#TalesNoir (I Started a Writing Prompt Game)

Anyone who follows me on twitter may have just possibly happened to notice that I perhaps enjoy the odd writing prompt game, now and then.  Just a smidgen.

So I started my own (I wasn’t drinking, and it wasn’t one am. So a mature decision, see I am a grown up. I’m going to have a few gram-grams and some chocolate milk to reward myself).

  I called it #TalesNoir and the first day is Wednesday 12/28!



It’s for horror, dark, gothic, and noir fiction.  All writers are welcome.  The usual rules about courtesy and civility apply.  Also twitters posting rules, of course.

The optional theme is a looser one, since we’re such a specific game.  For example the first is starts or beginnings so any lines that pertain to the first of something, or new meetings, settings, anything.  Also the theme is optional.  Long as it’s got that touch of night, then it’s welcome and thanks for sharing.

So that’s about it. I hope to see you there, I’d love to hear a few darker voices among the writer community.

And while I’ve got you here:  Thanks to all my readers in 2016 and in the many, many years that will follow.  Long way yet, but I’m feeling like we’re coming up on phase two.

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy Whatever Holidays You Do Celebrate (Or If None Then Just Have A Nice Day), And A Bright Shining New Year. 


Thoughts for Food

A Loose Collection of Thoughts on Food and Writing.

World Building

In cold northern Fryhel for almost every meal they serve bread and ‘fairy butter’.

To start it’s called fairy butter because it’s made in Southern Cyok by fairies.

It’s made from a coconut like fruit, reddish according to the locals. When prepared it produces a thick yellowish red oil.  The oil is cooked at a low temperature with orange peels and other citruses for about six hours, then shipped in casks.  Served on heated bread they say eating the butter will stave off illness and diseases of the mouth.

The people of Fryhel got no clue what scurvy actually is, or vitamin C, but we do and good chance your reader does.  (And a people that live off meat and fish alone are a little boring). Continue reading

A Twitter Post

The Strumbellas, again, The Bird That Follows Me.

So ’bout that blue bird.

I started twitter on February 10th.  I’m socially awkward and I always have been.  You can’t be a hermit author anymore though, the industry is changing.  Flooding and morphing and settling into this strange new era. Continue reading

Word Counts (and upping them)

Okay well, if you follow me on twitter (and if you don’t please feel morally obligated to do so now at this link here. @john_cordial ) then you’ve seen these posts popping up with the little pictures, and thanks, and numbers. 2.7k. 3.5k. 4.8k. 5.7K.

Continue reading

Free Space: Forest Fun.


(This Free Space is sort of a Journal/Methods post. Why is it in FS? It didn’t really fit either of the others. It’s just sort of a ramble/record of writing.)

I just wrote a short. A Walk in the Park. Kint, some teenagers, a forest. Check it out. I’d read it before this post, otherwise it’s going to get weird(er) up in here for you.

I’m going to talk about inspiration and influences in the writing of it. (Besides caffeine, my ever faithful companion.)



First off Song List. A very action orientated piece it was pretty much all fast paced rock and punk. Here’s my top 5 most listens for the writing portion.

Linkin Park – Keys to the Kingdom: Kint’s fight song. I listen to it as I plan out a lot of his fight scenes and this one was rife with them.

Modest Mouse – Lampshades on Fire: A song I like. No real relation to Kint or the story, but I listened to it about ten times while writing/editing.

The Dropkick Murphys – Rocky Road to Dublin: In the St. Patrick’s day mood, I guess. Although I do listen to a fair bit of Murphys regularly.

Offspring – Mission From God: Definitely a good song for Kint. Also a favorite of mine, although my all time favorite Offspring songs are ‘Want you Bad’ and ‘You’re Gonna Go Far Kid’.

Rise Against – Prayer of the Refugee: Actually the first song I listened to when as I started out the story. Inspired the fire bit in the beginning, and the story being set at night. Also a song of Kint’s, he’s an independent sort of guy.

For editing I always slow it down. Also I put the music player I’m using on autoplay or random. Either that or longer pieces, often full albums. I like to focus a lot on the task in front of me when I edit and switching songs, and the songs themselves are less important for that. Two Steps From Hell and The Decemberists are favorites for my editing stages.

DragonForce for when I get tired. Songs without words, or with those I know so well they fade to me.


Remember this episode?


This is a lot harder. With the songs I can just make a note of each listen. A bit of work, but not that bad when I can just glance through my internet history.

What the hell was I thinking though?

Or more accurately, where did those thoughts come from. Well Kint is Kint. Check around the rest of the site. He’s my main OC for now. My literary home-slice. My samurai Sherlock. (Note to self: Explore that as series tagline)

Dryads? Scooby-Doo and Batman. First time I ever heard of them. Lots of Greek myths, and other legendary tales as a child. Ents partially, and Tolkien for that. C.S. Lewis, of course. Besides that, well I like to play with my fears. Forests at night? Worse thing that could happen in said forest? (next to giant spiders) ‘Trees coming alive.’ Yeah, scariest forest I can imagine.

Forests themselves? Oregon. California too. Places are filthy with them. It’s awesome. I could never live in the woods but it’s fun to visit. I saw a picture on twitter that suggested, possibly as a prompt, to make an Urban Fantasy set in the woods. I didn’t really make note of it, but I remember seeing it about a week ago. Clearly that had to have some effect.

Dave and Jenna? What’s a dark woody night without a couple bright young things getting up to hi-jinks? I wanted to put Kint off his game though. What’s more painful than seeing a face you loved from the past? What’s worse? Fear in their eyes, or distrust, whatever hurts you most really, but for Kint it was fear.


Well I wanted it intense. I wanted people to be worried, and on edge for parts, and I wanted to include the above elements. So I put them together using the usual loose plotting.

Besides that, I just wrote it as one action scene. I trusted the reader (Something I’m working on a lot) to know they were in the forest, after I had said it. I wanted to leave a lot more description in, but I just felt like it cluttered the place up. Minimalism is good for action scenes, especially extended ones.

Also, I avoided the obvious. Kint telling Dave ‘I’m Kint’ after the Dryad attack. (He’s not even Kint, that’s a nom de guerre. Why he avoids an alias he chose is explained much better than I ever could here. Thanks @writerology!)

Checking on Jenna regularly. Her condition doesn’t change much, so I just edited her bits out. Again, I’m trusting the reader to remember a fairly dramatic scene (Not a stretch at all) and I’m building some tension. Constantly saying she’s not dead yet served no purpose in such a short story.

The end? Did Kint hook up with Rikki? Eh, I dunno. Like I said earlier, I trust the reader. Short stories over, so its up to them now.

Well that’s all the words I have, on this subject. If you like the story, or the blog on the writing of the story, just let me know in the comments or find me on twitter. I’d love to hear from you.

Free Space 0: Fuel to Fires

This is Free Space, a spot for me to just ramble on about whatever I’m rambling on about. Not that my whole blog isn’t essentially me rambling but here is where I’ll advertise it as such. Not sure if this will be a regular thing but we’ll see.

Today’s topic:

I’ve been thinking about ‘drive’ a lot lately. Not just why I write though, not just the big one, but little things that add to my drive. Things that make it easier to write that I do everyday.

First off, a few nice words: I use motivational posters as my desktop. Writer’s quotes that either mean a lot to me or push me forward. It’s something small but it really helps me to keep going when I’m down. I usually get them online, but I’ve made the last few on my own.

They aren’t world changing but every time I see my desktop, I get a little boost. Little bits add up. It helps, when I close my typing program in a huff or just exhausted, to have those words waiting for me. A lot more than I thought it would.

Secondly, mood boosters: I drink caffeine and listen to music as I write. Coffee usually, and just any music, depending on how I feel. I do have one song, It always raises my spirits when I’m down, and I listen to it at least once a day. Also I always drink out of my fox cup when I write.



Ritual: No, put the dagger and the sacrificial virgins away. I just mean a little thing I do everyday or every time I get ready to write. I get myself something to drink. I pace a bit, and I reread my story plan. Not always in that order but it’s how I psych myself up.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: Not really but I walk a few miles each morning. A few more in the evening. It makes me feel better and I’m often most productive after my walks. (Or at one in the morning when I have to be up early the next day)

Clean Body, Clean Mind: Again not literally but when I’m really stuck for writing ideas sometimes a hot shower can help. Full confession here, I often put my hair up afterwards, and put on cologne. Clean, well-dressed and nice smelling writer is far more confident than, ‘Is it really a shower day?’ writer.

So that my how I put ink to paper. How do you like to get ready to write?

What’s your writing ritual?

What habits make it easier for you to slay that blank page?