31 March, 2009

"My Ancestors Believed"

The ocean was a sly, hungry goddess
who seduced and swallowed husbands.
Rarely spit out again and never seen
they dove willingly into her warm folds,
swam in the depth and bliss of her love
only to be carried away from wives
and children to distant paradises.

Can paradise be unveiled before a
billowing cloud of bubbles and fish schools,
or is that all part of the illusion?
The lure that captured their attention
bobbed on the surface like glass baubles
the ones ancient druids used
to interpret and determine the future.

It is not open for discussion,
or interpretation. All manner
of female oppression becomes
central. In reality not one
of those fisherwives needed a man,
and the boundaries of fidelity hang
wide open, like the Sheela-Na-Gig.

©2003 ~J. Hudock

30 March, 2009


Despite having a rough day, I gave myself an hour to write tonight before bed because I wanted to put my mind into something besides that which is work related. I had planned to write most of the weekend, but the muse was on vacation, I guess. I sat down to write several times, but not much came out. There was a period around Saturday evening that I did manage to pump about 600 words into the short story I am working on. Oddly enough, every time I put something into it, I wind up taking it right back out. The good thing is, after spending my writing time tonight shaving things down, I finally feel like the plot is ready to move forward.

Now that taxes are out of the way, I am diving into the writing tomorrow after work. I can't wait. I am still very much in love with the idea behind this short story and am dying to see it in completion. Even first draft completion.

I'm off to bed for now. Sweet dreams full of rich plot ideas.

29 March, 2009

The Internet is a Weird Place

When I was a kid, my mom was into the church, and a few times I remember hosting weird choir people from out of state at our house, because that is what you did back then. These days, I think about the funny things my daughter will remember when she is my age, like the weird guy from England we had stay with us when she was just 5 years old. One of my first, major internet experiences was with a group of people who were all fans of the same Brooklyn based band. We met on the official site, eventually branched off into our own site and had at least two "unofficial" get togethers right here in Pennsylvania.

During the first gathering, I invited one of the group members, a young man from England, to come and say with my family, so he could enjoy his time in America by saving some cash on a hotel. He was very pleasant, a lot of fun to talk to, but shortly after he stayed with us, I lost touch with him completely.

When the second gathering came around, I invited another young guy to come and stay with us because he didn't have a steady job and couldn't afford a hotel. Before he got here, he was excited about coming, and was really looking forward to meeting a dear friend of mine for the first time. Oddly enough, he was so shy that the experience was just uncomfortable. He left without even thanking us for letting him stay at our house, and though we kept in touch for a couple of years online, I eventually lost track of him as well.

I am blogging about this because it seems a strange thing. My parents rarely had total strangers come and stay at their home, much less people they met on the internet, but I can think of at least four times that I had complete, physical strangers come and stay in my home. One year, a friend who has become very dear to me over the last few years, flew me out to California at her own expense and put me up with her and her husband while we visited San Francisco. Before I stepped off the plane, we had never met in person.

I know there are dangers with meeting people online, but I enjoy meeting people. The internet has brought some of the most amazing people into my life over the last ten years, people I would never have had the pleasure of getting to know. I've worked with some, built empires with others, and plan to take over the world with a few.

What about you? Have you ever met anyone in person that you first knew online? What was your experience like? If you haven't, would you consider doing so?

28 March, 2009

Is the Key to Violence Awareness?

andrea 110
Originally uploaded by elward-photography
When I became a mother, a part of me shied away from the horror I had enjoyed all of my life. The years of reading Stephen King and watching bloody horror films... I suddenly realized that not only was I someone's mother and had to be a good influence, but that the horrific things in a lot of those movies were even scarier with a child to think about. This was even truer when it came to psychological thrillers like the original "Last House on the Left," and films of that caliper.

As she began to grow, and we started to return to some of the horrific things that had once attracted us like spectators at a train wreck, I heard more and more about horror and violence being responsible for outrageous societal horrors like Columbine. Then the so-called experts started saying that allowing children to watch television and film violence and experience violent video games desensitized them.

It's easy to fall for that when you have nothing in front of you to compare it to, but history is ripe with violence, including thousands of years of war, atrocities like the Spanish Inquisition, various witch trials and the Holocaust, and bloodthirsty killers like Elizabeth Bathory and Gilles de Rais, just to name two.

For centuries, human nature compelled mankind toward brutality, but as we became (supposedly,) more civilized, we started to cry out against the violence we carried with us from the very cradle of civilization itself.

As I grew into adulthood, having experienced some pretty evil things in my life, I was surprised to learn how many other people, men and women, who had suffered the same types of atrocities that had been committed against me as child. The more people I learned of this from, the more I started to think that the world itself was going mad.

Then it hit me. The world was always mad; we just have the means of telling more and more people about it thanks to the constant growth of communication and media. The truth is in our history, probably embedded in our very DNA. Mankind has been on a spiraling power struggle since he climbed up out of the swamps and staggered toward a cave. He stopped long enough to club his fellow cavechick on the head along the way, and dragged her off against her will. Another man came along, coveting the cavechick of his neighbor. The first brutal acts of rape and murder all within the first few hours of on two legs...

Yes, I realize I'm being blase about the whole thing, as if I know. I probably don't, but I do know that blaming television, films and video games for violent behavior is not the answer.

As a mother, I have always felt it was my top priority to be honest with my child about everything she asked me. If she asked about sex, I geared our conversation toward her age level. If she asked me about murder, I approached it from a standpoint she could digest. Opening the lines of communication with her when she was old enough to speak may seem like I didn't offer her much of a childhood, but she is so innocent compared to her group of friends. Her thirteen year old best friend just went through a pregnancy scare and was ready to commit suicide rather than tell her mother about it. We sat down and talked about the situation, the consequences and the behavior like human beings, and while I know she'll make her share of mistakes, I also feel confident that she would come to me, rather than commit suicide or homicide over them.

I know I've rambled along here, referencing some pretty crazy things that might even seem random to you, but communication is the key. I know it is. This last week, I found myself in a position no mother of a teenage girls wants to be in. A fifteen year old boy on the school bus was literally trying to molest my daughter. A fifteen year old boy whose parents don't pay attention to him, who has no sense of self or community. The really sad thing about the whole ordeal is that in reporting the incident, she finds herself "punished" by having to limit where "she" sits and goes. But the thing is, she came to me. She came and told me what was going on even though she was afraid I might resort to "violence" and murder the little bastard.

It all boils down to awareness and communication, maybe even a little bit of acceptance. Violence is a wretched thing, whether it's against our fellow human beings or even animals, but it does happen. Being made aware of the difference between what is real and acceptable and what is not acceptable at a young age may hold the power to make all the difference. Maybe I'm wrong. *shrugs* But I do know that my fourteen year old isn't going to be heading into school with a shotgun in her lifetime, no matter how much the jerks at school tease her.

27 March, 2009

Shakespeare in Repose

Shakespeare in Repose
Originally uploaded by jaochang
Times... they are changing. While some of us sit back and shudder in fear at the horrific possibilities for what's to come, others are fearlessly paving the path into the future.

I have blogged before about my decisions in college. I went back to school at 26 with the intention of getting a "real" career education in forensic psychology, but once I was on campus and taking my first writing class, the gloves came off and I fought back against that societal voice that told me I would never be able to sustain myself or my family as writer. I was told that there were only so many great writers in the world and the chances of becoming one of those who makes enough money to survive are slim to none.

The thing is, like many writers, I have known since I was a little girl that if I didn't write, I would die. Not some lame bodily death, not suicide, but a much more dramatic, inner-death. When I entered the workforce at 21 (yeah, I tried desperately to avoid conventional work even then,) I worked nights and came home every night after work and wrote my heart out because I would not allow the shackles of convention to hold me down.

It wasn't until college that I really started to find myself and my voice as a writer. With college came the confidence I needed, the awareness and that extra push to start sending my work out. The internet has reinforced all of that, and while it seems that the conventional literary world is crumbling down around us I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

That light has come in the last couple months, as I've been fortunate to have become acquainted with some incredibly talented and creative people through the internet. As I explored the worlds they created, I realized that those people had taken all they had inside them and pushed it back out into the world where it belonged. Conventions are no longer an option, whether it is in light of publishing or music. They've exhausted all resources available to them to get their work out there, working conventional jobs by day and pushing themselves hard by night to share themselves and their vision with the world.

Because that's what you do when you're creative. You put yourself out there and you shake the world into submission. I know in my heart that we have passed the brink and a new revolution in creativity is rapidly unfolding before us. Old cities of convention crumble beneath new boots, and a new empire rises from the rubble.

For those of you I know who have stepped into the chaos of this strange new world without trepidation (coughJames Melzercough}, your bravery both inspires and compels those us of still standing on the brink. Know that I am right behind you, both as a supporter and a fellow creator, ready to join in and help in the process of building this strange, new world.

It may not be the world we expected to grow up into, or that we dreamed of as children, but I think it'll be better.

25 March, 2009

He Whispers to Me While I Sleep

Lord Byron... ever since I was about thirteen years old I had a bizarre obsession with him, and not just his work, but him as a person. It occasionally rivaled with my fascination for Shelley, but for some reason Byron always wins out. While both had equally depressing volumes to offer before their deaths, Byron always felt more dangerous to me. In fact, as I mentioned yesterday I always thought the name George Gordon would fantastic for some Romantic obsessed serial murder. I've even had a few really creative ideas on how to insert Byron into fiction over the years, things both dark and hilarious that cannot be shared until the ideas are more complete.

The short story I am working on right now reminds me of Byron in the most twisted way. I had even named the main character George at first, but then upon realizing the connection changed it to give myself some distance and to let the character grow into his own personality.

The strange obsession has brought about the Byronic cycles that sometimes haunt me in my sleep. In the morning, just before I open my eyes and while still suspended in that web of some dream, I hear a voice whispering familiar poetry to me. This morning that voice said:

"Our life is twofold; Sleep hath its own world,
A boundary between the things misnamed
Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world,
And a wide realm of wild reality,
And dreams in their development have breath,
And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy;
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off waking toils,
They do divide our being; they become
A portion of ourselves as of our time,
And look like heralds of eternity..."

Funny, but that is how I have always viewed dreams. A separate reality, a weight upon my waking thoughts that divides me into two beings. As a Gemini, that sense of duality has existed all of my life, and I walk a thin line between the dream world and the waking place most people consider every day life.

I'm sure that's all crazy to you... but I'm happy here. Wherever I am.

24 March, 2009

I've Been Committed to "The Brink"

J.C. Hutchins just sent me my commitment papers:


You can view the larger version, in which you can read about my illness and the crimes I committed against humanity Here

I also got this nifty avatar as a thank you for participating in the project:


My husband sent his own contribution in this morning, and was also committed to "The Brink."

You can see the expanded version and read all about his life as a sociopathic serial murderer here. His name really isn't George Gordon, or Lord Byron, but George Gordon is the best serial killer name EVER!

As I mentioned yesterday, you really should take a look at J.C. Hutchins' site and preorder his upcoming project, Personal Effects: Dark Art. This interactive novel experience will have you on the edge of your seat! Here is a blurb straight from the site:

"Set in a mental institution for hopeless dead-enders, Personal Effects: Dark Art chronicles the life of Zach Taylor, a young and optimistic art therapist. Gifted at his job, he uses his patients’ personal effects — the personal items cataloged during their admission to the hospital — to help decipher the secrets of their mental problems."

As a reader you will be able to call the numbers in the book, visit the websites and more. This promises to be an amazing experience, with excellent reviews by the likes of Scott Sigler, Anthony E. Zuiker, Daniel Myrick and several other talented horror aficionados.

If you haven't had a chance to check it out, please do. J.C. Hutchins will be offering more opportunities to get personally involved in "The Brink" over the next few weeks, so be sure to check the website often. What are you waiting for, go get committed already!

23 March, 2009

Because I'm a Lunatic

I am going to be submitting a piece of artwork to the patient files at "The Brink," part of J.C. Hutchins' upcoming thriller experience. You can find out more about Personal Effects by visiting J.C. Hutchins' website: Personal Effects

Update: I sat down with my oil pastels and created this hideously insane self portrait:

undead self portrait

22 March, 2009

Formulating an Idea

One of the toughest things for me as a writer is getting the story out of my head. I realize that is probably a tough thing for a lot of writers. I can sit down and verbally tell an entire story from beginning to end, but when I am behind the keyboard it is extremely hard to put it down the way I originally saw it in my head. Now I know that it is all part of the process, that I need to expand on it once the original idea is out on paper, but my word! Tell my brain that, someone. I keep telling it that we will worry about expanding the details and polishing it up in the second draft, but my overactive brain keeps crying about how unfair it is that nothing comes out perfect the first time we write it down.

Does anyone else go through that? I've written entire novels in my head, all the way down to the most obscure details, but then had difficulty committing them to paper, and I really think that's why. I get upset that it doesn't come out the way I saw it in my head. But I learned while I was taking art classes in college that just because you draw something the first time and it doesn't come out like you saw it in your head, through the refining process you can mold and shape what you have produced into a masterpiece. I already know that the solution is telling my brain to chill out and just write already! My word! Worry about the details once you have a solid base to work from.

The story I am working on has an air of Romantic Horror, though I plan for it to be bloodier and somewhat more twisted than any Romantic horror I ever read in college. There will be a portrait of an Elizabeth Bathory inspired Countess, a young man with murder on his mind and the obvious hand of the devil orchestrating the goriest acts of the story. It'll be a short story, and I have special plans for it, so here's hoping it all comes together as I have seen it in my head (at least by the end of the revisions process anyway!)0

I finally got the paint I needed to do the full moon on the bedroom wall. I'm pleased with how it turned out. We will now gradually add stars to the ceiling, possibly have a few trickle down into the clouds. Pictures upcoming. I have about sixty pics I need to tinker with in photoshop since my niece just had her fourth birthday party on Thursday. Once I get a spare moment to do that, I will add the photos I took of the moon.

Lastly, I was saddened today to read that Nicholas Hughes, son of the famous poetess Sylvia Plath, committed suicide this weekend. To have lived under the weight of such a tremendous shadow, more than likely with the strange guilty burden of his mother's suicide... so sad indeed. I think I will write a poem about it later.

I'm off now to get on the treadmill after a lazy day of reading, napping and writing, and then I want to get some more writing done before bed. I hope you all had a lovely, stress-free weekend.

21 March, 2009

The End is Here....

Well, the journey that started back in 2003, when the Battlestar Galactica re-imagined series first aired its mini-series on the Sci-Fi channel. Six years and four seasons later, the series aired it's final episode tonight. I have been fearing this day for months, worried that all of my questions would not be answered, that they would bump off my favorite characters unjustly and that the fleet would wind up stranded in deep space for all eternity.

I read several interviews with Edward James Olmos over the last few months, and his word was what held me in check. He kept saying in his interviews that the series ended in the only way it could. He was right. It's only been over for about an hour and fifteen minutes, and already I've see a ton of complaint across the net. People who felt like it was a waste of time to even watch, but it really was fantastic.

Most of today's Battlestar Galactica fans have followed the series since day one, others joined later, but no matter when or why you picked up, everyone wanted to see the series end well. I believe that it ended as well as it could, revealing just enough to leave the magic and mystery that drove the series well in tact.

If you missed tonight's episode, it's airing again at Midnight on Sci-Fi, and will air again next Friday, according the IMDb. It was definitely a relief seeing it all wrapped up, but I will miss it so much. It was such a deep and touching series, often crossing lines into our own reality that made it feel incredibly real.

18 March, 2009

Maybe it's the Margaritas....

Mexican margarita
Originally uploaded by Mel B.
I am not a drinker. I used to drink every weekend when I worked in a bar and my coworkers and I would spend our Saturday nights laughing in the corner table while our regular customers tried to get us really drunk. But because I come from a long line of alcoholics, I don't like to drink often. Now and again, I'll have a beer or a glass of wine, or if we go out to dinner I'll get a margarita, but the stress of this week had me longing to unwind.

So, I put the lime in the coconut and mixed it all up, and I've been unwinding with my salt-rimmed glass. I definitely needed to relax, and something inside of me was holding me back from just letting it go. I didn't meditate last night because I had a headache, and my poor husband said I was a virtual nightmare all night long: kicking, yelling in my sleep and sawing logs like a lumberjack. Apparently, I even told him that I was going to pop him in the face if he didn't stop nudging me. Poor guy.

I've had a sleep disorder ever since I was a little kid. I used to sleepwalk, and have sleep-talked and snored since I was about 3 years old. In times of increasing stress, my body shuts down, but my brain just keeps going. I wonder how I get any rest at all, and realize during these spells just why I wake up feeling exhausted.

Meditation is the key, and maybe some muscle-relaxing margaritas. I feel nice right now, and ready to drop into a hot bath with my new zombie anthology. I'm sure some would say that reading about zombies before bedtime would inspire nightmares in them, but those are the kinds of dreams that stories come from for me. So here's hoping that the margaritas and the zombies tickle my inspiration. I have an unfinished zombie story that would LOVE it if I finished it this weekend.

But first, I'm off to check out Episode 19 of James Melzer's Zombie Chronicles podcast. If you are a zombie/horror fan, and haven't checked out this podcast, you don't know what you're missing. You can check out more about James Melzer and listen to the podcast for free at James Melzer. Good stuff! Check it out.

17 March, 2009

A Rock and a Hard Place

Backbone Rock
Originally uploaded by pfly
Things this week have been unraveling in a most peculiar way, often leaving me feeling like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. No one likes that feeling because it's suffocating. Even the mental visualization of being between a rock and a hard place gives me the creeps, and makes me feel like I'm going to hyperventilate.

Tight squeeze. The whole world feels like that right now, or at least that's what the news would have us believe. Sure, we feel the crunch, but isn't there something we can do about it?

So that whole rock and a hard place analogy got me to thinking. What does nature do when it's stuck between a rock and a hard place. At first, it may seem like nature does nothing, but that nothing is actually more commonly known as erosion. Wind, water--both eat away at the surface, slowly devouring it over time until a hole develops and nature can pass through.

Of course, I am a force of nature, but I am also man (woman....), which means that I need to use the forces within me to eat away at the rock that has lodged itself and pinned me to this hard place. I think about dynamite, but that's too messy. It also has the potential to destroy me while destroying my predicament. So patience. It is the only way. Patience, and the slow burning knowledge that the forces within me are wearing a hole through this rock. One day we (yes, I'm a Gemini, I speak in dual,) will slip through the hole in that rock, and we will be free.

Watch out then. There's a reason forces like this are kept between rocks and hard places.

In other news, I spent the afternoon with a dear friend and her family. We hadn't seen each other in over thirteen years, and it was so wonderful to sit in the sun together and just be. It was like time stopped for a couple hours, but then it had to pick up the pace and move forward again. The sun burned my face a lovely shade of pink, but it was worth it. Here is the photographic evidence:
owy sunburn owy sunburn 1

16 March, 2009

If it isn't broken...

Not Drowning
Originally uploaded by Thunderchild tm
You know that old cliche, if it isn't broke, don't fix it? Well, today that theme cropped up around every corner, and I couldn't help but wonder what life was trying to tell me. Aside from the obvious: that if you do something really well, and people continually tell you how great they think what you are doing is, don't compromise that greatness. And especially don't do it out of some strange need to get things done more quickly and more shoddily. There's nothing in the world worse than something that's going to fall apart ten minutes after you put it together. (ahem, Chinese toy manufacturers...)

I really thought this was common sense, but as many times as it came up in my life today, I had to wonder. Is fixing unbroken things going to become part of this super cool world we live in filled with rude service personnel who don't think they should have to serve anyone and snarky bill collectors who brutally patronize you for being late with your Verizon bill, but then go home and scream at T-mobile because they can't afford to pay their mobile bill on time?

If anything, the above two paragraphs should completely showcase my mood, and explain why this blog post has been stopped: here.

(almost... on to bigger and happier things tomorrow. Promise. Oh and for the record, G.I. Joe is NOT broken, nor is he drowning. He's taking a water nap!)

15 March, 2009

When Ravens Crawk... er... Call?

I have had a novella length story I've literally been working on for three years and one week. I started writing it on March 6, 2006, and just finished it today. The sad part is, it spent about two years and nine months shuffling between intention, minor update and the back burner.

As the weather's been changing, of course, I've gotten to spend a lot more time outdoors. We get a lot of crows in the yard and in the field across the road, but among them is a strange imposter. A raven. Their throaty crawking call is so unique that it's not easy to dismiss when I set out in the morning with my dog to do the daily yard patrol. So every day, this raven gives us a throat full of hell as we parade the yard, and as soon as I spot it, it takes off and flies over to the field, where it disappears.

What does this have to do with my novella? Well, one of the main characters in the story is actually a raven. And for the last few weeks, I've felt as if that raven were prodding me to dive back into my story and get it finished. On Friday morning, I stepped outside to test the weather, and there it was in the massive pine tree beside the house. It squarawked at me twice, bobbing it's head, and then we both went about our business.

I came inside, brought up the document, and got to work. About twenty minutes ago I finished the first draft. Sadly, I worry that my raven friend may disappear now that I've fulfilled my part of the bargain, but I hope not. A lingering raven will make sure I get through the workshopping process, as well as second and third draft edits.

Any of my friends who might be interested in a proofread, please let me know. I'm always more than grateful for the extra feedback, even from non-writers.

14 March, 2009

And speaking of Cyborgs...

As promised, my short story, "Black Velveteen" has been published in this month's issue of eMuse.

"Black Velveteen" is the story of a cybernetic service unit named Velvet, who is brought into the police station on murder charges. Only during questioning does the detective in charge discover that there is more to Velvet and her story than meets the eye.

Also in the March edition of eMuse is the artwork of Andy Kaufman, an article on breaking into freelance writing by Nicole Ireland, fiction by Janet Yung and poetry by David Kowalcyzk, Doug Mathewson, Ray Succre, Anne Brooke and Tomás Ó Cárthaigh.

I know that currently, eMuse is accepting submissions of fiction and poetry for their June '09 issue, and any authors who would like to have their books reviewed, now is the time to get in touch with the staff. You can email review requests to review_submissions@emuse-zine.com, and someone from the staff will email you back with details.

I hope you enjoy my story, and thank you in advance for checking it out.

I'll leave you with this very sexy Lenny Kravitz video for the song that loosely inspired my story:

12 March, 2009

How to Build a Better Cyborg...

Cyborg manual
Originally uploaded by runran
A lot of my writing lately has either been about zombies or cybernetic beings, and the other day while I was writing down an idea I had for a future short story about androids, I started thinking about some of the best stories ever written about cybernetic beings/androids.

The funny thing is they all seem to call into question the same issues. Phillip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," has an elite model of android that blends in perfectly with mankind, but mankind still feels the need to wipe it out, while the androids just want to live a better life.

First and foremost, why on earth would mankind create cybernetic beings that LOOK and ACT just like mankind? Beings that could infiltrate the ranks of humanity undetected, live among us...

Then I thought about the movie AI, one of the most moving films about artificial intelligence that I have ever seen, and I realized that if we created things that were like people, that is probably exactly how we would treat them. We would make them as real as we could, so they were just like human beings, and then we would demoralize them and use them for circus entertainment and target practice.

Which, of course, is probably what prompted the cylons of Battlestar Galactica to retaliate against and attempt to annihilate their inhumane, human masters. So that brought me back to my original thought. Why would we create something like that if we were only planning to be cruel to it all along?

The short story that I will have featured in the upcoming issue of eMuse speculates on the above, basically posing the question, "If mankind could create a pseudo mankind to take his aggression out on without the guilt, would he do it, and would it be guiltless? In abusing a replication of mankind, is he not abusing mankind?"

What do you think? Is the portrayal of mankind in these types of stories a prelude of things to come? Will we one day create beings so real that they are indistinguishable from their creators only to treat them like crap?

Anyway, back to the keyboard. I'm thinking of clever ways to combine zombies and cyborgs... should make for some whacky horror/science fiction.

10 March, 2009

Does Clive Barker Believe in Cenobites?

Originally uploaded by Boogeyman13
How do you write convincing fiction about things you don't believe in? This is a question that has been weighing on me for a couple of years now. I have a series of stories I wrote years ago that all take place in a remote Pennsylvania town where Lucifer resides and wreaks havoc in the lives of the residents. Sounds like an interesting horror series, right? It was, and for the most part, I had fun writing it, but the problem arose in that my personal beliefs do not include "the devil." In short, I felt at the time like my portrayal of the devil would be unconvincing because I do not believe in him.

Then I got to thinking. Do those who write ghost stories necessarily believe in ghosts, or do they just do their homework very well? Do fantasy writers believe in dragons, or again, do they spend a lot of time researching and exercising their imagination? Does Clive Barker believe in Cenobites? (I dunno, he just might...)

When I told my husband I was blogging this topic, he looked at me and shook his head. "You don't have to believe in something to write about it!" he said. And maybe he's right. Enough research on any topic will definitely add an element of realism as you're writing, but is it the same believability established from genuine belief?

And I'm not just talking about horror here. If you're writing a book or short story about life after death or the existence of angels, do you personally think the book would have more credibility if you were a firm believer in the topic? I'm interested in your thoughts on this. I don't know what I think yet. I'm still thinking about it and can see how belief in something would definitely establish more strength in its portrayal. On the other hand, I think that knowing something inside and out could also provide this type of strength. I'm torn.

Thoughts? And I'd really like to know if Clive Barker believes in Cenobites.

Edited to add:

Apparently Mr. Barker does believe in "evil things" all around us.

08 March, 2009

Almost there...

We spent from Thursday through Saturday remodeling our bedroom and finally making the space our own. After moving into our house four years ago, we never knew what we wanted to do to make the space our own, but finally we put our signature on the bedroom, a place where we spend quite a good deal of our time. We're about 9/10's of the way finished, having only the moon scene to paint on the wall I didn't photograph. We're waiting for the paint, and then we'll finish. So far though, I have these pictures to share with you:

Once we're all done I will update the photos and show you the overall progress. I'm very happy with it. Every day I've woken up feeling rejuvenated and excited to finally have a room that I chose and decorated the way I wanted. So far it is a great embodiment of our mutual creativity, and we had a really good time doing the work together. It definitely got us in the mood to do other projects around the house, so look out bathroom. We'll be coming to getcha!

In other news, the bedroom project suspended both of our creativity for the weekend. I think I wrote maybe 1000 words all weekend and two poems. It's time to get back in the chair and get some of these ideas completed.

I'm also pleased to say that the next issue of eMuse going live on March 15th, with artwork by Andrew Kaufman, poetry by David Kowalcyzk, Doug Mathewson, Ray Succre, Anne Brooke and Tomás Ó Cárthaigh, fiction by Janet Yung and Yours Truly, and an article on breaking into freelance writing by Nicole Ireland.

We are currently working very hard on the June issue. I've already nabbed some great material from our slush pile for the June edition and I'm currently putting together an interview with James Melzer, author of The Zombie Chronicles. Needless to say, I am very excited about everything going on on the eMuse front. We recently joined twitter, so if you tweet, I hope you'll join us: eMuse on Twitter, and stay tuned in to all of our happenings (as well as some of my random musings.)

06 March, 2009

Creating Your Space...

As a writer, environment is essential to my mood and my level of creativity. One of the things that attracted me to our house when we bought it was the room I have turned into my office. French doors, beautiful falling vine wallpaper, hunter green textured paint has left me feeling like I'm in a spring environment even on the coldest days of winter.

Presently, we are redecorating our bedroom in a night sky colors. We plan to add a full moon complete with stars mural over time to induce a peaceful atmosphere not only for sleeping and dreaming in, but for creative reflection.

Between my husband and myself, we spend a great deal of our creative time in that room. He practices guitar in there during the winter months, writers poetry and keeps his journal. Our bedroom is also our meditation space, so we wanted to create an atmosphere reflective of nature. So far it's coming along beautifully. Though we have both sacrificed quite a bit of time away from our creativity this weekend to set this mutual vision in motion, I feel like it's completely worth it.

As creative people, I think having a conducive atmosphere is absolutely necessary in keeping the mind always in the frame of mind we need to keep up our endeavors. Do you have a special, creative place in your home, and if so how have you decorated it and why?

Stay tuned for upcoming photos as we finish our adventure in roomscaping. :)

04 March, 2009

Cheerios Donates to Healthy Women's Hearts...

I got this nifty little badge this morning when my cheerios and I donated to the fund for free cholesterol screening for women. Go healthy hearts!

03 March, 2009

And so She Speaks... but He is Silent...

A couple weeks ago, my good friend and fellow writer, Jacqueline Roth, posted a blog about Heroines. In her blog she talked about her difficulty writing from a feminine perspective as a romance author. While my own writing spans over several subgenres, I realized something critical during my 2008 NaNoWriMo: I have a hard time writing from a male perspective.

I suppose I have always taken a feminine approach, even to the most dire and brutal situations. The only male character I can recall having had any kind of success with as a writer was the detective in my to-be-published in the March edition of eMuse short story, "Black Velveteen." The thing is, the detective in that story came off somewhat cliche to me, even as the writer... the dime-store bin detective with an angry ex-wife, estranged child, overzealous longing for truth and justice and a voice like Edward James Olmos. In fact, the character himself reminded me very much of Edward Olmos (ironic in a Blade Runner sense,) and that is one of the reasons I stuck by him as a character. Edward James Olmos tends to play gruff, serious characters who stand behind their moral principles no matter how bad things get.

Do you have these types of difficulties as a writer? Do you feel more comfortable creating heroines or heroes? At present I have two unfinished pieces in which the main character is a male. Both of them are less than six months old, but snagged by my present hang up over the proper portrayal of men. Tell me about your experiences, your successes and failures with characters of the opposite and same sex. Do you feel as a writer that this is completely gender related, and is there a way around it?

Now, without further ado, here is a small excerpt from my upcoming eMuse publication:

Black Velveteen

“Cybs.” Velvet’s voice wavered on that one word. “Man is not happy unless he labels everything around him. Labels give him power over things, and without that power. . .” She looked down at her hands. “Without that power he would not be Man. She would not be woman. I would not be as you call me, Cyb.”

The corner of Hank’s tightened mouth twitched toward expression, but he held back his admiration of her observation. He didn’t want her to get the wrong idea, to try and use his appreciation for her cleverness against him.
“Be that as it may,” he began, “your lack of understanding for human reason and emotion would make it difficult for you to understand violence and its implications if you had not been programmed to.”

“I am not programmed to act or react with violence. That is correct.”

“And yet you murdered a child,” Hank reminded her. “A little girl no more than seven years old.”

Hank’s voice hardened, he heard it himself. He had a daughter once—still really. Her name was Keyana and she had just graduated from college with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy. She hadn’t spoken to Hank in more than seven years because according to her mother he was a bad father and an even worse husband. His ex-wife said he didn’t care, but then he’d let so few people get close enough to tell the truth. He cared. In fact, having a daughter had fine-tuned his misery when it came to cases such as this.


01 March, 2009

Sychronicity... Zombies March Across My Life (Again)

I love synchronicity. Whenever things in my life start to line up in an obvious way, I can't help but step back and feel the confirmation from the universe. The current synchronicity may not seem new, considering how frequently I blogged about it during October and November, but zombies are back on the writer's block.

An inspiration for a short story popped up last week that I've been toying with between getting a few last minute reviews done for eMuse, which is scheduled for a March 15th release (ooh, the Ides, Beware,). I spent most of my weekend taking care of last minute business so the contents can move on to the next round and into the hand of our amazing tech team. While I won't delve too deeply into the plot, let's just say I've got two kids facing off against a zombie infested world. I'm already really enjoying working with it.

How is that synchronicity, you ask? For the last week, since the idea popped up, zombies have been everywhere. Now if it were closer to zombie day or Halloween, I could see it, but there aren't even any zombie films out right now to increase the zombie population. So everywhere this last week, zombies keep popping up. They were in my email, in a podiobook I downloaded to my iPod, on television, in my mailbox...My friend Susan even sent me a link to weird college courses in the U.S. in which a zombies in culture course existed. They are literally everywhere. They may even be gnawing on brains in the room behind me, but I'm afraid to turn around and look.

The fact that I started this new story and zombies began to reappear everywhere felt like confirmation from the universe that I was on the "write" track. So YAY!

Along with working on eMuse last minute bits and pieces, I also wrote a memoir for Chicken Soup for the Soul and sent it out this morning. That's two pieces out this week. I'm really happy about that. Do you have goals you try to adhere to on how many pieces you send out each week, or how many words you write each week? Has synchronicity been at work in your life lately? If so, how, and did you feel reaffirmed, or just completely creeped out?

I leave you with Elvira and Leslie and the Lys...