Saturday, 30 June 2012

Keep it under 100 words

Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge this week was to write a story in three sentences and 100 words. Like all stories, it needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

I thought Hemingway won that one with his brevity. According to legend, he won a bet with a six word story.

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Even can’t work that one out. They think it encapsulates his writing style and it definitely appeared in a play about him. But it is unconfirmed. Pity. It’s too clever and so thought provoking.

But, in any case, here are my less than one hundred word efforts. I wrote two and then chose to enter the second one. The happy ending seemed less ‘real’, sadly.

They met, on an intersection during a summer storm when her skirt blew up and in frantically pushing it down; she walked straight into him and spilt his coffee all over his crisp, white shirt. They connected, at an apology lunch because lunches were safer, that ended with them tumbling into bed in a passionate afternoon of lovemaking. They continued, through arguments, childbirth, and the unexpected issues that life throws at you, until together as always, they went gently into that long good night. 
84 words


They met, on an intersection during a summer storm when her skirt blew up and in frantically pushing it down; she walked straight into him and spilt his coffee all over his crisp, white shirt. They connected, at an apology lunch because lunches were safer, that ended with them tumbling into bed in a passionate afternoon of lovemaking. They shattered, separated by lawyers and barristers and walls that they didn’t remember building.
72 words

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Proud of Smashwords

I’m really proud of Smashwords.

Recently they have been out there making some ground breaking things happen.
They fought Paypal on censorship and won.

They have negotiated with Califa, a consortium 220 Californian libraries, to form a partnership to distribute Smashwords eBooks in libraries and to give member libraries the ability to let patrons publish eBooks through Smashwords.

And today they announced a distribution agreement with Page Foundry, a developer of mobile ebook store apps for Android tablets and smart phones.

This agreement will mean that all Premium Catalog books will automatically go to Page Foundry unless the writer opts out, or unless the title is unpublished. ‘Premium catalog’ is their term for ebooks that have no errors, good cover images, are properly set out, have a proper copyright notice and an ISBN number. As I understand it, Apple won’t take you unless you have all those boxes ticked. Apple also insists that the price end in 99cents. See the hoops I have to jump through these days? No, I'm joking. All readers deserve well set out, professional looking books, surely?

Good on you Smashwords. Keep up the good fight.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

I laugh at myself a lot.

Everyday usually. One thing that I have noticed recently about myself is my twisted viewpoint on things like challenges.

A long time ago, people started giving me fic challenges. They would send me a song clip from youtube and ask me to write something to go with it. Then, they started requesting particular pairings. I started to keep a list of them all, so that I could keep track of them.

I have done quite a few things on the list, but more things keep being added. I don’t mind; I really enjoy the challenge. When I am stuck on other things, I can read through my list and start thinking outside of the box. Sometimes it is a pairing I would never have thought of, like Leah Clearwater and Nahuel, the Sth American vampire hybrid from Breaking Dawn.

I started thinking about what they would have in common and I found more than one thing. Especially the fact that each is a rarity in their own world; a freak.

Sometimes it is a change of character. Seth Clearwater is an adorable, sweet natured boy. I got a challenge to write him as a calculating serial killer like the awful child in the play (and film) The Bad Seed.

Sometimes it is a request that pushes me out of my comfort zone.
Make Paul (my clear favourite wolf boy) lose Bella to Jacob Black. What the? I wailed and said I couldn’t do it and then wrote it anyway.

The most recent one, was to write a love story for Bella and Leah. Gulp. I did that one too and, I must say, it turned out adorably sweet. Not even sure how I managed that. And boy - do people want me to extend that one!

Yeah right, like I have ever extended a one shot into a massive full chapter story before?… oh… all the time - that’s right.

So query why my mind saw the current competition at JBNP for the anniversary as a limitation. It was to write a Jake/Bella one shot with an anniversary theme for their third year party. Why on earth does my head say that is not a ‘challenge’? Especially, given I don’t often write Jacob and Bella together???

Who knows? I sure don’t.

Laughs at self.


Don’t forget to go vote in the one shot competition. Its all anonymous this year so I can’t tell you if I entered or not. But I did read all the entries and there are some good stories in there. Go check it out!

Oh, I checked the rules. I can say I entered, just not tell you which one is mine… bet you can’t guess. mwahahaha.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Messing about on the Internet

Dark roasted blend is one of those sites I should just never go into. I emerge hours later with a head full of so many crazy story ideas, I can't even write them all down. This week they had a post on 1950's space art. Just wonderful to see how we thought the future would look 60 years ago.

I swear the one on the left looks like an Alessi fruit juicer. Am I right?

I do remember seeing an episode of the Twilight Zone; the original black and white one. Rod Serling intoned in that oh-so-serious voice, “It’s the future; it’s 1973.” Cue extreme laughter from me, as it was closer to 1993. I’ve often wondered where my flying car is like in these book covers; my Back to the Future’ hoverboard or ‘Bladerunner’ replicant. I could do with one of those.

Oh well, I suppose I will just have to make them up. *grins*

Thursday, 21 June 2012


My winning entry for the bitingduckpress and storied competition, 'Protein' was posted on the Storiad site, here:

Only 500 words. It’s actually quite hard to get ideas across in that few words. But I must have done it and they commented that I made them laugh, too.

Thanks to both  bitingduckpress and storiad for running the competition.

There is a new one now with Zova books. Another 500 words.

You guys should have a go!

The Prompt: The red flashing lights on the control panel told him/her that something wasn’t quite right.

Hmm… sounds like sci-fi to me… or a crashing plane… what about a chimp on the first space flight?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Storiad competition

Storiad is a website that is fairly new. It hopes to link up writers, publishers and movie makers; a Facebook for the industry if you will.  You can log on at the site. It’s free for writers. Or follow them on twitter. @Storiad

It makes a lot of sense; writers sometimes get so lost in the world within their heads, how do they meet other writers? It has all kinds of groups you can join in your special interest or you can even make your own. Into true crime? Make a group and meet other writers who are into that too. You can upload your work and hope that it will be seen by industry people.

I noticed a competition run on there recently by a publishing company called Biting duck press. They are also on twitter @bitingduckpress

I do love Vin Diesel and I had an image of the crazy pet duck from The Pacifier, but the competition looked intriguing.

“We’re looking for `Science in Fiction’, not necessarily `Science Fiction.’ Tell us a story about life in science, or the lives of scientists, or cutting-edge research that’s going to change the way we think, work, and live. Take it one step beyond reality if you like: Clone a Sabertooth, fly to Mars, cure cancer. Make it real, but make it imaginative.”
Spin your yarn in 500 glorious words, or less.

Ooooh I thought, I love writing short stories and one shots. So I worked on something. It was hard to keep it under 500 words and still make it interesting, but I was pleased with my entry. I called it ‘Protein’.

Today I got an email to say I was one of the three winners. Yay!

My prize is publication of the short story entry. The other prize is consideration of a full-length manuscript by Bitingduck Press. It should meet their general guidelines. Briefly, these are: >50,000 and 30,000 and <90,000 words for YA fiction; no explicit sex or violence, short stories only as part of a collection with at least 30,000 words or 10 stories.

What? No sex? Dammit. Don’t they know who I am? Lol.

Guess I had better find all those short stories I wrote and don’t know what to do with.

*Runs off to search her doc files*

Saturday, 9 June 2012

JBNP nominations

The JacobBlackNPack award nominations are open now. Unlike some other competitions where it is a first in first served, the nominations are counted as well. The stories that receive the most nominations in each category will progress to the voting ballot after validation.

You may nominate three fics in each category, but obviously not the same one three times in the same category.

Go to the webpage to check all the rules and vote for your favourite stories started on or after June 1, 2011.

You do have to post the links to the stories (JBNP or or livejournal) as you nominate and you can only do so once. IP tracker! So get all those ducks in a row before you start!

Now to try and remember how many fics I have read in the last year... GAH!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Two down...

I have only lost two stories on so far; my letter and an original fic. I assume that more will follow.

We have had some small wins. The site now updates their homepage more frequently. Yay.

They now post public announcements on your admin page. Yay.

The site has changed layout and does appear to be updating faster. Yay.

There are a few protests organised. One hopes that everyone will log out of the site this weekend.

The upcoming weekend of June 8th and 9th, 2012, for a 48 hour period, we are asking people to ban FF net to make them take notice of the atrocious way they are dealing with their authors. I'm asking that you all avoid FFN Friday and Saturday, don't even go there, let them feel what it would be like if we all left. Remember to sign out.

Also make sure you are in the right time zone. Midnight in the USA is not midnight in Australia, for instance.

There is a petition you can sign, that already has nearly 20,000 names on it.

I fear that none of these things will make a real difference. controls the industry simply because of its size. Four million members gives them some serious clout.

I looked up their terms of service recently. (Now moved to the bottom of the page under TOS). According to their terms of service, original stuff has to be posted on their other site. I knew that when I posted ‘Spontaneous’, but people wanted to read it and it was only the second thing I had ever posted on the site.

But also, according to section 6 of those TOS with regard to user submissions:
“D. In connection with User Submissions, you further agree that you will not submit material that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner and the necessary consents from any individuals whose personally identifiable information is contained in such material to post the material and to grant FanFiction.Net all of the license rights granted herein.”

Now, by my reading of that (and yes, I do have a law degree) that would mean that the ONLY people who have the right to post submissions on fanfic are the original writers.

In that case, EVERY single story on breaches their own TOS. Except for the legendary rumours of real authors posting their own crack fics.

Hmmm fanfic? Are you going to delete them all? Or are you going to apply your TOS in an erratic manner?

No, don’t answer. I know this one…

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Fanfic tears itself apart.

My letter to fanfic went unanswered. But it is still posted here if you want to read it.

I had loaded it as a one shot to After almost 60 reviews in less than two hours, they stopped allowing reviews to be posted and then in the next ten minutes, it was deleted completely.

No warning. No request to amend it. No response. No email to me, in any way shape or form.

That is EXACTLY the kind of behaviour from the site that I was complaining about.

Every one of those reviews was supportive and a few listed their own experiences with recent deletions. Most people were unaware that this story purge was going on. All they knew was that their favourites were disappearing and they did not know why., as per usual, had not put any message on the homepage.

People told me their fics were deleted for using words like: sex, badass, shit and leather & lace in the summary. (I know… right?)  I tweeted this and now have a Fleetwood Mac fan-group following me. Leather & Lace is a song title of theirs. Ugh, the ramifications… lmao.

In most cases, they did not receive a message from the site. In a few, the message came AFTER the deletion. Good luck with amending that fic now. Others, who have messaged the site for months about missing chapters and errors accessing their stories with zero response, then had another whole fic deleted. Again, with no message from the site. They have deleted their profiles and walked away.

M rated fics are allowed on the site. Personally, I am Australian and a movie released in the US as R rated is often M rated here, with no editing, so maybe I am little more liberal.

This purge covers all fandoms and is not targeting just Twilight fanfic, or just wolf centred Twilight fanfic. I wish this purge could be of awful fics; or appalling grammar but you have to learn somewhere. Or maybe the Bible MA fics? Yes, they exist. As one friend said, ‘how is it offensive to have Jake and Bella having sex, when Jesus can blow Judas?’ I agree.

This is madness, fanfic and there is no method in it.

Other sites are benefiting from this. Thewriterscoffeeshop is gloating on twitter about the influx of new members. The membership of jacobblackNpack has rocketed up. The waiting list to get onto an ‘Archive of our own’ is over ten thousand. I’ll say that again: ten thousand people, waiting patiently to be allowed to join up and read fics unmolested.

But the most interesting thing is that it seems the group calling themselves LawlClan Critic Group ARE children.

Evidently, they consider it a badge of honour to have stories and authors removed. This is how they get their jollies. So my argument that they were not contributing to advertising revenue was correct. Go me. One reviewer said she had perused the forum and attempted to engage them and get some of the reasoning behind what they were doing. They made arguments such as, "Laws are there. Do you go against them and expect no consequences?" Maybe so, but they are not Judge Judy and executioner (to quote the movie Hotfuzz). She said she was also harangued for referring to them as "clan" as opposed to "Clan" (?).

This is who we're dealing with.

This isn’t only about the witch hunt of M authors; it is also about the administrative chaos and knee jerk reactions from the site.

Please, please, employ a decent press officer. Fix the site problems, stop the witch-hunts. Put in some decent checks for age. Half the porn is written by underage authors. Cry to the world all the names of published authors who got their start in fanfiction. The Meg Cabot, Cassandra Clare, and EL James of this world.

Be proud of yourself.

But this?

This is like standing and watching as tears itself apart.


Another week, another fic challenge from Terrible minds
He is on a bit of a random kick. This time, it is eight random words:


And you must choose four of these and incorporate them into a piece of flash fiction no more than 1000 words long, posted at your blog or online space by Friday, June 8th, at noon.
AHHH Heck. I used them ALL! But in a little more than 780 words.


He was leaning too far over the edge of the pit, in her opinion.
“Be careful!” She grabbed the back of his hoodie and hauled him backwards. Why did he even have a hoodie on? It was so warm today.
The drink in his hand sloshed in its container, the lid came off and liquid spilt down her leg.
“Ewwww. You spilt your milkshake all over me. Now I will have to have a bath when I get home.”
“Not my fault,” he wailed. “You grabbed me.”
“Of course I did. You could have fallen. You want to end up in a wheelchair?”
It was a rhetorical question. His eyes narrowed at her. “You’re a bully,” he declared. He shifted his shoulders sullenly. “I wasn’t going to fall.”
“I am a babysitter,” she corrected.
“Bully,” he mumbled. “I am not a baby.”
You are a little kid. You are supposed to like the zoo.” She made it sound as if it was his fault.
“This zoo is wrong.”
“Wrong?” She wiped her leg with a crumpled tissue. She looked at it and clearly thought better of returning the now, soggy tissue to her bag. She looked around for witnesses and shoved it into a nearby flowerpot.
He glared at her. “A litterer and a bully.”
She rolled her eyes. “Always with the drama.” She gave him a second glance, and then sighed. “Why?”
“Why is this zoo wrong?” she clarified.
“It’s old.”
“Traditional,” she argued.
She glared at him again. She wondered why she could not have a normal kid to babysit. She had to get the ‘little professor’. And it was Samuel, never Sam or heaven forbid, Sammie.
“I am not a zoo heretic,” he expanded. “The cages are old, out-of-date, inappropriate and poorly maintained.”
Her mouth quirked. Heretic, honestly. “Uh-huh.”
“Look! That is a Bengal tiger. A forest creature, in a cramped concrete cage with a pond too small for it to get in, let alone swim through.”
She looked where he was pointing. She kind of saw his point. “Cats don’t like water.”
“Tigers do.” He took a breath. “The Bengal tiger,” he recited, “has a habitat of dry and wet deciduous forests, grassland and temperate forests, and mangrove forests.”
“Like a swamp?” That cage didn’t look anything like a swamp; it barely had any greenery. “Oh.” A pause. “The poor thing.”
“Indeed. That cage is singularly inappropriate for a Bengal tiger.”
“You’re right,” a voice interrupted them.
A man in a khaki uniform was looking at Samuel with admiration. “But you know what?” The man crouched down to be more the height of the small child.
Samuel shook his head.
“We have had a big fundraiser to build her a new enclosure.”
“It’s almost ready.” He looked around and then whispered conspiratorially, “Would you like to see it?”
Samuel’s face lit up. “Would I?” He grabbed her hand. “Come on, Jesse.”
The zookeeper gave her a smile.
“She’s my babysitter even though I am NOT a baby,” Samuel explained.
“I can see that. Babies don’t know about tigers.”
“No, they don’t.”
Jesse was dragged along as Samuel launched into a battery of questions. The keeper answered them all and didn’t talk ‘down’ to him or simplify his language.
“Thank you,” Jesse mouthed at him over Samuel’s head.
The more questions he asked, the more she understood that Samuel was not just an irritating kid; he was extremely intelligent, with a memory that bordered on photographic. She gained a new respect for him. He even looked uncharacteristically childlike as he bounded around inside the new enclosure pretending to be a tiger.
“Asperger’s?” the keeper asked her.
“Yes. That’s what his parents told me.”
A nod. “My little brother was like that, but his special interest topic was trains.”
She laughed. “He likes trains too. Especially-”
“Thomas the Tank Engine,” they both said. They laughed.
“He’ll get better with age. He may learn to be social.”
Somehow she doubted it, but now she half hoped she might be around to see it. “Thanks again.”
“You’re welcome. Bring him back later next week. The move day is set for Tuesday.”
“I’d like to do that.” She glanced at the boy. “And I know that Samuel would love to.”
He nodded. “Ask for Daniel.”
“Samuel! We need to go now.”
“I understand.” He prowled over and stopped in front of them. He held his hand out. “It’s been a pleasure,” he stated.
Daniel shook it earnestly. “Until we meet again.”
Jesse hid her smile.
Daniel winked at her.
Samuel told her even more information about tigers on the bus ride home. She listened carefully and asked questions.

Friday, 1 June 2012


I posted this letter to fanfiction today. I do not expect a response. I expect to be deleted like some other authors have been recently.

I did forget to mention that Paypal tried to stop the sale of erotica ebooks recently and LOST. Badly.

We have to fight this. The vocal minority is winning while we keep silent. I do not believe that READING is harmful to children. What fanfic is doing is wrong for a number of reasons, besides the fact that the site has been having major tech issues for some time.

Any public library holds books that are no worse than anything I have written. In fact, fifty shades just got reinstated to Florida library after much publicity about censorship.

Someone pointed out that ‘rUkiddingme’ may be a teacher. That is a thought that makes me shudder. God help her students.

Education is the answer. I have always believed that ignorance is not bliss; it can leave you pregnant and diseased, or abused and tormented because other’s ignorance leads them to bully you.

It is not on.

My stories will always be available at jacobblackNpack. But it is an over 18 site. Please feel free to say that I sent you and I am happy to be your sponsor.

I talked to my children about this and they fist bumped me and told me to fight.

Keep reading, keep writing and keep fighting the good fight.



I am very concerned about the purging of stories you have undertaken recently. You have done this without warning to writers and without notifying members of your site that there would be a tightening of policy. I believe this is a reaction to a vocal minority that call themselves the Literate Union or LawlClan Critic Group, or something like that.

I write fanfiction and I post it on your site under the name mrstrentreznor. I have many loyal readers who have pushed my total hit rate to 2,574,874. Each of those hits is a chance for your site to earn some advertising revenue. Do the above groups write fanfic? Do they earn income for your site? Somehow I doubt it.

You ask that people allow anonymous reviews. In my experience the majority of anonymous reviews are ranting, abusive posts that bear no relevance to what I write. And because they are posted anonymously, I have no right of reply or way to contact the writer. If they truly believed what they wrote, then they would not be afraid to log in to the site and to have PM’s turned on, so that they too could receive these kinds of messages. I recently received this ‘review’ (I do hesitate to call it a review) in one of my stories titled ‘Bells’ and another titled ‘the Bad Seed’.
Story: Bells
Chapter: 1. Chapter 1
From: r u kidding me ()
r u kidding me:this is porn! and not even good porn! learn how to write decently and post elsewhere and maybe i'll read your stuff but this is garbage. and you think you're so great? i've read third graders book reports that's written better. it's not allowed on this site. consider yourself reported.

Both stories have no sex at all in them, let alone porn. It is rated M because I rate most of my stories M and M ratings ARE allowed on your site. This is a shotgun blast from someone who can barely write and clearly cannot read. At the very least in their cut and paste response, they could have turned on spellcheck and grammar check. This person presumes to tell me that my writing is below par.
I truly hope that you are not taking their complaints seriously.

I have three teenage children. It is ridiculous to expect the rest of the world to keep them safe; that is MY job as their parent. These people are expecting you to protect their children, and you can’t. Access to images that are pornographic on the internet is remarkably easy. The children of today are digital natives; they understand this world and they can pretty much get around age restrictions or any other limitations on websites. If they are reading fanfiction at least they are reading. It is the choice of such complainers to block certain sites in their own home if they wish to. They should not presume to parent my children.

Nor is a parent.

You are losing members on a daily basis. The site has had problems for more than a year now with issues in logging in, posting reviews and disappearing content. Each time you do not admit that you ARE having issues. You do not respond to complaints from members. Members are lucky to get a one word response. You post nothing on your home page saying that you are fixing it or that you are even aware of the issue. You respond to clearly wrong complaints and change the names of characters and yet do not fix other issues. You delete people’s profiles on the basis of anonymous complaints.

You are deleting translations of stories as well. A number of my stories have been translated into French. They have been done with my permission; they are published as a translation with a clear link to my page. It is not plagiarism and it is not a duplication of stories. It is providing a service for French readers.

Now you are deleting stories and removing profiles with no warning and no message to the members to make sure they have time to back-up a copy. Nor do you give them a warning or an opportunity to fix the issue.

This is poor business practice.

If there is one thing the recent popularity of ‘Fifty shades of grey’ has shown, it is that fanfiction can be a force for change. You could have ridden on EL James’ coat-tails to greater success. You could have said loud and long that it was YOUR site that published her first as snowqueenicedragon. You could have attracted many, many new readers to the site.

But you didn’t.

And now you are in effect, book burning.

Shame on you, fanfiction.

Yours sincerely,