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LaBacchante.Gerome

To quote Alexandra Sokoloff, nothing supernatural could possibly be more horrifying than the evil that people do. My sentiment exactly. I often say there’s nothing horrible under the sun that a human being hasn’t done to another human being. Evil is timeless and people are endlessly creative when it comes to doing bloody harm to each other. Horror movies can’t compete with real life. I suppose this is why I’m suddenly able to watch my least favorite horror movies, zombie films. Over the past months, I’ve watched a number of zombie horror movies, much to my surprise. I guess, having spent the last quarter of 2014 watching a slew of horror films, especially Japanese and other Asian horror, my resistance to viewing zombie films broke down, but not completely. I tend to leave the room when the intestine-eating sequences go on forever. There’s still some that I won’t watch–they’re too graphic or are zombie porn. And nope, I’ve not yet watched The Walking Dead, but I probably will eventually.

My horror preference runs dark. I like Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, M. R. James, and other authors who write dark and weird fiction. I love ghost stories in both books and film. The Sixth Sense is one of my all-time favorite movies, and Japanese ghost movies are the best (The Grudge, The Ring), and then there’s HellRaiser, Stir of Echoes, The Orphanage, and The Others. Another favorite is Caitlin Kiernan. I collect her work obsessively, and although I can’t afford the additional expense right now, I plan to re-subscribe to her Sirenia Digest.  My best friend gave me The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories. Kiernan is unique.

Of course I’m not forgetting my shameless love of vampires. I recently re-watched After Dark and Let the Right One In. Seeing as this blog is already too long, I’ll save my vampire craziness for another time. I need to get on with today’s work, The Redemption of Cainan, which I plan to submit to RWA’s Second Chance anthology. Right now it’s at 2,903 words (and I’ve made my February goal of writing 2000 words this month! Yay me!) I hope to finish it by the 28th.

Happy Saturday!

 

i’m beginning to resent the sound of tearing flesh

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What’s up with naked dead women? Why’re people always hacking each other with chainsaws, axes, butcher knives? When the girlfriend is dead, quit talking to her! How many ways can you create a zombie? As many ways as there are stars apparently. Why’re you performing taxidermy on yourself? How come you’re walking barefoot through a black basement holding the weakest flashlight in the world? Dummy! Are there really that many abandoned asylums around? Oh wait–the latest thing is experimental addiction treatment centers. Best stay on the drug. Who really thinks swimming in a pitch-black lake out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by decaying forest is a good idea? I don’t care if you are camera-crazy, trespassing in the neighbor’s decrepit house so you can what–take cutting edge gothic photos of whatever you think you might find in the creepy basement? Really stupid. You know what happens to the girl who decides to walk to the country store through a forest at midnight to hitch a ride home ’cause she had an argument with her boyfriend? No matter ’cause we never run out of them. Rock music and screams get on my nerves. Country music and screams get on my nerves too.  If you move into your new apartment and the guy next door is shy and sweet, keep your distance, unless you fancy leaking blood from your eyes in due time.

(Sigh) Really must cut down on the horror movies.

misty woods

cropped-labacchante-gerome.jpg Wrote 843 words of a new scene for The Friendship Killers (formerly Lake of the Rose), finished the scene, but it could do with a little more detail. The novel seems to be coalescing, however there’s a great deal of uncertainty in the narrative–still wandering in the misty woods. I can feel it coming together almost. It slips away every time I try to get a firm grasp, but that’s okay, I guess. This was 2014’s Nano manuscript and now I’m rewriting it, mostly from the middle.

Decided to use Vaughn Keller’s point of view as well as Summer’s. Summer is the main character so Vaughn’s point of view won’t have equal weight, but it does open another door into story. Besides when I was writing notes about Vaughn in my Moleskine, many questions popped up and he started taking on depth. Always a good thing for a character, especially for Vaughn since I’m showing Dani through his eyes in the way I’m using Josh to show Summer. And of course it gives me insight into Vaughn and Josh as well. That’s the fun of writing, mixed right in with all the hard, frustrating work. I’ve got this mystical vision in my head of sitting down at the keyboard and writing effortlessly. Mystical visions are delightful; reality not so much.

Also had a very good train of thought about Romancing the Night, an additional perspective on my vampire hero, Austen. The danger of eternal solitude, spinning the mind into alienation, the rise of decadence in the soul–something Austen fears will happen to him if he doesn’t find love.

I’m in the final quarter of Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Diary, and I’d like to get back to John Fowles: The Journals. I’m about halfway through. Years ago I read The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and it remains one of my favorite novels. In my book cabinet is a 1969 edition I bought at a used bookstore. I’m going to read it again. I can’t quite remember what I thought about the movie starring Meryl Streep. Maybe I’ll find a dvd somewhere and watch it again. I’d love to find the essay John Fowles wrote about writing The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Today I’m not sure what I’m going to write for The Friendship Killers, or if I’ll write anything at all on it. Maybe I’ll work on something else. Romancing the Night perhaps? Or maybe The Foreigner.

2015!

N08542-52-lr-1A week into the new year and I’m home in bed with a stomach bug. But the nasty pains have subsided momentarily enough for me to think. Must greet this new writing year with my goals. But first a shout out to Becky Lang. Her first novel is at Amazon: The Changelings. Congratulations, Becky!

2015 GOALS, DREAMS & RESOLUTIONS

  • Write Book In A Year (RWA challenge) – will write 2 actually:  Runaway Heart, a contemporary romance, and Tempting Fate, a fantasy romance
  • Rewrite A Useful Blind
  • Participate in Nanowrimo – November Novel 2015
  • Research and write next vampire essay
  • Finish short story, Dust
  • Write one blog post a month
  • Danube River Cruise – June 2015

DREAMS

  • Establish Penpanther Publishing 

RESOLUTIONS

  • I resolve to make weekly writing goals. 
  • I resolve to write every day except Friday:  Saturday and Sunday – writing days and Monday – Thursday – write for 30 minutes each evening after work

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS

  • Renew RWA membership
  • Writing Saturday meeting – First Saturday of the month
  • Little Fictionaires meetings
  • Attend 2015 Literary Orange Writers Conference

Projected Quarterly Goals for 2015

January, February, March 2015 – 1st Quarter

  • Finish writing Runaway Heart as soon as possible
  • Continue with Tempting Fate

April, May, June 2015 – 2nd Quarter5

  • Write Tempting Fate
  • Attend Literary Orange 2015
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Plan vampire essay

July, August, September 2015 – 3rd Quarter 

  • Rewrite A Useful Blind
  • Finish writing short story, Dust

October, November, December 2015 – 4th Quarter 

  • Plan November Novel – October
  • Write November Novel – Nano 2015 – November
  • 2016 agenda – December

2014 ASSESSMENT

It was a raggedy year writing-wise; didn’t get much done at all, most of my plans remained on paper, but there were a few successes. I was especially happy with writing The Dark Angel’s Dilemma, the kick-off essay of a series of vampire essays I pan to do. It was good to finish another draft of A Useful Blind (formerly Sleight of Hand).

JANUARY

  •  Began the year with A Fall of Diamonds, a fantasy historical. Story planning and development. Recorded total of 14 hours work time, although I did much more, forgot to keep track. Wrote 4,936 words. Total ms. @ 26,297.
  • Finished discovery draft of Sleight of Hand, a mystery short story, 14,190

FEBRUARY

  • Edited and revised Sleight of Hand, Word count: 14,725.
  • Organization work on A Lamentation of Swans
  • Romancing the Night. Manuscript total: 2,499 words
  • Worked on Chained, story notes. Revised Manuscript total: 20,712. (2008 NANO)
  • Attended Publishing and Marketing Your Book, Sonia Marsh, El Toro Library

 MARCH

  • 2-day self-designed writing workshop on Chained. 8,431 words.
  • Began drafting “Soul-less Perhaps” for pendrifter. Vampire essay.
  • Expanded Romancing the Night. 2,392 words.
  • Sleight of Hand 2nd round edits/revision
  • Wrote review of Indelible Beats
  • Signed up for Camp Nano, for 4/1. Project: Romancing the Night
  • Attended Little Fict meeting

APRIL

  • Attended Literary Orange Conference, 4/5/14
  • Dropped Camp Nano but continued writing Romancing the Night
  • Sleight of Hand edits, 14,717 words
  • Placed Romancing the Night on hold

MAY 

  • Sleight of Hand retitled A Useful Blind, 14,600 words. Finished.
  • Indio Retreat. Worked on A Useful Blind edits
  • Dust, 2836 words
  • Submitted Parting Gift short to Everyday Fiction
  • Chained, 19,418 words
  • Lake of the Rose story notes
  • Worked on The Foreigner
  • RWA meeting, 5/10
  • Huntington Library meeting w/Michelle, Quarterly Progress Report 

JUNE

  • Finished A Useful Blind edits
  • Story notes: Chained
  • Writing Retreat: Los Angeles Public Library. Worked on Chained

 JULY

  • Published blog, vampire essay, The Dark Angel’s Dilemma
  • A Useful Blind edits
  • Completed insurance study and took California Insurance Licensing exam. Passed.
  • RWA meeting
  • Completed editing Ch. 11, 12, 13 of Becky Lang’s The Changelings

AUGUST 

  • Worked on Lake of the Rose

SEPTEMBER

  • Retitled Lake of the Rose to The Friendship Killers. 17,729 ms. Total.
  • Rewriting A Useful Blind

 NOVEMBER

  • NaNo: A Useful Blind, 50454 words.
  • Continued writing short horror story: Dust

 DECEMBER 

  • Writing Dust. 7312 words 
  • Blog posts: 34
  • Monthly accountability meetings w/Michelle
  • Little Fictionaires meetings
  • RWA meetings

word stalker

 

Roca_del_jardín_de_las_delicias_El_Gran_MasturbadorFinished Nano yesterday. A Useful Blind weighed in at 50454 words, half of which will be going away for sure. It was touch and go for a while, didn’t think I’d finish this year, but perseverance paid off. The weather is autumn-cool today. Sky full of giant cumulus clouds backlit by the hidden sun, and the air is cold, sharpened by the breezes. Looks like winter is trying to settle in, but in Southern California you can’t be sure about the season. Rain is predicted this week. Made a pot of turkey soup with orange and yellow carrots, a diced potato, onion, a touch of garlic, and mushrooms. Perfect for a placidly  melancholy day. It came out delicious.

Working on Dust this afternoon. It’s at 7294 words (33 pages). I’m trying to figure out how to develop the story fully. I can see the pacing is off and the structure needs strengthening. My main worry is the action, rising it ain’t.

Reading Inferno, an anthology of terror and the supernatural, edited by Ellen Datlow. Found some jewels in it. Misadventure by Stephen Gallagher, Inelastic Collisions, Elizabeth Bear; The Monsters of Heaven, Nathan Ballingrud; 13 O’Clock, Mike O’Driscoll; Ghorla, Mark Samuels; Face, Joyce Carol Oates; The Keeper, P. D. Cacek. Not finished yet; there are 20 stories total.

Not planning on looking at A Useful Blind again until 2015.

 

what i’m sick of

Astarte.Canty

Astarte by Canty

Before I get to that, I’ve finally hit upon a new blog name; dayya was only temporary. Penpanther is the blog’s new name.

And my Nanowrimo manuscript, A Useful Blind, stands at 39,704 words. I will be finishing on time. And then there’ll be one hell of a rewrite in 2015.

Now . . . what I’m sick of  . . . these are declarations to remind me that I am a writer, have always been a writer, and will always be a writer–it’s me through and through . . . if I don’t write, I’m lost. You know that anecdotal tale about burning the ships? Some tellings name Julius Caesar as the original guy who burned his ships upon invading Britain, other tellings name Hernan Cortes’ conquest of the Aztec Empire. In 1519 Cortes landed on the coast of a new land in the New World, he destroyed his ships and two years later conquered the Aztec Empire. For Cortes and his Spaniards, there was no giving up and no going back. I burned my ships, and I’m never going to surrender. But, like Danny Elfman’s “The Little Things” on the WANTED soundtrack, I’m sick of the little things.

  • I’m sick of everything getting in the way of me writing.
  • I’m sick of having to earn money doing everything but writing.
  • I’m sick of my unfinished manuscripts.
  • I’m sick of my lost days, days when I don’t write. And there’s far too many of those!
  • I’m sick of thinking about writing and not doing it.

Forward!

wolf apples

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My love of tomatoes began with my great-aunt Stella. “Got a taste for tomatoes and vinegars,” she used to say. She had another name for tomatoes too–“wolf apples.” I don’t know where she got it–I was a little girl then and didn’t question my elders, but being of a fantastical turn of mind, I thought of werewolves ’cause I only knew about regular apples and if there were wolf apples, I figured werewolves must eat them.

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Ma Stell grew a passel of tomato plants on a napkin of land next to her house on the levee. Big, fat, scarlet globes hanging from vines, giving off that pepperish green scent. She’d pick a couple, slice them, add salt, pepper, sprinkle on white vinegar, and, during the humid south Louisiana afternoons, we’d sit in the shade of the screen porch and enjoy our tomatoes. That was my introduction to the delectable tomato. Sliced, with salt, pepper, and vinegar is still my favorite way to eat them–only I’ve kicked up to balsamic vinegar. And it’s not a respectable green salad if there’s no tomato in it. Believe it or not, some restaurants will serve a green salad with just lettuce and dressing. The horror!

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After college, living on my own in Southern California, I encountered cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, pear-shaped yellow tomatoes, heritage tomatoes! Got my first taste of those at a fancy restaurant–a purple and a yellow sliced and served with balsamic dressing and a little endive. Up until then, I’d been content with the flavorful red–when I could find them. I wasn’t too happy with the pretty but less than flavorful “wolf apples” at the local grocery store. The farmer’s market became my friend. Nothing enlivens the acidic depths of a salad like the lush honeyed flavor of grape tomatoes.

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Did you know tomatoes used to be considered poisonous? According to Wikipedia,  the tomato plant belongs to the deadly nightshade family, and was erroneously thought to be poisonous. But that idea was quickly dispelled once people discovered the luscious taste of the succulent fruit.

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Tomatoes dress up so well. Quartered into salads, (except the pear-shaped yellows should be left whole or only sliced in half), they shimmer like jewels against the green melange of lettuces. Scoop out some fat ones, fill with guacamole (chop and mix the scooped out part with guacamole), stick a chip or two on top, and you’ve got a party tray. But the nicest thing about the tomato is it takes me back to those lazy afternoons on Ma Stell’s screen porch.images-4