|Fresh Dirt Archives: Jan-Mar 2008
Consulting my old 15-pound dictionary that I salvaged from a dead lunatic's house (funny story, I knew it was meant to be mine because it had a license plate stuffed in the binding gap--yeah, it's that thick--and the plate was 1962 North Carolina, the year and state of my birth). Anyway, "weird" in this edition primarily means "fate, destiny," and also is used in connection with witchcraft or the supernatural. Only in a weakened adjective form does it occasionally mean "strange," which is how we use it most often these days. In fact, it's become my daughter's favorite word for anything she either doesn't understand or wants more time to assimilate. That's fine with me, because "weird" is probably the best all-around label to stick on my forehead.
I've started the new comic project and just received a couple of more sample pages of art for "The Gorge," so all that is off with the agent to see what will happen. Now that I am simultaneously working on four major projects, it seems they are moving slowly, but weirdly enough in each I have had a major breakthrough in the storyline, partly through the act of not writing. When I'm swimming laps seems to be my best time for breakthroughs, and of course the garden is also a wonderful escape, except there my mind usually wanders so far afield that words and Planet Earth are barely in the frame. The pasture next door has three new calves and today I am incredibly grateful to have cute little neighbors that haven't yet learned to bawl.
Thanks to all who contributed ideas for my "Carmilla" introduction. It's finished and turned in, and naturally I'll share release details when they come available. I've been busy planning the paranormal conference at the Green Park Inn for mid-November, and all that remains are a few minor details such as giving it a name and taking people's money. You know you'll want to attend.
I've been commissioned to write an introduction to a special collector's edition of "Carmilla" for Full Moon Press and part of my angle is why vampires appeal to so many people, especially in why they are considered seductive. "Carmilla," published in 1851 by J.S. Le Fanu, has decidedly erotic lesbian overtones and is generally considered the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. While the narrative style is a bit outdated, the sensuality rivals anything that goes on today (note: sensuality is a far different thing than sexuality, and if you don't understand this, maybe you should wonder why your partner so often says "Not tonight, I have a headache.")
Really, I can't figure out why bloodsucking sociopathic creatures are warmly invited into people's homes and beds. I was most visibly stricken by this notion when I did the over-the-top, under-the-lid photoshop publicity photo for They Hunger and had people emailing me (and not just women) saying, "Gosh, Scott, you look so Effing HOT!!!!!!" I never knew hollowed cheeks, sunken eyes, pointy teeth, and pale skin would have done the trick, or else I wouldn't have wasted my high school years trying to earn affection through poetry, chess, and baseball.
So let me know--Vampires: Are they cool, are they hot, are they dead? I may use your comments in the book but there is no pay and probably no credit except my eternally undying gratitude. And a promise that I won't drain you completely.
My agency's Web site is now live at Objective Entertainment. I don't know a lot about the company but it seems like they have a varied roster and are beefing up the television stuff. My rationale for moving there with my agent (my third move with him) was that the company is taking a multimedia approach, and since I'm a multimedia kind of guy, maybe we could grow up together. Sometimes it seems like I've already been doing this far too long, but in other ways I'm just now figuring out the craft. I don't even want to go back and undo the mistakes, because they don't matter today. What really matters is fighting the good fight, tapping into the flow, and doing meaningful work. It's a Taoist's life--poetry, poverty, and once in a while, passion. In the meantime, I still wear the pointy crown of "Bad Dad."
Opened my heirloom seed order yesterday--green dreams await. I'm not sure if I'm falling into early post-apocalypse survival mode or prefuturist Greater Depression mode. Or maybe it's just about the seeds.
Hunger is the featured "free read" at www.dearreader.com this week. Go to the site
and you can sign up for books in a variety of genres.
You'll get excerpts of the first chapter or two over the
course of a week and it gives you a chance to "try
before you buy." Don't settle for mindlessly and
blithely grabbing the latest bestsellers from authors who
are punching the clock and giving you uninspired
material. Challenge yourself to try something new--you
might be surprised and you'll definitely be smarter,
happier, and sexier. (Incidentally, I have signed book club editions available for $12, includes
I've been doing a hot/cold cycle with a sauna followed by a dip in cold water and it's been a great cleansing experience. It really increases the circulation and helps keep bugaboos at bay. I'm also hoping to wrap up plans for the Green Park Inn paranormal conference for later this year so stayed tuned for news on that. Otherwise, not much new in my external world, but I'm doing my work and sticking with it and still getting lots of feedback from you on "They Hunger" I'm pleased that it still seems to be getting around a year after its release.
In the real world, I am getting incredibly excited about my garden even though it's still two months to go before even the hardy stuff will sprout. I put in a serious heirloom seed order and my goal this year is to move toward saving most of my own seeds with the idea of sharing them in the years ahead. And hopefully I'll get some fruit this year after an Easter freeze last year killed all the blossoms. My big joy at the moment is my several-ton pile of nitrogen-rich compost, gobbed with horse manure (and I know what you're thinking, but I didn't throw I bunch of my crappy books in the heap). I can hardly wait to play in it.
Still working on plans for a paranormal conference at the Green Park Inn for November and I'm also exploring a writing retreat here in the mountains. I still haven't decided on the scope, but I may try a small one in the summer and a larger one for fall. Well, I'm starting to bore myself talking about me me me. I'll be putting up some new articles soon, including one on screenwriting. My advice is always worth what you pay for it.
The rights to "The Red Church" have also reverted back to me, so hopefully you'll see a limited edition and maybe a trade paperback or other edition available soon. I am at the point where I don't want to leave anything lying around unfinished, so I probably won't start anything new for a couple of months--though I have two firm ideas that will get started sometime this year. Both are unlike "typical Scott," in case you're wondering! I don't know if the typical Scott will ever exist again, but I hope you stay along for the ride. Should be interesting.
Girl turned 8 today, the infinity number. Somehow this one feels like a real turning point, though she swears she still feels exactly 7. Her face even looks a little different, more full. I've never been one to selfishly pray, "Please don't grow up!" All I believe is "Grow up at the right pace." Today we are illustrating one of the books. Growing up together, growing down together. Love.
I also got to revisit an older book project I was working on and realized how much fun I was having--I had originally stalled on it because I thought it wasn't the kind of "commerciallly hip chick lit hot stuff" that is so popular right now. And I realized I don't have a great need to be popular. I don't mind if the work is popular or unpopular, because it speaks for itself. And my ego doesn't need a whole lot of validation on that. Would be nice, but the satisfaction of knowing I got it right is often as good as it gets. I try to tell this to other writers, mostly newer ones who see this insurmountable wall into the publishing industry, and the idea is met with resistance. I truly believe if you open your heart and mind and shut off the noise, you'll get to the real stuff that is your success. And the rest will follow organically. I know it's true because I see it repeatedly in my own life.
I'm about to send out the latest Scottsnews newsletter so if you haven't already, sign up at email@example.com or fill in blank below. I'll be doing a giveaway later in conjunction with the new project. Plus, if you sign up for the inner circle, you'll get more exclusive details about the book plus a sneak peek at art sketches for the "They Hunger/The Gorge" graphic novel project.
The Sound is a typical teen tale designed to get young ladies into bathing suits and put them in grave peril. And young men, too, but nobody cares if they get killed. This is loosely based on a story ("She Climbs A Winding Stair") I wrote about an abandoned town in the North Carolina Outer Banks. It's on an island and all the buildings and houses are still there--the people just gave it up because its value as a shipping port had faded. Now it's part of the national park system. I hope one day to be able to visit it. More tax-deductible adventures.
My friend James Lowder has released the new anthology he edited called Astounding Hero Tales, harkening back to the days of the pulp magazine adventure tales. I also got sample art for the creatures in the They Hunger comic--I don't want to post it yet, but it even creeps me out, and I've seen everything (except, of course, Paris Hilton doing something benevolent and wise).
I sold a book for a limited edition with a new company and I'll provide complete details as soon as everything is signed (including the all-important "Buy it now and improve your life and get more friends and have fresher breath!" link). It was written a few years ago and is one of those non-horror horror books people seem to like these days. It was an interesting experiment for me, because there are no ghosts or goonies on-stage, though the background setting has the Pointy-Eared Dude In Red. If you believe that sort of thing. My primary interest was the psychological elements and what happens when someone puts too much trust for their thoughts and interpretations in a person who doesn't exactly have their best interests at heart--say, maybe a manipulative lunatic who wants your soul for the Devil?
Yes, of course, I am a big fan of psychologists and psychiatrists, which you know if you read The Home. What, you didn't read The Home, because it went out of print so fast the ink wasn't even dry yet? Well, I didn't read it either. Anybody who writes that kind of stuff must be crazy. I need a shrink.
Here I could run down all the "top 10" blah blah blahs of 2007 but I think I like the way the year ended and there were remarkable discoveries along the way, lots of opportunity for growth, lots of new people and joys, a deeper understanding of God and my spiritual path. Those things are too nebulous to cram into lists and can't really be measured anyway, except in my heart. And in my heart I know them and I treasure them and I am incredibly grateful and humbled.
In practical terms, the year ahead means the end of holidays and the more aggressive marketing of some work piled up on my agent's desk--but that stuff is done and its fate will be what its fate will be. I have many wondrous paths to explore this artificial calendar year--I don't really have specific goals, as I have no resolution except to honor the gifts and people I've been blessed with, so I can't say I'll write five novels, sell a major motion picture script, make the bestseller lists, or be photographed with a drunken Brittany Spears. My only goal is to embrace my journey with joy. I hope you find joy in this year of love and light.
Girl watched a video I'd plucked from the library on "Creatures That Defied Evolution." Of course, I didn't realize it was a creationist series that explained how evolutionary theory couldn't produce certain weird creatures. The ones Girl noted in her little book were the bombadier "beadle" and a woodpecker with a long tongue. At first I was horrified, like, "I can't believe they have this in the library," then to, "Well, I'm sure glad people like me can't have it taken out of the library." The whole debate of creationism v. evolution is goofy, anyhow. It all came from God and God doesn't seem too worried about it.
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