Tag Cloudagent Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award American Horror Story anthology authonomy awful library books based on a true story beginnings Bethany Caleb Blood Countess book reviews Cabin Fever Camp Nanowrimo characterization Christopher Pike circus cliches computers suck cover art crafts cusswords download dreams Dreamwalkers ebooks finished draft first draft formatting formulas FREE! Ghosts of Circus Past Halloween happy dance Hitchhikers horror horror movies inner editor inspiration lost to the computer gods manuscript request! Mistaken Identity Nanowrimo nostalgia Nostradamus Project outlines procrastination publication! query process reading recovered computer files rejection RenFaire resolutions rewrites rumors Scavengers Secret Diary self-publishing sequels sewing short story slutty new ideas Smashwords synopsis The Abandoned The Art Kids The Promise The Thing About the Truth The Wolven word count work in progress writer's block writing group writing process zombies
I am finally getting down to the nitty-gritty on finalizing the print edition of Hitchhikers. I’ve got 3 proof copies to give away so I am offering them up on Goodreads.
The issues were mostly with my cover: I wanted the background image to wrap around to the back, and to have that black stripe across the front meet the spine edge, so that took a couple of tries. Then in my second attempt I realized I had forgotten to put my last name on the spine, and also that in the book text I had left the first print edition date as being October 2013. Once I’d changed all of that, I found that I still had page numbering issues. BUT – it will definitely be ready to go by Feb. 1!
In other news, I’ve just gotten Kayla out of a bad situation in Dreamwalkers and I’ve been better this week about my 500-words per day goal. Hopefully by Feb. 1 I’ll have a first draft finished and ready for revision!
I figured I’d update my word count over on the Dreamwalkers page, just to keep track of how well I’m doing on my resolution of writing 500 words a day. Unfortunately, this forces me to acknowledge that I’ve only written 1,679 words this year when I should be up around 6,000. I managed to write about 1,000 words on the 5th, and a little over 500 words yesterday. Which means I’ve only written for about 3 days out of the year thus far.
I’m going to keep trying. A couple of things popped up this week, but honestly, they shouldn’t have stopped me from writing.
I’m considering buying Scrivener. I tried the free trial last year and I did like it, although it had a lot more bells and whistles than I’m used to when I’m writing. Sometimes the effort of turning on my laptop and opening a document makes me want to write longhand. But it does have a feature where it will keep track of daily word count.
I will keep trying. Got my Word document open now. I can do this.
I’m now reading Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and it has made me realize: I love a book with a soundtrack. I have created soundtracks for several of my novels – those are more or less my writing soundtracks or songs that make me think of my story. Occasionally I find an author who also does this, but I just love it when they talk about music in books.
My all-time favorite book with a soundtrack is one of my all-time favorite books: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In the story, Charlie creates a mix tape for his friend Patrick which includes these songs:
- Asleep by The Smiths
- Vapour Trail by Ride
- Scarborough Fair – Simon & Garfunkel
- A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum
- Time of No Reply – Nick Drake
- Dear Prudence – The Beatles
- Gypsy – Suzanne Vega
- Night in White Satin – Moody Blues
- Daydream – Smashing Pumpkins
- Dusk – Genesis
- MLK – U2
- Blackbird – The Beatles
- Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
- Asleep – The Smiths (again!)
This is the one book soundtrack that I have downloaded all the songs, burned to CD, and listened to in my car over and over again. I’ve also burned copies of the CD and given it to my friends along with a copy of the book telling them, “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK.”
I got really into The Smiths after first hearing “Asleep.” Ditto Nick Drake. I already liked the oldies on the list: “Scarborough Fair,” “Nights in White Satin,” “Landslide,” “Blackbird” – and was at the point where they were sort of ho-hum if not downright cheesy, but in this mix they fit perfectly. I’d only ever heard “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega – and now I love “Gypsy” more.
The mix is a little melancholy and mellow, which totally fits the story.
The movie soundtrack, on the other hand, is much more upbeat and only uses “Asleep” from the book soundtrack:
- It Could Be Another Change – The Samples
- Come On Eileen - Dexy’s Midnight Runners
- Tugboat - Galaxy 500
- Temptation - New Order
- Evensong - The Innocence Mission
- Asleep - The Smiths
- Low - Cracker
- Teenage Riot - Sonic Youth
- Dear God - XTC
- Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops - Cocteau Twins
- Charlie’s Last Letter - Michael Brook
- Heroes - David Bowie
I absolutely love the Samples song. Never heard it before but just loved it and how it had that retro feel the book had. I also like “Heroes” and I’ll stick in how I came to love Imagine Dragons (whose song was featured in the trailer). ”Come on Eileen” is a good song, although it didn’t really fit the feel of the book to me. I never really liked the song “Low” and just didn’t fit for me either. The rest were sort of meh. Except, of course, “Asleep.” Which I just couldn’t believe was the ONLY song they’d used from the book in the movie. I mean, none of the other songs were used even in the background?
The soundtrack was just one of the things I loved about the book. There’s also a great reading list, and the story is one of those that can be read and re-read (and I don’t usually re-read books!) and it never seems to lose its potency or relevance.
Yet another haunted house tale “based on true events.” Is this any closer to the truth than The Amityville Horror? What makes the true story behind this movie kind of cool is that the house was examined by Ed and Lorraine Warren, the ghosthunters whose story is told in the movie “The Conjuring.”
What is true:
- A family moved into a house in Connecticut in order to be closer to the hospital for their son’s cancer treatments.
- The house was formerly a funeral home.
- The morticians of said funeral home were reportedly involved in necromancy.
- The family reported smelling foul odors, like rotting flesh and excrement.
- Lorraine Warren reported hearing the sound of a chain rattling (in the space in the house where coffins were raised and lowered between floors). Other members of the team also reported cold spots and visions.
- The family reported that their son’s demeanor changed from “preppy” to more Goth (wearing dark clothes, writing dark poetry, etc.).
- A priest was called in to “exorcise” the house.
What is not true:
- The house did not burn down.
- No corpses were found in the walls.
- The son was not possessed at any point.
The verdict? The movie takes the true haunting and invents a Hollywood climax. Unfortunately, it’s hard for a movie to relay the creepiness of an old house and cold spots. While the son was not “possessed,” living in the house did seem to change him, although the changes could also be attributed to going through cancer treatments or just normal teenage behavior.
Side note: The “sequel,” The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, has literally nothing to do with this movie. Although it might be fodder for another “based on a true story” post!
This year’s resolution is to write 500 words a day – that’s 1/3 of what I normally churn out a day during Nanowrimo, which makes it much more attainable. I have several other writing-related goals for 2014:
- to finish and publish Dreamwalkers
- to finalize the print edition of Hitchhikers and offer a giveaway or two
- (if goal #1 happens) to finish and publish Scavengers
- and to possibly finish some of my other works-in-progress, including Blood Countess and another new WIP that I haven’t even added to the site yet!
So far, on this the 5th day of the new year, I am only now sitting down to write. It was sort of excusable for me not to be writing, given that on the 1st I was traveling, had to work on the 2nd-4th which included a blizzard. But I probably could have written. And I didn’t. Not good! I am vowing to catch up! Which means putting my “Teen Wolf” marathon on hold for the moment…
My other, non-writing-related goals:
- be able to do a handstand away from the wall and hold for 10 seconds (I am close to being able to hold it next to the wall, the next step is to move away!)
- be able to do more than 3 straddle ups in a row (in aerial silks)
- practice yoga more often
- read down my Goodreads to-read list (currently I have 148 books “to-read” which is kind of ridiculous)
- sew more of my own clothes
In general I want to live the lifestyle that makes me happy. When I’m not writing I get grumpy. I want to be able to do things and not get bogged down in mindless activities like playing Candy Crush Saga or feeling like I “have” to do certain things. I enjoy my alone time and I need to allow myself to have time for myself. My writing will hopefully benefit most from it!
In a major procrastinatory event, I decided to make a spreadsheet to see how many copies of Bethany Caleb, The Art Kids, and Hitchhikers have been downloaded or sold. Even though I’d been checking the various reports on Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords, I was amazed by the results!
- 101 copies of Bethany Caleb
- over 200 copies of The Art Kids
- 825 copies of Hitchhikers – WHAT!!!
If you didn’t read my post comparing KDP and Smashwords, I think these totals say it all. Bethany Caleb and The Art Kids are only available on Amazon, which accounts for a little less than half of the total downloads of Hitchhikers, which I published via Smashwords, making it available to ebook outlets such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Sony. Barnes & Noble is a biggie. Granted, Hitchhikers was free for all of 2013 and the other two were only free for approximately 15 days scattered throughout.
Although, if you look at “royalties” rather than downloads (e.g. when people actually paid money for my work!):
- 6 copies of Bethany Caleb
- 21 copies of The Art Kids
- 3 copies of Hitchhikers
For me, it isn’t really about earning money at this point. I just like knowing that somewhere out there, people are reading my work.
“Based on true events.” Today we’ll look at this oft-used tagline for horror movies to examine the truth behind the shark attack movie “Open Water.”
What is true:
- In 1998, a couple (Tom and Eileen Lonergan) went scuba diving and did not return because the boat crew did not take an accurate headcount.
- They were discovered to be missing when a bag of their belongings was found on the boat.
- Some of their gear washed up on shore.
- Sometimes weird things are found in shark bellies.
What is not true:
- No camera containing photos of the missing couple was found in a shark belly.
- There is no evidence to suggest that the couple was eaten by sharks.
As with most other horror movies “based on a true story,” Open Water takes a true situation and imagines the most horrific possibility. Most of the film deals with the emotions of a troubled couple (in the movie, the couple is just frustrated that they can’t spend enough time together; in real life, the diaries revealed that the husband had a “death wish”) as they realize they are stranded and most likely won’t be saved.
The verdict? The emotional truth is very likely close to what actually happened. It is a horrific situation, even without the sharks. Personally, any water where I can’t see the bottom makes me nervous, so the idea of being stranded out in open water like this freaks me out!