|Fresh Dirt Archives: Jan-March
March 29, 2005
If anybody out there wants to join The Inner Circle, I'll email you bookmarks to distribute to your local stores. I haven't tried bookmarks before but these look really good. Inner Circle members will get a signed cover proof of The Home. Just email me and say "I want to be a charter member of the Inner Circle" and give me your address. Offer good while supplies last. I'm not announcing this anywhere but here and in my newsletter because I want only the hardcore Nicholson fans to get these. I love each of you and I'm forever grateful for your support.
One of those interesting months, dipping into my reserve fund to make the house payment. I'll be walking the tightrope (or maybe running the gauntlet) until the next advance check. I don't know how full-time writers make it. Even with a day job, I'm barely surviving. Well, things will probably get better in a year or two, and tax season will be over soon. I do have plenty of stamps, though.
March 23, 2005
Well, it looks our Washington buddies are pushing ahead with plans to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Bush's cynical leadership leads to another big payoff for his buddies in the energy industry--go to war, drive up gas prices, win the legislative battle against the American people, and get pats on the back from Haliburton. The saddest part is, I'll own a piece of that pipeline, thanks to my own need for fuel. So I'm invested in the collective guilt. At least I feel enough sympathy for future generations that I HAVE some guilt. I 'm not sure the same could be said for many supporters of the Arctic drilling. Either way, I'll never vote for any elected official who supports this action.
I remember back in the late 1970s, when alternative energy was getting its first big push, thanks to oil embargoes and long lines at the pump. Most of the projects I've seen were built to "prove" that alternative energy would never work, such as the massive and poorly designed windmill NASA placed on a prominent peak near here. The thing was loud, inefficient, and, worst of all, messed with people's television reception. I was involved with some solar energy projects back then, too, although it seemed odd to me at the time that copper prices happened to escalate dramatically, through some strange coincidence that never could have been orchestrated by mere industrial giants. Oh well, that's one that I can't blame on Bush. Darn.
March 19, 2005
Got some nice seeds at a local seed swap today, practically everything I was hoping to get for this year: kale, red peppers, collards, lettuce, mustard greens, several varieties of squash (including a blue squash originally grown here by the Cherokee), carrots, spinach, corn, pumpkins, bok choy, and a local tomato. Should be enough to keep my hands and knees dirty for a while.
Looks like gas prices will never again go below $2 per gallon. I live so far out in the country that cycling is not an option, though I sometimes have the option of not venturing beyond my front door. I test-drove one of those hybrid electric cars for a story and it was pretty cool. I couldn't tell where the gasoline engine kicked in (apparently it happens around 35 mph) but I think I'll wait a few years before some of the bugs get worked out, then maybe I can buy a used model. It will be interesting to see what happens to all these SUVs in the next few years.
I watched "Troy" last night. It was okay as epics go, though it seemed like the writer and director tried to cram too much in the story and never really gave us a real read on any of the characters. Orlando Bloom did not work at all as a heroic lead (though maybe that was intentional because his character was mostly a wimp) and the actress who played Helen of Troy wasn't the type of beauty who inspire warfare. She came off as brainless, not even shrewd enough to be manipulative and weak in the eye candy department. Brad Pitt was okay but the story forced him to be a "dark lite" character who was moody, bloodthirsty, vain, but ultimately willing to sacrifice his life for a woman who was essentially a one-night stand.
March 14, 2005
My next public event is March 21 at the Wilkes County (NC) Library with Stephanie Simpson-Woods and Dale Bailey. I've also put up the preliminary page for The Home, though I'll soon be adding some ESP and group home links, and probably an original article or two.
March 13, 2005
I went through the typical dance while making the last read of the book before publication. After the first chapter, I thought it was modern horror's answer to Shakespeare. By chapter five, I was ready to flush the thing before everybody finds out I'm a fake. By chapter 20, I wondered if the torture would ever end. By the final page, I was grinning again.
Now I get to devote the rest of the month to finishing next year's novel, so the whole crazy process can start anew. And you wonder why so many writers blow their brains out with firearms.
March 8, 2005
My flash fiction piece "Invisible Bullets" will be at Vacant Funhouse in March. The ezine is bi-monthly and looks to have some good planning behind it. I hope it succeeds. Oh, yeah, The Manor made the preliminary Stoker ballot, which means active members of the Horror Writers Association can vote for it if they want to see it on the final ballot. Many candidates offer free copies of their work to eligible voters, but I prefer that people buy my book. That's what professional writers are supposed to desire. I have plenty of copies and could mail them out, but I don't feel comfortable lobbying for awards. However, I enjoy the chance to get free books during the process, and that's how I discovered Stewart O'Nan and Thomas Monteleone, so I don't frown on others offering their work for free.
March 5, 2005
I don't know about you, but I can take one whiff of a cigarette and know it's bad for me (as does almost any animal). And I smoked for seven or eight years, so by rights I'm due to soak up my share of the stuff for all I inflicted on others. I've heard theories that oil is still "making itself" underground and that we'll never run out because the Earth will deliver it faster than we can pump it out. And, of course, population may check itself through overcrowding that results in war, famine, mutation of killer viruses (viri, for you Latin purists) and all the environmental and psychological stresses that lead to reduced fertility. Oh, wait, I forgot. There are no environmental stresses. It's all in our heads. Personally, I think a little environmental panic is a good thing. Better to err on the side of caution than find out later we moved too slowly.
I have an article called "The Future of Horror and the next 'Steven' King" coming up Cemetery Dance Weekly. You can subscribe to the CD newsletter for free.
March 1, 2005
Coming up on March 21 is a joint event with Dale Bailey and Stephanie Simpson-Woods at the Wilkes County Library in North Wilkesboro, NC. My article on horror sections in bookstores is slated for the next issue of Insidious Reflections.
Feb. 27, 2005
I started a newsgroup for the Virgin in the Church articles I did a few years ago, mostly to serve as a distribution means for the newsletters, writing sites, and others that wanted the columns. I was surprised to check in and find the number of subscribers had more than doubled, so I decided to open it up as an "Ask Nicholson" project. It's mostly geared toward writers but anyone is welcome to sign up and contribute. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In other news, I'm working on an interview with John Kenneth Muir for Red Scream Magazine. Laura Writes just published an interview with me. The article Nurture Your Inner Hack is now on the site, originally published in Writers Journal.
Feb. 25, 2005
Brief observations: Bush goes on a reconciliation tour of Europe and manages to offend every non-European country in the process, and fails to win over any country but perhaps Germany, whose domestic social policies of the 1930's bear uncanny resemblance to W's own. Funny how everybody Bush included in his "Axis of Evil" suddenly had a craving for nuclear weapons. Thanks, Georgie Boy. At least you're losing your Clear Skies thing. The party's over, and this shift to the right has gone about as far as it can for this particular swing of the pendulum...Speaking of evil, the Pope declares gay marriage part of an "ideology of evil," as if he and Bush have the same speechwriters, then falls victim to the flu and has his throat cut. Message from God? No comment.
Feb. 20, 2005
Hemingway was my favorite author before that, and "The Old Man And The Sea" was my Bible of good writing. Many years later, I picked up one of the few Hemingways I'd never read, I believe it was A Farewell To Arms. I could scarcely get through the first chapter, and put it away. What appealed to the brooding teenager had no value nor inspired patience in the adult. At different stages of our lives, different works of art take on new meaning or change meaning altogether. The subjective experience. That's why I'll always follow a creative pursuit, even when it seems like a dead end or long shot. Writing often is both, when viewed externally, but it's still an intimate act that carries value even when the result is bad. The worst painting you'll ever see is better than a computer print-out, and the worst writing is still more expressive than your average day on the stock exchange.
Feb. 15, 2005
Reading: Redeye by Clyde Edgerton, The Illustrated Golden Bough by Fraser, and The Many Faces of Van Helsing, an anthology based on Bram Stoker's myth. Also trying to cram on my reading for Stoker Awards, and got to read some good stuff by Paul G. Tremblay, a really talented guy. I'm in awe of anyone who can keep up with all the material under consideration for awards, and generally groan and scroll down whenever I come across a literary awards list. But this year I've had a chance to sample more widely, and it's refreshing to see what's going on. I still think much modern fiction is hurried and weak (and I'm sure a lot of people would say that about my books), but there are always new writers emerging and veterans who have honed their chops and are reaching their peak.
Feb. 11, 2005
like the Stoker Award ceremony will be in LA (well,
technically Burbank) this year. I like that city and hope
I'll be able to go. Plus I'm dying to visit Dark Delicacies.
Feb. 10, 2005
Keep an eye out for an official fan club at the site, plus ways to win cool stuff. I'll be putting it together over the next few weeks and build it up leading to the release of The Home in August. If you have any suggestions for a club name, please email me. Some authors use "Street Teams" but I'd like something a little quirkier to fit what I do. I'll be working up some bookmarks this year as well. Pictured at left, me in classic reporter's garb. Click for full size with my co-worker and partner in crime Frank Ruggiero.
Feb. 8, 2005
Feb. 2, 2005
Jan. 30, 2005
I pay little attention to awards in general, unless they lead directly to cash, but it's near the end of the Stoker Awards nomination season so I pop in to see which of my peers and friends are on the doorstep of anointment. I also want to give a nod to those very few worthy new works that I happened to read in the past year. The nominations process is limited to members of the Horror Writers Association and the awards are given for superior achievement in horror writing, so join if you want to look. My own particular chuckle is to see my last novel "The Manor" has MORE nominations than new works by Peter Straub, Bentley Little, Thomas Sullivan, F. Paul Wilson (two books), Douglas Clegg, Simon Clark, Laurell K. Hamilton, Greg Bear, Joe R. Lansdale, and my idol Dean Koontz (two books).
Admittedly, I haven't read all these new works, but I have read work by each of these writers and fully acknowledge their mastery over me. Admittedly, not all of these would be classified as "Superior Achievement in Horror" because they are not horror (Hamilton is unbearably popular but her work always smacks more of tough chick-lit to me, and Lansdale is achieving huge popularity with his beautifully written crime fiction). Admittedly, if you are not a visible and vocal member of HWA you probably won't get as much notice in the insular horror genre. Admittedly, if you are selling tens of thousands of books, you could care less whether you win a little statue. I've won a few awards, and it's jolly good fun. But if as a creator you ever think you have accomplished something by being handed a piece of hardware, at that moment you are dead. So if I'm ever lucky enough to win another award, I'll grin like an Appalachian possum and mutter an inscrutably delirious acceptance speech, then slink off to my mountain hollow and peck a few more words that might actually hold some meaning for a distant stranger. That's where the magic is, and that's where the real award is given and received, outside the world's notice and in that private wonderland where two naked souls communicate. Hey, join me there sometime. Let's party.
Jan. 25, 2005
Jan. 23, 2005
I saw Howard Dean on a morning news show (the first one of those I've watched in years), and thought, "Why is it again that the Democrats ran Kerry over Dean?" I know the idiotic press (of whom I'm a member) got that "Dean is Mean" tag down early and often, but at least he seems thoughtful and energetic. In fact, most of the candidates besides Kerry seemed more thoughtful and energetic, including Bush. Well, David Bowie said artists should be apolitical, and Libertarians are like Taoists, they can't exist in their true form.
Good news on the Goldberg publications: my agent has agreed to look at Kelly's sequel to "Skating on the Edge" once we get it edited, assuming it's complete enough for publication. We also hope to get some sort of d.g.k. goldberg collection published as well. The collection would likely come out sooner rather than later. I'll be querying a few publishers once we get material gathered and decide on the scope of the project. Unfortunately, Kelly took down her website late last year.
Jan. 14, 2005
I have an interview posted here I did with her a few years back. It really captures her heart, wit, and personality, such as mere words can. There are links to some of her fiction at http://www.livejournal.com/users/scanner_darkly/109783.html.
Jan. 13, 2005
The Dragonpage interview is scheduled for the week of Jan. 17, and you can hear it anytime after that at the website if you can't catch it on participating radio stations. Ralph Gamelli sent me a link to a Bookslut review of The Manor that looks pretty good (I usually don't read reviews, though I like to know when they appear--better to be panned than ignored, right?)
Jan. 7, 2005
Saw "I, Robot" the other night. Not as bad as I feared it would be, but then I'm not a stickler for scientific detail or logic. Plus a Will Smith movie will never aim for above a ninth-grade audience so my expectations weren't too great. That, and the fact that I've never read the Isaac Asimov book that "suggested" the movie. My on-going movie review of cheesy horror movies is now posted at the Movie Page.
-- copyright 2005 by Scott Nicholson
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