"Scratching" My Horror Itch

As a reader and a writer, it is the greatest joy of my life to discover new and amazing authors that rock my universe. It doesn’t happen often enough, but when it does, I’m flying like Aladdin on his magic carpet. By “new”, I mean “new to me”, so sometimes my ravings may elicit the response of, “Oh, jeez, know THAT writer, been reading them for YEARS, where the hell have you been?” Still, sometimes we need to be reminded of Golden Oldies, but sometimes we’re lucky enough to catch a rising star, and that’s really exciting to me.

I don’t confine myself to one genre — as a matter of fact, although I recognize the need for labels (marketing purposes, don’t you know) I don’t like them. I love finding material that either crosses the boundaries of genres, or blurs them so they’re not so sharp or delineating. Like a chalk hopscotch, doused in a misty spring rain. I’ve always been of the opinion that although good writers will do well in any genre — a word is a word is a word, and if you know how to wrangle them, it doesn’t matter what the task is — I further believe that writers do their best work if they are in love with their genre of choice. In other words, especially in this profession, you have to love what you do or it’s gonna suck.

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So, there I was, twittering on Twitter, when in the twitter-stream a very nice young man, who is planning to release a book this fall, was letting it be known he would participate in an interview to anyone who was interested. Of course, I’m interested, I’m always interested. Are you kidding? That’s like throwing a shiny thing in front of a magpie.

I traveled to his blog to check out his work — the first story I read was Scratch .

It was nothing like I expected. Oh, I’ve read horror, lots and lots of horror, and most of the time, especially in shorter works, I’ve found horror rather — unsatisfying. You know, too much gore for the message, or too little. Something that looks on the surface to be horror is really comedy dressed up in a shroud, and it’s often empty, like a zombie’s eyes. Nothing in there, can you dig it, just shock value and if there even is a message it’s lost in the horror of a good story gone bad rather than standing on its own torn up, blistered feet. Good horror is really difficult to write in a way that doesn’t come across as parody.

Not so in this case. This story blew me away. Actually, it made me cry. It made me cry because there is such truth embedded within, it burned my eyes. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Vacation, and next up will be my review. All I’ll tell you right now is, I wasn’t disappointed.

Even if horror isn’t your “thing”, I encourage you to give this guy a turn on the dance floor, even if horror is not your favorite genre. Because underneath the horror aspect, there’s a story, can you dig it — an awesome, mind-blowing, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining story. You can’t get better than that.

Definitely check it out, and keep your eye on Jeremy C. Shipp. I know I will.

ALL my eyes, because he’s tricksy.

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It Must Be Monday

It’s been a while since my last link-love, and I usually do it on Wednesdays. However, I’ve run across some great info over the last few days; some news, some fun, some thought-provoking, some helpful. Dig in!

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“Strange Bird” is a must-read for this Monday. Written by JD Riso, it’s a story of a trip to Costa Rica, told in a personal and very unique way. Excellent read.

Sun and Oracle combine forces. What do I care, you say? Sun is responsible for Java, one of the most widely-used software technologies, and this union may give pause to giants like Microsoft. The software universe may never be the same.

If you’re single and looking, living in the Montana region, this young man is looking for a sweetheart. Forget Match.com, eHarmony, or any of the other meat markets — check this guy out. He seems real. It’s not “Rock of Love” but I’ll be keeping an eye out and wishing him well. Heh.

Is there anything better than ice cream? Why, yes, yes there is. FREE ice cream. Hit your local Ben & Jerry’s on April 21st and get you some.

Finally, the sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” is slated for a September 15th release by Doubleday. 5 MILLION copies ofThe Lost Symbol will be released to a long-awaiting public. Amazing. And that’s just the FIRST print run.

Unfortunately,scientist and professor Stephen Hawking has been reported as “very ill” and has been hospitalized. Author JG Ballard passed away this weekend. Very sad…condolences to Ballard’s fans and family, and good wishes to Mr. Hawking.

Nick Usborne has provided a page of some fabulous information for freelancers. WOW. Excellent resource.

If you’re looking to monetize your website, here are 6 Fool-Proof Steps to Make More Money With Your Website. Very detailed and informative.

10 Websites for Book Lovers — need I say more? I know, I know…you’re cursing me now, but you’ll thank me later.

And finally, you know I couldn’t just end this edition of Link Love without a couple of fun time-wasters. Take a look at this video if you’ve ever wondered what sheep herders do with their spare time, and then you can turn your brain to oatmeal with Seinfeld’s 100 Quotes About Nothing. Heh.

I’ll probably do another Link Love post soon — two weeks without internet access, and the stuff piles up. The next one will be strictly writing related.

Until then, enjoy the Monday. The best thing about Mondays are, they only come once a week. Heh.

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Link Love: Sites Of Interest

It’s time for another edition of Link Love. Twitter is a great place to gank all kinds of websites, and I’ve included the most interesting here. To shake it up a bit, I’ve also included either the referring website or the Twitter profile of the people who were kind enough to Tweet these fabulous sites in the first place.

How eBooks and Digital Publishing will Disrupt Traditional Book Publishing from my good friend Angie Haggstrom at Freedom Freelance. It’s a great article that explores how digital publishing is impacting the traditional route.

All Things Harry Potter from openzine. If you’re a Harry Potter freak, this is the website for you.

Top Ten Dirtiest Hotels from fantomaster. If you travel, you’re going to want to know what to avoid. Ewww.

Check out this really great flash piece: Black Velveteen, Tweeted by eMuseZine.

Trapped by Monsters has a fabulous article regarding agents and Tommy’s Top Tips about them. Tweeted by the one and only, literary agent Colleen Lindsay.

The Dead by Billy Collins: Tweeted by Staci J. Shelton. It’s a fantastic piece of animated poetry. You’ll love it – I did.

Aesop’s Fables: An oldie but a goodie, Aesop’s Fables are a mainstay of inspiration. Thanks to Twitterer quips and tips.

Waiting: This was one of the most inspirational stories I’ve read in a long time. This is the first part; read on for a most satisfying conclusion. Thanks to Bronwyn at A Day in the (Fat) Life. One person CAN make a difference.

Free Celtic Music: Free Celtic Music in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, via Katadhin.

Great sites all; check them out, and if you’re not following the Twitterers, you should be. Lots of information, inspiration, and some free stuff thrown in for good measure.

I love the Interwebz.

🙂

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Wednesday Link Love

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did a link round-up. I’ve run across a bunch of sites and links lately, so for your pleasure (and to free up some of my bookmark space!) here are the best of the best.

Free Online Fiction

The Lifting of the Veil ~ By Chris Tejeda. Immediate disclaimer: Yes, I am indeed editing this novel of the apocalypse. And I’m loving every minute of it. It’s a great story, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

The Tale of Two Kingdoms ~ By MeiLin Miranda. See above disclaimer. This history of the Kingdom of Tremont is provocative and a fun read. Beware – it’s addicting.

Not free, but definitely worth the investment, West of Mars is the home of a fictional rock band whose adventures can be followed in ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes. I’ve picked up a copy and have enjoyed it immensely, and I recommend you do yourself a favor and pick up a copy, too. I have plans to corner Susan for an interview and a review to be posted in a future edition of WordWebbing.

This isn’t free fiction, but in less than a week your universe is going to be ROCKED, and rocked hard, by the release of The Warded Man (released in 2008 in the UK as “The Painted Man) by Peter V. Brett. I am so excited, as I’ve known Peat for a few years, and couldn’t be happier at his success. I’ll have a complete review and interview with Peat in a coming post.

Music for the Muse

Blip.fm is a site in which you can program your own internet radio station, searching for songs from a global database. There’s interaction with other “DJs” and an option to give “props” to a favorite DJ and their choices. You also have an option of “blipping” your own favorites directly to a Twitter feed.

Pandora is a music genome project. Plugging in a favorite artist matches their sound with other bands and artists with which you may or may not be familiar. There’s even a widget you can download to a desktop; however, with Windows Vista this caused some kind of bugaroo and I uninstalled it.

At JamsBio, you can write a memory corresponding to some of your most unforgettable music. It’s a really neat way to match memories to music; fascinating to compare to other people. There’s always something cracking over at JamsBio – it’s quite an innovative site. They have a lot going on right now – free music, lists, games, and news.

Writing Related

Unsent Letters – have you ever written one? Here’s a place for them. A paying gig.

The Hong Konger – the actual experiences of a young editor on the loose in Hong Kong. He’s funny, he’s crazy, and he has a problem with French squirrels. He has a video camera and is not afraid to use it.

Elizabeth Gilbert – an excellent lecture on creativity and a whole new way to look at genius. I’ve watched this over and over. It really struck home.

This Time article explores the question: Is genius learned behavior? Very interesting read.

What? I have to write another blog post? Here is some great information about how to keep coming up with fresh, innovative blog posts without pulling out your hair.

Freedom Freelance is a fabulous resource administered by one of the most fabulous people in freelancing I’ve met. Helpful, friendly, and sharp as a tack, Angie Haggstrom is all that AND a bag of chips. Keep your eye out for this rising star.

Timewasters

I know, who needs these, right? Well, we all have to blow off steam at some point. Set a timer so you don’t get sucked in to the time/space continuum and you be a’ight.

Oh, Boomshine! How you task me. But you’re so soothing, at the same time.

Who knew falling sand could be so mesmerizing? You can even leave it for a while and come back later. Very nice.

That’s the round-up for this edition. Hope you find somthing here that moves you, inspires you, or helps you waste a couple of hours with bubbles and sand. Heh.

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Links of Interest – Wednesday Edition

The People I Follow On Twitter
Image by CC Chapman via Flickr

I’m not sure this is going to be a weekly thing, but we’ll ride this wave as far as it takes us. I typically visit a great deal of websites in the course of a day; some from dropping Entrecards (when I have the time) and sometimes when a Person of Interest uses Twitter to alert we tweeples to something cool, interesting or helpful.

So, for your pleasure, dear readers (I think there’s more than one, heh!) these are my favorites from the last week:

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Tuesday Round-Up of Worthy Links

The Lady of Shallot, based on The Lady of Shal...
Image via Wikipedia

Sub-title: Traveling Around the Blogosphere

I run across so many great sites, I thought I’d list the best of the best here every Tuesday. Some of them are helpful, some of them are inspiring, some are just quirky. They might be writing-related, and they might not. A good freelancer and flasher is a well-rounded person, and you can learn a lot by wasting time visiting other sites.

A combination of the useful and the quirky, I highly recommend Mercenary Writer’s Press. “All the writing without the pretention” is their mantra — their Kung Fu is strong, even though their preferred torture device is plural gerunds. You might need to invest in Depends Undergarments, but it’s worth it.

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A Round-Up of Worthy Links

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
Image by luc legay via Flickr

I am  a Link Hound, a Research Ho, and I’m going to share with you some of the best links I’ve found on the ‘net the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, there’s something here that will inspire you, help you, or amuse you. If so, please leave a comment on the site you visit, or leave me one here . Enjoy!

Helpful:

A brand new forum of internet marketers, Simple Machines Forum promises to be THE place to be for all things related to getting your business off the ground and running. It’s in the early stages yet, but there’s the potential for a great meeting of the minds and an opportunity to get in on the ground floor. I’ll definitely be picking some brain cells here.

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Tagged, Memed and Awarded

Book cover via Amazon

If you didn’t know by now, I suck at posting awards and stuff. However, when a goddess like Lala at Coastal Commentaries takes the time out to honor me, I can do nothing less than bow before the goddess. 😉

First, the meme:

The rules are as follows:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Post a comment and then tag five more people.

But first Raoul had to finish clearing the mess he had left behind.

It meant another trip to Germany.

He waited for the Imperator to leave.

This passage is from “Map of Bones” by James Rollins. This is not normally a book I’d buy to read, but my sister’s partner is also an avid reader, and passed this book and about five or six others of his to read. The first one I read was “Black Order” and I really enjoyed it. “Map of Bones” has been favorably compared to “The DaVinci Code“, so we’ll see if that is correct or said merely to sell books.

For this meme, I tag the following five people:

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Sarah Palin, Miss Congeniality

An Elderly Heartbeat Away . . .Image by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr

This is an article on a sister blog of mine, regarding Sarah Palin, John McCain’s choice of running mate. Not writing-related, so it’s posted there. Let me know what you think.

Working on the flash piece — wow, I’m out of shape. It’s been so long since I’ve written fiction, I feel a little rusty. Oh, I’ve blogged, done some freelance gigs, working on a couple of projects, but it’s not the same. Still, a hiatus from fiction is like being celibate for a period of time. Once you end your celibacy, after the first time it all comes flooding back and you’re right in the thick of it again.

You know, there’s so many jokes in there it fair makes a maid swoon. However, I’ll spare you. I have fiction to write, don’t you?

🙂

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Just another day in Empire Building

The Muses Clio, Euterpe and Thalia, by Eustach...Image via Wikipedia

Unfortunately, my primary job has taken precedence over tweaking. This does not make me happy — as a matter of fact, it makes me rather crabby. At some point, something has got to make way.

In the meantime, JamsBio may be of some interest to you. I originally found the site in the early stages, when they were calling for writers to submit their “JamsBios”, or music memories. As a total music freak AND a writer, this was right up my alley.

The website is loaded with really cool features, including a widget you can post on your own blog. (if I haven’t posted mine yet, it’s in the works.) The memories run the gamut, covering every genre of music and the memories themselves are touching, funny, thought-provoking and…well, memorable.

Take a look. It’s a unique way to visit some of your favorite music, and maybe the Muse will sing to you and inspire you to share some of your favorites.

Today’s Quote:

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~Gene Fowler

Quote courtesy of The Quote Garden .

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