Friday, October 30, 2009


There are few things in this world that scare me...or at least get under my skin. When I was little, I'd run out of our neighbor's living room if they were watching a Freddy or Jason movie. But I can watch those today like they're nothing. Hell, I walk in to each of the Saw movies to see if it will give me an upset stomach. Not so much. I still get shivers when I see the old woman reaching out for Jack Nicholson in The Shinning though. That hasn't changed. That movie always scared the piss out of me. Also Pet Sematary. Looks like Stephen King was the only one who could successfully get under my skin.

Recently I've been combing through two of his works. Duma Key on audiobook, helps pass the time on the drive to and from work, and I've been reading his collection Just After Sunset. Some of those stories hit a note here or there. But the one that really struck a cord, which disturbed me, was "N."

In that story, King takes a thing like OCD and twists it so much, he almost has you going for a bit. I'm sure all of us have OCD on some level or another. I usually trot back to my car to make sure it's locked or the backdoor to someone's house. But I think that sort of thing is commonplace. Just double-checkin' is all.

But the story is creepy.

So, for a pre-halloween treat, please enjoy this animated short of 25 episodes based on Stephen King's story. Sleep tight.

"It is not wise to find symbols in everything that one sees. It makes life too full of terrors." ~ Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Dead Battery Game

The hardest thing for a writer to do is to actual sit down, get comfortable and start writing. In our daily lives there are distractions everywhere.

Y'know that old saying, "Couldn't (blank) to save his life?"

Well, what if the simplest thing to get you going on your writing was to create a deadline for yourself? Don't think you'll stick to it? How about if the deadline wasn't up to you but more your computer. If you're the kind of writer who types on a laptop, this will be the perfect exercise for you. Sometimes, to get the ball rolling, I'll play this game. I've only tried it on short stories but it seems to do the trick. Oh, and it has to be a laptop too. No desktop computers.

What you do is, bring your laptop with you to a place that is comfortable. Check the battery to make sure it's charged. When it is fully charged, unplug the battery charger and pack it up. Voila. Instant deadline. You now have to write, in a way, to save your muses' life. Depending on your laptop, you'll have anywhere from an hour to five hours of battery life without the charger. Maybe even a little bit longer. But now, with the charger gone, there's no stopping the creative clouds to start rumbling in. You have to type until the battery dies. Not to worry if it is good or bad, just so long as you type something.

In high school I would procrastinate all the way up until the very last minute on projects partly because those were when I would get my best ideas. The same might work for you.

And it might make writing a more furious, fun and challenging prospect.

Kimberly Steele, author of Forever Fifteen, a popular vampire novel, recently said in a forum that she wished she had the impetus to write a blog like mine. Thanks Kimberly. I feel honored that you read my blog and enjoy it. This post goes out to you and any other writer who wants a little extra kick to get their fiction writing going.

"One day I was speeding along at the typewriter, and my daughter - who was a child at the time - asked me, "Daddy, why are you writing so fast?" And I replied, "Because I want to see how the story turns out!" ~ Louis L'Amour

Friday, October 23, 2009

Notable Movies #3

If there's one thing I love about fiction writers, it's Hollywood's ability to poke fun at them. There's no doubt in my mind that this new movie, Gentlemen Broncos, will be the funniest writer-parody movie this side of Throw Mama From The Train. With a cast including Sam Rockwell and Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Concords how could they go wrong? Even the trailer had me on the verge of busting a gut. See for yourself, readers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One of those Sunday's

I doubt that anyone has the same problem as I do when it comes to sunday's, but here it goes. Sundays for me have always been weird. Or they at least have the weirdest theme. I guess all the weirdos come out on that day.

It just so happen to be writing day for me today. Long time ago Wednesday used to be my writing day but I would never stick to it. Now I just write whenever.

So I drive up to the Caribou that I usually go to, sit in my car for a while, chat with my girl on the phone for a few and then I'm off to writing.


I enter and the place is fully stacked, looks like every seat has been taken and all I kept thinking was free coffee? oh please, free coffee day!

But it wasn't. I had to pay. Oh well. Then I sat down next to a woman who had one of those mini laptops. They look so cool. I'd say she was in her mid-fifties, had glasses and curly gray hair.

I was unloading my work station which consisted of my laptop(a compaq), extension cord, and two books; Just After Sunset and T is for Trespass, stacked on top of each other. The elderly woman took a glance and said, "Big Stephen King fan?"

"Oh Yeah," I said. "Love him."

"I was in his house."

I perked up. I don't know what it is, but I think I have one of those faces. The kind you can just confess to all and hope for the best. "Really?"

"Oh yeah. I used to live in Colorado. He'd give tours, him and his wife. They do a lot for the community. My work was just a couple of minutes away from his house."

"Wow," I said. "That's pretty impressive. Man, I just don't know how he's able to churn those books out one after the other."

"He's a recluse. That's why." Then she returned to her laptop, as if that last line should be the motto for all writers. I wonder if that's what it takes, to trap yourself inside your own work. Who knows?


I finish my short story (codename: one) and start reading some Stephen King. I pack up my stuff and exit.


After a quick detour to my car to ditch the laptop and books I get going, heading for the borders to skim through some books. Fifteen seconds later, I hear rapid footsteps. A man in a gray hoody is hauling ass around the corner as a cop is chasing after him. For some reason I was struck by the imagery of it all. I got little pictures in my head of silent movies where a crook would be dressed in stripes wearing an eye mask with a constable chasing, waving a nightstick.

The guy tries to hide in the parking lot, being indecisive as he stops between a silver pickup and a red dodge. "Stop! Down on the ground! On the ground!" The cop says, snapping me out of my reservoir of thoughts. Guess that hesitation cost him. If I would've still been near my car, that guy couldn't have been more than 25 feet across from me. Good thing I was across the street by then. Seven squads showed up. Wonder what the guy did.


I enter Borders the long way becuase there's a guy at the corner who is wearing rags, holding a red book with his thumb in the crease (I was thinking catcher in the rye but it could've been something else), with a cardboard sign half his height with sloppy writing. Couldn't read what it said but he was spouting stuff like, "It'll kill us! Wheat will kill us! We'll be looking at world war 3! We'll have to battle them UFO'S!"

Now you see why I took the long way?

Once inside, I planned on picking up No Plot? No Problem, a popular writing guide by Chris Batey who created the Nanowrimo site.

I found several books, jotted them down and was off.

I just knew I had to blog this. This day was to be a normal day. Have you ever had a weird Sunday? Tell me about it. More important, I think it's good when stuff like this happens because it teaches us writers to be observers, also to remember the details. That's all it takes.

Currently on my must read list:

"We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. That is our permanent state." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Love Letter to Amazon Kindle

Dearest Kindle,

Many times our paths have crossed...and yet I still don't know how to look at you. You seduce me with your young features. You tantalize me with your sleek design. Oh, how I would feel if I could just hold you in my arms.

And yet, I pause. Some things are just too good to be true. Once, on an otherwise festive night, I had given up on you. Then, like a shot in the dark, catching me completeley off guard; you lowered your price from 399 to 299. I have to admit, I felt my arms loosen, ready for an embrace. But only for a moment. That's what I would give you, dearest kindle. Only moments. For every time I'd find myself crawling in your direction, I'd find portable readers equal, if not better, than your charming looks and exclusive features.

Doubts bubbled in my head, even when you lowered your price again. Then you became slimer, then wider again. Lord knows what I should do with you because you still draw me in.

But then I thought further, and those thoughts led me to concrete conclusions. To break it to you kindly, dear, when, and if, I should travel - I wouldn't be pleased if I was stopped short, taken for a ride, backhanded by my own love affair with you. Why, I could have any book in the world and yet here you would sit, in my palms, on a train, plane, bus, or even short cab fare, and you'd go bust. You'd ignore me even as I would push your buttons. You'd stiff me for the heel I am, because I fell in love with you at one point. How could I go on like that - with a book that breaks?

You spell more trouble for me but there is that slight curiosity that bubbles as well. Would you stay with me for long? Would we last? What if I had lost you? Would I feel robbed of our time together. And worse, what if someone else had gotten a hold of you. You, my potential kindle. Where would I be then?

It was a cheery day, the day I found you had taken the literary cupcake out of many men and women's hands. I'll never forget it. George Orwell, the man who I've only read once, was the man you sneered at the most. His book was 1984, the same year I was born into this world. What a cynically depressing and ironic turn it should be that you would take that gem away from people - my birthright. Can love giveth and taketh away that easily? How can I tolerate this any longer? Many men and women trusted you, provided for you, gave you a home, some by a roaring fire. They should have tossed you into the kindle, kindle. When should I trust you? When should I hold you?

Until I decide what is best for me, I must think of you no longer. Our correspondence might continue on and it might not. The best you can hope to wish from me would be a shorter letter and probably a shorter temperament at that.

Am I still in love with you? I do not know.

Ta-ta, Kindle. May you find your place in the world.


(The man who once fell for you)

"Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood." — George Orwell (1984)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Evil At Heart

Some time ago, I entered a contest on a popular book website.

Today, I received a package with this sticker on it.

Though I knew what it was, I couldn't help but feel some slight twinge of over excitement about this. I guess we all silently hope that our top favorite publishers would send us a package, possibly containing a contract begging us to join their team, to be their next author they represent. (Insert long sigh here.)

Oh well, It was still great to receive the package. I love getting packages. I used to order books from all the time.

But what was inside the package was this book.

God bless Goodreads.

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain. It's the third book in the series, following a woman serial killer. I bought Heartsick, the first one, long ago, but never read it. I knew the book would be good, but I put it to the side. I placed it in my trunk thinking that if I had a really terrible run of reading badly written books, this Heartsick would be my own personal in case of emergency, break open glass.

The second book in the series is Sweetheart. I'm really eager to read these books. This copy that I got is an advance reader's copy which the company put out there to promote more ratings and reviews. I will read it eventually. But for right now, I'm backlogged in my reading. Right now I'm a hundred pages away from finishing T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton. (Haven't read any of the other books but with this one being so good, I plan to go back to the beginning.) After that, I plan on reading Just After Sunset by Stephen King. I'm really big into reading short stories now.

Anyway, If you have ever received an advanced reader's copy of something, tell me about it. Would love to hear it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Carly's Voice

The most enduring thing about writing is finding your voice. That's what I've come to understand over the years. It is not impossible to find it.

In august, on a night before I would return to my crappy graveyard shift job, I visited my girlfriend's house. Some time around 8pm we sat and watched this story on 20/20 about this girl who found her voice. Throughout my life, I have been inspired by people, friends, family, places, and traces of divine intervention. But this story that I saw was remarkable. It also told me that I had no excuses not to write. You wanna write? Sit in a chair and do it. All there is to it.

The girl they were talking about was Carly.

This is her story.