"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Friday, March 29, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flame

Ah, Friday! Take a deep breath in. Do you smell that? It's the smell of freedom. Freedom, and Five Sentence Fiction. Yes, it's that time of week again, that special day where I attempt to tell a story in just five sentences. If you'd like to learn more about it, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt is flame, which was especially fitting because I just finished reading HORNS by Joe Hill, a truly remarkable book. I'll be discussing it on Monday for my Monday Book Review so stay tuned for that! (Read the review here) But enough chit chat, let's get to it. Enjoy!

I came to with a shudder, the pain already vivid, coursing along my nerve endings like fire. I could see him standing over me, a blurred shadow from between eyelids nearly swollen shut, could smell the gasoline as he doused me with it. I didn't have much left, every limb heavy, tired of fighting, but I took what I had and coiled it inside me like a spring; when he got close, ready to light the match, I reached out and pulled his legs out from under him, sending him down into the puddles of gasoline.
He didn't respond well to my efforts, kicking me hard in the face as he got back up, smirking as he pulled a gun out of his jacket, pointed it at my face and whispered, "good bye, old friend."
I shook my head as I pulled the lighter from my pocket, "no point saying goodbye darling, you're coming with me."

Voila! I hope you enjoyed this little piece of fiction. If you'd like to read past week's editions, just follow the links below. If you really liked it, I hope you'll share it with friends and perhaps follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Either way, thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Conquer
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Paradise
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Whisper
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Empty

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

World's Luckiest Husband

In a lot of ways, my husband has it very, very good. Of course, in a lot of other ways he has it terrible, but let's focus on the positive. Every evening I make his lunch for the next day, and by make his lunch, I mean I rock his lunch. You know what today's selection was? A steak sandwich with Gorgonzola spread and baby arugula. Tomorrow? Curried egg salad with mango chutney. Yeah, that's right.

I selflessly manage to squeeze Maddie and I onto only half the bed, leaving the entire other half for him to stretch out on. (You should note that Maddie is one hundred pounds of sprawling Great Dane, so it really is a sacrifice. Never mind that I'm the one who lets the dog up on the bed in the first place.)

But I think most importantly, what sets me apart from other wives, is my love of watching him play video games. No, there isn't a typo in that sentence. I really do love it. My secret inner geek comes out every time he buys a new game. Instead of demanding that he turn that damn game off and pay attention to me, I demand that he turn it on and play while I fold laundry. I'm not sure why I love it so much. Maybe because it's a little like watching an interactive TV show? Not sure. All I know is that it started when I was young, when I would spend the night at my auntie's house. My cousin and I would wait for everyone to fall asleep and then he would break into the junk food cabinet and I would sneak into his room and we'd stay up all night, eating junk food while he played Legend of Zelda on Nintendo64. I never wanted to play, I always wanted to watch (possibly because holding a controller would prevent the shoveling of chips into my mouth).

In any case, I should come clean and admit that I don't enjoy watching all games. I only like games with a good story line, so driving games and online shooter games like Call of Duty do nothing for me. I'm still pretty patient with him monopolizing the TV to play them, but it's nothing like the excitement I have for a really good game, like Uncharted. Now that, he knows to never play without me. (I don't want to miss important plot points!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review Monday - The Last Policeman

Monday has arrived, bringing with it this week's book recommendation. I'm quite excited about this one, so if you've read it, or have your own book recommendations to suggest, please share in the comments section below. This week's selection is THE LAST POLICEMAN by Ben H. Winters.


What's the point in solving a murder if you're going to die soon anyway? That's the (paraphrased) tagline of this exceptional book and the question being asked of Detective Hank Palace, a recently promoted detective working in a world that's learned it's already doomed. An asteroid is set to collide with Earth in just 6 months, and in the face of the looming disaster many people are choosing to take their own life rather than wait for the end. But Hank has suspicions about the recent suicide he's just been called out to, suspicions that it's not in fact a suicide, but a homicide and for reasons he can't completely explain, he needs to get to the bottom of it.

What a fantastic book. First of all, you just can't beat that premise. An end of the world murder mystery? How on Earth could you a put a book like that down? It helps that it's well written and it's main character is someone you immediately identify with and root for. Then you take into account its masterful plot that leaves you guessing right until the last page, whose tension just keeps building and building until you're staying up half the night to finish it, and you've got yourself a real winner.

I can't decide what I liked most about this book. There's the unique concept, the masterful plot, the brilliant writing. Of course, there's the relatable and thoroughly likeable main character, and the unrelenting build of suspense that makes it impossible to put down. It's just an overall great book. If you're looking for an amazing read, you've found it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Conquer

Welcome to Friday! That wonderful time each week that signifies the end of work and the start of play. It also signifies that it's time for some Five Sentence Fiction! If you'd like to learn more about what it's all about, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt is conquer. Enjoy!

The grass was dead, sharp and prickly under his belly as he lay on the hill, looking down at the small town. Everyone was waiting behind him, safely on the other side of the hill and out of view. 
The dead were everywhere, their gangrenous limbs hanging limply at their sides as they shuffled about, jaws open, eyes wide, waiting.
Some would say move on, keep looking, it's too risky, but he wasn't one of them. He wanted this town and he was going to take it.

I hope you enjoyed this zombie-licious tale. If you'd like to read past editions, just follow the links below. If you particularly enjoyed this post or others, please feel free to share it with friends. If you'd like to make my day, then follow this blog or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Paradise
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Whisper
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Empty
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Abandoned

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Maddie and the Ceiling Monster

For a long time, we didn't have batteries in our smoke detector. (Yes, I know, I know. We're very, very bad. But we have batteries in there now, and have for a couple of months). When we did finally buy some batteries and stick them in there, we noticed a very annoying side effect. Whenever my husband would take a shower, he'd set off the smoke detector. To be more specific, it was not while he was in the shower, but afterwards.

You see, when I take a shower, I generally keep it pretty short and always leave the door open a bit, because foggy mirrors frustrate me when I'm trying to get ready. My husband, however, takes epically long, ridiculously hot showers with the door tightly closed because heaven forbid an ounce of heat escape. So, every time he opened the door to leave, a huge cloud of steam would exit with him and upset the smoke detector, causing it to go off.

This, on its own, was annoying enough. But Maddie, our darling dog, had lived her entire life in our house without the smoke detector ever going off and now it was going off randomly and without warning (according to her. Dogs don't make great detectives when it comes to cause and effect). She quickly came to the very logical conclusion that we must have a monster living in our hallway ceiling, and therefore she must bark and growl at the ceiling any time she, or one of us, entered the hallway.

I have since persuaded my husband to leave the bathroom door open a crack while showering, and the barking has abated a bit with the more infrequent upsets of the smoke detector. But she can't help but growl every time she passes under, just to let it know she's watching it.

On the plus side, I can rest easy knowing someone is always on the lookout for ceiling monsters.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review Monday - The Vanishing Act

It's Monday! Time to dust off the drudgery of starting another work week and look at the positive side: it's time for this week's book recommendation. If you've read this week's selection, or have recommendations of your own, please share your thoughts in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from all of you!


The story begins with twelve year old Minou discovering the body of a young boy on the beach. She lives on a tiny island with her philosopher father, a boxman and his dog, No Name, and a priest. A year ago her mother disappeared, and while everyone else believes she is dead, Minou believes that she's alive and well and will soon return.

My favourite thing about this book was the imagination. Mette Jakobsen weaves a world filled with mystery and magic, creating characters that are entirely unique and somehow effortlessly real. There's a rather melancholy sweetness to this story, that leaves you feeling enchanted and thoughtful.

This is a lovely story that really shouldn't be missed. It's original, beautifully told and filled with memorable, charming characters. Definitely pick this one up and give it a read.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Paradise

It's Friday, and you know what that means! It's time for Five Sentence Fiction, that special time each week when I strive to meet the challenge of telling a story in just five short sentences. This week's prompt is paradise. If you'd like to learn more, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

Paradise had always seemed to her to be an unattainable thing, like the pretty pictures in the calendar hanging in her cubicle at work, it was beautiful, but far, far away. It wasn't until a drizzly, uneventful Tuesday that she discovered she was wrong.
It was in the coat closet, the same closet where she hung up her jacket every day that she found it, and she wouldn't have, if she hadn't dropped the hanger. But there it was, hidden away in a dark corner of the room, a tiny door, barely the size of a cupboard.
Curiosity compelled her to open it, but pure wonder and joy made her crawl through to the glittering adventure on the other side.

Voila! May this little story be the beginning to your own happy adventure, and a wonderful weekend. If you particularly liked it, I hope you'll share it with friends, as well as check out previous editions by following the links below. Perhaps you'd like to make my day, and follow this blog or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. In any case, thank you for stopping by!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Whisper
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Empty
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Abandoned
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Cherish

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Birthday Week

This week is my birthday week. Yes, you read that correctly, I said birthday week. I'm not yet one of the mature adults that goes to work on their birthday, mentions it to no one and tries to forget that they've grown a year older. I will admit that getting older sucks, if I could I'd be young and limber forever, but there's a lot of fun to be had in celebrating yourself.

Every year on my birthday, I take the day off work. (This year I'm taking two days and making it a four day weekend). I book a massage, a facial, whatever I want. Maybe I take myself out to lunch, or my husband and I go out for a fancy supper. I spend it with family, friends, anyone that makes me smile. And most importantly, I make it a birthday week and not just a birth 'day'. Because a birthday is just too short and when it's over it's depressing.

So, all this week I'm treating myself to whatever makes me happy. Yesterday I had cookies for supper, (there's no rule that says you have to get more mature on your birthday) and tonight, I'm going to a panel discussion celebrating Saskatchewan authors (and possibly eating more cookies). It doesn't have to be big, expensive things. I'm just trying to give myself the freedom to indulge.

At the end of the week, it doesn't feel so bad to have grown a year older (aside from the tummy ache from too many cookies) and I have the next year's celebration to look forward to. What about you? What do you do to make your own birthday special? Or do you go the opposite way and try to hide it from everyone?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review Monday

It's Monday, and I've decided that should mean something. Something good. Mondays are not generally a day I look forward to, so I've decided to celebrate them here on the blog with something fantastic: book reviews! Every Monday I will review a new book that I've read. I will only be reviewing books that I truly love and recommend, as I think there's enough trash talk on the internet. So, it's really more of a recommendation. I love getting book recommendations from people (so feel free to give suggestions) and I think they're important to every writer out there. There's no better way to get people to read your work than by word of mouth, and if you love someone's work, why not give them a shout out and let people know about it? So that's what I'll be doing here every Monday. This week, it's all about David A. Poulsen's new book, OLD MAN.

OLD MAN by David A. Poulsen

OLD MAN is a YA novel about sixteen year old Nathan Huffman. Nate has plans for his summer, big plans. And they're all centered around getting a girl. It's going to be the summer of the Huffman, that is, until his dad calls. Nate's old man left when he was five and since then they haven't had too much contact. But now, his old man wants to take him on a trip, a trip that will change Nate's perspective of his dad and life in general.

I can't say enough good things about this book. I really can't. The writing is fantastic, and the story grabs you right from the beginning. I'm not joking, from the first line I was hooked. 

I think what impressed me most was the voice. The author captures Nathan's voice so perfectly, you really feel as though you're inside his head experiencing it all with him. He feels so real and so honest.

From the start, I had a hard time putting this one down. It was like when you announce that you'll only have one bite of dessert, and as soon as you taste it you know you just lied. You can't put the fork down. I was greedy for this book, and like a really good dessert, when it was done I was perfectly satisfied. 

Read this book.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Whisper

Welcome to Friday! It's time for another edition of Five Sentence Fiction, the weekly challenge to write a story in just five short sentences. This week's prompt is whisper. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

It always seemed to be just a little too quiet, just a little too far away. No matter how she tried, it always caught her unawares, the soft whispered words sliding by her ear the second her attention wandered. 
She could never catch exactly what was said, but it always seemed important, as though it were something she needed to know. There was an urgency to the whisper she just couldn't place. 
If only she'd listened harder, she might have understood the warning before it was too late. 

Thank you for reading! I hope you've enjoyed my little story and it starts your weekend off right. If you'd like to read more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below. As always, your comments are greatly enjoyed and appreciated in the comments section below. If you'd like to follow my blog, or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole, that would certainly make my day. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Empty
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Abandoned
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Cherish
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Purple

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fate and the Universe

On Monday night I took a writing class. And during that class, the instructor talked a lot about voice. Voice, is what gives your work authenticity and depth. When you properly capture the voice of your character or characters,  the reader feels as though they've stepped inside their head and are experiencing the story through their eyes. It makes your characters real, and it's not an easy thing to do well.

To give us an example, the instructor read from the latest book by George Saunders, a collection of stories called Tenth of December. George is especially good at capturing the voice of his characters, so good in fact, that he is able to do it in third person. And just through the few short paragraphs she read, I was flabbergasted. It was brilliant.

I went home from class that night, the title, Tenth of December, written and underlined in my notebook along with George Saunders' name. The next day, as I was driving home from work, I turned on the radio and do you know who was being interviewed on Writers and Company (one of my favourite programs on the CBC)? None other than George Saunders. What were the chances that the very next day after writing that name in my notebook I would hear an interview with the same man?

Sometimes fate and the universe just line up. One day you have no idea someone existed, the next you're hearing about him everywhere. And I'm not one to ignore fate. So, I think I need to go out and buy that book. That's one thing the universe and I can agree on.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Book in Progress

As you probably know, for the past couple of months I've been meeting with the current Writer in Residence, David A. Poulsen. He's been working with me on my manuscript; the same rough draft that made me a winner in the June 2012 NaNoWriMo challenge. Because that's what you get with NaNoWriMo, a rough draft. Sometimes people think they'll have a publishable book at the end of those thirty days and I think it's important to note that although you might have a great first draft, it will need to go through the usual process of editing, more editing, still more editing, followed by even more editing. But that's a topic for another day.

Anyway, to get back on track, since writing the rough draft of my book in June, I've been editing it on my own and now editing it with David. He's been fantastic, and with his guidance I've uncovered certain plot holes and character flaws that I'm now correcting. And the truth is, this project is one that I'm really excited about. This isn't the first book I've written, but it is the first book that I've been really excited about. With this book, I get a stirring inside that whispers, "this could really be something!"

I won't have time to go through the whole book with David before his residency is up, but he has me pointed in the right direction. And when I've finished this wave of editing, I'll be sending it in for a manuscript evaluation service with the Saskatchewan Writer's Guild. And when that's done and I've done even more editing, I'll be letting certain friends and family read it, so they can give me their thoughts. I'll also be applying for a mentorship program in the fall, and hopefully continue my work on it with them. I want to give this manuscript a real, honest go. I want to give it every ounce of my effort and attention, so that hopefully, I can turn it into something really special. Something worthy of your attention. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Empty

Welcome to Friday and another edition of Five Sentence Fiction, the weekly challenge to tell a story in just five short sentences. This week's prompt is empty. If you'd like to learn more about what it's all about, and maybe give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Let's get started!

She set the box down on the carpet and looked at it. It was bigger than she thought it would be, there were small scuffs in the dark wood and a few dents and dings. She took a deep breath, (the man at the flea market told her it would have everything she needed inside) and lifted the lid. It was empty. With a small cry she stood and kicked the box across the room; it wouldn't be until she went to sleep that night that she realized it wasn't empty at all.

There you have it. I hope you've enjoyed this week's edition. I hope you'll check out previous editions by following the links below. I treasure your insights and comments, so please feel free to let me know what you think below in the comments section. As always, I invite you to follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Have a great weekend!