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Flasher Fiction: Working Girls

7 Jan

At the start of the New Year it’s nice to strike out in new directions. That’s what we aim to do here at Passionate Reads and at the Greyville Writer’s Colony. The publishing industry and writers are struggling with digital disruption. I’m ready to embrace it, ready to see if we can make digital work for us in new ways.

Author Tina Glasneck shared an article with me this morning on the J A Konrath’s predictions for the future of publishing. He says some interesting things, including plans to explore interactive media more. A similar theme was at the heart of the Future of Storytelling class I took recently at iVersity. The future is interactivity.

If you know me, you know interactive fiction is my passion. I’m pleased to see that the genre is gaining attention just as the Greyville Writer’s Colony authors are hard at work on new ways to bring interactivity to writing and publishing.

Konrath wound up his predictions with this comment:

“The way to succeed in this future is to live and think in this future. That means continuing to innovate, experiment, and refuse to be satisfied.”

At Greyville Colony we literally log into the future of fiction. We walk around in that future and sit down to chat with it. If you want to keep an eye on the future then this blog is an excellent place to see where that future is headed.

My first experiment of the year was to build a scene in a virtual world populate it with characters and use it to make illustrations for a new form of storytelling I wanted to try. It’s not interactive fiction but is was a story created in a pixel world by an avatar. I call it a Flasher.

My definition of a flasher is a story length somewhere between 55-250 words–a page or less. Sixty-nine words being my favorite length and a sixty-niner threesome being a nice tool for creating the beginning-middle-end setup of a story.

I love flash fiction but I’ve always felt it could gain a wider audience if paired with images. Yes, you can create mood, setting, characterization in just a few words. That’s part of the challenge. By employing a few poetic techniques, flash fiction delivers characters and emotional punch that can get lost in longer narratives.

This process, learning to use the poetry of images and words together, was like crack for the creative mind. The project hooked me and wouldn’t let go until I finished.

Get the complete Working Girls flasher here. It’s a free quickie–7 pages in PDF format. I think I’ll write a lot more flashers. Maybe a 69er threesome flash next time.

If you’d like to make a flasher, keep an eye on the blog. I plan to have a tutorial up in 2 weeks detailing how to make these graphic flash fiction mash-ups–no drawing ability required. If you’re impatient to learn more, drop in and visit us at the virtual Greyville Writer’s Colony where we’re always pushing the limits of what a story can be. Membership is free and open to everyone.


28 Oct

Writer’s block, lack of inspiration…or just too damned tired to write?

Okay, my lovelies, I’m not quite sure why I haven’t been writing much lately. It could be any or all of the above, but—

It really needs to stop…like, NOW.

33837f3838e5b90787080f870c67aa77It’s nearly November and in trying to figure out where 2013 went, I was reminded of my New Year’s resolutions for 2012.

Go to the Beach,

        Have a Drink,

                Eat What I Want,

                        Read a Book,

                                Write! Continue reading

Write Like No One Is Reading…

20 Apr

I fully remember when I became self-conscious about my writing. In my sixth grade language arts class, I had penned a murder mystery short. My heroine’s pet bunny was murdered and left for dead…in a bloody heap on her doorstep.

There was mayhem! A rival with a motive! A quasi-love interest who was just as distraught about the dog as the heroine! In the end, the culprit was the neighbor’s rabid dog who was later put down and the story ended with her getting a new pet….a puppy.

Now 11 year old me didn’t think about things like logic — I went with a puppy because I liked dogs more than cats. Upon reading this story, my teacher praised it and encouraged me to layer in more details and string out the tension.

My mother and my sister….both laughed. Not the ha-ha-ha, I love this laughter of joy, but a OMG-cant-stop-chuckle of derision. With a single read through they had both pinpointed the issue with the puppy and brought it to light.

Neither of them knew at the time that they had made a huge impact on my creative works. I no longer had the same freedom, the same confidence in my words.

Though they enjoyed subsequent works, though I later earned a writing recognition in front of the entire school, though I continued to write fiction in secret, I could never recapture that same level of I Am Awesome.

Now it’s something I re-learn every time I write a book. I give myself permission to just write, and let myself know that it’s okay if I don’t get it right the first time — that’s what CPs are for and edits. By the same token, I can admit that some of what I write has merit as is.

It’s a delicate balance and one I wish I didn’t have to navigate. But it’s the only way to get the job done: Write Like No One is Reading.




Who wants you to be freeeeeee! If you want to hear more of Sasha’s ramblings, visit her at or follow her on Twitter @SashaDevlin. You can also peep her pins on Pinterest here

Risky Business

17 Mar

SkydivingFirst a shout-out to my BFF & sister Bitch Goddess, Shannon Emmel – HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You are still one super-sexy broad!

My question to everyone today is…do you tend to take the road less traveled or stick to the familiar path?

I consider myself a “controlled” risk taker. For example, I’ve jumped out of an airplane, but I was firmly strapped to a younger, stronger pro all the way to the ground. I went on a solitary vision quest around the U.S., but I was in my car (with a coffee pot that could be powered by the cigarette lighter) and never ventured far from civilization.

I’m a firm believer that great rewards—whether money, love or memorable experiences—require some level of risk. Though “luck” and “serendipity” can certainly play a vital part, the individual still has to take the chance on whatever falls in her lap. The easy, rational route is to ignore the whisper of an enticing yet risky opportunity if one is in a fairly stable or comfortable situation.

When it comes to writing, I’ve had my share of taking risks as well as taking the “safe” road and I’ve had successes and failures both ways. But honestly, the risky ones were the most fun for me. Believe me, I know how hard it is to work on a story that doesn’t have a fixed market. I received 79 rejections on my futuristic romance novels before finally getting PYRAMID OF DREAMS published in 1992. A number of respected editors and agents repeatedly told me I had to write category or historical romances if I ever wanted to break into publishing. But I wanted to write a cross-genre series even if everyone insisted that was completely unmarketable. And so I ignored all the good advice and broke a barrier.

Twenty years later, I was still receiving letters from readers about those books and this year, I was finally convinced to convert them to e-books. I just finished updating and revising all four of the original books and, once they are uploaded, I plan on working on the fifth, which never made it to bookstores.  Blurbs and excerpts for the first two books, retitled FEVERED (Pyramid of Dreams) and FALCON’S RUN (Topaz Dreams), are available on my site now and I’ll soon add teasers for FIERCE VOYAGER (Stardust Dreams) and FINDING TIME (Stolen Dreams).



Hoping all your reads are Passionate,

Marilyn Campbell

www.marilyncampbell; FB: AuthorMarilynCampbell; TW: marilyncampbel3

Signs, Omens or Story Triggers?

3 Mar

Baby OwlThe other night, this baby owl landed (or fell out of a tree) onto our patio and made enough racket for us to investigate. A cat had the poor thing cornered. My daughter’s reaction was to rush out and chase the cat away, then stand guard in the shadows until the mama could safely rescue its chick. My reaction was to rush for my “Animal Speak” book to check out what the owlet’s appearance meant.

As a student of metaphysics, I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. Unfortunately, no amount of studying guarantees being able to come up with what that reason is. So was the owl’s appearance a sign of expanded wisdom and perception? An omen of a death or ending? Or was the entire event a trigger for a new story?

As an author, my mind always leaps from an image or event to a story idea. Sometimes those ideas turn into books. In this case, I immediately recalled the Barbra Streisand/George Segal romantic comedy, “The Owl and the Pussycat”. Sure, I could write that love story with a different angle but I realized I was more interested in the cat’s motivation than the adorable but helpless bird. The yellow cat had looked more curious than aggressive and it was too plump to be hungry. Suddenly I was imagining an alien falling out of the sky and though it was totally harmless, the natives wanted to poke and prod it— Oh wait, that’s been done too.

So maybe this one wasn’t a story trigger after all. Maybe it was a sign of something unusual and interesting about to come into our lives. Then again, maybe it was telling me to write a story about a woman who lets signs and omens control all her decisions, until one day…

Whether you’re a writer or believer in signs, I hope you never stop letting your imagination run amok when a trigger appears!

Marilyn Campbell; fb: authormarilyncampbell; tw: marilyncampbel3

Of Candy and Hearts and Candy Hearts

9 Feb

I feel like we’re friends, so I can be completely honest with you. I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. Sure I love the pink and the glitter and I love that it’s supposed to be a celebration of love. BUT I find most of what is held as the ultimate in Valentine’s and romance just leave me going pfffft.

I loathe conversation hearts. I think they taste like the end of a relationship — chaulky and with a hint of disappointment. And — don’t take my Woman Card — I didn’t even like chocolate candy until a few years ago.

I can’t stand any Katherine Hiegl movie. And you can interchange that with any Jessica Biel movie (save Blade 3) and most Reese Witherspoon movies They all miss their mark.

Clearly, I believe in love and romance, otherwise, why write what I do?

Real love isn’t about glitter or cut out hearts or candy that tastes like sadness or perfect looking people who act like they are made of cardboard. It’s loud, it’s messy, it’s supposed to make you squirm, and in the end it’s all worth it.

And if your Lover brings you candy, a paper heart or takes you to see a romantic movie, I hope you get that loud/messy/squirmy feeling.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



Who wants you to be her Valentine. If you want to hear more of Sasha’s ramblings, visit her at or follow her on Twitter @SashaDevlin. You can also peep her pins on Pinterest here

Who’s My Creampuff?

26 Jan

Confession time: I love endearments and nicknames. I’ve always gone by a shortened version of my real name and I give endearments/nicknames to friends, family and enemies alike. I very rarely have a character that doesn’t end up with one.

But you have to be careful. While  I can get away with calling a friend Bunnymuffins (yes, you read that right) in real life, put it in a story and it’ll throw the reader out every time.  Sugar, baby, honey and sweetheart are all fine. Sugar Lips, not so much. And don’t even get me started on Candy Yams.

My brain conspires against me. It twitches and sprinkles in the endearments while my back is turned. Generally I have to edit most of these out, but I recently had a project where I could go nuts.

And I abused it with glee! Honeypie! Angelfritter! Pumpkin-puss!  There was no endearment too over the top to use and it felt so good. Of course, the whole story is over the top, so it works.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the next time I could do it again, Honeybritches. *sigh* But since the rest of my books are not humorous in nature, I’ve got to know, what’s your favorite endearment?



Who wants you to be her Babycakes. If you want to hear more of Sasha’s ramblings, visit her at or follow her on Twitter @SashaDevlin. You can also peep her pins on Pinterest here

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