Deadlines

Sharon Ashwood
November 11, 2008  •  No Comments

I’ve been quiet lately, but in a good cause.  It’s deadline time! Yup, the initial round of manuscript fun for book two is happening right now. The rush to the finish line. The pile of candy wrappers. The endless cups of coffee. The thousand-yard stare at the flickering screen. No more “I’ll fix it later” because the later is now.

Yeah, we’ll get to the finish line on time. It’s never pretty, but it’s a necessary part of the process.

 


Santa he isn’t

Sharon Ashwood
October 28, 2008  •  No Comments

There is a recent trend with men in chimneys.  Not long ago, I wrote about a would-be spy stuck in the ducting of an art museum.  Now here’s a naked guy wedged in the chimney of a supermarket in England.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7683826.stm

Is this a trend?  Has the myth of chimney-borne happiness impacted an entire generation of cat burglars? Is there some deep-seated need to act out the Santa psychodrama (in the buff!) in the midst of their nefarious crimes?

I just hope all Santa’s elves received counseling.


Don’t try this with the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness

Sharon Ashwood
October 21, 2008  •  No Comments

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/3229125/Swimming-with-tigers.html

I thought this was just too cool. After dancing with wolves, we can now swim with tigers ….


Yee-haw – product endorsements!

Sharon Ashwood
October 17, 2008  •  No Comments

This week brought early Hallowe’en presents from the universe.  RAVENOUS has cover quotes! It’s impossible to describe how much this is valued by an author, especially one like me who is launching a debut. Let it be known that these fine ladies have bestowed an act of kindness–and they’re darned fine writers, too!

A multilayered plot, a fascinating take on paranormal creatures living among us, plus a sexy vampire, a sassy witch and a mystery for them to solve. . . RAVENOUS leaves me hungry for more!

 –  Jessica Anderson, author of The Final Prophecy series

 Sexy, suspenseful fun. Ashwood really knows how to tell a story.

 – NYT best-selling author Kelley Armstrong


Scary hobby projects you can find online

Sharon Ashwood
October 12, 2008  •  No Comments

Sometimes when you go a-surfing for interesting tidbits, you find things better left unfound. I stumbled across a short article from last March that relates an incident covered by both London’s Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph.
An older gentleman was living alone in his nice house in Australia. His relatives wanted that nice house and pressured him to move into a seniors’ home. So, he found the plans for a suicide contraption on the Internet that involved power tools and a .22 semi-automatic pistol. He set it up in the driveway, and he killed himself.
Yikes.  The account is very bare-bones, but it seems to me that if this 81 year-old was with it enough to log on, find the plans for this thing, and assemble it, he wasn’t exactly on his last legs. Let’s just say the relatives (going by what the article says) don’t come off well at all.
I’m sure some people will leap up and say “instructions for suicide machines shouldn’t be on the Internet!”, but that is missing the point.  The point is, we can rarely fix families (oh, if only there were handy-dandy diagrams for that!), but it would have been nice if there was enough of a community wherever this guy was to turn to for support.
I guess it’s a reminder to go be nice to our neighbors. After all, I’m told there are plans for thermo-nuclear devices on the Web, too.


Proof of what, exactly?

Sharon Ashwood
September 30, 2008  •  No Comments

It’s hard to describe my emotions when the FedEx man shows up with …. Page proofs!  This is the manuscript with its hair done and its makeup on, all the copyedits included and the type set as it will appear in the book.  It’s the author’s last chance for proofreading, very minor edits, and any afterthoughts before the critter is printed.

What I feel is a kind of mix of “cool!” and “ugh, you again” with a bit of “egad, what have they done this time?”  The biggest challenge is reading through the thing and paying attention to what’s printed on the page. After editing the book so many times, I’m not sure my brain isn’t supplying what it thinks it should see rather than what’s really there. I try and give it to someone who hasn’t seen it before to double check my work.

On the up side, I had a moment of, “hey, this is darned good stuff!” as I ploughed through the pages. In book form, the pacing is more obvious. I’m witty! I’m action-filled! I have great romance scenes! I have good monsters!

Unfortunately, I also have a fair number of typos. Yep, there’re still a few loose ends sticking out, but not for long.

 


I wear dead people

Sharon Ashwood
September 25, 2008  •  1 Comment

http://www.lifegem.com/
http://www.algordanza.org/

Now here’s something I never thought of doing:  squishing my dearly departed into diamonds.  Apparently, it’s not only a reality but financially quite reasonable.  Companies are setting up shop world-wide and are becoming increasingly popular. 

Some make diamonds from the departed’s ashes, others from hair (which means making a gem from the living or someone who has been buried is also possible).  The US-based Lifegem offers their services for pets as well as humans. Basically, if there’s carbon, there’s diamond potential.

This keen-o technology means the funeral service can enter into an entirely new decorative phase, bypassing the entire embalming process in favour of cutting, polishing, and mounting the sparkly deceased into wearable art.  It also has the advantage of saving valuable land—no need for burial plot when dear old mum can be mounted in a cufflink.

Author alert: The possibilities for murder mystery plots abound. One could hide the corpse anywhere— as the crystal of a chandelier, the button of the doorbell, an earring (but then you’d need a matched set!).

To make this all just one bit stranger, the technology for creating synthetic diamonds is good enough they can now be graded. No more nonsense about death being the ultimate leveller!  Figure out which relations really were gems of the first water.

You never know—that old saying about someone being worth more dead than alive might be true.


Maxwell Smart lives on

Sharon Ashwood
September 18, 2008  •  No Comments

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/09/17/national/a143407D31.DTL

I laughed so hard when I read this one.

A would-be intruder tried to enter the Knoxville Museum of Art via the air conditioning duct.  When police and firefighters responded to his 911 call, they found a top and cable on the roof and the caller stuck about 45 feet into the ductwork.

When rescued, he told the arresting officers that he was a “special agent” who had rappelled in from a helicopter.  The mission was to defuse a Soviet nuclear warhead placed in a blue plastic cow sculpture in the basement of the museum.

Oh, those darned Russian art critics.


Wasn’t there an episode of Buffy something like this?

Sharon Ashwood
September 15, 2008  •  1 Comment

http://www.boston.com/news/odd/articles/2008/09/12/mom_allegedly_uses_daughters_id_to_be_cheerleader/?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed5

Wendy Brown, a 33-year-old Wisconsin woman, stole her daughter’s ID, enrolled in high school, and joined the cheerleading squad. Her daughter, meanwhile, lived with her grandmother in another state. Apparently the ruse worked up to a point. Although Brown only made it to the first day of classes, she did attend a number of cheerleading activities. The cat left the proverbial bag when a cheque for the uniform bounced.

The motivation for all this was, apparently, that Brown “wanted to get her high school degree and become a cheerleader because she didn’t have a childhood and wanted to regain a part of her life that she’d missed.” She apparently had a history of identity theft.

Perhaps I’m biased because I never wanted to be a cheerleader, but that’s just weird. And sad.

This event does speak to a weird cultural phenomenon—the myth that high school is a peak experience of some kind.  Of what?  It had a few peaks, but it had its share of valleys, too, just like everything else.

Certainly not worth going to to jail over, not even for the pompoms.


What kind of loot do you like?

Sharon Ashwood
September 11, 2008  •  No Comments

Okay, I have a dilemma …

I have a number of contest give-aways to come up with.  I don’t have the money to give away iPods or laptops and constantly giving away copies of my current book is not as good as convincing people to buy it. (I can see, say, giving away the first book in a series if you’re on book two, but I’m not there yet).

Soooo, here are the ideas I have so far:

  • Nice chocolate (has the opportunity for seasonal themes like Santas or ghosts)
  • DVD sets of current horror classics (the nicer ones, with cute vampires)
  • Unique things made by local artists such as:
  • Chain mail jewelry
  • More traditional jewelry, custom designed
  • Glow in the dark mummy figurines (these are sooooo cute!)
  • Zombie snowmen figurines c/w chainsaw (cute but disturbing)
  • Gift certificate for a small job with a talented graphic artist/web designer
  • Gift from www.monolithgraphics.com,my favorite on-line goth emporium
  • Starbucks gift card (I assume they’re still everywhere in the universe)
  • Basket of organic bath goodies
  • Gift card from someplace like Amazon
  • Fancy stationery item

What are your top three picks? Remember, you might have a chance to win one! Is there something you’d like to see on the list, but don’t?


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