Currently Browsing: Word of the Day

Weekly Flash #4 – Jack of All Trades

This week’s flash fiction is a bit of a bastard child. The idea started out as one of those late morning, half awake dreams. I got about halfway through the story and realized I had run out of steam. Then I thought, well, what if this man doing the carjacking is actually a character from Broods of Fenrir. Who would it be? Why is he carjacking her? So, that’s where the second half comes from. I don’t think it’s my strongest bit of short fiction, but I am a bit fond of it because I finished it through determination and didn’t just give up on it when I wanted to.

Here’s the link for Jack of All Trades. I hope you enjoy it. Please leave comments if you like.

Ryan’s Word of the Day is cynosure, an object that serves as a focal point.

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Weekly Flash #3 – Last Days of the Dragon

This week’s bite has a different flavor than the last two. It’s a bit more conventional fantasy. I got the idea from a ten foot high pile of snow that reminded me of a lizard skull. Long past when the rest of the snow had melted, this monster pile of snow sat in the middle of a brown patch of grass and kicked my mind into writing mode. The first line came to me and I imagined it was going to be a novel, because I loved the line so much. The ideas fell off around 1500 words and I got frustrated with it so I left it hanging. When I started this challenge with myself a few weeks ago, I revisited this one, because I thought it might just work as a flash piece. It ends on a little more of a cliffhanger than I’d like, but I think it works. I may still go back and make a longer format story out of the idea later. There are a few things I’d like to try with it. The magic system I had envisioned would be neat to play with, I think.

Here is the link for Last Days of the Dragon. This story is about a woman who discovers that the last dragon of her world is dead. I concentrated mostly on building the world behind this one. I hope you enjoy it. Comments certainly welcome if you’re inclined!

Next week’s installment may be a story about a carjacking. I’m not sure yet. I have about 600 or so words of it written, but I ran into a dead end. I also have a more horror-slanted idea with bugs that has been buzzing around in my brain since I wrote the Beetle Juice story.

Ryan’s Word of the Day is callipygian. It means having a nice ass. I wouldn’t kid you about this, it really does.

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Science Affliction #2

Here are your science tidbits for the week:

1) We’ve all read about the zombie ants, now there are mummy beetles too! A blog post by Ed Yong about some cool Aussie bees and how they defend their hive against intruding beetles.

2) Here’s a ScienceDaily post about a new material designed to mimic human skin. They hope to use this tech for much more than just medical purposes, suggesting it could be used for ships and spacecraft.

3) An article about inter-species nookie between mammoths and elephants on LiveScience. (Am I the only one who lives for the day that they Jurassic Park up some mammoths?)

4) One of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, is now thought to be the most likely place in the solar system to find life.  Details in this article on PS – If you are as into Saturn as I am CICLOPS is the place to be. Really beautiful high-res images that will spin your head.

5) Cephalopod skin has the ability to see colors, according to this article on They use this ability in order to make convincing camouflage which is really neat.

Happy Brainstorming!


Ryan’s Word of the day is autodidactic, one who is self-taught.

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Weekly Flash #2 – Victory or De-Feet

So far in this one flash fiction a week challenge I’ve been having a great time. Writing flash fiction is teaching me tons about brevity and the best ways to get things across. Not only that, but it’s been a hoot. The titles and taglines have come fast. Honestly, that’s what I was most worried about starting this. How in the world was I going to come up with 50 plus titles a year? It seemed impossible to me. Yes indeedy, I do have title issues, but it seems not with these guys. I wonder why that is? Maybe because I’m trying so hard not to be serious.

Anyway, this week’s helping is called Victory or De-Feet and features a man with a foot fetish. This story focused on character and relationship development. Once again, I wrote and edited it over two days. I hope you enjoy it. Please leave comments if you feel inclined.

Next week’s story may be one based on the staring line mentioned here. I’ve already written that story, but I may try something else between now and next week. We’ll see. I am supposed to start edits on Broods this week, which will chew up all my writing time, if it happens.

Ryan’s Word of the Day is glossolalia which means speaking in tongues.

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Science Affliction #1

While I browsed through my Google Reader feed this morning, an idea occurred to me. I’m a big science fiction fan, and though I haven’t written much in the genre yet, I know I will. I’m always on the lookout for cool science tidbits that would make good story fodder. Every week I’ll pluck out a few of the best and put them up here for your (and my) brainstorming pleasure. I’m going to shoot for Fridays with this, but this week I’m putting it up a little early because I’m hoping to dedicate tomorrow to writing since I have the day off.

This week’s story fodder:

1) Human echolocation a blog post by Ed Yong about how amazing the human brain is, more specifically how blind people develop a form of echolocation.

2) Ancient Sea Monsters Were No Shrimps is an article on that talks about some neat fossils found in Morocco of huge predator shrimps known as anomalocaridids.

3) Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Science meets fiction in an article called Drug May Help Overwrite Bad Memories on about a new drug that doesn’t touch memories, but could potentially erase the bad emotions tied to them.

4) Here is a conversation between two science nuts (science writer Carl Zimmer and scientist Timothy Lu) discussing bacteriophages, a topic near and dear to my heart. Phages have gotten a lot of science press lately, but I first heard of these teeny guys in a virology course more than a decade ago. My professor explained why he thought bacteriophages could be instrumental in defeating genetic disorders and quite literally stole my imagination.

I hope you don’t mind a brief aside here: To this day, Robert Leamnson, the professor I mentioned above, is the person who had the biggest impact on my life. I found out recently that he passed away. Learning of his death upset me quite a bit and I did a few web searches trying to find out what I could about what he had done after I left school. I found a paper he wrote about learning that shows what he was about better than I could ever explain it.

Ryan’s Word of the Day is convivial, an adjective that means festive.

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