Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vlad The Impaler Is Alive and Well . . . sort of

You know I'm a push-over for strange news articles and this one really caught my eye when I went to one of my favorite spots for vampire news and I really wanted to share this one with you. This is true, and came from a real newspaper.

Headline from MIAMI"
"Vampire Diaries:Tampa Dracula Wants to Be Prez" (Story paraphrased with my individual snide comments and in the background chuckling all the while).

Tampa Vampire Johnathan “The Impaler” Sharkey is hoping to be voted in as the first vampire president in 2012. Just to up his chances, he switched his party affiliation from independent to Republican for his run for the Oval Office. (I'm sure this will help . . . but I think he needs to have Palen as his running mate.)

He has run for public office before, in Minnesota, where he ran for governor and the U.S. Senate seat in 2000.

Mr. Sharkey claims to be immortal.(Nope, not kidding. That's exactly what it said.)
And if his claim of immortality isn't bizarre enough to make your eyes roll out of your head, let's just see where he stands on some of the key issues, because this is where you get the votes.

He's definitely anti-abortion and in favor of marijuana legalization. He's very definitely for capital punishment, which would include impalements meted out by Sharkey himself.

I think he has a very good media relations plan. It certainly will shut people up and put us back into the dark ages. He calls it the “Vladimir Putin Media Relations Act.”

“If the media or anyone defames me, lies about me or tries to portray me in a negative way, I will have you arrested and brought before me to stand trial,” Sharkey claims on his Website. “Upon finding you guilty of your crime(s), I will personally cut out your lying tongue and nail it to your chin for the world to see what a liar you are! This Act will be grandfathered as far back as I decide I want it to be.
“If you royally piss me off, I will not only cut your lying tongues out, but I will beat, torture, IMPALE, dismember and decapitate you. Your head will be placed on display on the Front Lawn of The White House”.

Wow. Just got a visual of people impaled on the White House lawn.

Since he's gone to the Republican side, I'm definitely not voting for him (as if it would make a difference).

But I was speaking to a friend of mine the other day and he told me that the FEC (Federal Election Committee) has it so that it is very hard for just anyone to actually get their name on a presidential ticket. Sharkey has tried to run for public office in Minnesota, where he ran for governor and the U.S. senate back in 2000--and lost.

Now he lives in Florida. Maybe he traded the dark winter nights for the sunshine state in order to get a tan? Not sure. I'm not going to go into the leagle trouble he's been in, but considering that he's been in trouble with the law, I'm thinking that might go against him too. You know how people are about your past when it comes to public office.

Really too bad, because I'd give anything to see a debate between him and Palen, I'm sure that would be quite a show.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vampire Attacks Taxi Driver

So glad I don't live in New York, or any big city.
I just got this from one of my sites.
A "vampire attacker" got into the taxi at East 130th St. and Lexington Ave., just after 3 a.m. last Saturday.

Once they arrived at his destination, the "vampire" allegedly pulled out a gun refusing to pay the cab fare and demaded money from the driver. (What? Was his thrall broken??)

When the cab driver refused to hand over the money, the "vampire" violently bit the cab driver five times on the neck, arm and back, and then walked away . . . (Okay, he didn't turn into mist, or a wolf, or bat)

Police in manhattan are now searching for him.

This reminds me of a 1970-something show in which Dennis Weaver played a detective in New York (he was from Texas), and his girl friend was doing research on vampires, and had met an old actor who had done Dracula movies, and was really, really, into his character. He was played by John Carradine who was probably 180 years old by then (or looked it), and I thought it was a blast watching it.

Okay, my question is what was that show called? This is a trivia question. No prizes, sorry.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alone . . . at last!

If you are not a writer, it's hard to explain how nice it is to have the house to yourself. When I was younger, in my twenties, it was easier to have the quiet, alone times. Now, it isn't an easy thing to find, with a husband and a job. Now, as I sit here and listen to the quiet house, knowing that no other breathing (human) being is in this house with me to interrupt my thoughts, I feel free and uninhibited. I mean I could raid the cupboards and refrigerator--but I won't. I've just lost 12 pounds, and I'm not about to let myself go backwards.

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, and hate my bus driving job. We are just coming off of Spring Break here for NIU,and it was nice to just NOT go into the job. But, I have only one more day off, since I have taken Mondays off for rest of the semester (but have had to drive a few).

At least the weather wasn't totally all bad, this week. We had sun a few days, once it did get to 60. We got away to the Peru mall where we visited the puppies, a small bookstore, and had a laugh at one point while looking at a vendor in the hallway, selling sunglasses and gawdy purses that might glow in the dark, I don't know . . . but anyway, the woman who looked Oriental to me, and Spanish to Dennis said something to us as we were looking at the glasses. I heard " . . .ten percent off . . ." My husband just said, "Okay," and we walked away and he said, "What did she say? Something about teeny weeny?"

I told him I'd heard 10% off, how did you get "teeny weeny" out of that?

"I don't know, I thought she said something about a teeny weeny."

I went into hysterics as we walked along, and couldn't walk straight, as I doubled over laughing. People were gaping at me, some woman kept smiling at me as though she wanted in on the joke, because it sounded that funny. It was. My stomach was hurting.

My Time Off/Getting Things Done

Once we stayed home and didn't go anywhwere I worked on my book Vampire Ascending, and got the ending chapters pretty much the way I wanted them, and so forth.

I'm now doing some re-writes of my next book Vampire's Trill. I'd begun this book a few years back, after the first book merely because the story continues. When I thought about killing off a certain character in the end of first one(Nicolas), I saw that I just couldn't do it. He was a stong character, and involved in a lot of scenes in the second book. He added a sort of danger (being that he was a vampire, and although is Sabrina's boss, desires to slake his twin desires (sex and blood lust) with her) to Sabrina's new world of vampires in the city. So, I needed this added bit of danger, sexual tention, and I wanted this very slipery character who seems untrustworthy all the while trusted by the master, to remain and keep Sabrina on her toes.

Sabrina has a couple of new problems. She was bitten by a werewolf in first book and by the opening of the second book we learn what happens to her. She also has a sort of quest--it's more or less pushed on her. She's been marked by a rogue master, Vasyl, who has been waiting for her all his vampire life (over 1,000 years). He has claimed she is "the vessel" and she must gain the mystic ring and the powers that go along with the prophesy which comes from the "other world". Gaining the ring, she will no longer be under the influence of vampire thrall. In other words, no vampire can make her his slave. Because of the prophesy, she has to learn how to use her new skills, and chose the vampire to mate with. And all she ever wanted to do was "date".

Of course at the close of the last book, she has been seeing shiftchanger, Dante Badheart, and things get a bit crazy for the both of them, their relationship becomes rocky because of Vasyl. Sabrina has been in love with Vasyl all her life. and she's confused about her feelings for both men.

I've incorporated the villain/not villain character, Nicolas. He is sort of like the Harry Potter character "Snape", where Harry didn't trust him one moment, while the master did.

The dual love interests have always been around. It seems to work. It worked in "New Moon", but I'm not re-writing a Shakespire novel here.

I've yet to come up with the last half of the book, on the second one, merely because of time. I've had to finish the first one. But that's okay. It's how I write. If you look at my office it would look to another person like someone is actually working in here. (I've seen pictures of other writer's spaces and I know they've cleared off their desks, making it look like Martha Stewart had blown in). A writer has to have the flowcharts, the corkboards, and papers, notebooks strewn all over long tables before I deem that they are worthy of my appreciation. Not every damned thing can be done on a computer. I'm sorry. I'm a visual person. I have a 3 1/2 foot by 4 1/2 foot piece of insulation board which I use as my story board. I write what I want to happen (or what has happened) on 3x5" cards and stick them up there to look at. It's nice and big, and I don't have to turn on a frigging computer to look at it. I can rearrange the cards as I wish. I usually move them around on a table first, then post them when I feel I've got it right.

I'm from the typewriter days. I don't have a laptop--wish I did, but don't. I still use pen and paper. I love to hold a pen in my hand and watch whatever colored ink flow from it and fill a page. I've kept a journal since 1973. I usually have a notebook somewhere I can grab it during the night if I have something I need to put down.

Yesterday I used my time to work on this site. I had fun. I'm a creative person. I was "the artist" before I became "the writer", so I had fun, when I found out all the things I could do on this site, and promise to get here at least once a week to post. I do have a full-time job, after all.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Edits & Endings

I like the new look to my blog. It takes so long for my phone modem to go through them that I simiply never changed the look.

Editing for a writer is tedious work. However, it has to be done, of course. I can't say how many times I've read through my novel. I'm sure at least a dozen times. And changes--possibly 100x's!

I had been chopping this monster novel down from the original 158K, down to 90,000. But I took so much out of it that it was no longer even interesting. I was trying for that number for a publisher who didn't take anything longer. well, couldn't live with a watered down version of this urban fantasy. There's just so much you can take out of a book, and I could see where I had gone long, I knew two characters had to go, and a couple of chapters, and with it probably about 5,000 - 6,000 words.

So, realizing that I couldn't live with the book at this length, I went for the 120,000 word count version.

After about two weeks of working back in certain scenes--I saved the cuts on an edit document. I don't throw nothing out--and adjusted paragraphs, or scenes where they went--that alone was tedious--and I re-wrote the ending, and found that what I finally came up with was a better manuscript. I could follow the main thread a little better, and even re-invented a few things, and rewrote some as well.

It's no unusual to have some head-scratching, walk-in-circles moments while trying to adjust scenes so that they make sense. I actually like the challenge.

This morning I ended the book having gone only a smidge over the 120K words I wanted. I figured after working on it so hard, I needed a break. I needed to begin work on the second book, while I await a publisher I sent a query to, and also I participated in a contest called "Dear Lucky Agent" and I'll wait to hear from that in about seven days. No, I won't win. I never win anything.

I've also gone to a couple of blogs. I've reciently joined author Kim Harrison's blog and site. She actually has a separate section called "How Kim Rewrites" where she talks about her writing. There's supposed to be one on how she outlines, but I couldn't find the link to that one yet. Maybe another day.

I also went to Marissa Farrar and Nicol Hadaway's new site called "Something Wicked This Way Comes". I love it! Very imaginative! I can see the two ladies put some work and thought into it.

So, I've worked on my book, Vampire Ascending for about three years, I took time away to work on the sequil to my light fantasy book, but I came back to this one, since the vampire market is so strong right now, I thought if I don't try and put this one out there, I'll have lost the opportunity to do so.

I'll come back to blog about it again, with up-dates.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Has Sprung . . . about damned time.

I know I'm not the only one who is sick of winter and snow, in this country. We were lucky this winter and had breaks from the storms that attacked the eastern half of the states.
Yesterday we got rain instead of snow, the spring birds have returned, and I don't mean just the robins, there were grackles and maybe even the red-winged black birds in our backyard.
I've worked long tireless hours on my book Vampire Ascending, and after contacting Amira Rock Publishing, thinking I had a real chance at having a real book publisher take a look at my book merely because I met the publisher at a book signing last summer--I had a rude awakening. When they contacted me and said that they couldn't take my manuscript the way it was, but offered to edit it at 1 cent/word, I had to scoff. They, of course guaranteed publication with them, if I went with them, instead of going elsewhere. But of course. This had scam written all over it, and I knew it.
I went to check out VampLit, an e-book publisher, and while I was considering them, I had to get my very long manuscript pared down to 90,000 words (I had begun this for the first publisher, and then VampLit because they didn't like anything longer). But after learning that VampLit was based over seas, and I didn't like the language of their contract--which they post right there on their site--and the fact they hadn't been around for even a year yet, I couldn't go with it.
Then I remembered that I had been looking at an American-based e-book publisher back last summer before my phone modem was zapped in a storm. (That it took me months before I could afford a new one, and had to go through frustrations of trying to get the tower open, and when I couldn't I went and bought an exterior modem, which cost more.) Samhain has been around for 5 years, and their publisher is very visible, blogging and such (I was following her blogs and even made some comments there at that time), so I reconsidered them.
Happy that they took manuscripts as long as 120,000 words, I'm now going back and adding the scenes I'd taken out (yeah, don't ever discard or erase your hard work, place it on a separate edit document and save it!!!). As I pared my wonderful book down to 90K, realization shook me. I couldn't live with this watered down version! There was so much detail in there, the building of characters, giving my urban fantasy some meat. I'm happily beefing this book up to par where it needs to be. I hope it finds a home with Samhain.
And speaking of Urban Fantasy, I've just finished Kim Harrison's The Outlaw Demon Wails, and I know I'm 3 behind what she's written, but I've been busy. I drive a bus for a living, so I don't have a lot of time to write, let alone read. I sometimes get a 5 minute break between my runs (bus route), and I read a little then. At night is when I most like to read.
But I want to say that whenever I open Harrison's books, I know that I'll be immediately immersed in Rachel Morgan's world. I'm never disappointed in the story, or Harrison's unique style of writing. She doesn't water anything down, and she's not going to jump you from scene to scene, and yet you read through these tiny details of Rachel's emotions, thoughts and even sneezes--which lately have been summoning a demon.
When I read any fantasy novel I need to be transported to that world. I need to care about the characters, and especially I need to love the main character. A lot goes into the making of that character. I know, I create such characters. For a reader to have empathy for a character, there has to be some mutual thing, some bridge and so your character needs common flaws. I don't want to see a female character so strong that she would scare a man away. She needs to have a feminine side. She should have some soft edges. There's a reason I don't like romance novels because sometimes the main female character is either too bitchy, or too stupid. I don't like either. The other reason I don't like romance is because by the first 5 pages I know who's going to get between the sheets by page 100. In urban fantasy, you don't know if there is going to be sex, but if there is it had better be spectacular, and slightly erotic. I've had my mother-in-law tell me that one of my scenes in my self-published book was "erotic". Coming from her, I guess that's something. I've had male readers nearly blush, and tell me that was their favorite chapter.
I've read Twilight and the following book New Moon, and was disappointed in the later. I realized I didn't like Bella's character. She's a spoiled brat. I won't be buying the 3rd instalment, no matter what I've been told about it. YAWN.
Well, I'm going to get out of my writer's clothes and get into my street clothes and go to town with my wonderful husband of 24 years. I hope to pick up Harrison's White Witch,Black Curse. I'm ready for some more of this urban fantasy writer's magic.

Chickens lay eggs, and so do Turtles

For those of you who don't know my husband is park ranger and one of his main jobs is mowing. He has a large deck (72") Toro Zero T...