Chuck Wendig

Year End Review

Chuck Wendig posted a year end review with a list of ten things that you had to pick your absolute favorite of. There could be only one and he made that very clear. I like posting my favorite things, so here is my 2014 year end review:

1) Favorite novel of the year?

Gun to my head I choose Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews. It was a difficult decision and came down to that or Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell or Night Broken by Patricia Briggs. I haven’t yet read Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews or it could have been that.

2) Favorite non-fiction book of the year?

The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year by Dawn Dais

I did not read as much non-fiction this year as I should have. I’ve got a stack of non-fiction I keep meaning to get to, but it’s harder to read while taking care of a one year old.

3) Favorite short story of the year?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber

I’m pretty sure this is the only short story I’ve read this year. It was alright but I think I liked the movie more.

4) Favorite movie of the year?

Guardians of the Galaxy

This is now my favorite Marvel movie, it’s almost perfect.

5) Favorite TV show of the year?

The Flash on CW

I really like the Flash and while normally Doctor Who would be my favorite show, I was disappointed with this season. Flash has been exciting and unlike Arrow it isn’t always dark.

6) Favorite song of the year?

All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor

7) Favorite album?

Miranda Lambert Platinum

Yes I listen to country. I almost picked The Awesome Mix from Guardians of the Galaxy but I thought it felt like cheating.

8) Favorite video game?

Fantasy Life by Level 5. Hands down.

9) Favorite app?

Wells Fargo app. I love not having to go to the bank to deposit checks. It’s awesome!

10) Favorite recipe of the year?

Grilled Pork Chops with Basil. I tried a lot of new recipes this year and wasn’t sure what to pick, so I posed the question to my husband. Without hesitation he said those grilled pork chops. He then started to talk about how amazing they were and how he could still remember the first time I made them for him. I might be jealous of pork chops, but he’s right, they’re really good.

Flash Fiction Challenge: Rise of the Phoenix

My second piece of Flash Fiction! Exciting. I’ve finished up the first draft of Episode Five and when I read the challenge I thought it was perfect. It took a couple starts before I finally got something I liked. So here goes:


I’ve seen a lot over the years, and being a Phoenix there have been many years. I’ve lived in the mundane world more than the magic world, though I prefer the world of magic. There’s only so many times you can live in a cage and be poked and prodded and experimented on before the joy of pizza crust wears off.

I was free of a master and flying where I wanted when the sound of a woman sobbing caught my attention. She was in a small house, in a big city, on a quiet block. Her cries reached my ears because they were full of a heartache only caused by the loss of a loved one.

One look at her and I knew she was a noble. People don’t give birds a lot of credit, the term bird brain comes to mind, but Phoenix are very observant. I noticed the expensive material of her clothes and the high quality of the furniture around the room. Maybe her tight quarters were a recent development?

She was oblivious to me and my inspection of her living quarters as she stood over a man and cried her heart out. I could smell the poison spread through his body all the way from my spot on the window sill and knew that it was just a matter of minutes before he slipped away.

I didn’t know this woman, or the man lying there dying, but something about the situation spoke to me. I’ve been around death my entire life, as a Phoenix death is a part of me in a way like nothing else, but something about this man’s ending seemed wrong. It seemed unjust and too soon.

When I landed on the headboard the woman didn’t even flinch. Her eyes were red and puffy and full of grief. I looked down at the man and his body was unnaturally still, his skin pale, and the sweat on his brow a sickly sweet from the poison.

I sang the song of the Phoenix. A song of life and death and new beginnings. A song of hope. As the last note ended I flew across the room to a chair and waited for my death. As the man in bed began to get better my wings started to droop. As the color returned to his skin my purple feathers began to fall. When he sat up in bed the flames of my death burst around me burning until I was just ash.

Weeks later when I hatched the woman was there to care for me. She named me Bob. Not the worst name I’ve been called.

350 Word Challenge

Chuck Wendig, or Chuck as I call him ever since he tweeted me, issued a 350 words a day challenge for 260 days out of the year. That is 350 words a day Monday through Friday. This was not a new challenge it was just something I came across as I was doing my daily Chuck reading. I decided that if I couldn’t write 350 words a day then I should just give up on wanting to be an author.

So what if I have a baby and all kinds of other stuff I have to do. Who wants to do housework anyway?

So the last month I’ve tried to write 350 words a day Monday through Friday and these are my stats:

Monthly Goal if meet daily goal: 7700

Days I didn’t write when I was supposed to: 4

Days I wrote but didn’t meet my goal: 6

Days I was traveling on writing days: 4

Days I had to take care of a sick baby: 1

Days I had to take care of a sick husband: 2

Lowest word count day: 19

Highest word count day: 1209

Average words written on days I’ve actually written: 403.95

Words written this month: 8079

I met my goal!! Pretty happy about that. It was close, the last three days I was behind because of some holiday travel. I was set to have to write 705 words a day, completely doable unless my daughter decided that she wanted to be held forever. She did not and I was in fact able to write my highest word count day of the month yesterday. Technically I would have only had to write 200 and some words today but the challenge is a daily one, so even though I was caught up the goal today was still 350 and I met it and then some.

I did not count blog posts or research writing in that word count. Only story and notes and I didn’t have much note writing this month. I also have some writing that I wrote long hand that I didn’t count up and add to my total.

All but 1624 of that was on Episode Five which is just a scene away from the first draft being completed. It’s longer than the other episodes but I believe that will change when I start the second draft. I distinctly remember a couple slow parts that I will probably chop out or change.

The 1624 I wrote is on a new project I started. It’s going to be my first project written in Scrivener so that will be fun. So far I’m really liking the session word counter tool that it has. Makes it a lot easier for me to keep track.

Anyway that is what I’m going to be doing to keep myself on track to finish projects. 350 words a day is completely doable and I rarely just write that when I get in the groove. At that rate I will be able to finish a couple projects this year which really makes me happy. To keep me honest I’ll update the blog each month.

350 word challenge

Flash Fiction

I have never written a piece of flash fiction but for whatever reason the challenge posted by Chuck Wendig inspired me. Hopefully I did it right. Here goes nothing.


“The borderlands expire thanks to the hundred violins.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“A poetic pattern retains inertia.”

“Excuse me?”

“The criminal disappears after the inventor.”

“Well now you’re just talking nonsense. Philip, take this man away he’s obviously had too much to drink. Make sure he doesn’t bother any of our guests.”

“Yes, your highness.”

Hiding his frown as his man-servant escorted the nonsensical man out of the ballroom; he tried to find King Arthur who was visiting from the neighboring kingdom. Locating him standing on the edge of the dance floor intently watching a lovely lady dance with a knight he made his way over.

“Arthur, my dear old man, I hope you’re enjoying the ball. Is there anything I can get for you?”

Arthur didn’t bother to hide his frown, “You can get me an explanation. I demand to know why you sent me one hundred violins?”

Feeling like a parrot, he answered, “I beg your pardon?”

“Don’t play with me boy. I know you sent them. You’re the only one that knows my feelings on that damned instrument.”

Pulling him in close Arthur whispered in his ear, “The borderlands are now closed to you, boy.”

Pushing him back Arthur strode through the dancers and grabbed the lady he’d been watching. All but dragging her from the room he left, people doing their best not to stare after him as he went.

Shocked at the turn of events and doing his best to hide it, he made his way back to the throne.

Smiling coyly at him he was waylaid by the gorgeous, yet eccentric, lady Tabitha. She murmured a line in a poem they’d been composing back and forth all night and waited for his response.

With the ball nearing a close he knew that if he could come up with the perfect line his bed wouldn’t be empty that night.


His mind went blank and words failed him. Disappointment covered her face as she sashayed away, leaving him with the knowledge that he’d failed where even Duke Half Wit had succeeded.

Clenching his teeth he marched up to his throne and spent the rest of the night brooding. When the guests were gone he found himself wandering through the castle halls. Agitated he tried to figure out what had happened to cause the night to go so wrong.

Pausing in his rambles he noticed he was in the gallery. On the walls were huge portraits of the men who had ruled before him. Walking through the room he stopped in front of his predecessor. The artist had captured his absentmindedness with an almost vacant look on his face. You could tell that he wanted to be somewhere else. Probably tinkering on the massive machine that was in the background of the painting.

Lost in his mind, looking up at the painting, he didn’t hear the footsteps behind him until it was too late. There was a knife at his throat and someone whispered in his ear, “You’re about to disappear, just like the one before you, thief.”

Chuck Wendig My New Hugh Howey?

For a period in 2012 I talked a lot about Hugh Howey. It seemed like everything coming out of my mouth was about him.

“Hugh Howey said this.

Hugh Howey said that.

Did you see this video of Hugh Howey dancing?

Oh my god Hugh Howey just quoted me on kindle boards!”

Yes I always used his first and last name.

My husband, at one point, asked me if I loved Hugh Howey so damn much why didn’t I marry him? My reply was, “I think he’s already married.”

Time passed and my obsession went away only now to be replaced with an increasing obsession with Chuck Wendig.

I read all of his blog posts, I’ve started reading his books, and his name keeps popping up in everyday conversations. I’ve read a couple of his funny toddler blog posts out loud to my husband, who surprisingly liked them.

At this point the only reason Chuck Wendig has not become my new Hugh Howey is because Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and Dave Wright of the Self-Publishing Podcast and Write. Publish. Repeat. are vying for my attention at the same time.

So many men so little time.