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Fresh Dirt Archives: Jan-Mar 2008

Mar. 23
The word for today is "weird." It's a weird word. I wrote it several times, trying to figure out what was wrong with it, then I thought I had misspelled it. You know the rule, "i before e except after c." Unless it's weird.

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.

Mar. 14
I need your help...well, actually, I just need your opinion, which may not be as burdensome for either of us. Just tell me why you think vampires are so popular, enduring, and alluring.

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.

Mar. 6
This is what you become when you don't give a seven-year-old what she wants=>

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."

Feb. 28
A posthumous collection "Queen of the Country" from unrepentant Southern belle d.g.k. goldberg is now available from Prime Books. Thanks to Nick Mamatas for sticking with this and seeing it through three years after her untimely demise. I have an essay in the book, along with one by Karen Taylor. Nobody combined NASCAR, nylons, and notoriety quite like Kelly.

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.

They 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 shipping)

I went to the local library's used book sale Friday and instead of browsing the novels as I usually do, I went for art books, books on spirituality, and classic literature--and basically ended up with 10 books on Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American shamanism, and Confucius. I used to buy boxes of books at those things, mostly genre novels, then realized how few I actually got around to reading. As time has proven shorter and the number of books greater, I have found more peace in browsing fiction, because I read so much for blurbs and my freelance editing work. Now I'm doing research for a possible series character that needs a solid background in philosophy and religion, plus my own spiritual interests have opened up these new paths.

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" and "The Farm" I'm pleased that it still seems to be getting around a year or two after their release.

Feb. 23
I went to the local library's used book sale Friday and instead of browsing the novels as I usually do, I went for art books, books on spirituality, and classic literature--and basically ended up with 10 books on Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American shamanism, and Confucious. I used to buy boxes of books at those things, mostly genre novels, then realized how few I actually got around to reading. As time has proven shorter and the number of books greater, I have found more peace in browsing fiction, because I read so much for blurbs and my freelance editing work. Now I'm doing research for a possible series character that needs a solid background in philosophy and religion, plus my own spiritual interests have opened up these new paths.

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.

Feb. 12
With the Writer's Guild strike heading for a peaceful resolution, it's time to dust off those scripts and get them rolling through the pipelines. The script for "They Hunger," now known under its original title of "The Gorge," is off to the agent and will be my first big shot across Hollywood's bow. A couple of other deals that were chilled by the strike should be warming back up, too. I'm basically down to two projects at the moment, wobbling back and forth between a script and a novel, with the back-burner novel getting its occasional attention. God, I love this stuff so much. I am incredibly blessed to live in a dream world.

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.

Feb. 1
Finished the novella "Transparent Lovers" and it's off to agent. I went ahead and named it because it is a great name and I won't let the publisher change it! I don't know what will happen to it but it took over seven years, for various reasons both practical and existential. As with most things I'm writing these days, it is unlike any of my typical books. And though I am working on one "typical" Scott Nicholson supernatural book, the other two projects underway are NOT typical Scott as you might think of me if you read my earlier novels. But they are true to who I am, as with everything I've ever written.

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.

Dr. Mann invites you to peruse a celebration of Valentine's Month at aawmag.org. Unfortunately it was edited by females to remove the more salacious truths, but there you go.

Jan. 26
Lots of wonders small and large. Sometimes words just get in the way. I sent in a handful of children's books to my agent--I'm not sure if I'm getting it right but I decided I did them with warmth and kindness AND I actually have raised children. The act of loving qualifies me if nothing else does. Working on a puppet show this weekend. Fear not, my freaky fan, I am not completely abandoning my dark side. It is my constant companion but I believe we should keep our friends close and our enemies closer. To honor this, I will continue to look into the shadows, although I don't feel much of an urge to dive in there and disappear.

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.

Jan. 19
A little beach research, a ferry ride or two (visiting the little hidey port of Blackbeard the pirate), two cold hours of fruitless fishing, and a little work--they call it a "vacation." And, of course, the Nahunta Pork Center, where the major controversy stems from whether it is the "world's largest pork display" or merely "America's largest pork display." Seriously. This is an attraction. They get tour buses. People fly in from all over the country to buy pork there. Miles and miles of meat. Entrails crackled, ground, or stuffed. Pig pureed, peppered, and pounded. Snouts sausaged, sizzled, and stewed. And in the spirit of such, just in time for Valentine's Day, is the freefic offering "Constitution."

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 scottnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.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.

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Jan. 11
About to head to the beach again for a stretch--more research for this film treatment I'm working on called The Sound. Always combine pleasure with business. Although I've found everything is pleasure. Even pain. Oh wait, Scottie is getting confused again. Boost his medication.

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).

Jan. 8
I had a nice little dream this morning where I was floating while I was sleeping and my feet went up in the air like I was going head over heels. Then I woke up and the dream continued.

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.

Jan. 1
New Year. Yeah, rebirth, etc., into a month named after this weird two-faced dude...the cat sure knew how to swing (maybe both ways). This is one of those entries where I talk about everything except the thing I really want to talk about. But I can say I believe more in rejuvenation, new starts, and rebirth than I did before--despite my contention that Jan. 1 is an artificial Gregorian demarcation of "end and beginning," it's still an end and a beginning.

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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