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

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - View

It's Friday! And not just any Friday, it's a long weekend Friday. (At least here in Canada it is.) Aren't those so much sweeter? And what better way to kick it off than with some Five Sentence Fiction? This week's prompt is view. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

"How's the view?"
"Oh, just fine... just fine."
He was being flirtatious, she knew, but clearly he didn't realize he had a hickey on the left side of his buttocks, or he wouldn't be swaggering around naked with it in plain sight. 
'So much for true love,' she thought, dropping her purse by the couch. She went into the kitchen to look for something suitably sharp. 

There you have it! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. If you liked this piece, then please share it! Whether it be facebook, twitter, it doesn't matter. And if you really liked it, follow this blog so you never have to miss another one; not to mention come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. If you're still hankering for more Five Sentence Fiction, just check out the links below for previous ones.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blades
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Home
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Oops
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Desolate

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Random Bad Movie Generator

The other day I was talking to a fellow at work about bad movies. Apparently, he hadn't realized that ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER was a book first before it was a movie. (And yes, I realize we probably should have been a little more productive with our time).

"Oh, really?" he said, "I just assumed it was a bunch of writers, sitting in a room picking random words out of hats. Like, okay name: Abraham Lincoln. Random noun: Vampire. Profession: Hunter."

I laughed. "Good thing they didn't get Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Gynecologist. Although, that I might have been able to sit through."

We had a good laugh, but it got me thinking. What if that was really how they got ideas for movies? I decided I had to give it a try myself, so I did. I got three bowls, one for famous historical figures, one for random nouns and one for professions. This is what I came up with. (And by the way, if any of these spark a story idea for you, please feel free!)

Joan of Arc, Bacon Teacher
George Washington, Cloud Embalmer
Julius Caesar, Eggplant Waiter
Thomas Edison, Toenail Biographer
Queen Victoria, Snake Pirate

I will admit, that was a lot of fun. I'm most intrigued by Queen Victoria, Snake Pirate and George Washington, Cloud Embalmer. Now, if I really wanted to challenge myself, I'd write stories to go with them...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Book Review - Paris in Love

In keeping with the Parisian theme I have going, I introduce to you this week's book recommendation.

PARIS IN LOVE by Eloisa James


Yes, I bring to you yet another memoir about Paris. Are you sick of them yet? I apologize if you are, but I've been reading a lot of them and this is a very, very good one. It's the story of a woman and her husband who decide to take a sabbatical for a year and run off with their two children to live in Paris. It's different from a lot of the other ones I've read, thanks to its ingenious style. It's told in perfect, bite sized pieces, based on her tweets and facebook posts throughout the year. I know it sounds a little odd but she gets the flow just right and it really, really works. Just pick it up and you'll see.

My favourite part of the book was obviously the style and structure of her narrative, but she and her family also make for such a lovable cast of characters. Her daughter, Anna, is adorable, precocious and delightfully weird. She tells her story with the perfect blend of good humor, not to mention the style of the book allows her to zero in on these small moments, capturing her experience in a much more intimate and honest way.

Even if you're not planning a trip to Paris, you'll want to pick up this book. It's so funny and charming, just the thing to curl up with on an afternoon off. And who knows? You might start looking at plane tickets when you're done...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blades

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn more about what Five Sentence Fiction is all about, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt is blades. Enjoy!

'If you know what's good for you, you'll steer clear of the meadow,' they told me, so of course I had to see for myself. 
At first it just looked like normal grass, only very, very tall and wide, as wide as my wrist. But as I got closer, I noticed all the blades looked rusty around the edges, which didn't make any sense at all until I reached out to touch one and pulled away a bloody finger. Every blade of grass was as sharp as... well, a blade.
That's when I looked down and saw the remains of those who'd simply run in without looking.

Yes, this one's a little... gory? Sure, we'll go with gory. But I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Please make sure to leave your thoughts below in the comments section, I love hearing from all of you! If you liked this post, I hope you'll follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. If you're still in the mood for more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below to previous editions. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Home
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Oops
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Desolate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Charmed

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Journal: Writer's Tool or Cheesy, Outdated Medium Used Primarily by Twelve Year Old Girls?

Do you journal? I do. And no, it's not the typical "Dear Diary, Such and such a thing happened to me today. Then more boring stuff happened. Peter in biology is soooooooo hot. The end." garbage. And if it was, it wouldn't matter. Because you don't have to be self conscious about what you put in a journal. When I write in mine, it's mainly stream of consciousness type stuff with no evident connection between one subject and the next. And yes, it often becomes a place for me to bitch relentlessly about the things I dare not put on twitter or facebook; but mostly it's the stream of consciousness stuff.

I often turn to it when I can't come up with an idea for a blog post, or if I feel something important has happened that I must preserve for posterity. I also write in it just because I want to. There's something relaxing about it. I don't have to worry about whether it's good or bad, nor do I need to concern myself with form or structure. Unlike writing that I one day hope will see the light of day with publication, the journal remains a place for wholly creative, unstructured thought.

I also believe it makes for good practice. Sometimes it's hard to write every day, especially when you're trying to write something good every day, something with a purpose. I find the journal takes the pressure off and helps me just get into the habit of daily writing. It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't have to be meant for something, but it does get me putting words down on paper. Not to mention, I find a lot of great ideas come to me when I'm just writing without any kind of goal in mind. It gets the wheels turning and the creative juices flowing. In fact, my journal has worked wonders whenever I've come down with a case of writer's block. Once you get words flowing, more keep coming to take their place.

So what say you? Is the journal a useful writing tool or just another place where we can bitch ceaselessly about petty problems?  Do you keep one?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Book Review - 101 Letters to a Prime Minister

A few weeks ago, I told you about TOLSTOY AND THE PURPLE CHAIR, a lovely book about books and their power to bring you back to life. This week I present another, different book about books. Enjoy!



As I said above, this is a book about books. (Which also happens to be a quote from the first line of the introduction). It is about a writer, Yann Martel, and the question that led him to write to our prime minister, Stephen Harper. The question was this: what is Stephen Harper reading? Which also begs the question, does he read at all? This, after all, is a man who has publicly stated that his favourite book is the Guinness Book of World Records. He is also a man who is running our country. I highly suggest you don't skip the introduction to this lovely book, which more clearly explains Yann's intentions, far better than I can here. The point is, he decided to send Stephen Harper a book with an accompanying letter explaining his choice, every two weeks. He never received a direct response for his efforts, but the gold mine of exquisite literature is something every person can enjoy.

There are so many things I love about this book. First, there are the books themselves. What a treasure trove of excellent book recommendations! What avid reader wouldn't swoon with delight at the prospect of so many wonderful stories and poems? Second, of course, is the letters. If you didn't already know it, Yann Martel has a way with words. He effortlessly expresses sentiments I've never been able to fully define, delving into the beauty of the written word and the lessons within. His love for art seems boundless and his passion builds a fire in your chest, reminding you of every life changing word or work of art you've been witness to. He reminds us why books (and every other kind of art) is so important. He opens our eyes to our government and challenges us to question it, to really think about what we expect from our leaders. It reminds me of a retort I heard from a senator on Bill Maher's documentary, Religulous, in which he said, "you don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the senate." Hmmmm, but maybe you should? 

This is a book for writers. It is a book for readers. It is a book for the politically minded. It is a book about the beauty of books, and all they have to teach us.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Home

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction! This week's prompt is home. Make sure to visit Lillie McFerrin Writes for more details. Enjoy!

"There's no place like home," I whispered, clicking my heels together for the third time and looking around. It was cold and dark, and I could hear things (large things) rustling through the bushes behind me that sounded far too hungry and menacing. 
"Goddammit!" I snapped, looking down at my feet, "wrong fucking shoes!"
I sighed as the creatures (which were indeed large and hungry and menacing looking) started shuffling out of the bushes around me. Should've stayed in oz.

I hope you enjoyed this little story, and if you did please share it with friends. Also, please feel free to follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. If you'd like to read more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Oops
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Desolate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Charmed
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Accident

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Looming Deadlines

As a procrastinator, I kind of like deadlines. Not so much because of the heart stopping, head pounding stress involved, but because of the way they kick me into action. There's nothing like a looming deadline to get you to turn off twitter or facebook and actually get to work. As it turns out, I have several deadlines looming and they all happen to fall upon my quickly upcoming departure for a vacation to Paris. If you think one looming deadline is stimulating, then believe me, several is um... more so. By a lot. (Also gone with any possibility of spare time is my ability to write intelligent sentences.)

I should be stressed out, and in truth I am, but all these deadlines make me feel more alive. I have a purpose. Every morning I get up and a clattering of alarm bells goes off in my head, reminding me not to doddle; there's so much to do! So much to do! It's terrifying and exhilarating all at once. And although it may seem more stressful to have so many deadlines come due before a vacation, it's actually a relief. The best vacations are the ones you really feel you've earned. Not to mention, no one wants to come back from a trip and have their relaxation torn away by a waiting due date. I prefer to hold onto my post-vacation attitude as long as possible, thank you very much.

The key is organization and good time management. Neither of which I possess. So, I think it's going to get interesting.

As a side note, I'm having a wonderful time preparing for the trip. I'm reading so many Paris themed memoirs, guidebooks and fiction. The librarian looked me up and down as I picked up another stack of books today and muttered, "you must really love Paris, huh?" to which I smiled politely and nodded. No I didn't. I don't possess restraint like normal people. I gushed about my upcoming trip until she was very sorry she commented and practically had to shoo me away. Yep. That's my style.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Book Review - The Palace of Curiosities

Welcome to the start of another work week and this week's book recommendation. I think you're really going to like this one.


Two main characters, Eve and Abel, each strange in their own way. Eve is the Lion Faced Girl and Abel is The Flayed Man. Both have been cast out of Victorian society and find shelter in the Palace of Curiosities run by Professor Josiah Arroner. But this is really only the beginning of their story.

This book captures you right from the beginning. It's so mysterious, each character's story slowly unraveling, their secrets coming to light. I love the writing style, seemingly so simple, but so perfectly in the voice of the characters. It just keeps you turning the pages.

I know I'm being rather mysterious about this book, but that's what I love most about it. I don't want to spoil anything for you, because the uncovering of the story is the best part. Just do yourself a favour and pick it up. As the cover says, it really is a jewel box of a novel. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Oops!

Hi all! So, as you know, this is supposed to be Five Sentence Fiction Friday. But, unfortunately Lillie McFerrin is experiencing some difficulties with her site, so there is no prompt for this week. However, I hate to let my fans (yes, I know. Who am I kidding?) down, so I've devised my own little five sentence story for you to enjoy. Have a great weekend everyone!

Once upon a time there was a little girl sitting by a pond. One by one, she dropped tiny stones into the water, whispering quietly as she did so. Her behaviour was so peculiar that it caught the attention of a fox wandering by, who asked her what she was doing. 
She smiled, raised a finger to her lips and pointed down into the water, beckoning him over to have a look. He gazed down into the pond and saw a pile of tiny stones sitting at the bottom, which to his horror began to tremble and move, as though something very small was trying desperately to get out, and he suddenly realized (although far too late) that this was not a little girl at all. 

I hope you enjoyed this promptless little story and that you all have a fabulous weekend! If you're still hankering for more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Desolate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Charmed
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Accident
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Goggles

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Parisian Chic - Not So Much

Sometimes there are events in your life that call into question everything you believe about yourself. Sometimes, they happen all at once. In the past month or so, the business I worked for was sold, leaving me without any job security. I've figured out that my dream of mastering even beginner's French before an upcoming trip to Paris is likely to go unfulfilled, and in the haste of preparations for the aforementioned trip, I've had no time to work on my manuscript at all. And then of course, there's Paris itself.

Despite the fact that I'm nearly giddy with excitement, I'm also pretty nervous. I'm not what you'd call Parisian Chic. To give you an example, I'm currently wearing a pair of jeans, my husband's socks and a t-shirt I bought almost ten years ago. Yep. Definitely not Parisian Chic. That doesn't mean I want to be immediately identified as a tourist though. I know I'll never pass for a true Parisian, but it'd be nice if pickpockets couldn't immediately pick me out of a crowd of a hundred.

I've been reading up a lot on Paris (and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT), from blogs to memoirs to guidebooks and they all point to one thing: the more stylish you are, the better service you'll get and the less trouble you'll get into with people trying to take advantage of the poor ignorant tourist.

Now, it would help a lot if I could speak French, but since that ship has sailed, I'm trying to up my chic for the trip. It isn't easy. Although I've never had a problem with my sense of style before, this trip has called into question my entire sense of fashion. I've realized I'm just not comfortable in a lot of the more stylish clothes. To break it down for you, I hate things that are uncomfortable. Freedom of movement is quintessential. Fabrics cannot be itchy or stiff and I'm uncomfortable in skirts. I just don't get how other women can wear them. Every time I put one on, I feel pretty until I step outside, the wind starts to blow and suddenly I'm in fear for my dignity. A walk through the park becomes a battle royale against showing complete strangers my underpants. (While at the same time, attempting to appear as though there isn't a problem). I find skinny jeans to be the most heinous invention ever put on this planet, same with animal print, and the bunions on my feet make "cute shoes" a hopeless dream.

So, you can see my problem. And although I can hold my head high and say with absolute conviction that I will never be the ugly tourist wearing kulats and socks with sandals, I'd also like to aim a little higher than that. I might not have Parisian style, but I'd still like to have style.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Book Review - The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Welcome to Monday and this week's book review!


This is the story of a young boy with a love of machines and clocks, who finds himself orphaned, living in a train station and in possession of a wondrous (albeit, broken) machine that he believes has a message for him. This sweet little tale is made even sweeter by the beautiful illustrations throughout. It's very simply told, perfect for sharing with your child at bed time, (perhaps a chapter a night), filled with imagination and mystery. 

My favourite part is definitely the illustrations. They add a whole new level to the story, reminding me of what it felt like as a child to turn the pages of a story book, enraptured by the beautiful pictures within. The story is also very imaginative as I've said, with such an original plot and a really sympathetic main character in Hugo Cabret. You also can't beat that it's set in Paris, which I believe adds a little more wonder to the story, more so than if it was set in Chicago or Toronto.

So, if you'd like to recapture the wonder of a beautiful story book that you enjoyed as a child, or if you're looking for a book that extends past age barriers for different generations to enjoy together, this is the book for you. If for nothing else, pick it up and just have a look at the pictures.