Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Week in GIFs

I ran out of words this month. There has to be some kind of limit before you open your mouth and suddenly nothing comes out except unintelligible babble.

I'm there.

However, my brain's working well enough to use a different method to show you all what this past week has been like.

1) What I do to my brain to bounce back from a rigorous teaching day: 

2) When I try to explain to the rents why my revision work has made me grumpy / distracted / forgetful of my chores:

3) After three consecutive days of being asked to check APA formatting:

4) Discovering that ABC's The Taste is actually great - and that I now have the honor of watching two wonderful food shows (aka Sweet Genius) every week:

5) What I hope I'm doing to my novel draft:

6) Slinking towards February with tiny chunks of sanity:

Peace out.

Monday, January 14, 2013

StoneThread Publishing Blog Hop: "The Lost Detective"

Floating heads...
Whenever a writer puts her or his work out into the world, there is a secret hope that the story or book might be next on the hot list. You know, the short story that is optioned for film or the book that wins Oprah’s praise. Often overlooked is the simple truth that the next big thing is often not an overnight success story. Along the journey to such acclaim, writers wrote hard, marketed harder and formed alliances that helped to get that book or story “out there.” The Next Big Thing Blog Hop bands together writers from across the globe in an effort to help readers discover new authors and their published books or a work-in-progress.

Follow the blog hop long enough and you’re bound to find books to add to your ‘must read list’ and a selection of authors you’ll want to keep your eye on. You’ll also discover writing secrets such as: Which actors does an author secretly wish would portray characters from their book? Where did an author get her story idea? You might even discover a book that ends up being The Next Big Thing.

Fellow author and publisher Harvey Stanbrough (Stone Thread Publishing) invited me to join the blog hop. Below you’ll find answers to a few questions about stories I’ve written and what I’m working on, now. At the end of my Q & A, you’ll find a short list of the authors coming up next in the blog hop.

You can purchase a copy of Things You Can Create: A Speculative Anthology and read a fine gathering of strange and intriguing stories - including mine, haha.

What is the title of your story?

"The Lost Detective"

Describe your story in one sentence.

In a Halloween-themed resort town, the undertaker's twin sons, Preston and Donald, search for their father in the moorlands, assisted by an odd and strikingly-familiar detective.

Where did you get the idea for this story?

My grandparents' house sits on top of a hill; whenever I went over there to play in the backyard, I got a big old view of the cemetery right below. I couldn't reach the cemetery from the backyard - unless I wanted to get scratched up by an unstable fence - but I used to poke my nose through the chain-links and imagine what kinds of body parts must surely be hidden in the grass or how many vampires slept inside the lion-guarded mausoleum.

I've always been a fan of creepy things; Halloween is my favorite holiday. I thought it would be fun to write about a town that's dependent on tourists, a place where people come to get scared, stomp through tacky haunted houses, and say hello to the local handsome undertaker. Pierre Frohock, and his twin sons, Preston and Donald, followed quickly after that. I had to tell their story.

If your story was optioned for film, what actors would play the main characters and why?

Wow, I hadn't really thought about that.

*walks off to think about it*

I'm not sure who would play the twins, but the adults are easier to picture as actors / actresses. I think Maggie Gyllenhaal would made a great Hildegarde, the mysterious detective. When I think of tragic and romantic Pierre, Blake Ritson comes to mind. And Christopher Lee would make a charming, if not eerie, Mr. Biddix.

Who are your favorite writers? Why?

Mervyn Peake and Francesca Lia Block. Peake creates these fantastic, expansive worlds filled with oddball characters that grow on you - his words are like paintbrush on the page, and I love the subtle humor he works into his stories. I grew up reading Block; what I love most about her writing is that she's able to bring magic into her stories through her use of language and imagery.

What else about this story will enthrall readers?

The mystery behind Hildegarde, hopefully. There's something interesting about a detective who may be in more need of help than her clients.

What are you working on now?

Since I'm in my last year of graduate school, I'm putting the finishing touches on my thesis - a novel - as well as sending another finished manuscript out into the world to be considered. And there's always another strange short story to write, just waiting in the wings.

Authors on the Blog Hop, Up Ahead

Check out some of the blogs and Blog Hop posts from other writers featured in the new anthology:

January 15th - Teresa Milbrodt

January 20th - Dawn KnoxBE SeidlMike Chin

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mooching Through Florida: Epic Vacation

Happy 2013!

You'd think that this year - what with the whole unlucky 13 thing - would start off with meteor showers and dinosaur attacks, but it's actually going quite well so far. Why "mooching?" My winter break was horribly devoid of Buster Keaton, so I'm starting the first post of the year off right with a reference to one of Keaton's talkie shorts, "Mooching Through Georgia." Because, after two weeks of driving across Florida, I feel like I've been on a long journey.

I traveled to Miami, St. Augustine, and Disney World (always Disney). The best way to talk about my vacation is to, well, show you.

The Lightner Museum - St. Augustine

This museum is, hands down, the best museum I've ever been to. Why? Because it's stuffed with strange and mechanical wonders from the Gilded Age. I think I could spin a hundred stories from here. The bonus is that the museum used to be the Hotel Alcazar, built in back in 1887 - so, not only did I see a lot of need glass work and automatons from the Gilded Age, but I also got to learn about the hotel and see where the baths were, among other interesting rooms.

Ghost chair. (LOL. I guess all plastic has that kind of effect).

After seeing the museum the first day, we came back again to eat lunch in the center of the museum. I ordered the spinach egg drop soup and curry chicken sandwich. It. Was. Delicious. 

St. Augustine Lighthouse

When I was in middle school, still acclimating to Florida life, I went on a school trip to St. Augustine and climbed the lighthouse. Despite visiting St. Augustine many times since, I hadn't been back to the lighthouse for years. It's been a huge inspiration for my thesis and it felt thrilling to climb all the way to the top, knowing that my main character does that every single day of her life (how strong she is, haha!) - and also knowing that my thesis journey is almost complete. I tried not to shed tears of joy at the top, for fear that my falling tears might have seriously injured someone below, bwahaha.

I'm a ham.

Disney World - Orlando

Disney. Yep, you guys know I always go here. With the family all together, we really celebrate by staying over a few days and doing what we love best - hotel hopping. Basically, we like to hop on the monorail and see how each hotel is decorated for Christmas, as well as eating sugar-coated almonds in the parks and standing in line, haha. The finest achievement (besides finding a hidden Wreck-It Ralph room in MGM) was getting to eat lunch at the Beast's Castle. 

We also spent the evening strolling on the Boardwalk - it was the first time I'd ever been there at night. Nothing relaxed me quite as much as that stroll down the lit up boardwalk, seeing strings of popping lights, the epic pirate ship water slide, kids running around on the lawns (the Boardwalk hotel sure know how to keep the party going, haha), and a giant goblet full of caramel apple sundae that we always get at The Fountain.

I wish it actually worked - it was for show only *shakes fist*

At the Beast's Castle, I ordered the spinach quiche and, for dessert, a raspberry-filled cream puff.