Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! This is my journey, my first steps into the world of fictional writing. This blog is an online journal of sorts, where I share the progress of my work as well as what I have learned along the way. I hope you enjoy your time with me and that my experience may be of some use to you.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Inspiration part 19 - the circus

Welcome back,

           Inspired by April's Fools, the theme for this month's inspirational post will be about something that has brought many people both joy and dread. It is not many subjects that can inspire such diverse reactions from people, but after reading this article, I am sure you will understand why.

I am speaking of course of the time honored tradition that is the circus. The idea came to me at work, as I was clearing copyright for old school circus posters for an online exhibition project. I learned quite a bit of the history of circuses in North America since the late 1800’s, and thought this would be a great subject for April’s inspiration article.

Circus parade around tents, in lithograph by Gibson & Co., 1874

           The circus has been entertaining spectators, young and old, for several generations now, with it’s attractions, games, performers and animals. With so many different features, it comes as no surprise that the circus can be a such great source of inspiration for writers. Let us take a look at some of the circuses most prominent aspects.

Common circus acts include acrobatics, gymnastics, aerial acts, juggling and a variety of other routines. These also include Daredevil stunts such as the human cannonball, fire eating/breathing/dancing, knife throwing, or sword swallowing. These routines are meant to be breathtaking and exciting, and describing them in narrative can be very useful for action oriented storytelling.

Image result for public domain acrobats

Acrobatic Performers

Speaking of circus performers, another mainstay to the big top are clowns. Clowns are common to most circuses and are typically skilled so that they can accompany any of the other performances. Clowns can be a great tool for someone trying to write a comedy.

Though they have been around for decades, these flamboyant comedians have a received mixed feeling from the public. Many will find their antics hilarious, while some find them creepy and off putting. For this reason, the fear of clowns, or coulrophobia, can be useful for authors writing horror or thriller stories.

Image result for public domain clowns
Joseph Grimaldi as Clown

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Ferenczy Clown 1910

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1870 photo of British duo the Payne brothers as Clown and Harlequin

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Polack Bros. Circus 1965 clowns

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Standard clown

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Horrific clown

Animal acts have been part of the circus going as far back as the early eighteenth century. Many different types of animals have been used; from big cats, elephants, horses, birds, sea lions, bears, and even domestic animals such as cats and dogs. The earliest involvement of animals in the circus was just as a display of exotic creatures, but it eventually moved on to live performance such as equestrian acts or lion tamers. It should be noted that in the past few years, the inclusion of animals in circuses has been highly scrutinized, as cases of animals being mistreated or forced into poor living conditions had been reported.

White Horse Circus Poster

Circus Dogs Vintage Poster

Performing Elephant

Performing Monkeys Vintage Poster

Sideshows are also part of some circus activities, and may include chapeaugraphy, magic acts, the strongman or the infamous ‘’freak show’’. Below are some genuine color posters from the Coney Island Sideshow dating back to the 1930’s/40’s (Source: The Library of Congress). Though meant to entertain, it is obvious that some of these attractions were meant to shock or scare patrons. From a writer's perspective, some of these could be very useful for horror or paranormal mysteries.

Spottedgirl L  Alligatorgirl L

Related image  Armless-wonder-casola-banner

Voltess1  Image result for public domain sideshows

The final element is mostly in regards to how a circus can help add color to the setting. Some circuses were known to be accompanied by carnival rides, such as ferris wheels, pendulum rides, drop towers or funny/haunted houses. A carnival can be a great setting for a romantic story, or an abandoned amusement park can be a great hiding place for a villainous character.

Ferris Wheel

Carousel Horse

Carousel Horse

Close Up Of A Ferris Wheel

Carnival Rides At Night


As you can see, a trip to the circus can be especially beneficial for a writer looking for inspiration. Maybe you need references for a character working as a full-time clown, various rides for a theme park setting or maybe ideas for a creepy urban story. Bottom line: go visit one, you'll be surprised at what you will find.

           I hope you enjoyed this month's inspiration post and that I encouraged you to go out there and experience it for yourself.

Until next time.


Patrick Osborne

**Please note that most of the photos below were taken from free stock images sites such as StockSnap.com, or were found doing a public domain search via Google.**

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

By the Book - Divine Misfortune

Welcome back,

It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to associate the month of April with the celebration of pranksters and comedians. So to keep in line with this custom, this month’s book review will showcase a novel by A. Lee Martinez, an author who successfully combines humour and the paranormal mystery.

           After a enjoying both The Automatic Detective and Monster, I was looking forward to reading something else written by A. Lee Martinez. The first chapter of Divine Misfortune was included at the end of Monster, and I was instantly hooked. The story’s concept was original, and its characters seemed interesting, so the book was a quick addition to my ‘’to read’’ list.

The story takes place in a contemporary setting, but in this reality, every god ever recorded in history exists and interact with mortals on a daily basis. Mortals can select which god they choose to follow through a matching service which sounds a lot like an online dating site. The novel follows the journey of Teri and Phil, a couple who until the beginning of the story decided they did not need a god. They reconsider this situation after Phil is passed up for a promotion and sign up under Luka, raccoon god of prosperity. At first all Luka wants is a small cut of their good fortune, and to live with them. Things get even stranger when Luka’s past start catching up to him, causing his followers to be caught in the crossfire.

Image result for divine misfortune

Back of the Book:
“In a world where the gods are real, Phil and Terry are just looking for their personal slice of divine assistance. After much soul searching, they settle on Lucky, a raccoon god of good fortune.
At first, everything seems to be working fine. Things fall into place and all the little bits of luck on which life hinges seem to fall their way. So what if their god wants to crash in their guest room? And if his unemployed Aztec serpent god buddy ends up sleeping on their couch for a few days, what’s the big deal?”

What I learned:
  • Character contrast: Having a distinctive cast of characters is important. Different personalities help advance the story by telling it from different perspectives. For example, in this story we see the characters of Luka and his friend Quick play well against each other. Luka is easygoing and carefree, while Quick is responsible and empathetic.
  • Making it funny: Martinez proves successful at implementing comedy in his works of fiction. His witty style and humorous visualizations put an interesting twist on tense situations. For example, how Teri Phil constantly escape danger because their god endowed them with incredible good luck.
  • Playing with the source material: Martinez incorporated gods from every religion and era into this story, and most likely a few you never heard of. He then placed these characters in a modern day setting, and showed how that would affect their personalities. The result was not only interesting, but quite comedic at times.

A. Lee Martinez is an American fantasy and science fiction author who was born in El Paso, Texas on January 12, 1973. He has written several published fantasy novels, which have been translated into five languages.

For those interested in reading more books from A. Lee Martinez, please check out his website and wiki description, where you can find a complete listing of his published works and all other pertinent information:

In closing, I would like to thank my family and friends for the tremendous amount of encouragement they have shown me since the beginning. And a special mention to my good friend John (O’Lantern) for introducing me to this great author.

Until next time!


Patrick Osborne

Monday, April 10, 2017

Interview - Brian Woods

Welcome back,

               For this month's interview, we have the pleasure of meeting published author, Brian Woods. I have met Brian on one of the many Facebook writing pages. He has done many collaborations, and his short stories appear in several publications. Like so many other authors, he finds time to balance writing with a full time day job.

An image posted by the author.
Brian Woods

An image posted by the author.

Short Bio: Computer Programmer by day, Author by night. I spend my days enveloped in the world of vb.net, FoxPro, and other db2 languages. At night though, I am able to spin tales and weave stories.

Published Works: Tales of Suruale, and many more.

Current Projects: Valkron Chronicles

When did you begin writing?

2001 I started working on short stories, but I attempted poetry in the mid 1990s.

Did you receive any special training or attend a school?

I have attended a few creative writing courses, but nothing major.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Anything, everything, it just hits me and I write an outline. Later, the story.

Do you use any special resources when writing? (other books, computer programs, etc)

Microsoft Word.

What is (in your opinion) the most important thing to remember when writing, and why is it so important?

Finish the book, and then polish. If you polish as you go, then you'll never finish.

What is (in your opinion) the most challenging part of writing, and how do you overcome it?

Staying focused on the story. Turn off Facebook, TV, internet, and get away from everyone!

Did you use an agent? (why or why not?)

No. I believe certain authors benefit from agents, and some don't. I feel I am one of the don'ts.

Did you use an Editor? If not, what process did you use to edit your work?

I have access to 5 literary editors.

How did you get your book published? (self-published, Vanity publishing, Mainstream publisher).

Small presses mostly. JEA, Harren Press, ACA Books, and a few others.

Do you handle your own marketing?

Mostly my marketing is just me talking to people and going to conventions as a writer guest.

What is your best marketing tip?

Always be promoting!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don't quit your day job :)

I found Brian’s answers to be concise and straightforward, which is a refreshingly uncomplicated approach. I hope everyone found this interview informative, and I would like to thank Brian Woods for taking the time to take this interview. Your participation was very much appreciated.

Until Next time.


            Patrick Osborne

Monday, April 3, 2017

Current Projects part 27

Welcome back,

Spring is finally making an appearance, and not too soon either, as this winter was particularly challenging. This new season marks a fresh start, as nature starts blossoming anew, which I is quite similar to my present situation. I’m still dealing with some issues from all the recent changes in my life, but everything is slowly falling into place.


I managed to make some decent progress on my characters in the last few weeks. My story’s love interest character, Lindsay Reed, was completed! This character proved to be a challenge, but I trust my audience will like her. I have now moved on to another secondary character, Evan Holt, who will be the protagonist's best friend, and play a major role in their journey of self-discovery. Additionally, I have also made progress on chapter 1 and added a few more details to my  timeline sheet.

During some down time at work, I also created additional banners for my blog (like the one above), only this time they are specifically taylored for my different types of articles (book reviews, writing prompts, author interviews, etc). In the spirit of April Fools, the majority of this months blog posts will be Comedy inspired. My focus will primarily be on learning more about humour, jokes and the principles behind comedic expression.

Here are just a few things I will be writing about this month!

Image result for public domain april fools

April's book review will be revisiting an author I have read and enjoyed in the past; A. Lee Martinez. I figured it would be nice, since his humorous style has an interesting approach to supernatural adventures/mysteries.

As a Copyright Specialist, my work sometimes has me looking into some pretty strange subjects. One of my recent projects had me doing research on old circus posters. I thought this would be a great subject for April’s comedy themed inspirational post, plus re-using my research material proved to be a great time saver.

Image result for city of titans

As for work with Missing Worlds Media, I was not assigned any new projects in the last month. A new lore update was released in March on the MWM kickstarter page, giving us details about one of the neighborhoods in the game's setting. Here is a link to the article:

            Quick last minute addition to this section. After completing this post, the latest Missing Worlds Media update article got posted to their website. It’s a look at upcoming spandex designs and how they were created. However what has me excited is that to showcase the styles they have included pictures of in game characters, one of which I wrote the backstory for! You will find the article in the link below, on that page their is a row of seven characters, the 7th dressed in black and blue spandex is named Particle, and is the character I worked on.

I would like to mention that I am always looking for more authors to interview. If you, or anyone you know, is a published author and would be interested in having an interview posted on my blog, feel free to contact me. It is a great opportunity to share advice you may have with other writers, as well as free publicity for your own work.

On that note, I wanted to thank you all for dropping by and I will see you at next month's progress update post.


            Patrick Osborne