NEED A GREAT COVER ARTIST?

NEED A GREAT COVER ARTIST?
NEED A GREAT COVER ARTIST?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Most Amazing Interview

Today bloggy friends I’d like to introduce you to Mike Jones a/k/a Mike LiCastri. No, he’s not related to Davey Jones from the Monkees. He’s a young guy I had the pleasure of meeting about five or six years ago.

mike Jones

Once upon a time, I was his barber. I’m not sure who entertained who the most. Me or him. His high school theater stories intrigued me as well as his aspirations and dreams. His dream is to become a screen writer. And well, he’s on the yellow brick road. Step by step, he’s getting there. A couple days ago, he informed me one of his scripts is in negotiation for a contract. How cool is that? And, he’s probably no older than twenty-one.

So here goes the interview:

Me: Why did you decide to take film in school?
>
Mike: I had always been interested in making films, but most middle and high schools don’t have filmmaking programs. So I took theater all through middle and high school, and I found out that I love theater as well. By the time I had graduated high school I had a solid enough theatrical foundation to feel comfortable making films in college. I strongly feel that if you want to go into film school, the best thing you can do for yourself is learn as much as you can about theater in high school to get a solid foundation in the dramatic arts. The two are closely related, and yet for some reason students on both ends seem to be ignorant of the other one – why limit yourself to only one box?
>
Me: What have you been doing with yourself? Where's your radio show heading?
>
Mike: I just graduated with a degree in Cinema Studies from the University of Central Florida, and at this point I’m trying to sell a script with the help of some agency contacts out here in Orlando. As I’ve been telling everyone, I’m trying to get my “Hangover” money. I’m also doing stand up again, which is nice because I had to take a 4 year break from it because there were no places to do it locally. Now we have a little network of open mics around town, which is really nice.
>
> As for the radio show, we’ll be entering our 5th season this August and it’s still going as strong as ever. Interviewing Jason Reitman (director of Juno and Up In the Air) was definitely the highlight of the show’s run so far, so I hope we’ll be getting to talk to more people this year.

> I also picked up the drums while I was in school, and some friends and I may try and record a folk/rock CD (we’ll see where that ends up going.)
>
Me: What are your future plans? Acting?
>
> Honestly, I’d like to go the Woody Allen/Kevin Smith route and act, direct, write and produce my own films and plays while doing short stand up tours around the country. The one thing I never want to do is limit myself to one field. When I was younger, I thought acting was the only thing and that I was going to be the next Anthony Hopkins. Now I’m a comedian who does so much more than acting, and I look back on my younger self and laugh a little bit at his naivety.
>
Me: Who's cutting your hair these days?
>
> Honestly, whoever is at the UCF barbershop the day I go in. I don’t have the same connection with the new people that I have with you, Shelly. You’ll always be my favorite barber/novelist hybrid!
>

Thanks for the compliment, Mike. You’ll always be one of my favorite and most memorable clients.

Also, if anyone is interested in viewing any of his short films, you can find them @ http://www.funnygordie.com/kithfan1202

He also hosts a college radio show which currently is inactive but he promised to let me know when it airs again. You can find that @ http://wwwucf.org/live/

That’s all for now folks!

Have a great day blogging, reading, and writing!

Shelly

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How Many Licks Does It Take To Get To the Center of a Tootsie Pop?

 

Remember the commercial? Well, it kind of reminds me of what we writer’s go through. How many times do we have to send out our beloved manuscripts only to be rejected before someone actually wants it? ***rolling me eye-brains*** I mean I’ve been doing this since 2008. Do I have twenty more years in lick-the-tootsie-pop-world?

So I decided to have Lorelei Bell write about how many times it took her. She’s the author of Vampire Ascending. Loved her book. Can hardly wait for the next one.

Her story is one of patience and major endurance. Enjoy.

It was the winter of 1983. I was, single—again—staying in this huge house—a mini mansion if you will—in Iowa, sitting at an 8 foot table with author, John T., and several other writers/author-hopefuls. I'm in my late 20's, and have been dreaming of becoming an author since high school. My English teacher, in high school encouraged me to choose another profession, since she told me straight out that my grasp on the English grammar was terrible, and my spelling worse. Did I listen? Of course not! What she failed to tell me was that I'm dyslexic. I was 40 when I figured that out.

Anyway, I've just joined John's writer's critique group (there's 3 levels/groups; novice, intermediate, advanced—I attended all 3), and since it is a 3 hour drive, and it's winter, I've paid a little extra for a small room in which to stay in John's house. Uh, he's married. Okay? Young adult kids still living in the house.

My manuscript, “Vampire Legacy”, is what I'm working on for this critique group where we each read one chapter a week—as we met once a week—and get a critique from others, and give back the same. At this point in my writing, I thought I would have a chance to become a published author by a year's time. I thought this would be my break. I had no idea how badly my writing sucked—I was still a neophyte.

Among the advanced group one woman, Linda McCormick (name is changed), had just had her manuscript accepted by John's agent. She's going to have her romance novel published by a major publisher, Zebra. Everyone's excited by this news, me included. All the attendees—except me, since I'd just joined—had had their finished, polished manuscript sent to John's agent. Linda's was the only one accepted. Wow. Goose bumps here.

I was very exciting to be included in this elite group rubbing elbows. I thought after getting some tips and help on whatever needed to be done on my manuscript, I'd be on my way, maybe I'd have a chance to get my manuscript to John's agent. That was my hope.

When I joined the critique group, John had read the first chapter of my book. I thought he'd be impressed. He told me, “It wasn't bad, the mechanics need help”, and that was all he really said about it. Of course, he had to have seen the grammar and spelling errors.

Also, I had no idea at the time—because I was basically naive—that John was hot for me. He was balding, paunchy, in his 50's had 5 children, 3 grandchildren, his wife who worked somewhere in an office was gone during the day, they had three kids still living at home, one still in high school. John was a professional writer, making money writing articles, and had two books published by then. He would call me downstairs and we'd talk in the kitchen about what we were working on. I didn't realize that his flirting would lead to him asking me to have sex. Sounds like a hot romance of forbidden lust, doesn't it?

Well, I didn't accept his proposal that one sunny winter day to “go upstairs” with him after he trapped me against the counter and kissed me. I said no and went to my room. I mean, give me a break! What a louse #1. And #2: I was staying under their roof, his wife would know eventually he's getting something on the side, and I simply couldn't do that to her and was really astonished he would. But sounded like he did it all the time, from the things he told me about his past affairs. Jerk!

I was angry about it, then and later on. I also was conflicted, wondering—years later—if I had gone along with this would I have been able to get something out of it in return? You know? You've heard of people doing such things in order to get ahead, or gain a footing in their desired field. I'm not saying I would have done this if I had it all over to do again.

An interesting aside: I did catch Linda and John in each other's arms one day when I went into the kitchen, and they didn't expect me to pop in, and they backed away from each other as though I'd caught them at something they shouldn't be doing. I guess I wasn't his only honey.

Don't get me wrong. Linda was an excellent writer. She deserved to have her novel published, and to be fair, I don't know if she did the nasty with John, or was just smooching with him.

At the time I felt I would never attain Linda's level of writing.

Years after I kept writing and sending my novels into agents, and publishers who still took manuscripts. I came close with a Native American romance, but it didn't pop for them. All these years I thought—I really thought—there was something wrong with my writing. That it must really suck. I kept on “practicing” working at my writing, trying to attain that level that I felt Linda was at, until I was sure I had perfected it. It takes years to find your “voice” in writing. It took me about 30 years, that's all.

By age 50, having gone through the traditional route, and being pummeled by rejections, I simply could not do it any more. Thus, my light fantasy Spell of the Black Unicorn went to Infinity Publishing. I paid $400 for the opportunity to have a book of mine in print. I had a great book signing, had people tell me they loved it and want to read the next book. Alas, I wasn't going to pay another $400 just to make even money.

But was it worth it? I think so. I made back the $400, but unfortunately I still have a dozen or so books I'd bought and have not sold, and it's not selling through Amazon at all.

The trick is in marketing. If you don't have the money, the time, the ability to market your book you are better off taking a chance with a small publisher, or an eBook publisher who will do some advertising, get it on Amazon and so forth. But if you do have a stable fan base, and a following, you should be able to swing some sort of self-publishing route. Do the homework first. Test your manuscript with agents. Get feedback, and make sure you check out whoever you go with as to whether anyone has any gripes about the one's you are considering. Stop by and join Writer's Digest on-line, if you haven't as yet.

I'm glad that I'd had the chance to be in a critique group, years ago, but I left for more than just the obvious. I didn't have the money, nor the time to drive all the way out to Dubuque for an hour of critique for possibly years—as that's how long many of them had been in this group—and get something off the ground. Plus, I began getting conflicting feedback. I nearly quit writing because of it.

Vampire Ascending is my first vampire novel that was picked up by a small publisher, Copperhill Media. The publisher, Wilfried Voss invited me to send it to him after seeing a first chapter, last year when I was sending this out to a bunch of places—including agents. It is now in both an eBook format as well as in softbound. Vampire's Trill, I'm told, will be a late summer release.

Thank you Shelly for allowing me to share my little story with your readers. I hope they got something out of this. A last thought to all: Stick with it. Don't give up. You'll find a way to get your manuscript polished, and in the hands of someone who wants it. Don't get discouraged if you can help it. Find the people who will give you good, honest feedback, and take away what you feel will help your writing, and read, read, read.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The First Five Hundred Words

Good afternoon, fellow bloggies. Today I wanted to share a wonderful experience I had on June 18th and not the heart dropping news my stepdad might be dying, which by the way, thank God, the angels, and the universe, he isn’t. He’s suffering from a kidney infection and a blood clot the doctors found in his leg, but they prepared us for the absolute worse. Why do they have to do that is beyond me.

Back to my wonderful experience on Saturday, June 18th. Florida Writer’s held a one of their monthly meetings at Barnes and Nobles in Carrollwood, Florida. They have one every third Saturday of the month. This month’s featured speaker was Lorin Oberweger, a professional book editor. You can find her @: www.free-expressions.com. She’s pricey, but worth every penny of it.

I know several weeks ago I had asked a few fellow writers to critique chapter one to Secondhand Shoes. In my opinion, it’s long and wordy. It takes about three pages or more to get a sense of what’s going on. But it’s been my belief if a book couldn’t grab you by the third page it wouldn’t be worth my time and money to pick it up and read. OUCH! YIKES! To me because agents, publishers, and acquisition editors want to see it sooner. Time is money, you know.

Lorin explained it needs to be in the first five hundred words. BE-OTCH slap me!

If you’ve read the first chapter I’ve posted at http://www.secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/ , you’ll find, like I did, and she did, it doesn’t tell you much IN FIVE HUNDRED words what the story is going to be about. It describes the wedding dress mostly. (Also, I apologize to anyone who suffered through any agony reading it).

When my first five hundred words were read to the audience they suffered greatly. No one in the audience realized my main character has a gift of psychic/mediumship and sees ghosts. No one knew her dead Gram existed. No one understood why Lila let her mother talk her into marrying a JERK.

So my friends, below are the pearls of wisdom, Lorin bestowed on us at the meeting and I now share them with you.

Effective Opening Scenes

  • Does your opening prompt the reader to ask questions?
  • Does it give the reader a sense of the book’s genre?
  • Does it employ specific, concrete imagery?
  • Does your opening unfold in specific time and place, which is CLEAR to the reader?
  • Does it contain some kind of subtle emotional mystery, a sense of things being a bit “off” in the world of the story or the life of a protagonist?
  • Does it demonstrate – in observable terms – something critical about your protagonist’s (or other significant player’s) character?
  • Does it employ lively, specific language and a clear sense of the novel’s voice and tone?
  • Does it offer some kind of intriguing example of “cognitive dissonance” – a sense of opposing ideas being thrust together to create a kind of psychological tension?
  • Does the reader get a strong sense of your protagonist’s GOAL for the scene?
  • Long and short of it: does it make the reader want to KEEP TURNING PAGES to find out what’s next?

Happy blogging, reading and writing!

Shelly

PS I’ve reposted my new chapter one. It’s much shorter and tighter now. It gets to the point of the story. http://www.secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Lovin Language Blogfest

 

love-blogfest

 

Today is the day for the Lovin Language Blogfest. Put on by Jolene Perry @ http://jolenesbeenwriting.blogspot.com/. She’s got a fun blog. Her writing is quirky and full of humor.

Okay. The goal is to share five lines from a one of your WIPs or a piece from one of your favorite reads. And, the rules can be broken so I’ve decided to post five lines from three different WIPs I’ve been working on.

I’ll start with Secondhand Shoes. Will Lila, an eighteen year old psychic/medium, listen to own intuition and her dead Gram’s advice? Or will she choose a path of mayhem and danger until she discovers her own voice? You can find my character blog here: http://www.secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

“The best thing you could do is take off that darned thing and run, child,” she said. “Pay no mind to your mother’s pooh either.”

“You know I can’t.”

“Then here,” Gram said, reaching for a pair of scissors in a near-by drawer. “Take these.”

“What on earth for?” I asked.

“To cut the lace off that darned thing. If it bothers you, get rid of it!”

My next WIP is An Angel’s sin. What happens to good angel, Ariel, when he over steps his assignment to protect two children by murdering the one’s assailant and dismantles the lives of two Child Protective workers?

Melanie tip-toed carefully through broken glass, behind Ace. She never held a gun before. The butt of it weighed down her slender hand making her fingers ache. She imagined herself as one of the “Charlie’s Angels”-only she didn’t remember any of them ever pointing a gun at the father of their children.

Frankie sat stuffed in the corner of her room, blue puffy eyes hooked onto hers looking past her Father’s waist, speaking inaudible words. A frilly pink lamp lay smashed beside her daughter, curtains billowing into her daughter’s room. A streak of lightening lit it up. Thunder crashed around the house while Joey screamed in his crib down the hallway.

Ace stood looking down at Frankie, looping his belt around his waist unaware of her presence behind.

My third WIP, Contessa and Arthur: Chocolate Vampire Kisses. Will Contessa’s chocolate cravings interfere with Arthur’s need to turn her into a vampire?

His tongue snaked toward my sleeveless shoulder, and back up toward the side of my throat. “You sure I can’t go ahead and turn you?”  Pointed fangs lightly pressed against my skin.

I opened my eyes, grabbing for a candy bar. “Seriously,” I said, pulling away from him. “I mean it when I say I want a diamond first.” I ripped open my chocolate, stuffing the whole thing into my mouth before removing his hand from my waist.

Walnuts stuffed my cheeks, and chocolate caramel gooed around my teeth, slowing down the process of swallowing.

“All right. All right. I’m sorry. Really,” he said. “Please know I love you.”

Okay. Now I’m off to read fellow bloggie-festies.

This is going to be fun.

Shelly

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sir Poops-A-Lot and Hair Ball Say Thank You

110603_003

HB: Hey, Pansy! I’ve got it running all by myself. See.

110603_002_001

SPAL: In a minute.

HB: What’s wrong with you? Lazy? We’ve got to thank Ms. Eve from Desert Rocks for giving us an award.

SPAL: Yes. I know the Irresistibly Sweet Award. Thank you, Ms. Eve.

The_irresistibly_sweet_blog_award

HB: You can find her at: http://thedesertrocks.blogspot.com/ .

SPAL: Mummsy likes to read her poems, short fiction stories, and other things, too. Mummsy says her writing is brilliant because sometimes she makes up games to play and she likes to include past starlets and old movies. She likes the nostalgia.

HB: Don’t we need to award it to some other blogs?

SPAL: Yes. But we’ll need to research some since we only follow the animal ones with the pretty lady dogs. We can announce them next week since we hung out with mummsy in bed yesterday.

110625_001

HB: She had a migraine. The night before, she dumped her head in the upstair’s toity a lot, making awful noises. Remember?

SPAL: How can I forget. You thought the toity was attacking her and barkbarked. Not something you want to hear when your head’s about to explode, stupid.

110625_004

HB: I didn’t know. Poor mummsy. I love you, mummsy.  Please get better.

SPAL: And when she does we’ll award fellow bloggers and tell some secrets about ourselves. Okay?

HB: Okay.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

On Hiatus From June 20th to June 24th

Yesterday, I received a call about my stepdad. He’s currently in the hospital. His organs are failing him. His kidneys at this time are only working at four percent. They’ve found a blockage, urinary tract, colon-no one seemed to be able to tell me where. Tomorrow he’s having surgery. None of this makes sense to me if his innards are declining rapidly.

I will be reading everyone I follow, however, I may not comment. Apologies, but I will be reading your stuff. Your sense of humor will get me through this as I seem to have lost mine somewhere for the moment.

Right now, I feel like my whole world has been shattered. Literally. He was the one who raised me, and my mom, of course. But he’s always been special to me. He’s got the patience of a saint. Really.

Tonight he told me, he’s not sure he’ll make it out of the hospital alive. So that’s where I’m at right now bloggy friends. I’m not in a happy place.

Have a great week!!!!

Shelly

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturdays with Sir Poops-A-Lot: My Second Book Review, Beth Muscat’s, Nothing Without You

Sir Poops-A-Lot

Sir Poops-A-Lot

0317110723-00

  Hair Ball

HB: Are you going to tell me more story about Riley and Michael, Pansy Boy?

SPAL: You are such a little Hair Ball.

HB: You told me last week you’d finish telling me. And, I know you’ve been reading the Kindle. I saw you so you need to deliver. Today.

SPAL: (Rolls his eyes-something he learned to do in a house dominated by women and cats).

HB: I want a story! I want a story! (He plops in front of SPAL).

SPAL: Okay. But I get your Greenie Bone today if I do.

HB: That’s not fair!

SPAL: Is, too. You whiny little Hair Ball.

HB: (Groans).

SPAL: Okay. Once upon a time, a beautiful princess with special powers, named Riley, was kidnapped by an evil red head and a mad scientist.

HB: (He sucks in a gob of air).

SPAL: The evil red head wanted her dead so she could have Michael, the handsome prince to herself.

HB: I want to bite her! (He growls)

SPAL: The mad scientist wanted to conduct experiments on her. He wanted to know how her telekinesis worked along with her other special powers. He did horrible torturous things trying to get the information from her but Riley showed bravery, keeping her silence.

HB: Did Michael, the prince, come? Did he take out his sword and chop off their heads?

SPAL: No. Michael and Riley aren’t really royalty. They treat each other that way though. Let me finish.

HB: Oh.

SPAL: Her prince learned he had special powers, too, during the rescue mission. He can make himself invisible.

HB: Wow! I’d like to make myself invisible. Then I could eat what I wanted and nobody would catch me. Not even you, Pansy Boy.

SPAL: (Shakes his head) Let me tell the story without interruptions, please. Michael, the prince, saved Riley, the princess from the wicked people.

HB: But how?

SPAL: You really need to learn how to read. It’s not hard, you know.

HB: You’re my big brother. That’s what you’re for.

SPAL: That’s what you think.

HB: Whatever. Did he hump her in the end? That’s what  heroes do in the movies, you know.

SPAL: Learn to read so you can find out for yourself.

HB: He did! He humped her! He humped her!(He jumps up and down) And, they lived happily ever after!

SPAL: I don’t know about that. There’s another book on these two people.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

E-wee, Daughter Number Three, A Mexican Burglar, and My Grandson

This morning when I woke up, I decided to start my day going to pick up my co-op food. Carrots. Lettuce. Two lemons. Two onions. Six sweet potatoes. Three pears. Five apples. Kale. Two garlic bulbs. Six bananas.

Every other week I buy organic produce through a local health food store. The cost, twenty bucks. It helps the small American farmer and I get pesticide-free food at a low price.

Sometime later, I’ll make up a pot of lentils, some basmati brown rice, roast a range free chicken, and cook up a pot of soup with my co-op items. This will keep Sweetman and I fed for the next week or so.

After, I ventured out for more baby items for my grandson on the way. A hundred-twelve diapers. A box of five hundred wipes. To my surprise the diapers cost nineteen dollars and ninety-eight cents. The amount of formula caught my eye. Fifteen bucks. Holy shit! When my youngest was a baby, I had to fork up three dollars and fifty cents for a can. It made about eight bottles back in the day. A thing of diapers cost me about five dollars, but most the time I used cloth.

At this point, I’m wondering how E-wee-daughter number three-is going to make it on a Wal Mart salary and no high school diploma. You see, she was my wild child. Didn't take good advice. Bad boys were more interesting along with the assorted drugs she tried and got hooked on (before she got pregnant, she dried out in rehab- painful experience for both of us).

Two years ago, she hooked up with a Mexican thug. A couple months ago he was arrested for burglary.

When E-wee asked him, “Why’d you that dumb ass?”

“Well, I needed money for stuff. Since you don’t dance anymore, I ain’t got none,” he said, and shrugged.

“That’s why you need to get a job. That’s what fathers do. They get a job to work and support their family."

Since then E-wee’s packed her bags, and left. She’s renting a house with another single mom of three. So I’m angsting while I wrap presents for my daughter and my grandson. How are they going to make it in an economy that sucks as a slave for Wal Mart? America’s definitely going ass-backwards.

E-wee tells me, “You did it with five by yourself. I can surely do it with one.”

“Yeah. But, I had a high school and college education. I worked for a law firm making decent money with benefits and part time on the weekends cutting hair,” I said. I’ve told her this at least a thousand times by now.

This morning she called to tell me, “My feet are really swollen and can barely get my feet into my shoes.  And, I’ve got to work from one-thirty to eleven-thirty tonight.”

OMG. I never wanted my daughters to experience pain or poverty or have to work to the point of nauseating fatigue. Why can’t our kids follow our advice? Really. We do know what we’re talking about when we tell them to finish high school, go to college, and make sure you’re making enough money to support yourself and one other person.

So, what’s everybody else’s kids up to?

Shelly

PS This is not what I intended to blog about today.

PSS Didn’t get the rest of what I needed to do my spectacular interview of the fabulous screenwriter on the rise.

PSSS Sir Poops-A-Lot is working on his second book review for Saturday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sweetman’s Ability to CYA and the Lovin Language Blogfest

Today is Thursday. Thank God. Yesterday and the full moon, ended eight straight days of hair loppings. My fingers and toes are singing tingly tunes. My left hip is making a grinding noise when I walk. And, my right lower back…well, I think the mean hair fairy punched me there more than once.

It’s now 10:24 AM. Some strange movie titled, “Gretchen” is spread across my Hi-Def television. It’s about a girl with some major issues. She’s weird. Really weird.

The yard guys are buzzing around my lawn and hedges. And, I’ve got a floor guy ripping carpet off my morning room’s floor. Getting new dark wood floors, but there’s a story behind it all and it involves Sweetman. He must think he’s the master of CYA (cover your arse).

I came home from work one afternoon about three weeks ago. Spread across the kitchen table were a plethora of wood chips.

“Which one do you like?” Sweetman asked.

I fingered through the pieces. “I like this one.” I held up a not-so-dark one.

“Oh, not that one. We’re getting this one.” He held up a dark one.

I don’t know why he asks my opinion on anything. Everything in the house we own,he’s picked out. My decisions always get shot down. Like the day at the AT&T Store.

“Which phone do you want?” he asked.

I looked at each phone. Some had buttons. Some were touchpads. I wanted the blue-colored phone with the buttons.

“No,” he said. “You want this one.” He pointed to a touchpad. It cost him twenty dollars plus tax.

Now I can butt, cheek, and purse call all my friends. I can also, dial numbers when I talk on the phone and mute people without knowing it. Not to mention, it’s great at dropping calls mid-way through a great conversation. It’s the phone I’ve always wanted. How did he know?

Okay. Onto a challenge I’ve signed up for.

love-blogfest

It’s a one day shot. I know without a doubt I can do this one. Jolene B. Perry is hosting. You can find her @http://jolenesbeenwriting.blogspot.com/

Here are the rules: Pick any five lines from your WIPs and share. If you’re not good at sharing your items, share someone else’s. Sometimes it’s more fun sharing other peoples’ stuff.

Also, she doesn’t mind if you break any rules since she’s admitted to breaking a few herself.

So, if you want join this, head on over to her blog and sign up for this spectacular one day event.

Okay. Bloggy friends, I’m off to the toilets. They need some scrubbing, and I ‘ve got edits to do on Secondhand Shoes.

You all have a great day blogging, reading, and writing!

Shelly

PS I’ll be back tomorrow. Hoping to post an interview with a potential screen writer. He’s impressive.

PSS If not I’ll babble about ….who knows, I’ll think of something.

PSSS I miss Robb Logger. Where the hell is he?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday With Sir Poops-A-Lot: Mummsy’s Work

0408111955-01

Sir Poops-A-Lot

0407111357-00

Hair Ball

SPAL: I have no clue what to write about this morning.

HB: Thought you were going to tell me another story about Riley and Michael.

SPAL: I was. But, according to mummsy’s Kindle I’ve got eighty percent more to read.

HB: What’s taking you so long to finish?

SPAL: Mummsy’s work schedule this week. She’s been coming home exhausted. And, she’s been keeping her Kindle in her haircutting case.

HB: What’re they doing to her at this place called work?

SPAL: I’m not sure. All I know is she goes there so she can buy us food and treats. She also says it helps us keep our beds and our house.

HB: Do you think she’s torturing people?

SPAL: Why would you ask such a ridiculous question? Our mummsy torture people?

HB: Well, have you seen what she carries in her haircutting bag? She’s got scissors and razors and THE CLIPPERS. (He buries his head under his blankie) Isn’t that what they use on us…you know…at the place Of Many Great White Watery Abyss of Tortures.

SPAL: (He stares at Hair Ball. His mouth opens wide and gasps.) Oh! I never thought of that. But, what if it’s she the one being tortured? I mean sometimes she doesn’t look so good when she comes home. Remember the day she came home with her thumb all bandaged up?

HB: Wasn’t that the day she told us part of her thumb got sliced off by a razor?

SPAL: Yup. How about all the times she comes home telling us her toes and back are screaming? Even though we don’t hear a thing.

HB: There is such a thing as silent screams, you know. Heard about it on television one night with daddy-o.

SPAL: I think I’ve heard about that, too. Oh, and remember the night she came home crying because the palms of her hands hurt real bad. She couldn’t pick us up remember?

HB: Yeah. Maybe she’s the one being tortured. Awww…just so she can feed us and bring us toys and treats. Poor mummsy.

SPAL: I don’t think I like this place called work. Besides, it takes her away from us for long hours at a time. Eight and nine hours is too long. At least when she’s writing, we can lay at her feet.

HB: How are we going to stop her from going?

SPAL: Hmmm…(He puts his paw beneath his chin).

HB: How about we fake sick? It works on television. Some TV kid is always pretending to be sick. So, what’s the plan?

SPAL: We’ll stuff our faces while she’s in the shower. Then we’ll run up stairs real fast. Poo on the bathroom floor. You take one corner and I’ll take the other. Then we’ll throw up, fall in it, refusing to get up. 

HB: Do you think it’ll work?

SPAL: Let’s go find out.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Author Interview: Guinevere Edern

Today, bloggy-friends I’m posting an interview with newbie author, Guinevere Edern.

guinevere edern

Her English is perfect. Eloquent and flowing. You’ll also find fantasy and horror in her beautiful prose. She's a real page turner folks.

She’s the author of “Among Other Edens”.    

among other edens

Fasten your seatbelts folks. Here’s the interview:

Qu: How did you come up with the title for the first book?

Ans: If I remember correctly, the name, Among Other Edens popped into my head, probably when I was cleaning the toilet or something! Beyond the various fantasies swooping through my skull, I’m pretty much a practical person. I do recall, though, staring out of a window in Los Angeles where I lived for a while. There was this tree with huge white flowers. Each flower had a pale pink center. From there it began to rain (in my head) and I saw how the rain turned the pink inside each petal into blood. Below, lay a young boy, his mouth open to receive each scarlet drop. I knew I had something of a dark little fairy tale. I wrote the first chapter while in a meeting, then into a drawer it went because I didn’t know what else to do with it. At the time I was working on a thriller.

Qu: Did you finish the thriller?

Ans: Ugh, no! I couldn’t stand the main character, the victim. She was too much of a whiner! I wanted to kill her myself! Anyway, I am rerouting the thing back in time to the Medici family and Renaissance Italy. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy it!

Qu: The Storyteller is so sexy. Where did he come from?

Ans: Well, we met in a chat room on pine shelving a few years ago, had a few drinks and he walked me home.....seriously, he popped into my head wearing a black cloak and this wide brimmed hat pulled low so you could really only see these emerald green eyes. I knew how he walked, talked, the pace of his voice, everything within a few moments. He literally took a stroll into my head and has been there ever since. You have to like your characters. You’re going to spend a huge amount of time with them, so you might as well find them amusing, likable, fun, sexy, whatever else floats your boat or presses your I-Pod. While researching the Storyteller’s period costume, he literally told me what he was going to wear. “No. Those boots are too short.” “There’s no way, I would be caught dead in that mantle. The collar doesn’t come high enough!” It was like having a tempestuous designer in my head...

Qu: How did you come up with the name, Taliesin?

Ans: Well, I knew he had a strong, sensual and charismatic personality, and I also knew his origins were Welsh. The Storyteller, tells stories, words are his seduction, so I was really searching for a name encompassing all of that. His personality and name literally hung off the line, “Your Dreams Are My Survival”. His inscription inside the book of verse Evie discovers.

During my research I learned that the original Bard of Wales was Taliesin. It can get a little confusing, because if you get into the background, he is part real and part myth. Essentially, according to legend, Taliesin is the Welsh God of creativity, guardian of those taking the path less trodden and who had some association with Merlin. Since the series ultimately extends back to the Dark Ages, this made perfect sense to me, so Taliesin it was. Since then, I discovered the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright named his studio, ‘Taliesin’, I believe in Arizona. There is also a village in Wales named Taliesin. His gravestone is supposed to be there too. I haven’t visited it yet, but I plan to one day. I also believe the University of Swansea in Wales has an arts studio named after him. Clearly, Taliesin lives on... I like to think we would have got along....rocked out some verse together....

Qu: There are some references to the Pre-Raphaelite movement. A period of Victorian art beginning around 1848 into the early 1850s. Millais, Rossetti, being two of the key players. And of course, the Romantic poetry of Keats. An original volume of which, the heroine, Evie discovers. Would you consider your fiction, commercial or literary?

Ans: I knew I was possibly pushing the envelope a little as I was writing the book. However, to be honest, I don’t believe in writing down to people. I refuse to treat my readers with anything but the utmost respect. At the end of the day, I hope to have written strong, evocative, paranormal fiction with a unique voice. Without sounding contrite, if there is a reference in the novel that intrigues you, Google it! Heck with books on I-Pads etc, you can stop reading, tap into a search engine and away you go. Knowledge in a sec’!

In all seriousness though, the references to poetry and art are in relation to Evie’s life. Taliesin uses these elements to contact Evie, feeding from the responses to the images and stories he places into her head. The stronger her response, the stronger he becomes. Given Taliesin’s character , it makes sense that he would use these elements to cross the threshold to Evie’s world and into reality. To meet him on a dark road at night would be out of context to the heroine and has been done to death.

Qu: What was the very first thing you had published?

Ans: It was supernatural poem based on a nightmare. I was about eight at the time. I believe the poet, Sylvia Plath was eight and a half, so I have her beat by about six months.....however, I did study her for advanced literature at school some years ago...she was definitely way more interesting and complicated than me. Or should that be ‘I’?

Qu: The book is set in Liverpool, England at least initially. Why did you set it there?

Ans: Short answer, why not? Liverpool is steeped in history, the good, the bad and the ugly. Liverpool is more than the Beatles. They were great, but the city has amazing architecture, museums, art galleries and social history. Chances are, if your family can be traced to Europe, they came to America through Liverpool. Liverpool was also the first city to ban Slave Trading. A lot of international talent hails from Liverpool. Clive Barker, of the Hellraiser series, Kim Cattral from Sex in The City. Me. Only joking. But I hope I’m not too bad!

Qu: What was your childhood like?

Ans: Oh, it was amazing. By today’s standards, quite eclectic really. We grew up opposite a seventies disco-funk group called The Real Thing. They had a string of number one hits back in the day. We used to go over to their house and play with their drums and guitars. We had no idea who they were until my mom turned on the t.v one day and there was my friend’s dad, singing. There were loads of people dancing. Suddenly I understood why there had been all these gold discs on the living room wall. They were pretty cool. I used to hang out with their kids and we ran this ghost club from out their garden shed. One year, I wrote a puppet show to raise funds for our depleting candy account. Each band member paid around 4 cents for the privilege of watching various fashion dolls bobbing along this makeshift stage with lengths of spaghetti up their dresses so we could make them move. Hey, we could have struck a fetish thing..who knows....I’m saying nothing else here...

When we weren’t entertaining, I was getting beaten up at school for saying things like, ‘my mom knew Ringo Starr back when they were kids. She grew up around the corner from him.’ Apparently there is some sort of cousin relationship, however I have been very much hiding in the closet about it ever since. Basically, I don’t like having my hair pulled and being spat on.

I remember a special treat; visiting old graveyards with my mom. We used to take sandwiches and look at all the old graves and the dates of the people who died. I would imagine the period clothes and wonder about the lives each person lived. Once, in elementary school, I constructed a cemetery in the block area. I was sent home with a note.

Qu: Ultimately, this is a work of paranormal fiction. Have you ever had anything unexplained or supernatural happen to you?

Ans: Okay. Answering this kind of question could make me sound really woo-woo or something. By the time I had finished Among Other Edens, it was almost autobiographical, there was so much stuff in there that had actually happened to me over the years. I cut most of it out because it became more about me rather than moving the plot of the book. I once had a watch that I lost in the street. Two years later, it showed up behind this little trash can in the living room. Explain that. I can’t. A particular incident in the book is based around that. A few years ago, I was working for a non profit in Florida out of a house. One afternoon, I walked into the foyer and noticed all the chairs had moved to face a different direction. Since I was the only one in the building, only I could have done it. I know I didn’t! In that same house, a closet of dishes crashed to the floor. Problem was, there were no dishes, the cabinet was filled with paper! I once lived in a house where as it turned out, a young woman had hung herself in the closet. I sometimes saw her. Heck, her mail still used to come to the house! I used to say ‘hello’ and then she would disappear. I felt bad for her. I still think of her now. Hope she finds peace. Needless to say, I NEVER do a Ouija Board. There are things out there that we don’t understand. If anything, I would want to help. A support group for ghosts. There you go!

Qu: What other jobs did you do before becoming a writer?

Ans: Gosh, I trained as a professional dancer and actress, so did that for a while. After a back injury, I taught dance. Living in L.A at the time, I became involved with at risk youth, so gained a little understanding of gang culture out there. I have worked as a Probation Services Officer in England, a Victim’s Advocate and lastly as a Child Protection Investigator for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. I was seriously considering becoming a sworn deputy before going under contract with The Legends of Eden. I have tremendous respect for those guys. You go into a situation with no way of knowing how things are going to end. So, yeah, a funny thing happened on the way to being a writer.

Qu: Anything else?

Ans: Yeah. I would love to be on one of those paranormal t.v reality shows. I’m just putting it out there.

Follow Guinevere Edern on

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1214140407

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Among-Other-Edens/192732960739460

http://twitter.com/#!/EvieandTaliesin

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Trip to NYC: No-No and the Sausage, Happily Ever After…NOT!

 

0320111212-00

The last day Sweetman and I were in New York City, we spent it with No-No and her Sausage. The picture there is of the two of them. They looked so happy. They acted like they were a cute little married couple.

Sausage appeared to have goo-goo eyes for her. No-No definitely had the goo-goos for him. Both wore an everlasting smile the entire time. It’s possible they’d had sex the night before. The everlasting smile indicated this.

Our first stop with the blissful couple was to park the car in a garage somewhere. The cost, fifty bucks every half hour. Let me make a note to all my fellow Floridians, never complain ever again about the fifty cents every half hour we pay for our parking in the city. NYC socks it to you and good. Not to mention, make sure you’ve got tip money for the valet-parker-dude. Yup. We had to pay him too plus the every half hour fee. Talk about loosing your money in style.

We parked close to Rockefeller Center. Where the ice skating rink hangs out, waiting for ice skaters to come and glide all over its frozen self. It’s quite a site.

0320111143-000320111142-00

We even lunched at the Rock CafĂ© (nothing to really write home about let alone stealing a couple stars from the night sky to give them, our waiter was non-attentive and stressed out).  I learned the Sausage ate lots of bread. Loves white soft bread.He went through two baskets. No-No as usual ate barely nothing. She’s got the eyes-are-too-big-for-her-stomach-syndrome. She ate about five forkfuls of pecan pancakes. Expensive pecan pancakes, mind you.

After, we walked down to Times Square.0320111312-00 Elmo hung around the corner panhandling. Pretty sad to see little Elmo begging for money. Guess he lost his job on Sesame Street. By the looks of the show lately, they do look a little hard up. Their back drops look like big coloring books. That’s pretty cheap staging if you ask me. A box of Crayola's is way less expensive than paint and real furniture. Never thought I’d see the day a Sesame Street character hit rock bottom, but there he is, cup and all. Poor little guy begging for monies.

Sweetman dragged me away from him before I could scoop him up and stuff him in my handbag. I’m sure Sir Poops-A-Lot and Hair Ball would’ve loved a new brother. Sorry guys.

Times Square.

0320111322-00

0320111323-00

0320111323-01OMG. There’s people everywhere in Times Square. You can’t get away from them. It reminded me of the movie The Sixth Sense. Wonder how many others were there my visible eye couldn’t see?

This concluded our visit with No-No and the Sausage.0320111350-00 They were all smiles when we said our goodbyes, but Sweetman heckled me all the way to the airport.

“He’s using her,” he said. “He’s using her for sex. He’s going to dump her for his family.”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“He’s a Hasidic mess. Didn’t you hear? He hasn’t even introduced her to his family yet.”

“That doesn’t mean anything.” I squirmed in my seat.

“The entire time during lunch he was on the phone speaking to his father in Yiddish. Did you forget I’m Jewish?”

“No.”

“Let’s hope they haven’t had sex yet.”

It’s a good thing Sweetman didn’t notice the everlasting smiles on their faces. That was the sign for me. I knew.

Anyway, three weeks later I get the call. The dreaded one. You know, he’s-left-me- and-I’m-almost-out-of-money-call. Help! And, I-can’t-believe-I-had-sex-with- him. I-thought-he-loved-me. Yup. That call.

Sorry, No-No, but you’re going to have to figure this one out. I’m not the Bank of Mom and my butt crack doesn’t resemble an ATM machine. Really. I use that crack for personal shit. Really.

Sorry to say, we told her so.

So, what is everyone else's kids up to these day?

Shelly

A Thank You to E.J. Wesley

RealTrooperAward  I wanted to take the time out to thank E.J. Wesley for this no strings attached award. He gave it out to those of us who made it through the April A-Z Challenge. Thank you soooo much, E.J.!

Also, wanted to tell you all he’s cool. He’s hip. And, he’s word slick. He’s the dude with the info about all the new technology we authors have to put up with. An awe-inspiring-encouraging-guru, too. Yesterday’s post was just that. It brought tears to my eyes.

Check him out here: http://the-open-vein-ejwesley.blogspot.com/2011/06/tragedy-hope.html.

Also, wanted to let you all know, I’ll be blogging my last NYC Trip story later today. Tomorrow I’ve got an interview with Guinevere Edern to post. She’s the author of, “Among Other Edens”. You can find my book review on her in my archives.

And also, next Saturday, Sir Poops-A-Lot has another book review he’ll be posting. He’s an amazing DOG. Whoops! He hates that word. I meant fur-person.

And, last but not least, starting this Tuesday, I’ll be working eight days straight. So after next Saturday, my next post won’t be until next Wednesday.

See you all later.

Shelly

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturdays with Sir Poops-A-Lot: My First Book Review, Beth Muscat’s, Remember the Eyes

Sir Poops-A-Lot0328111238-000328111236-01

Hair Ball

HB: What’re we going to talk about today?

SPAL: Don’t know, but you need to leave me alone right now. I’m busy.

HB: Doing what?

SPAL: A book review.

HB: What’s that?

SPAL: It’s like telling a story.

HB: I want to hear the story? I like stories. Mummsy tells me stories. Tell me. Tell me.

SPAL: Go away.

HB: No! I want a story. Tell me the story. (He jumps on SPAL)

SPAL: You’re such a hair ball.

HB: You’re a pansy. Story! Story! Story!

SPAL: Okaaaaay. (He growls)

HB: (He smiles)

SPAL: Let me tell you about three characters. Riley, Michael, and Brenda.

HB: Okay. Okay. (He claps his front paws together)

SPAL: Riley is an eighteen year old girl with special powers. She can do telekinesis, read minds, and has dreams of past lives. She also has premonitions.

HB: Uh-huh…uh-huh.

SPAL: Shh…you’re going to mess up the story.

HB: (Frowns)

SPAL: Anyway, Riley dreams about a man. Well, more than one. They’re all the same one because they all have the same eyes. Her dreams are about her past lives.

HB: Sounds like she had a lot of boyfriends.

SPAL: Shh…Back to the story. Anyway, she meets this guy named Michael at college the first day. He about runs her over. She looks at him and he her. Kapowy. It’s love at first sight. And, he’s got the same eyes the men in her dreams have.

HB: Does he hump her?

SPAL: No. (He crinkles up his nose) The boy has manners. Something you don’t. He’s a real gentleman. Unlike you. In fact, he and Riley fall in love. I think I already said that, though.

HB: Who’s Brenda? Is she a humper?

SPAL: For the most part, yes, but she does worse things than hump. She comes between Riley and Michael. She’s got special powers, too.

HB: Ohh…

SPAL: She doesn’t leave them alone. She’s like a flee. She’s hard to get rid off.

HB: I don’t like flees. They make me itch. What else? Do Riley and Michael hump in the end and live happily ever after? Do they use essential oils to get rid of Brenda? Since she’s a flee.

SPAL: (He rolls his eyes). Let’s get this straight. There’s. No. Humping. In. The. Book. It’s a sweet love story with an evil person trying to tare two people apart. But, Riley’s special powers save the day. That’s all I’m telling you.

HB: How does Riley’s special powers save the day?

SPAL: You need to read it yourself. You can find it at Smashwords and Amazon. Mummsy bought it for a $1.19. It’s an e-book. You can only read it on the computer or Kindle, a Nook, and other devices like that.

HB: Did you like the book?

SPAL: Of course I did, stupid. It deserves as many stars as there are in the night sky. And, there’s two more books that go with it. I’ll tell you about one next week.

HB: Do they hump it in that one?

SPAL: (Covers his face and looks down, shaking his head).