Sunday, November 1, 2015

Crimson Peak

Well, I said my next blog would be about the Halloween Party, but that will be my next entry.  I actually got to go out with friends and watch a movie (for a change...), and it's been awhile since I've written a movie review on this blog.  I went to see Crimson Peak, and let me tell you, it scratched every itch in my brain.

I love Gothic horror as a genre, and even though there are other themes, overall the movie is definitely Gothic horror.  The mansion in the movie is perfect, complete with walls that ooze blood red clay.  It's also set in the Victorian era, which for some reason is my favorite time period.  There are elements of romance and mystery intermixed with ghostly thrills.  Also, among other good actors/actresses there is Tom Hiddleston.  (I'm quite a fan of Tom Hiddleston, and there are a few love scenes including one where he is almost nude.  I was told later by my husband and my friends that I was wearing a stupid grin through most of the romance scenes and most of the movie in general.  My husband would occasionally glance at me and laugh...)

I'm not saying this movie changed my life, or that it was high art, but it was a good movie if you like Gothic Horror.  If you don't like that genre, you won't like the movie, but it's worth seeing if nothing more than for the elaborate sets, nice costumes, and the occasional jump scare.  Also, the main character is a female writer struggling to get noticed in a time period where no one takes her seriously.  For those of us who are female writers trying to be taken seriously, this is definitely something we can relate to.  I like Guillermo del Toro, and once again he didn't disappoint me.  Go see it on the big screen, because I'm not sure if you'll get the overall effect on a normal sized TV.  Either way, I'll definitely be getting it on Bluray when it comes out.  Beware though, this movie gets pretty gory.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Feeling Good, but Still Sick...

Hey everyone,

Well, I'm finally getting things done again.  Between flooding, illness, and children, things have been very busy around here.  

As you probably know, the entire state of South Carolina is recovering from severe flooding.  My friends have dubbed the event "rainocalypse."  I thought it was just going to flood in a few places, but it turned out to be much, much worse than I expected.  Thankfully, we live on the top of a hill and in an area that was less affected than most.  My family did lose power and clean water for a little while, but they also live on a hill, so they were also lucky.  The amount of damage throughout the state is depressing.  For at least a week, businesses were shut down all over the state.  Even as it is, a lot of places are still closed or still suffering from lack of clean water/supplies.  Many of the roads are still closed too.  It's getting better, though.

Unrelated to the flooding, I've been sick off and on for about a month now.  I've had a constant cold and bronchitis.  Currently, I think I might be on my way to a sinus infection.  One of the problems with sending your toddler to preschool is that they bring back any illness going around in the classroom.  My poor older daughter is suffering from a constant cold as well.  For a short time she had croup cough.  The cold virus (not croup cough) also made the infant sick, but she's okay.  Honestly, she's taking it better than we are.  I can't complain too much, though.  It could've been a lot worse.  I just hope that we all feel better soon.  I'm very tired of being sick.  Also, being sick makes me exhausted, and that makes me less productive.  I get down on myself sometimes when I don't get much done, so I'll be glad to have my energy back.

I'm finally adjusting to having two children.  It is a challenge, but so far so good.  I love my little girls.  They keep me busy, but it's a good kind of busy.  We're starting to have normal routines again.  My two month old is starting to respond to picture books, so I'm starting to read to both of them.  My older child needs to stop watching as many movies, but I'm almost back to one in the evening and mostly books, toys, and learning games during the day (During my bronchitis, I sometimes had to resort to movies so that I could relax a little, so naturally that's what she expects now.).  Now that she's in preschool four days out of the week, she gets a good amount of learning games, activity, and books anyway, so getting back into that routine has been a little easier.  She's making friends as well, which is exciting to hear.

I've figured out the best times to write again, so I've been more productive lately than I've been in a long time.  I've finished reworking my "Grim of Black Pond" story (except for test reading).  It's now entitled "The Beast of Black Pond" and I know it's much better for the changes that I made.  So, thank you to my contacts at penguin random house for giving me the suggestions.  Currently, they're looking over my novella "Scarecrow" right now.  I'm hoping for the best.  I really want this to work out.  I think there's definitely a need for more young reader/middle grade horror.  It's a genre lots of children like, and a genre I love to write.  While I'm nowhere near arrogant or stupid enough to think I could compete with R. L. Stine, I would love to be even in the same section with him.  Wish me luck.

Well, that's about it for now.  I'll keep you posted as major things come up (first, the Halloween Party).  Talk to you soon.  Take care!        

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Achieving Zen

Well, a lot has happened since I've written on this blog.  First of all, I had my baby on July 29th, about a week and a half early.  Honestly, I was ready.  This pregnancy was a little worse than the first one and it seems that she was as ready to get out as I was to have her.  The delivery went much better than the first time.  I handled the pain pretty well and actually did correct breathing without even taking a class to figure out how to do it.  (I was basically breathing through my teeth like when you hit your knee against something...apparently that was 'great technique.')  I only started screaming when they started pressing on my midsection to stop the bleeding afterward.  That was excruciating in comparison.  Anyway, she's very healthy and strong and was seven pounds.  We named her Faith Alyssa.  Another beautiful little girl.  I'm a lucky Mom.

The reason this post is entitled "Achieving Zen," is because now I have to perfect the art of balancing two children, a two year old and a one month old.  Luckily, I have a lot of help from my family, but I'm trying to figure out how to do it by myself.  On some days, I feel overwhelmed, and on others I achieve a Zen-like state and feel like I'm Super Mom.  On days like that, I manage to more than meet their needs and still have the time to write and take care of the house.  I need to figure out how to do that on a regular basis...

I don't know how, but I've still found time to write, and so far it's working out well.  My story "The Romance Star" is going to appear in the anthology "Game Fiction 2."  It was heavily inspired by Katamari Damacy and possibly one of the strangest and most fun stories that I've ever written.  Please, when it is published, check it out.  If you like video games, you'll love stories inspired by them.  There are probably plenty of stories inspired by video games that you've read that just don't advertise it.  Anyway, it was a pleasure working with Gold Shader Publishing.  They were very professional and prompt in their responses.  I'm proud to be a part of the project.

Other than short stories, I'm still working on my "Junior Investigator's Club" series.  I've reworked the first story and completed outlines for almost all of the first five books.  I'm about halfway done with the third story "Big Bad Wolf" as well.  I sent the second story, "The Scarecrow," to my contact in Penguin.  Even if he doesn't feel the story is "for them" I might get more useful advice.  My first contact at Penguin told me the first story "The Grim of Black Pond" was overwritten.  Now that I started working on it, I can see what she meant.  I fixed it and I think the changes make it a stronger story.  I think after changing so many things about it, it's ready for a second chance.

Anyway, wish me luck.  I've got a lot of things to balance now, but I know I can do it.  I am very happy with my family, my house is more organized than it's ever been before, and I feel better than I have in a long time.  I'm going to keep working hard and praying and I know that someone will want my young reader horror series.  I just have to not give up.  I don't plan to.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's Been Awhile

Hello all,

Sorry to keep you waiting again.  First of all, the holidays went well.  I guess you could say I was taking a break from everything for a few weeks.  There was no family drama, just lots of good food and overall things were pretty relaxing.

Since I'm practically done with the first trimester, I'll also go ahead and say that I'm pregnant again.  It's very exciting, but I wish I didn't feel sick everyday.  I'm almost over that, but every now and again I feel like I'm going to throw up for no reason...not much you can do.  This pregnancy has seemed a little worse than the first one, but hopefully the delivery will be a little easier.  So, needless to say, a new baby has been weighing heavily on my mind and all that entails.  I'm happy about it, but it'll be a big adjustment.

I think that the biggest reason I haven't blogged in a long time is mostly that for about two months I've been in a writing slump.  I didn't know if I should continue working on the middle grade horror books.  I have plenty of ideas, but I still don't have representation for them.  I could write ten of them, but if no one represents me, then I it's like they're just relics stored in my computer with no one to read them.  I have two fully written and the outlines for three others.  I've changed a few things around to make middle grade instead of young reader, mostly because kids tend to "read up."  Anyway, I was waiting to see if I could get an agent before writing more of them.  

Then, I thought about writing middle grade fantasy, but I just couldn't get inspired for it.  I've written fantasy before, but not for a younger audience, and I just couldn't feel enthusiastic about the project.  I would start to write something, decide that I wasn't feeling it, and then wander off to do something else.  I was mostly going to write that genre because I thought it would be more marketable.

Needless to say, I've gotten a lot of rejection letters lately.  Rejection letters always make me feel down.  I was hoping that being a finalist in the Dark Crystal contest was really going to help my chances, but everything felt the same.  It made me feel less confident and made me question if I should still be trying to get published.  Everyone goes through this occasionally, but this time was worse than usual.

Anyway, I realized yesterday what the problem was, a problem I've had before that seems so simple that I should have been able to identify it sooner.  I'm thinking too much about the future.  I want an agent so badly that I'm trying to write things I think will be more appealing to an agent, rather than writing what I feel like writing.  Thus, I wasn't really producing anything at all and what I did write wasn't worth sending to anyone.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but that was the problem.  Once I realized that I wasn't enjoying working on what I felt like people wanted to see, I felt much better.

I've made a decision.  I'm going to write whatever genre I feel like pursuing.  It might be the middle grade horror books, or I might just pick up one of my unfinished novels and finish it.  Either way, I'm going write again.  I'll send out more agent letters and worry about that when when I'm done with more work.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to find representation for the middle grade horror books, but I'm not going to stress over it.  There are a lot of agents out there.  One of them is right for me.  I just haven't found him/her yet.  I know a few that I'm interested in, but if they aren't interested in my work, it isn't meant to be.  I think when I finally find an agent that loves my work, things will really take off.  I just have to have  more faith in myself and that my prayers will be answered.  The last time I was in a slump this bad, I became a finalist in a competition.  I need to remember that.

Anyway, I'm back, and I'm writing.  Keep reading and writing too.