Story Time

One of the true joys of fatherhood is story time.

As I may have mentioned here before, my wife knits.  She’s in the process of knitting a great stuffed toy for our little B.T., and she already knit an awesome stuffed dragon for him.  The dragon – I call him Dinkywings the Dragon, on account of his undersized wings – has already been the center of several story times for B.T.  Dinkywings (in all honesty, he, she or it has gone through several name revisions, and I haven’t told Dear Wife yet that I’ve started using Dinkywings) has been both terrifying, fire-breathing monster destined to be overthrown by hand-knights with finger-lances as well as a loveable, bumbling dragon-friend.  Of course, Dinkywings fits the mold of the latter better – so I suspect more of the adventures B.T. and Dinkywings will have together will be as comrades rather than adversaries – which is at it should be. Continue reading

Weekend Assignment: Back to School

It’s time for another edition of “Weekend Assignment“:

In just a couple weeks, students will be heading back to school. Share with us what that means in your life. Are you currently shopping for school supplies for the students in your life? Are you planning on going back to school? Maybe everyone around you is rushing to get ready for the new school year, but you can sit back and relax. Tell us what that’s like.

Extra Credit: Tell us what you liked the most and disliked the most about the first day of school!

Dear little B.T., of course, is still new to the world – he won’t be heading “back to school” for many years yet.  You know, he’s got to go to school for the first time before he can go back to school.  I sometimes try to imagine what that day will be like… but except for the fact that he’ll be older and speaking relatively coherent English, I suppose rather little will have changed.  Continue reading

Plugging the Work of Others

A short post today.  Many of you dear readers may already be familiar with the blogs of some of my fellow writers and undiscovered authors.  Well, a few of them have banded together to form an all-fiction, stories seven-days-a-week blog they call “Serial Central“.  Their joint blog officially launches with the first of seven ongoing serial stories today.

It looks like a pretty good line-up, too.  There’s literary fiction from Turkish writer Lua Fowles, who is kicking it off today.  There are several flavors of fantasy and speculative fiction from J.P. Cabit, Barbara Tarn, and T.S. Bazelli.  And there is humor, mystery, women’s fiction and more fantasy from new-to-me writers Miss Rosemary, Janna T. and Leigh Townsend.  So, if you don’t already follow these folks, and hadn’t otherwise heard of their new venture, I invite you to check out their stories on Serial Central.  Enjoy.

A Temporary Abatement

I mentioned that the summer has come to an end and that for the next couple weeks I’m actually free of class.  I also said I didn’t know how this would affect the ongoing, intermittent “hiatus” I’ve been on most of the summer: whether I’d be going back to daily posts or not.  After thinking about this for the past couple days, I believe I’m actually going to have to intensify my so-called “hiatus”. Continue reading

Weekend Assignment: Pie Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Cake

Today’s Weekend Assignment is a bit whimsical:

Weekend Assignment #331: Cake V. Pie (A Scalzi Flashback)

Which is better — cake or pie? Explain your reasoning. Will you choose the moist sponginess and frosting-topped goodness of cake? Or will you side with those flaky crust-adoring, fruit-filling fanatics of the pie nation? You must choose one — and only one! No trying to suggest that Boston Creme Pie is really kind of like a cake, or how cheesecake is actually not unlike a pie. Take a stand! Be true to your pastry orientation!

Extra Credit: Having chosen cake or pie, now admit your favorite variety of the dessert you did not choose. So if you chose cake, tell us your favorite pie. Prefer pie? Tell us your favorite cake.

Well, I must say that I love the pies made by my Dear Wife – strawberry pie, apple pie, and so on – but if I’m forced to choose between Pie and Cake… I’m forced to choose cake.

(Thinking outside the box, though, I go with brownies and cookies.  So there 😛  You can’t beat the warm, fresh-baked gooeyness of brownies and cookies.)

But for cake – I like the fluffy texture, and I love the frosting.  But don’t slather that fake, store-bought whip-cream stuff.  I like the smooth, creamy kind – especially cream cheese frosting!

The problem with pie, meanwhile, is that the edge of crust that sticks up above the rest of the pie is usually dry, overcooked, and completely lacks any flavor.  And yet, every pie has this unappealing, unappetizing rim of whatever.  I often don’t eat it.

But as for the “Extra Credit”…

Let’s see… my favorite pie.  I like Apple Pie, sure.  Cheese Cake is wonderful in all its varieties.  But my favorite pie is anything with a creamy, chocolatey filling.  Because I love anything with a creamy, chocolatey filling.

Further Apologies

No “Writing Quote” today.  I’m still decompressing from the end of the semester, and besides that I’ve been busy in other venues…

It’s going to take a little while to get back up to full speed.  In the mean time… The post immediately below this one is a fun little story – a tale of King Arthur and Grail Quests and… other things.  Check it out.  See you all next week!

Friday Flash: Once and Future…

So, here’s today’s Author Aerobics, and Friday Flash.  The challenge today was:

The challenge: Take a stereotype, cliché, or topic that’s been done to death, and write a scene (1000 words or less) that infuses a fresh spin on things. The theme: sparkle? hah just kidding! “Thirst”

Okay, no, I didn’t write about vampires, but I think I’ve got some unique takes here on a few common fantasy tropes.  It’s a little long for “Flash” fiction, at 1,788 words, but I rather fancy it anyway.  So, enjoy:

Once and Future…

By: Stephen A. Watkins, Jr.

“Where are we now?” Rob tried to gain his bearings after the world stopped spinning. He was in a green, grassy field on a gray morning.  The field was dotted with trees and studded with the rubble of ancient walls, the ruins of some gothic edifice.  Mist swirled through the arched portals, over broken masonry, and around the tall, leafy oaks and flowering hawthorns.  He glanced over at his companion, a man who looked to be in his mid-thirties or early-forties.  He had a week’s growth of beard, streaked with the first hints of gray, in a thick, hooded sweater embroidered with stars and a monogram in some kind of wingding font. Continue reading

Stuff Happens

So, throughout the summer, I’ve been on a bit of what I call a “hiatus” where my posting has been lessened.  Prior to this hiatus, I had a pretty consistent daily posting schedule with only a few interruptions for extenuating events.  But the summer has been one long, extended, extenuating event.

That ends today.

But what I can’t say ends, for sure, is this hiatus.  There’s still too much for me to do to handle it all with equal vigor.

That said, although my summer semester technically ends today, I, of course, write these things ahead of time, and that means that between today and tomorrow, I’m basically taking off with regards to blog posts.  Maybe I’ll be back with a story on Friday… One can only hope 🙂

Un-Assignment: Not An Op-Ed

This week’s Weekend Assignment asks us to write an “op-ed” and tell our opinion about something:

Weekend Assignment #330: Op-Ed

Time to flex your writing muscle again, because for this week only, the Weekend Assignment blog is being changed to The Weekend Assignment Chronicle! Now, we need some Op-Eds to make things a little more interesting around here. Your assignment is to pick a current event and write your opinion regarding it. Anything goes. Write about politics, the economy, or maybe even your opinion about an incident in pop culture. It’s all good. It’s good to exchange opinions, especially when it’s done with respect. So, feel free to speak up here!

Extra Credit: Do you read the Op-Eds? Yes? No? Tell us about it!

And, guess what?  I have opinions.  About many different things!

And… I’m going to pass.  Because, yeah, I have strong opinions about important issues of our day.  And sometimes, maybe I fear exposing those opinions because I don’t want to stir controversy, or because I fear what others will think if they know my opinions.  But I’ve done it before, publicly.  I’ve shared my opinions on big topics here and in other public fora. Continue reading

Writing Quote: In the Air

I don’t often pick writing quotes that I disagree with (okay, I can’t say I’ve ever done it, to date), but this week I thought it was appropriate.  (10 Points and the House Cup to whoever can identify the thematic link between today’s Writing Quote and this week’s posts.  I don’t intentionally pick a theme each week, and many weeks I don’t have a consistent theme, I just blog about what comes up, but a lot of times I’m able to draw out some common threads from most of the week’s posts.  That’s one of my special powers.)  So, here’s today’s quote:

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air.  All I must do is find it, and copy it.

~Jules Renard

On one hand, I agree that in principle, the story I’m writing “exists” – but not in the way Renard here suggests.

The idea that the stories we are writing already exist and that the characters about whom we write are real people with their own wills is a popular conceit among writers.  And though I mean no offense to writers who subscribe to this way of thinking, I disagree with it pretty strongly.  The characters I creat are just that: my creations.  They exist only in my head.  They have no independent will.  When I create characters, I try to give them the traits and qualities of real people, but ultimately this is to serve the story. Continue reading