Sunday, January 22, 2012

Short Stories II

1.) Lovecraft eZine just accepted one of my stories, 'Inheritance' for a future issue. I am not sure when it will be out. It's one of my favorite stories; it has sex and slime, what more could you want?

It's the only Lovecraftian story I've ever written that was any good (I've written 3 or 4 at this point). It's hard to write good Lovecraft.

Lovecraft eZine also has a bunch of audio versions of Lovecraft stories available for free listening, so if you want to be turned into a cowering heap of insanity while at the office or something, check it out:

2.) I am working on a prequel novella to a novella I have already completed. While writing I was surprised to discover my main character from the original novella (very upstanding, precise, a rule-follower- pretty much Cyclops from The X-Men, but not as much of a dick) was a total brat as a child. I was amused. I love it when they surprise you.

3.) Everyone must see the Werner Herzog film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. It's Herzog, so it'spretty surreal, and stars Nicolas Cage as a cop whose back injury leads him to be addicted to every drug there is. He even hangs outside of clubs so he can pick up clubbers as they are leaving, and steal their drugs. Here is a clip that shows the bonkers, hallucinatory nature of the film:

You probably don't want to watch it if you are offended by...anything, really, because this movie has it all. Nasty sex, crack smoking, excessive violence, profanity out the ass and iguanas. Lots and lots of iguanas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Desktop Wallpaper

This is not really a writing-related post, but this is my current desktop wallpaper. It makes me happy.

You might have noticed I swear a lot. It's because I have a 2-year-old; I can't swear at home so I have to do it on the Internet.

Also, I really do love octopi, but giant squid are what REALLY tickle me pink.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Long(hand) and the Short of It

This is how I write:

I scrawl everything into a cheap notebook (I go through them like a kid through candy, so I don't bother buying the cute ones with Sanrio characters on them; if you hit the post- Back to School Sales period at Target you can get ten for 50 cents).

I have this sprawly huge handwriting so I have to use college-ruled notebooks or shit just goes crazy, as you can see in the above picture of my latest, non-college-ruled notebook.

After I finish writing a rough draft, I transcribe it into my laptop. I hate transcribing. I have this repetitive motion injury in my shoulder from typing at work (and um, surfing the web) so after about ten minutes I have this line of pure fire etched around my shoulder blade. I never really learned to type properly either, so I type with two fingers on each hand and make lots of mistakes that I have to go back and fix. But I can't hire anyone else to transcribe for me, because when I am turning my scratched-out squiggles into neat Calibri words, I also tweak and change things- usually small things, but still. This is my first revision.

After it's all typed up, I print it off, stuff it in a drawer for a week or two, and then go back and revise again. Then I print up the revision, stuff it in the same drawer for a week or two, and do my third revision. And then, finally, I am finished.

Not many people write longhand anymore. It does tend to slow you down, but I think it is only a very small part of why I am a slow writer (having a toddler and being easily distracted are the main obstacles). My problem is that I simply can't write at a computer. I can sit in front of a screen for an hour and nothing will come out. I can take a notebook and have twenty pages scribbled in the same hour. It must be some sort of psychological block.

Longhand works well for me. I feel like having to write everything by hand forces me to slow down and focus. I think I revise less than other writers who go directly to the computer (or iPad, or whatever) simply because I spent more time on the original draft (I revise a LOT; it just seems to me that other writers I know do it more).

So I don't resent my inability to talk to a machine. I just prefer talking to paper. There's nothing wrong with however you do it, as long as you keep writing, always.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Daily Flash Winner Announced!

Congratulations Kimberly, winner of Daily Flash 2012! My son drew your name (on this attractive Hello Kitty notepaper) out of his Indiana Jones hat. And thank you to everyone who entered; I intend to run more contests in the future so keep your eyes on this space!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Not Letting the Haters Win

So, I was going to write this long post about doing what makes you happy and not letting the haters win, but instead I am going to let Harmonica Pierre make my point for me:

Harmonica Pierre is pretty much my favorite person EVER. He even makes that shitty Train song sound pretty good.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Win a Free Book!

This, my friends, is your chance to get something for nothing. Well, maybe for a few seconds of your time.

I am giving away a copy of Pill Hill Press' Daily Flash 2012. It's an anthology containing two of my stories, "Send Money" and "iSamurai". There are 366 flash fiction stories of 500 words or fewer, one for each day of the year (Leap Year!). Mine are on November 6th and December 10th.

This book is pretty sweet; it's huge and full of little stories you can read while your laundry is drying, your macaroni is boiling or you're peeing (I keep my copy on the back of the toilet for this purpose).

All you have to do to get in on this is to comment on this post. In your comment, leave me an e-mail address or another way to contact you (for if you win!) and tell me the title of your favorite book ever. I'll let the contest run for a week from today; then I will write down the names of all the commenters on a poster board and let my cat lie down on it. Whichever name has the most shed fur on it when she gets up wins.

Just kidding. I'll do something much more scientific involving hats and little slips of paper.

If I draw your name (or your Net handle, or whatever) I will contact you for a shipping address and send it your way.

And no, you don't get the monkey too, it belongs to my boy.

Why Write?

My husband is a biochemist. He does research into heart failure, hoping that by learning enough about how it works, someday they can help people who have it and keep them from dying when it happens.

Once I told him I feel useless next to him. Here he is working to save lives, and I don't do anything like that.

He said, "I can make people live longer, but you give them quality of life. Reading feeds the soul and people need that to live too."


I think he might be right.

How many of us read books for pleasure? For edification? How many times have we read a book and realized with gratitude that here is an author who understands, who has the same ideas we do? How many authors have made us think of things in different ways?

How bleak would this world be without books?

And as writers, how many of us have been saved by writing?

Sometimes people ask why I write. Well, human beings are compelled to create. Even our most distant ancestors left us paintings on the walls of caves, telling stories about their lives. Even before written language, there were stories. Why should I be any different? Everyone creates. Some people knit. Some people make up new recipes. Some people draw. I write. And in the act of creating we find ourselves and our peace.

I write because when I write, it is the only time I don't feel like I should be doing something else.

Casablanca is one of my favorite movies. In one scene, Viktor Laszlo is asked why he continues to resist the Nazis despite the danger it puts him in. He says, “You might as well question why you breathe. If you stop breathing, you’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.”

I write because if I don't, I'll die. And if we stop writing, all of us, the world will die.