Busy Little Bee, Me!

It’s been a fruitful week. I’ve been maintaining my self-instituted pace of at least one sub a day, and I am almost out of old pieces that have never found a home, so it will soon be writing everyday as well.

Right now, I am finishing up an edit for one publisher and need to get back to one for the other. When those are done, I can focus on new materials.

I have also been writing a poem a day, but most of those are just for me–though I have submitted one of them, and I quite like another and will probably send it out soon.

I hope to soon have The Conn-Mann Chronicles available in this charming indie bookstore, Dragon’s Lair Artist Emporium, in Canada. The website looks amazing. (I’ve already ordered a tea tin.)

And, except for skipping a RieView last week because I couldn’t decide what to talk about, I’ve been keeping up with the blogs.

2021 is looking a whole lot better than 2020. (Though I will say this about last year–since my only sales were the Etsy bookmarks, and I remembered to write down my tax account info when I HAD to file online last year, I got my sales taxes in on time and they were under $10 without the $50 late penalty I usually have to pay…)

Back to work now.

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Time For the Yearly Wrap Up Post…

And that just about sums things up.

It wasn’t that nothing got done last year. I did get Strangers released for 13 O’Clock, and Forest of Bones (paid link) edited for Mocha Memoirs. Aside from that, pretty much nothing for the year.

I got my Ladies of Horror flashes done, and signed a contract with Dragon Moon Press to reprint four of my out-of-print books. Aside from that…not much.

I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo this year for the first time in at least five. I didn’t finish any Poetry Month challenges. I just didn’t.

Looking back at my submission records, I found it wasn’t only 2020 that was lacking. There wasn’t much submitted in 2019 either…but there was the trip to Ireland and the surgery, so there were a few mitigating circumstances.

Still, it won’t do THIS year. Things are needing to ramp up again. And, so far, they are on track. I have almost finished my first edit of the year for Mocha Memoirs. I have sold my first story of the year–and been paid for it–and I have submitted at least once a day so far.

How is your year going so far? 😉

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Folk Tale Research Share

My schedule is all off kilter these days, but in my sorting, I came across some notes from a class I took on Folk Tales, and I thought that they might be of interest to some of my readers. 🙂 This is all I have at the moment, so some of the details may be sketchy…

Folk Tales are stories told by human beings in the context of everyday life which usually have been handed down to the present storyteller.

These texts follow conventions of form and style and do not strive for originality. These fit well with everyday experience.

4 QuesTIONS FOLK TALES ARE STUDIED TO ANSWER:

  1. History — genetics, birth, growth, adaptation
  2. Form — syntax — “grammar” of tales
  3. Meaning — What is the message of the tale?
  4. Function — What purpose does the tale serve?

Two main aspects of tales: Textual and Conceptual

6 Points which stimulate questions; shared characteristics:

  1. Folk tales are artistic behaviors
  2. They tend to be formulaic
  3. They adapt to fit context
  4. They are products of social acts in natural context
  5. They are intimately related to real live of inhabitants
  6. They are usually employed in moments of celebration and/or disjunction

Folk Tale types:

  1. Fairy Tales
  2. Novellas — adventures, long, travel world plane
  3. “Hero” tales — tend to cycles
  4. “Sage” — legends
  5. Origin/explanatory tales
  6. Myths
  7. Animal tales
  8. Fables — make a point
  9. Jokes

4 Clarification Schemes:

  1. Stith Thompson — above list of types
  2. Linda Degh — 3 Types: 1. Tales; 2. Legends; 3) True Experience
  3. Roger Abraham — Continuum
  4. William Bascom’s Scheme — most useful (but no details in the notes…)

Axel Alrik’s 14 Epic Laws of Folk Tales:

  1. Patterning:
    1. parallelism
    2. contrast
    3. inversion
    4. chiasmas
    5. framing
  2. Repetition:
    1. internal redundancy
    2. incremental repetition
  3. Law of 3: Euro-centric pattern of triple occurrences
  4. Contrast: Sharply contrasting binary structures
  5. Twins: Paired characters/ Groups of characters
  6. First/Final positioning: two positions of most import
  7. Two-to-a-Scene: French scenes with two characters interacting
  8. Law of Opening and Closing: Beginning and End calm
  9. Unity of Plot: Continuous interrelated storyline
  10. Single-Strandedness: Few sidetracks to the main thrust of plot
  11. Concentration on leading character’s POV
  12. Tableau scenes: Highlight important events
  13. Character Revealed in Action: Seen not discussed
  14. Own logic: Tale is true to its inner self

We will continue this discussion later. 🙂

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There’s a Lot of Correlation Between Editing and Sorting…

…so that’s why I am doing both at once…

It’s been really hard to make myself stop cleaning (see Here’s the Clean for more on those adventures) and write these blog posts–as you may have noticed. But they really are a lot alike.

When you are editing, you do a lot of pruning. A word here, a word there–a rearranging of sentences–a removal of a scene that isn’t working.

When you are sorting through boxes, you do a lot of the same. Is this memory worth saving that piece of paper? Do you remember who is in that picture? Is that snippet of writing something that can be expanded into a short story or novel or something else?

I have actually found a lot of bits of writing that I am very excited to rediscover. I have been working on a novel for over twenty-five years. I just can’t seem to get it right. One of the things I found in a box was the first full draft of that novel. I can’t wait to re-read it and see what my original plan was for the story. I think it might help me to get the train back on the track…

I also found a long Ladyhawke fan fiction story I thought was lost to the ether. That story was one of the things that taught me how to write description, and was one of the longest pieces before I actually finished a novel. It was one of the things that gave me the self-confidence to write novel length in the first place. (And I think it is one of my strongest bits of writing ever…that almost no one has ever seen. And I might be able to remedy that now.)

I’ve got a lot more boxes to unpack. I can’t wait to see what else I find–between bouts of editing the next Horrified anthology I am working on. And getting ready for November. 😉

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Missed Yesterday…

Photo by Luna Lovegood on Pexels.com

…but that was because I was doing a lot of things at once.

I have the Strangers anthology off to the publisher for formatting. I have started the edit of X 6 which is the next Horrified anthology.

I have also been going through boxes that have been packed since I moved in with my husband almost twenty years ago. I realized I didn’t need those notes from Chinese class in 1996. I didn’t need the Certificate of finishing a training class in 1995. I didn’t need the outdated marketing materials from when I started in 2000. Those things were tossed.

On the other hand, the correspondence I had with Lis Sladen when I was doing a Sarah Jane Smith fanzine and a fan club for her I am keeping, even if some of the pages have gotten damaged over time. They are irreplaceable. I put them in an envelope which should add more protection and make them easier to identify.

Breaking down all those old boxes is very satisfying. 🙂

I am getting a lot done, but the writing isn’t moving as quickly. Hopefully this will even out soon. After all, November is coming. 😉

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Welp…that week off stretched to two…

It was a lovely break from blogging, but I am back at it. Still not writing much, but I have been really busy!

While I haven’t been writing, I have finally been pushing through to get the edits finished for the next Horrified Anthology. I’ve been struggling with this for months, but now the corner has been turned, and the end is in sight. Just waiting for the last few approvals and then it is off to formatting. 

The cover is based on another of the amazing images of Stefan Keller care of Pixabay.

I am very proud of it, and I’m sharing it here for the first time except for the authors…

This is going to be a great anthology. I think you will like it. This is my fifth anthology for Thirteen O’ Clock. There are that many again in the queue, so I have a long way to go!

I’ve got a lot of other projects on my plate, so we’ll see how quickly everything comes together as the world is finally starting to look ahead to normal again.

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A Bit About Time Travel…

In writing, especially a novel, it isn’t likely that everything you want to say is linear in time. It MIGHT be…but there is a good chance that you want to tell something that happened in a characters past–or flash forward to what might be in their future.

Getting this back (or forward) story into the book without bogging it down can be very difficult. It’s a fine balance to walk.

Lately, I have been binge-watching Orange is the New Black, as I’ve mentioned before. One of the things that makes this show so fascinating is the weaving in of the back story. You eventually see what brought most of the regulars to be where they are now. And it is done subtly and smoothly without slowing down the action. I’ve also just finished watching Babylon 5, and it features several scenes going the OTHER way, with flash forwards and premonitions. Again, they are handled subtly and without disrupting the flow.

Now, of course, these are both examples of media productions rather than static words on the page, but I think that by studying good examples like this we can learn to incorporate the time slips into writing.

I am not advocating a lot of flashbacks–they can really irritate some readers–but getting the information out of the past and into the present can be done many ways:

My husband’s favorite way is through dialog. Have the character whose past you want to explore relating the story to an interested party.

Have the character looking through a scrapbook or diary and remembering the incidents documented within.

Have two OTHER characters discussing the past.

Or, if absolutely necessary–in extreme moderation–have an actual flashback.

Going forward, there are also multiple options:

Have the character dream about something that later comes true.

Have a fortune-teller relate a vision of the future.

Have an ancient prophecy foreshadow the character’s path.

The important thing is not to disrupt the forward flow of the story with a break for time travel–past or future. The time jumps need to be seamlessly woven into the action so that no one realizes they’ve been elsewhere until they look back on your genius. 😉

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RIEVIEW: Orange is the New Black

Think of all the roads
Think of all their crossings
Taking steps is easy
Standing still is hard
Remember all their faces
Remember all their voices
Everything is different
The second time around

–“You’ve Got Time” by Regina Spector

I asked my husband today if he was ready to watch the final season of Orange is the New Black, because it was yet another of the series we have started and not finished. He suggested I could start it over instead…

And, since I have no problem rewatching things I’ve already seen, I thought that was a great idea because it would give me a change to reconnect with the characters before we got to the new episodes (well, relatively new…new to us.)

The theme song takes on an entirely different meaning when you go back through the series. Everything IS different.

You don’t have all the big surprises–because even I can remember the major revelations, but there are a lot of “Oh, yeah…I remember that” moments. The acting is still incredible, the characters are all still memorable, and the way the writers dole out backstory is still really phenomenal, as you find out bits and pieces of all the roads that brought the inmates to Litchfield.

And now, you can greet the characters as…well, maybe not friends, for the most part, but acquaintances you are happy to see again. Their tragedies bring sorrow, their triumphs a sense of hope.

I don’t want to spoil a first viewing for anyone, so I don’t want to give details of action, but there really are some amazing performances involved. It is worth watching the series just to see the way Uzo Aduba lights up the screen as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren. Taryn Manning’s Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett is the girl you love to hate, but learn to sympathize with as you find out more about her. Yael Stone’s Lorna Morillo and her wedding plans… And, of course, Kate Mulgrew is brilliant as “Red.” (These are just my favorites, but all of the women–and the men, to a lesser extent…they don’t have as much screen time–are excellent.)

I watched the first four or five episodes today as I was working on a project, and I am very glad to know that I have enough to keep me busy for a week or two. If you haven’t gotten to know these women, I highly recommend it. As a writer, I am really getting inspired by the way the characters develop.

(I don’t have a measure for this one…handcuffs, maybe? Whatever it is, I give it 4 1/2.)

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2020 Has Been…Interesting…From a Business Perspective

Despite what my husband says, most of my income is from hand-selling at conventions. He thinks internet sales are the way to go. My KDP reports say I am not as good at that as I am at sending people home with a book (and I’m not great at that.)

Adding to that the fact that I really haven’t felt like writing this year at all, and I’ve been trying to come up with alternate revenue streams.

One of my ideas is to add bookmarks to my convention table and Etsy store. I’ve managed to get three up online so far. I really hope to make this a new thing, but there will be a learning curve. Especially in listing them on Etsy. 😛

Does anyone have any ideas on how to showcase them better?

Another potential way to make some income is the fact that I have a few copies of my out-of-print books on hand that I would be willing to part with for better prices than they appear on Amazon…

The Luckless Prince — $15 + shipping

The Lute and the Liar — $10 + shipping

The Right Hand of Velachaz — $7 + shipping

Skellyman — $20 + shipping

Sidhe Moves Through the Faire — $10 + shipping

and the great thing about these is they can be signed for free! Plus, shipping will be less if you buy more. For one: $5 shipping, for two: $8 shipping, for three $11 shipping; for four $15 shipping; for all five $18

There are limited numbers of each, so order early for these limited editions. Hopefully, they will be back in print eventually, but these will be collector’s items. 😉

Drop me an email at riewriter@gmail.com to order any of the above (and tell me how you want them personalized if you want them signed.)

I will update this as things sell out.

 

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RieView: The Addams Family

The Addams Family title

Although this is really a topic for the Home for Wayward Spirits blog, I was having a hard time coming up with something for today and decided to escape with something I really love.

Watching the original Addams Family television series as a girl was where I first fell in love with John Astin, an admiration that survives to this day. The juxtaposition of what they thought was normal with the “real world” they were a part of was enchanting to a girl who also loved The Munsters. Maybe this is what shaped my writing career…

So, today I first watched the 1991 film with Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston. The story is fine. The acting is outstanding, with a stellar cast, but there is something missing…I think it is the fact that–even though they react to the world around them in much the same way as the original–the sense of play is different. They don’t sell the wide-eyed wonder quite as well.

Even though they mirrored several of the iconic scenes, they didn’t feel the same. And adding all the blood seemed unnecessary. Updating to modern morees seemed to take away some of the charm.

Of course, both of these adaptations would be nothing without the original source material. Charles Addams’s cartoons have something that can’t be fully translated to reality, though they’ve come close.

I haven’t watched the animated film yet, but I hope it works as well as the others.

And there are always the cartoons

Again, sorry for “horror” on the main site, but it definitely helped me feel better to visit the Family.

I give The Addams Family 5 Bats:

5 Bats

 

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