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And just as I was feeling better...

I get the next rejection slip.

Seems to be the right time for :

Stolen from rahirah:

What’s the last thing you wrote?
Finished? A review for Outlaw Country, a pretty decent collection. Fiction? I haven't finished anything in a while. Been working on Book Two, haven't touched Book Three; I never finished my NaNo entry once I got past the 50,000 word mark.

Was it any good?
The review? Pretty decent. I sometimes am very pleased with the way I string words together.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
I'm not sure... I'd have to look through my stuff and see what's still around. I finally knuckled down and threw out a lot of old crap. I keep a lot of the information I want to keep up my head.

Write poetry?
Nope. I suck horribly at poetry. I have TRIED, but it really sucks.

Angsty poetry?
Nope, not even that.

Most fun character you ever wrote?
I'm not sure. I had a lot of fun with an elf named Many Faces; but I've had so many and enjoyed 'em all in one way or another - I'd say currently it's Cody, probably, or her big sister Liz.

Most annoying character you ever wrote?
Oh, any of the old Mary-Sues I went through in high school and college; probably Flamedancer.

Best plot you ever wrote?
Unfortunately, I'm not overwhelmed with plotiness. I'm hoping it's Ring of Fire. Going back, I had a great long-term plot involving war, political intrigue, some token torture, etc., etc., back in my Duelmaster days; I was really proud of a lot of those stories.

Coolest plot twist you ever wrote?
I know I did a few pretty cool ones for Duelmasters; I have a few, I hope, hiding in my books.

How often do you get writer’s block?
Not very much, really; I write almost constantly, but what I have problems with is time to transcribe it from my head onto the page, and lately I've been doing little but editing. All the time.

How do you fix it?
Well, for a while I didn't write anything at all, I played a lot of computer games and dicked around, and then, WHAM, it came back.

Do you type or write by hand?
I haven't written a story longhand since I was in grade school. I've been typing them since I used to hunt-and-peck on my Dad's old electric/manual (the keyboard was electric, but the carriage return was manual - I still have that old sucker somewhere). (For the record, the last time I was tested, I now type something like 98 WPM.)

Do you save everything you write?
I used to, but I went through a couple of "get rid of it all" phases - the biggest was during the aforementioned writer's block, which was caused when my computer crashed and I lost EVERYTHING - all my WIPs and everything else, character sheets, questionnaires, everything. It was all gone, and so was my inspiration. Took a long time to get that back. I still have a lot of hard copy of stuff I liked well enough that I "might adapt it" someday.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Once in a while.

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written?
So far, I think, Ring of Fire, if only because it's a fully completed novel, the first I ever did (I've finished others, but not to the point where I believed in it enough to keep submitting it).

What’s everyone else’s favorite thing that you’ve written?
Nobody reads my work. At least I had an audience back when I wrote Duelmasters fiction. It may have been work-for-hire hastily written, unedited, un-beta-d, first-draft fantasy drek, but I had FANS.

Do you ever show people your work?
I've been trying!

Who’s your favorite constructive critic?
kehf has been indispensable; I like a reader who can give me good ideas even when I don't agree with everything that's brought up. I also have some very good readers in a writer's critic email group I belong to.

Did you ever write a novel?
Several, although Ring of Fire and its sequels (and prequels) have more to them, I think.

Have you ever written fantasy, sci-fi, or horror?
That's about all I write (fiction, anyway0.

Ever written romance or teen angsty drama?
It's fantasy romance, a lot of it. Certainly Ring of Fire is a romance.

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Military action, probably. I just don't see me doing that. (Although I DID thoroughly research Navy SEALs for one finished "novel," something I might someday go back to. But that's a werewolf novel.)

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
The two Ring of Fire sequels, and some related stories.

Do you want to write for a living?
Not so much "make a living" at it, because I know how hard that is, but I would dearly love to find readers for my work. Right now I'm writing in a vacuum, and while I do love writing for myself, I want an audience - not just friends who read out of a sense of obligation or just out of friendship, but people who read it because they enjoy it, like I did when I wrote for Duelmasters. I also don't know if I could ever really "make a living" as a writer, because I totally suck at selling myself.

Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?
I write reviews for about.com, I wrote them also for takecountryback.com and a few articles for various music websites; I was just approached by the new editor of Roughstock.com, too. I wrote the above-mentioned fantasy-for-hire for about eight years or so. Not sure if fanzines count, but if so, there was "Tales of the Tower" and "Tales of the Tai-Pan," as well.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Ring of Fire won second place in the 2005 Southwest Writers Contest, in the fantasy/horror novel category. (It was even a cash prize.) So far I seem to be resting on those laurels.

Ever written something in script or play format?
While dialog is one of my strengths, I've never been able to formulate it into a play.

What is your favorite word?
Judging by some of the things I've gone over, I'd say "twisted" appears to be one!

Do you ever write based on yourself?
I had the usual "elf-character-based-on-me," who I wrote a lot of my horrible late-teen and early-twenties angst through (and heaped on, poor thing); now I can just see parts of myself in my characters, I know where they come from within me. Matt has my temper, Cody my ideals, Sean Patrick the best parts of me, etc., etc.

Which of your characters most resembles you?
Copper, physically.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?
Sean Patrick developed from a character sheet for Vampire: The Masquerade. It took him about ten minutes to become fully fleshed from that first gaming session. The rest of his family appeared quickly as I needed them. Cody grew out of her name; Della I knew before her name came to me. Raif came from Duelmasters, his buddy Jack just appeared one afternoon. Carlos appears to have always been there. And Westwind? Well, he still maintains he's real, I just transcribe his adventures when he has time to tell them to me...

Do you ever write based on your dreams?
I sometimes wish I COULD, but I never remember them in enough clarity.

Do you prefer happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
I'm a happy-endings sort of person, but because I'm at heart a long-term serial writer, "happy" just depends on where I STOP.

Have you ever written anything based on an artwork you’ve seen?
That was actually one of the very first things I ever wrote. I had an English teacher who showed us slides and told us to write something based on one we liked. I remember writing it, liking it, and getting a big, fat A+ on it, but over the years I lost it. I can vaguely remember the slide, it was something crystalline and futuristic looking. This was in 7th grade.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Yes, can't help it.

Ever write something entirely in chatspeak?
No. What is it?

Does music help you write?
Yes. I write while watching TV, which I know confounds a lot of people.

Are people surprised and confused when they find out you write well?
No; mostly they seem to be impressed, like I'm able to make gold from lead, or something (at least, people out the real world... except my mother, who greeted my win at the SWW with a "oh, that's nice, but your cousin Brooke just earned her Master's from Harvard." *sigh*).

Quote something you’ve written:

The hitchhiker appeared so suddenly, just a pale face in the darkness, that Paul barely registered the sight before he was speeding past. It took him a second before he tapped the brakes and pulled to the side. He was about to throw his Camaro into reverse when the passenger door opened. “God, thank you for stopping,” said a strained Southern drawl.

Paul watched the man slowly fold his tall, skinny frame into the passenger seat. “Any time. It’s a long way to L.A., and you look like a couple miles of bad road.” In the Southwest, thin ribbons of highway stretched like bridges over endless miles of empty, brutal desert, connecting islands of civilization. It was condemning someone to hell to make them walk it, and only someone in trouble would be hitchhiking out here in the middle of the night.

“Well, thank you, mister. I can’t thank you enough.”

Paul put the car back in gear, looking sideways at his passenger. He was young, maybe twenty or so, and had a starved look to his face, although his full-length heavy leather coat must have cost a pretty penny. His hair was unfashionably long, curling in untidy waves around sharp features, with sideburns that reached his jaw line. He sat stiffly, as though he were in pain, holding his right leg at an awkward angle. “So where you headed?” Paul asked.

The stranger started. “Oh. Sorry. Burbank, eventually. But I’d be mighty grateful if you’d drop me off at Primm. I got a friend waitin’ there for me.” He blinked at the dashboard a few times, rubbed his long hands together, and said, “Sorry. Don’t know where my manners are. I’m Sean Patrick O’Connor.”

“No problem. I’m Paul Rodgers.” He reached out a hand which was gripped in a good, strong shake.

“Thanks again for the ride, Mr. Rodgers,” said O’Connor. Polite.

“Call me Paul. I always feel like I have to welcome you to my neighborhood when people call me Mister.”

O’Connor laughed a little, a dry sound with only a ghost of mirth in it. “All righty, then, Paul.”

“Sean, is it? Where you coming from? Vegas?”

“Sean Patrick, please. I’ve always gone by both names. Yeah. I was in Vegas.” He rubbed his forehead, then leaned his head back against the seat. There was something oddly familiar about him Paul couldn’t quite place. He chewed absently on the inside of his lip as O’Connor continued, “It didn’t turn out to be quite the vacation I was hoping for.”

“How the hell’d you get so far out here on your own?” asked Paul. He looked at his passenger, trying to remember where he’d seen him before, when O’Connor turned toward him.

Paul yelped in surprise as O’Connor’s eyes changed from dark brown to a weird gold color, glowing from inside as though a fire had been lit inside of his skull. He could almost hear, inside his head, O’Connor’s voice telling him to pull over, to sleep, to forget, but Paul fought the mental suggestion. He jerked away, the Camaro careening across the fast lane and onto the left shoulder before he overcorrected and shot back to the right.

O’Connor was next to him, glowing eyes brighter than the radio on the dash, trying to hold Paul’s gaze, still commanding in that mental voice.

Paul shoved at him. “Jesus H. Christ! What the FUCK are you?” he managed, as they both struggled for the wheel.

The Camaro bounced off the right side of the road, sending dust flying into the Nevada sky. They bounced several feet off the asphalt, down a slight dip away from the road, and through the brush to screech into a barbed-wire fence at the bottom. The barbs squealed as they scraped deep gouges in the car.

“Stop, stop,” O’Connor was saying, holding the wheel steady as Paul struggled. “I won’t hurt you.”

“Get the fuck away from me!” shouted Paul. He started to struggle with the door handle, even as O’Connor had the presence of mind to put the Camaro into park. He reached past Paul to hold the door shut.

“Listen to me. I won’t hurt you,” repeated O’Connor. His eyes were still glowing. His open lips revealed fangs that looked about two inches long. Paul shrank back against the door of his car, trying to get as far away as he could, still fumbling with the handle.

“Vampires aren’t real,” Paul said, staring at the fangs.

O’Connor drew slowly back. He was panting a little, his tongue held on the flat teeth between the fangs. “I’m sorry, Paul. I didn’t realize you couldn’t be hypnotized.”

Paul scrambled to get his pistol out from under the seat as he pushed the door open behind him, falling backward onto the desert sand. He got away but O’Connor followed, still stiff but fast, faster than Paul could go. One long-fingered hand grabbed at his shirt, but Paul kicked as hard as he could, connecting with O’Connor’s chest. To his surprise, O’Connor gasped in pain and let go. Paul scrambled up and ran. Before he got three feet, O’Connor was in front of him. Paul froze.

“Listen to me, Paul,” O’Connor said, holding his hands up, palms out. “I swear, I won’t hurt you.”

Paul had seen pseudo-scientific studies which said magic was real, that it had been driven underground long ago by the Christian church. They hadn’t been talking about weirdo new age shit with tree-hugging nude dancing, but real magic, a real science which affected real things. Ghosts. Werewolves. Spirits. And vampires.

Sporadic late-night traffic sped past on I-15 above. They were hidden from the freeway by the slight depression they’d driven into and the scrubby chaparral. Even the glow of the Camaro’s headlights, shining down the line of the wire fence, wasn’t noticeable when driving by at eighty miles an hour. Paul shoved the barrel of his gun into O’Connor’s stomach.

The vampire jerked back in surprise, holding his hands up. “Jesus,” he muttered.

“Oh, yeah, like a vampire can say that,” said Paul, starting to feel relaxed as his world view shifted back into place. It had to be a fake-out. “Okay. The special effects are great. I don’t know how you do it. But you’re afraid of the gun.”

O’Connor quirked a half-hearted smile. “Gunshots hurt,” he said simply, shrugging.



And now, I shall go off and see Dale Watson sing, and that should be a bit of a tonic for a troubled soul. Then I have to choose the next agent. I'm rather sorry; I had a good feeling about this one; now I seem to have run through both of the agents who said they were actively looking for stories like mine. Back to the drawing board.

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
nutmeg3
Apr. 23rd, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
Awww, I'm sorry to hear it. I hope the show is the tonic you need and want it to be (and I'm glad you found the $12).
wildrider
Apr. 23rd, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC)
It was indeed. Dale Watson does the BEST SHOW EVER. And he's such a nice, nice, NICE guy! He's always such a gentleman; he remembered me and then gave me a nice thanks from the stage for the reviews.

It's hard for those independent guys; he was telling me how the price of gas is taking its toll on them. No wonder so few of the Austin boys come out this way these days!
alankinna
Apr. 23rd, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
dream - recalling content - easy way - gadgetless
I visited your page and read...

"I just transcribe his adventures when he has time to tell them ..."

as well as reading your reply to a reader's questions re: dreams, content, etc.

You seem to imply knowing the difference between
a) immediate recall of dream content and
b) embellished or added onto dream content.

I'm no expert on either, but for the "a" a pad of paper with a string-attached pen by your bedside can serve you to scribble (in case your eyes are half closed) dream content even when you were groggy.

Again, no expert but "scientist" you can implement a recorder with which you are comfortable and groggily narrate a dream ... whenever.

That's that, and here's what I do www.VerbatimIT.com

Thanks for reading - whooo more than I had intended.
wildrider
Apr. 24th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
Re: dream - recalling content - easy way - gadgetless
I've tried "dream journals" - I can ever really remember enough to write down anything coherent (and even when it IS coherent, it doesn't really make for good fiction). The best one I had involved one of my characters, Raif, but it was a situation I couldn't really put him in, and the more I pondered it, the less I was able to retain.

I don't know if I'm meant to remember my dreams...

alankinna
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC)
Re: dream - recalling content - easy way - gadgetless
I guess the best thing is to (in a Noo Yawk accent)
just fageddabowdit
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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