Writing Process Blog Hop

Okay, so I haven’t been keeping up with the blog every week like I keep saying I was going to do. I guess I’m just a slacker. I was supposed to post this a week or two ago, but better late than never I always say. A writer friend of mine, Jenn M (@brewedbohemian on Twitter) who posts her brewed bohemian blog asked me to do a blog hop tour and answer some questions and pass the baton on to three more bloggers who are supposed to do the same. Jenn’s blog has all kinds of cool stuff about writing, and her culinary adventures about beers, coffees, tea,food and other assorted topics. You can read some of her excellent poetry and flash fiction there as well. She is a very talented wordsmith and I’m looking forward to reading some of her longer fiction that she is currently working on. I met Jenn at ConDFW a couple of years ago when I was there as a guest author and she became one of my first big fans of my writing.

1) What am I working on?

A lot of things. I’m writing a short story for a horror anthology that John Manning is producing, and  another story for Michael H. Hanson’s Sha’Daa shared world anthology series. I’m workimg on a story for a space opera shared world anthology called Not to Yield that Michael Hanson, Ed McKeown and I are collaborating on with several other writers. Janet Morris and Chris Morris are putting together a heroic fantasy anthology that I plan on writing something to be submitted but I have only gotten into the early brain storming stage on that.  I have three novels in progress that I go back and forth working on from time to time when I figure out what’s supposed to happen next. One of these is dark fantasy/sword & sorcery, another is a sort of light, funny (hopefully) adventure fantasy, and a paranormal romance, just to see if I can write in that genre and because well, they sell like hotcakes and I really could use the money. I really want to get my first novel done and on the market. I’m always working out ideas and characters for the next Heroes in Hell shared universe anthology. Poets in Hell comes out this June, and the next book we are working on to be released in 2015 is Doctors in Hell, which should be as much fun or more to do than any of the other books I have stories in. I still don’t know who my character doctors will be. We use real figures from history and fictionalize them for the stories which all take place in hell in all it’s myriad forms and from all the myths and religions of the world. I do know that my recurring characters, Anton LaVey and Guy Fawkes will be in the story, getting into more trouble as always. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately, some of it specifically of a piratical theme for the performing group The Seadog Slam that I was asked to join earlier this year. We also put on a Steampunk show every month and so I’ve been composing some things in that vein as well.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmmm. Well, other than when I’m submitting to a genre specific anthology I really don’t write specific to a certain genre. But I’d say that my work tends to blend  irreverent humor with dark subject matter and has a certain snarkiness to it that defines my writing. With my poetry I tend to do a lot of free verse, although I do sometimes have some rhyming verse.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s fun! As I mentioned above I tend to write darker stuff, but with a certain amount of tongue in cheek humor to lighten the mood. I grew up reading pretty much everything I could get me hands on, but Science fiction, fantasy, sword & sorcery and  horror, were my mainstays of entertainment reading and still are. I like to write what I read. I figure I know these genres like the back of my hand so they come naturally to me as a writer. Now, the exception to this is the paranormal romance novel I mentioned. I want to challenge myself to get outside my comfort zone and see what I can do with this. I need to do some more reading of the genre I think to get a better grasp of how thing are supposed to work. Although I’m sure I’ll break a lot of the rules and standard tropes that paranormal romances tend to employ.

4) How does your writing process work?

My writing process is described as sporadic at best. I usually start with a kernel of an idea, maybe I know the general plot premise, or who the main character or characters are, and then have to build a story around that. Often I know how a story will begin and end, very early on. The middle bit is what stumps me a lot of the time. Sometimes the process doesn’t work at all. Some days I just can’t get my head into the characters, or they aren’t speaking to me to tell me what they are going to do or say next. I get frustrated at this, but it is an inevitable part of a writer’s life. I keep a lot of stories going all the time, so if I can’t figure out what I am doing in one of them, I have plenty of others to work on that hopefully I will be able to make progress on. Some days I am just too mentally drained to write at all. I put a lot of emotional and mental energy into my writing. It can be exhausting drawing that out of myself and into the story or poem.  And sometimes what I’m writing doesn’t feel right and I have to change things or even start all over again until it resonates with me more completely.

Picking up the Blog Hop Tour baton and posting answers to these questions next is Jessica Scott, a writer whose poetry and prose I have only just recently gotten to enjoy. She is an awesome writer and her work is very emotionally evocative. Also I think the title for her blog is so cool. Here is her info:

Jessica Scott is a Texas native, born in Tulia, Tx and raised in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She’s just beginning her writing journey, though she’s been writing since high school. Her focus is mostly poetry but she is currently working on some story ideas. She writes often on her blog, The Lunatic, the Lover, & the Poet at peaseblossym.wordpress.com where she shares some of her poetry, stories, and thoughts.

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Don’t Fear the Dark, or Support Indie Artists!

“Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.”
– Lao Tzu

Hey everyone! Thanks for checking out this latest episode of blogging from The Short Pale Writer in the Long Black Coat. It has been a busy weekend indeed.

Yesterday I attended the monthly meeting of the North Texas Dieselpunks which included a presentation on the art and architecture of ancient Egypt and its influence on the Art Deco style of the early to mid 20th century and its connection with the Dieselpunk movement. Larry and Tina Amyett did a wonderful and informative slide show presentation that included many excellent images and photographs.

Saturday night I had the honor of being interviewed by one of my biggest fans and supporters, Jenn M who writes a blog called Brewed Bohemian. We sat down at a little place called Roots Coffee House. She was kind enough to buy me a cup of tea and I chose the loose leaf Earl Grey which was excellent. It was the first time I have been interviewed in person and it was a wonderful experience. There were some great questions and I know I rambled on through a lot of my answers, but Jenn was very patient and attentive with me. She also bought a copy of the anthology Rogues in Hell that I signed  for her. Thanks for supporting the series! Kudos to her for asking me to do this interview. We are also going to work together presenting a couple of discussion panels at All-Con in March, so I look forward to collaborating with her on that.

Something I have been trying to help promote and lend a little support to lately is an independent short film called The Dark Man. From the website: “The Dark Man explores the metaphysical relationship between time and love. As the second hand ticks ever onward, Daniel sees the life he made for himself with his wife slipping from his grasp. From the shadows of Daniel’s ruin, a black figure, a Dark Man, bearing an enigmatic timepiece emerges.” It is being written and directed by Tim Stevens, who I met at FenCon last year through a mutual friend, Darwin Prophet, whose music video for the song Don’t Panic was directed and shot by Tim. The Dark Man is a project being done by students at the University of North Texas as part of their undergraduate degree. The film crew also includes producer Sarah Wagner, director of photography, Tyler Burns, and editor Joey McCleskey. They have a Kickstarter fundraiser going to raise much-needed money to pay for things the University can’t provide, like food for the cast and crew, equipment rental fees, and entry fees to film festivals once the movie is completed. Check out the Kickstarter page here for more information about the project and on contributing to the film. Every bit helps so if you can donate even as little as $10 it will go toward them reaching their goal. You will get behind the scenes updates on the making of the film and there are a lot more perks available based on the amount you contribute. If you can’t lend your monetary support, at least please help get the word out about the film, by sharing the page with your friends and family. I like to do what I can for Independent artists, film makers, musicians, and writers, because as a writer myself, I appreciate what it takes to undertake these creative endeavors. Taking a story and making a film out of it involves a whole other level of complexity and planning than anything I have myself attempted to date.

And In the area of indie musicians, Christopher Morris makes some awesome music . His Soundcloud webpage is here. You can listen to some of his wonderful music there, and you can buy the music from his album Everybody Knows, at Amazon. His blend of jazz, rock and fusion will leave you in seventh heaven. His silky smooth vocals and articulate guitar work are amazing.

I attended the bi-monthly meeting of the Writers Circle at the Bedford Public Library today and had one of my poems critiqued. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately, maybe because I’ve been trying to express myself with a lot of emotional things that have been going on in my life and the lives of friends. It feels good to pen lines of verse again. It has been years since I’ve written this many poems, and there was a time when I thought I might never write poetry again. It seems to act to free my mind and sooth my soul and opens up other doors of creativity. I’m still struggling a bit with getting prose stories completed, so I hope this will help get the flow of inspiration moving once more. Until next time, keep the creativity flowing and stay inspired friends.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite”

 -William Blake

A New Year of Unlimited Possibilities or, Write or Die!

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”
-Kahlil Gibran

It’s 2013 and no time to rest on my laurels. This proves to be a busy year for writing. I just need to get my head into these stories so I can get the words down. This always seems to be the biggest stumbling block for me as a writer. It’s not so much of a writers’ block as the ideas are there, it’s just hard sometimes to get in the right frame of mind to get the words to come out to reflect what I’m feeling needs to be in the story. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately and I’m just not sure why. I have this obsession with the ideas of where creativity and inspiration come from, and how we harness them to write, create art, music, etc. I recently picked up a book, “The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain” by Alice W. Flaherty that is a fascinating study both scientifically and philosophically of these concepts. I’m hoping it will give me some insight into my own creative processes and how to better channel them into my writing.

On a really cool note, here is something that I think you all will enjoy: the audio book of  the Sacred Band tale, “Wake of the Riddler” by Janet Morris, and narrated by Alex Hyde-White, available from Audible at Amazon.com. Excellent story and outstanding narration make this short story from the book, “The Fish, the Fighters, and the Song-Girl” a must have for fans of The Sacred Band, and readers new to the series, even. There is a free sample of part of the story narration at the link to the audio book that you should really check out.

Something else going on in 2013; I have been confirmed as a guest author panelist at ConDFW, February 15th-17th and All-Con, March 8th-10th. Both conventions are in Dallas, Texas and are shaping up to be better than ever this year, with a big line-up of guests and events. If you are in the area those weekends you should attend. You will not be disappointed. The convention directors at All-Con let panelists create their own topics for discussion, and I came up with a panel about the source of creativity that will include a flash fiction writing exercise. I am also doing a panel on dark fantasy and horror genres in writing that will cover their similarities and differences and some examples of both. I’m bringing on board some fellow writers and friends of mine, JennM,  Joan Fritz, and others to help me with these topics. Check out Jenn M’s blog here at  Brewed Bohemian.

That’s about all for now folks. Thanks for tuning in. I’m committed to keeping to this weekly blog  schedule like I said I would, even if some of these posts may be short and sweet, like me. Heh, heh. I’ll leave you with another fun and spiffy quote:

“A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view, a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.”

-Junot Diaz