Thursday, April 21, 2005

Gee, Thanks, DM!!!

Now they're finding my blog by Googling "dangers of nair". I'll get you for that! ;-)

Danger! Snippet Ahead!

I realized this morning that it's been a long time since I posted any fiction samples here. I thought: "What's the use writing bad fiction if you can't torture people with it every now and then?" Anyway, this is the first part of the first draft of a story that came bubbling up from somewhere this morning. Sometimes I scare myself...

I write horror and other dark fiction. The following snippet contains violence, blood, and some graphic descriptions. If you are squeamish, do not read any further. PG-13, discretion is advised.

What Dreams May Come

Even as I sit here, I can still feel her spooned up against me, all warm and soft and round, her skin as smooth as the finest silk. Her soft sleep-breathing does not disturb the dark, dead early-morning hours that are now not quite so lonely.

I didn't want to get up, leave that nest. The safety and comfort of her arms calls to me, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid of the dark, the dreams. The dreams are bad, real bad, and they're getting worse.

Most nights I can fight through them, get at least a little sleep, but tonight was different. She was there. Leah. My new love, the body that warms and excites me, the laugh that slices through me with a thrill of ecstasy, the touch that tells me everything is better now.

She was in the dream, green eyes sparkling, brown hair wavy around bare shoulders. She was laughing. Even as the knife slid in, even as the blood fountained, she was laughing. How could she laugh? It hurt; it hurt like Hell. It hurt like the end of a miserable, useless life. And she laughed. That made the hurt double, triple, worse to the nth power.

Her teeth were even and white, glistening Chiclets surrounded by lush, red lips. Her tongue played peek-a-boo, darting in and out, wiggling and licking, taunting me as my guts slid slick over my hands. The laugh that had always sent my mind into spasms of love, now became a breathless cackle. Even as I sank to my knees, she slashed again, severing the slimy coils of my innermost secrets.

I screamed. Oh, God, I screamed. The rage came over me, a clashing clatter, a shattering cacophony of demon voices taunting, laughing, mocking me. I have never liked being laughed at. Madness overcame pain, and I rose to my feet. Leah stared, silent now, with open mouth as a lurched against her.

Our bodies were warm together, sliding, lubricated with my blood. We fit together like puzzle pieces. We always have. My hands fit so perfectly around her throat, as if they were made for just this moment, as if they were fulfilling their destiny as they choked the life from my love, my Leah.

When I woke, I was sweating, dry-mouthed, anticipating the pain that never came. My hands clutched a corner of the sheet, choking and shaking with a violence I have seldom known. When I was able to relax my grip, I got out of bed.

So here I sit, Gentleman Jack my faithful companion as I watch a silver sliver of moonlight creep across the living room floor. That square bottle has seen me through a lot of ups and downs over the years. He hasn't let me down yet. Two hours until dawn. A long, long time. If I can just stay awake...

I don't want her to leave. I don't want to make her leave, but, if she stays...

Dreams are bad. Sleep is bad. Must stay awake. When I dream, I sleepwalk...mmmmmrrrmrmrmrmrmmm...zzzzzzzz.

Well, So Much For That

Just got a rejection from The Writer on "Metaphorically Speaking". Time to explore other opportunities. Now I have to get up my nerve again and query them about "Naked With My Hair On Fire". Maybe they can at least get a chuckle out of the title. :-)

To pay, or not to pay: that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The crits and rejections of outrageous editors

Or to take arms against a sea of objections,

And by writing end them? To write: to submit;

No more; and, by submission to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To write, to submit;

To submit: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that submission of writing what dreams may come

When yet we open the SASE,

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of editors,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of dispriz’d stories, the pay's delay,

The insolence of others, and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his sonnet make

With a bare pencil? who would laptops bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after submission,

The undiscover’d country from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action. Soft you now!

The fair Thalia! Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my sins remember’d.

HamIt, Prince of Doggerel

Act naughty, Seen seldom

(With many groveling apologies to Bill)

This travesty brought to you courtesy of BlogIt! (, sorry guys, no links from here!) For only $12.95 per month, BlogIt! Will graciously allow you to write as much as you want. If any fool should be so unfortunate as to actually read your words of platinum and ivory, they will give you a pittance of the reader's fee. Hmm. I wonder if Blogger's feeling the heat from this one.

I am a writer. I produce artifacts made of words. I expect to be paid for them (Lord willing at some point in my mortal lifetime). Paying to play is not in my plans, now or ever. If my writing is worthwhile, then someone will pay me for it. It's that simple.

I can understand why people will do this, though. Writing is a tough life. Getting recognized might be the hardest thing I ever do. Possibly it will never happen. Desperation can drive people to do things they will regret later.

What can you gain by paying someone to allow you to write? You can't use that as a writing credit. Any editor that sees that will consign you to the "Amateur, Wannabee, Don't Bother" pile, and that's a big hole to climb out of. Need practice? Need exposure? There are plenty of free blogging services to choose from. If your writing deserves attention, the audience will come. If your writing deserves it, publication will come. If your writing deserves it, people will pay you for it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Forgot one

"Who Am I To Tell You What To Do?" about why writers should write articles about writing for the benefit of other writers.

Unabashed Thievery and Other Writerly Occupations

Article ideas are coming hot and heavy today. Here are the current crop:

"Naked With My Hair On Fire, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Blog" - an article about why I find blogging so useful to me as a writer and what I have learned about what to do and what not to do. I've had this idea percolating for a couple of months. Finally got a good outline and about 500 words of detailed notes on it. Now trying to decide who to query about it. It doesn't quite fit Writer's Digest, and I already have one query at The Writer. Hmmm.

Now for the Unabashed Thievery part. Holly's post yesterday about Concorder for the Mac got the wheels turning.* This looks like something I would really like, but I only have Win-DOH!-s. Off to Google, where I tracked down 2 free and 2 Web-based applications that are similar. Also 1 that purports to analyze grammar. I haven't put it to the test yet, so I don't know what it means by that. We'll see. The article idea is either a review of the software or an article about text analysis and what it can do for you with a list of software at the end. Probably destined for submission to Vision.

Note to users of Windows: When writing an article, if you need a screen shot, use either PRINT SCREEN to copy the screen to the Clipboard or CTRL-PRINT SCREEN to copy only the current window to the Clipboard. From there you can either Paste into your document or into Paint so you can save it as a GIF, BMP, JPG, etc. You don't need to spend a whole lot of money on screen capture software to do this for you.

I also have a niggling idea about the close relationship between humor and fear in horror fiction and how easy it is to cross the line into over-the-top camp.

* It's amazing how often I have this happen when I'm poking around in Silent Bounce. Holly has been an everlasting fount of inspiration since I first ran across Mugging the Muse in 2001. Thanks, Holly! No way to repay; one day I'll find a way to pay it forward.

Monday, April 18, 2005

What were they looking for?

Today's strange search terms which found this blog: "mother bound and gagged" at Yahoo.


Good Day for Thinking

And not much else. Anxiety med adjustment in progress. My whole world is kind of blurry right now. Should be better in a few days.

Anyway, I've had a couple of ideas I think may be pretty good. There are a couple of articles I can write about Web sites that search engines don't index and some advanced searching techniques. Also on the list is a potential article about online resources available through the local public or academic libraries that many people may not be aware of.

I also am considering starting up a "Stump the Librarian" type site. The difficulat questions I can answer immediately; impossible ones may take a few days. :-) This seed is still germinating. I haven't decided whether to do a blog or a page on my Web site. More thought needed.

On a whim, I went over to Llewellyn's Web Tarot and got a free Celtic Cross reading. I asked whether I need to be doing something different in my life. Here are the results:

Cover card - querent in relation to the present situation: Queen of Pentacles - auspicious time for making plans; long, hard work yields results.

Crossing card - Forces aiding or hindering querent: 9 of Wands - Pause, rest; careful planning needed; success in sight with more effort needed.

Beneath card - querent's aspirations: 4 of Swords - Rest and recovery; low energy; pause before events move onward.

Crowning card - Past influences: The Sun - Positive happenings; good news coming.

Behind card - Subconscious influences, dreams, emotional undercurrents: High Priestess - Hidden influences at work; future not yet known; good time to develop psychic abilities and intuition; make new goals or refine old ones.

Before card - querent's relations with others: Queen of Wands - Success in a goal, feminine influence offers help; reap rewards from labors.

Self card - querent's psychological state and attitudes: 2 of Cups - Love or friendship now possible; commitment necessary.

House card - environment and unseen forces: High Priest - Abide by the rules or suffer the consequences; read contracts carefully, especially the fine print; spiritual teacher revealed; dreams make you face up to your responsibilities.

Hopes card - querent's hopes and fears: 7 of Wands - Difficult times to come; competition brings difficulty and harsh feelings; take a stand on an important issue.

Outcome card - coutcome of the matter: Judgement - Person or event from the past has influence for good or bad; karma must be handled; possible change of home or job; new line of spiritual or magical study; a possible unpleasant but necessary decision.

Wow. Sometimes the Tarot scares me. There is a lot in this reading that hits me where I live. Moral: don't ask the question if you don't want to hear the answer.