Category Archives: Uncategorized

Second Chances

I know I promised you all a #NaNoWriMo update today. I have something a little more important on my mind, and I hope you’ll bear with me.

See, a year ago today I died.

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Weird, right?  I mean if I were still dead it would be kind of hard to use an iPad to make this blog post.

I’ve been in recovery mode for nearly a year–people who don’t really know me that well have been saying things like:  “This is a big week…it might be tough. Are you ready?”

Fuck yeah, I’m ready.

I got a second chance at life. Of course I’m fucking ready. I don’t have time to wallow in self pity.

I got to see my son’s first year a college and my daughter participate in Water Polo at Harvard. I got to say “I love you” to my wife quite a few hundred more times. I quit cigarettes. I got to learn more about writing  and to actually write–publishing three stories with two more already under contract for 2017. I read 65 more books. I lost 30 pounds. I spent more time with my family. I played with my cats. I worked at a shelter. I hugged a lot of people.

I got to see my dad one last time before he left us in March.

In short, I lived. Probably more than I have in years.

Yes, there are still challenges both physically and neurologically.

But I’m getting better.

So many people have been a part of this recovery…the list would go on for pages. Twenty doctors worked (and are still working on) my case, family and friends visited and encouraged me, work colleagues stayed in touch, author-friends who have been my inspiration…

…thank you all. You have no idea how grateful I am to have you in my life.

Today I celebrate the first anniversary of my passing.

May there be many more anniversaries in the future.

Back to writing.

Peace

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 7

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Starting Word Count: 12004

One week almost in the books.

Four Chapters into TEC.  As i mentioned before, I’ve had bits of this book written for a while. And 40k words, in fact. But they were words all over the place–cool scenes i had in the back of my head. Character development stuff–things like that.

Now I’m plowing through my updated Outline.

I remember when I showed Glenn Skinner and M. J. King My initial outline in July, They enjoyed it–loved the scenes. But…

But Glenn worried there wasn’t a true ‘journey’ for the main character–Symon Bryson.

“What is he going to learn? How is he going to grow?”

And he was right.  So I revamped the outline to also show Symon’s progression…which you will hopefully read for yourself in 2017.

I’ve always planned on Symon growing as a character as my writing skills improved. I thought that would be a very natural path. In the first book, he is angry, scared and a little “woe is me.” In this book, he is isolated and making some core discoveries about the world of magic. It’s why I never went into detail about the magic system in TPF. Symon was taught something that he always assumed was correct. And it served him well. In book two, you learn the true nature of magic in my world–where it comes from, how it works and it’s links to both the ancient and modern world.

So a shout out to M.J. and Glenn…who made me reconsider a few major points. Symon’s journey is back on track.

Oh. I promised you-all a snippet of the work yesterday, didn’t I? Well here you go:

The sanctuary was in near darkness this late at night. A few candles still shimmered where thoughts of loved ones had brought in the prayers faithful earlier in the day. When I was a student here, I never liked to be alone in this massive, perpetually chilly space. I always felt uneasy here–although I could never exactly tell you why.

My footsteps echoed loudly as I made my way toward the exit. I’d almost made it to the naive when an old, croaky male voice that gave me the impression of dust and cobwebs said, “You are in an awful hurry young man…”

I shivered. From the cold sanctuary air. Honest. You’ll have to trust me on that score…

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Hope you enjoyed that. Some editing is needed, obviously–but that is what December is for.

Peace

 

Arcana Chronicles Book Two- Title and Cover reveal!

Yesterday, during the release party for the anthology I’m excited to be a part of–Once Upon a Cursed Time— I released the title and the cover for Book 2 of my Arcana Chronicles series.

Yes, Symon Bryson is coming back for more mischief and mayhem!

Working hard toward an early 2017 release, but without further ado, Book 2 will be called “The Empress’ Curse

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Once again, Kip Ayers returns to apply his artistry toward the cover. Isn’t it awesome?

More soon!

RELEASE DAY! Once Upon a Cursed Time

anthologyc10It’s always SO exciting when release day finally arrives!

Not a new novel, although that’s coming. A new anthology called “Once Upon a Cursed Time” is out on Amazon today. Editor and fellow Writer R. L. Weeks invited me to join in on the fun and the result is 14 tales including my story “Ink Washed Cat.” There is nothing like a possessed child’s drawing to get the blood flowing…

14 Stories of twisted fairy tales away your reading pleasure. Reviews are already coming in and they are superb. The Paperback version will be out shortly as well.

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There is an online Facebook Event all weekend long to celebrate the release. I’m taking over at 2PM Eastern time, so JOIN ME if you can!

Pickup Once Upon a Cursed Time TODAY!

 

The #wordcountpodcast Episode 59 awaits your Listening Pleasure!

Oh, do we have a wonderful show for you this time around!

Noir Lighting by Erikaelk
Noir Lighting by Erikaelk

By “we,” I of course mean the Word Count Irregulars!

And I did a bit too.

We returned to the three word format–this time around, the words were: Newspaper, Cigarette and Scotch.

I was expecting some noir-type stories.  I got a LOT more.  Why do I ever doubt the wonderful authors who participate in this show?

So, whilst listening the the podcast, read bit about our Irregulars below.  But first, a bit about the #WordCountPodcast:

What is The Word Count Podcast?

It is a free broadcast by writers for writers. Simply put, a theme for each show is announced via this site, Twitter and Facebook and writers are given a week or two to write AND RECORD their stories based on said theme.

 Why?

Why not, says I. It’s a great way to practice writing and public speaking. It’s another way for writers to get their work “out there.” And I love to meet fellow authors and have a blast putting the show together. It’s just that simple.

Okay. Where can I find it?

You can listen to the latest podcast below, subscribe via iTunes or listen at the show’s site.

 

Direct: http://thewordcount.libsyn.com/webpageiTunes (and remember, iTunes takes their sweet time in posting.  If you don’t see it yet, keep trying!): http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-word-count/id392550989

Our guests this week:

Rob EdwardsRob Edwards “Armchair Armeggedon

Rob Edwards is a British born writer and podcaster, currently living in Finland. His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and excerpts from longer work. His work can also be found in the anthologies *Tales from the Universe* and the forthcoming *Tales from Alternate Earths*, published in Kindle format by Inklings Press.

His greatest geek pride is his entry on wookieepedia, the a result of
writing several Star Wars RPG scenarios back in the day.

Rob is currently working on a YA novel featuring superheroes in space.

Twitter: @storycastrob

Websites:

PODCAST: www.storycastrob.co.uk

BLOG: www.storycastrob.co.uk/wp

CameronCameron Garriepy “Going Places

Cameron Garriepy doesn’t always write speculative fiction set in post-World War II Gotham, but when she does, it’s for the Word Count Podcast. Last April, Cameron released Damselfly Inn, the first full-length novel in her Thornton Vermont series. The sequel, Sweet Pease is coming soon from Bannerwing Books.

Websites:
http://camerondgarriepy.com
http://facebook.com/camerondgarriepy

http://amazon.com/author/camerondgarriepy

Twitter:

http://twitter.com/camerongarriepy

CTSC. Thomas Smith “Just Right Now

C. Thomas Smith is the author of hundreds of short stories (99% have never left his hard drive) and half a dozen unpublished novels (50% cowardice / 50% self-doubt). He is a fan of common sense, free speech, noticing the truth in the absurd and caffeine. He sort of likes cats. He lives in Ireland with his partner, two children, a mortgage and a cat he doesn’t trust.

At present, Chris is writing a series of novels (adult dark comedy set in medieval Ireland that may include a token Leprechaun) and editing a second series (Dark Fantasy). Along the way he hopes not to starve to death or be mauled in his sleep by a shifty eyed cat.

Twitter = @KRSTVR

Web = www.infinity-forge.com

MariaHaskinsMaria Haskins “Chiaroscuro

Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator with a passion for science fiction and fantasy. She was born and grew up in Sweden, but moved to Canada in the early 1990s and now lives just outside Vancouver with a husband, two kids, and a large black dog. Maria debuted as a writer in Sweden, and has had several books published there. Her English language debut Odin’s Eye – a collection of science fiction short-stories – was published in March, 2015. Cuts & Collected Poems 1989 – 2015 – a collection of poetry – was released in November, 2015.

Website: https://mariahaskins.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariahaskinswriter/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13459869.Maria_Haskins

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00UICDA2K

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mariahaskins

Twitter: @mariahaskins

BillkBill Kirton “Like Father, Like Daughter”

Before taking early retirement to become a full-time writer, Bill Kirton was a lecturer in French at the University of Aberdeen. He’s written stage and radio plays, short stories, novels, skits and songs for revues, and five non-fiction books aimed at helping students with their writing and study skills. His five modern crime novels,  Justice, The Darkness, Shadow Selves and Unsafe Acts are set in north east Scotland and his historical crime/romance novel, The Figurehead, is set in Aberdeen in 1840. The Darkness won the silver award in the mystery category of the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards and his spoof mystery, The Sparrow Conundrum, was the winner in the humor category.

He’s published a novel for children called The Loch Ewe Mystery, and his latest publication is a satirical novella about online gaming and the real and virtual worlds.

He’s had radio plays broadcast by the BBC and the Australian BC.  His short stories have appeared in many anthologies, including three of the CWA’s annual collections, and one was chosen by Maxim Jakubowski for his 2010 anthology of Best British Crime Stories. It’s also been optioned by a film company in Los Angeles.

He’s been a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at universities in Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews.

Twitter: @carver22

Website & Blog: www.bill-kirton.co.uk

Screen shot 2016-04-16 at 1.41.13 PM-2Eden Baylee “Comfortably Numb”

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres.

She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction ~ SPRING INTO SUMMER, FALL INTO WINTER, and HOT FLASH.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton–a psychological mystery/suspense called STRANGER AT SUNSET. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her stories–A SNAKE IN PARADISE and SEAL OF A MONK can be found on Kindle Worlds.

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

 Connect with her via her website | blog | twitter | facebook | goodreads

 

 

The #WordCountPodcast Episode 59 is now OPEN for Submissions!

After episode 58 last month, Stephen Hunt wrote an article for the Nassau Tribune that featured, among other podcasts, our little little story-telling show.

(EDITED: Now Stephen has posted the article on his blog and it’s a bit easier to read)

How cool is that?

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Overall, he liked the show, barring a few sound-related issues with one story, which of course was more my issue.

But the bulk of the article focused on what we focus on. Namely telling a short story based on a prompt for the enjoyment of our listeners.

And I believe the #WordCountIrregulars do just that.

It’s my distinct honor to run this show and I want to send a heartfelt “Cheers!” to the fans that have followed us for so many years.

Without you, there would be no podcast.

Okay, then.  Before I begin to weep uncontrollably, let’s get to the links to hear the podcast and see the prompt for Episode 59, shall we?

To start listening go to either my Libsyn Page or to iTunes:

LIBSYN

iTUNES

There are Fifty Eight shows available right now!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

THE WORD COUNT EPISODE 59 Prompt:

We shall return to our “Three Word Format” this week:

NEWSPAPER, CIGARETTE, and SCOTCH.

Submission Guidelines (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY as they have recently CHANGED)

GENRE: Any.

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by Friday 19 AUGUST 2016 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original story and contain ALL three words somewhere in your story.  The three words are, of course NEWSPAPER, CIGARETTE, and SCOTCH.

Do NOT exceed SEVEN minutes.

As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.

Your submission MUST also contain the following:

  • Your pen name
  • Your latest bio (DO NOT ASSUME I HAVE YOUR LATEST)
  • Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fanpage etc.
  • Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
  • A photo of you I can use for the show notes
  • At the end of your recording, please add “This is <state your name> author of <state your work(s)> and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast”
  • Permission to use your recording in the podcast.
  • PLEASE Make sure you have included ALL ARTIFACTS I have asked for. Do not assume I can “Get your picture from the internet” or can “Pull your bio from your web page.”

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by Friday 19 August 2016 . You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case. I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story.

Peace

The #WordCountPodcast episode 58 OPEN for SUBMISSIONS!

 

DEADLINE EXTENDED to 22JULY!

Ah, the hazy, lazy days of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere!

 

summer-quotes-sayings-and-poems-cute-or-famous

On this, the American Independence Day (or “Amexit” as I’m now calling it), I thought we would do something a bit different for the show this time around.

 

Foregoing our normal “Three Word” theme format, I thought I’d provide the first sentence of your story to be completed by your fine selves:

“I was enjoying the summer holiday when…”

Oooooh!  What happens next! That, dear sinners, is up to you!

The submission guidelines are below, but first–and for those unfamiliar with the show…

The Word Count Podcast is truly one of my joys. I direct, produce, write and host the show—and also come up with the various themes our writers—The “Word Count Irregulars”—use to create unique and brilliant stories.

All for the listener and lovers of great storytelling.

There are no endorsements…no paid stories. It’s all done for the love of the written word. And downloads are always free. Always.

The only thing I ask is a little help via social media (use the hashtag #wordcountpodcast) to point folks at the show.

To start listening go to either my Libsyn Page or to iTunes:

LIBSYN

iTUNES

There are Fifty Seven shows available right now!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

THE WORD COUNT EPISODE 58 – “I was enjoying the summer holiday when…”

Submission Guidelines (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY as they have recently CHANGED)

GENRE: Any.

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by Friday 15 July 2016 Friday 22 July 2016 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original story based on the opening line “I was enjoying the summer holiday when…”

Do NOT exceed SEVEN minutes.

As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.

Your submission MUST also contain the following:

  • Your pen name
  • Your latest bio (DO NOT ASSUME I HAVE YOUR LATEST)
  • Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fanpage etc.
  • Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
  • A photo of you I can use for the show notes
  • At the end of your recording, please add “This is <state your name> author of <state your work(s)> and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast”
  • Permission to use your recording in the podcast.
  • PLEASE Make sure you have included ALL ARTIFACTS I have asked for. Do not assume I can “Get your picture from the internet” or can “Pull your bio from your web page.”

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 15 July 2016 Friday 22 July 2016 . You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case. I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story.

Peace

Just for the record, #fuckcancer

Cancer Sucks.  Here are two kissing bunnies to make up for it.
Cancer Sucks. Here are two kissing bunnies to make up for it.

It’s been an exhausting few months so let me try and bring all you folks up to speed.

After the pulmonary embolism and mini-strokes back in November, I’ve been slowly recovering. The brain is a marvelous tool (go ahead, make the joke) and I have been relearning many things as well as reconnecting neurons damaged by the little brain-bastards.

One of the things that happened during that whole emergency room/ICU scene was I had a PET scan for possible cancer (originally the doctors thought I had a mass in my right lung which they were sure was cancer and were equally sure that’s what had caused all my problems).

They were wrong. The “mass” was just a blood clot that was reabsorbed by the body.

However, my thyroid lit up during the scan.

Since this was the least of my problems at the time, this little factoid was put on the shelf temporarily.

I’d made enough progress to have the anomaly finally looked at—turned out to be a 1.7 cm carcinoma embedded in the thyroid. I spoke to an endocrine expert and a thyroid surgeon and we all agreed that the mass couldn’t just be removed—the entire thyroid should come out to be on the safe side.

This past Friday, I had that done. Too bad I couldn’t collect frequent flyer miles for my hospital stays.

Although I’ll be on a synthetic thyroid hormone the rest of my life, the good news is it looks like they got everything…AND the lymph nodes in the area were clear.

The support I’ve gotten from everyone has been overwhelming. From kind words, notes, and cards from friends and family (not to mention a small GoFundMe campaign that was successful in every way—thank you all again) —to the most amazing care I’ve received by the dozen or so doctors working my case.

So why am I telling you all this? Because, honestly, I feel amazingly blessed. The love of an amazing woman (yes, wife….that’s YOU), the prayers, the notes of support, the comedy. They all added (and continue to add) to my recovery.

I survived. I expect to thrive. After all, it took four separate cancers to take my dad down a few weeks ago and he was nearly 90. I think he would be disappointed if I checked out early.

I’m recovering. I have things to do. Life has complete new meaning for me—probably the meaning it should have had all a long.

Better late than never.

Love to you all,

RB

 

 

 

 

The Word Count Podcast Episode 53 – OPEN for SUBMISSIONS!

Alan-Rickman-Wallpaper-alan-rickman-7878035-1280-1024Wow.

2016 has started on a very sour note! From the deaths of Natalie Cole and Motörhead front man Lemmy Kilmister to David Bowie and Alan Rickman’s passing.

So I thought I’d ask for a story based on a different sort of theme for the next show

Celebrity Death, a Fan’s Perspective

I want stories from a fan’s perspective—dealing with the death of a favorite celebrity. Could be a musician or an actor. Perhaps a famous author. It can take place in present day or in the past.

A unique challenge for those I lovingly call “The Word Count Irregulars.”

In the meantime, for those unfamiliar with the show…

The Word Count Podcast is truly one of my joys. I direct, produce, write and host the show—and also come up with the various themes our writers—The “Word Count Irregulars”—use to create unique and brilliant stories.

All for the listener and lovers of great storytelling.

There are no endorsements…no paid stories. It’s all done for the love of the written word. And downloads are always free. Always.

The only thing I ask is a little help via social media to point folks at the show.

To start listening go to either my Libsyn Page or to iTunes:

LIBSYN

iTUNES

There are Fifty Two shows available right now!

THE WORD COUNT EPISODE 53 – “Celebrity Death, a Fan’s Perspective”

Submission Guidelines (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY as they have recently CHANGED)

GENRE: Any.

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by FRIDAY 29 January 2016 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original story based on a theme of “Celebrity Death, a Fan’s Perspective.”

Do NOT exceed SEVEN minutes.

As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.

Your submission MUST also contain the following:

  • Your pen name
  • Your latest bio (DO NOT ASSUME I HAVE YOUR LATEST)
  • Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fanpage etc.
  • Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
  • A photo of you I can use for the show notes
  • At the end of your recording, please add “This is <state your name> author of <state your work(s)> and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast”
  • Permission to use your recording in the podcast.
  • PLEASE Make sure you have included ALL ARTIFACTS I have asked for. Do not assume I can “Get your picture from the internet” or can “Pull your bio from your web page.”

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 29 January 2016. You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case. I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story.

Peace

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Day 14

Starting Word Count: 27351

paris-6

I started to write last night.  I’m moving through the second act and was looking forward to starting the third act this maybe this weekend.

Then Paris happened.

Things are still unfolding as I write this, but what’s clear is this is the most devastating attack in France since WW II.

While we watch again as horror and terror rule our news outlets, I want to share with you a little story. Book two of the Arcana Chronicles was originally entitled The Young Practitioner. The second act of the book took place during the Boston Marathon.  It was a series of scenes of my main characters looking for a terrorist for the length of the race.  I’d actually finished the book and was readying it to send to beta readers.

That was in April of 2013. Then the bombings happened.

I live in Boston and remember that day and will for the rest of my life.  It stopped book two and it stopped my writing for nearly two years.

What happened in Paris tonight is devastating.  And terrible.  And I want to scream at the heavens at the injustice of it all. I’ve just heard commentary about the ” damn Islamists.”  That’s like blaming all of Christianity for what the KKK gets up to.

I know….I’m rambling.  Sorry.

I think one of the reasons I write is to escape from the incredibly messed up world around us.  Say a prayer, light a candle, send out a white light.

Tonight, Paris needs all the good we can give.