Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Behind The Words // Ellie Ann Soderstrom

Ellie Ann Soderstrom assures me she hasn't yet published a book. I assure her that there's still a place for her -- a big one -- here at The Farthest Reaches. Behind the Words is about talking your way through the process of writing, about seeing what habits form the successes we call words on paper. And besides, Ellie's good Twitter friend (and mine), Ryne Douglas Pearson says putting "your butt in the chair and mak[ing] clicky sounds with your keyboard" makes you a writer.

And I know that Ellie Ann is a writer. Her pop-culture and unique-perspective blog posts keep me enthralled and in stitches, nearly always at the same time. Let's stop wasting time with what I have to say about Ellie Ann's processes as she gets set to finish her first full-length novel. Let's instead go Behind the Words, and see first hand how Ellie's writing life works...

Ellie Ann battles the Farthest Reaches...

I am Mrs. Ellie Ann Soderstrom and my ancestor was a Scottish patriot who got his head chopped off and his body flung over the side of a castle. That doesn't have much to do with anything but I like bragging about dead relatives.

I haven't written anything you can read (yet) unless you get a hand on Grinnell's Homeschool Newsletter of 1998 'cause I had a good many articles published: The DesMoines Zoo Field Trip and How To Make Monkeybread were some of my best. It was a good stint while it lasted . . . the publicity was lucrative but the pay was lousy.

I also write a blog. I know, I know. You're thinking that NO writer has a blog these days. But I like to be different, I guess:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flash Fiction // Remembering Train Car Six

I challenged readers and writers who visit The Farthest Reaches to write a little flash story based on the prompt, "A forgetful character starts discovering actions made in his favour at some point in the past. The only catch? He honestly can't remember doing them himself. Funny, sad, poignant or horrific, have fun with it. No character limit, but maybe anywhere from 200 up to a couple thousand. You're the boss of the story. Er. Well, the story's more likely the boss of you, but don't feel limited."

I promised I would write my own and include it. Sadly, I'm lousy at writing flash fiction under 200 words. I started writing a story that I *thought* would be about 3-400 words in length and here it is, all 1500 words of it.

Luckily, I really like it. I think I'll edit it (this is strictly first draft stuff below!) and include it in an anthology somewhere down the road. I would love to know what you think of it -- and how well I addressed my own prompt.

This story will remain up until Sunday. So read it while you can!

UPDATE: Sunday, July 24, 2011 2:30 PM CST

The short story has been removed, and I'm pleased to report that while it was up it garnered just over 800 hits!  I want to sincerely thank all my friends and peers for reading the story, leaving comments, re-tweeting some mentions on Twitter about it and generally sending good vibes out into the Farthest Reaches.

The last story I posted in this manner garnered about 500 hits so the 800 for this story is a phenomenal increase. I hope that readers got at least a modicum of entertainment value from reading the tale. Remember to read some of my guests flash stories based on the same prompt.

Thanks, everyone!

j. //

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Behind The Words // Al Boudreau

Al Boudreau. Novelist. Indie supporter. Tweeting mad man. There are more titles for Al, but he'd probably appreciate this one the best: friend to authors across the world.

Al is also a member of the decision committee for the 2011 Farthest Reach Award, dedicated to recognizing outstanding members of the book marketing community. Al's going to be working with the team to winnow down the nominees and decide who's the cream of the crop. For my money, Al has the chops and the experience necessary for this task, no question.

I met Al on Twitter late last year and came to know more about him and his work, plus his undying camaraderie among the Twitter faithful over the last several months. He's quick to pour you a virtual drink and quick to sing your praises if he believes in you. And, he's been known to write a cracking thriller now and again. About his work, about his space, and about how he does what he does, I present Mr. Al his own words...

My pen name is Al Boudreau. I decided to change my real name to Al Boudreau too, so as not to confuse people. My debut Mystery/Thriller, IN MEMORY OF GREED, came out at the end of January, 2011. It is presently available in ebook format for Kindle and Nook.

I write while sitting on the couch in my living room, netbook in my lap, and notes/outline by my side. It's the most comfortable spot I could find. I'll nibble on an occasional snack while writing, but find it difficult to write with any kind of noise. Therefore, I try to maintain a silence that would rival most monk's surroundings. My sheep ran away months ago. Too quiet for his taste, apparently.

I utilize both a netbook computer and composition notebooks when I write. Generally, I can produce one or two chapters a day, if writing is all that's on my docket. I generally rough-edit chapters the following morning, before writing the new day's work. Once my manuscript is complete, I'll read it through and edit again, before passing it along to beta-readers.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Taking Care of Future Jason

No, I didn't name my son Jason Jr. This is a vanity post, make no mistake, but not quite in the same way. I thought I'd mix it up and talk a little bit about my life and how I think. By that last clause, some of you are surely ready to jump in with a smarmy comment. I invite you to. Most readers of The Farthest Reaches are astute, capable and filled with wit. And you should take every chance you can to rib me.

I wish I could say the same about my own level of capability and wit. You see, dear friends, my biggest challenge as a writer and a person is that I have a terrible memory. I can swear to myself, my family, my colleagues that I have finished or tended to something, perhaps some major task, perhaps some minor one. Then, days, weeks, months will go by and I will discover that I left it hanging. I don't mean to do it. I honestly don't. But, hey, the road down below was paved with J. McIntyre's best intentions.

Lately I've been pleasantly baffled and bemused by some of my behaviour that has been grossly contrary to this character flaw of mine. We had an incredibly wet spring. It seemed like it was raining every second day in April, May and June. Downtown, I needed to walk several blocks to my building and, after a few days of coming in out of the rain, drenched from head to toe (though with my haircut, some of you smarmier friends can joke, "How wet, exactly, were you, J.?") I had the brilliant idea that I would finally buy an umbrella this year.

Yes, yes, I've lived on the west coast, Vancouver Island even, where rain is a fair constant. But still, in my childhood and adulthood I've never owned an umbrella. Even my three-year old had a Batman number which cupped his little head and shoulders perfectly at the age of two and a half. Me? Never. Never had an umbrella. Must have thought I was too cool for one.

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