"Published author, aspiring novelist . . . welcome to my world of madness!"

Dec 29, 2010

Cross-genre Frenzy: How Has it Impacted Horror

Let’s face it, there’s a definite trend in the publishing industry. Paranormal romances are hot, hot, hot! But what does that mean for the horror genre as a whole? In the wake of best-sellers and billion dollar franchises such as The Twilight Saga, Fallen, The Vampire Diaries, and less so, True Blood, many of us are left scratching our heads in wonder. Once vampires, demons, and werewolves were fearsome creatures that inspired nightmares and sleepless nights. They embodied the things we feared, the reasons we hid under the covers at night.

Now, they seem more apt to make you swoon and giggle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of enabling. I like the paranormal trend. There IS something exciting about monsters and the forbidden aspect of it all makes me giddy as a schoolgirl. I’ve read Twilight, and honestly, I can’t say anything bad about the books. (The movies are an entirely different matter.) They were geared toward a specific audience and it worked. Fans fell in love. I found myself rooting for the characters. To me, that equates success, no matter what the varying opinions of the books may be.

On the other hand, my heart breaks just a little. It hurts to see villains, terrible creatures that I grew up both loving and fearing . . . well . . . all sparkly and pretty. To see them shimmer in the sun. It takes all of the horror, all of the danger, right out of the equation. I guess that’s why I love prefer the True Blood series. Eric is still pretty nasty when he wants to be. There are still gruesome, despicable acts that terrify, and not too nice creatures lying in wait. The vampires are still vampires, and yes, they do burn.

*sniff* Goodbye, Godric.

Because of these ever popular trends, many horror writers today face an even greater challenge. We have to recreate the monster and abolish much of the sunshiny goodness and loveable stigmata now attached to our protagonists. We have to find a way to make them loathsome and inspire fear. It takes more work than ever to build that atmosphere of terror and establish a truly horrific character.

Nothing has been untouched. That’s not to say it’s impossible. Show us, the audience, all of the sinister deeds it commits along the way. Allow us a glimpse into the dark workings of your monster’s mind. Reinforce the fact that this is not some teen heartthrob, but a vile force to be reckoned with. I don’t want to be told I should fear this beast because of what it is, I want to feel that terror firsthand. I want reasons to be afraid . . . and I want this atrocity you create to feel like a very real threat.

They say everything has already been done. Idea-wise, that is probably true. What will make your story unique is the fresh perspective you bring, the unique thoughts and stance your characters take throughout the story. Their individual voices and the experiences they bring.
 Don’t shy away from these new challenges. Embrace them. Force the industry to evolve.

I know without a doubt, I will enjoy following where both these roads lead. What about you? What are your thoughts on the impact and possible solutions?
~Best wishes and happy writing!~

Dec 27, 2010

Almost there . . .

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! And to those of you who don't celebrate this time of year, I hope you had a fantabulous weekend, just the same. *smiles*

We're almost through the first decade of the new millennium. It's a strange feeling, knowing that so much has already changed on both a personal and global scale, and I'm sure the next ten years will bring about even more growth. Some of the changes have been welcome advances, and others not so much. But whatever the case is, change is inevitable. Might as well embrace it!

As usual, I find myself winding down after the holidays and looking back with that whole "year-at-a-glance" mentality. I've grown as a person, become a little kinder and more patient when it comes to others and their short comings. I mean, even as awesome as I am, have  a few. Even my outlook on writing has matured, going from hobby to . . . well . . .whatever it is that this new path will bring. I have faith though.

I know it's time, but I think 2010 finally forced me to grow UP. Even if just a little bit.

If you're anything like me though, you find yourself looking back at some of the not so good things about the past year--the struggles, the failures, the hardships, and looking at the calendar with just a wee bit of hope. I think somewhere deep down, we all look at the upcoming year and tell ourselves this will be the one . . . the one where things get better for us, or easier somehow. We count down the days and tell ourselves "almost there."

I'm not big on making resolutions, but I am big on hope.

I hope 2011 brings you all that you dreamed of and more. I hope this is the year all of your dreams come true. Don't forget though, that regardless of the struggles and hardships we think we are facing, no one can make those dreams come true but you. Work hard and strive---never stop reaching for those stars.

I'm going for the moon.

And now a little vampire humor, just to make you laugh. I apologize to all you Twilight fans. I've got nothing against Edward, or the series. In fact, I enjoyed reading them...but Eric Northman will always be the one who makes me smile:

~Best wishes and happy writing!~

Dec 21, 2010

On a Publishing Roll

This week, I submitted two short stories to a literary anthology, Literary Foray.  I'm pleased to announce both were accepted.  Not only that, but the editor selected one of them to take first slot.  At least so far.  *laughs*

Farspace 2 finally hit the shelves, putting another printed copy of my work in hand . . . and I figured, while I was seizing the word by the horns this week, I might as well try shaking it around for a while too!  I sent 'Philomena' off to play in traffic.  We shall see if she makes it across the road in one piece, or if I've murdered my precious darling.  This is the first item I've ever dared put a pricetag on, other than a contributor's copy.  While I can say that makes me feel--odd--almost like selling out some aspect of myself . . . the one that wrote just for the sheer joy of writing . . . I can also honestly say "It's time."

I've proved to myself, and my family, that I have the talent to make it, if I so desire.  I've reached beyond the glory of winning sitewide contests and taken those first few difficult steps: I've gotten my name in print.  Several times.  Now, I want to up the ante.

I'm hungry for more.  It's like a shark getting that first taste of blood.  I want this so bad now, that I can FEEL it clear down in my core.  I want a paycheck.  Cash--check in hand!

Beyond that, I want to finish a novel.  I have two in the works.  I don't know.  I just feel like it's time to stop playing author and finally become one.  The road won't be easy, and I'm sure I'll stumble many times before I find my feet in this new battle arena . . . but I'm warning you now world . . . I'm not about to let anything stand in my way!

~Best wishes

Dec 18, 2010

After a long absence . . .

I find I'm more than eager to return to the swing of things. I've missed the natural order . . . the companionship and distraction I've found on the net. I never realized just how much I used it, not for fun, but for research. And well, yes, there was the fun stuff, too. *winks*

I've been busy writing though, despite it all. Somehwere along the way, I found the drive I needed to really start rolling forward and accomplish what I set out to do way back when. Though, really, I have to admit a huge part of that inspiration come in the form of a swift kick to the ass from someone very dear to my heart. You know who you are, darling, and I treasure every moment of our talks far more than you know. *smiles*

Maybe sometime soon I will share an excerpt from the book I have been working on. Until then, I will share this rambling free form I wrote the other day. A slice of my heart, the blood from my soul:

Fate Awaits
With trembling hand, I reach across the divide
An emptiness imposed by both time and space
But never an absence of the heart
For you are the breath that sustains me
And I am stained in your essence
The imprints you’ve left
The time we've spent waiting

Your words are a soothing balm to my soul
Your voice like the softest whisper from an angel
And just as forbidden
But I would cast aside heaven and its promises
I would forgo the gentle warmth of the sun just to lay beneath the shadow of your moon
For I am nothing in this world but yours

Speak to me not of right and wrong, for they cease to exist
It is your face I see, your voice that lingers in my ears
Burning, taunting, filling an insatiable need
The agony of absence, drawn by the well of loneliness
But I am never alone, for you are there
An apple fallen from the tree of Eden
My hunger, my thirst, my love . . .

Lay me beside you in the shadows, your breath upon my face
Whisper to me all that you would do, sweet decadence
A torture so exquisitely fine even Monet could not capture
The torch that blazes between you and I
The world revolves, the clock moves forward, and I let it go
For time and life both cease to exist without you to fill them

You fill the hollow cracks of my soul
A circle unending connects what no man has joined
A bond sealed by no lips but yours and mine
Take this bleeding heart and know that it is yours
An open testament of all that is and will be
And I will lie forever in the darkness
Spellbound and waiting--- eternally yearning
For your dreams and mine and all that is you

Adriana Noir ~ 2010

Sep 21, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit:

The following is an excerpt from Whispering Hollow, a short story in the works.

The poets of the world will tell you true love is a blessing; the greatest gift man can ever receive. But let me tell you that’s a lie, a cruel and vicious web of deceit the romantic-at-heart weave. No amount of sirens’ songs or pretty words can cover the truth: Love, true love especially, is a curse. It will pull you under its churning waves and strip you of all your senses—both physical and mental. Love robs a man of all he has and leaves him bereft, abandoned on some isolated shore from which there is no escape.

I buried my beloved Chloe a mere month ago along with the broken and desolate shards of my sanity. My heart lay as cold and dead as she, and as I watched the last clumps of dirt rain over her casket, I didn’t know if I should weep with bitter relief or cave beneath the immense burden of grief and guilt. I had watched her hang for her sins, knowing her crimes were no worse than mine. I had watched, and in those moments that ticked by like an unspent eternity, I had felt glee. Even as her tongue lolled and her body twitched in the final throes of death, I rejoiced.

Today, she came back . . .

Sep 1, 2010

Titles: A Rose is NOT Just a Rose!

First impressions die hard. Here, we will discuss the importance of titles and how to make yours shine.


Bait & Hook:  So, you’ve finally penned that masterpiece. Every word is flawless and in order. Now, it needs a title. This may seem trivial and easy compared to the rest of the process, but not so fast! This phase is too important to slap something up in haste.

Titles are the calling cards of a story.  Most readers will glance over titles before deciding which ones to read. I do it myself, and a boring title can guarantee it will sit on the shelf or remain unopened. With time being a precious commodity, it’s only natural that we would pick the items that hold the most interest and sound exciting.

Titles often give clues about what to expect inside. This is your first chance to reach out and connect with your target audience. Appeal to their interest, play on the strong suits of your story. Use genre to your benefit. Dynamic titles captivate readers and draw them in to the point that they often open up a book or story and start skimming it on the spot. It doesn’t matter how fantastic the opening hook is if your title doesn’t prompt anyone to start reading! Editors often make changes to titles; many times right up until publication day. They do this to make sure it is as marketable and appealing as possible.

  •  Make sure the title makes sense in connection with your story. Don’t mislead your readers or trick them. They will remember that in the future. If your title speaks of hardship and heartbreak, make sure the story does as well!  ;)  That is, unless it's satire.


Now That the Story is Done: If you’ve written the story and still have no idea what to name it, all is not lost. Good titles are many times taken from the body itself! 
  • Look for a key phrase or theme that sums up what your story, play, poem, or book is about.

  • Reread your material. Keep your eyes open for any catchy phrases, questions, sentences, or expressions that hold special appeal. These sparkling gems can help you create some great titles!

  • Browse through other titles. Examine what catches your attention and why. Build off these observations and use them to your advantage!

Titles can also help lead us into other ideas. You may come up with several dazzling headliners before settling on the perfect one. Don’t pitch that scrap heap into the garbage. Think about some of the lines you’ve created and see if any stories can be built around them. Sometimes a few simple words can be deeply inspiring. You may be surprised to find you have your very own list of prompts!

Be on the Look Out and Have Fun!: Make a game out of your title search. Most writers are observant by nature. No matter where we are, our eyes and minds are always searching for new ideas and inspirations, ways to put fresh spins on concepts. Include your title hunts in these quests. You may be surprised by what you come up with. Everything around us offers a small glimmer of potential. Utilize these tools to your advantage.

Types of Titles:

Punch line
VIP names


Your title is the very first impression you will make on a reader. Don’t sell yourself short. Think of it as the frosting on a cake. You know the inside ingredients are good, so make sure the outside is just as appealing. Take the time to be creative and wise in your choices, and the rest will fall in place!

~Best wishes and happy writing!~


Aug 31, 2010

Writing.Com: Philomena

My latest story. Took 1st place in the Sinister Stories contest and snagged an honorable mention in Troublesome Musings!

Writing.Com: Philomena

Jan 31, 2010

On Writer's Block

Some people pursue writing as a career; others do it as a hobby. I’m sure a handful or more are stuck somewhere in the middle of the road, unsure where they fall. Fulltime, part-time, or somewhere in between: if you write, you are bound to hit a snag. You will eventually stall, falter, or stare at a blank page for hours on end, wondering what in the world is wrong with you. It happens on every end of the creative scale: to novelists, poets, bloggers, and short story scribes. It happens to the masters sitting at the top of the bestseller‘s charts, to the unknown author pursuing his guilty pleasure. We call it Writer’s Block.

*cue the grim face and creepy music*

The mere phrase is enough to strike terror in even the staunchest author’s heart. A vast majority of writers will, at some point or another, bemoan their muses. We scapegoat, shifting the blame elsewhere. I, myself, have done this on numerous occasions. Yes, I have cried to the writing gods in all of my dramatic glory, begging to know why they have forsaken me. I’ve made offerings of solitude, incense, music, and coffee. Then, a well-meaning friend posed a single question that rattled me to the core.

"Why do they call it writer’s block?"

The answer seemed so obvious at the time. Uhmmm. Hmm. Because we write?

Nod in agreement, if you will, but let’s really think about this. Many of us have not yet broken into the spotlight far enough where can support ourselves by writing alone. Someday, yes, but not yet. Am I right? Say you work on the side as a janitor. Sure there have been days where you didn’t feel like showing up to work. Maybe you were having an off-day or simply felt blah. We all have days where we are not as productive, where we just shuffle through the movements without heart or head in the actions. Yet, we don’t call into work to report we won’t be coming in today because we have a case of janitor’s block.

See the reasoning here?

Teachers don’t call off with teacher’s block, cops don’t call off with cop block, truckers don‘t call off with trucker‘s block. They show up, perform the best that they can, and hope they make it through to find tomorrow is a better day.

I’d like to say that writers are lazy. I really would, but by nature we aren’t. Only one who has sat in our shoes know how hard it really is to churn out line after line, to build upon word after word, constructing characters, plots, and worlds out of thin air, and then breathe that magical life into them. It’s a craft that takes years of sweat, hard work, dedication, and tears to hone. Even then, we sometimes fall flat. That’s okay!

Maybe it is not writer’s block after all. Maybe, underneath our creative exteriors, lies a normal person who experiences a very normal thing when you go though the same motions day after day: burn out. It’s easy to fall into this feeling, especially when you pour as much time and energy into your writing as we do.

Allow yourself a day or two off once in a while. Take time to read that book you thought sounded so good. Go for a walk. Do the dishes. Clean the house. Play on the floor with the kids or the pets. Socialize with family, neighbors, and friends. Live, laugh, and enjoy life around you. It’s okay! Not only is it okay, it’s healthy. The burn out will eventually ease and you will find yourself facing the screen with a fresher outlook on writing and life in general.

The next time you feel yourself stuck, don’t blame your muses or cry to the powers that be. Take the time to listen to what your own body is telling you. It may be a few hours, or it may be a few weeks, but all is not lost. Writers are human. Take time to recharge your body and mind. After all, they are our most valuable tools.

~Best wishes and happy writing!~

Jan 30, 2010

Weekends are for resting?

Say it isn't so!

Not here, not this week.  After a hectic weekday onslaught and a massive cleaning spree, I found myself too drained to even log on to the computer.  While this left me behind in many areas, I did find time to enjoy a new book I purchased, shampoo all the carpets, shop, and scrub the house from top to bottom.  Last night, I feel into bed around 10:30, a new record for me!

I roused this morning rested and ready to face the day.  After much contemplation and coffee-filled musings, I managed to produce a lengthy, but informative horror newlsetter, complete with some great editor's picks.  Somehow, I made my way through thirty something e-mails, and even found the time to touch bases with a few dear friends both here and on WDC.  At the moment, I feel like Superwoman.  Albeit a very tired one.

The end of the month often brings a frantic crunch for time and deadlines loom ahead with sinister leers.  They taunt me, but this is when I am at my best.  Something about the frantic urgency spurs me into action and pushes me to greater heights.  While I thrive under pressure, many others fall apart.

This leads me to ask: when do you feel you are at your best?  Does pressure help or hinder your efforts?

Just some food for thought.  Me, I'm tired and have one final deadline staring me in the eye.  I hope I conquer it and do it well. 

As the saying goes, there's no rest for the wicked . . .

~Best wishes and happy writing~

Jan 22, 2010

Random thoughts

"I tumble into a crimson tide of love lost and things remembered. No longer do I view the past as the chains that bind me, but the foundation on which I am built. Storms may rage, and rain may buffet my skin, but I stand strong, bold and daring in the face of danger. Through good times and bad, I long for the freedom of my words and the worlds they create. This magic, this wondrous blessing and curse, every fevered stroke of my pen, sets my soul ablaze and ignites the passion within. I am woman, yes. But, beneath this delicate facade lies something much more sinister. Something fierce; something indestructable and enduring . . . the heart and soul of a writer."