muse

Nerf the World | Buttercup of Doom ep 32

BODep32-nerftheworldAvailable FREE on: Project iRadioiTunesStitcherAndroidTune-In

Knee pads, elbow pads, brain pads… there’s no adventure left in childhood. No stitches. No scars. No proof of survival. No stories to tell… We’ve bubblewrapped an entire generation, mentally and physically, accepted trigger words, created safe places, and Nerfed the World*

This week, I talk about bleeding on the page vs exorcising demons for public consumption, the disappearance of adventures and scars from childhood, and how much blood is really necessary for a bandaid. Join me, and find out WTF all those hashtags are for…

Sponsors: The Horror Show with Brian Keene | Bizzong (also, as promised: bizzong on FB and Books, Beer & Bullshit Frank’s “other” podcast) | Project iRadio’s Patron Page

Suggestions/Requests: none this week (to suggest/request, use the form here)

Mentions/Shoutouts and Linky-Links: Joe Rogan on Marijuana* | The Neighborhood (The Ravine) | BOD ep 2

Hashtag Hell: #bleedonthepage #muse #bubblewrap #nerftheworld #scars #weapons #playgrounds #schoolshootings #iphone #playboy #adventure #seatbelts #creepycrawlers #helmets #kneepads #stitches #latchkeykids #triggerwarnings #facebook #twitter #instagram #projectiradio #buttercupofdoom #podcast #kelliowen

This Week’s Rating: R (it went all to hell with the language this week) buttercup ratings system info here

Tagged, I’m It—Next Big Thing

Robert Swartwood was tagged by Tim Lebbon in his Next Big Thing blog, then he tagged me. This is the result… where I will answer the meme questions and then turn around tag others. It’s an ongoing thing that will continue until we run out of writers I imagine. Follow along each Wednesday for another block of 5 exponentially.

1) What is the title of your next book?

Because I have to be the difficult child, I actually have three, which are all going to hit in the next couple months, and I don’t know which order: Live Specimens, Buried Memories & The Three Dollar Notebook.  But I know Live Specimens will be out before Christmas, so let’s go with that one.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Live Specimens actually came from a road trip gone funny—and only funny because it didn’t get bad. In short, someone saw a strange insect and thought we should take it home. It got loose in the car. It wasn’t just strange, it was scary and mean. Take that insect adventure and twist in my love of all things biologically awry and you get this tale of chewy goodness.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

While I generally walk the line along thriller, this one is most definitely horror. Blood and guts, slasher-esque horror at that. Yeah, you’re intrigued, I know you are.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, that’s a tough one. Especially considering I can clearly see the characters since I lovingly based them on real people. Charlize Theron would make a great Emily, Anthony Hopkins would be an excellent Ken. Dan and Greg would take more thought… perhaps Christian Slater and Ethan Hawke, respectively, maybe.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A ship carrying genetically altered animals, designed for the military, crashes ashore on a small tourist town the night before a blizzard… and all hell breaks loose. Can you tell I haven’t worked up my one-line pitch or synopsis yet? I’m doing it this week actually, but until then you get that.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This one is actually going to be self-published. It was originally intended for one publisher and I pulled it, then it was looked at by another, but I’ve decided to try something different with this one. I’m still publishing with Thunderstorm and Dark Fuse (ohhhh did I just let that cat out of the bag?) but am going to toss this one out there myself through create space as both a trade paperback and ebook. Testing the e-self waters if you will.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Too damn long! Considering I wrote White Picket Prisons in 8 weeks, I’m ashamed that I let life beat me up to the point that I didn’t write a single word for several months. Then I remembered I was in charge, not Murphy or Fate or Life and I finished it. (Nine months, but in my defense—other than the life getting in the way thing—I wrote two novellas and some shorts in that time as well. Yeah, I know, I’ll just walk away in shame now)

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

That’s a tough question. I generally don’t compare what I’m working on so I don’t pull from those sources while writing. If I had to say something, I guess Dean Koontz’s DARKFALL and WATCHERS kinda smashed together, with a touch of Michael Crichton’s JURASSIC PARK. And even that mash of comparisons doesn’t quite sound right.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I mentioned the idea to a couple people and they were intrigued enough to get the muse to start whispering and scratching at the back of my skull while I worked on other things. But I don’t really think anyone can take the blame for this one…

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

This is hands down the bloodiest thing I’ve ever written. Period. To keep the action moving and the story progressing along with the death toll, I kept the chapters short, but there’s blood and gore in about 90% of them. It was weird to write when I started, because I knew I was going for a bloody kill-fest, but once I got inside it was a fun ride full of blood and guts with a story and good characters to boot. I hope you all enjoy reading my messier side as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And with all that said…  TAG, you’re it! Those listed below, post your blog next Wednesday and tag the next five! The rest of you, watch the blogs below for the chain-meme to continue.

Mary SanGiovanni

Kevin Lucia

Wrath James White

Bob Ford

Nate Southard

 

Broken Headlights

An interesting thing happened on the way to “the end”…

I didn’t type it.

I finished the novella “Headlights” Monday night. It went exactly where I thought it was going to go. I loved the last line (I have a thing about that—if I don’t love that line, I won’t turn it in!). Shut the laptop and went to bed.

And while getting comfortable in bed (read as: beating the pillows into submission and sticking that one leg out of the blankets just so), I realized I hadn’t written “the end” before I shut the laptop. I drifted off to sleep with a “hmmm” buzzing around the back of my mind, but mostly I was thinking about dinosaurs (that’s a whole different blog—ask me some time).

Yesterday morning I got up, had some coffee, ignored MS Word—after all, I had finished and I was in “walk-away for a couple days” mode. Then I remembered I hadn’t typed that definitive pair of words. Those words all writers adore. So with my first cup of coffee I pondered why. Was I too tired? Did I just forget? I started thinking about the ending—replaying it in my mind. And then I realized what happened.

I had forgotten the fingers on the keyboard aren’t actually mine to control. That evil, tattered, good-for-nothing, flighty, two-faced muse is in charge. And she knew better than to write those words.

Sure, she smiled at the ending but she knew it wasn’t done.

Sometime during the day job, she tapped my shoulder. “Ohhh… okay,” was all I said. I know better than to interrupt her. So I listened.

And last night I went in and added that scene she was so eager to see fleshed out on the page rather than just buzzed into my ear.

Then I followed the normal path of things. I reread the ending several times. I smiled at the last line. And then I typed “the end.”

I’ve been blessed to be able to type those words twice in two weeks. I love those two words. So now “Headlights” is done. All that’s left to do is let the pre-readers tell me why it sucks. Fix what they complain about. Then send it off to the publisher…

And then call my dad to apologize. Of course, I’ll probably do that again when it comes out, just so he remembers which one I’m apologizing for…

“For Dad…” (you’ll have to wait for the release to see the rest of the dedication)

Traveling the Universe

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
~E.L. Doctorow

One of the coolest things about writing is being able to create entire worlds. These worlds are full of people and places and events. In my universe, as with many writers, the people and/or events often hop planets. A nod to someone here, the mention of an event there, it can happen—and does. Often.

The first time I tossed a nod at a previous character I thought it was fun and quaint. I hadn’t intended to do it purposely from there on out, but that’s what happened. A couple times, the mention was published before the original story of that person—it happens.

I think it’s fun for a couple reasons. First, it’s fun for the readers who catch them. I get a kick out of someone telling me they caught so-and-so in the wrong story. Secondly, I have some characters/events that I really love, so I enjoy bringing them up. Though I know that’s not even me. It’s the damn muse. She likes to mess with me. She loves to put a scene in my head and get me all excited about something I’m not supposed to be working on yet. She’s kind of a bitch like that sometimes actually. But when she puts those little nods in, the ones I don’t necessarily do on purpose or notice until I’ve typed it (Gracie appearing in the middle of a monster novel), it makes me smile.

And worry.

When I do it on purpose, it’s me weaving my worlds. When she does it, she’s usually up to something.

And because it’s Thursday, I’ve decided to have fun with this week’s Q&A session and let all of you be the muse for a moment—or some distant cousin of the muse at least. In my universe of characters and events, are there any you’d like to see revisited? I ask because she’s been humming a lot lately. Oh I’ll tell her stories, I have to to avoid the nuthouse, but since I’m taking suggestions from her, why not see what you’ve got to suggest as well. Is there a character you really loved and would like to see come back? A storyline you’d like to see continued? A tale you think deserves a sequel?

Hop around my universe for a moment and tell me if there are any planets that support life. Shoot me the coordinates. And if the muse already has that one covered, maybe, just maybe, I’ll tease the crap out of you and tell you she’s already loaded the GPS with that address =)

 

*Illustration by Selçuk Demirel, borrowed from New York Times

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