Tag Archive | The Angry Hourglass

Sixty Seconds with: Holly Geely

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Holly Geely.  That’s right: she’s a current dragon captain judge (Team Five!) and a first-time winner, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Read her winning story on her winner’s page here, then take one minute to get to know her better.

1) What about the Canterbury Tales elements inspired your winning piece? How could I resist a talking rooster? The courtly love bit is what inspired the poetry.

2) How long have you been writing flash? It’s been years now. I started writing it before I knew what it was.

3) What do you like about writing flash? Punch lines work better with shorter fiction!

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Dialogue is your friend.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? My beloved Team #5 partner, Foy S. Iver – she’s amazing!

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? I like to poke my nose in at Finish That Thought, Micro Bookends, and Angry Hourglass (Saturdays are harder though).

7) What other stuff do you write? It’s funny, I generally don’t write poetry…yet I won with a poem! I’ve written one novel so far. {Editor’s Note: She means The Dragon’s Toenailof course, which just launched this week; join us in two weeks for a #Spotlight interview introducing you to this brand new book!}

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? Fantasy! World building is my second-favourite part. (Character building is my favourite.)

9) Tell us about a WIP. I’m writing the sequel to The Dragon’s  Toenail. More characters, more shenanigans, and a dragon’s egg.

10) How do you feel about dragons? They’re delicious with BBQ sauce!

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Sixty Seconds III with: Nancy Chenier

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Nancy Chenier.  Read her winning story here. This is her THIRD fabulous win at Flash! Friday (sparkly sparkly!). Read her previous #SixtySeconds interviews as well as her bio here. Then take another minute or two to get to know her better below. (And no, don’t bother counting the words in her response; third-timers can be as wordy as they wish!)

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  When I saw the picture, the thing I most wanted to do is find a conflict that didn’t involve a love triangle because I knew others would be doing that — and with a much more deft hand than I ever could.

2) Your (wrenching) winning story is straight fiction. Spending more time on that side of the sandbox these days, or does specfic still hold your heart? Spec-fic definitely — in fact, I wavered over submitting this one in favor of a fantasy idea.

3) We’ve checked on your middle grade novel’s second draft progress in September and again in Februrary; how’s it going now? What do you enjoy about the process–or is it all challenge at the moment? How do you keep your eyes fresh, and how do you find what you need to keep working at it? It’s on the back burner until the squidlet starts school (September!). I just can’t get a long enough stretch of time to fine-tune a second novel-length draft. What I’m working on now is fine-tuning shorter pieces and looking to publish more short fiction.

4) You’ve been writing flash for over two and a half years. Is flash your main squeeze, or have you ventured into short stories or other forms? What form/genre haven’t you tried but would like to? I started out writing short fiction and dove into flash with much more zeal last year when I discovered the community (here!) of weekly contest flashers. The Flash Dogs community in particular has really fueled the flash-fiction fire.

5) Has your approach to flash/prompts changed since you started? if so, how? what have you learned about writing flash? Wow, yes. The sheer volume of finished stories produced has pushed me into new territories. Once I’d written several time-travel, android, changeling, dragon, love triangle, death, birth, illness, steampunk, etc. stories, I lost patience with “just” cranking out a story. Of course that means I put more pressure on myself and so–on the downside–it sometimes stymies me from finishing and submitting.

6) Any new publications/accolades we should know about? Some of my stories found their ways into Luminous Creatures’ Five Hundred Words of Magic, and in the FIRST Flash Dogs anthology.

7) Speaking of publication, what are you currently working on?  Stories for the SECOND Flash Dogs Anthology! It’s a really exciting project with Solstice as the unifying theme–both dark and light. The picture prompts are incredibly evocative and I can’t wait to see how the other dogs have been inspired.

8) What are you reading? Favorite book of this past year? Which author would you love to write like, and why? I’m going back through the Game of Thrones series noting how the series has departed from the books (a bit of a geek that way). The stand-out book of last year: Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

9) Let’s talk writing communities. Belong to any? How about writers’ conferences or workshops this past year? Which conference/workshop is your favorite, and why? Writerly-wise, I’m pretty much only an on-line presence. I started seeing the #flashdogs hashtag a few weeks after I got into Flash Friday (and Finish That Thought and Flash Frenzy). I went back and forth over sending a query about becoming part of the group (Was I being too presumptuous thinking they might include me?). Mark sent me a warm welcome. All that fret for nothing.

10) Let’s say you won a grant to use in any writerly way you’d like. Where would the money go, and why? (What’s the most important thing a writer can/should spend money on?) Time. Time. Time. The squidlet is at a full-time-attention age. I’d use the money to take a year in San Diego so my parents could take care of her for extended periods (without Mommy-guilt setting in).

Bonus 11) Any shouts out/thoughts/comments/messages? Say, have I mentioned Flash Dogs yet?

Sixty Seconds III with: Chris Milam

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Chris Milam.  Read his winning story here. Note that this is his THIRD THIRD win at Flash! Friday (woot!). Read his previous #SixtySeconds interviews as well as his bio here. Then take another minute or two to get to know him better below. (Note that three-time winners are never held to the word count rule. Chat away, Chris!)

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  Nothing revelatory with the kitchen prompt, to be honest. I instantly saw a mother and son at breakfast. I wrote the first paragraph without having any idea how to include the prisoner picture. As the story unfolded, I knew a tale of hardship steeped in love and tragedy needed a father character of some sort. The story wrote itself after that.

2) You’ve been writing for FF a good while now. How has your approach to the prompts changed since you started? I think I approach the prompts in a less literal way. Not always the case, depends on the prompt, but I always try and do something a bit different. I usually know where a high percentage of writers will go with their stories and I focus on taking a less-traveled route. In a contest, it’s important to write a story that doesn’t mirror the vibe and thoughts of others. Originality is always the goal, and one I fail at often.

3) How has writing flash affected your other writing? Writing flash fiction has certainly helped with poetry. Brevity is the key to both, and the process of condensing and excising unnecessary words applies to poetry as well. On the rare occasion when I write an essay, flash fiction can be found all over the page. Usually it’s a smear of overly-descriptive prose, a bad habit of mine, that reveals itself. Poetry, flash and nonfiction all aim to impact the reader in an emotional way. It’s the duty of words, a plunging of the reader’s mind with a profound precision.

4) In your first interview, you said you were writing a “surreal fairy tale” for your daughter. How’s that going? What are you working on these days? Well, the story for my daughter is currently languishing in my documents. It’s more laborious writing a children’s tale than I ever imagined. Hopefully, I’ll return to that story and create some magic. Time will tell. I’m currently focused on the #FlashDogs anthology. I have the rough draft of one story completed, and I’ve written the first couple of paragraphs of a second story. I’m not pleased with either one. A bit pedestrian. Plenty of time to fix them, though. And I will.

5) Besides FF :), what are your favorite writing sites? I don’t enter the weekly contests as often as I used to but a few I enjoy are: Three Line Thursday, Micro Bookends and Angry Hourglass. Also, I’m always lurking on the sites of various online magazines and journals. Always reading. Always learning.

6) What advice would you give to writers who are new to flash? What might you say to seasoned writers who haven’t won yet? To new writers: just write. That’s all you can do. Take those strange thoughts in your head and spill them across the digital vellum. Don’t be afraid to fail. We all do. But you can’t fail or succeed if you don’t write. Take a chance. Push the envelope. Create. Write. Have fun.

For the seasoned folks who haven’t won FF? It’s all subjective. Keep writing. Keep entering. I know some of the people who haven’t won. I’ve read their stories. I’ve seen their talent. Don’t let not winning yet define you. It shouldn’t. It doesn’t. Believe in your ability to work the word and keep plugging away. A crown isn’t required to be known as a fabulous writer. 

7) Tell us something about your writing life. How often do you get to write, and how do you balance writing and responsibilities?  I usually have an adequate amount of time to write; balance isn’t a major issue. My problem, at times, is motivation and self-doubt. I can easily slip into a lazy, negative mindset which isn’t conducive to writing. I’ll question my abilities, my reasons for writing and what the whole point of flash fiction is, when I’m in a dark mood. I’m always engaged in a bloody battle with my demons. It’s exhausting. Good times.

8) What’s your writing process like? When I write, it’s all about coffee, solitude and music. And doubt. I tend to take a break from a story and pace the floors like a madman. Back and forth. Yelling at myself. Sometimes out loud. Then more coffee, more words. More pacing. Look at Twitter. Fill a jar with teardrops. More coffee etc.

9) What are your biggest writerly pet peeves? I’m not a big fan of cheeky, goofball humor in a story. It’s an arduous endeavor for even the best of writers. Sometimes, a story that is all inner-monologue can be a pet peeve of sorts. I’m guilty of this one quite often. I prefer movement in a story, not just a writer’s thoughts. The whole “Show don’t tell” applies here. Twist endings can be a turnoff, at times, when not done properly. If the entire story is uprooted by an implausible turn of events at the end, it’s a waste of the reader’s time.

10) Final thoughts? Shout-outs are in order for the folks doing all the heavy lifting for the #FlashDogs anthology: Mark King, David Shakes, Tamara Rogers, and Emily June Street. Not only are they putting this massive project together, but they’re also extremely talented writers and kind human beings. I applaud them.

Quite a few writers have truly inspired me and I’ve learned a great deal from reading their work. Whether I’ve long been a fan or they’ve written something recently that caught my eye, these folks deserve a mention: Grace Black, Jacki Donnellan, Voima Oy, David Borrowdale, Carlos Orozco, Marie McKay, Steph Ellis, Foy Iver, Tamara Shoemaker, Catherine Connolly and Brett Milam. You guys can sling the prose. And to be honest, I could’ve named any #FlashDog here. Every single one of you continues to astound and inspire me.