Monday, February 24, 2014

Literary Life Hacks: Cat Got Your Keyboard? @ Curiosity Quills

This is my girlchild, Isosceles. 

By Samantha Lehane 

(originally posted on on 2/5/2014)

If dogs are man’s best friend, then cats are the friend that only sends one word replies to your texts. You may like to tell people that you own a cat, but you know that the reverse is true. Cats are adorable, fuzzy, and occasionally cuddly but they aren’t always the best writing collaborators. They are naturally drawn to the warmth of your laptop and instinctively want your attention when you need to focus. How do you write when your furry companion demands petting? The secret is creating a writing space that will suit both you and your cat.

Accept that Your Cat is Your Master 

What makes for cat-approved writing area? Dog owners might suggest closing your office door. Oh, the naivety. A closed door is a challenge to a territorial minded feline. You have three choices: you’ll go crazy from the meowing, the cat will claw through door, or you’ll just open it. This pattern will be repeated. Cats need to claim a space or else you’ll get no peace. The battle will reach Game of Thrones levels. Your cat is a Lannister, your writing space is Westeros, and you cat will always pay its debts.

Analyze Your Space 

Step into your writing area and take a gander at it. You might already have a cat on your desk, licking its fur, waiting for you to attempt the next chapter of your novel. If your cat is like mine, it’s about to lift its leg and start licking its butt. Just to make things socially awkward. Besides the cat, what else do you see? A desk, filing cabinet, bookshelf, Buffy the Vampire Slayer figurines? Maybe that last one is just me. Is there an area for the cat? Analyze the space. Could it be more cat-friendly?

 Give in to your Overlord 

Before I decided to just work with my cat, I tried to make my writing area a kitty free zone. This was a lesson in futile furniture arrangement. Your cat considers your house its domain and you’re a large furless tenant useful for only buying fancy feast. Give in to your master. Just let go and let your cat claim its territory. You can do it on your terms. Just make your cat think that it’s their own idea.

 Cat-ify Your Writing Area 

Look at your writing area and visualize a good spot for you cat. Somewhere close enough to the action but far enough away that your cat isn’t adding extra ‘ghkkjltiis’ to your manuscript. If you have cats, you probably already have a cat perch or tower in your house. Why not just move it into your office? If you and your cat already like the tower where it is, you’ll need to create a suitable alternative. Your cat king demands a throne so it can oversee its scribe at work.

This is my handsome boy, Chimi.
Where in your fortress of writing solitude can a cat doze, purr, groom, and loiter? Some people have desks with shelves attached that can be transformed into a kitty roost. Others might have a nearby table that will fit a cat bed. If you don’t have any current areas that are fit for a feline, then put in an extra bedside table or a stool by your desk. I have a padded bench next to my desk so my fuzzy baby can be near me without being on me. My cat loves her bench and usually leaves me alone so I can torment my characters in peace. When she feels extra cuddly, I scratch behind her ears and leave a pinch of cat nip on the bench. This method of creating a cat zone in my office (and the occasional cat nip bribe) has led to inter-species harmony.

It can work for you.

If All Else Fails, Get a Cardboard Box 

Seriously. Cats love cardboard boxes. It’ll ignore you for days.

Welcome to a world of magic and dragons, of nightmares, vampires, zombies, and aliens. We are the trusty sidekicks, the parallel universe of dreams, the things that go bump in the night. We are writers helping writers. We are innovators. We are escapists. We are literary marauders.
Curiosity Quills publishes fiction and non-fiction in many genres. They also post guides and interviews for writers.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Flash Fiction: Moonskin

Flash Fiction: Moonskin

The cold night breeze drifted over Rebecca’s bare skin as she returned to her humanskin from her coyotebody. Owls hooted at the full moon and bats swooped overhead. She heard her lover racing through the underbrush. Rebecca smiled.
Moureen appeared out of the foliage in her fox form. Her eyes glinted yellow in the moonlight. Growing up and out with the ease of long practice, Moureen became a human redhead clad in only a saucy smile. She caressed Rebecca’s cheek then kissed her softly. “I found you.”
Every month, they played the same game despite the risks. No ancient feud between their clans could stop them. They had to play it through to the end.
Coyotes yowled in the distance.

This was originally published at GayFlashFiction.Com.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 2014 Absolute Write Blog Chain

This month's prompt: 
Characters Writing About AuthorsHave your character write about you, the author, their creator. You may choose any character so long as you created them, and may write in any format.

Cupid Writing about Samantha Lehane

It seems like Samantha decided to shanghai me into blogging... How very modern. Let me introduce myself, I'm Cupid. You might have heard of me from all the myths, legends, and of course, the short story, “Kidnapping Cupid” by Samantha Lehane. If you haven't heard of me, rest assured that I am a very big deal. I'm the God of Love.

Oh, dear me, where do I ever begin with Samantha Lehane? She's a nice quiet sort of girl- librarian by trade and a dreamer by nature. She is my favorite kind of librarian... the naughty kind. Well, she hasn't reached my level of debauchery but she has written a naughty story or two...

I had my first acquaintance with Samantha through infecting her with an infatuation. 

Freshman year of college is a wild time. I made sure of it. Someone had to get her nose out of a book!

Nowadays, I let the poor girl settle down into a nice love affair with a dear boy. It hasn't been the easiest road what with her being a lesbian after all.

How did a friend of Ellen end up with a boy? Well, not all boys are born that way.  Sometimes they need a little help from a doctor to reach their true potential. Hormones are a lovely thing that way. They can turn a sad woman into a happy man. It’s been a fun ride so far but I won’t ever tell her if that is the last curve ball that love will throw her way. I’m a sporting man after all.

Besides if even I can’t choose my love destiny then why should she?

Samantha might think that she knows a lot about me because she wrote about one of my many adventures but I know a great deal more about her! I’d love to be scandalous and share all her love secrets but I’m afraid that the shy thing would just delete my post. But between you and me, gentle reader, this librarian has quite the imagination. I’m sure that her man would agree!

This blogging thing isn’t for me, I’ll tell you right now. I’d rather grab a pint and dish the dirt in the privacy of a noisy pub full of rowdy English chavs! Then again, if you read her story, you’d already know my proclivities.


 Just because Neptune and I are an item with a capital I that doesn’t mean that I have stopped having fun.

I’ll sign off for now, but you’ll feel my love influence soon… Probably when you least expect it! 

orion_mk3 - (link to post) Yuppies Who Hate the Family Business ConnieBDowell - (link to post) Unexpected Library Encounter bmadsen - (link to post) Cupcake Disaster
MsLaylaCakes - (Me) Unfortunate Sports 
HistorySleuth - (link to postLess Than Fortunate Foods
writingismypassion - (link to postBlind Date with a Ventriloquist
katci13 - (link to postEvil Cupid
KitCat - (link to postHunting With Hounds
Angyl78 - (link to postA Ghost's Bad Day
randi.lee - (link to postThe Wrong Bar
Lady Cat - (link to postVisitors
pyrosama - (link to postWhat the Leprechaun Said
Ralph Pines - (link to postUnder the Bed
dclary - (link to postWarm Kitty, Soft Kitty, Evil Ball of Fur
meowzbark - (link to postRoad Trip
SRHowen - (link to post)  Faded Blue Jeans
Bumped: Amanda R. - (link to post) Picture
Briony-zisaya - (link to post) Topic
CatherineHall - (link to post) Topic

GUEST POST: Kate Larkindale on the Importance of LGBTQ YA Fiction

When Sam invited me to be a guest on her blog, she suggested that because my book is YA, I might like to write a post about the importance of LGBTQ YA fiction.  And I leapt at the opportunity because this is something I feel very passionately about.

YA books about gay teens are without doubt crucial to young people who might be uncertain or frightened by the feelings they are experiencing.  Not everyone comes from a home where homosexuality is considered okay, so many young people grow up denying who and what they are, or hiding their true feelings – even from themselves.

I can’t imagine how isolating that must be.

Providing strong gay role models in fiction or writing about characters experiencing similar dilemmas can help someone come to terms with themselves.  There doesn’t even need to be a solution to whatever problem the character might be facing. Just knowing we’re not alone with these feelings and experiences can sometimes make all the difference. 

But even straight readers can benefit greatly from reading good stories about LGBTQ characters.  While we’d all like to believe that the world has changed and no one is discriminated against for religion, race or sexuality anymore, this is not the case.  A good book can change people, erase long-held prejudices and give the reader a new empathy for people they may once have looked down on or ignored.

The world is a diverse place, yet YA fiction often ignores this fact, or pretends to recognize it through stereotypes.  How often has the female MC in a YA novel had a funny gay friend?  Yeah, lots.  About the same number that cast Asian characters as over-achieving geeks.

Breaking these stereotypes and showing readers that gay characters can be and feel the same things we all do is something books have the power to do.  And this is why LGTBQ YA books are so very important to have in libraries and schools where the readers who need them the most, will be able to access them.

I am a writer, cinema manager, film reviewer and mother to two boys. As you can imagine, with all that going on, I don't sleep much. My first book, AN UNSTILL LIFE is available now from Musa Publishing and all good e-book sellers

Find Kate Larkindale on Twitter and Blogspot

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February Writing Playlist

Why a writing playlist?

 I like to create a musical atmosphere when I write. Music can really inspire me and keep my fingers typing on the keyboard when I am ready to give up. I generally choose music that fits with the mood of the story that I am working on.

Sometimes, I do deviate especially when I am revising and editing. When I am gutting a first draft, I like music that gets my toes tapping and my heart pumping. It pushes me to cut through the dross and get to the diamonds.

Enjoy this taste of what I am listening to this month.

February Playlist

Kidnapping Cupid Book Trailer

Introductions Are In Order

Heya, if you are looking for Samantha Lehane, this is the spot. If not, then  just stick around anyway. Enjoy some free reads and think about purchasing my work. I have a short story coming out from Musa Publishing this spring.

I am writer who loves creating new worlds and the characters that live in them. I have been writing since I was a teenager. I've written fiction, fan fiction, concert reviews, opinion pieces, and more. I can't seem to get my fingers off the keyboard. Fiction had been my private joy for many years but as I enter the final year in my graduate program, I wanted to start sharing my work with the world.

This blog will be used for sharing my musings on the writing life and other anecdotes. I hope that you enjoy my writings. Thanks for reading!