Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bah Humbug

Well not really, I happen to really like Christmas. I love the smell of fresh pine, the taste of a good peppermint candy cane, the glittering lights, the fine dusting of snow, warm mugs of hot chocolate and the brightly wrapped Christmas presents. I'm also one of those weird people who ADORES gift giving (more on that soon).

Christmas is a close runner-up to my all time favorite holiday: Halloween. This year I decided to combine both favorites into one. How? Easy. I wrote a Christmas themed horror novella entitled Have a Bloody Christmas.

By all rights it was SUPPOSED to be out on the 20th but life got in my way. I've also been completely and utterly unmotivated since National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) ended on Nov. 30th. Actually, I think the proper term I'm looking for is "burnt-out". After winning NaNo 2011 with 175,000 words (about 300 pages single spaced, 12pt font in Word), who can blame me?

Anyway, Have a Bloody Christmas is out now and available for download here for FREE. Yes, absolutely FREE. Like I said, I enjoy giving gifts during Christmas and this is my gift to anyone reading this. It will be a gift for all time as I doubt I'll be adding a price tag to it anytime soon. A comment that really stuck out for me about the novella: "It reminds me of the kind of senseless violence in horror movies like ‘The Strangers’." Why thank you Vicky.

Just a few other announcements (in point form because, hey, burn-out):

1) A forth anthology will be coming out by the end of THIS year. It will be a mixed themed anthology called Hodgepodge...which means "jumbled" and this IS a jumbled theme anthology so it works.

2) I'm (slowly) making changes to the website and by the New Year it will be a bit more concise.

3) I'll be writing a blog about my NaNo experience with some advice for those thinking about self-publishing.

4) Sometime in 2012 a fifth anthology will be released called Fairy Tales Gone Wrong. Spoofs of the classics will include: Little Red Riding hood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Goldilocks, Rapunzel, and a Brave Knight vs. Dragon tale.

And finally:

5) I'm participating in "twelvella" or "12in12". This is basically NaNo on steroids and the goal is to write a novella a month. A novella is defined as a piece of fiction 20,000-40,000 words in length. So, by the end of NaNo 2012, my goal is to have written 240,000-480,000 words with 50,000 of those words in November. Technically I've all ready started and the Rapunzel spoof, Sleeping Beauty spoof and another short story will be used towards my goal of 20K-40K words for this month. After those three, I'll finish off the spoof anthology then I'm investing in a dart board. Once I get titles for all my ideas, I'll stick the titles to the dart board then start flinging around sharp pointy objects to see what I'll be working on the rest of the year. More on this in an upcoming blog.

Until then: Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays for those that don't celebrate Christmas) and have a Happy New Year.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Go Frighten Yourself

The weather is getting cooler, the nights are getting longer and soon monsters will come to your door begging for candy or treats. No, it's not the beginning of a fantasy short story. Halloween is just over yonder, you can make it out over the haunted house decorations and pumpkins.

Why is this important? Two reasons:

First: Most people love Christmas or prefer Thanksgiving. Not me. I adore Halloween. There's just something about frightening the crap out of people (or scaring kids for life) that makes me giddy with excitement. Halloween also signals the beginning of winter and I cherish winter. The cold air, hot chocolate, and crystal-like snow amke me giddy with joy.

Back to Halloween though. I am fond of all things morbid or creepy. Skeletons, the Grim Reaper, black cats, ghosts, ghouls, spiders, witches, vampires, pumpkins, and other dark things make me squeal with delight. It is the only time of the year where my loosely Gothic wardrobe won't be mocked. It is the only time of the year where people won't look at me as if I'm insane when I mention something about zombies or wanting to buy a bag of rats.

Second: In celebration of Halloween I wrote 8 stories and put them into an anthology that will be coming out in 4 days. Yep, that is what my count-down was about on Twitter if any one was paying attention. The cover is just below, you can't miss it:

I know some will ask me: "What's with the ominous house?" Well, it IS a Halloween Anthology. And what Halloween Anthology would be complete without a story about a haunted house? And yes, the moon is reddish for effect purposes only.

Adding to that there are a variety tales included in 'Tis Hallow's Eve and here is a list of ghoulish themes involved:

Witches in Boil and Trouble
Haunted House/Ghosts in Happy Halloween
Evil Cats in Shadow
Vampires in Blood Letting
Clowns in Carnival
Being stranded in Far From Home
Nightmares (or dreams) in Magic and finally
Frightening Trick or Treat happenings in Tricky Treats

Though I have to admit Tricky Treats ends on a happy note and allows you to heave a sigh of relief. I did enjoy writing it since it was something I used to do on Halloween with friends. Scaring people is fun.

A forewarning on Magic: it may be a little upsetting for some. It really doesn't have much to do with Halloween except that the events occurred on Oct. 31st. I could technically expand it into novel length but that would add more to my over-filled plate.

Speaking of my over-flowing plate, I'm partaking in National Novel Writing Month which starts on Nov. 1. Do I have a new plot to write? Nope. Do I have any inclination to write one of my pre-planned (but not yet scribed) ideas? Negative. Am I going to have an idea by the end of the month? All signs are pointing to "no." This is going to make NaNoWriMo interesting, more so since I plan to put out my fourth short story anthology sometime next month.

Yes I am insane. No I will not go with you and the men holding the white jacket. White is not my color.

A final mention goes out to my BFF Sharon because she's not having a good month and one of the stories in 'Tis Hallow's Eve was inspired by her. Speaking of, look below for a sneak preview.

Until next time, try to stay out of trouble and never take candy from strangers. Unless of course, it's Halloween night. Then it is perfect acceptable (even encouraged) to take treats from people you don't know.

Preview of Tricky Treats

They had been 13 then and their parents had said they were too old for trick or treating. So Andy (the werewolf) made The Plan. They told their parents they were going to a friend’s house to watch movies but in actuality, they stalked little kids to steal their candy. Half-way through the night they were forced to stop because they could not physically carry any more candy.

“Ready?” Andy the werewolf asked.
“Yeah,” the clown replied.

The two made their way from the bushes and darted across two adjoining back lawns, hopping a small fence in the process. No one watched the back of their homes with all the distractions that came from the front. The clown shivered once they made it behind a big oak tree and looked back. A flash of white darted away at the last possible moment and the clown gasped.

“What?” Andy grunted without turning to his sibling.
“I saw something,” the clown revealed.
“Yeah right, probably just your reflection,” Andy groused.
“No, I swear!” the clown protested.
“Shut up, Roger,” Andy the werewolf whispered back and pointed to a Darth Vader with a Ninja Turtle, and a ninja.
“But,” Roger the clown attempted.
“Just quiet okay? Those kids are perfect,” Andy growled out.

Roger heaved a sigh and glanced back behind him. He scanned the bushes they had just left and saw it again: a white face with black rimmed, glowing yellow eyes was staring at them. Before he could turn Andy to look, it was gone. Roger swore it scuttled away on more than four limbs but decided against telling his brother.

“C’mon, they’re going to pass in front of those bushes soon,” Andy broke into Roger’s thoughts and darted towards the line of bushes along the side-walk.
“Right,” Roger stuttered out and followed his more agile twin.

Andy leaped out of the bushes behind the trio a moment later with a howl of fury. The kids squealed and started to run from Andy as Roger leaped in front of them with a cackle. This made the trio drop their bags and run for the other side of the street. The brothers snagged the three bags and disappeared back into the bushes.

“That was awesome,” Andy panted out with a chuckle.

Howling seemed to tire him out but Roger knew his brother could do this all night. Roger did not say a word as he dumped one of the three bags into his black pillow case. Andy tilted his werewolf’s head to a side and watched his brother’s sullen movements.

“What?” Andy queried.
“Something was watching us,” Roger told him.
“Right,” Andy grumbled and stuffed the other two bags of candy into his own pillow case.
“I’m serious!” Roger insisted while waving his hands to emphasize his point.

Andy only shook his head and hefted up his own bag. Roger huffed and followed his brother out of the bushes and down the sidewalk. The area was getting deserted as they walked for a while in silence. Andy was looking for hiding spots as Roger mentally whinged about his twin.

“Over here,” Andy whispered as he pulled Roger behind a tree.
“Welcome,” a voice hissed.

Both boys turned to find the source of the sound but there was nothing but darkness around them. Roger gulped as Andy peered into the trees branches. Nothing was there. Andy kicked the tree then glanced around it, looking again for the three younger girls he had seen a moment before.

“Naughty children,” the voice hissed again...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why I write and a preview...

It always flabbergasts me when I log onto Twitter. I lose a follower (or five) but gain about the same. I figure it is because I'm not particularly active and that's fine.

I remember when it used to seriously bother me as well as make me feel horrendous when I lost a follower. Now I know a bit better and don't take it as a personal insult.

But, that is not what is the most astonishing thing about Twitter. What really awes me is the amount of followers some people gain in a short time (10,000 in five months for some). I've read Mr. Locke's book so it's not a big secret. One has to market and put their name out there constantly.

There is only one problem with that for me: I'm not a full-time author. I work all day and come home mentally drained to the point where I can't think of anything witty or humorous to say to attract more attention or readers.

I can't quit my job. Well, I could technically. But I've never been one to put all my faith in one stream of revenue. Quitting my job is a frightening prospect when I have bills that must be paid and no safety net to fall back on.

It's a conundrum. In order to market more, I need to do it full time. To do that, I must take a giant leap of faith and hope enough people buy my work so I can live. If they don't I will fall into debt and homelessness: I will be screwed.

For the past few weeks I have asked myself: Why write if no one is actually going to read my work? I could not think of an answer to be wonderfully blunt. It scared me and I lost some of that self-confidence I had been famous for in the past.

Of course, this resulted in a kind of depression which has led me to be completely inactive on any social network and caused me to fumble on the release date of Apocalyptic (Doomsday anthology - out Monday). I have not written or read my own work in about three weeks while I pondered over that query.

All authors will reply to the inquiry of why they write differently. Some do it for the money, many because they feel they were born to, various others because they enjoy it, and even those others for the fame.

After perusing a wonderful blog by Russell Blake and reading over the answers of Stephen King, Jeaniene Frost, Yasmine Galenorn, and others that I can't remember at the moment, I believe I have it figured out.

I write for myself. I know, it sounds selfish but allow me to iterate that further. I write because I enjoy creating characters, dreaming about magical powers, and living dangerous situations (safely through someone else's eyes).

So what if I have a handful of fans? Big deal if no one buys my work by the millions. Who cares if I don't become a New York Times Bestseller? I write for myself. If someone happens to come across my work and like it: awesome, wonderful, amazing, wo-hoo!

If not, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I'm not going to shed tears about it. I may be upset that no one else will get to love (or hate) my characters as much as I do but that is their own loss. I love (and hate) my characters and I'm going to continue to be their voice.

Why? Because it's fun. Because I can. Because I was born with an over-active imagination. Because I HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY.

Because if I don't write their stories my brain will implode, bleed out of my ears, flood out of my nose and soak my keyboard with gray matter. Nice imagery, I'll have to inform my graphic artist of that. There will be fun had by all.

As I penned this down (and I DID actually hand write this in a notebook) I've come to the conclusion that I will always write. Even if no one ever reads what I write, I will continue to create. That does not mean I'll stop promoting to the best of my ability. I will try to get others to love (or hate) my characters, settings and stories as much as I do.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish polishing off the five stories for Apocalyptic that will be coming out Monday. Below you will find an excerpt to keep you busy.

Oh, one more thing: my graphic designer is an ADHD monkey and created a funky image based on the story in the preview below. Said image shall be posted soon as I haven't uploaded it anywhere and it's technically not fully complete yet.

Until then, Good-night and don't let the souls from the foulest pits of Hell drag you into Limbo where you will wander in the cold darkness for eternity.

Preview of Music:

I’m not entirely sure how or why it happened. I just woke up one day and it was silent as if I had gone deaf over night. This deafness for me would be my worst fears come true. I’m a musician through and through. Not famous but good enough to play at a local bar every weekend for some extra chump change that my 9AM to 5PM job doesn’t offer enough of.

Rather, didn’t offer enough of. Or something. I’m not entirely sure anymore. All I know for certain is that there was no one else around. No baby crying from the apartment next to mine (fucking relief that is), no car horns honking outside my window, no chatter of the girls downstairs or the mind-blowing bass of the guy upstairs.

My alarm didn’t even wake me up. Like I said, it was like I had gone deaf. The sun light coursing through my window did the honor of making me peel back my eyelids and squint at the bright ceiling above. There was no panic since it was a Saturday and I really considered falling back into an alcohol induced coma.

Of course, I didn’t hear anything so I panicked and reached for my guitar. Sound came clear and unobtrusive. I’m not deaf. I’m not blind either. I think I might be too drunk or high to realize that I’m on some crazy fucked up trip through. I mean, the whole world can’t disappear in a day, can it?

Then I took a close look at the date: December 22nd, 2012. Yep: Doomsday, the apocalypse, End of Days, and all that bullshit was yesterday. It seems that for everyone else, it came true. Whatever it was. Maybe it was the rapture and Jesus slung down from heaven on a white horse to take all his followers up by golden carriages bringing them into ever loving peace and paradise in Heaven while simultaneously casting all the sinners to the burning pits of Hell to be sodomized and burned.

Hey, I did say I could be high. Whatever the case, I was alone. Completely and utterly alone. Of course, I was suspicious of my complete and utter lack of company so I decided to do what any relatively sane person would do when faced with a similar situation. I walked the streets of New York with nothing but my guitar strapped to my back...

Thursday, September 1, 2011


So I decided yesterday while I was in a daze from lack of sleep the night before that I would work on the website. That led to thinking up another short story collection which led to actual release dates of three other anthologies. (You can see all that here: Future Works)

Normally this wouldn't be a problem and I'd putter along to get things done at a good enough pace. But in some stroke of utterly insane genius I decided that all three collections would be released before the end of this year.

Am I insane? I do believe so. But I also believe that any author needs a bit of the crazies in order to actually be an author.

I mean, what person in their right mind would want to write all day, every day and edit the rest of the time without the guarantee that they would get paid at the end of the week? Unless of course they're Stephen King, James Patterson, Anne Rice, Dan Brown, John Locke or any other famous author.

I'm not too far gone (yet) though. I didn't quit my day job once my book got published. Good thing too or I'd be living out of a cardboard box by the 12 Mile Creek right now with only a laptop, a shopping cart of clothes and an old coffee mug to collect money.

I may be a bit delusional in thinking that I would make it over-night. And I have to admit, I suck at marketing. I'm also quite lazy and would rather spend my time writing or reading then actually sitting down and *GASP* promoting.

But I'm slowly starting to creep out from the bat-infested cave I've been hiding in (plus the bats were starting to look at me funny) and decided to seriously try this marketing thing. At least on weekends and evenings.

Back to the original topic of this post: I'm releasing three more short story anthologies. Yes. Three. How many months are left in the year? That's right, four. That's an anthology a month folks. Can I do it? I have no idea but I'm certainly going to try.

The first will be called Apocalyptic and be out sometime this month (I'm hoping for the 15th). It will feature stories of the so-called Doomsday - Dec. 21 2012. And for those interested, you'll get to meet my all time favorite creation: Daimin VanHelgrove. I talked about him in the last blog. Also, he's on the website. Twice I think. That's how much I love him. Plus he's been bugging the Hell out of me waiting to be written seriously.

The second anthology will be a Halloween Special entitled 'Tis Hallows Eve. This one will be the most fun as I don't have an idea for the cover yet and the six stories featured aren't even written. At least I know what they are. So I'll have to pull 30-40,000 words out of my arse and edit them in the next month, or less.

The final is set for release in November and will be called Hodge Podge because it will be a mixed theme of ideas ranging from lunatics (like myself) to homeless people to mermaids. I actually have 5 stories written for it and only have to add two more and edit the whole thing.

Am I insane? Oh I think so. Will I actually meet these self-imposed release dates? I certainly hope so. Will I have a social life in the next three months? Probably not. Will I get sleep? Nope. But I think it will be well worth it.

I leave you will some shameless self-promotion:
Small Slice of the Undead: A Zombie Anthology AVAILABLE NOW through Smashwords
Tale of the Twins Book 1: Gathering and Destruction AVAILABLE NOW through Authorhouse.

Buy them for the sake of all characters new, old and waiting to be loved by someone other than their creator. Plus they need to get out of the dark basement I've stashed them in. It's getting a bit crowded down there what with all the new stories I'm writing and old ones begging to be written. Ah, excuse me while I go feed them some utterly horribly fanfiction I've read.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Zombie Fish and why I love Shun: Shameless Self-Promo ahead

Yes, you DID read that right: zombie fish. The anthology is out, you can find it here at or here on the website.

Furthermore, since you're here and reading the blog I have a special treat. Straight from the fourth short story ("In the Water") in "Small Slice of the Undead: A Zombie Anthology" is a preview...of the famed zombie fish of course:

I know I was cursing and talking to myself, but I can't remember what I was saying. I know I turned towards my tanks and what I saw made me shut up and stare.

My fish were all looking my way. Normally I wouldn't be so freaked out because fish tend to look at you when you come towards them, especially Siamese Fighting Fish. Vibrations through the floor and thus through the water in their tanks give them a good enough guess that you're making your way over with either food or to talk. Usually I get one or two looking over, then the others join in. I never get looks from the non-Siamese fish since they're not as attentive or something.

But every single fish in their tank was looking right at me, in formation no less. People say it's creepy when cats stare at you for a long period of time. Imaging having close to 40 fish hovering in their tanks looking right at you, blowing bubbles in a formation similar to migrating birds.

I approached the tanks wearily and stood in front of them. The banging at my door was still happening but I didn't care since I knew it would hold for a good while. I slid to the left and all the fish followed in unison. I moved quickly to the right and they copied.

"What the hell?" I asked myself.

Before I could second guess my thoughts, I pulled the lid up on the miscellaneous tank. I don't think I could have ever prepared myself for the next few minutes. All 20 fish in the tank leaped out of the water and attacked me with their little mouths puckering up and grabbing at the exposed skin of my arms and neck.

"THE FUCK?" I shouted as I flailed and began whipping and bashing fish off me.

They were like leeches and no matter how hard I squished or how much I floundered about they clung to me. I finally had enough and began ripping them off by their tails. Once every fish was nothing but an oozing mess on the floor I gasped in a few deep breaths and examined the wounds.

Twenty chunks of flesh were missing and blood was trickling down my arms and neck....


There is one other fun character you'll meet twice in the Zombie Anthology: Shun. Actually there are quite a few fun characters. I enjoyed writing "Bomb" because of a Gothic Kid who calls himself Voltaire. "Itch" has Amber who happens to be Victim Zero, meaning the first person to become a zombie. Of course, "In the Water" has aforementioned zombie fish and "Daddy's Home" has Sam.

Anyway, back to Shun. He appears in the final two stories, "Recording" as well as "Video Feed" and I love him. It might have something to do with the fact he's Asian and I have a certain weakness for Asian men. Or it might be the fact that he uses a samurai sword as a weapon and I am morbidly obsessed with swords and other pointy objects. Or it could be that he's the most intelligent of the bunch and really, who doesn't like a smart man?

If you've been following me on Twitter, you will know that Shun is in fact homosexual. I tweeted a conversation between him and Jess on Saturday night where Shun admits to being homosexual with a lot more words then needed:
Shun: "I am a free thinker and my parents did not tolerate free thinking,"
Jess: "Free-thinking?"
Shun: "I prefer men to women...sexually,"
Jess (or Derrick): "Ah..."

There is nothing wrong with being homosexual, I want to make that perfectly clear. I'm open-minded when it comes to things like that. I think the main reason I like Shun is because he's homosexual. For his family, that's a major sin and even after being disowned by everyone he knew back home, he managed to make a few new friends and a good living for himself. He struggled through adversity, moved to a new country, got accepted into a prestigious university, made new friends and bought himself a house.

Then of course zombies happened and it didn't matter what he did or didn't do. He's just one of those characters that really sticks out in my mind. Kind of like La Puce or Anguish from the "Tale of the Twins" trilogy (Book 1 is out now), or Daimin VanHelgrove from another trilogy I'm working on for far in the future. Of course there's the lovely bunch in "Face Snatcher" which will hopefully be out within the next year or so. Yes, I have a lot on my mind. Or my mind has a lot for me to do. Whichever.

Either way, you should check out "Small Slice of the Undead: A Zombie Anthology". Why? Because it has zombies. More specifically, there are zombie fish. There's also a homosexual Asian man. The Government also admits to creating zombies. Oh and there's aliens. Well, mention of "aliens". Also, it would benefit your own survival if zombies ever attacked. I mean you would know what to do if a bomb went off, or you got really itchy, or green goo appeared in your water, or you woke up dead, or you saw people generally eating each other in a really horrible way.

Plus zombies are cool. They have the whole undead-brainless-will-eat-you thing going on. Actually there's brainy zombies in the anthology. Yes, THINKING zombies. Who would have thought? Anyway, do it for the zombie fish. Do it for Amber, Shun, La Puce and Anguish (who you won't meet if I can't get a good editor ;) ). Do it for the love of all characters and the enjoyment of all living-dead things.

Do it for Daimin VanHelgrove because he's an evil manipulative bastard and if you don't, he'll come after you....once he's done fighting the forces of evil. Yes. Evil fighting evil. Trust me, Daimin's evil incarnate. Pure badassery. As in gets pleasure out of torturing people badassery. Destroying entire planets on a whim. Collects an army of dead (more zombies) to do his bidding. Yeah. Oh and he can't be killed easily. So you get to see him maimed and as he heals, he laughs manically about the attempt as he murders the maimer in the slowest most painful way possible. Now do you see why he's my favorite?

So do it because you want to meet more of my characters. Go on, get the anthology. Get Book 1. It'll make me happy. And when I'm happy, I write more. When I write more, you get to read more. See, it's a win/win situation all around.

Now, don't be so disappointed. I warned you about the shameless self-promoting in the title. And if you are disappointed, buy the anthology anyway. It'll make you happy. Plus it's cheap and you're only losing to try a new author. Expand your horizons before I become exceptionally popular (insert your laugh here, go on, I'll understand) and have to jack up my prices.

Thus my self-promotion rant is over. Enjoy:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why I love Tim Burton and why my Book isn't like Twilight.

So as a few people may or may not know, I went to LA recently (heck check the last blog post ;) ) to pitch Tale of the Twins Book 1 as a movie idea to Hollywood executives. The gathering of literary minds was phenomenal. There was such a variety in work, it left me somewhat stunned.

Here I was going against another 150 authors to get this potential once-in-a-life-time chance to be something other than a half-assed secretary working a mundane 9-5 job. Don't get me wrong, I like some aspects of my day job but being completely serious, I'd rather stay at home and play video games or write all day. Oh and I'd like to get out of bed a lot later in the morning. I like sleep and relaxing, it's the holiness of all things holy.

Anyway, the first part of this exciting event went off well. I met a few authors during the evening on Friday and tried not to sink too far into the lawn in 4-inch stiletto heels. Authors are an interesting bunch. There were authors writing about sex and prostitutes and authors writing about alien races battling against each other. One wrote a children's story about a lost kitten, another a children's story about a mischievous dog. So much diversity, so little time to absorb it all.

Our goal (as any author's goal) was the same: to be noticed. To achieve that life-long dream of being famous because of the written world. To be able to stop living a mundane life and live off the bank account of something that popped out of your imagination.

Whether or not we succeed in this goal depending solely on our own talents of pitching our book idea in three minutes to people looking for ideas. Oh and we only had one night and one day to learn how to make this pitch perfect. Were the odds against us? Oh yes. But from what I hear, 46 people received a "call-back" asking for copies of the book.

Saturday morning brought a bout of nausea and I felt like calling off the whole thing. But I managed to get down to the meeting hall where two semi-famous Hollywood folks taught us how to pitch. It was then that I for one, figured out that everything I had done was probably wrong and re-wrote the entire thing from scratch.

After the lesson, we practiced pitching in front of one of the Hollywood folks. I was told my story was interesting but I had to learn how to breathe. Usually I'm not so nervous when speaking to people about my ideas (God knows I wasn't when describing my story to other authors), but I was in L.A. Alone. Surrounded by people and trying to capture that one moment that would potentially catapult me into fame. Yeah, nerves were required.

Then the pitching itself. I won't bore you with details. I pitched to 9 different Hollywood agents, they asked questions and I answered. It was over too quick for me to actually think. Then there was a short 15 minute author interview, a final wrap-up and we were all free to crawl back to the hovels or under the rocks from which we came.

Not me, I had another author interview the next day. Then it was back on the flying metal tin-can and back home to Canada to wait. Yes, wait. We weren't to receive any results until August 8th. For those of you keeping track, that was yesterday.

Before I get into results, I need to say a few things. I knew that despite what happened, the trip wasn't a waste. I toured LA and went to the tar pits. I got a replica of a freaking Saber tooth cat fang. I got to see the Tim Burton exhibition at the LACMA. I got to meet other authors and discuss their novels.

I love meeting other authors, even if it's online. I love talking about myself (as you can plainly see) and I love talking to people about their work, or my own. I LOVE looking at the bones of dead things (this is where the tar pits come in) and I LOVE Tim Burton - in a totally not-obsessive fan-girl way.

Tim Burton is creepy, funny, and his art/movies makes you take a step back and thing: "What the Hell IS that?" I get chills remembering some of his work. I can't say he's been my biggest motivation for writing or anything, but I like looking to his work for creepy inspiration. And Edward Scissorhands has always been one of my favourite movies.

I think this creepy obsession goes hand in hand with my love of bones (I was going to say dead things here but that might make some people think I'm a necrophiliac or something). I took an online forensics course to learn more about how to tell how a person died by their remains, a la CSI. I've always been absolutely fascinated with the human body and the concept of death.

As for my love of talking to people, well that comes and goes. Sometimes I'm the most anti-social person you could ever meet. Other times, you can't get me to shut the hell up. Especially about story ideas. I love hashing out ideas with other people or talking to people about my ideas. For instance, I love mentioning my zombie anthology. Zombies combine all my loves: creepiness, bones, death and writing. What more can a morbidly obsessed girl want?

Speaking of the anthology: it comes out this coming Monday after I meticulously edit it for another few days. And decide whether or not the cover is really as good as I think it is.
Getting away from my insistent rambling: the results of the Hollywood pitching in LA are in. And no, I won't be getting a six or seven digit figure for someone to horrendously negate the original concepts of Book 1 so they can be transferred to the big screen. No Hollywood moment for me, no one-hit wonder here and certainly no movie deal.

Is it discouraging? Hell yes. Am I depressed? Oh *insert expletive here* yes. Do I care? Oddly, not really. Yeah, I was rejected but who wasn't their first time around? It would be insane of me to think after one try (technically 9 in this case) that I would hit the big one. Am I jealous of the ones that did? Certainly. It doesn't mean I'm going to give up, oh no.

It just means I'll work that little bit harder to get my name out there even if I'm a crazy-cat lady at 40 still spouting the same nonsense about my books and my work. Actually, crazy-cat lady seems like a good goal, I've always loved cats.

The only thing that irked me about the results is one agent said the following:"It feels too much like Twilight." Wait, what? There were no werewolves mentioned in my pitch. There was no human falling in love with a vampire in my pitch. My pitch was about the multiple-personality, insane, lovable spy La Puce and how he both saves and destroys the world in almost the same breath. Where the heck does Twilight fit into that?

Book 1 is about vampires blowing each other up, setting each other on fire, maiming each other, magically transporting themselves through portals, a fight of riddles with a dragon, magical spells, a sword called the Hell-blade that was made in a Satanic ritual, vampires killing humans for sport (and food, let's not forget that), and world domination that includes enslaving the human race. So, I'm sorry: "feels too much like Twilight"?

Bah. Really, if you're not interested in Book 1 now you should be ;). There's a lot of blood and gore in there (near the end mainly, that's when the big war breaks out) and some magic just for fun. Oh and Book 2 has zombies. And the Hell-beast. Oh and the actual blood and gore is almost half the book.

On a serious note (which is very rare for me), the comparison was mote. It seems that the moment someone mentions the word "vampire" people automatically think "Twilight". It used to be that people automatically thought of Lestat or Dracula. Now it's Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. I actually had to change the name of one of my characters from Isabella to something else for just that reason, even though the name Isabella made sense in the context that was being used and I hadn't heard of Twilight yet. Kudos to Stephanie Meyer for creating such a fandom.

Despite the words above, I'm not bitter. Merely impressed and fascinated. Okay, maybe a bit bitter that an agent thought my book was like Twilight but solely for the reason that it's completely different. That's like saying Dr. Seuss is similar to Shakespeare. And don't read too much into that comparison because I don't mean it any kind of insult to Meyer or myself. I admire her tenacity and her ability to create such an empire out of her work.

Either way, my work wasn't the break-out hit some Hollywood agent/company was looking for. Now, you're thinking: but what will you do now Renna? Well that's easy. I'm going to keep writing, editing, staying up until obscene hours of the night trying to be social network savvy and working my 9-5 job until I actually make something of the little ideas I scribble onto paper when I can.

And you're thinking: but why? Well, because I love my characters, I love writing and I love the handful of people that are my fans. I may not have the funds to put out Book 2 (buy Book 1 and you get Book 2 faster ;) ) but I do have enough funds so people don't forget I'm around. And once Book 2 gets edited (because in all reality my grammar/spelling is sometimes atrocious), it will grace the Internet with its presence. Then I'll write Book 3 and people will hate me for the ending, I'm sure.

But to hate me, you must first like me enough to give the first two Books a chance. Law of averages or something. And even when you do hate me, you'll want to read more so you can wonder where I get my literary genius from (you can laugh, I won't know).

To conclude this rant: buy Book 1. Do it for the love of Tim Burton. Do it for the love of morbid things. Do it for the love of authors. Do it for the love of the written word. Or do it just because you liked (or hated) this little rant. I don't need to know your reason, but I will thank you profusely because I love you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Love life of a Cab Driver

Picture the scene: 5Am and the sun hasn't quite begun to make its ascent yet. A young woman is waiting outsite a building, eyeing the dark sky and trying to figure out how long it has been since she has seen a sunrise. In a cloud of exhaust fumes and a too-loud engine, a cab pulls up and asks if she is the bearer of a certain name. Not fazed by this, she admits to being the owner of the name and gets into the cab.
"So, heading to the Buffalo Airport, eh?" the cab driver asks through a full gray beard that reminds the woman of Santa Claus (or if you're a Harry Potter fan - Dumbledore).
"Yes," she replies simply since her sleep-addled brain could not come up with a wittier retort.
"What for?"
"Personal, mostly vacation,"
"Ah okay,"
Silence which is followed aptly by more silence as the young woman thinks she can nod off and catch another half hours of precious sleep before reaching the border. The cab driver breaks into her half-sleep with the follow proclamnation:
"You know, I kind of know what's up with women. I mean I had four wives..."

If you hadn't guessed it yet, the young woman was me. And yes, I did sit through about an hour of a stranger telling me about his love life that spanned over 30 years while (in mostly shock and sleepiness) I listened and made the appropriate comments. Had I been more awake I think the conversation would have gone a tad bit better.

Oh, and if you haven't been keeping up (or remembering) on the past few tweets (shame on you), then I'll let you know now that the above was the beginning of a 12 hour journey to Los Angeles, CA where I was to pitch my book as a movie idea to Hollywood executives. Yes you read that right. I was headed to Hollywood with my book in one hand, a suitcase in the other and half-remembered dreams of, well, I can't exactly remember what I was dreaming. Surely it had something to do with impressing an executive enough that I'd get a call back.

I digress (as I normally do); the cab ride went over fairly smoothly. The airport was a normalcy for me since I'd been there before. Finding the gate and waiting for the hour was no concern. Once the plane actually came and we made our ascent, I assumed I was settling in for a two hour flight as the ticket had said.

A voice from somewhere in front broke into these thoughts and informed us: "Thanks for joining us on this five hour flight..." Excerpt from brain: Five hours? Huh? Oh right, time change. Oh Hell, I didn't bring enough to amuse myself with in my purse and there's no way in Hell I can get my carry-on down from the luggage compartment. Bloody Hell.

The last was thought in a British accent of course. Anyway, let's fast foward over the exceptionally boring five hour plane righe and get to the more interesting descent, shall we?

As the air-bird began to land, I looked out my window and saw the great black pyramid rising up through a cluster of flat and stale looking buildings. Excitment bubbled in my chest (either that or it was indigestion) as I thought: "Oh my freaking God, it's the Luxor! Criss Angel performs there!" This was quickly followed by: "Noooo, this is only a two hour layover, I can't DO anything!" And thus my fan-girl/morbid obsession with pyramids/perverse obsession with magic moment was destroyed.

Skipping over the escape of the tublar metal flying can, I realized the Las Vegas airport was about the size of a small city. People crowded everywhere and the gate I was looking for was no where near my general proximity. I was happy that I booked a two-hour layover. Finding the gate was akin to a journey through the tourist section of a city made famous for hosting a wonder of the world. I should know since I live 15 minutes from such a city.

A path cleared ahead and I noted with a sense of relief that I found my gate. Unfortunately my stomach reminded me that it hadn't been fed and would soon eat itself if I didn't feed it soon. I followed my nose (literally) and found food. I just travelled 4000 KM/2,800 miles to eat at Burger King.

Skipping forward another hour and a half, I got on the second plane. According to my ticket (I should have known that tickets lie), I would be in LA in two hours. A summary of the flight: the plane went up and we could turn on electronic devices. The plane hovered for 15 or 20 minutes and we had to turn off our electronci devices as we made the final descent. Excerpt from brain: Why exactly was there a layover for that?

Regardless, I made it out of the second air-born tin can relatively safely and found a bright green cab to spend an obscene amount of money in to get to my hotel. That night was spend on taking in my surroundings, exploring the concept of a mall without a roof (we call these "a plaza" in Canada and have indoor malls. The entire outdoor mall concept amuses me), eating and working on detailed character profiles for a crime fiction novel I'm working on.

No, the irony of profiling detective characters was not lost on me. And knowing one such character extremely well, the irony would be exceptionally amusing to one fictional detective known as James Reeves. He might even make a reference to some obscure factoid that people could live without knowing a la Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory". Probably not though as James is not Sheldon.

Sleep was imminent by 8PM (11 PM in the Great Not-so-white-right-now North) but I pushed through until 11PM and enjoyed the luxury of having a king-sized bed all to myself. The next day would be spent at an exhibit featuring creepy clowns and meeting my fellow authors. But as I began to drift into unconsciousness, I had no idea of the creepy clowns that would claim my waking hours. Thus ends the first day of the LA trip.

A bit of shameless self-promotion: "A Small Slice of the Undead" (my zombie anthology) will be coming out this month. Once the cover is complete and the final edit done, I will be putting it up for sale as an ebook. Until then, be amused by future blogs and don't answer the door if someone asks if you have an extra brains.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


As I mentioned on FaceBook, I'm posting something on here having to deal with zombies. Two things actually.
The first: I finally sat down and stared reading "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies". If you're not sure what this is, it's Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice with zombies...and ninjas in later chapters. I haven't finished it but I can say it hasn't been as enjoyable as I thought it would be. Simply because you have to fight through the older English writing and have to think while you're reading.
Not that think while you're reading is a horrible thing, but I haven't had the concentration for it recently. Thinking aside, it's actually an entertaining read.
The second: Over the next week or so, changes are going to be happening to the website. One of these changes will include the release of some zombie short stories. You'll be able to find these short stories in the "Bookshelf" section of the site.
The next major change may be dealing with layout and navigation. I also might find the time to add some kind of comment section or something of the like. I'll post a message on FaceBook once it's all done.
Until then there are two short stories you can check out on the website (for free I might add) if you're interested in reading the first chapter of a potential novel and a short little descriptive piece about dragons. You'll find those in the Bookshelf section, where the information about Tale of the Twins sits.
That's about it for this update, there will be more in the near future.