Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guest Blog Post at Apex Book Company

I recently wrote a guest blog post for Apex Book Company. It's up today; if you'd like to read it, click here for my take on writers and a little thing called patience.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Old Gems in Old Rubbish

My husband recently recovered a bunch of old data from a very old hard drive, and to my surprise, found a folder of my old writing (poetry, short stories, and an unfinished novel) that I thought was lost and gone forever. The hard drive it used to live on died a sad, tragic death, and I was unaware the data had been copied elsewhere before its demise.

I was nervous (in a pseudo-masochistic sort of way) opening up that folder and ready to start laughing or run screaming, but I was surprised instead. The novel stood at 79k, yes unfinished, but further along than I'd thought. Some of the poetry was pretty decent, and some, better than that. But the short stories are what really surprised me. There are a lot of them. Most of them are unfinished and will probably remain that way, but there are far more than I remember writing.

The most curious thing, though, is that out of all this work (and some dates back 14 years), my voice is in each piece, loud and clear. Oh sure, the style and structure is a bit different. I am less likely to use adverbs now (except for eventually which is an adverb I adore for some odd reason), and I think my dialogue is stronger now, but a lot of little phrases that I use time and again are in those old pieces. I have a fondness for mashing words together, a fondness that apparently goes further back than I'd thought. Sockfeet, anyone? That word is in my current WIP; I also found it in an 11-year old unfinished short story and a 13-year old poem.

And nothing I've found so far has made me cringe. Well, not in a big way with horror dripping from my face and nausea rising in my throat. There are a few pieces that made me shake my head because I'm not sure where I was going, and maybe that's why they're unfinished. Maybe the muse of past days didn't know either.

But the voice. I keep coming back to the voice. It's there. All those pieces say 'Damien wrote this'. It's kind of cool. I guess my voice has been there all along; I just needed the right stories.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Short Fiction News

My short story, A Glimpse of Nothing in Silvered Glass, will appear early next year in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Unfamiliar with the magazine? Click on the link and give it a look-see.

While it's always awesome to have someone like a story you wrote (and like it enough to publish), the one thing I've noticed with submitting short fiction to various magazines is that the editors are all genuinely great people to work with. While writing and publishing are indeed a business, the people involved make this industry an awesome thing to be a part of.

And on another note, my friend Mercedes M. Yardley (who is a fantastic writer and a great person) is writing a serial tale called Stilettos and Shirley Temples with another writer, Simon C. Larter. The story is a hoot, and you should definitely check it out.

Go on now. Go. Read it. You'll be happy that you did.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Confession is Good for the Soul

If you've read my bio, you know I read Stephen King's The Shining when I was eleven and it had a huge impact on me. Just how huge? Well, I'll make a confession to you, boys and girls. When I go into my bathroom, I still take a quick peek behind the shower curtain. Because you just never know what might be lurking there.

I'm not sure what would happen if I ever saw the bloated woman from the Overlook Hotel's Room 217 in my bathtub, but I'm sure it would consist of flailing arms and screams. Much the same sort of thing happens when I see a spider, but I digress.

I don't peek behind other people's shower curtains, so if you invite me over for coffee, you don't have to worry about that, but my own? Yep, every time I walk into the bathroom. Even if I'm just getting something from the closet which is closer to the door than the tub.

I can't help it. Rationally, I know there is absolutely nothing in my bathtub except bottles of conditioner, bath gel, and a razor, but still, the thought of a woman with fish-cold hands and the smell of death rising up to wrap those hands around my throat...

So tell me. Have any books left a lingering shadow on your psyche? 'Fess up. It's good for the soul.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Murky Depths Cover

I know I mentioned before that the cover for Murky Depths Issue #14 was based on my short story, Lilacs, but I thought I'd show you what the cover looks like.

Cover art by Montynero:


Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Four Paws: A Tale of Rescue

It occurred to me this morning when I woke up with one dog curled up at my side and another curled up next to my head that I used to dislike dogs. I thought they were smelly, noisy, and required way too much work. Cats only, please, was my motto.

Fast forward a few years. My husband loves dogs; he grew up with German Shepherds. He mentioned getting a dog several times. I politely listed my reasons for not wanting a dog each time. He would go away with a long face and sad eyes each time, but I stuck to my guns. Dogs smelled. They gave you kisses. They left stinky land mines in the backyard. They were...dogs.

Fast forward again. I mention having a dog might be nice. Husband says what kind. I say pit bull. He says no way. I say come one, a pit bull with a white face and dark eyes because you know, they look kind of scary. The perfect dog for a writer of dark words.

Husband does research and discovers pit bulls are not the monsters portrayed by the media. We start looking into rescuing a pittie. One day, I'm sitting out on my back porch and a man walks down the alley with two pit bulls--one full grown, the other, a puppy. Now I'm on the phone with my husband, who is out running errands, and our conversation is interrupted by my squealing and exclaiming how cute the dogs are and how the puppy has a precious all-white face.

Jump ahead about fifteen minutes. I'm back in the house. Husband calls me and tells me to come outside. The man with the two pit bulls is outside. Husband pulled up in front of the house, saw him walking with the dogs, and decided to talk to him about pit bulls in general.

Husband says, "We have a problem." Oh, really? Oh, yes. See, the four-month old pittie puppy was abandoned with another dog in our neighborhood. Neighbor who found the dogs on her porch has twin babies and an old dog who doesn't really want to share his house with another dog. Neighbor's sister is taking the other dog, a pug mix of some sort. But she can't find a home for the little guy. Neighbor who is walking the pitties wants to take him in, but can't, for various reasons.

Now for the clincher. After trying to find his owner with no luck, and trying to find him a safe, new home, with no luck, neighbor is going to take pittie puppy to the shelter the following day.

Needless to say, he never went to the shelter. Instead, he came to live with us. That sweet little four-month old turned into a 75-pound lovebug. And he turned this cat person into a dog person.

But wait, you say, don't you have two dogs? Yes, we do. Second pittie came to live with us two months ago. She was in a shelter, due to be put to sleep in two days. A friend of a friend, who rescues dogs, sent our friend her picture. They sent picture to our husband. I said no. I looked at picture. I said maybe. Friend said if it doesn't work out, we'll help find her a new home. I said yes.

She is a lovely 35-pound pittie, formerly abused, but now in her forever home. She and big pittie get along smashingly well. And me? Let's just say that when I wake up in the morning with two pitties snuggled up against me, I can't figure out for the life of me why I didn't like dogs.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bards and Sages 2010 Reader's Choice Awards

I just discovered that Bards and Sages is holding their 2010 Reader's Choice Awards. My story, The Depository, was in the April 2010 issue. If you read and enjoyed the story, would you please consider sending a vote along?

2010 Reader's Choice Awards

It looks like it's pretty easy. Just click the button next to my story and hit Next on the bottom. I'm not sure what happens after that, as I'm not going to vote on my own story. That would be rather silly and self-centered, don't you think?