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Archive for July, 2018

How We Write – On The Road Again

So, if you didn’t know already, Kyros and Orion have a short story collection out called Unidentified Love. It’s seven connected short stories about a human man and his alien husband. When we got the prompts, Gray, Outrunning 911, and Debating, Kyros immediately knew what the gray was: a gray alien. That put this story squarely in the Unidentified Love universe.

It’s unusual for either Kyros or Orion to write in the first person present tense, but this story pretty much demanded it. Most of our fiction is written in the third person past tense. First person point of view is a really good way to get to know a character and their thoughts.

Give it a try: pick a short story you’ve written or a piece of flash fiction or a scene from your WIP (work in progress). Rewrite it in first person and see if it turns into a stronger story. You might learn something new about your main character.

Let us know in the comments how it turns out for you.

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels


(An Unidentified Love Universe story)


“Hey, Terry, how was your weekend?” Franklyn asked as he slid onto the bar stool next to me.

Putting my head on my crossed arms, I sighed heavily before answering him. “I spent most of it debating with Janet, my oh-so-annoying mother-in-law. She swore she was going to have me arrested.”

“Arrested? For what?” (more…)

How We Write – Merry Spacemen

Orion has long had a fascination with Robin Hood and the Middle Ages. In fact, she got her bachelor’s degree in English, specializing in Medieval and Renaissance literature. (Ask her how that worked out!)

Later in life, she discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international group that spends its weekends recreating the Middle Ages complete with period garb and armor, but with toilets and without the Black Death. Concurrently, she was attending science fiction conventions! Things got confusing at times.

Presented with the prompt ‘between worlds’, Orion combined her two loves, outer space and Robin Hood, for a romp of a story.

Kyros created the picture that accompanies this story by photographing a model of the Liberator sitting on a starfield displayed on his iPad. (The Liberator is from the British TV show, Blake’s 7, from the 70s about a small band of outlaws fighting against the repressive, galaxy-wide Federation. Very like Robin Hood himself. Look it up. Though it featured cheesy sets and special effects similar to the original Star Trek, its ideas and values are worth your time.)

When we began editing this story for the blog, we found it required extensive work. It was originally written in 2013 and we’ve learned a lot about dialog and exposition, and show, don’t tell since then.

We think the story is much better now. Let us know what you think in the comments below.



“This is Alliance Frigate Notttingham.” The speakers crackled for a moment. “Lincoln Green, shut down your engines. Surrender and prepare to be boarded!”

Thumbing the comm button, I countered, “We do apologize, but that’s not going to be possible. Our engineer says we can’t shut down right now.”

“Now listen here…,” the Alliance Captain started. (more…)

How We Write – In the Shadows

The prompts were: anonymous, motivated kiss, and fool’s gold

Initially, this story was written in third person with the narrator just listing off what he saw. But when we went back over it for the blog, Kyros suggested it might work better as a true crime type story where the detective is dictating what he sees to a recorder. After that, the story took off. We could both see everything like we were watching it unfold on a TV show. That’s how you know you’re on the right track: the story starts flowing and every detail seems like it’s happening right in front of you.

Photo by from Pexels


“The subject has entered a small, upscale restaurant on the lower east side.”

He glanced at the lit sign over the door.

“Rubio’s on East 26th.” Letting go the record button on his digital voice recorder, he walked further down the block, then ducked into a dark alley where he could see his subject better.

Pressing down on the record button, he continued, “Subject has taken a table near the window. She appears to be reading something on her Kindle, completely oblivious to the other diners. Is she waiting for someone?”

He saw a commotion through the large plate glass window of the restaurant. (more…)

How We Write – Warm In The Night

The prompts, two men and a flapping tarp, brought to mind for Orion a rustic, possibly medieval setting. Hmmm, a cart with a flapping tarp? Now why would that picture spring to mind? Where was the cart going? Why? And why would the reader care?

Ah, there’s someone in the brush beside the road the cart is on. Who is it and why is that person hiding?

And it needed a cat. A cat always helps a story, right?

So why not make the cat the narrator?

And the story spooled out from there.


She-Who-Is-Warm and I wept when we left our first home.

Warm’s father said we had to go live with the strange man. There were too many mouths to feed and Warm was the youngest daughter. He told her the strange man would protect us, keep us safe, even love us.

That is not what happened though. (more…)

How We Write – The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, And Scary

The prompt for this one was to write about a real-life incident. Orion doesn’t know why this particular piece of her past surfaced, but even all these years later, it was still vivid in her mind.

It happened when she was a newly-minted English teacher living in a new, strange town. Being raised on a farm and not used to the noise and bustle of a city, even a relatively small Midwestern one, she often sought the peace and quiet of local parks. While the events of this story only happened once, it did put her off that particular park.

When she first wrote this story, she mostly just stated the facts of what happened, like a victim recounting the event to the police. When she and Kyros edited the piece for this blog, they fleshed it out into an actual story, framing the incident in thoughts and emotions, while still keeping it 100% true to Orion’s experience from when she was (much!) younger.

Photo by Cecile Vedemil on Unsplash




I took a deep breath, letting the light and air and peace of the wooded park seep into my body through the open car window.

I really need this. I’m still not used to this city with its loud noises, cars, and people running everywhere. I need reconnect with nature.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man jog into view. (more…)