Monday, August 24, 2009

Writing, and Writing, and Reading

Things are going pretty well on the writing front. I've submitted three short stories in the past two weeks, two of which are actually old stories. I submitted "Waterspouts" to a general horror anthology, and I'm about to submit "Soul Putrefaction" (a zombie story) to a zombie anthology as well. I hope they're accepted. I want to find homes for my old stories.

I'm still proofing the third book of my series. Still no word from the two agents that were interested, but I'll keep you informed. I'm going to work on a few more short stories and then switch back to writing novels. I'm glad to say that the writer's block is finally almost over. Sometimes working on short stories for anthologies kick starts my imagination. It's like taking home a writing assignment from school. You have a deadline, along with guidelines about what the person running the anthology wants, and then you're job is to write something fitting in the time you're given. Sometimes I work better under a deadline, which is why I always try to set one for myself.

Currently, I've also started reading another novel. I really need to read more often and expand my horizons in terms of books. If I want to be a writer, I need to be an avid reader. I'm reading Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer. So far, it isn't bad. The prose is a little academic for my taste in fiction, but the story is interesting. The underground caves beneath the city of Ambergris are inspiring, since there are a series of underground caverns in my own work underneath Cimmerian City. I might write a more thorough review of it when I'm finished.

Well, that's about it in terms of writing updates. Thanks for reading.

A Sad Experience

Well, as usual, ghost hunting was less than productive. We were a little last minute about deciding on a place to look, so we decided on three places that we've already visited before; Thomas Cooper Library, the Apartments at Olympia Mill, and Longstreet theater. We also decided to try to find Old State Road that is supposed to be close to our house.

For those who don't know, in Thomas Cooper Library, the bathroom stall doors are known to slam shut, along with plastic toilet paper containers suddenly banging open when no one else is in the restrooms. (This has happened to me along with two of my friends.) Olympia Mill is supposed to be haunted by the ghosts of children who used to work there. People in the new apartments hear the sound of footsteps running up and down the hallways and have seen the faces of children in their windows and heard them laughing or crying. And, Longstreet Theater is said to be the home of a Confederate ghost who doesn't like Yankess. The basement was made into a morgue during the Civil War. At the end of Old State Road, there is a set of old railroad tracks that are said to be haunted by children who were killed during an accident. According to the story if you put your car in neutral on the tracks, someone/something pushes the car off to safety. Hand prints have been seen on the bumpers.

Well, to make a long story short, we didn't find anything. (Truthfully, I didn't expect to find anything, but it was more disappointing than usual.) The high point of the night was looking for Old State Road, mostly because we got lost the first place we turned and were laughing because we fit every horror movie cliche in the book. (We were speculating as to which one of us would die first. Since I was the only girl we determined I would be first, so I put on my reading/driving glasses to add some to my survivability, becoming the "geeky girl".) Still, either way, we didn't find the road. Next time we'll know to take the GPS.

Looking in the city was a total bust. First of all, people who aren't students are no longer allowed in Thomas Cooper Library. They asked for our student IDs and we were left slack jawed and having to go back to the car. I find this hard to believe Thomas Cooper is only for students since it's listed among other libraries on all other library computers, and I know for a fact they didn't used to check for ID. Still, the point is we weren't allowed in.

Olympia Mill apartments are very secure with key locks on the doors and cameras. We debated about waiting until someone came out to sneak in, that would be creepy and stalker-like. Not to mention, Olympia Mill is a very bad area and we didn't want to hang around that long.

The only place where we had any success was Longstreet Theater. We walked right into the student lounge, but it was very anti-climactic. Even though it was creepy and oppressive feeling, as always, we didn't find anything and nothing came up on the few pictures we took.

The evening ended with everyone taking solace in fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I may be dieting, but I'm not proud. I splurged and had one just this once myself. Hopefully next time we'll have more luck. I really do plan to go somewhere new next time we do this, possibly even Charleston. Still, it'll probably be a few more months before I try it again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good News

I'm glad to say that last night I got a little more good news. A representative from Writers House Literary Agency liked my concept enough to ask for fifty pages and a brief synopsis. Since this makes two literary agents interested, I'm feeling much more confident that the idea is at least unique enough to get some attention. I just hope that one of them asks to read the whole manuscript.

Either way, I should have some constructive criticism one way or another, which is something I've been wanting for some time now. So far, all of my rejections have been general ones, or ones saying the agent "isn't enthusiastic enough about the concept." These sort of rejections simply mean the agent isn't interested in the genre or idea. Now, hopefully I'll have some feedback about the style of writing, etc. Please wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Update on Ghost Hunting

I almost forgot to mention that we're planning on going ghost hunting with a group of friends this weekend, Saturday night. I'm really excited about it since I haven't gone ghost hunting since my college days. I'm not sure where we're going yet, but I'll keep you posted. Our friend Chad has some good ideas about creepy places to go, so we'll probably leave it up to him. This blog is as much a reminder to me as an update for you. I need to charge up the digital camera, the video camera, and try to locate the tape recorder and compass. Wish us luck! I'll blog about it after the fact, though given our past history I'm pretty confident we won't find anything. Still, it's worth a shot, and going to creepy places and taking pictures is always fun and interesting.

Proofing, Thinking, and Rambling

Well, I couldn't think of anything for the new anthology. I tried, but I'm running out of time so I don't think I'll be able to come up with a good enough outline. I think it would be better to not write it than to write something pathetic just so I could turn something in. Still, that's okay. Like I said, lately I've had a bit of writer's block.

It's odd, but I've noticed I get into different things when I have writer's block. It's like my imagination needs to wander to prepare to write again. I get more into video games during that time, sometimes trying to look through the main character's perspective (in RPGs or adventure games).

For instance, since I've done just about every quest in Oblivion, I've picked of Morrowind and found myself immersed in the story. Also, during these times, I'm much better at planning out table top role-playing games. It's like a different side of my brain is working. I even get more into the symbolism of movies, novels, etc. I guess I kind of get a little OCD-like too, because the house stays immaculate most of the week. Even though it's kind of annoying because I feel like I'm not working, I won't complain. Thankfully my writer's block is usually about two weeks to a month, rather than for months on end.

I started proofing the third book, "DeKryptian" today. Hopefully Joel will enjoy "Blood Ties," the second book of the series. I'm kind of glad he hasn't started it yet, because it can be a little tedious to read the same book over and over again, proofing it several times in a row. This way, when he gets through reading "Blood Ties" I'll be tired of "DeKryptian" and welcome the break. Lol.

A few nights ago, I beheld the wonder of Netflix. That is awesome. We ordered "The Crow" since we've never seen it, and Joel is streaming tons of movies and TV shows through his X-box. We watched "Arachnophobia" the other night. That was fun. I had forgotten how much I like that movie. I first saw it in high school, and because I'm terrified of spiders something about that movie gave me enough courage to try to kill them. I'm not scared of all bugs, but roaches and spiders give me the creeps.

We're also watching Inspector Gadget at night before we go to sleep. Even though the cartoons are much worse than we remember them, it still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia to see them again. Lots of cartoons are like that, though. I'm just glad to have the luxury of watching TV again occasionally. I don't like to do it often, but the main reason we gave it up entirely was because cable is way too expensive. We pick up our news via an antenna in the attic and the internet. That's the way I like it. But, having movies at our disposal is nice. When your focus is media arts in college, you tend to like movies.

Anyway, I'll keep you updated on the writing and the agent hunting. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finally Getting it Together...

It's taken me a while, but I think I'm finally getting it together. I've lost about eight pounds over the last few weeks by exercising about forty minutes each day, eating healthier foods, and eating fewer portions (something I plan to keep up). I've also been getting better about finishing most of my house work early in the week so I have the rest of the week to write and relax. Now, I just have do defeat my arch nemesis, early morning laziness.

I hate mornings. I also hate waking up from a dream and getting no conclusion to it. It makes me feel unfulfilled somehow. So, I'm ashamed to admit, after Joel goes to work I usually go back to sleep. I try to make up for it with extra housework, and I don't think he minds, but it just doesn't feel fair for me to get more sleep than he does. The problem is, I can't drink caffeine in the mornings anymore because I have a slight heart condition, and caffeine used to be the only thing that worked. I think I'll start making decaf coffee to try to fool myself and then eat a small breakfast right away too for energy. Wish me luck, because I will overcome this vice, even though I know I'm not going to like it.

This week has been pretty good. I finished the Weird Western story, "Murder at Rattler's Way" and turned it in a few days ago. If the anthology doesn't accept it, I'll post an excerpt from it on this blog. If they do, since they'll have electronic as well as print rights for a while, I probably won't, but I will point you to the website to get a copy. ;-) Wish me luck.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bad Weekend but Good Writing News...

Sorry, but this time I have to rant just a little...

Joel and I had a very bad weekend this weekend. It starts with a small wreck at the Verizon store. We were involved in a fender bender in the parking lot. Even though we weren't at fault, the policeman blamed both parties simply because it was a situation where two people were backing out of a parking place. We have to pay the deductible to the insurance company until they're done with their own investigation. (I'm pretty sure they'll figure out the wreck wasn't our fault. The guy simply wasn't watching where he was going, but until then, we still are out about five hundred dollars.) That put us in a bad mood for the rest of Saturday.

Then, on Sunday, I got very sick either from food poisoning (curse you, O'Charlies!) or maybe from touching those cell phone models at the Verizon store. Either way I was sick all of yesterday, so it was for the best that none of our friends could come over this weekend, anyway. (But we were still kind of sad that we didn't get to see any of our friends.) And, today I'm not sure if I'm better or not. I still need to try to eat something to see if I'm going to be sick on it, especially since I skipped dinner last night. But, I really really don't want to.

I have to think of the positives, though. At least the wreck was a fender bender and nothing where either party got hurt. I got to watch a lot of cool television shows and relax this weekend. Church itself was fun, and going to O'Charlies after church was nice, and the food was good. I'm thinking honestly it might have been a virus, but we'll see. And, Joel was very attentive and took very good care of me.

There is also some very good news that happened at the end of last night. One of the agents decided they liked my concept enough to ask for the first fifty pages of the manuscript and a synopsis based only on the query letter. Even though they didn't ask for the whole manuscript, this tells me that the query letter is good enough to get some attention. It's enough to make me feel really good about the future. If the query letter is good, eventually someone will ask for the entire book, and the book can speak for itself. I don't know when I'll get published, but I'm confident that I will. Please be praying for me and wishing me luck.