Of Writers and Prose: A Writing Career Ten Years On.

This year marks ten years that I have been published. I started off with short stories and advanced to self-publish six novels. In the last decade I’ve seen a lot, learned a lot, written a lot. Much has changed, but much more has stayed the same. One thing that has changed drastically is my writing.

I realized this when I was putting together a teaser for my first novel, The Watchtower. I cringed as I re-read the first three pages. Back then, I thought it was good, and for that period of my life, it was. As the years went by, I knew my writing strength improved, but I didn’t want to take them down. I wanted people to see how my craft evolved over time. Writers don’t start off strong, it’s a muscle we learn to build and I wanted people to see mine; see how my craft progressed. Now, I’m not so sure.

It isn’t that I’m embarrassed about these books, I’m not, but I find they lack the creativity I have now, and as I don’t have any plans to self-publish again (at least not right away), as much as I want to keep them up, I also want to take them down. I suppose I could revise them; bring them up to today’s standard, but I have only a set amount of time I can write and I’d rather be focused on new projects than old ones. Especially as I have so many new ones. I don’t make a lot of money on them to start with, so that isn’t a factor.

There’s another point that has me thinking about this; ‘non-competition’ clause in some contracts. Quite frankly, I’m not sure what to make of it. I understand where it’s coming from, and I don’t think it should be a strike against an author if they do have self-published works, but it really comes off that way.   One thing is for sure, I’m glad for the experience that came with self-publishing and wouldn’t change my decisions, but now I’m looking forward to taking a different path with my career and I’m torn on whether or not to keep these novels up. This is a difficult decision, but one I think I have to make. I will keep you posted.

Movie Night: A look at the Oscars.

It’s that time again, folks. The Hollywood award season is in full swing, and it started with the Golden Globes on January 5. Next was the Critic’s Choice Awards (January 12), which is followed by The Screen Actors Guild Award (January 19), The BAFTA Awards (February 2, Graham Norton is hosting this and I’m going to try and watch if I can. I like him!), The Independent Spirit Awards (February 8), and last, but not least – the Oscars (February 9).

Now, I’m not going to trash anything. I write screenplays and I follow the community (loosely, I haven’t checked out #filmtwitter in a while), so I understand how hard it is to write these suckers. I love movies, and one day I’ll take a pic of all we have, and I know for a fact some of these are going to be on our buy list for 2020.

(NOTE: I originally posted this on Facebook the day the nominations came out.)

The nominations are:

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD: SERIOUSLY? I’m sorry, but we watched this one, and shut it off probably 3/4 of the way through. The only interesting thing about this movie, IMO, are the Sharon Tate/Charles Manson possible connection. Ugh, this means I have to try and sit through the WHOLE thing.

UPDATE: I’ve had a couple people tell me that we must have shut it off before the good part came on, so yeah, Hubby and I are going to re-watch this, BUT only from where we left off.

LITTLE WOMEN: I haven’t seen this adaptation, and to be honest, I wasn’t planning on it either. I’ve seen other adaptations, but I’ve heard that it’s very close to the book.

THE IRISHMAN: Not a mafia movie person and this one is 3 1/2 hours long.

MARRIAGE STORY: I heard A LOT of good things about this one, including the joke that it’s about Kylo Ren and the Black Widow getting a divorce.

THE JOKER: Another one I heard a lot of good things about, and bad. Very dark and I’m surprised it was nominated. Good for them.

PARASITE: Almost watched this on Netflx one night by myself. Now I have too. Another surprise as it’s a foreign film and probably subtitles. I don’t know how well Hubby likes to read his movies.

FORD vs FERRARI: I have a thing for car movies. I need to watch this one.

JOJO RABBIT: I had no idea what this movie was about and hadn’t even HEARD of it until now, so I looked it up. Interesting plot and considering everything going on in the US, this movie fits the times.

1917: I’m not sure if this one is based on actual events, and I’m not much of a war movie person either, but I liked HACKSAW RIDGE so maybe I can sit through this one too.

Okay, so here are my guesses as who the winner might be;

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood: No. He might have won at the Golden Globes, but the lineup for the Oscars is much more (for lack of a better word) high-class.

Little Women: Maybe. Period pieces seem to do well at the Oscars.

The Irishman: Maybe. Maybe if there weren’t more heart wrenching movies this nomination would be stronger.

Marriage Story: Yes. This is a story anyone can relate to.

The Joker: Yes. Gritty and dark, from what I’ve heard, this movie is more about mental illness that anything.

Parasite: Maybe, but in the last sixty years there has only been three foreign films (non-North American or British made) to win Best Picture.

Ford vs. Ferrari: No. I know I haven’t seen it, but I’m thinking it’s more of a hyped docu-drama.

Jojo Rabbit: Maybe. War time movies seem to be nominated quite a bit, but it could be the content is too comparable to what is happening in the US now.

1917: Maybe: It’s another war-time movie. I researched this movie, and the script was originally conceived from a story the directors grandfather told him.

I’ll probably change my opinion of them once I’ve seen them. Hopefully before Oscar night.

Have you seen any of these movies yet? Did you like them? Not like them?

Call for A Company of Writers Blog Series.

It’s been a while. Almost two years, but I’ve decided to start up my blog interview series again, starting in January of 2020.

If you didn’t know, a few years back I was actively engaged in promoting authors of all career paths by interviewing them or allowing them to post a small excerpt of their published work on my blog. I’ve had the pleasure of hosting some wonderful authors, and I really miss that, so I’ve decided it’s time to start it up again.

The Basics

You can be published either Self, Indie, or Tradition, and in any genre. I do one interview per month which goes live on the last Friday of the month. There are ten questions and an excerpt (optional). I try to make the interview as much about you and your work as I can, so put a much detail into the answers as possible. The excerpt (if you choose) must be no longer that 1,500 to 2,000 words. Also, I will need cover art and all social media links to you AND your book.

My goal is to promote only you, so if you’re part of a blog group or writing group, that’s wonderful, but I don’t want to promote them. I will have twelve spots open; from January to December. This means it’s a first-come-first-serve situation.

Please note:

I require all potential interviewee’s have their book available on both .mobi and epub formats. This means the public can purchase your ebook on either Amazon (.mobi) or Barns and Noble/iTunes/Kobo or any other outlet that deals with epub. If your book is print only that’s fine; everyone can hold a book, but not everyone has the same ereader.     

If you’re interested you can email me at the address below. Please include how you are published (Traditional, Indie, or Self), the name and genre of the book you wish to promote and several links to where your book can be found. I WILL BE CHECKING OUT ALL BOOK LINKS. This is just a reassurance for me that people of all ereader types can purchase your book.   

My email is darkewhispers69 (at) gmail (dot) com

I look forward to working with you.

We Do Not Die

(I found this on a witch Facebook group. I tweaked the original to make it more personal. The original is posted below.)

We Do Not Die

I do not stand at your grave and weep,

For you are not there; you do not sleep.

You are a thousand winds that blow,

You are the diamond glints on the snow,

You are the sunlight on the ripening grain,

You are the gentle autumn rain,

When I awake in the morning hush,

You are the swift uplifting rush,

Of singing birds in circled flight,

You are the stars that shine at night,

I do not stand at your grave and cry,

You are not there,

You did not die.

 

Samhain poem.

Welcome to my new distraction!

The title says it all.

What’s on the eReader: Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

TrailOfLightningBlurb: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

Publisher & Date: Saga Press, June 2018

Book Link: Trail Of Lightning; Rebecca Roanhorse

*****

Review:

This book was recommended to me by a friend in my writing group. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it; my taste in novels is very different from others in the group, but the Native American storyline really interested me.

I was grabbed by the first line of the novel, and by the end of the first chapter, I KNEW this story was not going to let me down. I was right. Just the viewpoint alone kept me reading; a story with so many Native references, by only disappointment was that I couldn’t pronounce the Native words. I’d love to hear what they sound like so I’ll be ready when I purchase the second book of the series (I so am).

I’m not going to go into detail about this story, that’s not my thing and the book blurb I put at the top pretty much sums it up. If you’re looking for something in UF that is definitely different, then I suggest you give this a try.

5 out of 5 stars.

A Wiccan Journey: Wicca; there’s an app for that.

AWiccanJourneyOne of the things I love about technology is all the apps. I am an app fanatic but my poor phone doesn’t care for them. It constantly reminds me that I have very little memory left and I’m afraid one more app might put it over the edge.

Some of my favourite apps are Wicca related. While these might seem a little useless, I use mine quite a bit especially when I’m out to purchase something. Apps are not a substitute for a good Book of Shadows or Grimoire, but a hectic schedule can cause one to forget, and since we all carry our phones with us to begin with, why not have apps that help us on our journey?

Screenshot1Apps come in all shapes, sizes and price range. Most are free and come with the annoying ads, but the idea of free apps falls into teaching and many believe that it is our duty to pass on to new practitioners, our knowledge and experience for no payment. This is most evident with covens, but it pertains to just about all aspects of Wicca. This is why you can find just about all the information you need on a particular path online through blogs and Wiccan sites. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Wiccans have to do things for free, on the contrary, but teaching and providing a service are two different things.

There are so many apps it can be a little overwhelming on what to choose. My advice; take it one at a time. No two apps are the same and some are definite you get what you pay for. If there’s a free and paid version, I would suggest going with the free first. See if it’s a right fit for you or gives you what you’re looking for. Sometimes apps can overlap, so you need to make sure the one you’re downloading isn’t a duplicate.

screenshot2

The one app I would love for someone to make, would be a blank or empty online Book of Shadows. Mine is such a mess, and I do so much on my computer to start with that having it online would be so much more useful and easier for me to access. I found one, but it wasn’t user friendly and Google sends me to sites where I can purchase physical ones. They are pretty, but not what I’m looking for. Maybe I’m asking for too much, but seriously, my handwriting sucks, but I know, one day there will be an app for that too. I just have to be patient (said no Aries ever).

Movie Night: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

IMBd Link:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1972591/

Rating: PG-13

Tagline: Raised on the streets. Born to be king. [This is the one I liked]

Genre:  Action/ Adventure/Drama

Synopsis:

Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.

 

***

Review:

First off let me say, this is a Guy Ritchie movie. Yeah, Madonna’s ex-husband, but don’t let that sway you. You’ve probably seen his stuff and you don’t even know it (both Sherlock films, The Man from U.N.C.L.E), so you probably have a good idea of his directing style-a lot of action with some incredible stunts. This movie is no different.

We’ve all seen the late Nigel Terry’s movie EXCALIBUR or perhaps the 2004 King Arthur with Clive Owen and Keira Knightly (I haven’t seen that one), so there is a bit of lore that one needs to follow for this story. I can assure you, even though this is a different take on that lore, it’s one that I found very interesting.

The tale of King Arthur is full of magic and honour but Ritchie takes it one step further by envisioning not only a story that sets itself apart from others, but makes Arthur more ‘real’ (for lack of a better word) for the time. Yes, it’s all well and fine to imagine the noble age of Knights and Kings, but not everyone lived that life, and here is where our hero is forged; not as a quire, but as a street-smart thief who ends up in his fair share of trouble.  It is this very trouble that sets him on the path to become King.

The mystical and magical elements in this movie are unique in their own right. Excalibur is more than a sword it is an amulet bound to Arthur’s bloodline; a secret that is not revealed until later. Arthur is crude, brash and far from honorable. He thrown into circumstances beyond his control he learns to be more than what his is, and rise to defend his people.

 

5 out of 5

Official Move Trailer:

 

Writing Update: February 16, 2018.

writingupdateChapters: 13

Word count: 77,552

First Draft Deadline: March 31/2018

Well, so far so good. I’ve managed to keep to my schedule and have written at least 1k every day. Some days it’s less, other days it’s more. Days I have long work shifts I rarely write as I’m in no mood to by the time I get home. This isn’t a problem for me as my shifts are far between and I get more than enough time to make up for the days I work.

I’ve focused on one novel; SURVIVAL RULES. I want this done by spring so I can revise and get it ready for pitches come summer. I’m still having difficulty finding a beta reader. I think it’s the whole zombie thing that puts people off. I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (so to speak), and I did find one person, but it’s still early and most times the understanding of swapping manuscripts ends by the second chapter. Apart from finding a paid beta (if you know of any who can handle this genre, let me know) I’m stuck. I’m told I’m a strong writer, but I need that second pair of eyes.

I’m about 2/3 through the story. Everyone understands what’s going on and their main goal is to survive. I’ve killed off one of the original characters; original as in the first group the MC was a part of. I plan on killing off another in this chapter and a third later on. As for secondary kills, just one so far and there have been about four secondary character kills. Overall, I don’t think that’s too bad. I changed who I would kill off for this chapter. I wanted this death to not only reveal a key element about the zombies (which I can carry over into the other novels), but it has to have an impact, and not done just for shock value. The first death brought up that no-one is safe. The other two secondary character deaths will drive the MC on her journey. This death will set her on a quest; a journey that won’t be resolved until the last book.

Looking at that word count-it’s scary. This could easily be a 100k novel. I’ll probably lose words during revisions, but not by much. Maybe 10k or so.  I *am* a strong writer. I don’t add paragraphs of info dump or backstory. I also don’t go on and on about their day or describe things to no end. Maybe the reason I’m so worked up about this number is because of the other zombie novels I’ve read. They’ve all been the first book of a series so if it was a long novel, naturally they break them up. It follows that whole more content=more money bullshit (there’s a blog post idea). Personally, I HATE it when I’m left hanging, especially when the main plot hasn’t come to a resolved or satisfactory ending, which happened in most of the novels I read. I’ll probably complain about this in future updates, but just bear with me.

Until next month . . .

Adventures in Restaurants: Theatre Food.

RestaurantLogoRemember when you were a kid and the snack bar in theatre’s was limited to pop, popcorn and candy? The concession stand was always a fun place because it was full with all the crap your parents never bought when they went shopping. Every possible candy item, popcorn and soda was right before your eyes, and choosing what you wanted was always the hardest part for me. Sure, popcorn was a must, but the sky was the limit for the rest.

Drive-In’s were always different. More of an adventure and you got a wider choice of food items. Now we had hot-dogs, fries, hamburgers; geez, it was like barbequing in the back yard. Dinner and a movie! At the drive-in here, they have pizza. Floored me the first time I saw that. Who needs to go to a restaurant when you can eat at the drive-in!

The simple days of theatre food are gone, my friends. We went to see the movies on the weekend and the whole thing was an adventure in over-abundance. Huge bags of popcorn, large-sized drinks, and if you get a combo you can tack on a bag of candy. That’s just at the concession stand.

Our local Cineplex has the regular snack food; popcorn, drinks, candy, but a few other options as well. There’s one stand where you can purchase wraps, sandwiches, premium nachos and hot dogs. If you’re really hungry you can turn it into a meal by adding fries, sweet potato fries or poutine along with a drink (soda). Oh, it gets better. Don’t like regular popcorn? No problem! Now you have a variety of flavours to choose from; cheddar, sour cream and chive, garlic parmesan, all dressed (ew), jalapeño and cheese, caramel corn, kettle corn, chocolate-drizzle caramel, Chicago Mix (?), and rainbow(?). But wait! There’s more! If you don’t care for all that ‘junk food’, and want a somewhat healthier alternative, why not try some frozen yogurt or a smoothie! Top your yogurt with either fruit or sweets.

I told my mother about the variety and her only reply was . . .

“What happened to just having ordinary popcorn?”

Yes, what indeed. I’ve yet to try anything outside of the normal, but one day who knows?

 

Does your theatre offer more than just the usual fare? What do you think of all the extras?

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