Author Archives: mikedellosso
Most of you know I teach writing at conferences. I receive a lot of positive feedback from the classes I teach and attendees often ask if I’ll ever host my own fiction seminar. Well, here it is. The details are below.
I researched other similar one-day seminars and intentionally set the price-point below them. That being said, I don’t want a day like this to be a burden to anyone if he or she really wants to attend but can’t afford the full price. If you want to come but the price is an issue please just email me and we’ll work something out. Trust me, being a one-income family of six I’m no stranger to financial difficulties. I understand and want to help.
Also, check out my new coaching site for writers. It’s not complete but you’ll get the iea.
SAVE THE DATE!!
Saturday, September 20th. 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
ONE-DAY FICTION WRITING SURVIVAL TRAINING
“Acquire the Skills to Survive the Fiction Writing Journey”
104 33rd Street
Latrobe, PA 15650
Instructor: Mike Dellosso, Author & Coach
Morning Session . . .
Developing authentic characters
Point-of-view (seeing your fictional world through the eyes of your characters)
Writing “real” dialogue
Setting (creating a world that comes alive); pacing (keeping your readers turning pages)
Dealing with antagonists
Writing the 5 senses
Lunch . . . 1 hour, on your own. There are restaurants nearby or pack a lunch and hang out at the church.
Afternoon Session . . .
Theme (the “point” of your story)
Time management for the writer
Defeating writer’s block
7 things that have nothing to do with writing that will improve your writing
Honest to goodness Q & A (this is your chance to ask anything about writing, publishing, agents, editors, money . . . whatever)
$50, must register in advance
TO REGISTER AND PAY BY CHECK, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO michael_dellosso(at)yahoo.com
TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, CLICK HERE (note: there is a $3.74 processing fee when paying by credit card)
What follows is a piece of flash fiction my 15-year old daughter wrote for a class.
* * *
Unbearable pain coursed through me as I lay on the sun-warmed earth. Warm blood oozed from my chest were I had been shot a few moments ago. My breath came out in shallow puffs as I thought about my wife, Cora.
I closed my eyes and pictured her the day I left for Boston. She was wearing blue, my favorite color. Her strawberry waves caressed her freckled, rosy cheeks. Her blue eyes sparkled; those were the things that attracted me to her first. Then I became enraptured with her kindness and compassion.
A tear slipped down my cheek and pain shot through me as I shook with a single sob. We were going to start a family. We were going to have five kids and now we can’t because of me. I had gotten in too deep with the wrong people. I owed what I didn’t have. Cora never found out, I made certain of that. I couldn’t pay up, so they got rid of me. They promised me they wouldn’t hurt her.
More sobs shook my body and the pain became unbearable. My fingers dug into the soft dirt as I began to lose consciousness. I had to hold on. All I ever wanted was to make her happy. Someone will find me dead behind an abandoned warehouse and call the police. The police will identify me and call Cora. She’ll be devastated. I couldn’t bear the thought any longer now that it consumed my mind.
So, I let go.
Those who know me know I’m somewhat of a monster fan. Real monsters, I mean. Well, at least I think they’re real. You know, the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, that sort of thing.
Yes, I think there is a Bigfoot. And yes, I think there is a Loch Ness Monster. UFOs? I believe something is out there, just not sure what.
Call me weird. Call me gullible. I’ve heard it all before. And I don’t care.
What aggravates me are the throngs of individuals out there who give us “believers” a bad name because, well . . . how do I say this tactfully? They’re idiots about the whole thing.
Case in point. There have been pictures floating around the internet and getting a lot of attention of a supposed image of Nessie caught by one of Apple’s satellites. Here’s one:
You can find an article and lots of images here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2607667/Is-THIS-Loch-Ness-Monster-Apples-Maps-satellite-image-Nessie.html. It’s very interesting and intriguing and at first I thought we were on to something.
Now here’s the rub that sends the idiot meter through the roof. According to the article the “Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club” had “experts” examine the photo for six months and allegedly have ruled out many explanations.
But . . . after reading another reader’s comments on one of the articles, it took me less than five minutes to find this image on Google Maps:
Notice anything similar? The above boat is located at the northern-most tip of Loch Ness. It’s right there on Google Maps; you can see it for yourself. Check out the wake then compare it to the image of “Nessie” that has stumped “experts” for six months.
Is the first photo a hoax and the boat has been digitally removed? Is it some weird glitch in the satellite’s photo? Who knows. But it’s clear that the first photo is the wake minus the boat.
I don’t like edits. There, I said it.
I’m the kind of person who does things once and wants to leave it at that. I don’t like having to go back and do things over, take a second or third pass at a project. I want to only put one coat of paint on a wall, file my taxes once, try on a single pair of pants.
Writing a novel is no different. I spend considerable time on the first draft for a reason. I want to get it right the first time. But as any writer knows, once isn’t enough. Twice isn’t enough. Three times? Nope. Not enough. Edits are part of writing. Changes need to be made, mistakes corrected, inconsistencies made right.
I’m delving into the edits for my next novel, Centralia, now. And how’s it going? Let’s just say . . . it’s going. And I’m kicking and screaming.
But no matter how much pain the edits cause, or how much discomfort they produce, I know the changes will be for the best and the book will be better because of them.
I’ll respect your intelligence and assume you see the parallels to life here. It’s a lesson I need to learn over and over again.
I’ve published eight novels now and every one of them is the same story. I dislike the editing. I kick and scream. The book is better in the end.
And sadly, it’s not much different with life.
I am a way too practical person to own ten pairs of shoes. I own three: a pair of very worn and falling apart leather “work” shoes (not every day work shoes but Saturday work-around-the-house/yard-shoes), a pair of leather work/church shoes, and a pair of seriously worn-out sneakers. That’s it. I know, it’s sad. As Yoda would say, ” Fashion conscious I am not.”
If you ask me what is your favorite part of any outfit I will answer shoes. I am obsessed with shoes and I have more shoes than any other clothing item. Anyone I meet for the first time, first thing to catch my attention is his shoes. Also, the way they are styled. A lot of my guy friends take me with them to shop for shoes and often ask me how they should wear them ( I’m pretty keen on men’s fashion!). So I decided to create a list of my favorites!
1.Dress Long-wings/Toe cap Oxfords
Every man needs one pair of leather brogues. Brown ones can be dressed up or down. Black ones go for work or for fancy nights out.
2.Casual Brogues/Suede Derby Shoes
These shoes look best when worn with shorts or folded up pants.
I myself own 2 pairs of this type of shoes…
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I’ve tried recollecting my journey through cancer a few times now over the past six years. I have no problem telling about the pre-cancer tests and anxieties, the surgery and post-surgery gloom. Talking about the ileostomy comes easy. But the next nine months, those months when I endured chemo and it’s dark side effects, that’s another story.
It’s a rocky story, one of faith and doubt, courage and fear, strength and weakness. Truthfully, much of those months is a blur to me. There are moments I remember, images, feelings, but mostly, the events of those months reside in a fog, the kind that rolls in off the ocean and distorts the landscape, blurs the fine edges.
I received chemo every other week. It was on Wednesdays and the infusion took about three hours. The nurse would them hook me up to a portable chemo pump and send me home. I’d then receive a steady infusion of chemo over the next 48 hours. On Friday’s I’d return to the doctor’s office to have the pump removed and I’d be free for another week and a half.
The side effects of chemo included numbness in my fingers and feet, an extreme sensitivity to cold, decreased ability to taste, fatigue like I’d never felt before, and nausea. Lots of nausea. After every chemo session the side effects would be worse for a few days, then would taper to barely noticeable. Each round they got worse and lasted longer, though. By the end, I had the side effects the entire two weeks.
I was working during those days, too. I’d have off on chemo days then just work a half day on Thursday, go home and sleep. Friday I’d be back at it but would have to take time off to have the chemo pump removed.
Thus was my schedule for the nine months I received chemotherapy. It was a steady spiral down both physically and emotionally and psychologically.
Looking back on it, those were dark days. Tears came easily. I did a lot of staring, a lot of thinking. My emotions sat on a knife’s edge. But in spite of the darkness the Light was always there. I felt Him, heard Him. I’m not crazy. I did. And in many ways I’ve never felt closer to Him.
The valley has a funny way of pushing us closer to our Father, doesn’t it?
Because of the surgery I had where they removed the tumor and part of my colon I was left with a temporary ileostomy. For those who don’t know, a colostomy has to do with the large intestine, an ileostomy with the small intestine. Part of my small intestine was now on the outside of my body (not where it was intended to be), and a bag attached to the skin around it caught everything that came out. Note: the bag adhered with adhesive which, yes, sometimes failed. Not good.
Pretty gross stuff, really.
The protruding intestine is called a stoma, or more sentimentally referred to as a “rosebud” because someone somewhere thought it resembled one. It doesn’t. If it did no one would ever stop to smell the roses.
Let it be clear, I hated the ileostomy and everything about it. The bag was a nuisance, it was difficult to conceal under my clothes, the odor was anything but rosey, and it needed to be emptied at the most inconvenient times and places. The stoma was gross, it, too, didn’t exactly smell pleasant, it was sensitive to touch and developed a nasty rash around it from the adhesive. Did I mention I hated it?
But. BUT . . . that ileostomy gave my damaged and traumatized colon the time to heal that it needed. It served a purpose and one that was ultimately for the good. And because of that nuisance I learned to deal better with the discomforts of life.
This taught me that the most important lessons in life aren’t learned on the mountain tops, but rather in the valley.
If we’re paying attention, we can learn something from hardships and trials. But we have to go through the darkness with our eyes open so we can see the pinpoints of light that show us the way through. To cover our eyes and hold them shut in an attempt to block out the shadows and obstacles that surround us is only to prolong our stay and set us up for certain misery.
So what about you? Share with us one nugget of wisdom you learned while journeying through life’s valleys.