July 2021

While camping, I inadvertently took some photos that perfectly illustrate the idea of “ambiance” in writing. Word choice conveys mood, and two different characters (perhaps one character is in a good place in their life, while the other has been traumatized and sees darkness and danger everywhere) will see and describe the same setting/situation in very different ways. How does this manifest in my photos? Photos of the same meadow at different times of the day.

The photo above is of the meadow at nightfall, after a day of rain, with the fog rolling in. It is dark and spooky and moody. The photo below is the same shot but on a sunny summer day. It’s light and bright and safe.

June 2021 #500Stories500Nights

  • 1: “The Boulevardier,” by David Stevens (Pseudopod 753)
  • 2: “Man vs. Bomb,” by M. Shaw (Fantasy Magazine Podcast, 3-9-21)
  • 3: “A, S, D, F,” by Said Sayrafiezadeh (The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice, 5-25-21)
  • 4: “The Udon at Tashihara’s,” by Joachim Heijndermans (StarShipSofa 661)
  • 5: “First Person Shooter,” by Charles Yu (Selected Shorts, 5-27-21)
  • 6: “Portable Mrs (Selected Shorts, 5-27-21)
  • 7: “Gertrude (Selected Shorts, 5-27-21)
  • 8: “Langsuir,” by Nadia Mikail (Cast of Wonders 453)
  • 9: “By Our Own Hands,” by Anya Leigh Josephs (Fantasy Magazine Podcast, 5-25-21)
  • 10: “St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid,” by CL Polk (LeVar Burton Reads, 4-19-21)
  • 11: “The Woman the Spiders Loved,” by Couri Johnson (Pseudopod 757)
  • 12: “The Memory of Love,” by Trace Conger (Pseudopod 757)
  • 13: “Three Years Ago this May,” by Peter Adam Saloman (Pseudopod 757)
  • 14: “Love is the Plan the Plan is Death,” by James Tiptree Jr. (Drabblecast 445)
  • 15: “The Women in My Family,” by Charlie Davenport (Tales to Terrify 487)
  • 16: “The Sins of the Fathers,” by Gina Easton (Tales to Terrify 487)
  • 17: “This Won’t Hurt a Bit,” by John Saxton (Nocturnal Transmissions 105)
  • 18: “The Mothman’s Second Escape,” by J. Askew (The Other Stories 65.1)
  • 19: “The Gallian Revolt as Seen From the Sama Sama Laundrobath,” by Brenda Kalt (The Overcast 150)
  • 20: “The Woman Under the Stairs,” by Jordan Krom (The Wicked Library TDiB S1E8)
  • 21: “Alvin,” by Jonas Elka (The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice, 4-13-21)
  • 22: “Naked Ladies,” by Antonya Nelson (The New Yorker Fiction, 3-2-18)
  • 23: “Zest for Life,” by NRM Roshak (StarShipSofa 660)
  • 24: “The South Asian Speakers Series Presents the Archeologist and Adventurer Indiana Jones,” by Tania James (Selected Shorts, 5-20-21)
  • 25: “Today, You’re a Black Revolutionary,” by Jade Jones (Selected Shorts, 5-20-21)
  • 26: “On a Day Tammy Had Not Eaten Enough Yellow,” by Kenneth Calhoun (Selected Shorts, 5-20-21)
  • 27: “This is Not My Adventure,” by Karlo Yeager Rodriguez (Cast of Wonders 450)
  • 28: “The Sweetest Source,” by JL Jones (Fantasy Magazine Podcast, 5-11-21)
  • 29: “Salt,” by Rosemary Melchoir (LeVar Burton Reads, 3-29-21)
  • 30: “Empty Houses,” by Caspian Gray (Nightmare Magazine Podcast, 6-9-21)

On the longer reads front, I finished Pandemic by Sonia Shah.

In addition to reading this month, I watched the lost Romero movie. I was EXTREMELY disappointed since Shudder was promoting it as the “lost Romero movie about the horrors of aging.” Instead, it was a public service announcement by an up-and-coming filmmaker. Looking at it through that lens, it was pretty interesting. It has a frame story, and the narrator tells you in the beginning, “Remember, as you watch the film, one day, you will be old.”

I still have been too busy to begin any new writing projects, but . . . I am considering/exploring a nonfiction project. It is completely outside my wheelhouse, but it intrigues me. I think I can write it and do a good job of it, but I’m worried about whether there is a market for it or not. I hate to spend six months to a year working on a project that’s just going to be greeted with crickets. So, as much as it interests me, I’m not sure it’s worth the investment of my time.

Aside from the big nonfiction project, I have two flash fiction contests I’m mulling over writing something for and a ridiculous “might as well win the lottery” contest I probably won’t write anything for. In other words, there’s a whole lot of “thinking about writing” going on and very little actual writing happening. And, in case you are interested, the “might as well win the lottery” contest is from LeVar Burton Reads. Yes, one of the best spec fic podcasts is looking for stories. If you have something, I highly encourage you to submit it!

That’s it for this month! Until next month, stay spooky!