Category Archives: Little Obsession

Drum-roll, please…

I fell in love with writing in my tiny flat in Zone 2, London. It was a freezing cold night, a draft came from the single-glazed bay window of that old Edwardian front room I called my home, my fingers danced on the keyboard as words flew out, when I realized: I wouldn’t be doing anything else, right now.

Then came the Master’s in screenwriting diploma a year later. When people asked if anything happened with the scripts I’d been writing,  I replied of course not, I knew no one in Montreal, had been gone too long, lost touch, etc. So, during the two next years, I made my own short films: produced, directed, wrote – and hated it. They never were as good as what I had written, even if they were distributed and sold to TV.

Novels, I told myself. I’ll write novels, get them published, and be happy – but agents got in the way. Five years, seven projects, and about 500 rejection letters later, I still haven’t found one. Oh, I’ve gotten advice and cheers and encouragement, some said my writing was beautiful, I knew how to build up a scene, they admired me and loved my work…but no one wanted to represent me.

What is a girl to do? How do I get published without waiting another year or two to get an agent, then the rewrites, then the submission to publishing houses? Well, I sent my query to the best small publishers my research provided…

AND GIRLS & MONSTERS IS GETTING PUBLISHED BY DARKFUSE IN 2013!!!

Cheers to you all, I’m having a drink right this moment 🙂 I never thought *this* could happen that fast.

Oh, what is Girls & Monsters, you ask? It’s a collection of 5 novelettes about, well, girls and monsters. It’s dark, gloomy, aimed at the young-adult/new-adult gap, it’s scary and funny and I’m in love with each of my characters and their monsters – because don’t be fooled, we all have one waiting in the dark…

Happy Goth dance♥


Michael Martineck’s AWESOME Stray Score

Writer friend Michael Martineck has been working on an awesome website and who to explain it best than himself?

As a species we’ve been ranking books since there were two.  One is always better or worse than the next, but that never told the whole story, so we invented genres.  Cubbyholes into which we can shove titles, twisting, bending or ignoring the fact that a few should be in several places at one time. (An unacceptable state for any bookstore or library.  There’s no quantum Dewey decimal system.) And that leads to StrayScore – a method for rating novels based not on quality or content, but on how far they depart from reality.

Every novel requires suspension of disbelief.  How much marks a difference that transcends genres.  There are novels based firmly in reality. The characters act as one might expect, going about their lives on planet earth, depicted with language you can easily comprehend.  Then there are novels in which multi-phase energy clumps blink light poems in a time and place outside of time/space.  The majority of most novels fall in between.  StrayScore takes the traditional parts of a novel (theme, problem, plot, character, setting, style) and asks you to rank how far from normalcy the author has stretched.  The total of the rankings produces a final score for the book.

And for you.  While most open-minded readers are capable of appreciating anything written well, by scoring novels you hold dear, a personal preference emerges.  When it comes to the novels we love, we all have a score.  Like one of those adjustable air mattresses.  Some of us like novels with a little bit of speculation, whether it be a glimpse of a ghost, the entrenchment of a dystopian society or a murder solved and killer stashed away for life without parole.  Once you know how much disbelief you like to suspend, StrayScore can help you find novels you might love, regardless of their place on the shelves.

StrayScore is about you and novels, and you and novels.  The more people participating, the better it works.  Please visit, sign up, vote on books listed, add books not yet vetted and tell us what you think. As in all things internet, there’s a big fat place for comments.

The genius behind StrayScore

Michael has written for DC Comics, several magazines(fiction and non-fiction) and two novels for young readers.  His novel for adults, Cinco de Mayo, (EDGEScience Fiction and Fantasy) was a finalist for the 2010 Alberta Reader’sChoice Award.  Michael has a degree in English and Economics, but has worked in advertising for several years. He lives with his wife and two children on Grand Island, NY.


I’m back…with Adam Sydney

Hello people, friends and foes! What a ride writing Hunter’s Trap has been: fast, sometimes furious, most of the time scary, and always fun. I’m back for a quickie: a dear friend of mine has plunged into indie publishing and I had to share his wonderful books with you guys. So here is Adam Sydney and Yolanda Polanski and the bus to Sheboygan (come back soon for our chat over his other book).

me: Hello Adam, welcome to your first interview. Would you like to say something to my dear followers?

AS:Hi Anne, I am very honored that you would like to interview me! It’s my first interview ever, so I’m very excited, too. Thank you!

me: For those of you who don’t know, Adam and I met in England as we both completed a Master’s in screenwriting at the University of London. So, dear friend, let me hear about YOUR reasons for deciding to quit screenwriting and prose it up into novels, instead.

AS: Why did I stop screenwriting? Well, I don’t look at it as completely over, to be honest– more of a hiatus. My last two screenplays were extremely experimental (read: no one would ever buy them), and although I think that they had the most merit of the screenplays I’d written, I realized that I wanted to share my work with other people, rather than just having it sit in my computer, being all avant garde.

A while back, I went to the American Film Institute to study screenwriting, and everyone there told me that as a screenwriter, I’d make a great novelist. I’d actually tried it back then (horrible result), but three years ago, I thought I’d give it another go. I’d read The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and in that particular edition, Michael Chabon described how he’d written the book in his parents’ basement or something. For some reason, this really inspired me, so I wrote my first novel. I enjoyed the experience so much that I’ve just kept writing prose.

 me: I always love to read your scripts and novels because you also make us root for characters that are not only original, but completely believable and real. Who would you say is your biggest influence and do you see their work reflecting in yours?

AS: I’m so glad to hear that the characters in my writing are working for you, because the characters really are the most important element to me. I try my best to step out of the picture and let my characters run the show, which really feels like a weight off my shoulders (even though that makes no logical sense).

That’s not too unusual in novels, but I think my secondary interest in story is less commonplace. I believe an emphasis on story really does help readers connect with characters in a way that nothing else can. As a screenwriter, I’ve been trained to focus on story first and foremost. But I was just at a book store yesterday in search of some newer writing (at least newer than 19th Century), and read several covers. Most of the synopses I came across for the newer, literary novels seemed to indicate that the books were really situations, rather than stories. “A group of people living together,” “a town in turmoil,” “a woman who goes back home after being away for years”– that sort of thing. I most enjoy books in which the narrative really moves forward, rather than being focused mostly on a place and the internal thoughts and feelings that occur there. I think that bias is reflected in my writing.

I wonder what my influences are! I love Jane Austen, Henry James, William Faulkner, E.M. Forster, and Edith Wharton. I think that these writers certainly develop engaging characters, but I’m not consciously inspired by any of their work. I certainly remember being inspired by films in my past and then writing similar screenplays, but that doesn’t seem to happen with my novels. Of course, that’s only as far as I can recognize it; I think that other people might be much more likely to recognize influences in my work better than I can.

Have you spotted any? I’d love to know!

me: You do have a certain vibe of Austen in your sense of humour and Faulkner would love the voice and drive you give your characters…speaking of, let’s talk a little bit about Yolanda. Now, she’s weird and unusual, which means I love her! I found myself missing her as a friend once I finished your book…can you tell me where she came from? What motivated you to write about someone who dreams of sundaes and tries to make the best out of everything, even when people think she’s totally insane?

Do you love the psychedelic cover as much as I do?

AS: At some point before writing my second novel, I remember feeling Yolanda’s personality rising up somewhere in my brain, although it was very nebulous. At about the same time, I’d decided (and this didn’t happen) that I was going to try and write a novel in which every sentence was funny, as well as the characters and situations and plot line. I almost wanted every juxtaposition of words within each sentence to be funny.

It’s an fascinating goal, but in practice, it was really hard to do. I think I really tried it in the first chapter, but even there, I realized that sometimes, in order to set up jokes and funny situations, you basically need straight lines– which kind of function as straight men. So not too long after starting it, I realized that Yolanda Polanski and the Bus to Sheboygan would need something else.

That something else became Yolanda. I found that seeing everything — and how she distorted everything — through her eyes could be funny, so the first person narrative stuck. But I wasn’t wholly satisfied with that alone and so decided to have those distortions change over the course of the book.

So in her first phase, she mistakenly believes that she can instantly deduce the past event that has since defined the psychology of each person she meets. After determining this, she then goes on to use this “knowledge” to manipulate the people to do what she’d like them to do. Of course, she’s profoundly wrong about everyone and their defining life events, so her manipulations end in failure– or at least not the success she expects. Then, when she finally realizes that her powers aren’t quite up to the task of instantaneously analyzing everyone’s psyche, she turns to her misguided understanding of Zen Buddhism to run her life. I hope that these shifts help to keep the humor up throughout the book.

But getting back to your question, I have to say that I really don’t know where Yolanda came from. As I had no idea where the story was going right from the beginning, she literally developed before my eyes. She quickly became crazy, and laughable, and terribly self-important, which I found funny. (Hmmm, maybe I based her on myself.) However, I couldn’t have a main character who’s just a kook, so she also became a fundamentally decent, kind person, too, under everything– someone who needs the people she’s found in her life much more than they need her. I don’t think I could’ve kept going if she’d just been a thin joke.

 me: What would you do if you met Yolanda in real life as a real person? Or more important, what wdo you think she’d do to you?

AS: I hope that I would recognize that she’s harmless and ultimately kind at heart, but judging by the way that other people in the novel respond to her, I don’t know if I’d be perceptive enough in person. She seems to annoy pretty much everyone she comes into contact with, at least at first.

I think that she’d only do something to me if she thought she saw something in me that led her to believe that we could be friends. She does seem to have a sixth sense in that department– if not in any other! And what would she do to me? I think it would ultimately depend on her scheme and how I could be of service.

me: Famous last words in a true Yolanda fashion?

Yolanda: It’s been a real teat speaking with you, and I hope we can do tit again soon!

Adam Sydney never takes the bus, he drives this bling of a car, instead.

Adam trained as a screenwriter at The University of London and The American Film Institute, then segued into literary fiction with his first novel, My Heart Is a Drummer, written in 2009. The following year, he completed his second book, Yolanda Polanski and the Bus to Sheboygan.This year, he’s finishing an experimental horror novel, Something’s Wrong, and has formed Newcraft Press after discovering that traditional publishing is unable to support him and the other authors with whom he’s worked over the previous 20 years. He lives in Tucson, Arizona with his dog, Jerry, and cat, Alan.

 

***WIN an ecopy of Yolanda Polanski and the bus to Sheboygan by leaving a comment – ONE WINNER will be contacted by leaving an email adress***


Hiatus

I’m alive, but writing about the dead.

Robert Smith, Pornography written all over him

I’m obsessed with my new project about two brothers looking for their missing father in the north, filled with wild snow and vengeful ghosts. So I’m trapped  until I put an end to Hunter’s Trap.

Meanwhile, here’s some eye candy. That Mary Poole is one lucky lady♥


2012 Resolutions

New year’s melancholy. What I used to be, who I wanted to become. Have I changed? Probably. But one thing remains: to aspire to something different.

Write More * Write Better * Write for me

In the spirit of this list of wishes, here’s a flash inspired by this dream I’ve had just before waking up. You know the kind – one that stays with you all day, that you can’t push out of your mind. And days later, you just have to bleed it on the page.

On the Rocks

Clever, they pretended to be something else. A meteorite shower all over our planet, but nothing to worry about. Brown shapeless space stones weren’t a concern to us, until they landed.

Inside, millions waiting to take our place, to send us away. Ships lined up, futile fighting ended in death; my father, the neighbor, our president. The only hand left to hold was my mother’s.

Through the shredding of our lives, she smiled at me. I asked her: In the wide map of black above, will we lose ourselves? She said: Between the stars and the moon, nothing will catch us if we fall.

 

For all of you who are still missing out, City of Hell is on the loose, catch it if you can while one of the wonderful stories is FREE


Blog Award, German style

Darling zombie poet April R Denton bestowed this award to me – as if her  dedicated poem wasn’t enough. Sadly, she is taking a break from blogs, tweets, etc, but if you want to read her amazing prose, come here.

My blogging nominations to spread the love of the Liebster – it means beloved and dearest. Cute, non?

REN WAROM is one amazing, weird, creepy, cursing sailor of a writer, and I adore not only her rich stories but how she always has a nice word twist. Beware: highly addictive.

AMY L OVERLEY makes me laugh with her genius plots and schemes as  the co-founder of the Genius Club. One hell of a writer.

MIKE WORDPLAY is a new friend who cheers me up when I feel ugly, old and fat – not an easy feat, let me tell you. Quite a talented boy.

JASON DARRICK can be very scary and a little creepy, but that’s only when you read his stuff. He’s a cool dude with great muscial taste, too.

TYMOTHY LONGORIA is a sweet, kind-hearted and go-getter writer who helps practical strangers with their query letters. Oh, and he’s adorable, too.

There you have it, peeps – stalk them on twitter, follow their amazing blogs, and show the love ♥


Comparing Goth Notes with Angela Addams

My friend and Gothsis Angela Addams got a great idea: we exchange notes on what we loved/hated growing up being goth. Here’s the second part, the first being posted on her blog.

NINE INCH NAILS

The Trent I'm trying to forget

Angie: This band changed my life!!! I remember the first time I ever heard a NIN song. My cousin tossed a cassette tape (yes, it was that long ago) at me and said, “I think you’d better listen to this, I don’t expect I’ll get that tape back once you do.” And she was right…the album was Broken and I listened to it until the tape actually broke! Wish and Gave up, in particular, were two songs that I couldn’t get enough of…and I’ve never been disappointed in concert because Trent Reznor always plays them for me 😉 By far my favorite band! I’ve got a ton of NIN stories…in fact, I think I’ll write up a separate post about them!

The Trent I'd like to Goth up good

Anne: I discovered them through a friend, too, but I hardly remember who or where we were. What I can’t forget is when my friend Christopher dragged me to their concert at the Astoria in London, 2005. I pictured Trent Reznor sick and dying from too much rock and roll – circa 1995 – but then this beefed up dude with arms like trees came out and I couldn’t believe my eyes: Le Trent lives! And yum, I’d goth him up real good in an alternate universe, one in which his wife wasn’t some sex kitten and he didn’t have a kid. SO HAPPY he chose to live instead of, you know…

ROBERT SMITH

Angie: Okay, I couldn’t resist…sorry Anne…although it seems like some kind of prerequisite for all goths to LOVE Robert Smith and The Cure…I just couldn’t get into it…mainly because a bunch of people told me I HAD to like them…Angie’s instant reaction to being told what to do…full stop, brakes on, arms crossed, don’t tell me what to do stance…so, I’ve never been a fan.  So much so that when I finally relented and decided to give them a try…paid a crapload of money for a ticket and went to see them in concert…I fell asleep in my seat…WORST.CONCERT.EVER

Seriously, can I have a piece of him?

Anne: My husband, my lover, my imaginary boy! You know, I’ve been defending Mr Smith & Co for so long – 25 years, actually – when people call them out for wearing badly-applied makeup and for singing happy songs, that…I won’t stop now! HOW can you say that, Angie? He’s a genius, a rock star, an unbelievable composer, an artist, a poet, my heart & soul! Then again, you do like Marilyn Manson, so we can’t all have good taste, huh?

JACK & SALLY

Angie: I was a little late to the Jack and Sally party…I missed the movie in the theaters…well, actually, I once again, pulled a classic Angie and skipped it cause I hated all the hype and can’t stand to be told what I’ll just love…trust me, worst mistake ever…since then though, I think I’ve watched the movie at least 200 times, I know all the songs off by heart (even had part of one play as my wedding song) and have an obscene collection of movie stuff…AND I have Jack tattooed on my leg!

Love conquers death and the Oogie Boogie

Anne: I went to see it four or five times at the cinema, a thousand years ago. I just couldn’t get the songs out of my head, and that love story was exactly the kind I like: with skeletons, spiders and heartbreak. I watch it 3 or 4 times each year, can’t help tearing up as they meet up at the end – aw, and that twirly hill just kills me. And yeah, I’ve accumulated loads of Burton crap throughout the years, but I call it my prized collection, which proves everything is relative, I guess.

So there you go, you know a little bit more about the two gals who brought you The Minion of Misery Award:)


Chatting with April R Denton…& GIVEAWAY!

The #CoffinHop wasn’t only about meeting horror authors and enjoying Halloween’s festivities – it was also about winning goodies! I was super happy when April R Denton told me I won a poem she’d write for me, so I proposed to premiere her composition over here.

AM: You’re such a prolific writer: poems, short stories, and novels…where do you find your inspiration, dear Zombie Girl? What sparks your fire?

April R Denton: Music and my dreams are most influential. When I find the right music for what I am writing the words flow freely, but they also influence my tone in the piece.

AM: Me too! Some dreams have become novels – they were that good to expand! Give me examples of the music you listen to write a scene, like a fight scene or a more mellow, romantic one.

April R Denton: I let Winamp do most of the work for my by shuffling until I reach a song that gives me goosebumps. For a sexy scene I use Puscifer, Maynard always makes me want to do dirty things. For violence Morphogenesis by Scar Symmetry or maybe some Killswitch Engage.

AM: Cool stuff. So when you wrote my ♥poem♥, how did you come up with it?

April R Denton: To write your poem I read your blog and took words that described you. Then I used rhymed.com to find rhymes that would work well. I reread the poem about 20 times until I was satisfied.

AM: It feels personal, you did a great job:)
Here it is, folks. Enjoy!

Gothic girl

Hazel eyes

Dark obsessive

Sweet surprise

Gloomy tunes

Oh so tall

Anne, the wordsmith

For her words you’ll befall

***In honor of the macabre and gloomy, I’m giving away two – yes, 2!! – ARC e-copies of City of Hell – Chronicles 1 (horror anthology featuring 7 scary short stories) to anyone who subscribe to this blog and leaves a comment to this post. Drawing of the lucky winners on Monday November 28th at noon-ish, Mtl time. Good luck♥***