Tag Archives: books

If it’s not one thing…

It’s a hundred others.

My legs and feet seem to be more or less back to normal (for me – I’ve always had issues with the one knee). Now it’s my hands. Bah. It is quite difficult to type right now but the more I work through it, the more limber my fingers get so I’ll keep plugging (in fits and starts). I just want to be up to par by Sunday – when my next craft fair is. I’ve been enjoying these, believe it or not.

I did all right, especially considering the less than favorable weather and my necessary early exit – the knee just wasn’t going to cooperate anymore.

This Sunday, I’ll be in Weirton at the Italian Festival at the Serbian picnic grounds if all goes well and the weather looks pretty favorable so far (fingers crossed they stay that way.

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Craft Fair

Craft and Vendor show at the Holiday Inn in Weirton

Tomorrow I’ll be going to my first craft fair armed with books, business cards, and some rather geeky crafty type stuff. If you’re able to get to Weirton, you should come by and say hello!

I’ve got copies of Hunter’s Crossing, Eldercynne Rising, Hardwired Humanity, Guardian of the Gods, Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse, Sha’Daa: Pawns, Sha’Daa Facets, Sha’Daa: Last Call, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery. I also have two poetry samplers, one of fantasy and horror poems and one of more literary type poems.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been making other things also. Some salvaged comic crafts, some Nazgul, a few sorting hats, a couple of pinhead hearts, and some things that are very different for me. I’ve got a trio of fabric face sculptures: Shadow, Lucy, and Nimue. I kind of like them and I’m not sure I’m not keeping Shadow.

If you can’t make it to Weirton to see me in person, not to worry! Come back here tomorrow for the details on how to win a book!

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Reading & Writing

Peas in my garden

Peas in my garden

My ‘Read Me’ pile is getting to be bigger than my ‘Write Me’ pile. I’ve been split in several directions of late – trying to fit reading, writing, watching, and playing with the kids in with caring for the garden, breaking up all the various arguments of said children, trying to learn to paint, and doing promo stuff for my preciouses. There are not enough hours in my day! Even more so on days when I get sucked down the rabbit hole that is the internet where all manner of interesting things are waiting to be researched.

At the moment, I’m binge reading Fullmetal Alchemist. I’m through the first few volumes and I’m honestly glad I didn’t read it before watching the series – I would have been much more disappointed with the anime by comparison. I think I’m on vol 9 of 27 so I’ve got a long way to go.

I’m also remembering why I haven’t made any book trailers in a very long time – holy moly they’re time consuming. But, at least the ones I’m working on now should be better than the ones I’ve done before (I should hope so!). I’m hoping to have the first one done tomorrow and all four done in two weeks or so, depending on how elaborate I feel like being. One of them is going to be incredibly simple because there is zero chance I can make any images look right with my meager photoshop and painting skills – totally my fault for writing a heroic fantasy adventure set on very foreign type worlds and the space between them.

I’m working on my psychics and serial killers book as well as the sequel for Hunter’s Crossing. Both are going well but they need finished so I can finish everything else in the pipeline too! And I should probably get back to actual work here or I’ll never get anything done.

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Being Safely Scared

The horror genre is on my mind lately. In part, I’m on a serious re-watching binge (the inspiration being meeting Tony Todd and writing about Candyman for The Geek Girl Project) and in part probably because we’re reaching the part of the year where I can’t watch scary things for three months because the children will be home with me. The youngest isn’t old enough and the oldest is never sure what to make of actually scary things. Being scared is something of an acquired taste and I think being safely scared is a rush without the crash, like eating cake and not wanting to take a nap afterward (yep – I’m officially old now) is one of my favorite things.

I do enjoy being scared as long as it’s the right kind of scared. I don’t like being afraid. Bone deep, marrow chilled, how do we survive kind of fear is terrible and I don’t know anyone who likes that kind of fear. Millions live that life every day and no one should envy that fear. I’ve been that kind of afraid and I would not recommend it. I do think that knowing that kind of fear makes being safely scared even better. There’s that moment where it feels similar (never the same), the adrenaline is rushing through the blood, the heart is pounding so loud it’s like a drum in your head, and every hair is standing at attention. And then you remember that you are safe in a movie theater or living room and the fear abates without leaving it’s print on you. I think that’s why so many people like me enjoy these sorts of things – being scared without actually being in danger is an awesome thing.

I have had a movie cause panic attacks but never the scary ones, which are the ones you would think would do it. I’ve had certain thriller type movies make me uncomfortable (Maniac for instance), or completely grossed out (like the Saw movies), or disgusted (Devil’s Rejects etc), but not panicky which is nice for me. Honestly, I’m more likely to have a panic attack during Harry Potter of all things – I do not know why the Mad Eye Moody/Barty Crouch thing bothers me so much.

It doesn’t take much to startle me or make me feel uncomfortable but to actually scare me, at least as an adult, that takes some doing. I really love it. I hear Candyman’s voice in my head, the Hell Priest still lurks in the shadows of my laundry room when the light hits the one corner just so. I have a weird and overactive imagination and that doesn’t help. I tend to scare myself more than anything. One night a few years ago I stepped outside and the smell of freshly turned earth hit me and all I could think of were zombies. The fact that we’d been working outside that day planting and such completely vanished from my brain, logic took a backseat and my brain was absolutely certain it was zombies. And this is why I write – if I didn’t, I could probably convince myself that zombies are real but if I put all my weird on paper, it’s easier not to do that.

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Gateway Books

It should be a surprise to no one that I have an addiction. To books – holding them, looking at them, reading them, writing them. I love books the way Oprah loves bread (seriously hate that commercial though!). I was an early reader which caused some problems (and some phone calls home) as I got into books that were probably more than a little inappropriate for my age but I can’t help that I’ve been a genre reader from day one. It began with A Wrinkle in Time and never let me go. From the  moment I understood words, I wanted nothing more than to read them.

When I had my first child, I hoped he’d be like me. He read very early, like his mama, but he didn’t enjoy it in the beginning. He liked to show off to adults and read to impress (seriously, adults act like they’ve never seen a little kid read! It’s ridiculous!) but he did not love books. Yet.

I tried a little of everything. I read to him starting with the Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willows but he wasn’t interested. Until he discovered a movie he wanted to see. I told him he couldn’t see the movie until he read the book. So he read the book. That book opened the door and I’m pretty sure he reads more than I do now. It is a wonderful thing to have someone to talk to about all the books I love – Harry Potter got a little dark for a second grader pretty fast so he moved on to Septimus Heap (great series btw), Hank the Cow Dog (so silly), and the Magic Treehouse books but now, we get to talk Ender, LOTR, Dune, PK Dick, Gibson, and even a smattering of King now and again. He has truly become a little (taller than me) me. Except with less horror as he doesn’t like dark and scary so much and I love that.

For him, the gateway book was the first Harry Potter. I haven’t found my youngest son’s gateway yet (or my husband’s for that matter), but I am convinced that everyone has a gateway book – that one book that will open the world up for them. I didn’t have or need a gateway book as I’m pretty sure I was born loving books but I am gathering that I’m the weird one in this (and most) situations.

What was your gateway book?

 

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Easy To Please

At least when the medium is some variation of film I am. With books, I’m incredibly critical. I can enjoy a story and dislike the writing of it or vice versa but I absolutely admit to being hugely picky about what I read. TV and movies, apparently I don’t hold them to the same standard. Did it make me laugh, make me feel, make me gasp in surprise? I think it is because of what I want from each medium. I want to feel and be a part of the world when I’m reading. When I’m watching, I just want to be entertained. One is a release and one is an obsession. Sometimes both can be either.

I enjoy shows and movies for what they are and I don’t care to rip things apart and make things so much less than they were. Yes, Big Bang Theory has become a comedy about a bunch of caricatures rather than actual characters but it makes me laugh. Yes, there are gaping logic flaws in Scorpion (seriously, simple is sometimes better writers!) but it makes me laugh and it makes me feel so I can honestly say I enjoy it. I liked Transformers and Waterworld and a few other movies that apparently everyone else hates. I like the NuWho, New Star Trek, and the new Star Wars. Despite it’s flaws and it’s retconning and inconsistent mythology, I still love Supernatural.

I guess I think sometimes we expect too much of our entertainment. Not everything is deeper than the story whether it’s father rescuing granddaughter from the satanic cult (I liked that movie!) or crazy puzzle box opens up hell. Not everything needs to be. I enjoy the  movies and shows that don’t try so hard to be something bigger. I like the bigger ones too but only the ones that don’t try so hard they’re all in your face with their lessons and their great big MESSAGE.

Personally, there’s as much pleasure to be found in the kitcsh as there is in the blockbuster, the documentary, the period piece, or the vanity films. I’ll take Toxic Avenger or Attack of the Killer Tomatoes over a lot of most people’s must watch movie list.

Case in point. One of the worst movies (or so I thought for EVER) was Vampire’s Kiss (a really crazy Nick Cage movie that I’m totally going to spoil right now). Watching it again as a grownup, introducing my oldest kid to the best angry alphabet recitation in cinematic history, I’m pretty sure I saw a different movie. From a certain point of view, it’s almost brilliant. We watch a self-important man have a killer of a psychotic break. It’s almost sad, watching him prance down the street in the illfitting plastic fangs yelling that he’s a vampire.

I’m not picky with my movies or my television (though I wish my three favorite things were not on at the same time, on the same day!). I come to a theater, to my television, asking to be entertained, to get caught up in someone else’s life for a bit and I gett what I ask for. I might not get some cinematic masterpiece or whatever but at the end of it, if I laughed, if I gasped, if I cried, I’m happy. If things exploded in overly dramatic fashion, that’s even better!

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Grabbing the Brass Ring

For a large chunk of my childhood, that phrase was quite literal. I wanted the brass ring more than I wanted anything else. If I was tall enough and clever enough to get the brass ring, then I was big enough. Big enough to what, I’m not entirely sure. What the hell am I talking about? A carousel. Specifically the Looff Carousel in Spokane, Washington. It’s one of the few carousels left where you can still reach for the brass ring, quite literally.

My Brass Ring

My Brass Ring

Every time I went to the park, I’d ride the carousel, mostly on the same horse, and try and stand as tall as I could, reach as far as I could to grab the rings that came down the metal arm. I didn’t want the plastic rings, but I would have been happy with those (sort of). I tried loosening the belt and sitting on my feet (and got yelled at). I stood on my tippy toes and stretched as far as I could but I came up short (ha!) for a long time. Years. I finally managed when I was about ten, give or take a year.  You are supposed to give up your brass ring in exchange for a free trip on the Carousel but I absolutely refused to let it go. Cost my poor dad $10 too.

He tells the story much better than I do but we lived that day through very different eyes. For me, the ring was all that mattered and the rest was not important. For him, the ring was a small part of the big picture.

I haven’t been in Spokane in YEARS but I miss that carousel and think of it often. That and the trash eating goat sculpture. It was such a fun city to be little in.

When I think about grabbing the brass ring now, it’s a lot less literal. For me, the brass ring is getting my stories in the hands of readers who might find them fun, interesting, inspiring, infuriating – I’m not picky about the emotion so long as there is one. A figurative brass ring is a lot harder to catch but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

I’m older and wiser now and the ring has become one part of my big picture but it is one part I’ve not reached yet. I’m a lot closer than I was – I have books published and available to be read, other books still in the process of finding the right publisher, other books still in the writing and editing process. I have a lot of short stories in a lot of anthologies too. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point and I can see that brass ring now. I think my fingers have brushed it a time or two. I’m not sure how to define when I’ve caught it but I think I’ll know when I do. Of course, when I do, a new brass ring will drop into the arm and I’ll have to chase that one too.

My brass ring is very real but it is a symbol for me. I’ve kept it within easy reach for all these years because it matters to me. It is my reminder that if I am dedicated, if I keep reaching and don’t give up, I’ll snag it eventually.

 

 

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Round and Round We Go

The crazy merry-go-round that is the process of seeking publication continues at strange speeds. For some publications, it is lightning fast, for others it is forming amber slow. And it’s all a bit disconcerting.

I have three novels and maybe a dozen short stories somewhere in the submission process, looking for their forever homes. I’m confident in these stories (especially the novels – so far, what rejections have come in have been personal – from publications that don’t generally do that – and complimentary) but the process is still daunting.

Every publication, publisher, and agent wants everything just differently enough to make preparing the submission or query package time-consuming. From searching through markets, looking for the appropriate ones, reformatting what needs reformatted, crafting the appropriate cover and/or query letters, and waiting for what always feels like forever for responses. It’s no wonder to me why so many are now choosing to self-publish – there’s no waiting period or chance of rejection. If only they would hire editors first.

Today I’m bouncing back and forth between market hunting and drooling over pictures and videos coming out of the San Diego Comic Con. I haven’t gotten much done on the market hunting though as I’ve been busy looking at neat stuff. As far as procrastination devices go, it’s certainly been fun! Bonus: the kids are both pretty interested in most of it too!

 

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Hummingbirds and Harry Potter

I’m going back and forth today between the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family and my hummingbird feeder. These things don’t seem connected in the slightest and they aren’t.

I get emotional when my favorite characters in books and movies die. Overly so? Maybe. For most of my life, my closest friends were made of paper and film. It’s easier to be close to people who don’t really exist. Much easier than making connections with flesh and blood people who can hurt you, whose disappearance from your life can leave you empty. At least on paper and film, they’re never really gone – you can rewatch or reread a book whenever you like and there they are, whole again.

I get a little weepy when certain characters die. Sometimes a lot weepy (with Spock most especially). I get a little weepy when certain series come to a close for good. My kids laugh at me and the hubster teases me a bit. It is how I’ve always been, probably how I’ve always been.

The characters don’t even have to be people. When the Enterprise gets hurt, when Baby (Metallicar) gets hurt, a certain snowy owl, and a horse in a swamp… my heart breaks over and over every time.

It’s probably a good thing I haven’t lost very many flesh and blood people who are really close to me.

I think I want to end on a happier note here so have a picture of my cat, Castiel in his jar of dirt (apparently, I should have named him Jack).

castiel

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