Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Get tested for HIV, no matter what day.

It was such a short time no one probably notice but I got my power shut off yesterday. That's why no posting, e-mails, comments or blog views from me. I managed to get things worked out and it's back on now. I'm just disappointed because I didn't get to post on my blog, livejournal and myspace about the importance of getting tested for HIV since today is National HIV Testing Day. It's not too late though you can get tested any day. And you should. If you have it you can live a long and happy life but you have to know you have it so you can fight it. And it's important to keep yourself and the people you care about safe.
For free and anonymous, testing near you visit . If you're in my area got to

Doesn't it seem that these things always happen at the worst time? Like when I got my Internet shut off the day NaBloPoMo started.

Today has been madness between trying to get my power back, promoting HIV testing day and work. I'm so tired I could fall over. Sorry for the lack of good posting.

I have a nice, long nine hour day at work tomorrow in which I hope to turn my old sci-fi/western comic script into short story form so I can enter it into a contest. The deadline is July 1, which means I better get working on it. My flash drive will be put to the test since I need to get the story off this computer and to work.
And I'm still working my Harry Potter books but I'm still behind on my schedule.

currently reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Another post that mentions a crazy hotel

I went to see 1408 today. It's based on the short story by Steven King. I've only read the short part of it that he put as a writing example in On Writing so I have no idea how it compares to his story. However, I can tell you that it was quite scary, at least for me. I get freaked out real easily so who knows for sure.
The guy's a writer investigating paranormal activities for cheesy haunting books. I do think it would be interesting to go to places that are supposedly haunted and see what happens. Not by myself of course but I would never have went into that room after hearing everything about it. No matter how good of a story it would make.
I used to work in a bar that I was convinced was haunted. I'd go into detail but everyone I tell thinks I'm off my rocker and I don't need anymore people believing that. I ended up writing a story about it but it was more a crime mystery than a horror story.
Someday I should try to actually write a horror story since I do like them. Of course, when I read Stephen King books, or most horror books, I have to sit with my back against a wall. I'm always afraid that something is going to come up behind me. And I'd probably only be able to write it during the day. Although, I do feel safer with Kreeg around but I'm not sure how he's going to do against evil spirits. Now if it were an evil squirrel, I'd have no worries.

Friday, June 22, 2007

More stuff about music and writing

In my last post I talked about songs that inspired characters or story ideas. So I thought it would be cool for Friday Five to give five examples. It's not as easy as I thought it would be. I'm even having such a hard time remembering these things that I've busted out the idea cards. My giant stack of index cards that each list a story idea that I've had.

Hotel California by the Eagles- I know this is really a story itself but there are so many unanswered questions. Like why this guy is out wondering around? Who are the people in the hotel and why are they there? So my story came to me when I started imagining the answers. It didn't really turn out all that similar except for the crazy hotel part.

Wicked Game by Chris Isaak- To be honest I wasn't really familiar with this song until Jenni and another co-worker were talking about it. And if you would have heard what the co-worker said about it you would have wanted to know exactly what was so "great" about it.
It didn't inspire a new story but it inspired parts for a story I was already working on. Why would someone not want to fall in love? Why would making someone fall in love with you be a wicked game? More questions that needed answers.

Deny by Default-Most people probably have no idea what this song is. It was a hit the year after I graduated and they played it like every hour on the hour so it really got drilled into my head. It's really only the first lines that inspired me. "Today I woke up and you were gone.The whole day wondering what I did wrong." For some reason that made my mind drift to what would happen if that someone had been so devastated that the person was gone in the morning that they committed suicide. Then later you find out the person had only went to get breakfast. Kind of like a Romeo & Juliet of one night stands.

Dragula by Rob Zombie- Really it's just about any Rob Zombie song that gave me this idea. They remind me of people that I knew in high school that thought it would be cool to be zombies, vampires, witches or undead and evil in anyway. The song(s) made me start to wonder what those people would have done if they were faced with real vampires and witches and what the undead would think of people pretending to be them.

Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper- When I was about 4 I was obsessed with Cyndi Lauper. And I remember her saying in this song "If you're lost, you can look and you will find me..." During this phase of my life I was with my parents at Sears and I got lost in the clothes racks. When I found my way out my parents were no where around. I didn't know what to do but all I could remember was what Cyndi Lauper had said in her song. So I ran through the store in extreme excitement realizing that I was lost and if I looked I would find Cyndi Lauper and I could go home with her. I was so mad when my parents found me I thought they had totally ruined my chances to meet Cyndi Lauper. I thought it would be interesting and kind of experimental to write it from the little kids point of view, how they don't realize that songs and movies aren't real.
Or it could make a children's story. Like the Wizard of Oz where you go off looking for something better but find out what you wanted all along was in your own back yard. Of course, mine would have a different kind of ending because I have no idea why Dorothy ever wanted to leave Oz.

There are five examples of how I come up with my story ideas. I haven't actually made a complete story out of any of these. They're just ideas in different stages.
I would have went and found the links to all these songs but my computer keeps randomly shutting stuff down. I think it needs a break. Plus, I'm a slacker.
Besides I started Friday Five as an easy, effortless way to update my blog more often. How simple? A quick list and I'm done. Yet, this post has taken me over a half an hour to write. No wonder I never get anything done.

Just watched: The Virgin Suicides
Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who doesn't love a mix tape, really?

I finished Love is a Mix Tape today. And it's not just a book about mix tapes. It's about music, mostly, 90's rock. It's a also a memoir about how music brought two people together and how it helped the author through the loss of his wife.

Each chapter starts with a song list for an actual mix tape that the author was given or made. And then the chapter goes on to tell what the significance of the mix tape was in his life.
I think a lot of people relate to how a song defines a time in your life. How you think the song was made just for you because it describes exactly what you're going through and you're convinced that it can't possibly mean as much to someone else, even the person who wrote it, as it does to you.

I know mix tapes are completely out dated. It's been MP3 play list for a while and in between it was mix CDs but it's still the same idea. I remember a few months ago Jenni thought she might be in a mix CD battle with a fellow teacher. And for the wedding I'm in next month, the gift for the guest is a mix CD of all the couples songs that are being played at the wedding.

When I was young I used to make mix tapes by recording songs off the radio because we didn't really have money to buy actual tapes. When I finally got my first job CDs were it and I would make mix tapes from CDs. Tapes for dancing to, driving to, being mad at your parents, liking someone, being dumped. Then my friend and I actually bought a CD burner. Not a computer but a machine that did nothing but burn CDs.

I used to make mix tapes for when I would write. I like to set the mood for what I'm writing by playing music that I think a character would listen to or music that I could see on the soundtrack if the story were a movie or the music that inspired the story. I no longer have a functioning tape recorder so now I just program my CD player. Maybe one day I'll get an MP3 player but after reading that book I really want to go back to making mix tapes.

Music can tell you a lot about a person, including how their feeling. I think a new writing exercise I should do is make a play list for each character to help develop their personality.

I have this poster above my desk with a little kid wondering what Batman dresses up for on Halloween and who's on Batman's pajamas. I wonder what's on Batman's mix tape?

They should make soundtracks for books not just movies. Wouldn't we all like to know what some of our favorite characters are listening to?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Complain and you shall receive

For some reason a letter I posted on this blog that I had written to Wizard magazine (that never got published) was linked on When Fangirls Attack. My site meter showed I got over 100 visits yesterday. I don't think many of them stuck around since my blog isn't mostly about comic books but if you can't get your letter published in Wizard, having over 100 people stop by your blog to read it is pretty kick ass.

I have tomorrow off. I don't usually have Wednesdays off but my boss is about to come back from vacation to find out that we had a negative Saturday (it's suppose to be our busiest day), the plumbing is broke and that the only assistant manager he has left to run nights and weekends is done at the end of the month. So I'm going to let someone else deal with that anger. I'm taking a vacation day.
The whole point to that little story is that, hopefully, I'll get a lot of work done tomorrow and I'll post something more substantial and by that I mean longer.

Currently reading: Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
Song playing on the radio: "Funky Cold Medina"- Tone Loc

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Getting up to date

This weekend has been pretty boring. I finally stepped into this century and bought a USB flash drive. My disk drive doesn't work so I haven't been able to type any of my writing up while I'm at work. And I also bought an ink jet so that I can get back to printing out submissions. Of course, I guess now I could just use the flash drive to take it to work and print it out.

Speaking of submissions, I'm happy to report that I am still receiving rejection notices despite the postage rate change. All the literary magazines have been graciously adding a $.02 stamp just to let me know that my writing stinks.

On a happy note, Jenni is now officially done with her first school year of teaching. YAY! So when she gets back from her vacation in the Smokies, I'm hoping we can get back to work on Behind the Naugahyde and maybe finish before her summer break is over.

Also, I'm thinking of taking a few days off of work at the beginning of August and going to Wizard World Chicago since it doesn't look like I'll be able to vacation in NYC like I had hoped. Chicago is much closer and if I go to the convention I can take some time to chat with independent publishers and maybe talk to some artist or fellow writers. Plus it would be nice to spend some time at the Art Institute and lots of other places. Mostly I just want to get away.

And since I spent all my money on flash drives and ink jets I still haven't gotten around to buying any comic books in over a month. So I have no idea what's going on.
I thought selling shoes for a living would provide me with enough money to make all my wildest dreams come true but I guess not.

I think that's enough random thoughts for now. I need to get some work done.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Geez, do I whine a lot or what?

Sorry I haven't been around. I really don't have a good reason why I haven't posted. I've been consumed with trying to finish the 1153 pages that is The Stand which has already put me behind on my Harry Potter reading schedule. That's why I gave myself a week for each book even though I knew I wouldn't need it.
Mostly, I've been a little discouraged lately. My writing group didn't work out. I got a 'can we change the time', and a 'can we change the place', then when I e-mailed the other few possible writers they weren't sure if they could make the new time if I changed it. Not that they were positive they could make the original time either and the person wanting the time changed wasn't sure they could make either time but was more likely to make the newly suggested time. So I'm pretty much just running around in circles trying to pull teeth and a bunch of other proverbial cliches that have something to do with getting no where and having a difficult time doing it. Or something like that.

Then, there's the wedding thing. I'm going to be the maid-of-honor in a wedding at the beginning of July. I know, how exciting my best friend is getting married but that is not quite the case. While I spend my time and money running around trying to make sure that she has the best day(s) possible, for the second time I might add, I think to myself, would she do the same for me? Then I think wow, this person who claims I'm her best friend has never, to my knowledge, read my blog. I know, big deal it's just a blog but it's not. It's about my writing and that is my life. It's what I do in my spare time and my not spare time and it's something I want to do and will do for the rest of my life whether I make money doing it or not. It's one of the most important things to me and this person and a lot of my other so called "friends" have never taken the time to stop by even once in the last two years. I know they have Internet access because I talk to them on-line all the time and I mention my blog all the time. I just think that if it was important to my best friend I would stop by occasionally.
They haven't even stopped by the Behind the Naugahyde website. And I sent out an e-mail to everyone I had an address for announcing that.
It just makes me sad. If I can't get people who consider me their "best friend" to read my blog how the heck am I going to get anybody to read it? Or does it just really show how pathetic my life is that random strangers and people I've only met through the Internet read this more than people who want me to be in their wedding.

Not to mention that my number of visits drop in the summer. My few regular readers are there but a lot less people randomly stop by. Probably because they are all outside living life. Not that it matters because most of them probably don't stick around to read it anyway. It's just nice to feel like I'm not talking to a wall sometimes.
For those of you that do read this, whether I've met you or not, thank you!

Alrighty, self-pity party over. I'm off to finish the last hundred pages of The Stand so I can finally got on with my life. Curse my horrible need to know how something ends right away. I just can't handle not knowing.

Friday, June 08, 2007

An interesting, yet slightly depressing Friday Five

Well Friday's almost over but here is still a Friday Five. This week I'll list five writing related projects I would like to do or have an idea for but have yet to start. This one is hard for me because you know how I hate giving away details about my work before it's completed.

1. I would love to write a children's book. I have an idea for it and I think if I kept the art pretty basic and practiced a lot, I could even do the illustrations. It would feature a dog very similar to Kreeg, some kids and it would be about not fitting in.

2. I always thought it would be fun to do a comic strip. I have an idea for it and the idea would involve very minimal art so I could possibly do that too. The few ideas I have for it would make it a political cartoon but in a subtle way that only clever people would get.

3. There is a mini-movie script that I wrote. I would love to get it made. I've had two other three minute movies made for a contest and those were a lot of fun. This one is longer. Since the writing is actually done it's not technically a writing project but I would never try to get it published in script form. I would need to produce it as a movie. It's something like Mean Girls meets comic nerds.

4. One project that I've been planning for a while but I am seriously afraid of messing up is turning some of my writing into a piece of art where it would hang on the wall.

5. While I hate public speaking in anyway, I always thought it would be interesting to read some of my work out load. Kind of like a poetry reading, except probably not poetry. Sounds weird for someone who hates public speaking but I love performing. Little known fact, in my school days I performed in various dance recitals, choir concerts and in school plays on a regular basis. My plan, once I graduated from high school, was to move to New York City and be on Broadway or move to Vegas and become a flare bartender. But my plans didn't really work out, obviously.

Anyway, enough about that. I'll only depress myself.

On a side note, I heard from one of my writing group no shows. Apparently, 'something came up' and she was only in town for one week so she won't be there next week or ever. I did get another reply from another person but I'm worried that now it will only be me and one other person.
Also, I got another rejection with only $.39 worth of postage. Is the post office slipping up or being nice?

Just finished reading: A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
Currently reading: The Stand by Stephen King
Just watched: Stick It

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The start of 'Human Decency?'

Today I finally got over being afraid of doing an awful job of writing my current novel and forced myself to write the first and second section/part. I've been putting this off for so long that I can't believe I actually did it.
I say sections/parts, rather than chapters because it's going to jump from character to character and I don't feel the parts are full chapters.
Anyway, I'm always scared to write the first part, especially on this novel. Even though, I've had the scene perfectly plotted in my head for sometime. It's weird though because once I actually started writing it, it just flowed and turned into something completely different. Something better. It's a lot more harsh than I had planned but if you want to hook a reader, I figure you gotta come out swinging. I think it will definitely capture people and they will connect with a character. My only worry is that it might be a bit much but I can't worry about it now. I have to push forward.
The second part I didn't really have planned out in as much detail as the first but I think it was strong maybe not as strong as the first but it definitely keeps up the intensity. I think the next part will be more mellow. Sorry for the crypticness (I know, not a real word). I don't want to give anything away but I feel like if I don't talk about it I'm going to explode. I will share something about it though.
While writing that part I actually found one line that made me think of an interesting title and to my knowledge there isn't a book or movie called this yet. I'm thinking of calling it, at least for now, Human Decency.

I'm ready to put my novel on paper. Plus I have a potential title, which if you've been reading this blog a while you know that I'm horrible with naming novels. Take my first and second Nano novels for example, because that's what I call them. And thank goodness Jenni came up with Behind the Naugahyde. I wanted to call it Retale. Get it? Probably better for a sequel anyway.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Writing group hopefullness

Thanks everyone for wanting to come to my writing group. Everyone reading this is invited to stop by. Maybe one day we can have a meeting near Tiffany and Jenni's corner of the state. I'm not sure about a writing group road trip to Pennsylvania but anything is possible.
Seriously, though, anyone that wants to come by just let me know and I'll give you all the details. I have a feeling the details may vary week to week in my attempt to have people actually show up, otherwise I'd just post them. For now the meetings will be on Monday evenings but that could change. And I've already got one person that I kind of sort of know that might be able to make it next week.
To me a 'might' is better than a 'will be there' followed by a 'no show'. If that makes any sense. A 'might' doesn't get my hopes up to have them smashed. Anyway, I got to thinking that maybe someone did show up but didn't approach me or didn't know it was me because I was solo and not a group as they had expected. Of course, I did give them plenty of ways to know who I was and one of them I had a class with a few years ago. Besides they should know that a group starts with one person and isn't a group until some else steps up. I don't know. I e-mailed them all saying no hard feelings and feel free to stop by next week. I haven't heard anything from them. With the two that answered my ad, I just don't understand it's not like they would say they would be there to spare my feelings or to help me out. They contacted me about it. Oh well, no time to dwell.
According to Jenni, I got a cool post out of it yesterday and I have people potentially coming from out of town and out of state. I have to love that! Even if they don't stop by it's still a very nice thought.
So despite the pitiful writing group yesterday, I feel good today. I've got hope that the writing group will get better and that's good enough for me.

Monday, June 04, 2007

So exciting you'll laugh, you'll cry. Oh, wait, that was me.

So...what's the exciting news I mentioned yesterday?

Well, remember how I've been trying to find a writing group with no luck?

And then how I asked some people if they wanted to start one and they never answered me?

I got tired of that b.s. so I put out an ad and a few people answered. I sent notes to a few people and one of those people answered.

The result?

I started a writing group! And the first meeting was tonight!

I was nervous, anxious and excited to meet new people and to finally have someone to talk to about writing. A little worried as always that they wouldn't like my stories (remember class workshops) or that they wouldn't like me.

And there I sat looking around the room trying to find my fellow writers I had yet to meet and one that I hadn't seen in a while. I was proud of myself that I hadn't sat around and waited for some else to start a group or to be invited to one or to hope that someone would answer my request. I had taken action and it had worked.

So I sat there waiting for them to arrive...

...for a whole hour before no one showed up.

There I was with a drink I had only bought so I could sit in the cafe with my writing group, with a stack of copies of my stories, with my spirit crushed, watching the rain fall outside, completely bummed.

So much for exciting. See why I didn't say anything. I knew if I got my hopes up I would jinx myself.

Maybe more people will answer my ad. There's always next week, I guess.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Nauga research, library book suggestions and some goals. That's about it.

Sure I promised a much more exciting blog post this weekend but I'm just too boring. I have gotten work done on the "what the heck is Naugahyde?" page for, but really that's about it. I miss not having worked on Behind the Naugahyde in a while so every time I get a chance to do a little side project it fills me with joy. I'm also excited that Jenni will soon be done with school. Then we can write like crazy!
Also during my research I found out that Naugahyde is actually a name brand of pleather/vinyl-coated fabric. I'm not sure if that is going to be a problem. So far everything I've found says we can use the name just not the logo, which would not be a problem at all.

I did go to the library this weekend as well. And I checked out a few books that seem to switch from one character to the next, which is what I had been looking for. I checked out A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby and The Stand by Stephen King. I looked for Lost books based on the t.v. show but they didn't have any. I'm not sure if they even made them. Those were all the books suggested to me by various people. Thanks everyone!

Since I haven't really done much work on writing lately I thought I would list a few of my short term goals and plans. If I write it out then I might actually have to act on it.
First, I would like to have another sci-fi story completed and ready to send to a contest by the end of this month.
Second, I'm thinking of submitting something to Glimmer Train magazine. It's quite prestigious to get published by them but also very difficult. They take mostly literary short stories. I have a few of those that need some editing and their next submission period ends on July 31. This is excellent because Jenni will be on summer break by then and will hopefully be able to help me out with some suggestions and editing. I will definitely need it.
Third, I would like to have my current novel, that I've barely made a dent in, done by the end of August.

There are a few other things that I have in mind. is attempting to have a contest for writers, pencilers and inkers coming up soon so I'll have to keep my eye on that.
And I think tomorrow I'm going to do something really exciting regarding my writing but I don't want to say what yet in case I jinx myself.

Just saw: Knocked Up
Currently reading: Batman Year One and Batman Year Two (TPB)
Just read: The Kite Runner-Khaled Hosseini

Friday, June 01, 2007

Another Friday Five

I'm so glad it's the weekend. So here's another Friday Five.
This week is the last line from five of my completed works.

1) They deserved each other.

2) It had gotten her through the mess that had been her life and she could never abandon it now.

3) How cool is that?

4) She had hope that she might find something better.

5) I realized I would never know as I fell asleep.

Once again my two NaNo novels but three different short stories this time. Hopefully, I'll get a longer, more exciting post up this weekend.