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Category Archives: Late-night Brainstorm

With the unfortunate continuation of the rise of “unscripted” reality television shows, it seems like every conceivable topic is getting at least one series dedicated to it. Some things are apparently even big enough to warrant entire cable/satellite networks dedicated to them. What’s that? You collect Beanie Babies and you’ve purchased ten of each one that came out since 1993 and your house is now in danger of collapse because you’ve knocked out supporting walls to make room for your little stuffed friends? Better go on Hoarders. Like tattoos? There’s Miami Ink and L.A. Ink. Friends with someone who loves the bizarre and macabre? Point them toward Oddities or Oddities: San Francisco.

It seems as though there’s something for everyone, right? Well, not quite. What about us? What about the writers? Where’s our series showcasing authors and libraries and bookstores and the pains of staying up all night for a week to try to meet a deadline? Apparently I’m not the first person to think this way. Back in May, Entertainment Weekly’s Stephan Lee (@EWStephanLee) proposed a concept, laying out a manner in which such a thing could be done. It’s sort of like televising your progress through Nanowrimo. I’m now debating running this as some sort of surreal web series. Watch my sanity slowly slip away as I attempt to craft a novel in thirty days! No, on second thought, don’t do that. Webcam will be hidden away. Fear not, dear readers.

In all seriousness, this is reality TV I could stand to watch, and might even actively follow. You’ve gotten everyone else, network execs. Where’s our obsession?

I hit the ground running this morning, if getting out of bed at 10 AM can really count as a running start. You see, this is going to be a big week. After missing two days of work because of an amazing snow storm (and actually being snowed in for the first time in YEARS), I finally got things moving again. It seems that my repeated attempts to get a slight boost in hours at work have been noticed, and I’m getting a new schedule with more hours (okay, one more per week), and it’s enough to get me partial benefits and a work week that’s not completely insane.

Not pictured: the 45 minutes it took to dig her out.

Now that the weather has cleared up, though, and the creativity is going. And going strong. Maybe I’m just fueled by the Irish Car Bomb cake that I made the other day, but I woke up this morning after dreaming of Lovecraftian things. This means that I’ve now hit upon my next idea for a novel. Yes, the first one is still a work in progress, with around 32,000 words at present, but it’s not often that I’ve come up with ideas for something that I feel could be more than just a short story. In fact, if memory serves, this makes, well…two. So this is big. I’ve never had that feeling of “HOLY SHIT I HAVE TO GET OUT OF BED AND WRITE THIS ALL DOWN RIGHT NOW!” until this morning. It was glorious. Cue me running down the stairs, grabbing a Java Monster from the fridge, and hurling myself onto the couch to scribble out two full pages of random notes, details, and actual bits of dialogue that came out of something reminiscent of Rose Red meets Call of Cthulhu. Yeah. No more details at present. I’ve got characters to come up with soon.

So yeah, off to a good start, like I said. Jot down some notes, chug some coffee, eat some candy for breakfast, and jump on twitter to find this. That’s three major book retailers refusing flat-out to sell books published via amazon, which has been attempting to cut the middle man out of publishing in addition to book sales. This boycott started with independent booksellers, so bravo to those little guys who were brave enough to stand up to amazon in the first place. The online retailer seems to be in some danger now anyway, mostly due to rapid over-expansion. I’m intrigued to see how this plays out. Now, I’ve had it pointed out that some writers who had published through amazon would now be in trouble, but, well, “you dance with the devil…” I’m just glad that I didn’t go that route. I’m determined to stick by traditional publishing, despite the fact that it’s a long, difficult road. Maybe this whole situation just goes to prove that the easier path isn’t necessarily the best.

Anyway, I’ve got a couple of tasks to accomplish about the house today, and then I’ll delve back into the madness that is building in the back of my mind. Cheers!

An idea came to me earlier today. Many film companies are now bundling downloads of digital copies of their movies along with the DVD and BluRay releases. They’ve been doing this for several years (since 2007), and it seems to be decently effective. If you can get a portable copy of your movie free with the physical copy, why not do so? I have digital copies of several movies, including perennial favorite, The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

What about this, publishing industry? What happens if you include an eBook copy of a text (or a download code for said copy) with every purchase of a physical book? Personally, it would make me more inclined to get the digital copy of a book, because I’d have a physical copy for my library and a digital version of it for portability. I could read on either format, and I wouldn’t have to buy my favorite books twice. Food for thought.

Somehow I missed out on the fact that they’d been developing a Lovecraft musical. To make up for this, I’ve been listening to the score. This is the first track on youtube, and it’s absolutely brilliant. I suppose it’s even better for people who are Lovecraft fans already, but it’s still pretty enjoyable for the general public, provided that you’ve seen A Fiddler on the Roof, the original play that this one parodies. I don’t care if they’ve only ever had a handful of successful productions of this show, I want to see it. Hell, if I had the money, I’d produce it. Much like Spamalot, this is one severely underrated musical that needs better exposure.

Lovecraft needs more exposure, frankly. I mean, kids today know Edgar Allan Poe from their high school English classes, if not from earlier. They see Stephen King (of whom I am a huge fan: 11/22/63 is on hold for me at the library, and I absolutely cannot wait for Dr. Sleep and The Wind Through the Keyhole) or Dean Koontz or the others on the shelves at bookstores, and many of them don’t realize that there was someone (or some thing…) filling in those years between Poe and today. Lovecraft’s fiction is deep, disturbing, and profound, and I can’t read enough of it. Just as entertaining are things like Neil Gaiman’s short, “I, Cthulhu.” Check it out on Tor’s website, here. I just wish that I’d had a formal introduction to Lovecraft the way I was introduced to classic literature. Some things just go unappreciated for far too long. Maybe, if ever I slip off of the pier and lose what’s left of my sanity (to the Dark Lord Cthulhu or otherwise) and become a teacher, I’ll try to sneak something like “The Color Out of Space” into my curriculum. Or maybe I’ll just avoid teaching. It could be dangerous and hazardous to young, impressionable minds. Damn kids might actually learn something, and we certainly can’t have any of that.

There’s all kinds of great things to read out there, and there are great people making things happen for people to help them get access to the things that they’re needing or wanting to read, whether it’s a copy of Lovecraft’s Necronomicon collection or the latest political biographies. The people of the Occupy Wall Street Library are those kind of people, and they need your help. Check out their wordpress page and see what you, as a writer or a reader or a lover of books or of democracy or of protests can do to help them out. Send them your donations, your books, your poetry, or even just a letter saying “Hey, OWS Library, we totally appreciate that you’re trying your best to help make this whole shitty situation a little less shitty by providing books and whatnot to all the people here.” Maybe you can send them a spare Lovecraft collection. In his house in Wall Street, dread Cthulhu waits dreaming of equality and fairness and an end to the bullshit that is politics. Right? We can only hope, and hang on, like a shoggoth on the roof.

Winter has come to Westeros. I’m done with A Dance With Dragons. Now it’s time to work on some short fiction pieces that I’ve been playing around with in my head for the last couple of months, and move on to more books. Any recommendations? I’ve tried using this, but it’s only so-so when you read so much… Next up on my list are some of the following:

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke (finishing the trilogy at last)

Brisingr and Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (see above)

The Black Company by Glen Cook

Shadow & Claw by Gene Wolfe (halfway done)

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (rereading)

1984 by George Orwell (rereading)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (rereading)

The Shining by Stephen King (rereading in advance of the release of the sequel, Dr. Sleep)

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges

There’s also this. It’s a new book called White Dove, and if the author’s name seems familiar, there’s a very good reason for that. It’s written by my fifteen year old cousin. I’m damn proud of her, albeit a little jealous that she got published before me. 😀

Winter has come to Colorado too. We’re finally getting some snow that’s staying on the ground for more than a few hours! This is kind of a big deal, people.

In winter, Colorado is basically Hoth

It doesn’t really actually mean all that much to me right now. I’m off of work for the next few days, unless I get called in to substitute for someone. In the meantime, I really should be looking for additional work, but there are so many things that demand for me to read them…seriously, it’s like an addiction. I can’t stop reading! That, and drinking Mountain Dew. And hopefully writing… Speaking of which, writing, that is, not Mountain Dew (though I realized the store had ten different varieties of Mountain Dew the other day, twelve if you counted the two diet flavors…), I found something that could come in very handy. If nothing else, I can use this for when I get into an argument with some gorbellied, motley-minded clack-dish:

For a more sophisticated way of saying "Your mother's a whore."


Yes, it’s nearly 6 AM. Yes, I’ve been primarily subsisting on caffeine and alcohol today. How is this different from any other day? I’m at that perfect balance of booze-induced exhaustion and caffeine-induced insomnia that means that I’m ready to write. Here’s some updates, dear readers.

1.) NaNoWriMo. I tried and died this year, but I managed to get upwards of 30,000 words in the first three weeks of the project. I’m pretty damn proud of myself. I’ve proven to myself that I’m actually capable of sitting down and putting something cohesive and coherent together, outside of this blog. I’m quite pleased. In addition to said pride, I’ve gotten a damn good start on my first big writing project. The 30,000 words I wrote last month will serve as a springboard for me. I’m definitely going to try NaNo again next year. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish anything within the thirty day time frame, but I will find ideas and hope there. The motivation it provided was a much needed kick start. Thank you to everyone who supported me during November. I’ll keep trying. Arsus and Rime and the others are far too deeply buried inside my brain to let them go completely.

2.) The job hunt continues. Naturally. I’ve decided to try to branch out a little bit, and start applying for some jobs in Denver and the surrounding area as well. I would hate to leave the Springs, but at the same time, it’s hard  to limit myself when I know that there could be better possibilities elsewhere. I’m not planning to leave town any time soon, though. I would find it very hard to leave all of my friends behind (and, by the way, I feel closer to most of the people that I met in college than to any of the people I knew from preschool through senior year of high school, and I’m not sure if this is weird or not). I’m not trying to be picky about jobs. Especially not after reading this earlier today (or was it late yesterday?). Speaking of, I’m considering applying as a writer there. Supposedly, if you can write comedy, you can write anything. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I guess I’ll never know until I try. I’m sort of connected to a writing/editing/reading job now, but at the moment, it’s pro-bono, so it’s strictly for experience. It’s hard to remain focused on a job like that when it’s web-based and not paying off immediately. I’d say that’s a pretty rough choice for someone in a writing field, because it’s difficult enough trying to get a job that’s not just a crappy retail or customer service gig. Been there, done/doing that. I don’t know that I can justify NOT doing it, though, given my financial outlook at the moment. Conundrum? Maybe, but probably not in the long run.

3.) Christmas is coming. I love Christmas. It’s not my favorite holiday ever, but it’s still a pretty darn good one. I’m still not certain exactly what I’ll be doing in three weeks, but I’ll be with people who care about me, no matter what, and I hope that all of you are able to do the same. It’s a good time of year to be around family. I have a tendency to think that I’m going to be miserable when I go home, even though it’s rarely actually true. I can put up with my mother being upset that my hair is still long, and my ears are still pierced, and I’m not nearly as religious as I was ten years ago. I enjoy being around my relatives, but I’m also grateful that I don’t live in my hometown anymore. For the most part, it’s your typical small rural town full of small-minded people. Yes, that’s kind of an unfair blanket statement. There are plenty of people there who are more open-minded than others, but they’re few and far between in a town that boasts so many churches per-capita that I could attend a different one each month for a year and still not have completed the rounds. So naturally, I moved to Colorado Springs, right? Hahaha. Oh, local humor, how you amuse me in the early hours of the morning. I digress. I still like to see my family, and I know that they like to see me, and that my visits are far too infrequent and too short as far as they’re concerned. I’m happy with this. It’s best not to disillusion them just yet. 😀

4.) Aspirations are still at an all-time high. I’m optimistic. I’ve sent a short story in to another magazine, and I’m trying to write a couple more. The next one will probably weigh in a bit heftier than the one I’m showing people now, but we’ll see what happens. When inspiration strikes, you have to use it. I found this yesterday, and had to share it with you.

Seriously. That thing is awesome. That’s outside the main public library in Cincinnati. Who would have ever thought that I would have reason to go to Ohio? I guess I do now. I would love to see this thing in person. I’m fairly certain that the photos do not do it justice. I could spend the rest of my life wandering around old bookstores and libraries.

I’ve found some other awesome stuff as well. Like vintage clothing? Love old books as much as I do? Check out Out of Print Clothing. These people make some of the most amazing shirts I’ve ever seen, decorated with classic literary covers. And for those of you who like to read other people’s writing on other people’s books, check this out.

I think that just about wraps things up for now. I need to try to catch a few hours of sleep so that I can play more Zelda tonight, or finish A Dance With Dragons in the next day or so. Martin’s writing is still just as strong in this book, and I can’t wait to see how it wraps up and leaves things for The Winds of Winter. Here’s to hoping that we don’t have to wait six years. Peace!

Tags. Why have I not been using them until now?

I’ve had the opening line for a new short story pop into my head. I’m not sure where it will be going, but it starts like this.

“They’re crawling up the walls again.”

I’m pretty sure that most of my readers already know how much I love J.R.R. Tolkien. The other day, I came across this, a brief piece that just proves even more awesomeness on the part of the man behind some of the greatest fantasy ever written. It’s not just that he was a phenomenal writer. It’s also that he was an incredible man. It would be an honor to be able to call myself comparable to a writer who has inspired me since I was in kindergarten. I’m also pretty excited about this picture, and the upcoming Hobbit films.

I think that some of you might be interested in reading this article as well. It’s pretty relevant to most of us, since the vast majority of us are writers, after our own fashion. It was originally sent to me from V, and number 13 on the list struck me as exceptionally relevant, since I’m her editor/publicist-to-be/leech of money from my soon to be famous friend, etc. I know that she’s going to do well. I’m hunting down some possible REAL editors for her at the moment. It’s good to keep busy, and have a few different options for writing projects, and I’m happy to help out someone who’s so far ahead of me in the novel-writing game.

I’m always looking out for new words, or old ones that have fallen into disuse. When I was taking classes on early literature, I absolutely loved studying Beowulf, because our professor was incredibly passionate about the language. He also taught my class on Chaucer, and I’d never met anyone quite like him. He loves to talk about his visits to Westminster Abbey to have chats with “Geoff.” His love for the language of Middle English and its predecessor showed in every lesson he taught. Because of his classes, I’ve rediscovered my own love of languages, and so, when I first heard this song, the first thing I did was look up a word that was unfamiliar to me: skald. Thanks to wikipedia, I learned that skalds were Scandinavian poets/bards, and they were responsible for most of the earliest known Norse poetry. Personally, history aside, I think it’s an awesome word. Toss in the historical aspect, and it just gets better. Skaldic poetry also includes one of my favorite concepts ever, the kenning. Now V and I have discussed this at length, but the kenning is a metaphor, usually hyphenated, found especially in Scandinavian verse, such as Beowulf. One of my favorite examples of a kenning is used to describe a character’s vast knowledge and ability to speak eloquently. “That noblest of men answered him; the leader of the warrior band unlocked his word-hoard.” Is that not the best way to show off someone’s sheer skill in speech?

Is it too much to ask to be able to want to write something like that?

But you know something? There it is. Look up there. ^ That way, at the top of the page. –>

That’s right. Microfiction page is established. Thanks, insomnia!