eLance Skills Testing is like Playing Trivia Crack

2015/02/04 // 0 Comments

I’ve been setting up a profile on eLance. Part of the process is adding the skills you want to feature and part of that process is taking optional skills tests. The skills tests comprise timed multiple-choice questions. While I was taking one of the tests it occurred to me that it felt eerily similar to playing Trivia Crack. Sure, it’s a very geeky version and there are no sports or pop culture questions but the format is essentially the same. And I found that I was making similar mistakes — occasionally answering before reading all the choices or getting in a hurry and clicking the wrong button when I’m looking at the right answer. I know not to do those things, but when the clock is ticking bad habits sometimes creep in. I know. I spent more years than I care to remember teaching my students not to make mistakes [Read more…]

Interview with Xan Marcelles – Crooked Fang

2012/08/25 // 15 Comments

Xan Marcelles is a musician. And a vampire. He plays bass in Crooked Fang, the house band at the Pale Rider tavern located in the backwoods of Pinecliffe, Colorado. And, he says, life “is set to become a little more complicated when he gets entangled with a feisty, blue-haired damsel and her abusive soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. To add to his woes, he’s gone from hunter to hunted, and his past returns to haunt him when a phone call draws him back to New Mexico. With the help of friends from his living past, he must get to the bottom of a murder, and figure out where he stands with his lover and his band, all while keeping one step ahead of his enemies. Hiding won’t be easy for him, especially with a mysterious woman dogging him every step of the way.” Hah. If I had a nickel for every time I [Read more…]

Post Marked: Piper’s Reach Blog Tour

2012/04/03 // 6 Comments

I’m pleased and proud today* to play host to Jodi Cleghorn and Adam Byatt in their pre-release blog tour for Post Marked: Piper’s Reach. This ambitious collaborative project traverses “an odd path between old and new forms of communication, differing modalities of storytelling and mixed media, all played out in real and suspended time.” Here’s the official blurb: In December 1992 Ella-Louise Wilson boarded the Greyhound Coach for Sydney leaving behind the small coastal town of Piper’s Reach and her best friend and soulmate, Jude Smith. After twenty years of silence, a letter arrives at Piper’s Reach reopening wounds that never really healed. When the past reaches into the future, is it worth risking a second chance? Now scroll past this beautiful graphic they provided to find a few questions I asked about the project and the wonderfully detailed answers that Jodi and Adam provided. Today’s topic is the idea [Read more…]

Oh, Cecilia

2012/03/26 // 17 Comments

I remember when the song Cecilia came out. Written by Paul Simon and recorded by Simon and Garfunkel for their Bridge Over Troubled Water album, it was generally regarded as a simple lover’s lament at best, but often as a vulgar endorsement of promiscuity. Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia Up in my bedroom (making love) I got up to wash my face When I come back to bed Someone’s taken my place It wasn’t until many years later that I heard that it might refer to St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. In that context, it becomes an expression of frustration at a fickle muse. And that puts everything in a very different light. When our muses inspire an artist, it is thrilling beyond description [although that doesn’t stop writers, especially poets, from trying to describe it]. But there will come a time [and it could as [Read more…]

I am not a Tool

2012/03/19 // 4 Comments

I’ve been letting my inner geek out to play and he put together a spreadsheet to track the progress of writing projects. Of course, I made pretty much zero progress on my writing projects while I was playing with the spreadsheet. That’s just the way things go. But you need not suffer the same fate because I am making the template available for free. For now, you have to request a copy because I’m looking for people who are willing to give it a try and provide feedback. You need a Google account for access to Gmail and Google Docs. Instructions and screen shots are over here. Let me know in the comments or contact me (Tim.VanSant.Writes [at] gmail [dot] com) if you’re willing to give this tool a try.

Strands of Thought Guest Post

2012/02/03 // 6 Comments

In lieu of a Friday Flash today I’m guest-posting over at Strands of Thought, the blog of children’s author Kai Strand. Throughout the month of February, Kai is hosting posts on the theme of Share the Love and five sub-themes: First Love, Industry Love, Current Love, Lost Love, and Leap of Faith. My contribution is That Snow Angel, a beautiful memory of a perfect moment with my First Love. I’d love it if you take a look and leave a comment there [or here]. And take note of the cool photo I found to go with it. That’s the work of Barbara-B. She took and posted that just days before I started looking for cover art to go with my story. [So it was meant to be that I find it, if you believe in that sort of thing.] I was thrilled when she gave me permission to use it. [Read more…]

The Myth of the Garret-Bound Writer

2012/01/09 // 8 Comments

Note: You can still weigh in on the “Writing for Snob’s” poll. Also, the “We Don’t Need No Editation,” “Publishment Fits The Crime,” and Writing the Wheels Off posts provide some context to this one. I rarely give advice. However, when I hear what I think is good advice I occasionally pass it along. I wish I could remember where I heard, “You can get rich as a writer, but you can’t make a living at it.” Ditto for, “It’s hard to make a living at something people are willing to do for free.” I have been unable to locate the source of either one though. [And I may not be quoting them exactly as I heard them.] The former may have referred specifically to writing poetry and the latter might be from my foray into game design. In any case, I think they both describe problems faced by those [Read more…]

In Which I do the Splits

2011/12/20 // 6 Comments

I am honored to host the wildly talented Emma Newman who recently celebrated the hardcover release of her novel 20 Years Later. You may also know her from her anthology of short stories, From Dark Places, or her participation in FridayFlash. Or — as if that weren’t enough, like it should be, but it’s not — you may have heard her voice work which you can check out here.   Today Emma treats us to the eighth in her Split Worlds Short Stories. She is releasing one per week for a year and a day. You can find all the stories along with audio versions here. You can also sign up there to host one of these stories on your own blog.   Do you want to hear Emma read the story to you? Click here or on her pretty picture below. Without further ado, please enjoy this week’s Split [Read more…]

Writing for Snob’s

2011/10/01 // 7 Comments

I started writing a post about the art and craft of writing when I came up with the title for this post. I got a little distracted by wondering about how alluring or offputting the title might be on its own. So, my thoughts will go in another post, but right now I’m curious about any comments you have on just the title.

An Experiment… So This is Like Science!

2010/09/23 // 5 Comments

A couple months ago I put several of my Friday Flash stories together and published them on Smashwords as a free e-Chap called Flash in the Pan. From there, it has been offered through Barnes & Noble and Kobo [with more in the works]. I recently uploaded it to Scribd as well. I’ve been doing this so I can learn first-hand about self-publishing and promoting. So far, the promoting has been limited to posts here on my blog and a couple mentions on my Facebook and Twitter streams. That has garnered it a few hundred reads and downloads. Now I have a promotional video and I’ve given Flash in the Pan its very own page here at otoh. I’m also putting together a contest, which I’ll be announcing soon [tease]. So, if you’ve read Flash in the Pan, does this video represent it adequately? If you haven’t read it, does [Read more…]

Flash in the Pan now on B&N

2010/07/16 // 1 Comment

My e-chap Flash in the Pan is now available as a free download on the Barnes and Noble website. A collection of micro-fiction and flash fiction with a food-related theme. From a screaming salad to other-worldly sweets, from humor to mystery, this is a plateful of tasty tidbits. I expect it to be available also on Sony and Kobo in the next week or so. Release dates for Amazon and Apple are TBA. Aspiring writers should check out Smashwords. Cover photo by Jurvetson (flickr)

Flash in the Pan

2010/06/11 // 2 Comments

While on my blogging hiatus I put together a little e-book of food-related flash fiction. Flash in the Pan is now available on Smashwords. I did this as a learning experience. Page layout is always a challenge and formatting for an e-book has its own rules. [Smashwords provides a thorough style guide, but still….] I don’t currently own a dedicated e-reader, but I have an i-Pod Touch with the Kindle and Stanza reader apps. The small screen is much easier to read than I expected, but I’ve only read short works on it. I don’t think I would enjoy a novel reduced to bite-sized pieces. I’m wondering how many of you have an e-reader and which one you have? What do you like most about it? What features are lacking? Anyone have an i-Pad? How many of you read on another portable device like I do? Feel free to download [Read more…]