Friday, 23 November 2012

The Shadow Service

By Lucianne Poole

A black and white image of a fanged vampire wearing a cape and bow tie.
Photo credit: Little-vampire-by-Ceskino
Here's an updated excerpt from the vampire novel I've been tinkering with. Thanks to Sherry Soule for her valuable feedback and also to the participants of K.T. Crowley's January Test Run

In this scene, we meet the protagonist, a well-behaved vampire who works for the Government of Canada.

They have sent another one. Antonio glanced at the warning from the deputy minister and absent-mindedly shredded the note with his pale fingers.

He sighed and dropped the feathery strips of paper into his waste paper basket. A sliver of paper remained speared upon a long, talon-like fingernail. Antonio made a mental note to pare his nails before he went out for the night.

It was only 10 a.m., but you would never know it. The windowless office was cast in perpetual gloom. The weak light from the solitary desk lamp and soft glow of his computer screen provided enough light to reveal walls as bare as a monk’s cell. It would seem old habits were hard to break. Except for the framed photo on his bookcase, the Persian carpet blanketing the floor was his only concession to adornment. In fact, the rug proved quite useful; it hid the green carpeting that spread across government office floors like creeping mold.

Antonio scanned the staff meeting agenda on the desk before him. He straightened his tie and smoothed back his hair. With the grace of an athlete, he rose from his desk and stretched his limbs luxuriously.

It was time to meet his latest adversary.

What do you think of this rewrite? Fangs, in advance, for the comments.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Near Smiths Falls

An ode to an Eastern Ontario winter
By Lucianne Poole

A sketch of a Via Rail train car going past three cows in a frozen field.
The train plows through fresh snow.

Like a cloud of icing sugar, it blows past my window.

Pine boughs dusted white,

And bare maples blur against the blue sky.

The train rattles along the icy track.

Cows look up from across a fence.

They've seen it all before.

Having said I've written few poems, I keep digging them up on scraps of paper. This has proven useful because as I'm reading my old stories, I'm realizing they need work - alot of it! - before I foist them upon you. 

I wrote this short prose poem one cold February on a Via Rail train between Ottawa and Toronto. It's a striking route, particularly in winter, that takes you across frozen fields and forests and through picturesque towns like Smiths Falls, Ontario. And, of course, past blasé livestock.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Contest Mania

By Lucianne Poole

A photo showing tree-covered mountains and blue lakes, as seen from the top of Bald Mountain, Vermont.
On top of the world, in this case Bald Mountain, Vermont.

I interrupt the weekly story with a news flash. Apologies for bitter disappointment and general outrage.

I almost had a heart attack this past Monday morning. I received an email with this subject line: Congratulations!

Naturally, I thought it was spam, a mistake or perhaps a cruel joke. After all, it's been years (literally) of rejections or just no responses from agents regarding my novel.

The message read that I had been chosen as one of 25 finalists in a novel-writing contest.

I had entered my paranormal novel in a respected, NYC-based contest. Of course, I nurtured some vestige of hope. But, based on past results ie. 24 rejections, hope was at the molecular level. So, I was ecstatic to hear that mine (ie. the first 250 words) was one of those chosen out of 130 submissions. Now I just have to wait another three weeks to find out if an agent's interested in my work.

Meanwhile, a big thanks to all of my friends and family members who have read and critiqued said novel. And also thanks to you, readers of my blog. I'm very encouraged by your interest in my work.

Back to contests and awards: I used to enter short story contests all the time but gave up a few years ago. This was because:

a) I never won;
b) the judges never chose stories like mine; and
c) I decided to spend the time on my novel.

On the other hand, if you win a contest, it can be a huge boost especially if you are a "new" writer. And you might even get published! Canadian author Vincent Lam, whose first book of short stories won the Giller prize, recently weighed in on the value of awards in the Ottawa Citizen.

But as you writers out there know, there are also pitfalls to entering contests. You should know what you're getting into. The Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) covers this subject well in the contests and awards section of its Writer Beware.

What do you think of writing contests and awards? Share your comment below.

Back to our normal or paranormal programming next week, when I may (or may not) have come back to earth.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


By Lucianne Poole

A drawing of a view from a window showing a lake, where a woman in a red bathing suit floats and a sail boat and fish go by.
I can see my mum's white legs

through the water.

A bird's eye view

from the window above.

The lake is still, flat like a mill pond.

The morning is young,

and she slips through the water

like a pale shadow.

After the melodramatic Bad Laundry, I thought a short prose poem might fit the bill. I wrote this on a scrap of paper about 10 years ago after a trip to Vermont with my folks. I like it because it catches one of those peaceful moments that are so fleeting. I never submitted it anywhere.