Media Medley – March 2016

And now, for your entertainment pleasure, it’s time for the month-end media roundup!

Actually, we’re not doing that. It was kind of lacking in substance and it took a long amount of time to do without a lot of payoff.

So instead I’m going to break down my FAVORITE thing from each type of media I consumed over the month of March.

Let’s get to it!


I didn’t watch a ton of movies during March (I rarely do these days, it seems), but I did see Batman v. Superman (it was garbage), I watched Deadpool for a second time (still glorious), and I watched a movie called Slow Learners from Netflix. It stars Adam Palley and Sarah Burns, both of whom you recognize on sight. I’m not sure I’d call Slow Learners my favorite movie that I watched in March (at least new movie I watched in March), but it definitely had some funny moments despite being a completely typical indie rom-com. Continue reading

The Wings Take Shape – Part Eight

Tuesday comes along, and with the dawning of this day, new words form up into a story for you to drink up like water in a desert.

Another chapter of The Wings Take Shape is coming at you!

If you’re new to the story, head to Part One and start from the beginning!

Last week, Captain Renee Mollen and her Winged Riders hid in the bloody wood, the Red Forest, seeking shelter for a little rest in the dangerous forest. Renee was worried about Jon, who had turned into a cougar in front of everyone, revealing his Skinchanger nature and violently murdering Renee’s Scout Irons in his rage and escape. She took to calling for him in the woods, but he didn’t appear.

Sergeant Marie Mollen, Renee’s twin sister, came to Renee and discussed their future and the wisdom in seeking Sadie out knowing that her nephew Jon’s fate was uncertain. The twinner bond they shared was weakening just as they needed it most, but once it starts to go, it is said nothing can be done.

Farsight Poul saw something in the woods creeping upon them, and a pack of cougars set upon them, snarling and ready to attack, but a larger cougar, what must have been Jon, scared them away.

He attempted to Change back to his normal human form, but it failed midway and he fled back into the bloody wood, still a cougar, still wild. They pressed on to find Sadie and hopefully some help.


The Wings Take Shape

Part Eight – Sadie Skinchanger

by Rick Cook Jr.

Another town burned to the ground. Renee was sick of the sight. She brought her Wings to the edge of the bloody wood and they stared at the smoldering wreckage of Sadie’s village.

Marie’s fingers clenched around Renee’s arm. “Is she dead?” she whispered.

“As hard as she fought to keep herself alive against the cadshee? I doubt it.” Renee pulled her arm free and tugged on the reins, making her horse follow into the village square. The rest of Renee’s Wings and recruits came soon after.

It smelled only of charred wood and linen. No scents of burning flesh. No bodies to speak of. That was good. Where had Sadie gone? Had she taken the townsfolk to safety? Her children? Continue reading

Breaking the Author – Week Twelve

It’s March 27th, 2016! Let’s do that update thing I do.

I had goals for Week Twelve, and this is what they were:

  • Write Shapes 2 Part 8
  • Write Week 3 for Writing Game Year 2
  • Continue broad edits on Writing Game Year 1
  • Finish line edits on Shapes 1
  • Maintain the blog
  • Submit a short story, not necessarily Shibboleth

I did pretty good this week, and I had family in town during the latter part of the week, so I’m calling that a pretty big win. Continue reading

Should You Enter Writing Contests?

It’s Thursday and I want to bring you a strictly opinionated post today. The subject matter is something I hold true and is not touted as “the correct answer”, so be warned to take with grains of salt!

I’ve talked about submitting short stories and the like to editors for magazines, e-zines, journals, anthologies. Most of the time submitting stories for publication consideration to these types of things is free, costing only time and effort. If they’re not free, it’s usually the price of postage for snail-mail and printing your story for the more old-fashioned publications.

But writing contests are a whole different ball-game. A writing contest is usually a one-time event. It may see your story published at some point as a reward for winning the contest, but likely it will be available on whatever space you submitted the story to for the contest and you will receive some form of payment. Continue reading

The Wings Take Shape – Part Seven

Another chapter is here for your viewing pleasure! Part Seven of The Wings Take Shape is coming at you.

If you’re new to the story, head to Part One and start from the beginning!

Last week, Captain Renee Mollen and her squad were taken captive by foreign soldiers at the trading town Danver’s Table. Amidst questioning, Renee distracted their guards long enough for her twin sister, Sergeant Marie Mollen, and her adopted Sergeant Regina Hughes to free themselves and mount a rescue of the rest of their Winged Riders.

They free the Wings and take control of Danver’s Table, and in the ensuing discussions, Renee presses all the able-bodied men, women, and teenagers into service under her Winged Riders. If they want to be protected, they can help protect.

They have decided to flee for the home of Sadie Sawyer Paige, Jon’s aunt and wife to Jeffrey Paige, a Winged Rider in Captain Claire Claymonte’s employ. Sadie is a Skinchanger of a different ilk, having absorbed the powers of the cadshee, shifting into any form at will. If she still lives and they can find her, Sadie may prove a capable ally in the coming conflict.


The Wings Take Shape

Part Seven – Shadow of the Cadshee

by Rick Cook Jr.

They fled south and west, taking every backwater trail the twins could muster, trying to avoid the main arteries of the empire’s roads. Twice in their desperate, exhausted flight they had run the horses ragged fleeing foreign patrols and taken sanctuary in the bloody wood. And both times they had slept little or not at all.

Marie certainly hadn’t caught more than an hour’s rest. Between Renee’s worry infecting her and Private Wander trying to cozy up to her despite their desperate circumstances, and a needling feel that eyes watched them in the Red Forest, sleep was an old friend gone a long time.

It was her imagination or it wasn’t for that last worry. Maybe it was Jon? Renee patrolled the border of their encampment, calling to him when she thought no one could hear. Wherever the fool had gone, he wasn’t coming back right now. And even as she thought of Renee she realized something else.

Their twinner bond was weakening. Continue reading

Breaking the Author – Week Eleven

It’s March 20th, 2016, which means it’s time for the Week Eleven update!

My goals for Week Eleven were:

  • Write Shapes 2 Part 7
  • Write Week 2 for Writing Game Year 2
  • Continue broad edits on Writing Game Year 1
  • Finish line edits on Shapes 1
  • Maintain the blog
  • Submit a short story, not necessarily Shibboleth

I’m still having trouble completing all my goals for a week, as you can see, but I’m making progress on both writing and editing goals, and those are my most important goals, along with maintaining the blog, so I’m still pretty happy with progress so far.

I wrote for a D&D style romantic fantasy story in the writing game this week, and I had a lot of fun driving a wedge between the two main characters before adding in an overarching conflict for them to struggle against. The writing game, as I’ve mentioned, was one of my favorite things from my year of writing last year, so I’m still psyched to be doing it again.

Writing Game Year 1 will become available once I finish the broad edits and confer with the other writers about how the more particular editing will go. Since one-sixth of the stories are not my writing, it’s a different editing proposition. I will be seeking changes but not actually making the changes myself for the most part. Similar to Editors for short story magazines and anthologies, I will be recommending changes and we’ll settle on what works while keeping in line with the original author’s intent and wishes whenever possible.

I don’t know when it will be “done” but an announcement will be made when it is!

My goals for next week are thus:

  • Write Shapes 2 Part 8
  • Write Week 3 for Writing Game Year 2
  • Continue broad edits on Writing Game Year 1
  • Finish line edits on Shapes 1
  • Maintain the blog
  • Submit a short story, not necessarily Shibboleth

Until next week, go out and tell someone something that you’ve been putting off. Doesn’t matter what it is: something they’ve done to annoy you, an impassioned plea to change destructive behavior, a declaration of love, telling someone close to you a thing you’ve been holding in, quitting your job, whatever! Don’t let things go on unsaid, it’s unhealthy.


As always, follow me on Facebook and Twitter with #breakingauthor. Keep on striving for those goals.

And always remember to write the hell on!

Using Slang and Dialect in Writing

Well howdy y’all! Ah sure hope you’s doin’ fahn this’n here Thursdy mornin’!

Okay. I’ll stop. It’s torture for the eyes, reading that.

Accents, slang, dialects! These are methods one may use to add a sense of local color or flavor to a story, or even just a scene in an unfamiliar location to your characters. But one must be careful when writing out these accents and dialects because if you get too focused on replicating a form of speech perfectly in the written word, all you’re doing is causing the reader undue aggravation as they try to parse not only how to say the words, but piece the sentence together for something meaningful.

Here’s what I mean by that! Continue reading

The Wings Take Shape – Part Six

Tuesday has arrived and with it another chapter in the epic tale of The Winged Riders as they struggle against a great force, seeking to take back the empire that was stolen.

If you’re new to the story, head to Part One and start from the beginning!

Last week, morale was low in Captain Renee Mollen’s Winged Riders as they searched the countryside for any signs of life capable of joining her on her insane mission to retake the capital. They came upon a village still standing at long last, Danver’s Table, and got their bearings from the leader of the town, Danver Jr.

They bedded down for the night in the town’s common building, only to be taken prisoner once they were asleep. In the scuffle, Jon turned into a cougar, losing control of himself and killing their scout as he fled, disappearing into the Red Forest.

What will the Winged Riders do?


The Wings Take Shape

Part Six – Traitors

by Rick Cook Jr.

Renee spat blood she wasn’t bleeding. The traitors worked over her Sergeants in the small tent they’d set aside special, just for the commanding officers. Every time Marie took a blow to the stomach, or the face, Renee winced at the phantom pain from their bond. Marie was strong. Of course she was, and they’d all had training in how to take a beating, how to survive torture.

But it was too much. Too much for Renee to bear. She cried out, “Enough! You will stop this instant or I will see you hanged for it.”

The townsfolk – bloody bastards – grinned at her over their shoulders. She didn’t know these two men, but it didn’t matter. Traitors were punished and when she got free, Renee would see them all in stocks. Continue reading

Breaking the Author – Week Ten

It’s March 13th, 2016, which means it’s time for the Week Ten update!

My goals for Week Nine were:

  • Write Shapes 2 Part 6
  • Write for the Writing Game Year 2
  • Continue broad edits on Writing Game Year One
  • Finish line edits on Shapes 1
  • Maintain the blog
  • Submit Shibboleth short story

Continue reading

Project Management as a Vital Author Skill

It’s Thursday and I want to talk about a thing that I’ve mentioned once or twice, but that I haven’t really delved into in detail.

Sometimes you’re working on one story, and for whatever reason another story is jostling for space in your brainmeats. Getting distracted from one story to work on another can often result in a full stop on productivity on the first story, and that is no bueno.

What I discovered last year was that I had the capacity to work on multiple projects at the same time, but this is not a skill that many writers seem to possess, based on my purely anecdotal experience with other writers.

So how do you pull on multiple threads without losing track of any given thread? Continue reading