Update on Writing Short Scenes to Rebuild My Writing Muscles


Friday: I did my first small bite today during my lunch break.  It was a short scene, a foot chase through traffic, not even 200 words. My focus was imagery and sensory detail:  getting just a little poetic while keeping the prose fast-paced and breezy. 

It was good,  for what it was. I enjoyed writing it, I got a short writing  workout,  and I think I even succeeded in my goals. 

Life is good

Monday:  I did my second one today, again during my lunch break. This one was only 149 words,  but I’m actually far Moore echoed about it than about Friday’s.

It’s a short,  descriptive scene of a woman emerging from dense underbrush in a dark forest and seeing a wide open view of fields and his leading down to the sea. 

But something about it really grabbed my attention. I want to know what happened,  how she got there,  and what happens next. 

I may end up writing more about her. 

Again, life is good.    

Truth and Lies: The (Dis)Honesty Project


If you haven’t watched this documentary,  your should.  It’s on Netflix, and it’s a great introduction into the field of behavioral economics, the science of lying,  and the costs associated with lying and cheating. 

It basically alternates between Dr. Dan Ariely and his co-researchers explaining what their experiments have shown,  and people who’ve been caught lying or cheating telling their stories, including what was going through their minds when they were doing it. 

It’s amazing to see how things like transactional distance make people more likely to cheat, but being reminded of an ethics system (even one from a religion you actively don’t believe in)  makes people less likely to cheat.

Give it a watch some time.  

Integrating Characters with Disabilities into Adventure Fiction

…isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to balance the kinetic pace and movement requirements of adventure fiction with accurate, non-condescending representation. 

If you give a disabled character a fantastical ability that effectively takes away the disability, is that cool or condescending? Ask ten people, get ten answers. So, how do you feel about Daredevil?

What about characters with disabilities who have other abilities that doubt cancel their disabilities, but make them very useful our powerful in other ways? 

The cliche is the psychic our hacker with a mobility disability,  usually one that requires the use of a wheelchair. 

It’s a cliche, but I’ve also heard of a hacker (DC’s Oracle, Barbara Gordon) being called inspirational. Maybe it’s because she worked to learn those skills and keep fighting crime even after she list the use of her legs. 

I’ve never heard the psychic “Disability superpower” coming off that way. Who finds Professor X inspirational?  Maybe someone out there? Maybe not. 

If a story requires a lot of kinetic non-vehicular movement, a character with a serious mobility disability can’t really be the lead, or even “in the party” for those parts.

That doesn’t mean such a character can’t be an important character in other parts of the story. 

And it doesn’t mean that other disabilities can’t be represented. Deaf characters, or characters with partial hearing loss and/ serious tinnitus can bee featured.  

Characters can still be quite mobile with missing or less than fully functional limbs. Hypertrichosis and alopecia universalis, facial deformities/ significant scarring, even albinism can have real effects on a person’s life without preventing them from running, climbing, and jumping. 

This is especially important in nonviolent adventure fiction, where you can’t just have the group’s tough guy fight the bad guys to protect the character with the mobility disability … And that’s kind of crummy even it’s own way because the character with the disability becomes dependent upon the tough guy in a way that feels kind of like “damseling.”

There is inherent value in representation.  People with disabilities can feel invisible in real life. There is no reason to “vanish” them in fiction as well. 

Meat-Free Monday: Eating Mexican While Vegan

Last Friday we took my parents out to their favorite Mexican restaurant, Pericos, to celebrate their anniversary. 

We all had fun visiting, and of course they loved seeing their granddaughter.

Pericos is known for their meat dishes, and I can tell you from my pre-vegan days that the reputation is well-earned.

I was a little concerned as to what I was going to order,  because there was no menu online,  and when you have a 3 year old with you,  you can’t always focus on the menu. 

Remember,  this is all taking place small-town Mississippi, fat from the nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I may have been the first vegan to darken their doors since, well, maybe ever. 

But I had no cause to worry. They had a short vegetarian menu, and one of the items was “1 bean burrito and 1 cheese enchilada.”

They gladly made that 2 bean burritos, with no cheese or sour cream. They brought out a spicy red sauce on the side. It came with a side of rice and beans, so it was very filling. I added a guacamole salad appetizer and put most of it on top of the burritos. 

The end result was tasty, very filling, and quite affordable. A lovely dinner. Mission accomplished. 

The moral of this story?  You can do it, even in small town Mississippi, and it doesn’t have to be a big sacrifice. 

Walkin’ Across (Disney) World 

Like I said earlier,  we’re going to Disney World pretty soon. 

In addition to finding vegan food options,  the big question plaguing me is, “Hey,  I work a desk job.  How am I going to walk all over Disney for six days without calling apart? ”

I’m going to have to find a really good pair of size 15 walking shoes,  the kind that are good for very heavy men, and then I’m going to have to start walking everyday. 

I’ll need to start small,  and build up from there. Perhaps start with half a kilometer/a quarter mile. 

Then I’ll work up by maybe one-tenth mile per day until I’m walking a mile every outing. 

I’ll also need to spend more time on my feet, stand as much as I can,  and walk multiple times each day. That may be more important that how far I walk in one outing. 

As to how I’m going to do this alongside everything else I need and want to get done, well, that’s the hard part. 

Beat Bugs Is My New Favorite Cartoon


What do you get when you take a colorful, beautifully animated cartoon with an endearing cast of genuinely sweet characters, completely appropriate for preschoolers … where each episode is built around a Beatles song?

Best. Cartoon. Ever.

Seriously, if you have a “littlie”, this is totally worth getting Netflix for. 

Oh,  did I mention that “All You Need Is Love” is the theme song?

Rebuilding My Fiction Muscles by Starting Small

I often have trouble getting started on projects. I think it’s because I know just how long writing a novel takes,  just how much can go wrong in the process.

I know from experience just how easy it is to either not finish, or have to drag myself across the finish line by sheer force of will, spite-writing something I’ve grown to abhor. 

I’m not really art a place, personally our emotionally, where I can spend that kind off time writing something I don’t enjoy. 

And I can’t really face the thought of putting hours and hours into something without finishing it, ending up with nothing to show for it. 

I remember feeling like this year’s ago, and I’m going to do what I did then: I’m going to write shorter things, things I can finish in a day or two, even at my current limited time and energy budget. 

These may be short stories, even flash fiction. They may just be scenes. They may never be a part of any larger work. 

But they will be short-term, achievable objectives, things I can pan ahead of time and then do. 

I know I said I was going to do something like that at the beginning of the summer,  but the difference was that those had to be complete sorry stories,  Asics I got jammed up trying to think of plots and premises for them all. 

Now, it just has to be short,  achievable. 

I hope to rebuild my fiction writing muscles to the point that I can duo NaNoWriMo in November,  and carve out enough time early in the morning that I won’t inconvenience my family while I’m doing so. 

Nothing helps you sided like confidence and practice.  Nothing builds you’re confidence and motivates you to practice like success. So let’s build some small successes. 

Pray for Louisiana. Help if You Can.


Louisiana is facing some of its worst flooding since hurricane Katrina. 13 are dead, and thousands are homeless

Though some are beginning to return to their homes,  the damage it’s widespread and profound. 

I don’t live in Louisiana any more,  but I have friends and family that do. They’re safe, but many more are not. 

If you can,  please donate. I’ve linked to a couple of reputable ones below.

Lutheran Church Charities

Red Cross of Louisiana

Meat-Free Monday: Round Two Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers

Katherine made these yummy burgers from leftover quinoa,  and I can’t wait until we have them again. 


  • Canned black beans, rinsed
  • Slightly less quinoa than beans (3/4th the amount, roughly)
  • Teriyaki, for consistency and flavor.

Smoosh the beans and quinoa together thoroughly, adding teriyaki as needed.

Form into BIG patties and cook in a pan coated lightly in olive oil. Cook about 10 minutes on medium heat, flipping about halfway through.

These have a moist, soft consistency, a subtle quinoa flavor, and lot of heft. As big and hungry as I am, I could never eat more than one at a meal.

They taste great with flavorful sauces, sweet and spicy pickles, crisp lettuce and onion, ore whatever you like on your burger. 

Planning a Disney Trip: Vegan Options

So we’re planning a trip to Disney World in Florida, one my wife has almost entirely paid for via clever use of credit card reward points programs.

So in addition to buying  new walking shoes and training for the many miles we will walk each day,  we’ve been researching just how I’m going to find something to eat. 

Fortunately, “The happiest place on earth” generally knows how to take care of vegans (And anyone with dietary restrictions,  whether they’re religious, allergies,  our whatever).

I’ll go through park by park in a later post, but today I’ll start with a few universals.

Disclaimer:  I’m still planning my trip,  so all this info is second-hand. 

  • popcorn (it’s not real butter) 
  • pretzels 
  • Anything made with Gardien Chick’n
  • Sorbets
  • Dole pineapple whips
  • Most of the quick serve places have at least something you can eat
  • Use the Disney app to check the menus ahead of time

Any nice sit down restaurant or buffet IF you tell them when you make your reservations and again when you get there

Basically, any place that takes reservations will take care of you if you ask. You should ask in advance if you can,  but I’ve read several accounts of vegans having good experiences even without calling ahead. 


The Disney World app. Seriously. 

PETA has a good info page on Disney vegan options. (regardless of some of their questionable actions over the years).

The Vegan Disney World blog is also great.