Thursday, June 22, 2017

Crossing Through No Words Land

by Andrea Judy

Sometimes in life, you hit a patch where the words just won't happen. I don't just mean a writer's block or the dreaded soggy middle. I mean the times when your whole mind turns into an arctic tundra where nothing thrives. You can't think of a new idea, you can't think of writing at all. The idea of writing fills you with sickly dread. It sucks. So what can you do? Well put on your snow boots and let's figure this out.

1. Take a break.

Sometimes you just need a break from writing. Take a day or a week and just rest. Give yourself some slack and time to recharge. This is especially true if you have been really pushing yourself hard for a while.

2. Read out of your usual genre. 

If you write romance, pick up a western. If you write horror, pick up a space opera. Read something totally different than your usual fare. Sample something different and give yourself some fresh ideas and new genres to look into. You never know when you might find your next beloved book.

3. Enjoy a nap. 

Seriously, sleep is rad. Take a nap and see how you feel after some well deserved shut eye.

4. Skip that scene you hate. 

If you're avoiding writing, unable to write or just hating everything about the certain scene or chapter you're working on... just skip it. Put in a placeholder in and move on. If you hate that scene than does it have to be like that? Figure out a way to make it fun for you and the reader.

5. Get help. 

Sometimes this kind of a block is a big red flag that something is wrong. I know for me, when I found myself unable to write for months I knew something was wrong and went to find help. For me, this tundra of no words is a big ol' sign post that I am entering the depression badlands and it's a good time to talk to someone and get help. There's no shame in needing help.

So that's what helps me when I enter the tundra of no words. Is a sucky place that I don't even like to visit but sometimes you just have to cross it and get to the other side. Writing is hard mental work and it can be taxing to do. So keep on plucking on and we'll get to the other side together.

Note: Originally posted here. Reposted by permission.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Nugget #100 -- Ears > Eyes

My ears are better proofreaders than my eyes. It’s a concept
I’ve proven over and over again in my own work. When
I read a story aloud, I catch far more mistakes than
simply reading the words silently in my head.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Cherry Hill" is the Story of the Day on Scriggler!

My story, "Cherry Hill," is the story of the day on Scriggler today! 

This was also my first published story way back when and the first story I won an award for, in a competition judged by awesome author and poet Judith Ortiz Cofer!

Looking back on it, even though this story isn't a by-the-numbers pulp, I can see the pulp influences on my style. What do you think?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

JEZEBEL JOHNSTON’S ADVENTURES CONTINUES

Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to present the third installment in Nancy Hansen’s epic saga of the rise of Pirate Queen Jezebel Johnston.

Having escaped the clutches of the sadistic French pirate, Julien Levesque, young Jezebel Johnston and her companions, Walter Armitage and Pakke, throw their lot in with the inexperienced captain Emile Gagnon and his crew. Fleeing in his speedy sloop rechristened Sea Witch, their audacious plan is to recruit additional sailors and raid the pearl-rich islands beyond Port Royale.  But to do so they will need to avoid the larger pirate ships relying on stealth and cunning.  If they succeed, a treasure beyond imagining awaits them. If they fail, a cold and watery grave.

“With book # 3, Sea Witch, Jezebel’s life takes a drastic detour,” says Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “New allies are formed and plans formulated to evade old enemies. Hansen’s research is as meticulous as ever as she continues the saga of this truly memorable character. Anyone who has read the first two books will be thrilled to dig into this new chapter.”

Once again Nancy Hansen sets a course for action and adventure with pulpdom’s newest, most daring hero, Jezebel Johnston, pirate maid.  Award winning Art Director Rob Davis provides the interior illustrations and Laura Givens a stunning, action-filled cover.  “Jezebel Johnston – Sea Witch” is a seagoing pirate tale filled with colorful rogues and a lush, historical background. Soon to be an instant pulp classic.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!

 Available in paperback from Amazon and soon on Kindle.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

[Link] The “Superhero” Trademark: how the name of a genre came to be owned by DC and Marvel, and how they enforce it

by DG Stewart


Our publication has a category devoted to “superheroes”. It is a genre to which we have paid disproportionate attention, primarily because it is in English (the language of most of our contributors) and because of the sheer volume of superhero-genre material generated primarily by American publishers.

But what does the word “superhero” actually denote? The words “super hero” was first used in 1917, when it was used to describe a “public figure of great accomplishments”

In so far as use of the word “superhero” in the course of commerce is concerned, however, there is a severe limitation. The word “superhero” is jointly owned in many parts of the world by two US publishers, DC Comics and Marvel Characters Inc, an affiliate of Marvel Comics. The road to joint ownership of the word “SUPERHERO” in the United States is well-explained in this link.

But perhaps a more concise explanation comes from both DC Comics and Marvel themselves. The following paragraphs come from a United States trade mark notice of opposition filed by DC Comics and Marvel in May 2015:


Read the full article: http://www.worldcomicbookreview.com/index.php/2017/06/01/superhero-trademark-name-genre-came-owned-dc-marvel-enforce/

Friday, June 9, 2017

PALM TREES, OCEAN BREEZES, AND MURDER! ‘CRIME DOWN ISLAND’ DEBUTS FROM PRO SE PRODUCTIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Terror in the Tropics! Peril in Paradise! Betrayal on the Beach! It’s just another day of murder and corruption under the palm trees in CRIME DOWN ISLAND, now available from Pro Se Productions in digital and print formats.

Six heated tales of manipulation and mayhem set in the dream destinations most fantasize about. Sun baked days and moon kissed nights along the ocean, where love and hate walk hand in hand. And the shrill of tropical birds can be drowned out at any moment by a horrified scream and the last gasps of someone dying. Evil takes vacations in the same places we all want to, thanks to authors Shannon Muir, Gordon Lendrum, Sharae Allen, Louis A. Rodiquez Jr., Jeff Hewitt, and Shane Bowen. CRIME DOWN ISLAND from Pro Se Productions.

With an exotic cover by Larry Nadolsky and logo design and print formatting by Marzia Marina and Antonino Lo Iacono, CRIME DOWN ISLAND is available now at Amazon and Pro Se’s own store at  for 15.00.

This tropical crime anthology is also available as an Ebook, designed and formatted by Lo Iacono and Marina for only $2.99 for the Kindle and for most digital formats via Smashwords.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies to review this book, contact Pro Se Productions’ Director of Corporate Operations, Kristi King-Morgan at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Watson Report: On Barbers

Let us consider the legendary and mythic roots of barbers.

First, recall that in some early cultures hair was sacred. Some holy men and holy warriors made vows never to cut their hair (c.f. Samson). Many traditions held that hair could be used for malefic magic against the person from whose head it was taken; hence, for example, the hair and nails of the Pontifex Maximus of classical Rome could only be clipped by a free man and must be buried under an arbour felix (divine tree, preferably an oak). So some of the earliest barbers were men with holy duties.

The earliest shaving razors in the archaeological record come from Egypt c3500BC, with tweezers and tongs in a specially-made case, found amongst a cache of religious items. The first recorded barbers were priests and medics. Given that and the barber’s necessary skills with a razor it is unsurprising that barbers were also known as surgeons and dentists; it is only in the last two centuries that the professions have parted company.

By the time of the ancient Greeks, trimmed hair was a mark of civilisation, of sophistication and status. Only savages and country bumpkins – and slaves - wore their hair long and tangled. Discerning men of status went to the agora to see and be seen, to visit the cureus who would very publicly shave and hairdress them while those around shared debate and gossip. Indeed, the forum barber was the best source of gossip and a fount of information. This old function has led on to the “wise barber” trope of such stories as the Arabian Nights.

The Romans stole barbers from the Greeks, of course. By 200BC, tonsor shops were common in major cities across the Empire, part of the daily hygiene routine that included gymnasium and public baths. They were meeting places and sometimes plotting dens. A young man’s first shave was considered a major event in his life, sometimes preceding his first intercourse. Barba is Latin for beard, the origin of our name for one who shaves and cuts hair.

By the middle ages, barbers had stopped being priests or monks. The Pope had issued orders forbidding clergy from spilling blood (Council of Tours, 1163), which precluded dentistry and surgery. Hospitaller clerics therefore had lay assistants who would handle such necessaries of healing, along with applying leeches, enemas, lancings, and fire-cuppings. Those priests were clean-shaven too; another Papal decree in 1092 ordained that no clergyman should have facial hair.

By the 14th century, London was home to the Guild of Barbers; in 1308, the Court of Aldermen elected Richard de Barbour to keep order amongst his colleagues. In 1462 a royal charter upgraded the Guild to the Worshipful Company of Barbers, an organisation that continues to the present day.

A 1540 Act of Parliament merged in the Fellowship of Surgeons to form the Worshipful Company of Barbers and Surgeons, specifying that surgeons may not cut hair or shave people and that barbers could not operate on them; both groups could extract teeth. Barbers received higher fees than surgeons at that time.

It was probably this merger that led to the recognised shop sign of a barber, a long striped pole with red and white stripes (red for surgery, white for dentistry). In some modern versions blue stripes are also included, perhaps because red white and blue are patriotic colours in both the UK and US. Originally the pole also included brass bowls at top and bottom, the upper one for the leeches and the lower one for catching blood. There are a number of current US lawsuits underway regarding barbers’ objections to cosmetologists using the pole to advertise their services.

The Worshipful Company also had an educational role in the late medieval period, being a legal source of public autopsy anatomy lessons, conducted four times a year in an auditorium designed by Inigo Jones (the hall was destroyed in the Blitz). The Company’s crest features an opinicus (English gryphon) supported by chained lynxes. This is presumed to demonstrate the keenness of vision required for barber-work. The motto is De Praescientia Dei – “through God’s foreknowledge”. Root back to the ancient origins of the trade as far as you like.

Hairdressing as a term first appeared in the 17th century, along with the first women who are described as hairdressers. The first were French, of course; the most famous was Madame Martin who popularised “the tower” as a style and influenced every depiction of rich Aristos in every movie ever made. Champagne was the first famous male hairdresser of women; his Paris salon survived until his death in 1658.

By the 19th century, barbers were associated with gossip, with minor surgery and medication (including contraception, often in the form of pigskin condoms – “something for the weekend, sir?”), with fashion, with local knowledge, and with community meeting places. During that century in America, Black barbershops became a significant factor in the development of Black culture and society. In the UK barber salons served as a lower-class version of the coffee house as a meeting place to form opinion and foment political change.

In addition to shops, though, there were still the itinerant street barbers who would shave and clip a customer right then and there, maybe also shining shoes and offering manicures. There were door-to-door barbers and seafront barbers and in-club barbers. There were the first common womens’ hairdressing salons, as a more liberated distaff population with disposable income but not enough of it for personal maids with hairdressing skill began to demand services.

There was enough scandal about for Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who murdered his customers and turned their corpses into pie-meat to become a bestselling Penny Dreadful. There are still members of the general public who believe him to be non-fictional. The story goes to show the darker aspects of barbers that were in cultural currency at the time. Demon Barbers come from the same place as Killer Clowns.

So, barbers: wise gossips, social hosts, purveyors of advice and contraception to young men coming of age, hedge-surgeons, community mainstays, sacred servants, sudden butchers – rich characters rooted in old story, well deserving of being maintained in our fictional universes today.

Cut.

IW

Sunday, June 4, 2017

DAVID STOKER is BROTHER BONES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DAVID STOKER is BROTHER BONES

Seattle-based, actor, David Stoker, has been cast as the lead in the new Franklin-Husser Entertainment LLC production of “Brother Bones – The Undead Avenger.” Based on the New Pulp stories by Ron Fortier, Brother Bones is the first of the New Pulp heroes to be adapted to film. Auditions were held last week for twenty speaking parts and press releases focusing on each actor and role will be forthcoming. This is company’s third and most ambitious project to date.

A Kickstarter Campaign will soon be launched to fund the project and if successful, principle shooting will begin in late August.  Brother Bones is a period tale set in the mid-1930s in the fictional Northwest metropolis of Cape Noire.

Stoker is a veteran of both stage and screen and lists his acting skills as martial arts, voice over and improvisation.

“I was blown away by the level of intensity David brought to his readings,” Fortier reported. “He has a level of energy that is crucial to playing a character such as Brother Bones and I personally cannot wait to see him don the skull mask.”

“The funny thing is,” Erik Franklin (writer, director, co-producer) said “he came in to read for another part altogether, and he would have been perfect for it. But when I saw that he could project menace as well as vulnerability, I asked him to read for Tommy/Jack on the spot. With only a few minutes of preparation, he nailed the part!”

Saturday, June 3, 2017

[Link] Darkness in Fiction: 7 Tips for Writing Dark Stories

by Hannah Heath

I enjoy dark stories. I like reading about characters that struggle, worlds on the brink of destruction and in need of saving, words that go into the deep, little-seen parts of the soul. I like writing them, too.

And that's why I'm so disturbed by what darkness in fiction has turned into. It seems like each year the books get darker and darker, and each year they become more and more abused by authors who don't seem to understand (or care about) the ramifications of their words.

As a writer and lover of stories with a dark side, I'd like to point out what makes a dark story good with the hopes that we can get away from the current "Darkness without meaning" trend that's running around like a rabid dog (*cough* or a certain DC director who thought it would be a good idea to turn a certain character into a murderer *cough* *cough*). So here it is: 7 tips for writing a dark story that's not just a black hole of death and depression and strangled puppies.

Read the full article: http://hannahheath-writer.blogspot.com/2016/11/darkness-in-fiction-7-tips-for-writing.html

Friday, June 2, 2017

[Link] Do I “Tell” Too Much?

by Nicole L. Ochoea

“Show vs. Tell,” that’s a phrase we hear a lot on the writing circuit, but as a new writer it can be hard to identify those places where we need to show more.  Here are two easy steps to help you “show” your story, giving your readers a chance to step inside your pages.

Step 1:  Do a search for emotion-themed words

I recently finished an excellent book called Deep Point of View by Marcy Kennedy where she recommends doing a search for “emotion-themed” words in your manuscript.  At the end of this post you will find a list of words you can search for in your work in progress.

Step 2:  “Show” the emotion instead of “Telling” the reader about the emotion

Now that you have identified your “emotion” words, what do you do with them?  How do you turn them into something a reader can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell?  I like to use the Emotional Thesaurus.

Read the full article: https://nicolelochoa.com/2016/08/16/do-i-tell-too-much/