Sunday, March 24, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

READING: The King of Lies by John Hart. I love Hart's writing style, deluded narrators and dysfunctional families, so this was always going to be right up my alley.

Short stories: 98 - 109 of 500. Faves this week:

Sun Dogs by Brooke Bolander at Lightspeed
Gorgeous story about Laika, the dog sent into space in 1957. I have a weakness for unusual POVs, and this is a great one, managing to describe both a familiar environment and an imagined one through the filter of what is effectively an alien consciousness. The dog's experiences and memories are heartbreaking, tempered by an unexpected but highly satisfying happy ending.

In Metal, In Bone by An Owomoyela at Eclipse Online
Quietly emotional story describing the tragedy of war that's both bleak and beautiful.

The Life and Deaths of Rachel Long by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - self-pubbed
Atmospheric and evocative piece about the power of music, idealism and obsession. Manages neatly to be uplifting and unsettling at the same time.

WRITING: Revising 'Can't See a Good Thing,' a 2,537 word near-future SF, and writing 'Sweetie,' a new 1,600 word horror about a man and his tarantula.

WATCHING: The Following. Still loving it, but every ep I have to work all over again to believe the central premise that Carroll's cult exists at all. 'We all want somewhere to belong,' says Parker, and yes, that's probably true--except, surely, for sociopathic serial killers, who are not usually known for team spirit and playing well with others? Putting this lot together should be like herding cats--surely the wheels have got to start coming off this well-oiled machine soon?

LISTENING TO: All You Need is Now by Duran Duran. One of my favourite albums of theirs, this makes  great exercise music. Repeated plays of 'Being Followed' definitely influenced the paranoid vibe of the SF story.

CHECKING OUT: Wattpad. Anyone have any experience, either as writer or reader? On my first browse around, I saw a lot of nifty cover art but... maybe not so much nifty writing?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

Whiskey Sour by JA Konrath. I do like a good female tough-guy, and this fast-moving pulp detective novel has a great one in Lt. Jack Daniels.

Short stories: 87 - 97 of 500. Faves this week are both from Apex:

If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky 
Not a new core plot (is there such a thing?) but a fresh execution - beautiful, in a whimsically melancholic way.

Death Comes Sideways to the Mall by William Alexander
Fun story with darker undertones, in an absurdist mundane way that reminded me of Kelly Link.

WRITING: A 2,700 word SF horror.

WATCHING: Avengers Assemble. Before I saw it, I expected I would like it a lot more than I actually did. And on rewatching, I realised I'd remembered liking it a lot more than I actually did. Hmm. I'm not sure why. I love Mark Ruffalo's Hulk and Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, and I like all the others, so I'm not quite sure why it always ends up feeling like less than the sum of its parts. Maybe because I never read the comics so don't bring any history/resonance to it?  I'm sure people who never watched Firefly probably think Serenity is a good film, but if you're already a fan then it makes it better?

VOTING ON: The Pseudopod Flash Fiction Contest. You need to join the Escape Artist forum to view the stories and comments, but it's easily done and well worth it-- it's fascinating to see people's comments on not only the stories themselves, but how they decided which ones to vote for, & how it's not always the ones they expect.

PUBLISHING:  Comic fantasy 'Not the Pizza Girl' at one of my very favourite story sites, Every Day Fiction. Since I used to be a mobile beautician, and on many occasions drove miles to a client's house only to find they'd completely forgotten having booked me, I completely share Lisa's frustration here :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

New story at Every Day Fiction - Not the Pizza Girl

My W1S1 from Week 15 last year: a comic fantasy about an accidental demonic infestation in Essex. Because, you know, that happens :)

Not the Pizza Girl

Sunday, March 10, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

Blade Trinity: Damn, but I love this film. Wesley Snipes is fabulously badass, Ryan Reynolds lets rip with some of the most amusing profanity since Dexter's Debra Morgan, and Dominic Purcell is the most glorious Dracula ever. His face when he's in the goth shop (vampire vibrators!) is priceless. Also love the moment when they give Blade the Dracula comic--very Lost Boys. 

Supernatural Season 6: In the 'what's your favourite show ever' stakes, the answer would have to be Buffy. There are also very special places in my heart for Prison Break and Life on Mars. But although I was never in the fandom, the show I probably rewatch the most is Supernatural. If shows are like relationships, this is the friend I hung out with for a few years before realising I'd fallen in love. One of my favourite things about Season 6 is Soulless!Sam--I like the way that they didn't make him into a different character altogether--an evil Hyde, or Angelus. Instead, he's recognisably still Sam, just a super-pragmatic and  ruthless version. And frequently hilarious, too. The scene in the UFO-abduction ep, where Dean is fleeing for his life through a cornfield, yelling about anal probes, and Sam is listening to him on the phone while sitting in the bar, going, 'Yeah, another beer, please,' is hysterical.

WRITING: A 3.5k SF thriller.

SHUDDERING AT: Tarantula growing antlers. Sometimes, Nature totally does horror writers' jobs for them.

LOOKING FOR: Kurt Vonnegut recs. What's the next best one to read, after Slaughterhouse Five?

CREATING: Cover art for my crime flash fiction collection, Shallow Cuts. Coming soon!

Monday, March 4, 2013

This Week, I Have Been Mostly...

READING: The English Monster, by Lloyd Shepherd. From the first 50 pages, I think I'm going to like it. Nicely described, atmospheric, intriguing setup.

Short stories: 80-86 of 500. Faves this week are:

The Infill Trait by CC Finlay at Lightspeed.
A really interesting Military Experiment Gone Wrong story with a wonderful, fracturing, freewheeling voice perfectly suited to the increasingly lost and paranoid narrator.

The Finite Canvas by Brit Mandelo at
Beautifully-judged story of murder, betrayal and (possible) redemption with both a gripping plot and complex, layered characterisation.

WRITING: A horror short about an empathic child and a humour SF flash about memory and blackmail.

  • Nashville. From the first two eps, I like it a lot. Good characters, interesting situation, murky backstory, hints of nefarious deeds in the offing. And I like the music, too, which I didn't expect to.
  • The original Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes TV series. I never saw this show, saw any of the films or read any of the Conan Doyle stories, until after I'd already seen the Cumberbatch reboot and Elementary--both of which I love. It led to the strange effect of watching this and having my first reaction be, 'Ooh, a version where Sherlock and Watson are both Victorian gentlemen! How radical.' And then I facepalm because, yeah. 

WISHING I HADN'T CLICKED ON: This. Why did I do it? I really, really, did not need to see this.

SELLING: 'Not the Pizza Girl,' a comic fantasy about an uninvited party guest to Every Day Fiction (it's due to run on March 11th) and 'You Don't Want What I Get,' a horror about monsters and gangsters, to Untied Shoelaces of the Mind (it'll run when Issue #8 is filled). I like getting too use this category!

WEEKENDING: in Edinburgh, since my husband had to go up anyway, for work. Touristing, whisky-sampling and taking plenty of photos of spooky alleys and graveyards, to be used as future book covers :)