I Can Has Allergies

I really, really, really need to move. Since mid-March I’ve had a stomach bug, allergies, and a sinus infection. After battling the sinus thing for three weeks and coughing so hard that I pulled a muscle, I realized that I needed more than vitamin C. So, I went up to a local walk-in clinic for antibiotics and some nasal spray. Well, that helped a lot, but I still have allergy headaches, and now I’m having eye strain headaches. I need a vacation, and I need a paradise to escape to. It sure looks pretty outside, but … achoo!

In March and early April I’ve so busy that I’ve had to let the blog “rest” for awhile. I had an encyclopedia article on howdahs to complete by the end of March, and then I had to prepare a paper for presentation on Victorian detectives, detective fiction, and journalism for the 2017 meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of British Studies. And this week I just wrapped up an entry on the cultural and historical impact of Ray Bradbury for another encyclopedia. And all this stuff is in addition to my full-time job.

Yes, I do sit at the computer for a very long time every day! And this is a problem, so I’ve joined a local gym and signed up for four training sessions. My second one is today, and I’ve actually worked out twice so far this week.

I’m slowly catching up on my writing goal of 240,000 words for this year, despite a couple of very unproductive weeks. With this blog post, I’m just about 700 words behind where I want to be, but I still have two days left in my writing work week. On the fiction writing front, I’m starting the revisions to my Steampunk story for Corrugated Sky’s second anthology, to be published in late spring or early summer. Seacombe Island is next up; it’s getting a final revision and should also be published this year. I have several nonfiction projects in the queue as well, including a proposal for a chapter in a book on World War I, a book of writer’s prompts, and extending my research and writing about Victorian detectives. Oh, and there might be a cocktail book in the works, too. But that’s for after hours!


Thursday Writing Prompt No. 116


I’m angry right now. Yep, I’m trying to make a doctor’s appointment and I find myself caught up in automated answering machine hell. I detest these things as it is, but this one wants to sell me every medical procedure that this doctor’s office offers. Really? Really!

So, let’s write a complaint letter together! Now you might be thinking “I want to write fiction, not a letter!” But any kind of writing will help you hone your craft, and if you usually write fiction or poetry then writing nonfiction will be like cross-training for your writer’s mind.

Complaint letters aren’t meant to be negative, even though they are about something bad–or at least, something not as good as it might be. The key to writing a good complaint letter is to be very specific about what the problem is and what kind of remedy you want from the individual or company that you are dealing with. Avoid writing things like “this sucks” because it doesn’t really mean anything. What is the problem, and why it is a problem?

Here’s your scenario: you go to the grocery story and buy some frozen dinners, only to find once you’re at home that one of the boxes has been opened and the inner seal on the food is punctured. You try to return it to the store but the manager won’t give you a refund because you can’t prove that it came from the store this way.

You drive home angry, your foot pressed to the accelerator, and leap out of the car. Rushing to your computer, you look up the company’s website and find their contact page. Your fingers hover over the keyboard, itching to let loose. What do you write?