What I read {June 2017}

I don’t know how this happened but June was a very lazy month and I didn’t finished reading a single book! What?! Yep, just like that. I am busy rereading Paradise News by David Lodge and nothing else. I didn’t read much short fiction either.

I was rather busy for most of the first half of June and quite exhausted during the second half and I didn’t even have the strength to pick a book and immerse into its worlds. It was also too hot for most of the month, mind you. So when I finally I felt in the mood for reading again, I chose a witty satire set in Hawaii to do a bit of armchair travelling – just what I needed to get me through that heatwave. I’ll write more about it next month, though, when I finally finish reading it.

Anyway, here are a couple of links you might find interesting. One is a short story I found utterly beautiful and the other is an insightful article about writers who do not seek fortune or fame. Food for thought, ha!

Artist of Love, by JT Gill (Every Day Fiction, June 1 2017)

What happens when a writer is not primarily interested in commercial success?

That’s all for June’s round-up. See you around next month and in the meantime, enjoy the summer.

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New story on Every Day Fiction

Hi there!

Nice day today. The sun is shining, at least around here in Switzerland, and I have a new story out there for you to enjoy.

One-Way Ticket to Earth is out today on Every Day Fiction. You can read it here. It is one of the first stories I ever wrote and it features a few of the things I like: mathematical conundrums, space travel, and an insight into the fundamental nature of us, human beings.

Hope you like it. Let me know what you think in the comments, either here or there.

Cheers.

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What I read {May 2017}

I know, I know, I’m a bit late this month with my reading round-up. So, let’s agree on these posts being a first-Sunday-of-the-month feature and pretend that nothing happened. Now, onto brighter things, I set out to read at least twelve books this year and I’m happy to say that I have already achieved that humble milestone in May. Twelve books a year is not much, it is only a book a month after all, but with a toddler running around all day long and a newborn baby it seemed like quite a challenge back in January. And only five months later it is done. Maybe I underestimated myself or maybe I have been blessed with another sleepyhead in the family. More probably the latter.

Anyway, back to books, here’s what I read last month.

BOOKS

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling. Oh, what an ending to then series. HP might not be the most literary books but they’re still grand. And addictive. Even if I knew what the end would be, as I have watched the films many times, I simply couldn’t put the book down. Harry is still a bit of a selfish, arrogant teenager who thinks that the world revolves solely around him (okay, it actually does in a way) but he’s a bit more likeable here than in the previous three books. Though this might be only because Hermione and Ron share his burden and play a bigger role in this final adventure. Snape’s redemption is simply brilliant and I cannot get over the fact that Harry doesn’t acknowledge Snape’s sacrifice and help with a single word. Thank you, J. K. Rowling, for putting things back to right in the eight movie and that Cursed Child play.

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  • The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. This has been long touted as the next best thing in science fiction. And granted, it is good and imaginative and different but it is not that good. At least not from a literary point of view. It is a bit of a mishmash of styles and there are a few loose ends, particularly regarding the family relations of the characters, but nothing too important. Anyway, I liked the story and I think it is a great thing that a Chinese novel has made it so far in the usually knit-tight bookshelves for English speakers, who are not too accustomed to translations.

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SHORT STORIES

I read a bunch of flash stories while I was on holidays two weeks ago but none of them really stood out. So my only recommendation from last month is Carnival 9, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #225, May 11 2017). I am quite a fan of her writing and whenever I see that she has a new story out I go and read it. And this one didn’t disappoint at all; it’s both beautiful and meaningful. You can read it here or listen to the podcast.

 

Finally, here are a few links to bits and pieces which you might find interesting. This month is all about flash fiction. First of all, a brief guide for writing flash fiction stories which includes a short list of e-zines that publish flash fiction. If you want to dig deeper into what flash fiction is, here’s an article that goes straight to its core and introduces all the necessary elements to a great flash story. And finally, if you’re still not sure whether writing flash fiction is a good idea or not, here’s an article giving you three reasons to do it.

And a little extra this month. After reading Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows, I became aware that there was much more to the story than a simple fantasy world populated by witches and wizards and els and goblins and giants and and and. I realised that this fantastic world was somehow a metaphor for some historical past that resembled greatly the Third Reich. I had never found such similarities in the films, and indeed, this might be clear only in the books because when I discussed this theory with some other HP fans they thought I was flipping. Nevertheless, a quick search on the internet proved I was not alone and many studies had already been done on the subject of politics in Harry Potter. So here’s a very insightful article into Harry Potter and its relation to Nazi Germany.

Now, that’s really all for now. Hope you enjoy these links and stories. And let me know what you’re up to bookwise in the comments.

Have a sunny June!

 

 

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Shaking up my writing routine

Last month wasn’t a particularly productive month as I wrote next to nothing. I was busy with a hundred other things and then some, so I had little time left for writing. Besides, my mind has been busy with a short story I’ve been working on since February. The first draft was written long ago and I even began to do some edits here and there. But I knew that something was still missing. There is definitely more to this story than what it looked like in the first place.

Despite the lack of time, I usually manages to steal a few minutes almost every day to get some writing done but this time was different. Yes, I did have those precious moments to write but I just couldn’t. Not that I couldn’t in a physical way; it was more like a psychological thing. Maybe it was the much dreaded writer’s block. Or not really. I think I was always fully aware of what was holding me back and it was that unfinished story. The characters lingered in my mind, asking me for a satisfying solution to their problem. But as much as I thought this over, I didn’t seem to be able to come up with anything worthy. And then it happened. One morning I woke up and saw the words I was missing very clearly in front of me. Or in my mind, anyway.

I spent last week away in a small village in the Swiss Alps and one morning I woke up and felt that urge to write again. I didn’t have my laptop with me, so I wrote my notes in a notepad and before I knew it, I had several pages outlining the scenes my story had been missing. And it wasn’t a one day thing. The next morning I woke up and continue working on that story, rewriting some scenes I already had. And the morning after I began writing down some ideas for a new story. And just like that, I was writing first thing in the morning every day during my holidays.

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It is hard not to feel inspired when you wake up to this

Maybe it was the change o surroundings, maybe it was the feeling of rest that comes along with the holidays, or maybe it was really the fact that I figured out what my story was lacking. Whatever it was, I can only say that I was truly happy to be writing again. oh, did I miss it! Perhaps, it is a good thing to change things every once in a while so that we can look at things from a fresh perspective. Perhaps, shaking up our writing routine is a truly effective way to boost our creativity. I don’t know.

So up to you now, do you also have a writing routine to which you stick faithfully? Do you get stuck from time to time? How do you get your creativity flowing again?

Have a fruitful May!

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What I read {April 2017}

April has been quite a mixed-up month around here. It started out nice but then the weather took a chilly turn and we even saw snow a couple of mornings. Snow, in April, in the city. A bit late but always nice, as I have a huge penchant for snow. Besides the weather, April has soured in some other ways. I have received some sad news towards the end of the month and even though I’m not personally touched by that unfortunate event, it broke my heart to hear about it.

Moving onto happier things, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked last month, but I’m not unhappy either. A couple of books, some short stories and quite some on the internet. Let’s get down to business then.

 

BOOKS

  • The Brightest Star in the Sky, by Marian Keyes. Even though I’m not that much into chick-lit anymore, I still enjoy reading Marian Keyes. For one thing, her books are so full of all things Ireland, that they always make me reminisce the year I spent in Dublin. Also, her stories can be a dark as her writing is light-hearted and this one didn’t fail to deliver on that front. Depression and suicide are present in The Brightest Star in the Sky, yet the book has a positive outlook on life and fate. And a happy ending, of course.

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  • The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells. Another classic revisited. I had already read The Time Machine many years ago but I still remembered most of the story and its images vividly. I enjoyed as much as I did the first time and find that much truth in its predictions and fears for the future of humanity. Again, as it happened with Frankenstein, I read this one in Spanish and I don’t know if that will have to do with the translation, but I find the language rather cumbersome and a bit tedious to read. But it might as well be that this is a 19th century book and people wrote that way back then. I’d love to hear some opinions on the original book.

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SHORT STORIES

  • Seven Permutations of My Daughter, by Lina Rather (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2017)
  • A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension, by Andrea M. Pawley (Asimov’s March/April 2017)

 

Finally, a couple of interesting articles I found online. As usual, they’re packed with writing advice, so take your time to go through them and maybe learn a thing or two.

Here’s a very insightful article about what editors like and don’t like from authors. Or in other words (probably those of the editor who wrote the article herself, how to get editors to like you as a writer-who-wants-to-be-a-published-author).

And this a site I just found today and it might take me some time to digest all the information in it. Story A Day comes with a challenge, to write a short story a day. It sounds really tempting but I’m not committing to this time because I know that I lack the time and energy to get through it, However, you might want to try and give your writing muscle a good workout during this month of may. If so, this is just for you. If not, well, there’s still much advice and inspiration to be found there.

 

And that’s all from me today. Hope you enjoy those links and stories and do not hesitate to share what’re reading in the comments.

Have a sunny May!

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A month of writing poetry

With April already behind us, we’re one third into 2017, which means we only have 66% of this year left to try and do something new and continue doing the things we know and love. Approximately, might be a 67% as well.

Last month I tried something new and wrote a poem each day as a celebration of National Poetry Month. Well, I should better say I tried to write a poem each day because I did not always succeed. Sometimes life got in the way of my writing, sometimes I didn’t feel inspired and some days I simply forgot. Anyway, it was fun.

I got this idea after reading this blog post by author Beth Cato and thought it might be an interesting thing to try. I have never been too fond of poetry, as I usually find it cumbersome and complicated to write and sometimes to grasp its ultimate meaning. Now, I must clarify something here. For some reasons, imaginary or not, I find it much more difficult to write a poem in Spanish (my mother tongue) than in English. It may be because free form poetry is more common in English, whereas Spanish poetry is more constrained by metric and rhyme. And conversely, I find it more difficult to understand English poetry than Spanish poetry. Again, this might have something to do with Spanish being my mother tongue … or it could be that English-speaking poets are wittier than their Spanish-speaking counterparts. I don’t know and I’m no expert either, so maybe you’d like to put your two-cents in here.

So, heeding the advice from Cato, I checked the daily prompts given at the Poetic Asides Blog and tried my wording at those. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t. But nevertheless, I am more than  happy that I managed to write a handful of poems which, in my humble opinion, are kind of decent for a beginner like me. To give you a taste, here’s one of them. I wrote that one on April 15th, just halfway through the challenge, and the prompt was to write a ‘one time’ poem. Let me know what you think …

 

This poetry binge

Might be a one time thing,

As the more I write, the more I notice

This ain’t easy for such a novice.

Rhythm and rhymes

Are not easy to find,

Yet I still haven’t failed

To pen a poem a day.

So who knows, maybe next year

I’ll be back around here.

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New story on 365 tomorrows

Very quick post to finish this week and month just to tell you that I have a new story out today on 365 tomorrows. Yay! You can find Sunday Shopping Spree today on their front page and forever on their archives. Let me know what you think.

Also, a bit of the story behind the story. I had the idea for this story after reading a piece of news this month on a Spanish paper about the end of the sales periods as we know them. Some reader had left a link to this post about the biggest Primark shop in Spain and just like that, a new story came to live. And the first part of the dialogue had actually happened some three years ago in one of those big shops in Dublin. Mind you, it might have even been a Sunday.

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