Granted, this portion is already written.  But, I still have a long ways to go.  Sometimes, I find, that being happy with the start makes the rest flow to a better end.

Will Berty have his own version of a suit-perfecting montage later?  Will a carefully placed discarded object in the room give him what he needs to keep his girl from being Big Bad food?  Will his stumbling over an unknown obstacle save him from the Big Bad?  Only the pen will tell.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Big ‘18

On the docket for the New Year:

  • Dreamweaver (The World In-between, 6)
    • Truth be told, I didn’t get much series writing done last year.  This year is already different, writerly speaking.  Not to mention, book 7 wants to get on the page.

  • Cross Country Road Trip
    • Off to see America, or part of it anyway.  While journeying to family, hubby and I plan to visit some of the ancient and early American sites.  Mounds, glyphs, ruins, and nature.  It’s going to be great.

  • More Flash Fiction
    • My writers’ group regularly displays themed flash fiction and poetry in the local library.  I’ll be posting them here as well.

I anticipate a year full of writing, laughter, and adventure.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Holidays!

In the cold darkness of winter, I hope you find your light.  See you in the New Year!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Christmas Cookie Tour Book Event

This Saturday, Nov 25th
11 am – 2 pm
Mount Pleasant Public Library, Mount Pleasant, PA

I’ll be joining other area authors at this Cookie Tour stop.

Going to be in the PA Laurel Highlands this weekend?  Come say hi and get a book or three.

There’ll be cookies!

The Borough of Mount Pleasant’s 4th annual Cookie Tour supports local businesses.  Tour starts at 10:30 am.  Get tour information, map, and a chance to win a $100 Visa card at the Gazebo in Veterans Park (corner of Diamond [PA 819] and Washington Streets).

See you there!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halloween Flash

Letter to Nowhere

By: IE Castellano

Agostus Hoverall
Hillside Village Cemetery
Hillside Village, USA

1 November 2017

Haunt Council
Congress of Ghosts and Ghouls

Re: Mountain Top Inn

To whom it may concern:

The Mountain Top Inn accommodations have been quite unsatisfactory.  I have had the worst Halloween in three centuries during my visit.  This so called hotel needs to be stricken from the logs immediately.

In the rooms, the beds have too soft a mattress, allowing one to fall asleep easily and stay slumbering throughout the night.  Precise controls keep water at a constant warm or cool temperature regardless of fiddling.  The wide corridors lack tables, mirrors, vases, or other items, which could fall in front of, on top of, or behind guests as they traverse to and from their rooms.

Common areas have plenty of coffee cups, snacks, and scalding beverages.  Chairs and tables abound.  However, guests only look at their phones at all times.  They do not look up.  They do not see me, let alone pay attention to my haunting ways.

Consider this letter a formal complaint.  I fully expect the Haunt Council to send me elsewhere next Halloween.

Eternally yours,
Agostus Hoverall
Agostus Hoverall

Monday, October 2, 2017

Best Laid Plans

A view of the lake

I attempted a writing weekend earlier last month (September).  It went…

Since it was a beautiful fall-ish day, my hubby-to-be and I packed our writing and a picnic lunch and traveled to a county park.  We found an empty pavilion and spread our stuff across the tables.  After eating, we strolled while collecting our muses.

We sat on a bench near the lake.  Puffy, white clouds dotted the clear, azure sky.  A breeze rustled the partially turning leaves.  My mind tried to turn over the story for picking apart.  My tummy sabotaged it all.

Writing didn’t happen.  At least not at the park.  Later that evening, I did break out my pen and paper.  What I discovered was that the story idea I mulled would not work as a short story.  It wanted to be longer, much, much longer.

“Oh, but, IE,” you say, “had you’d planned your story in an outline first, then you’d know it would take more words than what you wanted it to be.”

Well, yes and no.

I do plan out my stories.  All of them have some sort of outline, a goal.  However, I never really know how my main character (or characters) want to get there or if I’ll even stick to the script until I begin writing.  Sometimes, I need to write a little to know.  Sometimes, a lot.  Sometimes, the whole thing.

In this instance, I wrote a page.  My main character didn’t want to do easy or tidy or short.  He wants to explore all angles, speak with as many other characters as possible.  He like details, no matter how small.  Then, he thinks long, complicated thoughts.  It took me a page to get into his rhythm.  And then, I knew he couldn’t be confined by 3,000 to 5,000 words.

Another story will have to do.  I wrote a quick synopsis for a new one.  Maybe I’ll get it written.  Maybe I won’t.  The latter seems to have seeped inside my brain lately.  I missed my deadline for Dreamweaver (The World In-between, 6) with spectacular success.  It’s coming along, just much more slowly than I would like.  Unfortunately, it won’t be released until next year.  Not what I planned, but, sometimes, the outline gets thrown away and something better blossoms.