Help! my character stole my keyboard

Sharon Ashwood
September 4, 2008  •  No Comments

I’m having one of those episodes where I start to write what should be a throwaway scene (as in, now we get from situations A to B with as little mucking around as possible) and suddenly my shred of transitional prose is morphing into a key chapter. This is by no means a bad thing—this chapter is obviously needed—but I didn’t see it coming. It never ceases to amaze me how characters can grab the initiative and start telling their own story. I was fretting about how to get my hero and heroine together and wondering what exactly they had in common. Plus, Mac (hero) wasn’t coming across just right. I was trying to be flip and ended up making him shallow.

Then he grabbed the controls. Nicely, but there was no arguing. It was like he took out his notebook, tore out a page, and made a list of the points I had to make. This inner dialogue started at breakfast, and by the time I got to work the material was all there.

I wish Mac could use my computer. Then I could just take off and watch TV tonight while he fixed my pages.


Small things make me happy

Sharon Ashwood
August 26, 2008  •  1 Comment

Okay, so this may seem utterly geeky, but I nearly squealed and jumped off the couch when I found (on-line) a boxed set of Kindred: the Embraced on DVD. Of course I ordered it. It was one of those good-bad shows that part of your brain criticizes while the other part leaps right in. I’m going to be watching the mail box like a vulture waiting for it to arrive.

Yeah, it was a slow week.


Ghostly tourism

Sharon Ashwood
August 18, 2008  •  No Comments

Oh, I love this site!

http://www.ghosttocoast.us/index2.htm

Plan your ghost vacation, hook up with paranormal conventions, get your ghost-busting gear. It’s all here!

I bet my ghost-busting heroine, Holly, would have had it in her favorites list. Heck, she’d probably be submitting content.

I’ve seen other ‘ghost holiday’ type of advertisements—such as the small local ghost tours or even the Dracula-centric treks around Transylvania. It’s interesting to me how the paranormal is becoming a mainstay of the tourism industry. Some would say it’s all an opportunity for con artists to part vacationers from their cash.  True, in some cases. However, I think the phenomenon as a whole is good because that means people are curious about what’s out there.  Curiosity is healthy. It means people are more than the mental equivalent of sponge puddings.

However, the moment the commercial world figures out just how much cash might be made, it could get interesting. What if Disney got involved? What about the descendents of the dead wanting a piece of the action?  Heck, what if the ghosts themselves started seeking agents? My people could be calling your people on a ouija board.


Home

Sharon Ashwood
August 7, 2008  •  1 Comment

There’s no place like home. Dirty dishes. Piles o’ laundry. Naughty cats. Bills. Emails. Yup, I’m not on holidays anymore, but I’m glad to be sleeping in my own bed. After two days at home, I’m still tired—I have that close-the-eyes-and-tilt-sideways thing going on. Was going to the Romance Writers of America National Conference worth it?  Absolutely.

Good news: The romance book industry is healthy. Publishers are buying pretty much all genres.

Bad news: It’s not getting any easier for new authors to get a foothold. Competition is fierce. The market is crowded. It’s up to the author to do what they can for themselves, contact the right people, do extra publicity and so on. Not really anything I didn’t know, but it’s nice to realize my perceptions were on the mark.

Ugly news:  Sadly, no one has discovered the magic bullet that will a) create a bestselling formula or b) get your name in front of the requisite number of eager readers so that your book fulfills its potential.  Theories abound, however, many with price tags attached.

Overall:  The only thing people agreed on as a critical ingredient for success was persistence. The stubborn will survive.

Exciting stuff:  Paranormal romance and urban fantasy are booming and OMG are there some talented writers coming out in the next six months!  Definitely check out Jessica Andersen’s Final Prophecy series. I got a free copy of book one (Nightkeepers) and started reading it when I got home. I’m hooked.


A gruesome domestic moment

Sharon Ashwood
July 26, 2008  •  No Comments

It’s amazing what you discover when you type “blood” and “recipe” into Google. I did it with regard to the “Eat Right for Your Blood Type” theory, thinking my semi-annual diet thoughts.

 

I got all kinds of stuff I wasn’t expecting.

 

www.exposure.co.uk/eejit/blood/blood.html and www.halloween-website.com/fake_blood.htm   Will actually provide recipes for fake blood if you’re filming your own horror flick.  Useful to know when those nice people with pamphlets ring the doorbell and you want to answer a la Carrie, perhaps with the optional butcher knife in hand.

 

http://www.shades-of-night.com/painneck/blood.html offers a variety of recipes for consumption, including mint blood and chocolate blood. Sounds even better than snacking on the gals at the Rocky Mountain chocolate factory.

 

http://www.angelfire.com/home/darkrealms/recipes.html has a few recipes I recognize from historical cookery that contain actual blood, like blood pudding. After all, when you were butchering your own animals, you didn’t waste a single thing. That seems more respectful than the current factory processes. This site also has some mixed drink recipes (suitably red) that look worth exploring.

 

And, of course, there was what I was actually looking for: www.dadamo.com/typebase4/recipes.htm  FWIW, a lot of people scoff at the Blood Type diets, but I find following mine actually works pretty well.

 

 

 

 

 


Brave ghosts

Sharon Ashwood
July 21, 2008  •  No Comments

This is just too cool.

The Australian child protection organization Bravehearts is collecting local ghost stories as part of a fundraising effort. Kids and fireside tales belong together.  I can’t think of a better way of putting the resident spooks to work. It’s kind of neat to think that maybe there IS a way to help out from beyond the grave.

Got to   http://www.bravehearts.org.au/media_releases.ews and click on the June 23 press release for the official word.

 


Put this slime monster in your motor and burn it

Sharon Ashwood
July 17, 2008  •  No Comments

 

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,367642,00.html

Last month, Fox news reported that the gurus in Silicon Valley are working on a number of projects around what they call renewable petroleum.  The basis of this new industry is using genetically-altered bacteria to consume agriculture waste and transform it into crude oil.  This seemed so much like a hoax, I hunted around for more sources and, sure enough, there are other reports about this sort of thing. It’s not a joke.

The good news is that this would turn a finite into a renewable resource, thus relieving considerable economic pressure.  The bad news is that this doesn’t motivate the Powers That Be to get busy with non-carbon-producing forms of energy. Still, you have to hand it to these folks for coming up with an innovative idea. Oil-producing bacteria wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind when pondering the energy crisis.

Of course, these are tech guys. They don’t live in the real world. Anyone familiar with school children knows that germs are not containable.  Ever.  

These bugs eat organic material. The world is one big organic cookie jar. Well-fed bacteria reproduce. I hope these tech guys are familiar with your basic horror film, because the results of this equation look very black and slimy.  I do not want to become part of an oil patch before my time.

Given the option, I would prefer a more showy apocalypse. Something drier, with gargoyles.


Attention: all demons wishing to undertake a possession

Sharon Ashwood
July 11, 2008  •  No Comments

www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25423465/

This one is interesting.

In a 2002 trial in Texas, a woman sued her church for physical injuries and psychological damage sustained when she was subjected to an exorcism at the age of 17.

A week ago, the Texas Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, threw out the jury award.  The details of this decision are in the article.

If I understand this situation correctly, exorcists may rest assured that they can carry out their work unfettered by any consideration of human rights legislation, at least in Texas.


This is for all you werewolves out there

Sharon Ashwood
July 8, 2008  •  No Comments

An interesting article on the healing properties of moonlight:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/features/the-lunatic-fringe-is-moonlight-the-miracle-cure-854991.html

The author describes a gizmo called the Interstellar Light Collector located in the Sonoran desert outside of Tucson. Essentially, it uses mirrors to concentrate and direct moonlight. The machine has been used to offer alternative medical therapies, among other things, with positive anecdotal results.

Yes, my instinctive distrust of snake-oil salespersons kicked in when I read this, but on the other hand, why couldn’t there be something to it?  After all, we know all about Seasonal Affective Disorder and how lack of full-spectrum light causes depression. Moonlight isn’t necessarily going to cure a patient—and yet it might do something.

So, in high enough concentrations, would moonlight act differently than sunlight, candlelight, or the average light bulb?  As I recall from grade five science class, moonlight is actually reflected sunlight and, poetry aside, would probably act just like its larger cousin. Except …

That would leave the whacky effects of the full moon solely caused by its gravitational pull.  Gravity may cause the tides, but can it wholly account for the increased traffic in emergency rooms, police stations, and psychiatric wards during a few nights of the month?  Who knows. I’ve never seen a satisfactory explanation for what is a very real phenomenon, but I’ve seen the spike in nuttiness first-hand. It’s there. It’s not urban legend.

And then there’s that whole moon/fertility thing. I have long believed there is a deep connection between PMS and the legends of the loup-garoux.

Anyway, that’s all very informative, but now for the really important question:  Does super-concentrated moonlight leave tanning lines?

 


Demons, Kitty and otherwise

Sharon Ashwood
July 3, 2008  •  1 Comment

The Demon Lord of Kitty Badness has discovered how to open cupboard doors. Which close with a bonk as soon as he lets them go. Repeatedly. At four a.m.  

So I stumble into the kitchen to wring his fuzzy neck and discover he’s bowling with muffins.  Glad to know my baking is so entertaining.

It was the perfect ending to day in which a) my iPod dumped all my music b) I spent six hours at the computer trying to convince a demon and a vampire to kiss (what, like they have a right to be fussy?) and c) the reference book I wanted turned out to be $358 used.

On the upside, it is only a 2.5 day work week. I could get used to that, if I could keep the whole paycheque ….


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