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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Random Song Of The Week #31

Yeah, I was late this week. I was having a rather bad day yesterday, so I didn't get around to posting the next RSOTW. But here it is, something that I think most of us that live anywhere where it snows can appreciate:

Heywood Banks -- Wiper Blades
Album -- Difernt (1999)


o winters here with all the ice n snow
n the surly slush upon the road
the salty spray upon my window
makes me wish that i'd replaced my wiper blades

my wiper wiper wiper blades
my wiper wiper wiper blades
my wiper wiper wiper blades
i wish that i'd replaced my wiper blades

salty spray from semis that do pass
they turn my windshield into bathroom glass
i turn the knob but i come to the conclusion
that i did not fill up my washer solution

my wiper wiper wiper fluid
my wiper wiper wiper fluid
my wiper wiper wiper fluid
i wish that id replaced my wiper fluid

my wiper wiper wiper blades
my wiper wiper wiper blades
my wiper wiper wiper blades
i wish that i'd replaced my wiper blades


down the expressway 80 mph
i can make out headlights, taillights, frosted shapes
but down by the dash there's a clearing where both
blades do scrape
i can see fine if i lay on the passenger's seat

my wiper wiper wiper blades
my wiper wiper wiper blades
my wiper wiper wiper blades
i wish that i'd replaced my wiper blades

my wiper wiper wiper blades
my wiper wiper wiper blades
"one time on delay"
my wiper.............wiper..........wiper blades
i wish that i'd replaced my wiper blades

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Spammers, You Are The Bile Of The Interwebz!

Seriously! Because I'm getting tired of being bombarded with spam messages (most of them from my The Next Big Thing post), and since no one ever writes me an actual comment anonymously, and I'm tired of seeing new comments pop up in my email only to be spam, I'm disabling the ability to comment anonymously. Sorry if it's any inconvenience to the real people out there and are not spam bots, but like I said, no one comments anonymously, and I'm tired of dealing with it. I hope it at least takes care of some of the spam. Have a good one!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Random Song Of The Week #30

Today I share two songs for the Christmas season.

Enya - Oíche chiúin (Silent Night)
Album - Oíche chiúin (Silent Night), First Release (1989); And Winter Came (2008)




Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé, [Silent night, night of God's son.]
Cách 'na suan dís araon, [Soundly in slumber, the pair together]
Dís is dílse 'faire le spéis [The pair and love, watching with affection]
Naoín beag gnaoigheal [The small bright beautiful child,]
ceananntais caomh [darling little one.]

 
Críost, 'na chodhladh go séimh. [Christ, calmly asleep.]
Críost, 'na chodhladh go séimh. [Christ, calmly asleep.]

 
Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé, [Silent night, night of God's son.]
Aoirí ar dtús chuala 'n scéal; [Shepherds first heard the tale]
Allelúia aingeal ag glaoch. [The angels crying out Alleluia.]
Cantain suairc i ngar is i gcéin [Lovely chanting near and far.]

 
Críost an Slánaitheoir Féin [Christ, the saviour himself.]
Críost an Slánaitheoir Féin [Christ, the saviour himself.]

 
Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé, [Silent night, night of God's son.]
Cách 'na suan dís araon, [Soundly in slumber, the pair together]
Dís is dílse 'faire le spéis [The pair and love, watching with affection]
Naoín beag gnaoigheal [The small bright beautiful child,]
ceananntais caomh [darling little one.]

 
Críost, 'na chodhladh go séimh. [Christ, calmly asleep.]
Críost, 'na chodhladh go séimh. [Christ, calmly asleep.]


_________________________________________________
 Jill Tracy - Coventry Carol
Album - Silver Smoke, Star Of Night (2012)



Coventry Carol is a Christmas song which dates back to the 16th century and was performed in Coventry England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors.
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
 
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Character Sketch—Izsák

So I took a break from writing yesterday because I had the itch to draw something, but when I got pencil in hand and paper on desk, I couldn't get my hand to draw what my mind was seeing. Hate that! I wanted to draw this image of my character Izsák, servant boy to my main character Vlad, sitting in a window seat gazing through the window with a leg bent upon the seat of the bench and his foot tucked beneath his other leg, holding onto a pillow. I can still see it in my mind, but I'm so out of practice with drawing the human form, which used to come so easily, that I couldn't get the position right. I drew comic book characters back in the day, all the time, and that was how I got used to drawing the human form in many positions. Nope, couldn't do it today. I made several sketches trying to get it right but I gave up and went to trying to draw his face. Key word, trying. Eventually, though, I hit the jackpot, sort of, and came up with this profile sketch:

Izsák, drawn by moi.
The photo doesn't do it justice, of course. This is pretty close to how I envision him in my novel, blue-eyed and freckle-faced. I couldn't quite capture his adorableness, but I may give him another shot sometime in the future.

Anyway, since we are on the subject of Izsák (pronounced Eesh-ahk), I might as well let y'all know a little about him. As I said, he is my main character Vlad's servant boy. They are introduced to each other when the King of Hungary assigns him to Vlad during his stay at the palace in Buda, and at the time Vlad does not speak an ounce of Hungarian, and Hungarian is the only language the boy knows. Vlad quickly learns the language, though, with his mentor Ion's help and Izsák's. At first Vlad can't tolerate the hyperactive twelve-year-old, but over the course of the novel he sees how dedicated the boy is to pleasing him and begins to ignore the things that irritate him and comes to appreciate how wonderful a young man Izsák really is. He goes as far as to teach Izsák how to read and write while he himself is also learning, teaches him how to loose a bow and wield a sword, though the latter two the boy has trouble grasping. Through thick and thin, Izsák remains faithful to him and even offers to risk his own life to help his lord when times get dangerous. The two become the best of friends.

So there you have it, a short run down on one of my favorite characters in my WIP. I hope you enjoyed the visual and maybe one day you all will get to meet him if I succeed in publishing my book.

It's Doomsday!

So, it's 12-21-12, and I feel fine!

Jill Tracy - Doomsday Serenade
Album - Diabolical Streak (1999)


We'll meet again, my dear, on Doomsday
Pigs will be flying through the sky
Upon the 12th of Never
Half a quarter past forever
Stricken with the Rapture
We will watch the world's demise

 
We'll meet again, my dear, on Doomsday
A hint of Armageddon fills the air
Now that Hell has frozen over
And the sun is growing colder
We'll be drawing closer
Because there's no more time to spare

 
We'll meet again, my dear, on Doomsday
A shower full of frogs and toads
But as bleak as it may be
Apocalyptic reverie
Hand in hand we'll tiptoe
Through the carcasses and bones

 
The air is too thin to breath on Doomsday
At last we face the reckoning
And blood will fill the sea
Cobwebs will cover you and me
As flames engulf the remnants
Of this grand catastrophe

 
It's Doomsday

It's Doomsday
_______________________________________________

So, how are y'all on this fine doomsday?

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Look To The Blog.

I got bored of the autumn trees look, so I decided to go with this winter-themed look, at least until the end of winter (though winter has yet to show around these parts.). What do you think?

Also, I wrote another 2400 words the other day. My writing just comes in spurts, I suppose. Getting that much closer to the end, thank goodness. I'm already over 170,000 words into this novel, almost where I was when I wrote it the first time 15 years ago, and I'm only about halfway through the story of the original draft (which I have to split into two, no questions asked). The original draft is mostly irrelevant now, but some of the plot points remain. Im'ma gonna have to do some chopping I guess when editing time comes and do some real tightening of the prose, but I'll worry about that when the time comes.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Random Song Of The Week #29

Steppenwolf -- Magic Carpet Ride
Album -- The Second (1968)




I like to dream yes, yes, right between my sound machine
On a cloud of sound I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here

Well, you don't know what we can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
You don't know what we can see
Why don't you tell your dreams to me
Fantasy will set you free
Close your eyes girl
Look inside girl
Let the sound take you away

Last night I held Aladdin's lamp
And so I wished that I could stay
Before the thing could answer me
Well, someone came and took the lamp away
I looked around, a lousy candle's all I found

Well, you don't know what we can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
Well, you don't know what we can see
Why don't you tell your dreams to me
Fantasy will set you free
Close your eyes girl
Look inside girl
Let the sound take you away

You don't know what we can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
Well, you don't know what we can see
Why don't you tell your dreams to me

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Random Song Of The Week #28

Clannad - Caide Sin Do'n Té Sin? (What is it to anyone?)
Album -- Banba (1993)


Since the video has the words in it, here's the translation:

I went to the fair and sold my cow
For five pounds of silver and a yellow guinea of gold
If I drink the silver and if I give away the gold
O what is that to anyone else.
If I drink the silver and if I give away the gold
O what is that to anyone else.

If I go to the leafy woods gathering berries or chestnuts,
Plucking apples from branches or herding cows,
If I stretch out for a while beneath a tree relaxing,
O what is that to anyone else.
If I stretch out for a while beneath a tree relaxing,
O what is that to anyone else.

If I go for a night-visit and for dancing and sport,
To fairs and races and every gathering of that sort,
If I see happy people and if I'm happy with them,
O what is that to anyone else.
If I see happy people and if I'm happy with them,
O what is that to anyone else.

People say I'm without riches no doubt,
Without goods or clothes or cattle or stock,
If I a happy living in a hovel,
O what is that to anyone else.
If I a happy living in a hovel,
O what is that to anyone else.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Seduced By Wilde

His portrait, that is. For the past eight days I had been working on my latest art project, a graphite portrait of Oscar Wilde. My writing was put on the back burner for the entire time I worked on this, the reason because I was just too caught up into drawing this picture, and I was anguishing over the current scene. Nothing was coming out like I wanted, so a little time away was in order, and what better way to take a break from writing than to draw something, especially if that something is Wilde. So, without further ado, I will take you on a photo by photo progression of my work. Also, the photo quality is pretty crappy, not professional in any way, just so you know.

Days 1-2:

Outline of Oscar complete. I started the outline by doing some minor tracing (yeah, I cheated a little) with my light box just to get the major lines down, then I drew in the finer details of which even those changed as I progressed with the drawing. I started that on Dec. 1st, but couldn't finish it until the following day since the boyfriend decided he wanted to go out for his birthday or something. The nerve! Anyway, on Dec. 2nd I finished the outline and took a picture of it, and enhanced the crappy photo so the light line work would show. After the photo was taken I shaded in the background.


Day 3:

The background shaded, I had the idea to add in Oscar's signature to all of the open space on the upper left hand side of the drawing. So I scoured the internet (in about two minutes) and printed off a copy of his signature with the printer. Then I took my softest pencil (8B) and rubbed it over the back of the paper beneath the signature, then I set it where I wanted the signature to be and traced over it with a pencil, transferring the signature onto the drawing. I then darkened the transferred image with a 2B pencil. I then worked on the arm of the chair, his arm, hand, gloves, cuff, and part of the coat. I start with the lightest shade first and darken as I go, shading in layers over layers because it is easier to erase a mistake when it's light than when it's dark. My principle pencils (Staedtler Mars Lumographs) are shades 2B and 4B, but I also used HB and 6B here. 2B and 4B are my workhorse pencils for this drawing. I also used tortillions and blending stumps and a kneaded eraser for the blending of shapes and shadows, and lifting of graphite for highlights.


Detail of hand.

Detail of signature.

Day 4:

He now has a leg, shoulder, part of the breast of his coat and collar, and the staff is shaded in. The blackest areas I used pencil 7B which must not be graphite (as well as 8B) because of the difference in the shininess and overall look of the blackness. I used it on his coat.


Days 5-6:

Day five proved to be a day where I didn't accomplish much. I drew the hair on the right (our left) side of his head and that was it. I was actually busy that day and had only enough time to work on that little. As you can see from the progression photos, I was working left to right. I'm right-handed, so to keep from smudging any areas I have worked, I just work in sections going left to right. Day six I finished his hair, face, hand, left shoulder, and part of the breast of his coat.



Detail of face.

Days 7-8

Day seven (Dec. 7) proved to be the day I accomplished the most with this drawing. By now I was reaching the 3/4 mark, and by then on any drawing I am getting tired of working on it and wanted it done. I spent most of that day working on this drawing and little else. I finished everything but his leg from about the crotch area on down. I finished the chair he is sitting on as well. Day eight (Dec. 8) I finished his leg, which didn't turn out as good as I would have liked, but by now I didn't care and wanted it done. I also added more shading to his cheek and drew in the dark border around the image.


Hope you enjoyed my day by day progression with the fabulous Oscar Finagal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (what a name, makes me exhausted just reading it). Now to get back to torturing  Vlad and his friends.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Random Song Of The Week #27

Adam Hurst -- The Secret
Album -- The Secret (2011)


Cello and piano, one of his best songs in my opinion, but much of his music is great. And he's a snappy dresser.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Latest Art Project Done!

In my previous post I mentioned an art project I was working on. Well, today I finally finished it. Woo hoo! I was getting antsy to have it done and over with by the time I got about 3/4 of the way through, which isn't anything out of the ordinary for me. Behold, my latest graphite drawing entitled: All That Remains -- Ruined church of Zelemér, Hungary

Click for larger view.
The photo reference came from a search on Google Earth, which you can see here. From what I've read, the ruins of this church are the last remains of a medieval town that had once existed around it. I did take liberty in changing a few things from the original photo, like the removal of the footprints in the snow and the poles for the power lines in the background. The original drawing has far more finer details than what the photo shows and isn't grey. I did draw it on white paper. I need to invest in a light box (or have the boyfriend build me one) so I can take better photos of my drawings. But for now, this is the best I can do. Our scanner makes it look worse.

And now onto my next project, if only I could decide on which photo of Mr. Wilde to draw? Hmm. Oh, and maybe I should work on my novel, too. Definitely not going to have that first draft done by tomorrow. The battle between my muses continues...

Monday, November 26, 2012

The War Of The Muses

Draw draw draw!

No! Write write write!

Draw!

Write!

It's a rather nice predicament to have, since so rarely do either of the muses come around at the same time. In my teen years the writing and drawing muses were close pals of mine. Nowadays, not so much. And I miss that. The writing muse has been coming around a lot the last few years, which is really nice. The art muse is like that friend who lives far away that you rarely get to see, and when she does stop by, you make the most of it while she's there, because she ain't a stayin' for long. Right now the two muses are vying for my attention, and it's great, especially since I'm not working I have the time to share part of the day with both. Currently I'm working on a graphite drawing of a ruined medieval Hungarian church, it's remains the only thing left of a village that had once surrounded it. After that I really want to start on a portrait of Oscar Wilde because I think he is just fabulous. It's going to be tough to choose which picture of him to draw, many are just awesome and would be so much fun to draw any of them, but I need to hold off until my ruined church drawing is complete.

Don't hate me because I'm awesome.


The Thanksgiving holiday kinda  put the kibosh to my goal of getting the first draft done by the end of the month, which is Friday. I may still achieve it yet if I get to work and the words flow from me smoothly. We'll see. It was nice to see my family on T-Day, since I live three hours away and don't get to see them very often. The boyfriend had to work the entire holiday weekend, which kind of sucked, but was good because cha-ching! He makes good money as it is, but add double time to three of the four days of the holiday weekend, and that fourth day time and a half, and it is worth it. I suppose. Sucks to spend the holiday working, but many people do anyway.

So now that I'm done eating my lunch, I'm going to cut this post short so I can finish up my house chores and get to work on my drawing and novel. I shall post a picture of my drawing when it's complete.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Random Song Of The Week #26

Blue October -- 18th Floor Balcony
Album -- Foiled (2006)


I close my eyes and I smile 
Knowing that everything is alright 
To the core 
So close that door 
Is this happening? 

My breath is on your hair 
I'm unaware 
That you opened the blinds and let the city in 
God, you held my hand 
And we stand 
Just taking in everything.

And I knew it from the start 
So my arms are open wide 
Your head is on my stomach 
And we're, we're trying so hard not to fall asleep 
But Here we are 
On this 18th floor balcony... 
We're both flying away. 


So we talked about mom's and dad's 
About family pasts 
Just getting to know where we came from 
Our hearts were on display 
For all to see 
I can't believe this is happening to me and, 
I raised my hands as if to show you that I was yours 
That I was so yours for the taking 
I'm so yours for the taking and
That's when I felt the wind pick up 
I grabbed the rail while choking up 
These words to say and then you kissed me... here

And I knew it from the start 
So My arms are open wide 
Your head is on my stomach 
And we're, we're trying so hard not to fall asleep 
But Here we are 
On this 18th floor balcony... 
We're both flying away

And I'll try to sleep
To keep you in my dreams
'Till I can bring you home with me
I'll try to sleep 
And when I do I'll keep you in my... dreams 

And I knew it from the start 
So my arms are open wide 
And your head is on my stomach 
And we're, we're trying so hard not to fall asleep
So here we are
On this 18th floor balcony... 

Yeah
And I knew it from the start
So my arms are open wide
Your head is on my stomach 
No... We're not going to sleep, sleep
Here we are
On this 18th floor baclony... 
We're both flying away.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Random Song Of The Week #25

Bad Company -- Shooting Star
Album -- Straight Shooter (1975)



Johnny was an school boy
When he heard his first Beatles song
Love Me Do, I think it was
And from there it didn't take him long
Got himself a guitar
Used to play every night
Now he's in a rock 'n' roll outfit
And everything's alright
Don't you know?

Johnny told his Mama,

"Hey, Mama, I'm goin' away
I'm Gonna hit the big time
Gonna be a big star someday"
Mama came to the door
With a teardrop in her eye
Johnny said, "Don't cry, Mama,
Just smile and wave goodbye"
Don't you know?

Yeah......yeah.....

 

Don't you know that you are a shooting star
Don't you know
Don't you know
Don't you know that you are a shooting star
And all the world will love you just as long
As long as you are

Johnny made a record

Went straight up to number one
Suddenly everyone loved
To hear him sing his song
Watchin' the world go by
Surprisin' it goes so fast
Johnny looked around him and said,
"Well, I made the big-time at last"
Don't you know?
Don't you know?

A shooting star


Don't you know that You are a shooting star

Don't you know?
Don't you know that You are a shooting star
And all the world will love you just as long
as long as you are

Johnny died one night, died in his bed

Bottle of whiskey, sleeping tablets by his head
Johnny's life passed him by like a warm summer day
If you listen to the wind you can still hear him play

Don't you know that You are a shooting star

Don't you know?
Don't you know that you are a shooting star
Don't you don't you don't you don't you don't you know
Don't you know that you are a shooting star

Don't you, don't you know that you are a shooting star

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Another Chapter Closer

I'm pretty proud of myself tonight. I finished a chapter within two days, about 4300 words total. That's fantastic for me, since it usually takes me a week to squeeze out a chapter or two. I got two chapters done in less that a week, 8,900 words in all. I'm getting closer and closer to the end of this first book in my series. If I can keep this momentum up, barring nothing coming along and ruining my mojo like usual, I should have the first draft finally, FINALLY, done by the end of the month. The next chapter I'll be starting had pretty much been pre-written a year ago when the idea for it came to me and I wrote it out so I wouldn't forget it. Most of it will remain much the same as I had originally written it without a whole lot of major tweaking, so assuming I am left alone to work on it tomorrow (the boyfriend will be home from work, need I say more) I should be able to finish it and begin the following chapter (eh, he'll be out in the garage all day, I have nothing to worry about). I'm guessing, maybe, possibly, after this chapter another three or four more to end it, and after that I have to go back and write a chapter I skipped (if I decide to write it, I may not need it) and finish a couple I started and skipped because I got stuck one way or another, and finish up other little odds and ends I left to do later.

I'm pretty excited about getting this draft done. I've been working on it for way too long. Being jobless has helped, though I still don't write until the late afternoon/evening hours past when I would be home from work anyway, I don't have that mental and physical stress of the job ruining my desire to write. Once all of these chapters are done, I'm going to piece them altogether in one file (as of now each chapter has its own file) and start on the second book to give myself some distance from it before I start on the edits. I know the beginning will need a lot of editing. I already have scenes written for the second book as well, though I have a lot of writing to do to stitch those scenes together with in-between scenes. For now, I just need to concentrate on finishing this book. The light at the end of the tunnel continues to grow brighter, and brighter.

And for your reading enjoyment, a little snippet (just a wee one) from one of the two chapters I wrote this past week:

 “I had thought I'd known what love was,” he [Vlad] said. “I had been wrong. I never knew it until this moment. My son is love. And seeing him I can now say with certainty, I know what love is.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

So, I got tagged for this about a month ago by writer Katie S. Pendergrass but I had been too lazy to participate. Shame on me! But now I will finally participate. 

What is your working title of your book?

Draculești has been the working title for many a moon, but since my story is going to be a series, I thought it might be better suited as the over-arching title for the series, and have individual titles for each book. For the first one which I'm still working on, the idea for the title just came to me the other night: Draculești - Blood of the Dragon, Tooth of the Wolf.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Way back in the day when I was a young lass (19), I had an idea to write a book on how the son of the Impaler came to be a vampire and his vampire exploits after his "turn". It was only meant to be about a hundred page story, instead it grew into a crappily written 190,000 word novel. At the time I thought it was some pretty gosh darn good writing, until I displayed bits and pieces of it for critique on the interwebs in 2008 and was told the idea of the story was interesting, but the writing left something to be desired. So since then I've been learning to write by rewriting this story, and during the rewrites I've delved deeper into the historical aspects of the story, working to get those parts as true as I could while telling my fantasy story. Here's a post I had written about my WIP, if you want to learn more.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical Fantasy is what I believe fits it best.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?


I really haven't a clue, whatsoever. I don't keep track of Hollywood, but ideally I would want foreign actors to take the roles. Hungarians for the Hungarian characters, Romanians for the Vlach characters, so on and so on. Mostly because it would be nice to hear authentic accents when they speak their dialogue, and being unfamiliar to most audiences (except, of course, to those in the countries the actor is from), people won't see them as anything more than the characters; for instance, when you see Brad Pitt, all you see is him and not the character because everyone is so familiar with him. If y'all catch my drift. For my main character, Vlad, I found that Romanian model Andrei Andrei has the looks similar as to how I see Vlad. Change his hair color from black to dirty blonde and he's essentially my MC.



What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?


Living the life of an aristocratic puppet was not how Vlad imagined his life, yet had he not returned to the man that had left him for dead as a child fourteen years ago, his Impaler Prince father would never had sent him to Buda to be trained into a soldier, only to befriend the king, nor marry into the wealthiest of Hungarian families, the Báthory's, and if he had not befriended that black wolf, the monster might never had stalked him into insanity.

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

I will do my best to get representation through an agency, and if that proves fruitless I may go to self-publishing.

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

Still working on the first draft of the complete rewrite of the original novel. I'm using the original as kind of an outline for this one. I've been working on it off and on for four years, and I'm only now coming to the halfway point or so of where the rewrite is compared to the original. It has grown more complex and longer than I imagined, so instead of one book like I had hoped to make it, it'll have to be split into two to make it salable. Unless an agent disagrees. We shall see when I get more written. The plan as of now is to split it where the eight year gap in the story begins, which I'm getting close to, and start the second book after the gap.

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

I don't really think there are any out there to compare it to. Perhaps, maybe, in subject matter a cross between Interview With The Vampire and Vlad: The Last Confession.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My interest in vampires and Vlad the Impaler.

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

The story's main focus is on Vlad's journey through life from an orphaned aristocratic toddler raised by peasants to returning to his birth father only to be thrust into the court of the Hungarian king, then married into the powerful Báthory family, all the while stalked by a vampiric hellhound bent on driving him to insanity. It is about his inner journey of coping with the drastic changes in his life from being dirt poor to having anything he could ever need, but always with a price. He prides himself as being sympathetic in a time when men are driven to be hard and the most prestigious occupation is that of a soldier. Through diaries written by his father's hand, Vlad learns the stories he had been told of his father were mostly propaganda and that he was more human than the monster he had always thought him to be. When he learns that a man has eyes for him, he discovers a side of himself he had never known yet always had to have been there, and explores the other side of his sexuality, risking imprisonment or death if they were to be caught.


Now for the peeps I'm to exploit into this hop. Er, actually, I don't have many peeps to choose from, so some have already done this thing, and some haven't and may not participate, which is cool. Anyway:



Rules of the Next Big Thing
  1. Use this format for your post
  2. Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
  3. Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.


Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
  • What is your working title of your book?
  • Where did the idea come from for the book?
  • What genre does your book fall under?
  • Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  • Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
  • What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  • Who or what inspired you to write this book?
  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Random Song Of The Week #24

Alicia Keys -- If I Ain't Got You
Album -- The Diary Of Alicia Keys (2003)



Some people live for the fortune 
Some people live just for the fame 
Some people live for the power yeah 
Some people live just to play the game 
Some people think that the physical things 
Define what's within 
And I've been there before 
But that life's a bore 
So full of the superficial 

Some people want it all 
But I don't want nothing at all 
If it ain't you baby 
If I ain't got you baby 
Some people want diamond rings 
Some just want everything 
But everything means nothing 
If I ain't got you 

Some people search for a fountain 
That promises forever young 
Some people need three dozen roses 
And that's the only way to prove you love them 


Hand me the world on a silver platter 
And what good would it be 
With no one to share, with no one who truly cares for me 

Some people want it all 
But I don't want nothing at all 
If it ain't you baby 
If I ain't got you baby 
Some people want diamond rings 
Some just want everything 
But everything means nothing 
If I ain't got you,you,you 

Some people want it all 
But I don't want nothing at all 
If it ain't you baby 
If I ain't got you baby 
Some people want diamond rings 
Some just want everything 
But everything means nothing 
If I ain't got you

If I ain't got you with me baby 
Nothing in this whole wide world don't mean a thing 
If I ain't got you with me baby

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Biggie, Seriously?

I swear, my cat has some sort of mental connection to me, because every time, or nearly every damn time I open one of the documents to my novel to start working on it, Biggie has to make a pain in the ass of himself. As of typing this, he is sitting on my lap content, but usually he can't just sit on my lap like a good kitty, he has to pull on the zippers of my jacket, he has to get up and stand in-between me and the computer, making sure his fluff tail is in my face, rub his face on the corner of my desk and give it a bite for good measure. If I don't allow him on my lap, he tries to get on my desk where he and the other cats aren't allowed, or bite my foot or chew on my peace lily or do something else naughty just for the attention. It isn't that the cat never gets attention, he gets plenty of it. He just decides the best time to do it is when I'm trying to work, or trying to sleep.

He's cute, he's fluffy, and he has no shame exposing his fluff to the world.
Biggie is a bit of a celebrity, sort of. Anyone that knows my boyfriend and I knows Biggie, he's the cute fluff ball that as much as we try to give him away (out of jest, but at times seriously) no one will take him. He's naughty. Very naughty. He gets along with other cats as long as they're female. He and our other cat (out of four in the house), Missy, seem to be a couple. They always are playing and licking each other and sometimes when we have company over Biggie thinks of it as a good time to "get his groove on" with Missy. The cat is good for puking up cat food and hairballs, and the utility room seems to be his toilet. Litter box? What's that? That is the main reason why no one will take him, though he will use one if he is the only cat to use it, and if it's kept immaculate. And one reason I could never give him away; as much as I despise the daily cleaning, I know no one else would put up with a cat that's too good to use a litter box. Despite his litter box aversion, I couldn't give my fluff away, I've had him since he was a kitten, nearly seven years ago.

Regardless of being a little shit that shits and pees on the tile floor of the utility room (the dog has the carpet in the dining room taken care of—ugh, pets!), we keep him around for entertainment purposes. Biggie does things that make you laugh and he has some of the best facial expressions of any cat I've known. He's been given many nicknames, from Fluff, to Big Whisk, to Mr. Fluffypants, from Shit Head to F-ing Cat! Biggie is fond of showing affection on his terms, like most cats, and he often will greet you with a head bunt. One of his favorite places to sleep is in the closet, and when I don't know he's in there and I shut the closet doors, I'll hear this sad, sad call from somewhere until I realize where he is and set him free. Sometimes when he meows it sounds like he's saying "mom", so I call back to him saying, "Yes son?", and he comes up to me meowing and wanting to be picked up. That's another nickname he's come to be called, Son. His original name is Mr. Whiskers, but over time we've just come to call him Biggie.

Aww, Biggie baby picture.

Random Song Of The Week #23

Dead Can Dance -- Summoning Of The Muse
Album -- Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun (1987)


When my writing muse goes missing in action, perhaps I ought to play this song. Ha!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ah, The Vampire.

 Lakeview Cemetery, Nashville MI. Photo by Rhonda Cook 
Vampires have been a passion of mine for twenty plus years, ever since my friend Jennifer introduced them to me in our early teens (and to Ouija boards and ghosts and other fun things). Her and I would go for walks through the local cemetery, a place we often hung out since it was so quiet and peaceful, and one of the prettier small town cemeteries I've been in, but I could just be partial. Another friend, Samantha, and I often walked the cemetery too, and it was her and I who wrote vampire stories together and stories about many other things, spook and non-spook alike. Something about the mythical creature has always allured me, perhaps it is my fear of blood (and needles) that, in some ironic way, has kept me intrigued with them. Or maybe it's their immortality, or strong yet weak nature. Maybe because they are denizens of the night. Whatever it is, I don't think about why I like them, I just do.
Lakeview Cemetery, Nashville MI. Photo by Rhonda Cook


There are as many variations of the vampire as there are cultures, culture having the greatest impact of the many types of vampires. The common Eastern European version of the vampire has taken many different forms, and more recently the sexy, angst ridden vampire has become the most popular. They weren't always this way. Vampires (this blog post will concentrate on the common European version) were originally described as hideous creatures with long fingers and ears, reeking of blood and death. Like this fella here:

Max Schreck in Murnau's 1922 Nosferatu.
Vampires were pretty much as mindless as zombies, but instead of wanting to eat your brains, they wanted to feed on your blood. They were pretty darn easy to kill, a stake through the heart pinned them down while one chopped off their head. Fire killed them. Sunlight did not, however. Hollywood brought that to us. Religious symbols could in some myths deter them. The best way to distract them was to leave piles of rice or better yet, salt, in the vampire's path, because of their obsessive compulsive behavior, they had to stop and count every damn grain before they could continue. They may have been as strong as ten men, but a thumb tack had sharper wits.

It wasn't until the 19th century when the vampire started its transformation from hideous, blood-sucking, smelly corpse, to the more lustful, cunning, and even dare say sympathetic mythical creature we know today. The first of these stories begins with John William Polidori's 1819 short story/novella, The Vampyre. Admittedly, when I read this story, I couldn't understand much of what was going on. The language is old; of course, it was written almost 200 years ago. But for the history of it all, I gave it a shot if only just to say I read the first story of the romantic vampire. My favorite vampire story of the 19th century is a novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, published in 1872 called Carmilla. Totally readable, and enjoyable, and the first book to depict a lesbian vampire. It is believed that this story may be the main inspiration for Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, Dracula. Which, of course, I have read. As much as I like and write vampires, I haven't read a whole lot of vampire fiction. For the more modern works of vampire literature, I've read Anne Rice's Interview With The Vampire, George R. R. Martin's Fevre Dream (which is excellent, btw), and, I'll admit to it, I've read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight just to see what the fuss was about, but I had no desire to read the sequels. I prefer my vampire stories to be in a historical setting, not modern.
Illustration by Michael Fitzgerald for Le Fanu's story Carmilla in The Dark Blue (January 1872)

The word "vampire" made its first appearance in English in the year 1734 in a travelogue entitled Travels Of Three English Gentlemen, according to Wikipedia. The word had been in use in other languages with their own spelling variant for a time before the English version came to be, but the creature itself dates back to ancient times. Vampires have many names and many forms, but most have one thing that links them—blood. From Greek mythology we have Lamia, a queen of Libya who became a child-eating demon, sometimes depicted as having a serpent's tail below the waist. Then there's the strige, or "bird of ill-omen", which resembled a crow that flew only at night, sometimes in flocks, and pecked holes into their human victims to drink their blood. Then there are the Indian Rakshasa, who often took on the form of a human-tiger hybrid who were powerful sorcerers and ate the flesh and drank the blood of their victims. Not all vampires drank blood; some simply called psychic vampires fed off of emotions and life energies, driving their victims to suicidal thoughts and at worst, committing the act itself. Here's an old website I created back in the late nineties that I can't believe I'm linking to, but it contains some interesting information of vampire myths and the different kinds of vampires of other cultures. Don't laugh. It's bad, but not completely horrible. Yeah, it's an old Angelfire page, and if I had the old password and email address I used when I built it I would make corrections, or perhaps just delete it. But anywho...

I've talked a little about vampires in general. There is so much information on them and pictures on the web and in books that I'm not going to clutter up my blog with more. I will, however, talk a little about the vampire in my novel in progress, Draculești, since we're on the subject. You may remember her from a couple of past posts, like this one and this one.  The vampire in my novel is like a hybrid of wolf, vampire, and hellhound. She feeds on human blood and seems particularly fond of the blood of children, though she isn't fussy. Even other animals will do in a pinch. She, like other vampires, is active from dusk til dawn, and though she can come out to play during the day, her power is weakened. She appears most of the time in the form of an enormous black wolf with glowing blue eyes and has the ability to transform into a human if need be. Without giving too much of her away, I'll conclude with the one aspect of this creature that terrifies my main character, Vlad, above all else, above her cunning, her obsessive stalking of him, her sheer, intimidating size, above her tendencies to be ruthless when she kills, and that is her feeding upon the souls of her victims, trapped within the hell that is this monster forever crying and fighting to break free, never to reach the paradise of Heaven. Their souls fuel her power, their blood nourishes her body. And she has no remorse. The wolf often leaves Vlad her calling card, whether after a kill or before one, or to just intimidate; two words: Eris mihi.

Hors d'oeurves, anyone? Rendition of my hybrid vampire/hellhound, drawn by moi. 


As you can see, the vampire is a rather versatile creature. It keeps evolving and morphing; from a mindless and disgusting, blood-craving corpse to an attractive and cunning, blood-lusting corpse; a hybrid of animal and human, or just animal, or can transform into animal or mist; and in some stories they are depicted as aliens, or as humans infected by a virus that changes them into feral, blood-drinking creatures. And yet others need simply to hang out with their victims, draining them of their emotions and let the victims do the work of killing themselves. There is no right or wrong way to depict a vampire. They can be anything you wish them to be, though purists will raise their noses up and say, "That is not how a vampire is supposed to be" if it is depicted anything other than what is considered the norm. It's a creature of folklore and myth, ever-changing. It isn't just one thing, it is many things, and perhaps the vampire as we have come to know will morph into something new, and that will one day become the norm and how we all will depict the vampire.