Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in review: Most popular posts: #1

Drum roll

Number One was:
Black Friday: A short story

Who wouldn't want to go shopping with my vampires? I was shocked this was my most popular post. I whipped up the story pretty fast. But it was fun to do. Taking my characters on a little trip outside the novels.

Overall it's been a fun, crazy, and sometimes frustrating year. And I can't wait to see what next year has in store.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year in review: Most popular posts: #2

Number two was a little post showing love to the Great Bela Lugosi
I Want to Start a Movement

I promise to expand on this soon. I missed the December birthdays. BUT in May there are 2 days in a row that have 3 horror greats birthdays. Watch this blog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in review: Most popular posts: #3

Number three is Teaser Tuesday Artwork Addition

I know that should be Edition. But no one seemed to care. This was the unveiling of the cover of Killer. I got only one No on it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Year in review: Most popular posts: #4

My fourth most popular post was this How to Make up the Character That You Need Now!

My advice as a panster to writers that need a little shove. It really does help if you need to come up with character quickly.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

#SampleSunday Opening of Patriarch

*This is the first 700 words to Patriarch. It is in an early stage of editing. So this is a really rough, really bad stuff here. If you are brave: continue.

A white van turned the corner, making Steopa jump back onto the curb. The car that the van had cut off, swerved and hit their horn. Steopa reached back and laid his hand on Rebecka's shoulder.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

Rebecka patted his large hand. “You were nearly run over, not me.”

He turned his head to watch the white van as it drove away from them. He took Rebecka's hand and walked down the street, following the van. People moved out of his way as he began to pick up his pace. His statue, all seven feet, would make anyone want to avoid being run down by him. But the people on the street did not see him.

Steopa and Rebecka had blurred. Shadows covered both of them as they stayed on the white van's path. Its path was erratic. Turning down one street, then another. The darkened windows had piqued his attention. A shroud covered the van. Someone in that van wanted to die.

The van rode low to the ground. So low that if it hit a large bump, it would get stuck. The blackened windows did not allow anyone to see how many people were inside. From the interior you could feel, before you heard, the heavy bass lines echoing from a hip hop song.

Steopa strained to hear, over the bass and engine, the heartbeats of  the occupants. He heard three. The strongest, a steady beat, with a slight irregularity, almost drowned out the other two. Those beats were fast. Two of the occupants were frightened.

The van slowed down. Steopa paused on the street. He pulled out a  hair tie from his overcoat's pocket and tied his long black hair back. Rebecka motioned with her head to across the street.

Across the street, a group of seven men, all wearing the same shade of red, watched the van roll pass. The van turned down another street and the group of men followed it. Steopa raised his eyebrow. Rebecka grinned.

Steopa faded into the shadows, Rebecka did the same. They jumped across the street, then followed the men. The van turned into a parking lot of an old factory. It drove through a set of open double doors and shut off its engine. The music still echoed. The group walked into the same building. Two of them turned around and shut the double doors behind them.

Steopa looked up. The factory had four floors. The third floor, set back a little ways from the edge of the building, had the most windows. Most of them were broken, at one time it may have been the only light source in the building.

He jumped and landed on the small ledge around the windows. Rebecka joined him. He leaned over the empty window frame and studied the scene below. The van had pulled into the middle of the factory floor. The group of men surrounded it. One of them walked up to the driver's side door.

Rebecka put her arm through the empty window pane, then pulled it back. Steopa gave her a single nod. Even if a place was abandoned, it didn't mean they could walk inside. This old factory did not have the barrier. Nothing would stop them from entering.

“It is abandoned.” He whispered.

“You never know,” she said.

The driver got out of the van. Unlike the other men in the factory, the driver wore a suit coat over blue jeans. The one that had walked up to the van and the driver walked over to the large side door. They were engaged in an animated conversation.

Steopa could hear parts of the conversation. They discussed a payment. Money, exchanged hands. The driver opened the side door. Steopa grabbed Rebecka as she lunged forward.

The children were bound and gagged on the floor of the van. Steopa growled. Each of the men grabbed one of them and pulled the children out. Two of the red hooded men came forward and took the children.

Rebecka pried Steopa's fingers off her arm. Steopa grabbed her wrist. Rebecka glared at him. Steopa whispered. “Wait.”

“Why?”

“When I come back, get the children.” Steopa jumped down to the ground.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sometimes the Fool is the sanest one.

Last Thursday, I met a man. He had a "unique" view on the world. He wasn't violent, or angry, or threatening in anyway. He was intelligent, but had a strange way at looking at the world. He asked me about my books. We talked for a while, and the conversation went to this question:

"Are there real vampires?"

I used the historical argument. That vampires were the lack of understanding about how the body decomposes and how disease works. How they were a manifestation of our fear of death. He cut me off.

"I know that, but are there real vampires?"

Because of the conversation I had with him already. I realized that he would not take any answer other than "Yes."

Have you ever talked to someone that is a little off? Your gut tells you that if you say the wrong thing, they might go off on you. That is what I was facing.

So I asked him. "If there are, would they want us to know?"

He got excited. "That sounds like you met them."

Luckily, I was saved by a friend. She interupted us and asked me to come with her. I have never been so relieved.

But it got me thinking. What if they were real? How would we know? I doubt a 1500 year old vampire would go online and claim to be exactly that. I think they would be the ones going around "Change me please!" and when someone agrees. They would show up and smile! The rest you can leave up to your imgination.

Would a real vampire spend their time in high school? I would say no, but Musings of a High School Vampire might change your mind. At least it made me think it could be possible for a vampire to hide out as a high school student. But I would think that the vampire, if they wanted to bother with the school scene, would pick college. An art school might be the best. Or pretend to be an out of work actor. There are so many more interesting things they could do, other than go back to high school.

Would a real vampire take weeks to stalk someone? I think it would depend on how bored their were, and who they were stalking. I could see a realy bored vampire finding a serial killer and seeing if the killer would recognize that they were being hunted too.

Could they survive in sunlight? Depends on the vampire. Movies make us believe that they explode in the sun*. But in the folklore can go any way. There were some that could not stand the sun, some that could not stand the moonlight, some change appearance depending on what time it was, etc.


What about appearing legal? Getting the right paperwork together, so they didn't have that hassle.  Either they won't care, or know "the right people"

Have I met a vampire? Only the ones in my head.

But there was that one time...

* If you look up how hot the human body has to be in order for it to burn, vampires must be made out of flammable tissue paper

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bed Bugs and Vampires

Bed bugs are real. We have spent the last three years fighting them in our apartment. With the landlords help, right now I will say there is an armistice. My personal feelings are, between them and cockroaches. I will take cockroaches. You clean the house and lay down some poison. The cockroaches leave. Bed bugs, hide and hibernate until they can strike again.

They are blood suckers. They have evolved to feed off humans. You won't find them on animals. They might hitch a ride, but they will not be feeding. They come at night. So you can see the connection to vampires immediately.

But my theory has to do with the bite marks that vampires are supposed to leave. Most lore mentions small marks on the neck. It bothered me. If you seen a dog bite, or even a human bite, you know that the marks are not small. They are not dots. They look horrible. The skin bruises and the wounds are ragged.

So why small marks?

It wasn't until last summer when I got bitten on the neck by bed bugs, did I see the connection. There on my neck were small wounds. Right along the jugular. I had my own vampire bite. Some people wondered if I had done the bites to myself because of my books. I was embarrassed by them, more than anything.

Not me, but a good example of what the bites look like.


So what do you think? Would some people wake up in the morning, feeling a bit tired (they can wake you up if they are really hungry), and see the marks on their neck, think a vampire came in the night?

Only I don't think a vampire bite will itch and last for days.  Stupid bugs.

The only saving grace of these little vampires, is that they do not transmit diseases. Whereas real vampires, being dead, might be full of stuff that could make you sick.  But that being said. I would rather have the real vampire. At least I can put garlic around the house and they will leave. Not like the bed bugs. Grr stupid bugs.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Update: well strange things afoot.

First off, an apology. I still have not got the file up for the Kindle version of Killer. I don't want to bore you with the long torrid tale, but it involves a crashed motherboard, and switching operating system. I am sure once I look around the Linux community I can find what I need to get the file in the correct format and up. But I just have not had the time.

The short story challenge; Great start. I got the first one done! I am getting it critiqued! Yay! The second one, not so good. The first theme: Prehistory. My mind went blank. Nothing. Nada. I had one idea, but I couldn't articulate it. So I went to the next theme: Marionettes. I have ideas. Now I just have to filter out which ones.

Two projects are starting to come together. I can't talk about them yet. But one I hope will help make more people interested in my writing. The other is still in the brainstorming stage. When a more solid idea is formed, and everyone I need is on board. I will make an announcement.

As for Patriarch. I know it's going to be a thicker book. When you start delving into Steopa's past, you have a lot to work with. Best change so far. Perun comes into the story earlier.  Who is Perun? He's a force of nature. And when I told my husband he is making his appearance earlier, my husband clapped. I can guarantee you, you are either going to love him or hate him. There will be no middle ground.

So that is the update. More insights into my mind later.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Am I Insane?



A personal contest, maybe.

I have decided to try a personal writing contest. I have won NaNoWriMo for three years in a row. I have two books indie published, and more on the way. I can do novels. Short stories, I haven't messed around with much.

Maybe it won't be personal, I would be willing to have anyone do this, with me, you know, for support. For a month, a few months, heck even the whole year.

So starting on December first, I will write – two short stories a month.

The numbers break down to this:
Average short story length: 5000 words.
Total words for the year: 120000
Daily average to hit: 330 words

After doing NaNoWriMo, 330 words a day is a cake walk.

What to write about?
For me, I went to Duotrope and picked out 24 open submissions that interested me. I don't know if I will actually submit the stories, but the themes and deadlines have given me a goal to work towards.

What if I hadn't done that? I would have pick a theme for each month and kept to it. So this might have been my list:

January = New Beginnings
February = Love
March = Madness (ie March Hare)
April = Rain
May = Flower
June = Weddings
July = Explosions
August = Lazy Summer
September = Back to Learning
October = Ghosts
November = Thanks
December = Gifts

Or I would have gone to a place like Story Starter or Seventh Sanctum and pick a random one there.

What are my goals doing this?
1.Take a daily break from my novel writing and editing.
2.Think outside my comfort zone in writing.
3.To see how fast I can do it.
4.To build up a stories that I could submit. If I needed one in a hurry.

So that is my crazy idea. Anyone else want to join me? And if you do, What the heck would should it be called?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday - a short story

My Thanksgiving gift to all of you!
If you are entering the contest. Please leave your twitter handle in the comments as well. I will pick a winner on Sunday 11-28-2010

GoGoRach won!

If you have to place this story in the time line of my series. After Killer and before Patriarch. It's a little view into the reactions to some of my characters as they are dragged to a Black Friday Sale.

Andi's pigtails blew in her face. “Thanks for coming with me. Silvia has Chuck on the other side of town, I can't let him see what I am getting him.”

Vincent stared at the line outside the store. He rubbed his goatee. “Um, what is going on, again?”

"Black Friday,” Rebecka said. She wrapped her arm around Steopa's waist. “The busiest shopping day of the year.”

Steopa and Vincent looked at each other with confused expressions. Andi giggled. “You know, for Christmas.”

Vincent turned his head so he could take in the whole line. “What does this have to do with Christmas?”

“Best time to get great deals on gifts,” Andi said. She grabbed Vincent's arm.

Rebecka scoffed. “Yeah, if you don't mind being mobbed. The last one I was dragged to, I ended up with a black eye.”

“Sounds horrible,” Steopa said.

“It's not that bad, if you have a plan,” Andi said. “I want to get one gift for Chuck. But if it's gone, I have other ones in mind. I am heading to electronics and picking up the game. Then we are done.”

Vincent looked up at the sky. A few hours ago he had gotten up. “Another question, why so early?”

“It's part of the fun,” Andi said.

“Madness,” Rebecka said.

“They are standing in line to buy gifts?” Steopa asked.

“Yeah,” Andi said.

Steopa shook his head.

“Didn't you do anything like this for Christmas?” Andi asked.

“We would clean the house and have a large dinner, but that was on Christmas Eve,” Steopa said. “On Christmas proper, we would celebrate.”

“I would get an apple and a new pair of pants,” Vincent said.

Rebecka sighed. “Well, if we are going to do this, we better get in line.”

Andi bit her lower lip. “It is long, isn't it?”

“What are you buying Chuck?” Vincent asked.

“Time War Unleashed. It supposed to be this amazing game.”

Vincent put his arm around Andi's shoulder. “You know, I had nothing else to do tonight, so why not have some fun.”

Andi turned her head so she could see Rebecka and Steopa. “You don't have to come.”

Rebecka shrugged. “Why not? I'll just sit at the snack bar.”

Vincent walked with Andi to a spot that was close to the front of the line. He smiled at the middle aged woman, who gave him a stern look.

“I didn't think we would make it, thanks for waiting,” Vincent said.

Her eyes clouded over. “I was worried too,” she said. She turned to face the door.

The couple behind Vincent whispered to each other, glaring at him. He turned around. “Sorry, we forgot your coffee. My friend will buy you some inside.” He pointed to Steopa.

Their eyes clouded as they stared at Steopa.

The man smiled. “That's no problem,” He said as his eyes continued up Steopa's large frame.

The four of them, squeezed their way between the middle aged woman and the couple. Vincent leaned against the cold bricks. “So everyone here is..., is buying something?”

“Yeah, there are some great deals.” Andi pulled out the store's ad from her purse. “If I have time, I want to get John and Loreli a new stereo.”

“Don't bother,” Rebecka said.

“Why not?”

“John already bought a new one.”

“Really? He said that he was still looking.”

“Was Lorelei in the room?”

“Yeah she was.” Andi rolled her eyes. “It's a gift for her, isn't it?”

Rebecka nodded.

“Could I see that paper?” Steopa asked.

Andi handed him the ad. Steopa opened it and flipped through the pages.

The woman in front of them checked her watch. “One minute. Come on open the doors.”

Andi squirmed. “Okay, I am heading straight for electronics.”

Vincent looked at the line in front of them. “You will have to be quick.”

Andi shook her head. “Maybe I could kick them?”

“Where is electronics?” Vincent asked.

“Middle of the store, I think.”

Vincent straightened up. “I'll meet you there.”

Andi smiled. “Remember it's called, Time War Unleashed.”

A manager came to the doors and unlock one. Most of the crowd groaned. When he opened the door. The lined surged. The crowd shuffled in, but as soon as they made it passed the door. They ran.
Vincent slipped ahead of them and blurred. Andi giggled as she moved forward.

“Where can we met up?” she asked.

“Snack bar,” Rebecka said. “I'm finding a seat, and I am not moving.”

“I have to see something,” Steopa said. He had folded the ad back to one page. “I will meet you there?”

Rebecka nodded.

Andi cleared the doorway. She bolted down the aisle. Steopa turned and walked away. The crowd clearing a path in front of him. Rebecka sighed.

She walked over to the snack bar and sat down. The cashier looked up.

“You get a little break before you get crazy?” Rebecka asked.

The cashier nodded. “For a couple of minutes.”

Vincent made it to the electronics area before the rest of the shoppers, behind him he could hear the footfalls. It sounded like a stampede. He saw the game sitting on the counter next to the cashier. He grabbed one.

As he pulled his hand back. A woman tried to take the game out of his hand.

“Whoa! Hey! That's mine!” Vincent said, grabbing the game back.

“I'm sorry, but I need that for my son.”

“Then take one from the counter.” Vincent turned away and shook his head.

Andi ran up to Vincent. “You got one!”

Vincent glanced back at the counter, the rest were gone. Andi hugged him.

“Chuck's going to be so happy!”

He handed the game to Andi. She put it on the counter, smiling. As she opened her purse. Vincent looked around. One person shoved another away from a collection of dvd players. One man grabbed an item out of a woman's cart as she looked away.

“I've been to riots with better manners,” he said.

Andi laughed as she grabbed the bag. “Its not that bad.”

Closer to the front of the store, Steopa leaned over to look at the jewelry in the cases. He rubbed his chin as he studied each piece.

“Can you check in the back?” a woman said.

Steopa glanced up. A young cashier looked around. “I'm sorry, but all the TVs that were on sale, were out on the floor.”

“I know you hide one or two. Just check in the back.”

“I'll call someone, I can't leave-”

“Look! I want that TV!” The woman shook the ad in the young cashier's face.

Steopa tapped the glass with his fingers. He watched the woman's face turn red, then a strange shade of purple as she yelled at the young cashier. The cashier glanced at him. He looked down at the necklaces in the case, then at the woman.

He stood up, smoothing out his coat as he did. He walked over to the cashier. The woman yelled. “I can't believe you would not have enough stock-!”

“Excuse me,” Steopa said.

The woman did not look at him. “I was here first!”

The cashier craned her head. “I will be with you as soon...”

Steopa placed his hand on the angry woman's arm. She spun around. Her eyes did the familiar motion of starting at his chest, then traveling up.

“Excuse me,” he said. “But I do not think this young woman makes the purchasing decisions.”

“You can't tell me you think it's fair that-”

Steopa held up his hand. “I do not like to be kept waiting when I want to make a purchase.”

“I was here first!”

“But you are buying nothing. You are only making this young lady's morning difficult.”

“How dare you! I'll get a manager and have you thrown out!”

Steopa raised his eyebrow. The cashier turned her face away, she snickered.

“You should leave,” Steopa said.

“I will not!”

“LEAVE!” His voice echoed for a short time. It became drowned out by the crowd and the racks of clothing.

The woman's eyes clouded and then opened wide. Then she grabbed her purse off the counter and turned around. When she had disappeared into the crowd, the cashier sighed.

“Thank you,” she said.

“You are welcome. Could I see the lockets? In the case with the pocket watches.”

The cashier smiled. “Yes. The gold ones?”

“Yes.”

At the snack bar, Vincent sat down next to Rebecka.

“Where's Andi?” Rebecka asked.

“In line, on the way back, she found some other things that she had to look at.” Vincent looked around. “Where's the big guy?”

Rebecka pointed. Steopa's long black hair could be seen over the mass of people that were gathering at the cash registers. A few people walked into the snack bar and sat at the empty tables.

“Have you done this before?” Vincent asked.

Rebecka nodded her head. “But why bother? Look at them, they are insane. Fighting over something because it's on sale, or because it's the hot item this year.”

“You sound bitter.”

“I never understood this madness.” She pointed to a man pushing out a cart with four TVs on it. “Look at that, do you really need to give someone a TV?”

“It's nuts. I did love Christmas when I was a kid. I would get one toy, an apple, and some candy. That was it. But all the family would come over and we would party. I got drunk when I was twelve.”

Rebecka had a small smile. “I liked it when I was a kid too. Dad would always get John and I a great gift. Then we would go sledding. One year when it was warm enough, he took us out on the Harley.” She sniffed. “After he died. Mom went nuts, she would buy us junk. Just because it was the big toy that year. Everything had to be perfect. We couldn't even rip off the wrapping paper.”

“That's the best part.”

Rebecka nodded. “Try buying her a gift. If I got her earrings, she wanted a necklace. If John had made her a cutting board, she would say the one at Macy's was nicer. Thanks to her, I hate giving and getting gifts.”

Vincent patted Rebecka's hand. She pulled her hand away. Steopa walked over to them. He glanced at the small chairs surrounding the table, then stood by Rebecka.

“Did you buy anything?” Vincent asked.

“Yes,” Steopa said, he glanced at Rebecka.

Andi bounced over to the table, with a large bag. “Alright, I found stuff for Chuck's dad too.”

She put the bag on the table and pulled out a robe. She held it up. “What do you think?”

Steopa nodded. “I think he will like it.”

Her cell phone rang. She answered it while she folded up the robe. Vincent leaned over to Rebecka.

“You really don't like getting gifts?”

She nodded. “Like I said, Mom made it seem like a chore.”

Andi put her phone away. “That was Silva, we are going to meet up for breakfast.”

“I'll go with you,” Vincent said.

“It's not far.”

“That bag is bigger than you are, I'll go with you.”

“We should join them,” Steopa said to Rebecka.

Rebecka shrugged.

They left the store. People were still streaming inside. The line had disappeared from the front of the store, a line of red lights of cars leaving the parking lot replaced it. They had to walk around the outside of the parking lot to avoid the heavy traffic.

Vincent turned to Steopa. “Rebecka told me that she doesn't like to get gifts.”

“Is that true?” Steopa asked.

“Sometimes,” Rebecka said.

Steopa stopped. He patted his pocket. “Are you sure?”

“Why?”

“I did not want to give you this like this,” Steopa said. “But if you are sure that you do not want a gift-”

“What is it?”

Steopa pulled out a small black box. “It is not complete, I have to have the inside done.”

He handed Rebecka the box. She opened it. Vincent peeked over her shoulder. Andi gasped. Rebecka picked up the locket and held it up.

“It's pretty,” she said.

Steopa opened it. “You see, nothing inside. I wanted to have the interior painted.”

Rebecka pointed at his locket. “Like that one?”

“Except your portrait would be inside.”

Vincent watched the expression on Rebecka's face change. Her lower lip trembled. “That is...”

Steopa motioned her closer. He looped the chain around her neck and closed the clasp. “Do you like it?”

“Yes.”

“I wish Chuck would give me something like that,” Andi said.

Rebecka threw her arms around Steopa and hugged him. “Thank you.”

Steopa kissed her forehead. “You are welcome.”

Andi opened her mouth, Vincent put his finger to his lips. She grinned. She moved away from Steopa and Rebecka. Vincent went with her.

“I thought Rebecka was going to cry,” Andi whispered.

“I think she is,” Vincent said. He glanced behind him. Steopa had picked up Rebecka as he kissed her.

“I know it was crazy in there, but it was worth it.” Andi asked.

Vincent nodded. “Yeah it was.”


Creative Commons License
Black Friday by Mari Miniatt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.mariminiatt.com.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Character Theme Songs: Andi

Want to catch up the previous posts are as follows:


First Post HERE
Second Post: HERE
Third Post: HERE
Fourth Post: HERE
Fifth Post: HERE

This is the final installment of the theme songs. Please check out the links above if you missed any. The point behind this is to show how music can help define a character when you are writing.

Andi, the cute little waitress. Her song is....

Stupid Girls by Pink



Why this song?

Andi is young, likes pop music. But she also has to deal with looking too young and cute. Men make assumptions about her based on her looks. She can really kick ass, and that is a surprise to the ones that assume she is a small thing that needs protection. You don't need protection when you have a passion for a unique form of martial arts.

Although a minor character in Fledgling, her role becomes bigger in Killer. And this is the song, that I would listen to when she was in the scenes. She has no issue with her looks and the assumptions that people make about her.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Character Theme Songs: Swen

Want to catch up the previous posts are as follows:


First Post HERE
Second Post: HERE
Third Post: HERE
Fourth Post: HERE

This week I am sharing the music I use to write, especially the songs that end up to be the ones I associate with certain characters.

Some main characters do not end up with theme songs (poor Ogden I haven't found his yet.) But some minor ones do.

This one is for the berserk bouncer: Swen

Pyre of the Gods by Tarot



Why is this song so fitting for Swen?

Actually, this one overtook a Black Label Society song (Suicide Messiah), when I wrote Killer. The scene where Swen threatens the vampire in the alleyway. This was the song I played constantly while writing and editing.

Look at what he is: he is a former Marine. He is a berserk. He is a biker.

Although this song came out way after his tour of duty. I can see him relating to the lyrics of the song. Especially if you take in his religious beliefs (hinted at, but not fully reveled in the novels).

Besides I can't see Swen listening to mainstream music.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Character Theme Songs: Vincent

Want to catch up the previous posts are as follows:


First Post HERE
Second Post: HERE
Third Post: HERE

This week, while I am feverishly trying to get ahead in my NaNoWriMo entry, I thought I would share some of the music I listen to while I write. Some authors can't have that distraction. I find it helps me focus. And once in awhile a song will become one that I will associate with a particular character.

What can I say about Vincent? First off, he gets two songs.


A Little Less Conversation the Jxl vs Elvis remix.




Possum Kingdom by The Toadies


Why two songs? Because they each cover a side of his personality.

The first one: That is the public face of Vincent. He is the host of the Rathskeller, the life of the party! If someone is having a bad time, he steps in and makes sure they have a good one. I have a feeling he is an Elvis fan, too.

The second: The perfect stalking song for him. If he ever wanted to take more than a snack from one of his victims, I could see him using the same words to convince them to go with him.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Character Theme Songs: Steopa

Inspired by the question you answer when you sign up for nanowrimo. This week I am sharing the songs that have be come the theme songs for some of my characters.

Previous Posts: HERE and HERE

Steopa is unique in that he gets a classical piece

Montagues and Capulets other wise known as Dance of the Knights by Sergei Prokofiev.


The piece sounds familiar doesn't it. It is often used to set the mood of film pieces that are to take place in the Soviet area.

Why does this fit Steopa?

Knowing his background, he might have met the composer at some point, speculation even for me! LOL!

But I was draw to this piece as his theme music because it fits him. This could be the one that he listens to after he returns to the underground vault. This music fits the way he moves and acts. Hard to explain.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Character Theme Songs: Steopa and Beka

First post: HERE

This week I am sharing the songs I listen to while writing for certain characters. These songs became the characters theme music.

Here is the song for both Steopa and Beka.

Love You to Death by Type O Negative:
Officialvideo here: Please watch it.

Live video:



This became their song when they were just general ideas. The line "Am I good enough, for you." speaks to both of them.

Beka has issues, based on her past, any intimate relationship would be hard. And then her and Steopa are slammed together. One: she has a classical good looking man (vampire) who finds her attractive. Two: It takes her a while to get over the hang ups that blocked her before.

With Steopa: (spoiler alert some of this comes out in Patriarch) He has only loved one other woman in his life. She was the reason he forced himself home after being attacked by the vampire in the pine thicket. Then centuries later, being a vampire desensitized him to the same feelings.

Both of them had shut down their feelings in the area of love. One because of being a vampire. One did it out of self defense.  Yet, they are together. They do feel deeply for each other.  Physically it still maybe in impossible for them. But they don't mind.



Side note: yeah, after watching the videos, those of you that read the books. Yes, physical inspiration for Steopa.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Photo Prompt > Not a poem, but inspired.

One Stop Poetry has a photo prompt on homelessness. I am not a poet, but I will try to get some words down. Because it happened to me, and it can happen to you.

It's easy to ignore the scruffy one, the one sitting smoking the butt of the cigarette that he found on the ground.
It's easy to ignore the noisy one, the one standing outside the shop, stopping you for change as you leave.
It's easy to ignore the loud one, the one screaming to sky, hoping that God hears him, because no one else is.
It's easy to ignore them, because you see them. Even if you try not too, they are there.

But there are the ones: too proud to beg, too proud to let themselves look like they are homeless, and too ashamed to let their friends know.

Some even have jobs, but instead of heading home every night to watch reality TV. They are cramped with their family in one bedroom of the family shelter or living in their car. Mother and Father and kids.

They bathe at the Y. They make excuses if someone wants to visit them. While others are buying too much junk for the Holidays, they have to tell the kids that Santa might not come.

They are not there because they abused drugs, they are not there because they ran. They are there because what they are paid cannot even get them a small apartment. Or the medical bills have wiped out all their funds. Or they lost their home and there are no jobs.

You can't ignore them, because they do not want to be seen with the scruffy, noisy, and loud ones. They want to just have a stable place to call their own. A place where their kids can have friends over. It doesn't have to be a mansion, just a place to hall home.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Character Theme Songs: Beka

One of the questions you are asked when you sign up for NaNoWriMo is what type of music do you listen to when writing. That is a hard question for me to answer because it depends on the story and what is going on in the story.

One of the things I notice that comes up with my listening is that certain songs begin to become the theme songs of characters. I find I am listening to one song constantly when writing about a certain character.

Over the next few posts I am going to share the songs I listen to and explain why they became the theme songs.

Here is the song for Beka:

The Chair by The 69 Eyes



Poor, poor, poor Beka.

What a messed up woman she was. She wanted to be miserable, she wanted to be hurt, and she wanted the attention.

You could say this was the theme song to her human life. She still carried on through all the emotional baggage she had built up around her. Part of her wanted someone to "kick the chair", but there was part of her that stopped her each time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The price of freedom is dealing with the nastiness.

**Any comments that attack me directly about this post will be deleted. I know its ironic considering want I am ranting about. And I refuse to print the title of the book, because it is free publicity. **

I was going to wait until Monday to post this. I have to rant.

Yesterday, under public pressure Amazon pulled a self published book off it's listing. Because of the subject matter.  Unfortunately I have to take everything I hear about that book, on hearsay, because I never saw the listing. And a lot of the people that complained, also did not see the listing. I am sure some people did look further and my rant is not with them.

This rant is for a particular group of people, read on.

When you publish with Createspace, they  have you sign a Terms of Service agreement. Which means they will not publish certain items. This book did fall into that violation. I think if Amazon would have pulled it earlier, the furor would not have been so bad.

But there is a bigger picture (actually two points) that is making my stomach turn.

A lot of authors, just helped censor a book. Read that sentence again. Authors helped censor a book. The very people that should defend anyones right to free expression, screamed and hollered and got the book taken down. I don't care what the subject matter was, I don't care how vile it was. Because there are a lot of books out there that are just as bad in someone elses mind.

Let me let you in on a little fact. Any book that has been written will offend someone.

But that was a horrible, gross, disgusting, illegal subject, it's not the same.

Let me give you some titles, and you decide.

Mein Kamf: Hitler's autobiography and political philosophy
Lolita:   A man's obsession with a 12 year old girl
The Turner Diaries: A diary about a violent take over of the United States government, Timothy McViegh was reportedly influenced by the book.
The Joy of Gay Sex: The title explains it all

Now it turns out the author wanted all the free publicity he could get. He got it.

Maybe some of you have never dealt with this first hand like I have. I had just started to work in retail. Harry Potter the first movie was coming out on DVD. I was setting up the display.
Suddenly this woman is in front of me. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING PUTTING UP THAT EVIL THING?"

She screamed at me. She did not want our store to sell that book or movie that promoted witchcraft, and devil worship, and child abuse. I tried to back away from her, but she kept on me.

Was she delusional? No, her entire church had started a campaign to stop the sale of the DVD (obviously it failed). In her mind, Harry Potter is just as bad as "the book"

Here is the other: "You see, this is why we should not have self published books, the publishing houses won't allow such filth."
That list of four books, not one of them was self publish. Small press maybe, but not self published.

Do I find that subject matter of that book horrible? Yes.
Do I think Amazon did the right thing? Only if they pulled it because of the Terms of Service, not because of censorship.
Would I ever want a book banned or boycott the place that sell it? No.

All you authors out there that were promoting Banned Book Week and then wanted this book taken down. Look at yourself in the mirror.  Do YOU really understand what censorship is?

Everyone has a right to free expression. No matter how uncomfortable, horrible, stupid, gross, disgusting, evil it may be.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fans: I has it

Up until yesterday. I could talk to most of my fans. I knew them by name. I have been selling more books than what I have for friends and family. So what happened yesterday, was going to happen.

I was at the Enchanted Bazaar, picking up my leather jacket, and a customer came in.  Turns out she bought Fledgling a few weeks ago, and was coming in to buy Killer.

"It's so cool I get to meet you!" she said.

That was a surreal moment.

We talked about the books. She told me what she liked "Beka blossoms!" and "Why can't I find a man like Steopa?"

Like I said it was surreal. It wasn't a book signing. It wasn't someone sending me an email, text, or twitter how much they loved the book (which has already happened). This was a random face to face meeting.

Now granted, she would not have known who I was if it wasn't for the employee pointing me out (actually pulling me away from the leather worker). I don't put my picture on my books, so she would not have recognized me on the street. It made me feel strange. But happy. Very happy.

So now I cannot wait for January, when I will be editing the third book of the series, to get it ready for publication (aiming for May or June). I know there are people chomping at the bit to read more, but to see the excitement in her eyes about something I created. That is a charge that I can't really describe.

For those of you curious. The third book will be called Patriarch. It will be about Steopa and, of course, Beka.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNoWriMo, Pantser, and getting sidetracked by a meteor.

I am doing NaNoWriMo again. I love the contest. It fun to see if you can churn out the story in a short amount of time. I have done so for the last two years. So why do it again?

Because each year is different.

First year, it taught me I could do it.
Second year, taught me I could do it while working on other writing projects.
This year, I hope it teaches me how to stay focus on the five million projects I have going and still get it done.

This years entry is a werewolf vs. werewolf story. When I started to write it, it was simple. Rural vs. Urban  werewolves. There was one vampire, and a Renfield type character, as well.

Well, when you are pantser writer, you expect your writing to take a turn. This one did a 270 and went off road.

I did not plan for it to be a brutal as it has become. This story is border line Saw territory. I have keep most of the graphic details out, leaving the reader dealing with the results, but its creeping me out!

The vampire was almost cut, then brought back in as a larger, character.

The meteor! The original concept, is good, for the first half of the story. I have already written things that are changing the plot. More vampires are being added and a larger plot is taking place. So the original plan of keeping it to a few characters is being thrown out the window.

The story is becoming larger, more characters added. My notes are overflowing!  Maybe I should include my notes on the story for the word count too.

As for horror. Not scary, but makes you uncomfortable.

Another sidetrack; Another story idea. This one creeped up on me at work. It's been nagging my brain. Those of you that know my writing style will be surprised. No monster, no fantasy, no thriller. Its a "chick lit" type story. But being me, not about suburban housewives. Working title: Midlife Crisis Weekend. I have to shelve it for now. December first I will hit it running.

So far so good this first week. I missed one write in, due to a substitute bus driver taking his time on the route from work. By the time I got home, I had 15 minutes to fix and eat supper before turning around and going to the write in. Sunday is the first major write in. I will go. I love them.

My break from NaNoWriMo writing is over. I have to get back to the fight in the hunting cabin. See ya.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another step to Greatness!

I got my first agent rejection on Friday, actually it was Thursday, but I was promoting my indie books and was not near the computer.

So I expect you think I'm upset. Actually not, I said "Okay," when I read the email. Checked my list of agents to contact (I have fifty more) and realized I have a long way to go.

My hubby asked me how I felt. I told him it as if he went out for an audition. All he was told was that they were looking for drama actors. No hint on what to prepare for the audition. So he picks his best work. A soliloquy from Hamlet. He gets on stage, and just after he says "To be or not to be." The director says "Thank you, next!" You find out later they wanted an actor that could do a Chekhov.


I think because I am learning to separate my feelings from the business end of the writing, I can shrug this off. Don't get me wrong, if I get rejected by the last agent on the list. I will be upset. Not life shattering upset, but upset.

Yet, this rejection is a stepping stone. It means I am toughing up. I am really in the trenches.

But the funny thing was, a few minutes after I read the rejection email. I find a new review of Fledgling. A very positive review posted that morning.

What to make of that? The book proposal I sent to the agent didn't fit what they wanted. What I write is making people happy. So I just have to find the agent that can see that.

Wish me luck, and check back in a year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guest Blog: Chris Kelly

This is a wonderful post by Chris Kelly. Who is also my first guest blogger! WooHoo!  So sit back, relax, read, and enjoy. Never mind about that noise you heard, it's nothing  I swear

Fear and Inspiration

It’s Hallowe’en at the end of the week. So I’ve been thinking about Hallowe’en stuff; how to make the scariest mask, the scariest costume, the scariest decorations, etc. I’ve been thinking about fear, too.

Why is fear necessary? Because I’ve came to the conclusion that it is necessary, and being a nice type of person, I thought I’d share my conclusion on here.

Fear drives creativity. When our ancestors lived in caves, they feared the unknown (as all humans have always done); in this instance the unknown was everything that lurked in the dark. So they harnessed fire. They had to control fire for light, but they discovered the benefits of heat for warmth and cooking.

Throughout time there has been thousands of instances of this: people find something they are scared of, and in an attempt to conquer this fear, they invent something new. Sometimes this can be a great invention (like harnessed fire), a great procrastination aid (was Facebook invented by someone scared of physical interaction?), and sometimes it’s the kind of thing that brings with it more fear (nuclear bombs).

In the modern world there is little to fear, and thus little inspiration for creativity. That is where writers come in. People need fear, they need the darkness in life or they can’t see the light. Without fear, it isn’t just inspiration that we lose, it’s hope, too.

Write a little darkness into your work. Give your readers something to fear. They need it.
Chris Kelly is the author of Matilda Raleigh: Invictus (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/23917) a steampunk sword and sorcery novel that wasn’t scary enough. He promises some future books will be a lot more terrifying... you can find out more about him at his blog ( http://www.dunscaith-blogspot.com/ ).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Writer first, no matter what path.

I posted in frustration a week ago, in twitter, about this "us vs. them" attitude some writers develop. Indie writers are no go! Traditional writers are sell outs! I was sick of it.

"We are all writers! It doesn't matter how we are paid!"



The main reason I was sick of the fight, was not the stigma that the indie writers get. It was because I have decided to take my minstrel story along the traditional path.

I've been selling a book a week (pretty good since I started this madness in April, and no name recognition, or marketing budget.) I have self published two books already, so why the hell did I decide to take my minstrel story down the other path.

Because this story is different. This particular niche in fantasy is not saturated. Unlike my vampire books. Those of you who have read them, know they are different, but they are still "another vampire book."  AND I think being indie helped me develop survival instincts.

Look what I have developed since April.
  1. A thicker skin - The first person to turn me down for a review, hurt. But now I look at the email and shrug. Then I send out my request to the next one. So the #300 agent that turns me down, will make me want to sent the query to #301.
  2. A platform in place - you're reading my blog, probably came here from Twitter, Facebook, or Google Connect, you are on my platform. With the changes in publishing, this is a necessary step in being an author.
  3. Crash course in marketing. In college I would fall asleep in business classes. I wasn't a business major, so what was the point? But now I have a product to sell, I have had to learn to sell. I have work in retail for a decade, this is different! This is not an hourly wage job, This is something I want to share with the world.
  4. It's a dress rehearsal. My husband is an actor, we have actor friends. As much as they hate rehearsal, you need to practice to get your best work out. The minstrel story is a lot better than the vampire stories. (not just my opinion) But I would not have polished it, without working on the other stories. And learning from my mistakes.


I am not giving up on being indie. I still have two more vampire books in the series that are scheduled to come out. My fans would hurt me if they don't. Those will come out under my author imprint. Steopa's is planned for next year.

I have given myself a year to hook an agent. If this fails, I will publish it myself. But think of the experience I will have! Maybe some writers think that is too short of a time. But if you get a years worth of rejections, I think you have contacted every agent by then.

There are some disappointed people that know about my decision. My husband, he really wants to illustrate the minstrel novel.  A few people I consulted on the book now have to wait longer for the final product. But it will come out, be patient.

I think I hear some snickering. But I am willing to try it. Look at it this way, if I do make it as a traditional published author, I won't be one to look down my nose at the self published authors. I know what torture it's like!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thanks for the Bela Lugosi Love and more...

Yesterday, I hit my Twitter stream hard with Birthday wishes and shout outs to the greatest vampire of all time. Bela Lugosi.  It was a hit, at least I didn't loose any followers over it.
So I got to thinking: What other horror greats need to have their time in the twitter feed too?
I am tired of seeing the same celebrities on the feed over and over again.  Let's give our hats off to some real classic people now.
I compiled a small list, only actors now:

Bela Lugosi     Oct 20
Boris Karloff   Nov 23
Christopher Plummer     Dec 13
Barbara Steele  Dec 29
Lon Chaney, Jr. Feb 10
Lon Chaney, Sr. Apr 01
And the triple strike of horror birthdays 
Peter Cushing   May 26
Christopher Lee May 27
Vincent Price   May 27



I could expand this list in to authors too, Lovecraft, King, Bloch, Poe, Shelly,  etc. Anyone want to join in on this, or at least make suggestions on who else to include.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Glass and Ink Show

Glass and Ink Show*

Thursday, October 28 · 1:00pm - 8:00pm

The Enchanted Bazaar
212 N Franklin St
Syracuse, NY

The Glass and Ink Show is a showcase and fund raiser. The showcase of three different creative people. A glass artist, an illustrator, and writer.

We will also be raising money for the The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. http://www.findacure.org/

Come on down!

Next to Dinosaur BBQ!

*I had this info on Facebook, but for some reason Facebook is not allowing me to link to the event page.

Killer will be officially launched on this date as well.

NaNoWriMo again!

This will be my 3rd year competing in NaNoWriMo. As a pantser writer it is an interesting experience preparing for the contest.

The first year I joined just in time to find out about the local chapters kick off party. I worked like crazy to get ready. I downloaded ywriter, I plotted every chapter out. I read up on super heroes. It was about a place were super heroes did their job, with corporate sponsorship.
I wrote long hand for half of it, copying what I wrote into the computer at night. My son gave me his alpha writer which lasted until the end of the contest, then died. Anyway, I got the story done, just pass 50,000 words on Thanksgiving. And hated it, the story not the contest.

The second year, I was feverishly finishing up Fledgling to get it ready to edit. I was taking a writing class. I thought about doing an erotica piece, but wasn't sure I even wanted to do it. At the last minute I changed my mind. Changed the story (its a prequel to my vampire series) And wrote like crazy with no plan. I finished that one in 20 days. That one, is waiting to get cleaned up and will be self published.

This year. I will try again. I am working on my Minstrel edits and have other plans going on in November that will make it hard, not impossible, but hard to keep up. I had two story ideas. One idea was shot down by friends of mine. The other I am sticking with. Did I plot? Sort of, I wrote down 10 points that have to be brought out in the story and a quick time line. It all fits on one page.

We'll see how this year goes. Will I win? Who cares. I just want to sit in a room with the rest of the writers in town drinking coffee and writing!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Two creatures to consider.

I came across two creatures, actually one creature and one group of creatures that could and should be used more in horror, or fantasy fiction.

The first is a Weredog:

Not a werewolf. A weredog. A weredog is like a werewolf, but have been domesticated.
Now I know of at least one writer that would argue that most werewolves in fiction are actually weredogs. I tend to agree. Most writers do not have access to wolves. The only canine we interact with are dogs. So it is easy to think that they are the same. But that is like saying your cat, Fluffy is just like the lion in Africa.

How to tell if you have a weredog?
  1. They are very obedient, if the "master" has been kind to them.
  2. They will look for a "master"
  3. Have some of the traits of a dog in human form. Drooling when good food is near, begging.
  4. They can be vicious, but will need a reason to act out. Such as "master" is attacked, they are told to attack.
Why would they be a good fit?
It's different. People would expect a werewolf, and then there would be this creature that could be controlled by a "master". If you don't think that is scary, what if you had a group of them acting like junk yard dogs?



The second are the Shadow People.

These are not exactly ghosts. Maybe they could be a trick of the light, but they can be very scary. They appear as humanoid shadows. Sometimes wearing a hat. They appear in well lighted rooms, half lighted rooms, but not always out of the corner of you eye.

Why are they scary? Most people that say they have seen them, talk about a presence around the shadow. Not evil, but oppressive. I had a friend that had a small group appear to him in his room one night. He sat up in bed (In this case, no sleep paralysis) and watch the group gather around the foot of his bed. They stood there, and did nothing but stand there. He turned on the light, and they were still there. Just not as pronounced.

If that doesn't freak you out....?  Check out these sites for more great stories: http://shadowpeople.org/ or
http://thehatmanproject.com/

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Attention spans and writing.

One of the things that my small group of fans praise me about is that my books are easy and fast to read. Most of them say they like how they can fit it into their busy schedule. Which I think is a good thing.

But on some of the blogs I am starting to hear complaints that no one wants to write thick stories anymore. The complaints range from "not getting enough pages for what you pay" to "but real (insert genre here) is at least 130,000 words". These complainers blame NaNoWriMo, Twitter, anything but the one thing I think they are over looking.

People don't have the time to read a book that you can use to hold up a couch anymore. Blame TV. Blame the movies all you want. But the truth is a lot of people are too busy to read. So any book that makes the stop and take a break deserves credit.

But a personal reason of mine. I don't mind the long books, if the story is engaging enough. I think anyone would agree that they would gladly read a 1000 page book, if it didn't feel like you were reading one. And that is another thing these complainers forget.

The last book I read based on reviews on how good it was, that was a monster to read, was Johnathan Strange. I never finished it. The plot sounded good. But I got to feel as if the author had expanded parts of the story to put words in, to make it longer. As if all adult fiction has to be at least 400 pages. My eyes started to wander. I was no longer interested in the story. I put it down and never returned.

Then there was Under the Dome. I would love to read it, but I put my back out at work lifting a box of them. The box only have seven copies of the hardcover. Really? Is the story that good that you can risk injury? I may try Under the Dome, I heard many people say you don't realize how big it is when you start reading it. Although my back twinges when I look at it.

This may explain why so many adults are reading Young Adult fiction. The stories move faster and usually are shorter. You can pick them up and maybe finish them in a day.

So what are you going to do as a writer?

The trick is not to get bogged down in the number of words. I will admit I added a couple of chapters to Killer, because I thought it was too short. But I made sure those chapters expanded the story, they didn't just fill it. If you realize your story has been told as 45000 words, pat yourself on the back for finishing a novella.

And if that giant story appears. Make sure it MOVES. If you are going to slow down a story, filling it with pages of descriptions of the color blue. Rethink why you are doing it.

I think the trend is moving to fast reading. Not necessary shorter stories. But keep your pace up. You have a lot of things that can distract your reader. You have to keep them coming back.

Monday, October 4, 2010

When life hands you lemons, look for the vodka.

It's amazing what one little thing could do to mess up your time. I won't tell you what that was, but my life is mess up because of it.

And my writing.

This thing got in the way of normal routines. How bad? I didn't know Killer was up on Amazon for sale for almost a week. That's how bad.

This thing has drained me for new writing. My editing is on fire, but nothing new is coming out. That might not be this things fault. It's getting close to NaNoWriMo, my brain might be trying to rest before that craziness starts.

So what now? I have a book/art show to arrange. Actually most of that is set up, I just have to get the promotion materiel out. Which I was going to do last weekend. Damn thing.

There is a positive side. Saturday night, we all were home. Neither of my boys went out with friends. My husband took me to a new wine bar, to help me forget about that thing. We were home before 7pm. A Saturday night, with everyone home has not happened in a long time.

This is a new week. Hopefully, I can catch up on my writing and promotions.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Update

Got my proof copy of Killer back. Approved it. Which means very soon, it can be bought!!! YEAH!

On paper it's only 20 pages shorter than Fledgling, but the book looks much smaller. So I am dropping the price on Fledgling to match Killer. Both will be priced at $13.00.

Update on Minstrels. It is a monster to edit. But I am not to the last third of the story and enjoying rereading it.

Hopefully will have an announcement about the book launch/art show next week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When you have to go...

Friday night, I was out on a little date with my hubby. He had been promising me a cup of bubble tea, and finally got him to agree to get one. At the tea shop, I checked my emails. And there is one from the store I had did the signing at the weekend before. "We are going to Pagan Pride, want to come and sell your books?" Do you think I said "no"

It went pretty good, considering I had a few hours to prepare and nothing for an outdoor show.

So to help you out; Start buying these supplies now, so you have them.
  1. Folding table. A MUST. I got away with a small computer table. But it was a bear to put in the car.
  2. Folding seat. Canvas one preferred. I brought a small chair, but did not fold. Same issue with the table.
  3. Money box. I used a locking plastic box.  But a metal one would be better.
  4. Display for your wares. I have one book. My hubby whipped something up with foam core that worked. When I have more to sell, I will invest in actual book display cases.
  5. Table cover: I didn't need it, but it would have been good to have.
  6. A sign display. My hubby came to the rescue again and fixed me up one with foam core and poster board. It's reusable, but if I do more of these things, I will get a stronger sign.
  7. Three or four fine line markers.
  8. TAPE
  9. Business cards.
  10. A good gazebo.  I got to share someone else's, but you should get your own. Look for a sturdy one, that can be weighed down.
Recommended
  1.  Portable credit card machine. NOT the sliding type. My friend had one that she got from her bank for a low monthly rent. It could connect wirelessly with her bank.
  2. Back display. I am not sure what you would call this, but something like a cubical wall or a wire display from retail. You could hang your sign up there, or display your books.
  3. Extra batteries.
  4. A radio. A booth next to ours was playing some really nice CDs for the atmosphere. Relaxed us too.
  5. Your own food. Yes most of these events will have food, and some even feed the vendors, but if you are busy you won't be able to get away. Unless you brought your go-fer with you.
  6. Calculator with paper print out. Doubles as a receipt.
  7. Bags, if you have more than one item to sell offer bags. I'm thinking next time I will bring a some reusable ones and giving them out with the sales as a free bonus.
I am sure there is more. But remember you have to set up and tear down your stuff too. So unless you do not mind getting very elaborate, the basics will do.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Update time!

The file for Killer is sent, waiting for approval and proof. I almost changed the cover at the last minute, but I was in a mean mood and didn't want to mess around with my files.
Chapter one illustration. And how I felt last night.

Launch party will included an art show! Times have been extended and moved to 1 - 8 pm. So I could run and see Disturbed if I want to after wards. The one artist confirmed does wonderful stuff with blown glass. Now this will not be the all out party that they had last Halloween. Flora wants it a little more laid back.

Arranging a breast cancer fundraiser to go with the launch/art show. Contacted the foundation I want to work with. To make sure everything is ok, when they get back to me, I will post the info.

On September, 28, 2010, my flash story "Legend Tripping" will be on http://www.flashesinthedark.com/ So exited about it. First time I tried flash fiction (harder to write than you think.)

Last but not least,  I have been conspiring with a group of wonderful ladies on a site called Indie Book Collective. Yeah, yeah, I know another site for indie authors. But we are doing things a little different. We are focusing on what happens after you take the plunge and get your book out. Marketing, social networking, you know all those buzz words. It's been a blast to help set up. We are still working out some kinks. But it's worth checking out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Artwork addition.


For your viewing pleasure! The front and back covers of Killer!

FRONT

There should be no doubt it is part of a series now.

BACK
I love the back. 

There you go, just a quick tease.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I know when I have made it when.....

Banned Books Week is coming up. Link

I read banned books. I always have. That is a bit of the rebel in me. If someone says they do not think this book should be out for what ever reason. I want to read it now, to see if that is a justifiable reason. It never is. Even with the argument of Twilight being unsuitable for the age group. I didn't like the book, but I never would want it banned.

As it was said in the TV movie of "Going Postal"

Ridcully: You the type to burn a book, Lipwig?
Moist Von Lipwig: No.
Ridcully: Why?
Moist Von Lipwig: Because you just don't *do* that sort of thing!
Ridcully: Correct. Books must be treated with respect, we feel that in our bones, because words have power. Bring enough words together they can bend space and time.
....
Ridcully: Read my lips: Words do not kill! People kill. Wild animals kill. But words... words have a totally different power. They enter in through our eyes and ears and work their way into our souls.

This quick little discussion with the wizard and the post master is a great summery on why you do not ban or burn books. Part of me always thinks when someone burns a book that they don't get it. You just burned the physical copy. The words have been put down. The affect has been felt all ready. What has been said, cannot be unsaid. And your destruction only makes people want to read it more.

Banning, same thing.

So what does that have to do with me "making it" as an author. Take a look at the list of banned books. Which are available at the bottom of this page.

Do you see one book on there that has not been a best seller at any time?

You see people don't want to ban books that "nobody" reads. They want to go after the popular titles. So in a sick way, if someone brings my book up as a book to be banned. I would be pissed, but also flattered.

Believe me, there are reasons to ban Fledgling and the upcoming Killer; cannibalism, vampirism, drinking, drug use, sexual assault, necrophilia, the list could go on. Yet, no one should be stopped from reading it, because someone else says so.

I guess the rebel in me still enjoys messing things up. And if someone were to try to ban my books. I would know I reached enough people to cause an a stir.

But until that happens. Pick up a copy of a book that was banned or burned and see what the fuss is about. You might learn something.

Friday, September 10, 2010

These Creatures are up for Adoption: Part 4

Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE
Part 3 HERE

A few requests from my friends.

Mothman
On November 12, 1966 people around Point Pleasant, West Virginia began to report sightings of a strange creature.

From Unknown Explorers
The Mothman, a strange creature reported to haunt the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia between November 1966 and December 1967, was also sporadically reported to be seen prior to, and after, those dates, with some sightings coming as recently as 2005. Most observers describe the Mothman as being 5 to 7 feet tall creature with wings and large reflective red eyes, similar to the Garuda of Hindu lore.
...
Reports of Mothman sightings and events continue to this day. Instances of "strange flying creatures" and "winged men" have been reported in many American states as well as across the globe in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including supposed sightings in Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986, shortly before the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster.
Is it here to warn us? Or is it presence the causes the disasters? He/It could be a wonderful creepy addition to any urban fantasy story.

Chupacabra
A recent addition to folklore, or is it real? Could be a new animal.

From wikipedia
The chupacabras, is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico (where these sightings were first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter's Latin American communities. The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats. Physical descriptions of the creature vary. Eyewitness sightings have been claimed as early as 1995 in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile. It is supposedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail. Biologists and wildlife management officials view the chupacabras as a contemporary legend.
Creepy. Although a rural creature. This being could easily make the move into cities. Maybe the stray population starts to dwindle? Or maybe it goes after larger prey?

Kuchisake-onna

From Japan we have a very scary woman, one that makes Bloody Mary cringe.


From Scary for Kids.

Kuchisake Onna, also known as The Slit-Mouth Woman, is a scary Japanese urban legend about a disfigured Japanese woman who brandishes a large scissors and preys on children. She has an enormous slit mouth, which extends from ear to ear in a horrible, permanent smile.
...
The Slit Mouth Woman’s reign of terror began in the spring and summer of 1979, when rumors began to spread throughout Japan about sightings of the Kuchisake-onna hunting down children. The story spread like wildfire and actually created scares in many towns. Police increased their patrols and schools sent teachers to walk students home in groups.
What a horrible vision. Makes you wonder if the Joker's look wasn't based a bit on her.

 I like doing these little posts. If you have any other creatures, monsters, or strange things that you think would make a great urban fantasy novel addition, let me know.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

These Creatures are up for Adoption: Part 3

Part 1 Here
Part 2 Here

Selkie

I am surprised we have not seen these in more Urban Fantasy fiction. One of the first Sci-fi novel had I read had a love interest with a man that had been genetically engineered to be a selkie. It really keep me wondering about him.


Wikipedia:
Selkies are able to become human by taking off their seal skins, and can return to seal form by putting it back on. Stories concerning selkies are generally romantic tragedies. Sometimes the human will not know that their lover is a selkie, and wakes to find them gone. Other times the human will hide the selkie's skin, thus preventing them from returning to seal form. A selkie can only make contact with one particular human for a short amount of time before they must return to the sea.
So you have a shape changer with a long history romantic stories.  We really should see more of them, don't you think?

Kolbolds

If you have played Dungeons and Dragons you have run into these little creatures. But the orginal folklore is much more interesting.
 


Wikipedia
The kobold (or kobolt) is a sprite stemming from Germanic mythology and surviving into modern times in German folklore. Although usually invisible, a kobold can materialise in the form of an animal, fire, a human being, and a mundane object. The most common depictions of kobolds show them as humanlike figures the size of small children. Kobolds who live in human homes wear the clothing of peasants; those who live in mines are hunched and ugly; and kobolds who live on ships smoke pipes and wear sailor clothing.
I know they sound like the cobbler elves. But they adjust well to the urban setting. And because some of them look like children, it could cause some interesting plots. I wonder what the kobold that lives in the bank would wear?

Domovoi
And now from Russia...

 

Wikipedia

A domovoi is a house spirit in Slavic folklore. Domovois (the Russian plural form is domoviye) are masculine, typically small, and sometimes covered in hair all over. According to some traditions, the domovoi take on the appearance of current or former owners of the house and have a grey beard, sometimes with tails or little horns. There are tales of neighbours seeing the master of the house out in the yard while in fact the real master is asleep in bed. It has also been said that domovoi can take on the appearance of cats or dogs, but reports of this are fewer than of that mentioned before.
Similar to Kobolds, the Domovoi would be another one that could easily make the adjustment into the urban lifestyle. Just think if you got one of these in your home. It would be like having a doppelganger that would help you out with your work. Check out this post on English Russia to see how different these creatures could be.

I hope you have found these little tidbits enjoyable. I have a couple more posts planned.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

These Creatures are up for Adoption. Part 2

Part 1 is HERE:

Perhaps I did not give any authors enough humanoid monsters to work with in their Urban Fantasy. So this post will present three that might not have ever been considered before.

Wild Man:

I did write a few stories with one of these guys. Wonderful stuff. One of the first characters I have to say I fell in love with.
A Wild Man is a man that lives on the outside of society, he is usually covered in fur. And is the master of the forest. Unlike a bigfoot, he is closer to man than animal. He has a small social structure. He will marry and have children. He lives in a hut, but controls the forest.
From Wikipedia :
The wild man or woodwose is a mythical figure that appears in the artwork and literature of medieval Europe. Images of wild men appear in the carved and painted roof bosses where intersecting ogee vaults meet in the Canterbury Cathedral, in positions where one is also likely to encounter the vegetal Green Man. The wild man, pilosus or "hairy all over", and often armed with a club. The image of the wild man survived to appear as supporter for heraldic coats-of-arms, especially in Germany, well into the 16th century. Early engravers in Germany and Italy were particularly fond of wild men, wild women, and wild families, with examples from Martin Schongauer (died 1491) and Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) among others.

Huldra

The Huldra is a female with a cow's tail or bark for skin.
From monstropedia.org
Seen from the front she is a stunningly beautiful, naked female being with long hair; from behind she is hollow like an old tree trunk. In Norway she has a cow's tail, and in Sweden she may have that of a cow or a fox. In Norway she has often been described as a typical dairymaid, wearing the clothes of a regular farm-girl, although somewhat more dazzling than most girls.
Close to nymphs. These women would lure men into the woods, have their way with them. If they like the man, he lives, if not, they will kill him. They will also marry humans. There are males called huldu.

Troll


Trolls don't live just under bridges. They are usually ugly, strong, and a bit dumb. Yet, if you do not mess with them they will be good natured and nice. In Hellboy 2, you got to see a whole society of Trolls, living in New York City.
From Trollmother
Trolls are described as being of any size, great or small, and of having one characteristic in common, they are very ugly, with small, beady eyes and large, bumpy noses. Their appearance is usually on the sloppy side with bits and pieces of last week's meals stuck to their stringy hair and clothes. Their ears are mostly large and floppy and dirty enough to grow rutabagas in!! They are also not too careful about brushing their snaggley teeth, which is not very obvious as they do not smile that much anyhow. (Maybe they don't brush them because their mouths are so very large.) They are also ugly and sloppy in their behavior, which is of more importance than their appearance.
Trolls are still very popular. Bands like Finntroll and Mortiis keep the legend alive.

There you have three humanoid creatures that could work their way into urban fantasy. I am partial to the wild man, but I think trolls could be fun too.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

These Creatures are Up for Adoption. part 1

In a recent #UFchat on Twitter, pet peeves of the Urban Fantasy genre were discussed. One that came up was the lack of "new" monsters in the genre. Just how many vampires, werewolves, and demons can you handle?

So here are some suggestions for lesser known monsters that would love to be in the spot light.

Hodag:


I am giving away my upbringing here. What the heck is a hodag? The hodag is an American Folklore creature that made its appearance and home around Rhinelander, WI.

From Wikipedia:
In 1893 newspapers reported the discovery of a Hodag in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It had "the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end". The reports were instigated by well-known Wisconsin timber cruiser and prankster Eugene Shepard, who rounded up a group of local people to capture the animal. The group reported that they needed to use dynamite to kill the beast. A photograph of the remains of the charred beast was released to the media. It was "the fiercest, strangest, most frightening monster ever to set razor sharp claws on the earth. It became extinct after its main food source, all white bulldogs became scarce in the area."
Could you not see a herd of these things menacing a tourist town in Northern Wisconsin. I know in Rhinelander they help bring in the tourists, but what if they got mad?

Another one from the Lumberjack lore

Agropelter:
This one is nasty: It is a primate that lives in the tops of hollow trees and throws dead branches down on the lumberjacks.
From American Monsters:

The Agropelter is a relatively small HAIRY-HOMINID which — much like its more famous cousin BIGFOOT — is said to reside in the lush arboreal forests of the Pacific Northwest and Canada, although there have been reports hailing from other states such as Minnesota.
Eyewitnesses claim that the Agropelter is approximately 3-feet in height with a slender simian body and long spindly limbs. Often seen in trees, these creatures are said to be omnivorous and ostensibly nocturnal, with a bizarre penchant for tormenting humans, particularly lumberjacks — who, of course, are more prone to spend their time in deeply forested regions — by throwing dead tree limbs at their heads.

I can already see a environmental story forming with this one. A forest gets cut down for the new shopping center and the Agropelter attacks!

Last one for this post, is the most famous of the three.

Jersey Devil.

You should recognize the name if not the picture. Wikipedia:
Most accounts of the Jersey Devil legend attribute the creature to a "Mother Leeds", a supposed witch, although the tale has many variations. According to one version, she invoked the devil while giving birth to her 13th child, and when the baby was born, it either immediately or soon afterwards transformed into a devil like creature and flew off into the surrounding pines.
The creature has already been in TV shows and Bruce Springsteen wrote a song about it. So it is already familiar to many people. In some of the sightings it appears more human like. If you want to have demons menacing in your UF story, why not the Jersey Devil?