Writing Update, 10/11

Wicked Witch, Retired
Ended up spending all of last week on rewrites. Didn’t really intend for it to take that long, but that’s how it fell out between the last of the hard drive drama and not feeling well. This week, I’ve added words. The manuscript is over the 60K mark.

Abbott stories
Had a few days off of PHYSIC work and started reading through the first of the One Ahead stories, “The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress.” Still haven’t decided whether I’m going to do anything special for NaNoWriMo. I’m firmly on the fence, but I *have* added my info to the NaNo page. Surprised that my first stab at Abbott was five years ago. What have I been doing with myself? (Don’t answer that…)


Down the TBR Hole #4


This is a meme started by Lia at Lost in a Story. The “rules” are:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I’m modifying this a little since my to-read shelf is a mess of books that are mostly in storage. Instead, I’m going to look at my wishlist—all those books I add on a whim during my travels around the book blogging community—and weed out the ones that don’t quite sound as good now. The “keepers” I’m going to look for at online libraries or add to my Amazon wishlist.

alt text The Weeping Woman by Patricia Santos Marcantonio

I haven’t read enough fiction involving La Llorna. Needs a re-release! KEEP.

alt text The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black by E.B. Hudspeth

I’m actually kind of on the fence about this one, even though I just entered a giveaway for it. *cough* Still, the intersection of late 19th century science and myths & legends? Eh, sounds good. KEEP.

alt text The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I know that a lot of people I know like this book. I know that “one part ‘Robin Hood’, one part Ocean’s Eleven” should really hook me. But I still haven’t gotten around to this book. Maybe is it were historical instead of fantasy? GO.

alt text Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Carol J. Clover

Even though it was published in 1992 and the horror film genre has changed in the past two decades, I still love nonfiction about horror movies. KEEP.

alt text Beyond Rue Morgue Anthology: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1st Detective, edited by Paul Kane & Charles Prepolec

I’ve given up on Sherlock Holmes pastiches. I’m not really interested modern writers writing in the style of Poe. But stories about Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin? Yeah, KEEP.

Anyone have any experience with any of these? Any arguments for KEEP or GO?

Deal Me In, Week 40 ~ “Visitors”

(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)
(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

“Visitor” by Jack Dann

Card picked: 9
From: The Architecture of Fear, edited by Kathryn Cramer and Peter D. Pautz

The Story

After Mr. Benjamin died, he came back to Charlie’s room for a visit.

Charlie is fifteen and is suffering from peritonitis after an appendectomy. The other patients in the ward are similarly in pain, but Charlie had managed to make friends with Mr. Benjamin from across the hall. Even now that Mr. Benjamin is dead, their friendship isn’t over and maybe Mr. Benjamin can help as Charlie decides between a pain-filled life and an okay, but a little lonely, after-life.

While still not a story with a particular connection to specific architecture, I did enjoyed it’s gentle take on ghosts.

Peril of the Short Story

Perilous Updates, Week 5


For someone who joined #FrightFall on Sunday, I haven’t done much frightful reading. My eye was turned by a “romance of the mind” involving Nikola Tesla. But, I promise my next few short stories will be suitable. I have a story from Dark Screams: Volume Eight “due” today, a story from The Architecture of Fear for Deal Me In, and I’m thinking about reading some Clive Barker to learn how to properly torment one of the characters I’m writing.

Peril of the Short Story

The October Reading Club is underway at Facebook. This year Craig, the admin, has gone to an every-other-day posting schedule. The first story was by Lovecraft. I skipped it since I’d just read some Lovecraft and he’s not really my bag. The second story was “The Dancing Partner” by Jerome K. Jerome, which I had just read a couple months back.

The third story, I read: “The Voice in the Night” by William Hope Hodgson.

It was a dark, starless night. We were becalmed in the Northern Pacific.

Pretty easy to get me with a sea story, actually. This one has castaways with a twist.

Continue reading “Perilous Updates, Week 5”

Super Retro Review ~ Spooky Tricks

Cover via Goodreads

Spooky Tricks by by Rose Wyler, Gerald Ames, Talivaldis Stubis (Illustrator)

Learn the secrets of these dazzling tricks and put on a Halloween show that’s sure to bewitch your friends. You will be able to make cards rise, a girl disappear, and a boy float! (via Goodreads)

I’m always a little tickled when I’m browsing Open Library and I come across a book I owned as a kid. I’m not big on nostalgia, but I’ve spent a lot of time reading  throughout my life. Finding an old book that I’m familiar with takes me back like nothing else can. Spooky Tricks was probably purchased through a Scholastic Books flyer. For me, those flyers were as good at the Sear Christmas catalog.

Though it obviously hit my sweet spot for things creepy and magical, Spooky Tricks pretty much marks the beginning and end of my ambitions toward magic. I tried out a few of the tricks to little success. As a kid, I chalked it up to not having supplies. Who has matchboxes lying around? Or stilts with shoes? Or an over abundance of black thread? As an adult, and one who had studies a little about magic, I see things differently.

1.) Most of the tricks in this book are not that good. Or rather, maybe if you’re a kid and you’re showing these tricks once to a particularly sympathetic adult, you might get a good reaction.

2.) I’ve always been disinclined to read directions if you give me illustrations. Which is great when you’re assembling an Ikea bookshelf, but crappy when you’re trying to learn magic.

3.) I’ve always been an overly skeptical person and I’m terrible at being deceptive. Even as a kid, I didn’t buy that anyone would believe these tricks. I certainly knew that *I* couldn’t pull them off. Maybe if I had realized that magic requires a level of showmanship… Nope, I still wouldn’t be able to convincingly lie about where my thumb might be, or whose names I wrote down for the X-ray eyes trick, or whether there is one piece of black thread or two. But none of this means that I dodn’t appreciate it when professionals do magic!

Publishing info, my copy: scanned, Scholastic Inc, 1968
Acquired: Open Library
Genre: nonfiction

Penn & Teller (as their 8 year-old selves) with a piece of R.I.P. appropriate magic:

It’s Monday, What Are You… (10/2)


Slade House Dark Screams: Volume Eight The Overneath

I started Slade House last week, but then skipped over to The Ballad of Black Tom, which I finished. Not sure what I think, thus far. It’s…quirky. I’ve also been working my way through two short story ARCs. And I’ll probably read other assorted short stories. The October Reading Club is back, but started out with Lovecraft. *shrug*

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!


Trying to get work done. Playing some frisbee. Basking in October-ness. The usual.

The data drive on my desktop took a dive Saturday night. I’ve recovered most of my important files, and I’ll have probably an attempt or two more to grab a few things, but it’s been an interruption of my usual routine. Eric ordered a ginormous replacement.

What Was I Doing?

Cat: Readathon
Tag: monday, magic, (artist)

Deal Me In, Week 39 ~ “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire”

(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)
(Deal Me In logo above created by Mannomoi at Dilettante Artiste)

Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

“The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” by Arthur Conan Doyle

Card picked: 10*
From: The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (I’d link to this story, but published in 1924, it isn’t yet in the public domain in the United States. Which is utterly ridiculous.)

* Every-so-often, I make a mistake in my Deal Me In list. This week ended up being one of those oftens. When I copy/pasted the table of contents listing for the Shirley Jackson stories I’m reading for hearts, “Dorothy and my Grandmother” was slated for the 9 and “And the Sailors” for the 10, but actually, that’s all the title of one story! So, I decided to have an extra wild card slot and filled it with a Sherlock Holmes story that was recently mentioned in my copy of Dracula.

The Story
“The Sussex Vampire” is generally considered one of the strongest of this collection. Case-book was the last collection of Holmes stories written by Doyle and, in fact, some of his last published fiction. Doyle was well-tired of Holmes at this point and probably low on ideas.

“The Sussex Vampire,” though, is a very quintessential Holmes story. We have a problem, one of seemingly supernatural—or at least very deviant—origin. A woman is accused of sucking the blood of her infant child. I kind of wonder if Doyle had this story rattling around as an idea for a while, but had earlier thought the concept a little too much.

As a reread, I sort of remembered the solution to this case and I could see all the pieces being put into place. There’s the drawing room consultation and the on-site visit and Holmes being very smart while everyone is frazzled. All these things, are very satisfying as a reader. Holmes does seem a little more sensitive to others in “Vampire,” but maybe I’m used  to the very anti-social modern versions of Holmes.

The Author

This agency stands flat-footed upon the ground, and there it must remain. The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply.

I have to give props to Doyle for maintaining Holmes as a skeptical character while the author was far into his spiritualistic sojourn.

Peril of the Short Story