Rise Above It All

June 24, 2009

Writing is a leap of faith. You’re spending time writing with the hope that someone, somewhere, will like what you’re writing and publish you.

You write with the hope that once you’re published, readers will spend their hard-earned cash, read what you wrote and then like it enough to not only recommend what you wrote to others but wait, breathlessly, for you to write something more.

And you write because you can not imagine not writing.

But first you have to rise above it all. Meaning, if you’re a typical 21st century person living in a modern society, you have to rise above all the myriad things demanding your attention and keeping you away from writing.

Jobs, family, money problems, health issues, the whole crazy, chaotic world in general.

You have to find that quiet place within yourself in the midst of all that “sound and fury” that is everyday life to write. Amid all the chatter and shouts, all the blogging, text messaging, twittering, facebooking, myspacing and overall noise of our technology-driven society, you have to be able to surrender yourself to your vision. To your dream.

And, trust me, I know it can be a battle. I fight the good fight every day to find the time to write.

And if you’re working full-time or taking care of family members– whether they’re young children or elderly parents–looking for work if you’re out of work or just dealing with the slings and arrows and demands of life, it’s a hard-pitched battle to find that time to write.

So, like that hot air balloon pictured above, floating serenely over those mist-shrouded trees, if you want to write, if you truly want to get published and touch readers, you have to rise above it all, somehow, and search out the time and the space to write. Even if it’s only fifteen minutes a day.

I say fifteen minutes because I take two fifteen minute breaks at work and I write during those fifteen minutes. May just turn out to be a paragraph, or a note about a character, or questions I need to address about a plot line. Sure, it’s only fifteen minutes but it’s fifteen minutes of writing as opposed to fifteen minutes of not writing.

So my advice? Once you find that time and space, cherish it and guard it with every fiber of your being. And then write. Lose yourself in your words.

Rise above it all.

Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes a day.


99 Songs for 99 Cents

June 21, 2009

I had planned to write my regularly scheduled Sunday blog post but I’m running late this morning.

My plan is to write most of this weekend as I’m somewhat behind on my writing schedule for June (which is almost over, by the way!) and need to catch up.

However, I did want to share this. If you like religious music (and I do) there’s a great deal over at Amazon.Com.

You can get 99 Essential Chants for 0.99.

Yep, that’s right. 99 songs for a penny a piece. I love chant music and I just happen to need this kind of music for my novel WIP.

99 Essential Chants

I also got Very Best of Naxos Early Music for free. It contained 12 songs.

Yes, free. And in these tough economic times, who doesn’t love that word! 🙂

And thanks to Meagan Hatfield for the heads up!

I was over at Half-Price Books yesterday and not only found The Vampire: A Casebook but a really great books on dreams, which I also need for my novel WIP. And they were pretty cheap, and I had a 15% off coupon. So not a bad haul.

But, yes, I must attend to my writing today. Monday morning will be here before I know it and back to the salt mines.

Happy Solstice and Pater Familias Day!

Vampires. Finally!

June 17, 2009

Okay, here’s that post I promised regarding the panel I went to at Wiscon called The Care and Feeding of Your Vampire.

As I noted over on Facebook this morning, I’ve been thinking about vampires of late. I’ve been watching reruns of Moonlight on Scif-Fi Channel, I’m reading the first of Chelsa Quinn Yarbo’s Saint-Germain vampire novels, I recently watched my copy of the anime vampire movie, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust and I sat through Underworld: Rise of the Lycans this past weekend. I say sat through because it was a bit of a disappointment. Well, the Underworld movies have never been my favorite vampire movies anyway.

Now, my notes are not that great but below is what I was able to get down. As I mentioned previously, it was a very good panel. One of the better panels I attended at Wiscon.

The panelists were Fred Schepartz, Alex Bledsoe, Suzy Charnas, Alaya Dawn Johnson and Jordan Castillo Price. All of them have written vampire novels and had a lot to share about how they went about doing so. Again, forgive the paucity of my notes.

The Care and Feeding of Your Vampire How do our favorite undead heroes come to life? Vampire writers reveal their dark secrets and give a blood to fangs description of how they create unforgettable vampires.

There was discussion and generally positive reviews about a vampire movie called Let the Right One In.

Suzy Charnas, author of The Vampire Tapestry, commented that her vampires were never human beings. They had adapted to look like human beings. They were more like parasites or mosquitoes. They become more human as a result of pretending to be human.

The panelists acknowledged knowing the vampire “rules” and to tweaking or playing around with them. But the panel also stressed that it’s important to at least adhere to some of the conventions surrounding the vampire mythos or why call them vampires.

Which is not to say one should not be inventive but that an author should not go too far off the beaten track or you might lose reader interest or destroy even their ability to suspend disbelief.

Here are some of the strengths and liabilities of vampires that the panelists discussed:

Unable to go out in sunlight
Reacting negatively to religious icons, i.e crosses.
Unable to cross running water
No reflection in mirror
Needs to drink blood
Susceptible to garlic
Needs to sleep in coffin or earth where buried
Unable to enter a dwelling without being invited

Mind control
Superior strength
Hard if not impossible to kill
Eternal life
Doesn’t need to sleep
Preternatural healing powers
Control over animals

Again, these are general conventions regarding vampires that have evolved over the years. Some authors use them; some authors disregard them. The important thing is to pick a “rule” for your vamp and then remain consistent regarding that rule.

There was discussion regarding the predator/prey relationship and behavior between vampires and their victims.

Some of the panelists commented on the issue of “passing”. That is, a vampire pretending to be human. Most agreed that this was often a very important survival tactic for vampires in order to keep from being staked or burned or having their heads cut off.

Some of the questions the panelists asked themselves when creating their vampires and that they tried to answer before writing their books were as follows:

What is the vampire’s relationship to humans?
What are the vampire’s strengths? Its weaknesses?
How does a vampire see humans? As prey? Is the vampire envious of humans?
What about sex and vampires?

The panelists agreed that in their stories sex for vampires ranged from fevered interest to cold indifference.

Their was general agreement that due to the fact that vampires are predators, they generally should be stronger, faster, bigger and/or better at blending in.

And that’s it. I wish I had taken down more.

Oh, the pictures in this post are from Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, that anime vampire movie I mentioned. Which I own because I love it so much. The vampire is Meier Link and he’s one of my favorite vamps.

I should mention that there is another Vampire Hunter D anime movie out there but it’s not nearly as good. Just make sure that you see the word Bloodlust in the title if you decide you want to check the movie out.

Okay, enough vamps for now. I have to write. 🙂


The Salsa Connection

June 14, 2009

My short story, “The Salsa Connection” is in the recently published anthology titled Caramel Flava II: Sensuality edited by Zane. It’s published under my other non de plume, Anna Black.

For anyone not familiar with Zane, she’s writes erotica. And pretty darn hot erotica at that. She started writing in 1997 and self-published her stories on the Internet. She developed quite a following, as a result, and her book, The Sex Chronicles (which is currently a television series on Cinemax), was picked up by Simon & Schuster.

Since then Zane has published novels and edited a number of anthologies featuring other erotica writers. This is my third appearance in one of her anthologies. The other two were in Honey Flava and Purple Panties.

The interesting thing is I wrote “The Salsa Connection” back in the fall of 2005. I had submitted it to Caramel Flava, which was published in the fall of 2006. I didn’t make that anthology but I was told there was going to be a second anthology and my story would be in it. Which is the anthology featured above. It was supposed to have come out in the fall of 2008 but the publication date was pushed back to June 2009.

So nearly four years have passed since I first wrote the story. Yep, time does move rather glacially in the publishing world.

The story is about a woman who wants to learn to dance the salsa before attending a friend’s wedding, but her instructor is just so darn hot she can’t keep her mind on the lessons and that irritates said instructor who, needless to say, takes his dancing very seriously.

The funny thing is that I’ve recently gotten into So You Think You Can Dance, which is on Fox and is an American Idol for dancers.

I like the fact that the competitors have to do all kinds of dancing but I hate when the kids get cut. They’re all very good but, as they used to say in the Highlander movies, “There can be only one.”

Anyway, the anthology is finally out and I can’t wait to get my free copies in the mail. And my check. Oh, yes, money is nice too. 😀

I’m chugging away on my June writing projects and enjoying the lovely weather. It’s finally starting to feel like the beginning of summer around here. Actually, it’s turning out to be a gorgeous Sunday.

Too bad I’m too broke to do anything fun. Well, I have a coupon for a free 12 oz beverage over at Borders so I think I’ll go over there when they open, take my laptop, sip my beverage, write, and then peruse the bookshelves.

I do so love looking at books I’m too poor to afford to buy. But I make up a wish list and then, as my fingers lovingly caress the covers, I murmur, someday, someday you will all be mine! 😀


Oh, I watched one of the Jason Bourne movies yesterday. My son has the last two of the three out so far (another is forthcoming) and has been trying to get me to watch them. I must write a post about Jason Bourne. I find his character quite fascinating!

TGIF & The Here and Now

June 12, 2009

June 12th! Already! We’re nearly halfway through June! Can you believe it? It’s been so cool around these parts that it hasn’t even felt like summer is on it’s way.

I had a major breakthrough about my novel last weekend, so I’m eager to get to work on that and I have, as a matter of fact, been furiously writing down notes about it. Secretly while at work.

Shh! Don’t tell anyone. But it’s only when I don’t have anything to do. I swear! Nothing makes the long hours at work go slower than to be doing nothing.

I’m also working on a novella and a short story. Both are due June 30th. I’m pretty sure I’ll make both deadlines but I have to be extra careful with my weekends as they go by so fast and I hardly ever get as much done as I’d like to.

I have a feeling my temporary work assignment will be ending in a week or two so I may wind up back in a state of unemployment, which, of course, offers more free time to write but which, of course, also offers the possibility of no money coming in. Not a situation I want to think about just right now.

So, I don’t.

Yep, that’s pretty much how I live my life now.

I ask myself, where I am? And I answer, here. And I ask myself, what time is it? And I answer, now. So that’s pretty much where I try to be at all times.

In the here and now.

Can’t do anything about what’s past and have no idea what’s ahead. All I can deal with effectively is the here and now.

Ciao for now! 🙂

The Best Laid Plans

June 10, 2009

I had meant to get up earlier in order to write a blog post in addition to my regularly scheduled early morning writing, but, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men. Meaning, I got up later than I had wanted.

However, I will share a couple of things I came across on CNN’s website.

First, there’s a video piece about HBO’s continuing faux-advertising for its series True Blood, which I’m assuming is back on for its second season. I don’t have HBO so have no idea but it’s interesting if nothing else as a piece about the power of advertising and the depiction of vampires in popular culture. True Blood Advertising

Then there’s the article about English supposedly getting it’s millionth word today. Millionth Word.

The English language does have the most words of any language and if you ever watched the National Spelling Bee (which I did a few weeks ago) you’d believe it. Some of the words those kids spelled I seriously questioned whether they really were words!

But at least writers have a cornucopia of words to choose from.

Speaking of writing, I am chugging along on my various writing projects. It’s still quite the challenge to squeeze the writing in between the day job and as I noted in a comment on a previous post, I do believe, especially when you work all week, that weekends need weekends, but I’m doing what I can when I can.

And it’s Hump Day! The weekend isn’t far behind. Can only hope I can truly make use of the free time away from work. If there’s any to be had. *sigh*

All I Can Say

June 5, 2009

It’s been a long week and all I can say is