Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In a quiet space of time

We daydream when we're driving, right? The radio's on and sometimes a song draws us in; sometimes the music is just a rhythm in the background of our thoughts. It's a bit of space in the day when we're not doing work and chores, attending meetings, handling phone calls.

Then we pull into the gas station, where sun shines off the pumps and the few decorative trees shiver a bit in the light wind. A landscaping truck is pulled beside the air pump; men stand about and talk. A white-haired woman holds her cash card, hesitant before fitting it to the slot. Pumping gas: a few minutes of stillness, a moment to let the world around sink in while there's nothing else to do.

Except now, when I open my door, I'm blasted with talk. Gas station TVs, commercials talking at me, media overload, loud voices crashing over the vibration of leaves.

I do not like this innovation.

The men who lean against the truck, cross their legs comfortably and laugh with each other. They're far enough away not to hear. I want to smother the TV; I want to feel the sun instead.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reviewer's Choice Award

I was very happy to hear that my vampire novel was selected as reviewer's choice for December at Two Lips Reviews, where the reviewer had this to say:


"Beside the Darker Shore is different. It is not your usual vampire tale. There is no sex in the book, per se, but it is one of the most powerfully sensual books I have read. When humans offer their blood to vampires, the eroticism of the bloodletting has no need for sex.


"While there are villains in Beside the Darker Shore, they are not the stereotypical villains of vampire novels. There was no right or wrong. There is an air of 'what is best for me' for each character. ... For the pain each of these men brings to the other, it is hard to dislike any of them. Each is fighting for what he believes ...these are characters that have not left my mind since I finished the book."


For the complete review, as well as other novels up as reviewer's choice, visit


http://www.twolipsreviews.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2002&Itemid=61




Sunday, November 6, 2011

Five-star review for new vampire novel!

Two Lips has given my vampire novel Beside the Darker Shore a five-star review, saying "It is not your usual vampire tale. There is no sex in the book, per se, but it is one of the most powerfully sensual books I have read. When humans offer their blood to vampires, the eroticism of the bloodletting has no need for sex."

Of the four men struggling for happiness, she says, "While there are villains in Beside the Darker Shore, they are not the stereotypical villains of vampire novels. There was no right or wrong. ... For the pain each of these men brings to the other, it is hard to dislike any of them. Each is fighting for what he believes."

She ends saying the characters remained with her well after the reading, which makes me happy, since I do intend a sequel!





Friday, September 2, 2011

And the winner of the Who's Your Favorite Vampire? contest is...

Queen of the Skies!!! Thank you to all who entered and shared their favorite vampires over the years. I had some entrants who named vampires who weren't on the lists I'd gathered at all, such as Amilyn (played by Paul Reubens, aka PeeWee Herman) from the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer movie; Alucard from the Hellsing anime series; and something that interests me, an alternative universe creation of Carlisle Cullen (who apparently does not resemble the original).

The original Bram Stoker's Dracula still comes up, a fine testament to an excellent book, as well as some new hot manifestations of the old count, such as in Gerard Butler; modern TV brought some new favorites like the characters Damon Salvatore and Mick St. John; and of course, Count Chocula and Count von Count continue to steal some folks' hearts (or humor).

I've updated the list, but with the additions, I've become aware that there is a universe of vampires out there unknown to many of us. And I've a feeling some of these new interpretations might be fascinating to explore. I'll be busy for a while!

Thank you all for dropping in and giving your feedback and favorites!
Congratulations, Queen of the Skies! I'll be in touch to send you a copy of Beside the Darker Shore.


Alphabetical listing of famous vampires in books, movies, and TV—including the characters or the actors who portrayed them (*alphabetical by first name): Akasha Aleera Alice Cullen Alucard (anime) Amadeo in Theater des Vampires Amilyn (from Buffy, the movie) Angel Arkady Tsepesh Armand Aro Aubrey Barnabas Collins Bela Lugosi Bill Compton Blacula Blade Bram Stoker’s Dracula Brian Lumley’s Wamphyri Camilla Carlisle Cullen Christian (Lost Souls) Christopher Lee Claire Radcliff Caroline Forbes Claudia Coraline Count Chocula Count Dracula (legend) Count von Count (Sesame Street) Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary Damon Salvatore Darla David Bowie David Talbot Deacon Frost Denholm Elliott Dominic Purcell Drusilla Edward Eli (Let the Right One In/book) Elizabeth Bathory Elvira Emmett Cullen Eric Northman Esme Cullen Frank Langella Gary Oldman George Hamilton Gerard Butler Gordon Currie Jack Palance Jasper Hale Javier Caffarena Jean-Claude Jeannette Jessica Hamby John Carradine Josef Kostan Juan R. Caraccioli Julian Luna Julien Kalus Kinski Katherine Pierce Kiefer Sutherland Lenore Leslie Nielsen Lestat de Lioncourt (Cruise or Stuart Townsend) Lilith Lilith Silver Lillie Louis Jourdan Lucien Lacroix Marc Warren Marius de Romanus Max Schreck (Nosferatu) Mekare Michael Jason Patrick Mick St. John Miriam Blaylock Nick Knight Nosferatu Pam De Beaufort Pandora Rayn Bloode Richard Roxburgh Riley Rosalie Hale Rudolf Martin Rutger Hauer Sain Germain Selene Shori Matthews Sillah (Lost Souls) Soledad Miranda Sonja Blue Sookie Sophie-Anne Spike Stefan Salvatore Stephen Billington Thomas Ian Griffith (Jan Valek) Udo Kier (Andy Warhol’s) Vampira Vampire Bats Vampires from Embraced, Julien and Lillie Vampires from Kindred (game and series) Victoria Viktor Vlad the Impaler Yutte Stensgarde (Camilla)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Name Your Favorite Vampire--Drawing for a Free Paperback

Who is your favorite vampire? TV, movie, or novel; female or male; sensually delicious or savagely cruel?

I’ve researched a number of vampire polls to find out which vampires were most popular. Some listed vampires I’d never heard of; many listed the vampires of recent TV shows and movies. But the name that came up most was still Lestat.

Take a look at the long list of vampires I’ve gathered from recent polls. Tell me who your favorite is and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free paperback of my own vampire novel, Beside the Darker Shore.

I’m eager to see which vampires have stolen our hearts in 2011.


Alphabetical listing of famous vampires in books, movies, and TV—the characters or the actors who portrayed them (*alphabetical by first name):

Akasha

Aleera

Alex O'Loughlin (Moonlight) (suggested by P.L. Parker--thank you!)

Alice Cullen

Amadeo in Theater des Vampires

Angel

Arkady Tsepesh

Armand

Aro

Aubrey

Barnabas Collins

Bela Lugosi

Bill Compton

Blacula

Blade

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Brian Lumley’s Wamphyri

Camilla

Carlisle Cullen

AU Carlisle Cullen (from Lifetime Prelude and Blood Bank, not from Twilight)

Christian (Lost Souls)

Christopher Lee

Claire Radcliff

Caroline Forbes

Claudia

Coraline

Count Chocula

Count Dracula (legend)

Count von Count (Sesame Street)

Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary

Damon Salvatore

Darla

David Bowie

David Talbot

Deacon Frost

Denholm Elliott

Dominic Purcell

Drusilla

Edward

Elizabeth Bathory

Elvira

Emmett Cullen

Eric Northman

Esme Cullen

Frank Langella

Gary Oldman

George Hamilton

Gerard Butler

Gordon Currie

Jack Palance

Jasper Hale

Javier Caffarena

Jean-Claude

Jeannette

Jessica Hamby

John Carradine

Josef Kostan

Juan R. Caraccioli

Julian Luna

Julien

Kalus Kinski

Katherine Pierce

Kiefer Sutherland

Lenore

Leslie Nielsen

Lestat de Lioncourt (Cruise or Stuart Townsend)

Lilith

Lilith Silver

Lillie

Louis Jourdan

Lucien Lacroix

Marc Warren

Marius de Romanus

Max Schreck (Nosferatu)

Mekare

Michael Jason Patrick

Mick St. John

Miriam Blaylock

Nick Knight

Nosferatu

Pam De Beaufort

Pandora

Rayn Bloode

Richard Roxburgh

Riley

Rosalie Hale

Rudolf Martin

Rutger Hauer

Sain Germain

Selene

Shori Matthews

Sillah (Lost Souls)

Soledad Miranda

Sonja Blue

Sookie

Sophie-Anne

Spike

Stefan Salvatore

Stephen Billington

Thomas Ian Griffith (Jan Valek)

Udo Kier (Andy Warhol’s)

Vampira

Vampire Bats

Vampires from Embraced, Julien and Lillie

Vampires from Kindred (game and series)

Victoria

Viktor

Vlad the Impaler

Yutte Stensgarde (Camilla)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When craft becomes art again

Craft: a skilled activity or profession, the skill to carry out work
Art: a creative activity, the expression of creative skill and imagination to create objects of beauty

For quite a few years, I watched the writing community trying to defend its passion by redefining writing as a hard-learned craft. Success was based on paid publication, which came about by learning the craft. After all, sitting behind the computer, manipulating sentences, tossing out paragraphs, adding new scenes, fretting over pacing, changing points of view isn't easy. Nor is getting published, most of us know.

Yes, I agree, we do improve as we learn about writing, just as one does with any craft. And it is rewarding to be published (from a craft standpoint rather than financial).

But blog after blog talked about "how to" grab your audience, "how to" plot the perfect tale, "how to" get to know your character by naming what shoes he or she wore. I was wary. Yes, there were some valuable tips in all the crafting exercises, but something seemed to be missing. The writing process began to feel like something you could fit into a template, that you should put into a template to achieve that perfect format that sells.

But I couldn't quite fit some of my favorite books into that template. The Rushdie novel I was reading certainly didn't follow any of the advice on character development and even less on pacing. Could Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler ... have been written according to rules?

Now, there's a new trend in the writers' blogging world: backlash, audacity, calling what we do an art once again. A romantic notion? Think about it. Which scenes are the best in your latest work? Which scene gave you that eureka moment that sent a dopamine surge through your body, a kind of ecstasy that everything worked? Where did that initial rush come from when you first found the story brewing, when you couldn't sleep at night?

Odds are it wasn't when practicing the exercises of craft. Odds are it was a subconscious moment, some magic that pulled everything together and created a kind of beauty you couldn't wait to share.

There are many things to love in writing. Editing your rough draft to make it clean is a satisfying feeling. Finding a new point of view that really lets you feel the characters offers the reward of trying a new technique that works. But when you try that technique, when you slip into that new point of view, what happens? At that point, are you crafting or are you letting the imagination do its thing?

In a recent lecture by Luis Alberto Urrea, he began by saying, "This is not a craft lecture, this is a being-lecture." One of the attendees summarized the lecture, saying that he talked about why people write, the heart of why, "the art of intuition," rather than the how-to's. And it was beautiful, and people cried.

I'm reading blogs now that say, after you learn the rules, remember to break them. I'm reading books on writing that say don't try to know everything; the joy is in the mystery. People are getting tired of the formula, I suspect. Writers are beginning to admit that their job is fun, and yes, a little bit mysterious. The subconscious is fascinating and we shouldn't always be in left-brain mode. We shouldn't have to hold art to the same tests of success as a company's financial records.

Writing is fun when we get to play in it, when we're not churning out the next book to meet the marketer's demand.

Story after story can be written to fit a form that's familiar to people, and they'll eat them up with the same unconscious ease that we do fast food. It's good sometimes. It serves the purpose. But you don't feel it in your gut. You don't get knocked out of complacency. You don't marvel at the crazy mystery of life, how chaos can become the most beautiful pattern just by intuiting the path that we all join on somewhere in our imagination and heart.

So next time you sit down to write, I recommend forgetting all you've learned, just for a little while. Write nonstop and feverishly, and don't let that conscious mind judge what you're doing. It's pretend. It's being a kid again and letting go. See what happens. It's amazing fun, this creative process we were given. That's what it's meant to be. And when you sit down later to refine that product of untethered passion, give it a little leash. Take a chance.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Public Scandal and the Risks of Desire

Desire Exposed to the Public Eye

Falling in love is a good thing, or so we generally believe. Desire motivates us, charges our lives, and the fulfillment of it is an ultimate goal. But what happens when someone’s desire falls out of the norm, when the person he or she loves poses an ethical quandary? Worse, what happens when that person is a public official whose life is open to scrutiny and subject to society’s expectations?

In Beside the Darker Shore (Patricia J. Esposito, Eternal Press, 2011) Boston’s peaceful community of vampires is thriving. Blood sales are up, blood taxes support a thriving new nightlife, neighborhoods have been refurbished, and deaths by vampires have plummeted. The conscientious and ethical Governor David Gedden is assured reelection.

However, the blood addict, Stephen Salando has returned from exile with one unalterable plan: to turn the good governor into a vampire. Stephen is an immortal dhampir, whose beauty obliterates reason, who rouses in David a fierce desire he’s ignored his whole life.

What might the ethical Governor David Gedden give up for one man’s exquisite beauty? What does he owe his public? For David to have Stephen, he must ally with the community's archrival. To have him, he must become a potential killer himself. What does he owe himself for a chance at love?

Patricia J. Esposito has been a writer of edgy paranormal fiction for most of her life, but always knew she had a romantic heart. Her most recent fiction and poetry reflect that enduring quest for love and joy beneath the human struggle. She’s had numerous stories and poems published in anthologies, such as Apparitions and Lights of Love, and magazines, including Rose and Thorn, Karamu, Not One of Us, Hungur, Sounds of the Night, Midnight Street, Byline, and Clean Sheets. Her fiction has received honorable mentions in “year’s best” anthologies and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Long-time married to the “boy-next-door,” she has two daughters and works at home as a copy editor, when she’s not off exploring the intoxicating realms of the imagination and chasing the muse.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Contest Fest Today!

Author Margaret West is hosting a contest to win all kinds of cool items, just by answering one question--an interesting question too. She also links to other authors hosting contests today, for one big contest fest. Hop over if you want to win things or just meet new authors.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

As early as thirteen years old, author Donaya Haymond has been finding publishing success. She's twenty years old now and has just released her fourth novel, Humans and Demons and Elves.
A creative writing major, half-Thai half-American, she's also team Guy Who Almost Hit Bella With a Truck (which I can't help but support). As someone who experienced early on the challenges of adapting to new cultures, Haymond is able to translate what she's learned about people and society into her own creation of a world of humans and elves and Eudemons. Read on for a further taste!

The Elves of North America use dimension-bending magic to conceal their woodland villages from humans, though it fails to protect them from the beautiful-but-deadly Eudemons. Edofine is less prejudiced than many, even befriending an Archaedemon, whose people are known for switching sides in the ancient conflict. But when young Edofine's clan is destroyed, he has only one person to turn to: his cousin Kryvek, who was adopted by humans who established the Official Magics-Humans Institute (OMHI). Will Edofine be able to adjust to human society? Can the OMHI help him despite facing its own crisis? Could he possibly be falling in love with Kryvek’s friend Lira, a half-Elf half-Eudemon working for the OMHI? His life has fallen to pieces, and the reconstruction is full of surprises.
Sample Passage:
"One more time. You turn these knobs, and water comes out. One knob has hot water and one has cold water. You adjust the amount depending on your preference."
"And then what do I do?" Edofine stood inside the shower, gingerly poking the pipes. He was still in full Elf regalia, complete with dead leaves and grass stains.
"Cover yourself with soap and stand under the water so that it washes off. Do you think you can handle that?"
"You do this every day?"
"Yes."
"What a waste of time and water."
"Way to be sanctimonious, kid. I am merely teaching you how to conform to local hygienic standards. When you live indoors in small apartments, washing frequently becomes very important. Some even enjoy it. I'll leave you alone now to get acquainted with it."
Kryvek was growing annoyed with having to explain these basic things to his cousin. He knew Edofine wasn't being obtuse on purpose, but helping him was like having a child to take care of. Kryvek's stomach growled again and he looked at his watch for the fourth time in ten minutes.
Panic rose in Edofine's throat, which, coupled with his hunger and disorientation, made him worried he might vomit. "You cannot leave me. What if I do something wrong and I scald myself? What if the magic governing these pipes breaks down? Anything could happen."
Kryvek was about to dismiss Edofine's fears, but he saw the hurt in Edofine's drooping shoulders and bowed head and changed his mind. "All right. I'll stand right here in the doorway and talk you through the process. First take your clothes off.” Standing in the shower, Edofine disrobed. Kryvek noted many scars and bruises underneath the grime. “You have to put the clothes outside of the shower, otherwise they’ll get wet.”
“Now turn the hot knob…”
“Aiee!”
“I meant turn it while standing sort of away from the stream of water, so it wouldn’t hit you full force. No, don’t turn it off! Turn on some of the cold!”
“I think you are trying to kill me…”
Other novels by Haymond include

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Win a free e-book: tell me where you'd rather be!

Some days get hectic. Sometimes responsibility tires you out, and you just wish that, for one day, or a few simple hours, you could be away. Carefree, careless, self-indulgent, even pampered.
When I wrote Beside the Darker Shore, I wanted carefree time away. I created a vampire named Arturo who loved to indulge, and had him extend an invitation to his villa in rural Spain. The arrival to his villa appears in the excerpt below. But I'm wondering where you'd like to go? Imagine no job, no family, no duties to fulfill, just a day somewhere--from your own backyard, to an amusement park, to another planet. Where would you like to go?
I'll be drawing names to win a free e-book of the novel from the entries here and on my other blog and live chat as Beside the Darker Shore is launched today. Please join in. I'd love to hear where you'd like to be!
AND if you'd like to join me in a chat about the novel, along with other authors today, please visit me here at 1:00 p.m. CST (2 p.m. for East Coasters). (Login only requires whatever name you choose to be shown as, no registration.)

Buttoning his cuff, Arturo returned his stare. “I can’t ease the world for you forever. You are vampire. You need blood. You will kill.” He pointed to the window. “For now, look. The Picos de Europa.”
They had entered a dark gorge with jagged cliffs rising like castles, mottled limestone, veined in blue-gray, black, and streaks of pink. Water gushed through a rocky cleft, catching the skittish moonlight.
The land had turned savage, David thought, although in the valley at his right, he could make out a small hamlet run with what appeared to be orchards. “Cherry and walnut orchards mostly. There is little wealth here,” Arturo said, “but Tomas has brought food and wines from all over my country. For the festival. Red Riojá, Cariñena,Valdepeña—you will taste these wines on our humans’ breath."
... in the distance, the villa materialized. It appeared at first as a natural rock formation, running unevenly across the valley, but then David could see how the stone wall arced and dipped along the wave of the valley. In one low dip was a higher arch, with iron gates. The entrance.
He turned a smile at Arturo who hadn’t spoken a word since the car. Then he hurried to the gate. Not rock, but marble created the arch over the stonework, and words were carved into the arch: “La mejor salsa del mundo es el hambre.” Arturo stood hands on his hips before the entrance. “My angels recite Cervantes: ‘Hunger is the best sauce in the world,’ they say.”

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Oxford Comma

All this fuss about dropping the Oxford comma? You bet.

In the new open suburb, Max the Dog could run free with Harold and Maude, Rinky Dink, Lulu and Mew, Sylvester and Rat, from morning until night.

The sentence above sets up a list of neighborhood animals that Max runs with. The author combines Harold and Maude as well as Lulu and Mew as one, perhaps because they're from one family, or because they're both cats. Rinky Dink seems to be alone. But what about Sylvester and Rat? On first reading, with our ears attuned to the combined names, we probably heard another combination--Sylvester and Rat as two neighbor dogs perhaps. But then nothing follows the two, and it seems that maybe Sylvester and Rat are meant to be separate. But who knows for sure?

That's where the serial (Oxford) comma comes in. If a comma is ALWAYS included before the last "and" in a series, we always know that the list is ended, that the last does not belong, possibly, with the prior. Sure, some sentences are simple series, one item after another. But our eyes get trained, and if they always see the comma before "and," they will read correctly when meeting the more difficult listing.

In the new open suburb, Max the Dog could run free with Harold and Maude, Rinky Dink, Lulu and Mew, Sylvester, and Rat, from morning until night.

In the above, is there any way to mistake Rat for being part of Sylvester? No. Commas are for clarity.

----

And there's more comma misuses and omissions that make me pause and read again:

Commas surrounding interior phrases and clauses are often left out of works, most often one being used and not the other, such as in this example, which I had to read twice:

Although the period was a time of renewal for the country, during the Restoration battles along the front line continued.

On first reading, I had thought “Restoration” was being used as an adjective to describe “battles,” and anticipated “during the Restoration battles … something something something happened…” Instead, “Restoration” was intended as a noun here, to mean, during this time period, battles continued. A comma after it, would have helped immensely:

Although the period was a time of renewal for the country, during the Restoration, battles along the front line continued.


A comma following an introductory phrase is often omitted, leaving the reader unsure where the break in thought is. Often the last word of the clause can be read as an adjective to describe the next word. And, again, the sentence has to be read twice.

When the queen relinquished her crown jewels scattered the stone path of her exit.

On first reading, I read “her crown jewels” as a phrase, meaning the jewels of her crown. Then there was no subject for “scattered” and I had to read again. A comma following an introductory clause clarifies where the opening thought ends and the following thought begins:

When the queen relinquished her crown, jewels scattered the stone path of her exit.

This is not to say that a sentence can’t be complex. Faulkner is one of my favorite authors. This passage, from
Absalom! Absalom! is long and difficult conceptually, but it is perfectly clear syntactically due to proper comma use:

Perhaps I couldn’t even have wanted more than that, couldn’t have accepted less, who even at nineteen must have known that living is one constant and perpetual instant when the arras-veil before what-is-to-be hangs docile and even glad to the lightest naked thrust if we had dared, were brave enough (not wise enough: no wisdom needed here) to make the rending gash. Or perhaps it is no lack of courage either: not cowardice which will not face that sickness somewhere at the prime foundation of this factual scheme from which the prisoner soul, miasmal-distillant, wroils ever upward sunward, tugs its tenuous prisoner arteries and veins and prisoning in its turn that spark, that dream which, as the globy and complete instant of its freedon mirrors and repeats (repeats? creates, reduces to a fragile evanescent iridescent sphere) all of space and time and massy earth, relicts the seething and anonymous miasmal mass which in all the years of time has taught itself no boon of death but only how to recreate, renew; and dies, is gone, vanished: nothing-- but is that true wisdom which can comprehend that there is a might-have-been which is more true than truth, from which the dreamer, waking, says not ‘Did I but dream?’ but rather says, indicts high heaven’s very self with: ‘Why did I wake since waking I shall never sleep again?’

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The magic of brothers

When I was a kid growing up on a dead-end street in Hillside, factories at the top, factories at the bottom, all playing fields to us, we had an ice-cream man who served soft ice cream along with the Good Humor bars. The most expensive item on the truck was a chocolate shake.

The block was full of kids ranging from me and my best friend Anne, the youngest, to older brothers and sisters, in their late teens and early twenties. None of us could really afford the chocolate shakes. I'd stare at the picture as I counted dimes. One day, my brother was there, watching us in line. He must have seen me counting, figuring, looking disappointed, because he got up off the curb and said, "What do you want? My treat."

I was afraid to say the shake, but he guessed it and said, that's fine, and he pulled what looked like a fortune to me from his pocket. I'm sure it wasn't, but slicing a dollar bill from what looked like tens and twenties had my eyes open wide. He worked. He was older. From that day on, if he was ever around when the ice cream man came, he'd jog over and buy me a shake.

That wasn't his only magic. He let me play in his bedroom when he was out. He had swords and daggers hanging on his walls, medieval wall hangings, a spiked flail hanging over his pillow. And he had a wall of model cars. I didn't take anything down, I just touched things gently, and then lay on his bed and made up stories. I liked cars and dolls equally as a kid; I liked swords and easy-bake-ovens. He encouraged my imagination in what others might have dissuaded.

And he was an artist, is an artist. He'd let me watch him draw. I'd sit at the kitchen table and watch the array of pencils bring out shadow and light to form trees and mountains and cabins and our own small house in a little street.

He's taken to going on vacations with my family now. And I tell him he has to bring his paints and canvases. It takes him nearly the entire week to get up inspiration, and then he sighs and unwraps the canvas and sets out the paint jars and palette. I wonder if he's doing it just because I'm waiting. We bring home at least two small canvases, little things he says aren't worth anything.

I love them. I have two of his large paintings hanging in my house, along with the little things. I still have the sketches he drew me when I was kid, even the fire engines he helped me draw for a school project. He'll be retiring soon, and I told him he has to come out more often, have dinner with us. He and Gary are very good friends. Maybe we'll go out for ice cream, and maybe I'll order the biggest dish!

Older brothers can be magic to a younger sister. I wonder sometimes how much he's responsible for my opinions of men and my underlying belief they're good guys.

Friday, June 17, 2011

To spin on a thread, eating the sun and moon

In Romania, the Varcolaci vampires hunger, not for the red blood flow of humans, but for the light of the sun and the moon. Sometimes depicted as small animals, but also as pale and parched humans, one legend has it that they're created at midnight if a woman spins without candlelight. They travel wherever they like on the thread of this midnight spinning, as long as the thread isn't broken, and an eclipse is the Varcolaci satiated by that lost sun or moon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And the character says, Remember me?


Woke this morning thinking about favorite fictional characters, whether in books or movies or TV or any other media. The characters that first popped into mind for me ranged from crushes to heroes to soulmates. I’m beginning my list, as they first came to mind, and might keep adding if I remember more.
I’d be curious to hear what characters have influenced or remained with you!
Aragorn (LOTR)
Eowyn (LOTR)
Jack (Lost)
Shep (The Hoax)
Stephen Dedalus (Portrait of the Artist …)
Quentin (The Sound and the Fury/Absalom! Absalom!)
Alyosha (Brothers Karamazov)
Ged (Wizard of Earthsea trilogy)
Charlotte (Lost)
Baltasar (The Campaign)
Orphan Huerta (Christopher Unborn)
Nayeli (Into the Beautiful North)

Commonly misused words and phrases

Spell check doesn’t necessarily catch words that are spelled correctly but chosen incorrectly. Here’s a list of some of the most common I’ve found in my editing experience. (Written in a certain vein, because vampires need proper grammar too.)

accept/except:

Of course I’ll accept (agree with, allow) your tongue at my throat. After the summer drought, I thirst for everything except (excluding, omitting) the thought of your departure.

affect/effect:

What will be the effect (result) of this dry, hot summer? More than these lost barley rows, the drought will affect (influence/cause a response) the substance of my blood, my ability to quench your constant need.

(Usually, “effect” is the noun, and “affect” is the verb; however, “effect” is sometimes used as a verb, as in, The drought effected (to bring about) great change in my body. And sometimes “affect” can be used as a noun, as in, He affected (assumed) a wry humor that belied his concern at the loss of blood.)

capitol/capital:

On the stairs of the old capitol (the building only), we waited for the sun to rise over the state’s capital (town or city holding government), and for a moment, we forgot our impending death, content with the joy of last night’s capital (financial assets) blood gains.

ensure/insure:

If she were to acquiesce to his demand, Emily would first ensure (make certain) the well-being of her family and insist the vampire insure (plan money payment for loss) her against the loss of her royal blood.

farther/further:

I will not go one step farther (physical distance) if you speak any further (abstract quantity) about my own lust being greater than yours; we are the same.

its/it’s:

It’s (it is) the memory of sun on new green leaves and its (possessive/belonging to) bright heat on the farmhouse porch that keeps me at the window past dawn’s torturous waking.

lightning/lightening:

Although the heavy storm clouds were lightening (lesser in weight) beyond his black cape blowing, the horizon sparked with lightning (electrical force).

principle/principal:

The principal (main, foremost) goal of our midnight meeting was to establish the principles (rule, truth) by which our passion could be sated without offending the now sterile principal (chief person, head) of our vampire coven.

proceed/precede:

The wedding party will precede (to go or come before) the vampire bride, who will then proceed (to go on or move forward) into the reception hall to taste the guests.

stationary/stationery:

Before composing my letters of consolation on this vibrant green stationery(writing paper), I must find a table more stationary (motionless, unmoving) than these skeletal remains of my month-long feast.

their/there/they’re:

They’re (they are) forever dancing up there (in a place), all these black and starless nights, in their (possessive, belonging to) translucent skin and ghostly gauze dress.

who’s/whose:

I hope that the vampire who’s (who is) dancing above my ceiling knows whose(possessive, belonging to) black heels and heart have danced there once too.

you’re/your:

With all these rules you devise for self-protection, you’re (you are) still left no choice but to follow what most ignites your (possessive, belonging to you) absolute and undeniable need.