And on Facebook

And now my blog is connected to Facebook as well as Twitter. Aren’t I the social networker?

Strange things happen to me when I go to Tucson. But I am getting a lot of work done on my next novel while I’m down here. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post.

Treat Night

When I was  kid, one night a week my dad would let us stay up late to watch scary movies and eat junk food. We called it Treat Night, and the treats included pop (I’m from north Missouri so it’s “pop”, not “soda”) and ice cream, a candy bar, or popcorn. The movies were the Universal Studios horror collection released as Shock Theater for television syndication. There were about 50 classic films, and most were black and white.

Our local host was Gregory Graves, the wonderful Harvey Brunswick in a fright wig and with black circles drawn around his eyes. Gregory was funny and a welcome  relief when things started to get a little too scary. I have to admit, the seven year old me had a little bit of a crush on Gregory.

One of my favorites of those old 1930’s and 1940’s movies was The Mummy, but I also loved Dracula, The Wolfman, and Frankenstein. When, many years later, I saw Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon, and David Bowie in The Hunger, I thought the film brilliantly re-imagined the vampire legend. I hoped someone would do something similar for my other favorite films. I had an idea about how I’d like to see The Mummy done, but I waited to see what would happen.

When reboots of the various films started to come out, I thought they were fun, but they weren’t how I would have done it. That’s when I took matters into my own hands. The result was my version of The Mummy rebooted, my book Beloved Lives.

I’m happy to see that late night scary movies are still going on, with crazy, over-the-top hosts. I hope a new generation of kids will be inspired to write their own versions of the classics and keep them fun and fresh to scare us anew as we eat our junk food and huddle together on the sofa.

Writing and waiting for the seed catalogs

The folks replacing the water lines on our block are taking a day off. I suspect it’s due to the black ice on the streets and the wrecks all over Kansas City. My husband is working from home so there’s one less thing to worry about. The cats are snoozing, thankfully not on the keyboard. I’m wrapped in a blanket, sitting at my computer, and trying to figure out how to blog.

They tell me all authors need to blog these days. I’m game. I’m always happy to talk about myself–no false modesty here. Problem is I’m a bit of a Luddite. Still, I’ve managed to get a book published, or so they tell me. It was all done electronically, so I think it went through as expected. I’ve seen the Amazon page for ordering it and told all my friends, hoping they’ll tell their friends. I haven’t actually held a copy in my hands yet, but that’s coming. I hope.

I take a lot of things on faith. I assume my editor is going to pay me. I assume what I write will be read by someone. That’s why Facebook is good for me: I get a thumbs up or comment that indicates what I sent into the ether was read. But even if I got no feedback, I’d still write. It’s a sort of disease. Or obsession. Or hopeful dream.

I write the way I plant seeds. Seeds look like dead things, dry and lifeless, but they do contain life. I plant them and wait, taking it on faith that something will happen. When the green shoots start coming out of the ground I never quite believe it’s real, never quite believe that dead thing I planted has become this tender plant that will grow into flower and fruit. It always seems like a small miracle.

When I write, I begin with an idea. Oddly, the title often comes first. As I write, I add, discard, embellish, strip, and rearrange words, thoughts and ideas. I give the preliminary mess to friends who nod sagely and hold their peace. Sometimes they make helpful suggestions, but relying on my friends for constructive feedback is sort of unfair. They are my friends. They kind of have to be nice to me. Some might be brutally honest, but that’s not the way to bet.

I like writer’s groups, but good ones are hard to find, and sometimes don’t last long.  I’ve had the great, good luck to take some writing classes with writers and teachers who have helped me tremendously, but in the end, I have to be my own harshest critic, exceeded only in harshness by my editor, and I have to have done the hard work before she ever sees it. It’s not unlike the hard work that goes into preparing the soil in the autumn and the early spring before the seeds go into the ground. Even after the green things break through the soil, the flower and fruit is a long way off. Like watering and weeding, there  is more editing, proofing, and all the rest of the attention that is required to get to the harvest.

I haven’t made it to the harvest yet. I still have to promote the book, try to arrange signings, and maybe give some interviews, if I’m lucky. And blog. They tell me I must blog. We’ll see how that goes. I suspect I’m going to have fun doing it, and I take it on faith that someone somewhere will read what I write.