Thursday, March 31, 2011

Patrick - Two Weeks Later

Although the article is about his abuser pleading not guilty, the included video shows Patrick, two weeks after he was found. You can read the article and watch the video here.

And here's a cute video of Patrick barking.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Patrick on YouTube

Patrick, the little pittie that could, has several videos on YouTube, courtesy of the GSVS Pet Hospital. If you want to take a look, click here.

Some reports have surfaced about the person who provided the name of Patrick's abuser to authorities. He is someone who'd previously seen Patrick tethered to a stairwell. Please, please, please, if you suspect an animal is being abused or neglected, don't just walk away. Make a phone call.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Patrick Video

Eating!



Also, they have identified the person who abused Patrick so and summonses have been issued. I am not going to post her name because quite frankly, having her name on my blog would be repulsive. Anyone who could do such a thing to an animal is lower than pond scum, in my opinion.

Save a life, adopt a shelter animal!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Apex Book Company Guest Blog Post

If you are so inclined, I've written a guest blog post for Apex Book Company about writing and trends. Feel free to read and comment there at will. The post is, of course, my opinion only.

And on a Patrick related note, he is still continuing to improve. You can visit his direct page on the Associated Humane Societies and Popcorn Park Zoo site here.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Patrick - An Update

For an update on Patrick, click here.

Some of you may be wondering why I'm posting so much about this dog. After all, this is a writer's blog and I usually blog about writerly things, right? The truth of the matter is that this little guy has touched my heart. To not blog about him would feel cruel and inhuman.

Plus, I have a special fondness for pit bulls. I share my life with two rescued pits, one of whom was abused by her previous owner. My other pit was abandoned in my neighborhood when he was only four months old; luckily, the neighbor who found him (despite having a new set of twins of the human kind) did not take him straightaway to a shelter, but set out to find him a good home. I despise the fact that because of a lot of bad owners, the media has turned this wonderful breed into a monster. Pits were once called the nanny dog. Trust me, you can look it up.

So on behalf of my dogs, I thank you for being patient while I stray away from my usual topics of discussion.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Patrick, the New Jersey Pit Bull

This is a video taken by a rescue group that shows Patrick's progress as of March 21st. He's a tough little guy, and I hope he continues to get better and stronger with each passing day. I have no words for people who commit such acts of cruelty toward animals. Well, that's not exactly true, but I have no polite words.



And another video!



If you'd like to make a donation, click here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Patrick, a Pit Bull in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a young pit bull was starved nearly to death, then tossed in a garbage bag and thrown out with the trash. He was found by an employee at the apartment complex and rushed to a trauma vet. As a testament to his strength of spirit and will to live, he is improving more and more each day. If you have a few dollars to spare, please consider making a donation on behalf of Patrick. Here is the donation page.

Please note that I am not affiliated with the veterinary hospital providing his care in any way. I found out about his story via Facebook and merely want to spread the word.

Monday, March 21, 2011

ASIM Issue 50

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine released Issue 50 today, which includes my short story, A Glimpse of Nothing in Silvered Glass. The issue also features original fiction by Debbie Cowens, Shona Husk, Barry Kirwan, Ian McHugh, Nicole R. Murphy, Dennis J. Pale, Anthony Panegyres, Mark Lee Pearson, Simon Petrie, Natasha Simonova, Brian P. Switzer and Mark D. West, and poetry by Nigel Stones and Sean Williams. ASIM is available in both print and electronic format. For more information, click here.

And as a teaser, here's the first line of my story:

Nira’s reflection appeared on her doorstep on a rainy evening in October.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

eBooks and Pricing

How do you feel about 99 cent eBooks? Let me clarify that a bit - 99 cents for a novel, not a short story. Me? I'm not in favor. I could go into the reason why, but author Catherynne Valente's post sums up exactly how I feel. Go, read her post.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Bit of Random Silliness for a Saturday

A baby in our family adores this video. He starts wiggling the minute it starts playing. Yes, it's silly, but sometimes, a little silliness is in order. :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Recurring Characters

I have a character, we'll call him John, who keeps popping up for cameo appearances in my novels. (He had a significant role in one, but apparently, that wasn't quite good enough for him.) I like this character, so I'm not complaining. At all. In fact, waiting to see where he'll pop up next is rather cool. And he's sneaky. But that's all I'm going to say about him.

But I also have a character from Book A (And no, Book A wasn't my first novel, but it was the first one that was any good, so it gets the A designation. It's also the book that resulted in agent representation, so the A is well deserved, yes?) who appears in Book B, which is finished and in my agent's hands. And another character from Book A who will appear in Book C, which I'm currently writing. And now there's a minor character in Book C who I suspect will appear in a later work. Maybe not Book D, but another one... (I already know what Book D will be, something based on a character I introduced in a short story, but I digress.)

In truth, I didn't plan on having any of these characters step out from their pages into other stories, with the exception of John, who I suspected was going to hang out for a while. But it's kind of cool. I'll be clear, though. My novels aren't part of a series. They can all stand alone. Yet they have these tiny ties to each other, like satiny ribbons formed into pretty little bows.

And see? John popped up again. Like I said, he's a sneaky bugger.

Eventually, John will have his own novel, but not for a while. John, if you're listening (and I know you are), you are hereby warned.

So what's your take on recurring characters in non-series work? Yay or nay?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Storytime

Imagine, if you will, a small room filled with shadows and a strange, flickering light. Brick walls surround you. When you press your fingertips against the surface, they come away moist. Slick.

The smell of standing water clings to the air, mingled with another scent. Spoiled fruit on a hot summer day. Dead flower petals floating in the water from a broken vase.

A steady hum vibrates beneath your feet. Not harsh, but a gentle thrum. A mother's heartbeat. Below the hum, there is a tiny tapping, reminiscent of ravens and chamber doors. Yet there are no doors, no windows, and any memory of your space and time before this room has been magicked away. A chill fills the air. Goosebumps break out on your arms.

The floor, planks of unsanded wood, creaks when you step. Five steps from end to end along one wall. Six steps along the next.

Look up. High up in the ceiling, a myriad of tiny lights flash, greenish-yellow, as if lightning bugs were trapped in suspended glass jars. The source of the tapping? One by one, they flicker bright, then flicker out. The tapping stops. The hum ceases.

Silence reigns. The absence of light holds court.

You stand, immobile, hands curled into tight fists, jaw clenched, your voice trapped deep within your throat. A fetid perfume creeps in and another sound emerges from the hush, a dragging, yet bony sound. Behind you. A half-monstrous, half-dessicated thing? A hand with its flesh peeled back, trailing a skin veil?

No, no, no! The corners are empty. Nothing moves in this space save you. Yet that sound. That horrible sound... Click, slither. Click, slither.

Mouth dry and barren, your heart racing madness in your chest, you turn around. But all is dark. All is still.

Then a liquid voice whispers your name...

***

What do you mean, what happens next? That's up to you. And I wasn't in that windowless room. You were. :)

Seriously though, this was just a spot of fun. A bit of wordplay while I ramp up my brain for the day's work. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to run downstairs and check out that strange sound. It's sort of a clicking slither. Probably my cats, but you never know...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Music or Silence?

Lots of writers like to listen to music while they write. I have done it from time to time, but I prefer the silence of my own head and listening to my words take shape. It's easier for me to see my characters and hear their voices. Music paints its own picture for me; when writing, I need my stories to paint their own.

What about you? Music or silence?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Please Keep Them in Your Thoughts

I tried to write something about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan this weekend, but everything I wrote seemed dreadfully inadequate. I fear this will be inadequate, too, but I feel to not say something would be amiss. Please consider donating to a legitimate relief fund and keep the Japanese people in your thoughts, today and in the weeks and months to come. This is not just a Japanese tragedy. We are all a part of the human family that shares space on this earth.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Pinch of Advice on a Monday

I frequently see writers bemoaning rejections and/or other bad news, but you cannot control those things, okay? Save your energy for what you can control - your wordcraft. Keep writing, keep striving to improve, write another story or novel, and quit griping. It serves no purpose.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Stephen King Books

As if this announcement wasn't thrilling enough, there will be a new Dark Tower book in 2012!! Go here to read about The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole.

Are you excited? I know I am. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why I Write

Today on Twitter, people are chatting about why they write. (If you're interested, the Twitter hashtag is #WhyIWrite)

This was my contribution: Because I read so much as a child. It filled my brain with words and worlds and stories and they, in turn, created new ones.

Then I started thinking (always a dangerous thing). What if my father hadn't taken me to the library every Friday? What if I'd grown up in a house where reading wasn't viewed as important. Would I write?

I suspect not.

I hold fast to my italicized statement. Reading so many words penned by others nurtured my own storytelling ability. Everything I've read has influenced me in one way or another.

But (And this is my opinion alone, boys and girls, just like everything else on this blog.), I don't think creativity is something that can be manufactured. You are either born with that spark or you're not. You can guide that spark to life, but left alone and uncared for, it will flicker out. I also don't think anyone is born a writer. I think we're born with certain gifts, or knacks, if you will, but writing is a craft, like any other. You may have a spark, but you are responsible for giving it life.

Reading is part of what turns that spark into something more, and I am grateful that my father gifted me with a love of books and reading and ultimately, writing. I can't imagine my life without them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Liar's Truth

If you haven't seen Chuck Wendig's post about writers and lies, go, read it now. It's very funny, but the words also hold quite a bit of truth. Lies Writers Tell

Wait. You didn't click on the link yet? You're still here? Sigh. Okay, well here are my lies. Of course, you'll have to go read Chuck's post for them to make sense, but here goes anyway.

"I'm Just No Good"
I am guilty of calling my stuff mule puke. I am guilty of thinking my stuff is mule puke. But I kinda know it isn't. I don't think my words are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I know they're better than puke.

"I Don't Care About Money"
Money is not the reason I write, but I do care about it. If not, why would I have an agent? Why would I be trying to get my work 'out there'. If I didn't care at all about money, I'd post my stuff here and forget about it. Um, no. I'm not trying to get rich (Hello, I'm a writer. Riches and writing don't really go hand in hand. And yes, yes, I know Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have made tons of money, but trust me, most writers don't.), but I would like to make at least something.

Okay, there you have it. My lies. Now go, read the other post, okay? And afterward, come back and tell me your lies.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Drop of Ink on a Sheet of White

A long time ago, I used to write in longhand, but gave it up in favor of faster output and editing ease. And legibility, of course. My handwriting is fairly neat, unless my brain is pushing out the words faster than my hand can keep up. With a laptop, I don't have to worry about that.

I do everything electronically, now. I take notes, make edits, create character info sheets, all within the confines of a spreadsheet or MS Word. In this way, there's no fumbling for a notebook or scrap of paper to double-check this or that. But there are times when I miss writing longhand. Nothing compares to the feel of a pen in my hand and the sight of letters turning white pages to something imaginary yet real.

But I'm funny about pens. Although the convenience of ball-point can't be denied, I prefer fountain pens. I now have a new one, a gift from my father-in-law, and it's lovely. I broke out a notebook, and I've started making notes in it for the novel I'm currently writing. I tell myself it's to break in the nib, but I know I'm lying.

At this point in time, I don't think I could write a novel in longhand. I'm far too spoiled by my laptop. But I'm contemplating writing a new short story with my new pen. I may give up when my handwriting turns to nothing more than an inky scrawl or when the pages become a mess of scratch-outs, but nonetheless, I think my pen might like the journey.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Short Story in March Issue of Niteblade

My short story, Running Empty in a Land of Decay, is in the March issue of Niteblade; you can read it here. Please don't forget to read the other stories and poems in the zine, too.