Monthly Archives: September 2009

Cold and Flu Season

Last Friday,  I found myself a victim of the seasonal bug going around and most likely brought home by my daughter from her school.  Fortunately it was only a cold and not one of the serious strains of influenza currently spreading like wildfire.

I ended up spending the expanded weekend curled up in my recliner instead of doing the list of things that normally take up my non-work time, including a Friday post or a few more scenes in my novel.  I tried a couple of times to rally my mental troops but they were barely able to wave their tiny flags in support before the hordes of pro-blanket and chicken soup mauraders overran the camps. 

During a moment of lucid thought, I wondered why none of my characters caught a cold or something?  I mean, they were in the Midwestern plains during the winter!  I did include a devastating flu epidemic that wiped out a lot of people, but that was primarily to explain why there weren’t so many people around anymore.  Six years later, they should still be dealing with the ravages of Mother Nature like everyone else.

I grew up in that part of the world and can tell you from experience that the winters are not kind to man or beast.  It was expected in some fashion that you would miss a few days of school due to a bad cold or possibly the flu.  I remember being swaddled in a big quilt and lying on the couch, with the smell of Vicks Vapo-rub heavy in the air.  Meals were either chicken noodle soup with crackers or, if your stomach was up for it, tomato soup (made with water, not milk) and a grilled cheese sandwich.  Mom would be constantly yelling at me to “keep that thermometer in my mouth” and I would struggle to balance the glass rod so it stayed under my tongue without using my hands.

Now that I am on the mend, it is time to return to my writing.  Be forewarned, my fictional town.  Doc Grady will be busier than first expected as the coming winter sends a seasonal wave of sickness to fill his hospital beds.  Probably won’t be a major epidemic, but just enough coughing and runny noses to keep things hopping.

I guess getting a cold was good for me and my writing after all.

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Short Story Opportunity

I was reading through my news feeds and ran across an interesting item coming from New Scientist magazine (pretty cool science articles that stretch your mind with discoveries being made today).  As part of their latest issue, September 16, they asked several fiction authors to give their vision of the future (+100 years) in short fiction stories.

= Link to New Scientist article =

Good news for us!  They are asking for aspiring authors to submit their own short stories (350 words max) depicting what things will be like one hundred years from now.  Please see the article linked above for details/rules and I hope you will join me in sending them a worthy story.  Deadline for entries (submitted online) is October 15, 2009.

After judging is over (if I haven’t won, of course), I will post my entry here so you can tell me what you would have done differently – can’t get better if I don’t get feedback…

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Blogging from A Bus

Every workday, I spend nearly four hours commuting to and from work. That’s a lot of wasted time; time I should be spending on my novel and burgeoning career as a fiction writer.

What do I usually do? Sleep, look out the window, or strike up a conversation with my fellow passengers.

Except for the sleep thing, I think I can turn these negatives into writing enhancement with only a little bit of effort. For example, there is a wealth of scenery that I watch go by ( when the window isn’t fogged up) that could readily lend itself to my storyline. On my right is a smallish house with boarded-up windows and overgrown lawn. A short iron gate stands behind the narrow walkway from the drive to the front porch and I can’t help but notice the tiny shape of a dog in the top of the gate. Who lived there? Where did they go? Did they take their dog with them?

an abandoned house on my route

an abandoned house on my route

As I thought about this, a scene I’ve been working on jumped out and started waving it’s hands wildly about. What if the people passed away in their sleep after the pulse, leaving the dogs to fend for themselves. When my character finds the house seeking shelter from a storm, he can now deal with a pack of feral yorkies.

Good stuff.

Thanks, city bus. I couldn’t have done it without you!

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