Thursday, January 25, 2007

Old News (Probably)

I found this tidbit about DNA Publications on Sean M. Murphy's blog and thought that any of you writer-types out there should be aware of it.

Though the main magazine under investigation appears to be the official fan magazine for KISS, DNA Publications also publishes Absolute Magnitude, Dreams of Decadence, Fantastic Stories, and Science Fiction Chronicle (trade magazine.)

I'm particularly sad about this news because the very first professional sale I made was a vampire story called "Irish Blood" to Dreams of Decadence, and thus my very first check for writing was signed by Warren Lapine himself.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Holy @#$%! and Writing

When I was at the Mall of America talking to their romance reading group about Tall, Dark & Dead one of the women there noted that there were hardly any swear words in the entire book. She wondered if this was a conscious decision on my part of if it was something that just happened.

Hell yeah it was a conscious decision, and, well, it just sort of happened, too.

The conscious part comes from having written a book, Other Me’s first, which is rather full of four letter words. At the time, my own real-life dialogue was peppered with colorful epitaphs, and, in my mind, using them was part of what made dialogue seem realistic. Plus, the universe of that novel was meant to be noir-ish and dystopian, and it seemed that characters who cursed up a blue streak fit. Still, when I look back at it, there’s hardly a page without a word that could be read on the radio, and a little tiny part of me is embarrassed by that fact.

The part that happened by accident is that I had a child. Well, actually, having a child was no accident – having a child was rather meticulously planned (but that’s another story for another post.) But, my own use of rough language changed dramatically the first time Shawn and I heard Mason utter the f-word. Luckily, he was still young enough that most people couldn’t understand a word he said partly because Mason had a habit of adding an “Ah-“ sound in front of most words. My nephew Jonathan still thinks I was making up everything Mason uttered during that time. Anyway, we were able to convince both Mason and the people who were listening to him that what he was actually saying was “Africa.” He hasn’t said it since (although I thought I heard the s-word once, which we’re a lot less cautious about).

After that, I really started noticing how stupid people sound who use @$%&^ indiscriminately. Mason and I take the bus from time to time when the car is on the fritz, and I have to fight the urge to cover Mason’s ears and tell strangers to watch their language. I don’t, because Mason is totally the type of kid to notice something is “naughty” and copy it just because he knows it twinks mama and/or ima.

Plus, I don’t really want to be a language NAZI.

Besides, I still wholeheartedly believe that a well placed “fuck” can add a lot of punch to dialogue (or even narrative), especially if it’s used sparingly. I still use it, after all. (The more it’s uttered the less impact it has, of course.) But, I also think that a creative writer can come up with just as powerful/shocking things to say that are larger than four letters.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Astro Alert -- Jupiter Square Uranus


Feeling restless? Ready to shake things up? Every now and then we all need to move out of our habitually sleepy ways of living life ... and today is a great time to begin.

You probably felt an intense astrological call for change this past November, when freedom-oriented Jupiter entered its own sign, Sagittarius, for the first time in 12 years. Indeed, during this period, you probably began to contemplate perspectives and objectives you never considered before. Now, on January 22, Jupiter reaches the first of three squares with independent Uranus (beginning a significant cycle that won't end until October 9) and takes 'intense' to a whole new level.

Jupiter's movements always encourage self-improvement, and should help you focus on effecting postive change. No events or situations are circumstantial, and this fiery planet forces us to consider new and improved ways of taking matters into our own hands. The movement into Sagittarius brings optimism along with the urge to seek out more constructive solutions. Uranus -- often referred to as 'the Awakener' -- signals that it's time to wake up and stop hitting the cosmic snooze alarm!

You are likely to feel excited, agitated and fidgety all at once when Jupiter makes its first square. Now is the time to make important and perhaps even radical life alterations. Your world is shifting and you'll likely have to embrace the joyous with the uncomfortable in order to optimize growth and change.

This month, as the square cycle kicks off, be open-minded when encountering any scenario -- from an unforeseen event to an all-too-familiar conflict -- and you'll find yourself making the most of a very significant era. Don't forget to pick up your Super Bundle; it will give you that extra edge and push you to new limits, enabling you to soar to unprecedented heights!

You have been warned.

Monday, January 22, 2007

How's it Going?

Melanie asked me how things were going with Book 3 (tenatively titled: BLOODY CHARMING) and I thought I'd write a little about my progress here.

As I told her... it's going. I'm writing a lot of words. Thanks to a strong motivation (my partner has insisted that we can watch no more episodes of "Lost" until I write 9,000 words,) I've been clocking about 1,000 words a day -- sometimes more. However, I seem to be on the "big meander." I've been ostensibly following my book proposal, but, as there are a lot of threads and sub-plots in this particular book, I feel like I've floated down a tributary that's some distance from the main stream, as it were. Luckily, I have a writers' group that will, no doubt, get me back track.

Part of the reason I've been happily floating in the "wrong" direction is that I've uncovered something new about the Garnetverse. Writing, for me, is very organic. I'm one of those people you'll hear saying "Oh, my characters totally surprised me," because much of my creative process is subconcious. For instance, I always knew from the beginning that there was some kind of subculture to the ghouls (the people that vampires use for blood), and I even sort of allude to it with the Feather scene in Tall, Dark & Dead. But, suddenly, the whole thing has snapped into focus because Garnet it coming face-to-face with some of Sebastian's ghouls in this book.

Suddenly, I'm having way too much fun coming up with the code words that the ghouls use among themselves and such like. I suspect to get myself back on track I'm going to use that classic device of having "a monster jump out of the closet."

But, as far as word count, I've got about 30,000 words (which is a little over a third of the way finished). I'm not EXACTLY sure when my deadline is, however. I need to check on that.I *think* it's the end of April.