Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Short Story for you - Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Snow Fort Wars

Snow Fort Wars – By Michael Poeltl

A story about the wars we waged as children, when there was snow in December, and courage found its footing in the heat of battle.

She had become a casualty of war; in less time then it took to free your hands from sweat-soaked mittens. She was an innocent; put down by a thoughtless and heartless enemy in waiting - in her own front yard.

I barely made it to safety myself, the horror of witnessing my mother take hit after hit as I climbed the stairs to greet her was paralyzing. I watched it all happen in slow-motion; one in the sternum, one in the shoulder, and a final indignity finding its mark on her forehead. I froze in place - eyes set in a dead stare with hers, my mother, her body twisted like a snow fence struggling to stay upright against a powerful storm. She was sent backwards, back into the house, the plate of cookies and thermos of hot chocolate she’d been carrying collided with the icy porch. There was a thump and a yelp as she landed on the tile floor, the screen door released, slammed in front of me and I lost visual on mom.

Regret enveloped me. Had I brought this upon her? Had she taken what hammering was meant for me?

“Assassins!” I cried. My team poked their heads over the open roof of our snow fort which stood just a few feet from my position. One, then another rose their goggled heads, as snowballs screamed past. They slammed into the thick, high walls erected to protect against just such an attack. I saw my friends play out as a game of whack-a-mole in that moment; each of the six popping up and ducking down, eager to return a volley of their own, but still reluctant to catch a snowball in the head, to fall as my mother had, to the cruelty of this enemy we knew all too well.

I lunged into the relative safety of my fort. Thoughts of my mother’s sacrifice fresh in my mind.

“I see you,” I heard my mother shout from the screen door to the vagrants of Rupert Avenue; the street thugs whose Christmas light-lined homes were not so different from our own, but whose temperament was more callous. Incredibly another snowball crashed against the brick beside the front door. Who did they think they were? She’s was an adult! Insufferable! I picked from the pile of snowballs in our arsenal and whipped one at the group, landing hard against a neighbour’s parked car on the other side of the street. A clear miss: I slunk behind our mighty walls and looked to my friends. 

“They have no honour.” I told them. “They won’t just be throwing snowballs for long.”

“What do we do?” asked Kevin, as his eye glasses slid down his long red nose.

“I’m not abandoning our fort.” explained Seth. “It took all yesterday to build it.” He searched for courage amongst the group. “Guys, we even poured water on the snow to harden it. This is a good fort.”

Water, I think.

“Do we still have any water?” I asked. Seth reached for the thermos of warm tap water. He shook it and handed it to me. It was half full. I screwed off the cap and drizzled the steamy liquid over our collection of snow balls.

“Nice,” said Earl. He is our best shot, and I would depend on him to hit his targets with the hybrid snowballs once they had completely frozen. I nodded at him. He returned the sentiment.

“We use the regular snowballs to flush them out of the snow bank,” I explained, the Rupert Avenue kids had huddled behind the massive snowplough embankments which ran the length of our street save where our fathers had shovelled themselves free from their driveways. “We need bait though.” Everyone looked to Tom.

“Not Tom,” Sonny told us in no uncertain terms. “I’ll go.”

John slowly raised his head over the four foot wall. An explosion of ice and snow erupted above us and John returned with his goggles covered in the white stuff. Freddy wiped them off for him with his woollen mittens. “Two are on the fringe of the snow banks.” John reported. “Either side of the driveway.”

“Do we know how many are out there?” Earl asked, as he adjusted his toque.

“How many are usually with them? About five, I think.”  Freddy counted on his fingers under his thick mitts, mouthing to himself our enemy’s names.

“We’re eight.” I reminded them. “And now we have ice balls.”

“And they’re cut off from any supplies; like water. So their snow balls will just be snow balls.” Earl wore a cruel grin. We all liked where that was going, all but Tom.

Another volley hit our fort and I felt the vibration through my jacket as I rested my back against the sturdy wall. They had good arms. They were a year older then most of us. Sonny was their age but he, like the rest of us, defended our own. We were the Elm Road Warriors. They: the Rupert Avenue Reckless. We’d done battle before. Earl still bore the scar above his left eyebrow that Jiminy Cricket gave him during a mid-summers cornfield fight. Jiminy was what we called him on account of the whistle his teeth made when he talked. Jiminy didn’t like the name, but then, we didn’t much like jiminy.

Earl picked up an ice ball and further formed it with his hands. Mittens won’t do when throwing an ice ball. Too sticky, too clumsy. Earl knew this; he also knew that the heat of the hands further pack the balls, and quicken the freezing process. These would be deadly. He had a dozen beautifully sculpted spheres stacked next to him. If it were summer and these were crab apples, they’d include thorns, but summer has been covered by three feet of packing snow, and so we used physics to our advantage rather then pure malice, though that was questionable.

“I could run to the pine tree and get their attention, draw them out,” explained Sonny. “Then Earl could slam them with the ice balls.”

“One in the face is all it should take.” Earl had a ball in each hand. Seth continued to build on our munitions store taking from the endless supply of snow behind our wall. John was fingering a hole through the wall so he might have a better chance at tracking the enemy movement without becoming a target again. Freddy shook his mittens out, getting the clumps of snow to fall off the wool. Sonny re-tied his boots so not to stumble when he became our distraction. Kevin was fighting a losing battle against his glasses as they fogged up after each breath. Tom shook nervously, his arms wrapped around his quivering knees. All of us were breathing heavily. The rising breath animated around us must have seemed like we were burning a fire within the walls to an outsider.

“Okay,” I told them. “We’re ready?” I get a nod from everyone but Tom. I knew he was looking forward to the cookies and hot chocolate portion of the day. But that would come - once a victory had been claimed, it would come. I had not forgotten what they’d done to my mother, and if it had happened to have slipped their minds, I would make them remember.

A wind had picked up from the west. One which felt like it could be accompanied by flurries. That would have made it interesting. It was a cold wind, and we knew that the Reckless would be considering a full frontal attack on our fortress if only to get out of the cold. Earl warmed his hands between his thighs.

“It’s now or never.” He cautioned. He nodded to Sonny who nodded back, taking his mark. I noticed Sonny look to Tom and reveal his monster grin which meant all would be alright. I too took comfort in that, picked up a snow ball and stood to fire at the snow bank along with Fred, Kevin, John and Seth as Sonny ran to the pines. In a relentless volley, we took the top off the east side of the bank and one of the Reckless rushed out into the open, digging snow out of the neck of his parka. That’s when Earl struck.

WHAM! Kid went down like a sack of potatoes. I was sure I’d seen a line of blood fly upwards where the ice ball had smashed into his nose. Shouts of victory rose up out of our small fort and we narrowly missed being hit by their response, slipping back behind the relative safety of our walls.

“Was that Jiminy?!” Seth asked excitedly, his cheeks red and lips chapped.

“Not sure,” Earl replied. “But I think I heard a whistle when it hit!” We laughed. This was going perfectly to plan. I peaked around to see where Sonny had gotten to.  He gave me a thumbs-up and was busy making snow balls of his own.

Read the exciting conclusion here:


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Inspired Children's Novella on Sale - Superstitions

Looking for a great Halloween read for your young reader? Pick up West of Noreaso for $0.76 on your kindle or just $9.99 paperback. 

October 31st, a deafening thunderstorm, two siblings, their grandmother’s mirror and a sequence of superstitions
finds Jackson and his little sister, Eloise in a strange new world, where superstition is law and bad luck lurks at every
turn. Good fortune, though smiles upon them when three unlikely volunteers shepherd the children in this bizarre world 
as they journey through the lands West of Noreaso, learning how to thwart bad luck and collect good luck as they find 
their path home.

Also find a list of superstitions on site to amuse and impress your friends and family this Halloween!

For more about the book and the author's/illustrator go to 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Halloween Book Signing In Burlington, Indigo

Halloween day, October 31st, 2015 from 1 - 5 pm - Michael Poeltl, Author and Illustrator of the modern classic: West of Noreaso will be appearing at the !ndigo book store at 1250 Brant Street in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, 

"It's perfect timing," explains Poeltl, "As the young reader novella itself is set around Halloween."

Poeltl's own love for the creepy holiday is apparent
as he describes the book's main theme: Superstition.

"I love the concept of superstition; the way people believe if they do something, or don't do it, that something good or bad might happen to them, or someone they love; like their Mother. Where does a concept like 'step on a crack and break your Mother's back' originate? And why?!"

The angle Poeltl take's in telling his story steeped in superstitions and set on a stormy Halloween evening, is to introduce two young siblings, Jackson and Eloise, pull them from everything they know, and drop them into a land ruled by superstition.

"Then the children have to navigate their way back home, but all the while, adhering to the rules of the land West of Noreaso," How do they do that? "Upon entering this new realm, the children encounter three sheep. They think they must have wandered from their shepherd, but soon discover that the sheep would be their shepherds there. That Jackson and Eloise could understand them when they spoke, and that they were trapped in a world they know nothing about.
To support his appearance, Poeltl will be marketing the the event on social networks and including an infographic highlighting some of the superstitions examined in the book. Don't miss this opportunity to meet and a have your edition of West of Noreaso signed. Pick up a copy at a 45% discount. Saturday, October 31st only! If yo have to miss it, you can always pick one up from Amazon in print or Kindle versions.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

CALL FOR ARTISTS - See your artwork in print, contest!

Author; Michael Poeltl, in association with Skylab Press is offering an open contest to artists and illustrators to create interpretive works to be included in the short story anthology; Waning Metaphorically – Special Edition.

With fourteen stories to choose from and no limit to the amount of entries each artist can submit, this contest costs nothing to enter, and if one or multiple works are chosen to represent one or more of the stories; you will see your work in print! You will also receive a signed paperback copy from the author, with thanks.

But the benefits don't stop there. Not only will your work(s) be in print, and your name in the printed acknowledgements, they will also be included in the author’s website, across multiple social networks, blogs and PR sites. Your name and personal contact information will accompany your artwork in every instance; broadcasting your accomplishments while contributing to your published portfolio.

All that is asked of you is that you purchase a Kindle copy of the book at $2.99, so you can familiarize yourself with the stories. If you do not have a Kindle reader, you can download a version of the program to your tablet or desktop from Amazon.

Poeltl discusses releasing a version of his anthology with accompanying illustrations per title, himself trained in the art of interpretive illustration at Sheridan College - graduating class of 1994. “I’m thrilled to see what comes of this contest,” Poeltl explains, “as an illustrator by trade, I know how much thought and effort go into a piece when it must relate to a story.”

Poeltl has released eight books including one trilogy, a children’s novella (which he illustrated), a work of fiction, two children’s educational books (which he illustrated), and his latest, an anthology of short stories. Interesting fact: Poeltl conceived and designed each of his book’s covers.

So, why not illustrate these stories himself? “I wanted to offer up-and-coming artists a chance I never had.” He says, “My own illustration career was short-lived, and so the decision to become a marketing professional kept me in the creative environment I love. That and becoming an author has been very fulfilling for me.”

All artwork will be judged by a panel of your peers. For more information on the contest and its rules visit the author’s website here:


Contest runs through till September 30th.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Trilogies End. But Sometimes the Author will Revisit it in a Short Story

Life, spelled out in a name, is the official - 'what happens after The Judas Syndrome Trilogy' has been told - story.

Spoiler Alert

It’s a difficult thing to leave a trilogy alone. Some readers want to be left to ponder the character’s prospects, while others want more! This is how I imagine Fan-Fiction took off. In this story Poeltl offer a brief yet surprising look into the events following Revelation; the third book in the wildly popular post-apocalyptic trilogy; The Judas Syndrome

This short story stars the only character to have endured all three books – at least in Poeltl's versions – and one of the strongest characters he's ever written. Left with a small band of survivors, Sara contemplates her past, while hoping to prevent a future which has taken her completely by surprise. 

Her son; dead and gone, and his father long dead, Sara contemplates her own mortality and what purpose she could serve in this aftermath. Upon pondering these hard questions, she is alerted that her son's friend and prodigy; Daniel, may be in trouble as he carries on Leif's teachings to the survivor's of Earl's vicious attack on their base. Homeless and hopeless, these newly displaced refugees could be capable of anything, including placing blame on her son and surviving disciples.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Not every story is meant to be a novel - read a Short Story.

Not every story is meant to be a novel, and with so many stories circling an author’s head at any given time, a short story is sometimes the best format in which to package it. Bang for your buck! Condensed story-telling.

This collection of shorts and flash fiction features fourteen multi-genre stories offering the reader a range of opportunities to slip away while on their commute, a day at the beach, or their lunch break. Short stories offer real-time entertainment in a world that demands instant gratification.

Waning Metaphorically is intended to excite the reader’s emotions and asks them to question, always. The stories within should inspire introspection on a number of topics and leave the reader more curious about their own points of view while, at times, agreeing with the authors.

It is recommended the stories are read in the order they are presented, but then, order is just another’s perception of how things ought to be.

Life is a Metaphor. A metaphor is a symbol. A symbol is a sign. Watch for the signs.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book trailers act just like movie trailers, only for books!

I like book trailers for their ability to offer short visuals with enough information and story-telling to give the viewer a reason to go pick up the book.

I don't necessarily want the trailer to give away too much, especially where the characters and settings are concerned, as I like to conjure those images up on the merit of the writing. In this, my most recent book trailer, I decided to offer each title of the fourteen short stories included within the anthology in a unique, whimsical, yet memorable way.

This is my first time appearing in one of my book trailers. I like how it turned out, and how approachable it makes me seem. And I am approachable! Especially where my books are concerned. I know I like to learn about the author of a book i'm about to read. Being featured in the book's trailer gives the reader a better idea of, if nothing else, the number of facial expressions I'm capable of.

I hope you enjoy the trailer for its whimsy, and pick up the book for its content. Fourteen multi-genre stories await your instant gratification. For even more on me, the author, you can check out my website:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Books are an adventure! Short Stories offer more!

Where will your book take you?  Novels are great, but a collection of short stories can put you in danger, insane, in love, the far future, the past, exotic locals, behind the eight ball and everywhere in between within minutes. A multi-genre collection like Waning Metaphorically does just that.

A short or flash fiction story is designed to take you out of your head and into someone else's for a brief, yet intense trip into their lives. The short story covers every genre and topic, only condensed for a trip that is perfect for your break or commute. There is little commitment necessary, as a short is usually completed in one sitting. So take it with you, on your Kindle or in paperback. The perfect accessory for virtually any situation. Waiting room at the Doctor's office? That's a short story! Bus ride from point A to B? There's a short story! Train into work? There's a short story for that! Camping? Relaxing while the baby is down? Need an hour to yourself at the pub? An afternoon while the kids are away? Short story, short story, short story... you get my meaning.
So don't say you have no time to read when your friends are telling you about another novel they can't put down. Pick up a collection of shorts. Show them your sophisticated side. Hey, short stories won the Nobel last year... look who's reading now!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Happy Canada Day, Readers! Free Books!

Canadian Author Michael Poeltl is giving away the second book of his wildly successful dystopian/post-apocalyptic trilogy; The Judas Syndrome, on Canada Day.

"Rebith; book two of the series is arguably my favourite of the three." When we asked Poeltl why, he had this to say, "because book two demonstrates my growth as a writer, a more defined story line and characters who were already developed. I didn't need to build them anymore, they had a life of their own."

He tells us that the last few scenes of book one are revisited in the beginning of book two. "Sara, Joel's (the protagonist from book one) girlfriend tells the story in Rebirth, picking up where book one left off." From there on the pace is quick and plot twists keep the reader`s interest until it leaves you wanting more.

Thankfully, Poeltl has completed the entire trilogy, and all the books are available on Kindle and in paperback. He's even released an anthology featuring all three books in a single paperback.

"Honestly, book one has since been edited a number of times, but it's not absolutely necessary you read it to get the gist of what's happened, and what is happening in book two."

If it's all the same to Mr. Poeltl, we'd recommend reading book one. The character development offers insights into the players, some of which will follow you right through to book three!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Books on Your Commute Can Take You Further Than Your Stop

Every commuter has that one person they can’t stop staring at, or the reverse. Both are kind of creepy, so stop staring! Immerse yourself in a book. Even if the book is only going to act as cover for the staring. If that’s the case it might as well be an attractive book. One that might make others start noticing you, in a good way. A book immediately makes a person more interesting, you immediately have layers. Instant intellect. Perhaps in time, the object of your affection will return your looks with a renewed sense of interest and a happily ever after is suddenly possible.

Now, if you’re one being gawked at, a book is the perfect camouflage. At least, it can hide your face and thwart the efforts of the creepy guy eyeballing you from the next row. The less opportunity you give him to catch a glimpse, the more likely he’ll be to give up on you and move on to the next target.
Your commute can take you anywhere when you’re reading a book. Novels are great, but a collection of short stories are arguably the best choice for the commuter. Instant gratification. Whether you’re riding the bus or train for fifteen minutes or fifty, there is a short story for that!

Michael Poeltl has recently entered the world of the short story with his June release of Waning Metaphorically. This is a collection of fourteen stories. Some are twenty-five pages while one is just a paragraph. Hemmingway once wrote a short story in six words and claimed it was his masterpiece. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” It takes you on an emotional ride and tells a much larger story of anticipation, loss and suffering as well as rebounding. In a short story you don’t have the space to fill in all the details, and when done well, you shouldn’t have to.

Poeltl’s new collection of multi-genre shorts was given an appealing cover design meant to resemble a sandwich board, listing each of the fourteen stories in chalkboard style fonts. Waning Metaphorically is available now in both paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

For more on the author and the book visit

MichaelPoeltl has released a new collection of short stories and is the author of four novels, one children's novella, a collection of short stories and two educational children and young reader’s books.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Amazon's Kindle Select Payment Plan Has Changed.

So, what`s Amazon up to now, Indies?

I see they’ve made an announcement about their new concept where they only pay authors of self-published Kindle books enlisted in the Kindle Select program based on the amount of content – or pages – the readers actually consume.

As an author with eight books on Amazon, and several in the Kindle Select program, it will be interesting to see whether this concept fails or not. I think it will be different for every genre. Short stories should do well, while novels that are slow to start ought to do poorly. A short story collection or anthology using this method, I would think, is destined to take-off!

Lucky me! I’ve recently published a short story collection and had planned to include it into the Kindle Select program. Now I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good idea. However, in the service of indie Author’s everywhere, I will include Waning Metaphorically into this program and report back with the stats.

I assume there will be a cost-per-page-turned in order to tally up each books worth to the reader, and those monies handed over to the author? That’s what I’m getting from this. But what that number per page is, I haven’t found out as yet.

If you have it, please respond and share.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Enter to Win New Anthology of Short Stories Today! Book Contest on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Waning Metaphorically by Michael Poeltl

Waning Metaphorically

by Michael Poeltl

Giveaway ends July 20, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A New Collection of Short Stories and Flash Fiction Released - Summer Reading List

Find the key emotion; this may be all you need know to find your short story.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
“A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick – a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.”
– Neil Gaiman
“I even start novels. But something happens to them. They break up.”
– Alice Munro

The short story is once more in vogue. After Alice Munro, a short story author from Canada, won the Nobel Prize for literature at age 82– the short story seems to be experiencing a renaissance.

Every story has a life span. Whether that happens to be a novel, novella, short, or what has more recently arisen in the literary arts: flash fiction, each has its purpose and its format. Each is an art form. Like poetry. A short offers less meat and more action to get from beginning to middle to end. Flash offers even less to digest and puts you right in the action whereas a novel can meander and take its time with character development and placing the reader in the scene.

“As many author’s do, I have my own slush pile,” explains Poeltl, “I knew the vast majority of my random scenes and false starts wouldn’t sustain novel length works, and I realized that literary shorts play an important role for the reader. Many of the stories within the pages of my own anthology are such refugees. At least, that’s how they’d begun their literary lives: a thought, a quote, a supposition.”  Poeltl has since revised and edited, lengthened or shortened, these scenes, and added fresh stories and narratives to accompany them in their own multi-genre book: Waning Metaphorically.

Poeltl states in the Forward of his new collection: Life is a Metaphor. A metaphor is a symbol. A symbol is a sign. Watch for the signs. Like all stories, they can be watered-down to act as metaphor or parables; but unlike parables, metaphors can be interpreted differently, depending on the subject. A waning metaphor therefore, only sustains resolve if a person decides to recognize it.

So enjoy the instant gratification shorts offer in their ability to disclose the intimate secrets of a life or lives in not so many words.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Short Stories and Their Relevance in Today's Market

So I've been asking a few writing and publishing groups on LinkedIn about their opinion of the short story.  I wanted to research this subject before committing to a published anthology of my own shorts and flash fiction. This post will cover a few things my research has unearthed, and from it you can draw your own conclusions on the short story's relevance.

There was a time when newspapers published serials. The greats like Charles Dickens and Poe were fond of these. Money was to be made as well! Then magazines became the popular medium to carry the short story. Buying shorts to include into a genre specific magazine was a major draw for readers.
Both have seemingly lost their punch. But the short story lives on.

Websites like Wattpad carry millions of short stories and serials from authors hoping to be discovered. No one is getting paid for these, but paying sites do still exist. Besides, writing short stories are meant to bring in an audience rather than make you money right?

Wrong. The short story is an art form. It won the Nobel Prize last year for literature. It's not playing second fiddle to novels, and never has. In fact the short has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts recently. Even the film industry has been picking up shorts because a 500 page and up novel is much more difficult to write into a script than a 20-80 page story.

Fan fiction is a great way to enter the short story market too. I wrote a short concerning a character in my trilogy, The Judas Syndrome, which told the story as seen through her eyes after book three had ended. I wrote it in just twelve pages.

The problem with selling your short stories one by one via Amazon and Smashwords is that many self-published authors are selling their novels for $0.99, and the majority of readers look for deals. Multiple consumer studies in 2013 and 2014 confirmed that readers won't spend the money for a short versus a full-length. So your short story, though every bit as good, if not better than a novel, only offers 20 to 80 pages of literary bliss while the novel is 200 and up.

The fix? Put your shorts and flash fiction into a collection. An anthology. Find the stories that share a common theme or genre and sell them as a package deal. Now you're attracting the larger audience to your works.

My own collection will be available very soon, and will be found in both paperback and ebook formats, entitled: Waning Metaphorically. Follow this blog or find me on Facebook and Twitter, Goodreads, linkedIn and Google+

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

gritLIT: Hamilton’s Readers & Writers Festival - April 16-19th, 2015

Don’t miss out on one of Southern Ontario’s un(der)discovered literary gems!

gritLIT: Hamilton’s Readers & Writers Festival is entering its second successful decade and is growing every year. The festival attracts audiences from all over the GTA and Golden Horseshoe, with dynamic and interactive readings, discussions and workshops held at the beautiful Art Gallery of Hamilton (123 King Street West).

Established in 2004 by Hamilton author Krista Foss, gritLIT has introduced Hamilton’s dynamic book-loving community to writers from across Canada, while at the same time offering local literary stars a chance to showcase their work. Over the years, gritLIT has provided Hamilton readers and writers personal interaction with and mentorship from some of Canada’s most respected national and international-award-winning authors — authors like Rawi Hage, Kathleen Winter, Dennis Lee, Emma Donoghue and local luminary Lawrence Hill (The Book of Negroes), to name a few.

Each year, the festival creates new opportunities for involvement. gritLIT has hosted blue pencil rooms, writing workshops, and master classes, and has brought writers of children’s and young adults' books into local schools and libraries. gritLIT runs an annual writing competition (short story and poetry) that attracts entries from established and emerging authors across Canada and overseas. One of this year’s short story winners is from Australia! Workshops and meet-up events also give local writers many opportunities to interact and hone their skills.

As Hamilton’s premier literary festival, gritLIT is poised to entertain and influence budding writers and devoted readers for years to come as its author list continues to expand along with its membership. This year’s festival runs April, 16-19th.

For more information and the schedule of events, visit

To arrange an interview or for other media inquiries, email Mike at

Monday, March 9, 2015

Author Ideas 101 - Flash Fiction and Short Story Compilations

Whether you've written a few novels, or have yet to complete your first, you likely have a slush pile of unfinished, barely started or merely outlined story ideas. I propose that these incomplete thoughts are worthy of further consideration, and if not in the form you originally proposed them to yourself, than perhaps as a piece of flash fiction or a short story?

If you're anything like me, you have scenes and dialogues - that in a moment of inspiration - you had to jot down. Sometimes these moments turn into minutes or even hours. You may not be working on a story that will be suitable for this flash of genius, but if the scene has a beginning, middle and ending, or can be expanded upon, you might just have yourself a tidy little short, or work of flash fiction.

I have been surfing through my own pile of start-ups and see merit in each of them. Some are honestly a paragraph - a witty piece of banter between two people - where others are stories which developed on their own with no clear end in site. Revisiting them, I have managed to find an end in some, expanding on others to complete a piece of flash fiction, or simply edited a short story I had written years before.

My point is that these stories caught in moments of inspiration weren't for nothing. Inspiration brings life to any thought, and when we write that thought down it becomes a story. So why wait for the right novel to include your unique dialogue and character piece? Do something with them now!

I'm currently working on a number of stories from my slush pile; even one which features characters from my trilogy. A look at life for those I didn't kill off. Just 4-5,000 words. But enough to tickle anyone's interest who'd read the trilogy and wondered about a fourth book.

This practice can also be helpful in moments of writer's block. Revisit a train of thought you never completed. You know you have them in that folder marked 'Unfinished' on your desktop. People love a story they can finish quickly on a trip into work or and afternoon in the sun. A compilation of these stories just makes sense.