Category Archives: Story Origins

Story Origins: Dove Without Wings

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The conception of “Dove Without Wings,” my story in No More Heroes, actually had very little to do with me. It was the most ‘targeted’ story I’ve ever written, and by that, I mean that if I hadn’t earned a place in the anthology, there was literally nothing I could have done with the piece. I don’t normally take risks like that, but this project felt so unique and I was desperate to be part of it.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept behind No More Heroes, here’s the scoop. It exists in a world populated with an original cast of superheroes and villains. Prior to the book’s opening, a great ‘Endgame-style’ battle occurs, and the victors were… the villains! Omggg plot twist, yeah? So, the big question is: What do villains do when they have no more heroes to fight? Enter a fleet of authors (including yours truly) endeavoring to answer that question.

It’s a neat idea, and the neatness is compounded by the fact that all of the authors are essentially working with the same set of characters. When submissions opened, the editors posted a list of all characters and their personalities and superpowers, and then once they chose the stories they liked best, we were asked to edit them so that the characters showed continuity from one book to another.

So, you can see why I absolutely HAD to be part of this. It was honestly one of my more challenging projects – not just because the stakes were so high, but because I had to work with other people’s creations. I’d never done that before, or since, and it was terrifying to think that I didn’t have authority to shape them myself.

We were allowed to bring in our own original characters, as long as they weren’t part of the ‘villain club.’ So, I figured I would need someone really dynamic to properly anchor me into this story, and *cue fanfare* Zen arrived. I love working with this guy a lot. Even though he only exists in one short story, he shows up in my blog posts all the time. (Seriously, all the time! Check out some of his other posts here.)

He’s a math professor, and I definitely have an obsession with math, so that’s part of it. But also, I love his mix of ‘Everything is pointless, why bother,’ and ‘Let’s get this s*** handled.’ He’s gloomy, but perceptive. Curious, but bored. Stubborn, but resigned.

Once I had him as a main character, the story itself fell into place pretty easily. (Or at least, I had the outline. Actually drafting it was quite difficult for me. Remember, I’d never worked with borrowed characters, so it felt weird.) But after it was finished, this story represented so much of what really set my soul on fire: Villains, Math, Goodies and baddies striking a temporary truce, Little sentimental nuggets in the midst of tension, Plot twists… It was simply a delight to work on.

Even though the story can never be reprinted, and it can only exist within the context of this one specific anthology, I consider it an important part of my collection, and I’m glad I took the risk. It was worth it. If you’re interested in the anthology, you can find it here on Amazon, or I always have copies at my table if we have the good fortune to be at a convention together.

The Videos that inspired my Dancing Story

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Hey, guess what? My Dancing Novelette is free on Amazon for the next five days! (Snag a copy here). To kick this off, I thought I’d share a little of my inspiration for the story…


When I’m writing a certain project, I generally have a ‘tool kit’ of inspirational things that I go to when I need to get the juices flowing. Sometimes it’s a song, or a series of pictures, or a passage of fiction, or a physical object… you get the idea.

When I was working on The World That Forgot How to Dance, my primary jump-starters were these two videos. I normally watched them before every writing session, and sometimes in the middle of a writing session if I got stuck, and sometimes right before bed if I wanted my subconscious to keep working on the story while I slept. Read the rest of this entry

New Published Story! (and the bracelet that inspired it)

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Guess what, friends? I have a new story out there! It was published by Every Day Fiction on March 1st, and you can read it right here. This is not my first time publishing with EDF, but the first time I’ve had a fantasy (fantasy-ish? Someone in the comments called it a parable, which may be closer) piece appear on their website.

This story began as an object. This one.

Angel Bracelet

I was given this bracelet by my Great Aunt, who is also my pen pal, and a delightfully eclectic lady. I’ve always been oddly fascinated with holding it and playing with it. It has a very nice weight which I find comforting, and I’ve always really enjoyed the concept of angels, so one morning I decided I really wanted to write a story that incorporated both angels and beaded bracelets. Read the rest of this entry

New Publication! “The Truth Behind Letters”

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This post features my shiny, new story, The Truth Behind Letters
It also talks about Waiting Room.

No Spoilers

On this most delightful of Saturdays, I have a new short story to add to my list of publications :-D.

This particular story is an interesting ‘first’ for me, because this is the first time I’ve written a story as a sequel to a previous story. Does anyone remember Waiting Room? Yeah: this is the same Samantha. Her character survey is located here if you want a refresher as to who she is. Read the rest of this entry

Where I thought of “Waiting Room.” (Hint, it’s not the obvious answer…)

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This post discusses my story Waiting Room.
Published by Every Day Fiction
No Spoilers

There I sat in the hospital waiting room, numb with tedium and nerves, when my very writerly brain decided I could turn this situation into a darned good story…

Okay. As much as I wish I could say the above, it didn’t happen that way. I actually first considered this idea in a writing class at Hollins. We were studying setting, and were tasked with describing a place with a specific personality. As I was jotting down minute details about a hospital waiting room, I found myself caring less about the room itself and more about the sort of person who might notice these things in such a place.

That’s where I met Samantha. Read the rest of this entry