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Friday, April 29, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Apr. 29th

SyFy adds two more horror reality shows
http://americascreams.com/tv-syfy-adds-two-more-horror-reality-shows/

Godzilla meets "The Mist"?
Pacific Rim (movie)

Looking for something to read?
Fright Fiction Roundup

Daily Science Fiction has announced its
May 2011 line-up of free stories

From SF Signal:

You had me at "Bruce Campbell."
Will Bruce Campbell appear in a Rob Zombie film?
Must grab paper bag for excited hyperventilating!

News from another great icon:
Lance Henriksen on Acting, 'Aliens', and Why He Hates Mirrors

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Comic Relief & Weird News, Apr. 27th

Guess who's almost a hotter topic than Snooki (and less hated)?
Mr. Popularity: The Mongolian Death Worm

Please . . .  don't let it be "scratch & sniff."
Feeling Green? Buy Paper Made of Poo

Have to show this one to my husband <evil grin>

This can't be good. And I love the reassurances: "Oh, I'm sure it's fine to eat."

And I thought the giant hand in my local park was a wee bit creepy. These are truly disturbing.
(FYI: Many of the statues are nudes & the site has adult language, so you may not want to click on this one while you're at work)
The 14 Most Unintentionally Terrifying Statues in the World

Chuck Norris Fact (from http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/chuck-norris-top-50-facts)
Ghosts sit around the campfire and tell Chuck Norris stories.

Random Bruce Campbell Fact #555 (from www.brucefacts.com)
When Bruce was born the doctor slapped his bottom. Bruce's chin then proceeded to beat the doctor to a bloody pulp.
 
If you think your dog can't count, try putting three dog treats in your pocket and then give him only two of them.

from @Wicked_Tweets
That awkward moment when Clark Kent and Lois Lane get their tights mixed up in the dryer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's Happening? (Just Don't Call Me Rerun)

Ah, probably half the people reading this won't get that joke-- I guess I'm showing my age. :)

Today is probably a good day for an update since it's the last Monday of the month.

I spent most of last week out sick. I was on a cycle of: sleep six hours, awake one, sleep six hours, repeat ad nauseum. I did manage to get a little bit of revision done on my novel (and gained a permanent spiral-binding mark in my forehead from repeatedly falling asleep in my notebook). Strangely enough, a lot of stuff "clicked" in my novel and a lot of the pieces fell together like a jigsaw puzzle. All it took was a week of fevered delirium and now: my characters all have motivation, my antagonist and the sub-antagonist are clear and clearly motivated (previously, the only explanation for their behavior was, "Well . . . they are just jerks;" now they are jerks for a reason); the love triangle has a deep reason for existing.

I'm going to spend the rest of the week revising the novel and then set it aside, whether I'm "done" with the first revision or not. I'll pick it up and start revising again in June.

May is Story-A-Day-May, so I'll be working on writing (or starting, more accurately) a new short story every day, Monday thru Friday, for the whole month. By the end of the month I hope to have at least twenty-two short stories started (at least 1500 words each). Weekends, I'll be working on revising & editing my neglected, so-close-to-being-ready short story, "Sympathy for the Devil" (humorous urban fantasy). I hope to have it ready to submit by the end of the month.

The only other "unfinished" project right now is a story still waiting for publication. "Inhuman Resources" (humorous urban fantasy) will be in the anthology, Zombidays: Festivities of the Flesheaters. The publication date has been pushed back a few times, but hopefully it will be out soon.

~ ~ ~ ~

This week's links for writers:

Excellent guidelines for writing/revision
Hunting Down the Pleonasms

40+ Free Tools for Authors

Excellent writing advice and really, really great writing prompts
Start Your Novel

How to Get Published Flowchart

Top 25 Reasons Your Submissions are Rejected

Suggestions for the tackling the revision process
The Revisions Process: Part Two

What do you need to do to be "a writer?"
Writer Reality Check


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Fever . . . Literally

Sorry about the missed post. I've caught a flu bug (or, more appropriately, it caught me)! In the last ninety-six hours I've only been awake for a grand total of six.

I'm scurrying back to my bedroom after a cup of Theraflu. Going to try and curl up under the covers and stay awake long enough to read a few pages of Constantine.

Regular blog posts will resume on Monday.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What's Holding You Back?

Here's an excellent post on "11 Reasons You Won't Get Published" (aka, The 11 Deadly Writing Sins)
The Write Thing

My two biggest problems are #2 and #3, Abandonment and Shyness.

Abandonment

I've gotten really good at sticking to my writing schedule. And when something interferes with that schedule, I generally have an "I'm not going to bed until I get some writing done," so I usually get at least a little writing done every day, Monday through Friday.

My problem is abandoning ideas. Yes, some story ideas really are bad ideas, but I think I give up too quickly sometimes. Some ideas make great stories, they just don't sound great in extra-short summation. For example:

An evil car turns it's owner into a bully (Christine);
Egyptian Gods are really space aliens (Stargate);
A shark terrorizes a town (Jaws; what's the threat? Just stay out of the damn water);
A dome falls onto a town (Under the Dome).

Okay, maybe that last one is lame even in full-length form; but you get the idea. Some ideas deserve more exploration and shouldn't be abandoned just because their quick summation is lame. I need to give my ideas more of a fighting chance and at least explore them for a few pages.

Shyness

I have a weird twist on the shyness problem: I don't have a problem sending my work out for acceptance/rejection; I have a problem with people seeing it after it's published! I'm not afraid of people seeing a story and saying, "This is too awful to publish." I have a problem with people saying, "How the hell did this ever manage to get published?" Go figure. This translates into a problem promoting my published work and with putting up excerpts of my published work. And it's something I'm definitely going to have to get over because it's going to hold my writing career back.

Identifying your personal writing roadblocks is the first step to fixing them.

Which of the 11 Deadly Writing Sins are holding you back?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Comic Relief & Weird News, Apr. 13th

There really is a museum for everything.
Iceland phallus museum

There's a perfectly logical explanation: the Terminator had just stolen his clothes and he was trying to get revenge and save John Connor.
Naked man with AK-47 fires at SWAT robot

Wow! I guess their poultry really is fresh.
Drive-thru duck

Another company jumping on the Twilight bandwagon?
Blood-scented perfume

The Peeping Dead is my favorite!
Best Peep Dioramas of 2011

2011 Movie Generator Chart

15 Funniest Menu Items

I have a new vacation destination: Skull Silo, St. Georges, Delaware. Sadly, the shoe fence in Downer, Minnesota and the Casselton Can Pile are within driving distance.
51 Weirdest Tourist Traps

Monday, April 11, 2011

Next career move: Fangs?

Last month, I was at a bar having a few drinks with a friend. When my companion got up to use the restroom, I pulled out a memo pad and jotted down some character notes related to a discussion we'd been having. While I was doing that, the waitress came over with our next round of drinks.

She paused and arched a brow at me, eyeballed my notepad, and wrinkled her nose. "Are you a reporter?" She also moved her tray aside, as if my answer would determine if we got our drinks or not.

"Uh. No. I'm a spec-fic writer."

Blank stare.

"I write horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. But mostly horror."

She set our drinks on the table (whew!), then paused. One hand hugged the tray to her chest like a shield, the other rested firmly on her hip. She narrowed her eyes. "You don't look like a horror writer." And she spun away.

Whaaaaaa????

I got the same reaction at the writer's conference. "You're a horror writer? But you look so . . . normal."

Really?

Do people expect romance writers to walk around in Victorian clothes spouting poetry? Do they expect children's writers to carry a box of crayons and be bubbly? Do they expect literary writers to look ponderous and wax philosophical in person? Yeesh . . . I don't even want to think about how they expect erotica authors to look . . . (sweaty?).

And what's a horror writer supposed to look like, anyway? Psychotic? Depressed? Like I could snap at any moment and start beating people to death with a celery stalk? Am I supposed to be broody and withdrawn? When I smile, is it supposed to look like Wednesday's attempt at smiling during the camp scene in the Addam's family movie?

Stephen King looks pretty normal. M. Night Shamalan is as cute as a Teddy bear. Ann Rice looks like a Sunday school teacher I once knew.

I may look normal, but I'm weird . . . honest! A little edgy, even. I have a tattoo . . . does that count? And it's not even a Tweety-bird tattoo (I debated between the tribal winged cat and Cartman from South Park, and the winged cat won out). I own guns and have a collection of skulls . . . they aren't human skulls, but I should get at least partial credit, right?

Guess I'll have to talk my dentist into giving me fang implants to build up my authorial credibility, lest my fans be disappointed when I (someday) show up at a book signing! Or maybe not . . . I have a tendency to chew my lip while concentrating . . .

What about you? Have you ever faced the "but you don't look like a ................. writer" comment?

~ ~ ~

This week's links for writers:

Self-Editing Tips at The Blood Red Pencil

The Enchanted Inkpot: Our Best Advice for Writing Fantasy

7 Uneasy Coercion Tactics That Will Force You to Write

Zap the No-No Words

Torgo's Writing Process


Friday, April 8, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Apr. 8th

Looking for something to read?

10 Can’t-Miss Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2011




I love movies/books that blend genres:

Cowboys & Aliens poster and synopsis



I didn't think I'd like the last Star Trek movie, but I did. Yes, I had to eat a little crow; but remakes are usually *so* bad, and making a bad Star Trek remake--or prequel, whatever--would just be sacrilege. But they did good. Let's hope they can do well again.
News on the next Star Trek movie:

Roberto Orci: Trek 2 will react to your criticism of the 1st film



Sure, a few days late. But who can ever get enough Spock?

Celebrate the day humans met Vulcans with 12 great Spock moments



How did I miss the news about this one? You know this one's going on my "to be read" list.

Night of the Living Trekkies



Watership Down is one of my favorite books. Here is some very cool art inspired by it.

Grim Reaper Rabbits



Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Comic Relief & Weird News, Apr. 6th

Vanilla Ice? Pantomime Show? Welcome to the strangest sentence ever:
Vanilla Ice to play Captain Hook in a British Pantomime Show


I've heard of the Italian Mafia sending dead fish as a threat, and the Russian Mafia sending body parts as a threat . . . but who sends a pig's foot? The Redneck Bubba Mafia?
"Don't mess with us. We'll give you gout!"
Cops investigating pig's foot sent to Rep. Peter King's office


Wow . . . just . . . wow. What an excellent way to "reinvent" a prison system notorious for civil rights violations. Sigh.
On the lighter side, my first thought when I saw the picture was, "They can't be prisoners; where's their ink?" My second thought was, "I want to see who won the Miss Siberian Prisoner contest."
Murderer Wins Brazil's 'Miss Jail' Contest as Prison Pageants Gain Popularity


Okay, so I've found the one thing that might tempt me to a life of crime: an unguarded truck full of Krispy Kremes.
Florida man steals truck loaded with Krispy Kreme doughnuts


A few more science-related April Fool's pranks, plus some science news that just sounds like a joke.
Science made for April foolery
(I'm a little disappointed . . . I really wanted some of those killer sea monkeys)


Strange, fake reality shows (as if some of the "real" reality shows aren't strange enough . . . or fake enough . . . whichever).
Fake TLC Promo Spotlights ‘Dwarf Hoarders,’ ‘Uterus Cannon’


From @funnyoneliners and @bazecraze:
If I want something done right, the LAST thing I would do is do it myself.
(So true)


From @ChuckNorriz
When Chuck Norris gets pulled over he lets the cop off with a warning.

Think your job stinks?
Worst jobs in the world infographic


And last but not least (adult language, so don't be reading these out loud at work):
6 Mistranslations that changed the world

Monday, April 4, 2011

Scent of a Character

I had a major palm-to-forehead moment at Saturday's writer's conference.

This year, the workshop leader focused on character, which was great since I'm in the middle of character-building for my revision-in-progress fantasy novel.

My a-ha moment was just after he handed out a character questionnaire. We've all seen them:
Name:
Age:
Hair:
Parents:
Pets:

and so on.

Then he sat down and said, "I have one more question for you to consider: how does your character smell?"

It's an awesome question because you can tell a lot about someone from their scent.

It can clue you in on the character's profession (or lack thereof).
A character who smells of:
horses and hay? A cowboy, a horse-groomer, a competitive rider;
cookies and crayons? A kindergarten teacher;
rubbing alcohol? A doctor or nurse;
urine and body odor? A homeless person.

Scent can reveal hidden secrets.
Imagine:
A character in a three-piece suit who smells of grease and brake fluid;
The yoga instructor who smells like cigarette smoke;
The man who is vegan for his girlfriend but smells like barbecue.

Or a character can have a signature fragrance:
they enjoy vanilla-scented perfume because it reminds them of baking at grandma's house;
the starving artist who wears $300 per bottle perfume because it make her feel important and it reminds her to "keep her eyes on the prize."
And you know there's going to be a big difference between a character who wears Aqua Velva (or smells of Brylcreem) versus a man who wears Axe.

I can't believe I've been blind to this in my character development. It's important, especially since scent is the sense tied closest to memory!

I've added "character's scent?" to my character profile sheets. From now on, my characters are going to be deeper (and smellier)!

~ ~ ~

This weeks links:

Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

That’s Deep, Man—3 Tips on Deep POV Part 1

Your Hero: Top Ten Rules (Expanded)

GMC (Goals-Motivation-Conflict) Charts for Your Characters

Hilde’s Top Ten Things To Do With a Rejection Letter

Friday, April 1, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday

News on Twitter from @SyFY:
Q) Was #BeingHuman renewed? A) Yes! #Eureka, #Warehouse13, #Haven and #Sanctuary were (earlier on) too

From SF Signal:
How District 9 should have ended

Another remake (sigh).
Chucky's Back

He'll always be Bishop to me.
Lance Henriksen Stars in Syfy’s 200th Original Movie
Clancy Brown was also in Pet Semetary 2 (and awesome). I love the scene where he's in hot pursuit & notices he forgot his trooper hat. He c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y places it on his head, and, finally properly "in uniform," grins the evilest grin ever!
14 sci-fi actors we'd watch in ANYTHING

Um . . . what? Taking Mars out of Total Recall is like taking Tara out of Gone With the Wind
Total Recall remake gains Bryan Cranston but loses Mars

I saw a great prank idea on MSN: filling donuts with ketchup. Here are
10 Sci-fi Themed April Fools' Day Pranks

Have an out-of-this world weekend!