Archive for the ‘#lelamarkham’ Tag

Focused Writing   9 comments

Do you ever write short stories? What do you see as the biggest difference in the writing process between a short story and a full-length book?


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I’m a Novelist

I write novels. What’s more, I write series. Clearly, I like to write LONG. I’m not George RR Martin, but I love stories that take time to develop. That’s how I like to read them and that’s how I like to write them.

I’m Published in 5 Anthologies

I’ve written and published six short stories in the last few years. Why would I take time off from writing the novels I love to write shorts?

It’s all about sharpening my writer skills and asserting principles I feel passionately about.

I write Celtic-inspired high fantasy, apocalyptic, and coming-of-age novels. I want to write many other genres, but I don’t really have enough time to write a full-length mystery. But I can write a short story in a month and that’s a lot of fun. It’s something different and the anthology I usually submit to is a writing challenge for libertarian authors. I find it a wonderful exercise to try and show how libertarianism can peek out in a fantasy feudal society.


I absolutely find shorts to be very different writing from novels. It requires focus. What are you trying to accomplish? As a discovery writer, that’s not something I normally start with. I usually write about 1,500 words before I know where I’m going with a novel. A short is not much longer than that. So I have to actually sit down and plan the story. No, that’s not my normal process, but it’s exercising muscles I need even as I write novels. I’m not going to become a plotter because I think my novel characters would abandon me, but I have a lot of fragment characters kicking around in my head that will sometimes volunteer for a short. They have a story too, but usually not enough to shape a novel around them.

I’d never been comfortable writing in first person present before I was writing to a word limit. Looking at my first fantasy short of Gateways, an anthology published by the writers’ cooperative I publish through, I was telling a story nearly twice as long as the story I eventually submitted. I wrote the story and I didn’t love it, so I sat down to re-write it after someone at the local writer’s guild read the story and said “first person present and give it a strong voice.” I rewrote it from the perspective of Duglys, a young man who lives through a tragic event, and tells the story to a group of travelers in a caravan he’s a horse handler for. Pivot of Fate has a wonderful voice that tells you a great deal about Daermad, the world of my high fantasy. The main character was a minor character in The Willow Branch, Book 1 of Daermad Cycle. Having broken the ice in first person present in a short, I have gone on to write an entire coming-of-age series in first person present.

I’ve since written shorts in alternative historical fiction, fantasy, a reformed fairy tale, a satire, a redemption story based on the Prodigal Son. The libertarian anthology I submit to is taking a pause and I really missed not writing a short story this spring. But who knows, maybe I’ll start writing shorts for my own book.

It’s not a technique I want to use all the time, but I do like the different skills I need to use.

I wonder how my fellow authors feel about this subject.

Posted August 29, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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What Do I Miss?   6 comments

June 14, 2021

Write a top 10 list in the voice of a character. Is your character a tween writing in their diary? A person making a bucket list? How about someone listing their greatest fears? What does the list they make say about the character?

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The Setting & Purpose

Cai Delaney, the 30-year-old brother of Shane Delaney, an attorney and member of the Emmaus Civil Patrol, is writing it in the days before the end of Winter’s Reckoning, during a fierce blizzard when there was nothing to do but stock the fire and watch the snow fall outside the living room windows.

The town of Emmaus is cut off from the world by the bombs that destroyed life as they knew it. Now three months after the events in the first book in the series, there’s no television, no electricity, no central heating, no laundry, now hot water, limited groceries, and no communication with the outside world. The Delaney family is doing whatever they can to keep from going stir crazy, hoping against hope that they’ll survive to spring, when presumably things will get better. Gathered in the dining room with Cai are Jill Delaney, Click Michaels, Alicia Sanchez, Marnie Delaney, Shane Delaney, Alex Lufgren and Keri Delaney Lufgren. It was Alex’s turn to pick the game and topic. The Lufgrens are visiting (Keri is Cai & Shane’s sister and Jill’s daughter). Rob Delaney and Jazz Tully (household members) are on patrol. Shane, who was injured in the course of Winter’s Reckoning, was asleep in the living room, which is really the only warm room in the house with horizontal surfaces.

And, since Cai was shot at the end of A Death in Jericho, this list might be the last thing he ever writes. I make no promises whether he lives or dies.

Top 10 Things I Miss About the Old World

  1. Lazy Saturday Mornings hanging out in bed with Marnie, walking to downtown for croissants and coffee.

Cai and Marnie, newly-weds, have been insanely busy since the start of the apocalypse and the town hasn’t seen croissants or coffee in months. Cai is helping to keep the town going and Marnie is the only remaining town physician. They are doing what they must and are glad to do it, but Cai misses simpler times and the ordinary things of those days are now unattainable luxuries.

2. Baseball Games in the town stadium when most of the town is gathered and the summer afternoon hangs low.

It’s winter and without central heating, nobody ever feels really warm. So naturally, he’s dreaming of muggy summer afternoons. And, baseball — which plays in the background of sports discussions of this family.

3. Major League Baseball games in Kansas City or Denver.

Kansas City and Denver no longer exist. It’s possible major league baseball died with the United States of America. It’s normal to mourn the loss what used to be ordinary times.

4. Fishing at Jusilla’s Pond with Grandpa Jacob.

Jusilla’s Pond is still just down the road, but Jacob, the patriarch of the Delaney family, died in Gathering In. His grandson is missing him and probably concerned that Jusilla’s is getting pretty fished-out as going hungry is now one of the primary activities of the townspeople.

5. Ice cream on a hot summer’s night after a raucus song service at the church.

Church is important to the Delaneys, as is music. The church is still standing, but most people don’t have the energy for singing right now and it’s the coldest part of winter. And without electricity, who knows when they’ll see ice cream again.

6. The Walking Dead. Scratch that. I don’t like apocalyptic plots anymore now that I’m living one.

That should be self explanatory. Although Transformation Project is currently zombie-free, you never know what the capricious deity of their universe might throw at them. Cai misses things like television, but he’s afraid if he entertains zombies, they might materialize.

7. The feeling of my skin after a good long, hot shower.

They’re currently taking shared baths in inches of water heated on the coal stove. If you’ve ever been camping, when you get back to running water — showers are glorious, right? Well, imagine that feeling if you’d been three months without a shower.

8. The smell of freshly laundered clothes.

All the electronics that run washers and dryers fried in the EMP and without electricity…. When I was a kid, we lived in a no-water cabin in Anderson and trust me, the smell of freshly laundered clothes after months of handing clothes to air-out is indescribably beautiful.

9. Having access to the world through my smart phone.

Self-explanator. Cai was valedictorian of his high school class and graduated #4 and #11 from University of Kansas and law school. He loves knowledge and chafes under the restrictions of being limited to a physical book library.

10. A summer rain shower. Scratch that. After the nuclear fall-out, not sure I’ll ever feel comfortable in the rain again.


Nostalgia, the stuff of younger years, and warmth capture his thoughts. An extremely smart, family-oriented guy, Cai’s thoughts are on those around him, but also on knowing what’s going on outside the “bubble” of their community. The last we see of him in the published books he is lying on the cold snow surrounded by a pool of blood.

Coming October 20   Leave a comment

Dumpster Fire

Dumpster fires burn hot and show a tendency to spread.

After his red-kryptonite-fueled crash-and-burn last summer, Peter’s walk to redemption is rocky and full of stumbles. Exhausted and fed-up with himself, he hopes returning home to Port Mallory will provide an opportunity to repair his damaged friendships.

Has he earned a second chance?

Ben doubts he’ll ever trust Peter again. Alyse’s new best friend, Lily, sees a lot to admire, but people keep warning about Peter’s bad-boy past. Trevor and Alyse are keeping secrets. Cheyenne doesn’t appreciate the plastic surgery. And, red kryptonite still makes him feel strong while making him oh-so weak.

Peter desperately wants a second chance, but he may not have what it takes to extinguish the dumpster fire his life has become.

Now on Pre-Order for 99 cents.

Books On Sale   Leave a comment

Transformation Project Series is on sale for the launch of Winter’s Reckoning. The apocalypse continues as Shane confronts his past face-to-face.

Announcing “Winter’s Reckoning”   Leave a comment

The 6th book in Transformation Project is slated to launch August 11. Now on preorder with reduced pricing, it continues the story of the series with some truly heartwrenching scenes.

Emmaus faces a reckoning.

As deep winter descends, the fundamental transformation of the world they knew continues in the outside world. Meanwhile, Emmaus faces killing weather, dwindling resources, and the breakdown of community. Some cling to the ragged edge of hope and the demons of his past push Shane toward a long-resisted confrontation.

When death stalks the land, what choices do you have left?

Preorder Winter’s Reckoning

Full Cover Reveal   1 comment

Cover by Aurorawatcher Publications

Cover Reveal #4   Leave a comment

Image by Aurorawater Publications

Due out August 11, Winter’s Reckoning (Book 6 of Transformation Project) is now on preorder. Watch for the full cover reveal, blurb and discount pricing in the coming days.

Cover Reveal #3   1 comment

Produced by Aurorawatcher Publications

It’s official. Thanks to Covid19 turning life into a snorefest, I’m moving up the publication date of Winter’s Reckoning to August. It’s now on Preorder and comes out August 11.

Cover Reveal #2   1 comment

Winter’s Reckoning has a cover (Book 6 in Transformation Project) and here’s a teaser of what it looks like.

This cover provided by Aurorawatcher Publications

Cover Reveal for “Winter’s Reckoning”   1 comment

Coming This Fall. The story of Transformation Project continues in Book #6.

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