Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Woods are Dark

Finally, I'm able to update my blog! I'm currently without proper internet, and to do anything online, I have to use my dad's cell. It will be another week or two before the net is back up, so I'm really just glad I have a way to check up on my pages and see what's going on. The only thing is that my data usage is limited.

Anyway, Trick of Light is ready to go. As soon as I have it uploaded, I'll post more about it. I have the Twilight's Edge collection left to finish up, which will be ready by the end of November, and after that I'll be getting the files together for Vampyre Night. Through all this, I'm also working on my cowboy story for Desire, trying to expand it to the targeted 50k. I've been very busy working to get these books out as quickly as possible, without sacrificing quality. It's slow going, but little by little it's all coming together.

I'm currently reading The Stake by Richard Laymon. I love his writing style. It's very straight forward, no frills, but still he manages to dig deep with his characters. A lot of his books have rape in them, which I don't care for but I deal with, so I can't recommend him for every reader. However, there is a lot to be learned about characterisation, using setting as character, and sustaining tension from reading his books. Ressurrection Dreams is my favorite Layman novel, but I also liked the restored version of The Woods are Dark. I read it in one sitting a couple days ago.

In The Woods are Dark, there is a lot writers can learn from his first chapters, such as the way he starts the story in media rez with no backstory. We readers are simply put in the car with Neala and Sherri, and we figure out the laws of the story world right along with them. And in the restored edition of the book, you are taken for a similar ride with the Lander Dills family. Readers are gradually introduced to the characters, we grow to either like them or not within the first fifty pages, then we are carted along right with them as the author drags them through hell.

The Woods are Dark has a vague ending, but it was pieced together after the author's death. I still recommend reading it as a good example of characters staying true to their characterization throughout a novel--and while facing horrible circumstances.

That's all I have for today. I will try to blog again soon. I downloaded the blogger app for android so maybe that will help. Poor Dad, when he gets his phone back, he's going to have all my standard use apps on here. Hehe. That's all for now. Until next time, I wish you a happy weekend!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday The 13th :: Now With Androids!

Happy Friday the 13th!  

Today is release day for my latest short story... How to Date an Android, which is available now at Smashwords. 

About the book

In a world run by androids, Caitlyn Quincy is one of a few humans still living in the city. Most days she stays to herself, processing invoices in a small shop selling relics from the past. 

Milo Swain spots Caitlyn, and it's sparks at first sight. He's never experienced such a strong physical reaction to anyone. He'd love to get to know her, but Caitlyn has no idea how to date an android. 

Buy Link :

Warning: This book contains erotic elements that are intended for readers 18 and older only. 

If you do take a peek over at Smashwords, please take a moment to like my listing and share the link via your favorite social network. Smashwords provides lots of sharing options - Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. This is an indie release through my own publishing label, Grrl X Publishing, and I truly appreciate any help getting the word out.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Frogs and Writerly Bits :: When Characters Need to Share Important Information

I haven't blogged for a while. My apologies. I'm trying to get two books proofed, formatted, and uploaded. I'll post more about that when I have them up and ready for purchase. After those projects are off my desk, I have two more full novels to revise and proof. Lots of new stories coming out soon, friends, I promise.

Today I glanced out the front door and spotted a teeny, tiny frog perched on a skinny plastic divider between the glass panes. I took a picture of him with my iPhone. He stuck around for quite a while. Mini got to see him when he came in from school, and when hubby arrived home from work, he got to take a peek at him, too. The little frog is actually a pale, stone gray color, but he's sitting in shadow. Also, he's only about the size of a nickle, so he's a definitely a little guy. Once it got dark, he hopped away. I guess he had frog business to take care of.

Moving along... A few days ago, I found a DVD that had never been opened on our video shelf. On seeing it, I remembered that I'd picked up a copy when I spotted it in the $5.00 bin at Walmart many years ago, even though I'd already seen the movie before. I watched it with Oldest around the time it was first released. I'm talking about the movie Fallen, starring actors Denzel Washington, Donald Sutherland, John Goodman, Elias Koteas, and James Gandolfini. (The link provided goes to the movie trailer on Youtube.)

I never really analyzed the movie that much when I originally watched it, which that's been many years ago, like I said. I think the movie came out in 1998, or something like that. So, it's an older movie. If you care to watch it yourself, it's probably available for instant download at Amazon. I imagine it's also available as a used DVD for pretty cheap.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, I needed some background noise while working in my office and decided to watch Fallen. There is this one scene at around 36:52 minutes into the movie, where Denzel Washington and John Goodman are trying to determine what a high profile prisoner was saying on a video tape right before his execution. To the detectives, it sounds like the prisoner is speaking a gibberish language, so they have called in a specialist from the local university to listen to the video tape in the hopes he can translate what the prisoner was saying.

My interest in this scene is from the view point of a writer, rather than a movie goer. By watching the way they introduce the linguist into the story, I learned an interesting way of writing information into a scene without it coming across as heavy handed, or as an info dump.

First, the scene shows Washington and Goodman on screen together talking about the tape. Goodman gets a call that the linguist has arrived. Now, bear in mind, this linguist is (supposedly, hopefully) going to give them a lot of new information about the tape. This is vital information the movie goer needs to know in order to follow what's going on. Also, the information furthers the plot. So, it's important stuff we're talking about here, not just trivial details or scene filler.

Goodman hangs up the phone and tells Washington he's going to go "greet" the linguist, who has arrived at the police station. Washington says he'll be right there. And the camera cuts away while Goodman leaves and Washington is still at the desk.

What makes this so brilliant, is that this setup gives Goodman a chance to become informed about the tape OFF SCREEN, so he can expertly relate pertinent information to the hero (Washington) in the NEXT SCENE. And, he's able to do this without having to regurgitate a long, drawn-out, overly complex conversation with the linguist. It also manages to do this without straying into an "as you know, Bob" type of conversation trap.

Goodman simply exits the scene. Then in the next scene, Washington, Goodman, and the linguist are able to sit down at a table together and have a straight forward, to the point conversation about the tape that doesn't drag down the story. Goodman already knows the finer points of what the linguist is going to say, so he's able to paraphrase what's going on. He's able to tell Washington - and thereby the movie goer - what's happening in a simple, straight forward way that propels the story forward.

This is really smart writing. It's one technique a writer can use to relay important information between characters without it bogging down the story with clunky techno babble. No one has to go through the painstaking discovery phase with this new, necessary information. Goodman already knows what's what, so he's able to answer Washington's questions simply and concisely.

Like I said, that's really good writing. It also creates a smooth transition to the next scene. Seriously, it's worth watching. Read the notes, then take a peek at the movie. If you do, let me know what you think.

Enough brain picking for now. It's 2 in the morning, and I need to go on to bed. Yesterday I was so tired all day, and I wasn't able to sneak in a nap. I'm trying to avoid a repeat of that. ;o) Night, night all. Until next time, happy wishes!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Another Year Older

And that would be a box of paperclips on
my desk back there, in case anyone might
be wondering.
It's September 1st. Holy cow. That means there are only four months left of 2013. Not that I won't be extremely glad to kick this year out the door when that time comes. It's just I thought I'd have so much more accomplished by this point. Guess that means I better pick up the pace if I want to have a new story to show for by the end of the year.

At least I'm feeling better. I worried the cold Mini shared with me last week was going to linger around for a while. Gotta love those back to school germs. Last week I had fever and chills, and did nothing but sleep for about three days. We were going to put off my birthday party because of it, but by Wednesday I was feeling well enough, so we went on to Mom and Dad's for the party. Instead of a cake this year, I told Mom I wanted ice cream and a huge pan of brownies. It was soooo good. No regrets there. And yes, the brownies are history. They had a really short life span.

Oldest's birthday is the day after mine, so it was a little strange to have a birthday party without him there. We've always shared our birthdays, cakes, parties...just had one big family celebration, so it didn't feel the same this year. I cried about it on and off for a day or two; I'm sure being sick didn't help, but I did manage to tell him happy birthday through Facebook.

At least this year, I wasn't bawling about turning thirty-eight. When I turned thirty...well, that was another story entirely. I guess that means 38 is a neutral number. No age crisis required.

I'm down to the last mile on this supernatural short story. I wanted to have it finished by the 28 as a birthday gift to myself, but sleeping for three days nixed that idea. So, I'm playing catch up. I want to rewrite the epilogue, but for the most part, all the chapters are in place, and I only have two chapters left to clean up. Then it will be ready to compile. As I've said before, this is the last short story in the Trick of Light collection. As soon as I get this beast wrapped up, the collection will be ready for Smashwords. *fainting couch* Not much longer now. I can see the light at the end of the project tunnel.

That's pretty much it for the moment. I'm trying to wrap up loose ends so I can start rewriting the Desire novel. That's going to be my next bugbear. And as always, I'll be sharing my hair pulling experiences as I go from first draft to finished product, so if you're interested in that sort of writerly thing, keep checking back.

Before I end this post, a quickie eye shadow picture, since I haven't played in makeup for a while. I don't buy a lot of drug store eye shadows since they tend to be chalky, but I saw a pretty Cover Girl shade called Turquoise Tempest in the store and couldn't resist. It looks gorgeous in the pan. For a drug store shadow, I'd say it's worth the three dollars.

It's kind of sheer and a little chalky, but if you use a primer, you can build up the color better. No fall out to speak of. For max color impact, layer it over a base color. In my picture I'm wearing it layered over black pencil liner and blended out along the lash line. On the rare occasion I wear colored eye shadows, they tend to be greens, but I can see myself wearing this Turquoise Tempest every now and then.