Saturday, September 26, 2015

Horror Movies Stage One

Now, I know I'm a romance writer, really I do. But I also kind of love horror movies. And I've always been a fan of cinematography and history. This year, I have expanded my repertoire of horror movies thanks to my new love, who is also a movie aficionado, and a fellow horror movie buff.

We have set out to hit the major monster groups of horror movies between September and Halloween. We also have a similar obsession with popcorn. So as you can see, it all works out very well. We start with classics, and then we move forward.

So far, we've started with zombies, and we've been watching some really cool but funky black and white movies from the 1920s and 1930s. We have an extensive list of zombie movies to watch, and after zombies, we will move on to vampires, and then werewolves I think.

Through the course of our horror movies, we stumbled upon the original Phantom of the Opera, a silent movie in black and white, from 1925. It follows the storyline of the book fairly closely, with a few major differences, and it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

It follows the story of young Christine, the ingenue opera singer, and her trials with the Phantom. There's a bit more on the history of the movie here. I didn't realize that there had been a movie before Andrew Loyd Webber adapted the novel to a musical, and it was really cool to see the adaptation before the musical. Because it was a silent movie, there was a musical track accompanying it that was beautiful in its own way, but I kind of missed the music of the Phantom that I've known and loved for so long.

 After the original, we watched the modern-day musical version, with Minnie Driver, Gerard Butler, and Emmy Rosum. It was great to see how closely the musical adaptation on screen followed the stage show, but also the really cool nods it made to the original film version. It blended a lot of the elements of the original movie, and even expanded on that dark seduction theme, which was great. And aside from the framework story line of the Raoul in the "present day" after the opera house was closed and ruined by the events, and the kind of extra sweet romantic ending, it stays pretty true to the stage production story. I for one prefer the less ambiguous ending of the newer film version. In the historical film, the Phantom is a lot less likeable, and a lot more like a monster. Here's where that whole romance author who loves horror movies comes into play! I like my Happily Ever After endings, and you don't always get those in horror movies... in fact, almost never. Yet... the new adaptation blends the old movie and storyline with the stage production in a new, interesting way, that I really enjoyed.

Next on the docket will likely be Night of the Living Dead, and some other more classic zombie movies before we move on to Resident Evil and 28 Days Later and then lighter zombie fair like Zombieland.

We'll also have some one-offs like Monster Squad, Little Monsters, and Hocus Pocus. Because it's just not Halloween without these movies! Stay tuned for more on a romance writers walk on the dark side.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Under Construction

Hey there,

Please bear with me as I work on transferring an old blog to the new site. It might take me a few weeks, but when it's done it'll look all shiny and new, I promise!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Writing, Writing, Wrote!

Hello to all of my followers who are on here less sporadically than I! 
I have been seriously remiss in my authorial duties of keeping my blog and website updated, and for that I apologize. :-) 
Just a few updates to share with everyone.

I am now working on my fourth novel. The first has been approved as my thesis and "passed" for my Master's degree. The second is off being read and critiqued by a crit partner and the third is being actively polished, and will be submitted to an editor in 25 days... not that I'm counting or anything :-)  Number four is the sequel to the first book and is about half-way plotted and I'm only 25 pages into it. Lots of work to do on that one, but so far so good! 

Will be moving back to the states in just under two months, and where life will go from there, I'm not yet sure. But I know it will include writing and probably teaching in some capacity. Done with my quick notes now, some other writerly stuff coming soon. 

But here's a picture of a wonderful notebook that I bought in Belfast at a market. Hand-crafted, rather expensive, but totally worth it!


Isn't it pretty?????? I can't wait to fill it with notes and musings and "kindling" for my writing. I promise to type up and post anything that's fabulous. :-) 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You're not Creepy Enough to Write That...

I've met a whole new family while working in France - other English assistants who I love! The other day (er, um okay like 2 weeks ago) we were having our weekly Bachnalian Society Wine Night (complete with mayhem and foolishness) and one of the girls started asking me about my Creepy Troublemakers shirt (The Troublemakers are a group of people in my MFA program) and so I was explaining the origin of Creepy Bill and why he wasn't creepy enough to write horror. And she said I had nothing to say on the matter because I was clearly not creepy enough to be writing the things that I write. :-) 
It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. She was referring specifically to a flash fiction I wrote for a school assignment several years ago that was published in the local University's press. ( Yes, the story is creepy, scary and all of those other icky emotions we don't want to look to closely at. And while I don't feel the need to justify it, because art doesn't need justification, I will kind of explain the process behind the story, because she asked, and I felt the need to share it all with you. 
The parameters of the assignment were to write a story in the second person, which isn't a POV used very often in literature, and to use this POV to make the reader feel ashamed. And in my opinion, the story does just that. I picked the subject matter because it's always been one that horrified and intrigued me. It's like the same morbid fascination some people have with death. We live in a rape culture because the idea of it is so abhorrent to us. So creepy enough or not, I wrote it. (Personally, I find myself to be very creepy - but that's because I live inside my own head, a place that would scare the hell out of anyone else who got a glimpse into it). 
At any rate, I feel as if I did my job. When you write something that gives someone else chills, or makes them feel weird, or happy or scared or evokes any other kind of emotion, you've done a good job. 

To everyone out in the Bloggerverse - what emotional reactions have you gotten from your readers?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oh, Nanowrimo, the places you'll go with Jo

I began Nanowrimo a few short days ago, and here is what's happening so far. (For those who don't know, Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is held every November when a bunch of absolutely crazy people [writers] sign up to write a semi-coherent glob of 50,000 words in 30 days).

I started the Nano book about two months ago, and had written exactly 2/3 of a page... WOOHOO ME! ;-0
So I decided this year I was going to tackle Nano, in the midst of working, going to school, traveling Europe, and working some more to pay for traveling in Europe, and that I would use this book that I have been thinking about for months and haven't done anything with (and yes, I can actually end a sentence with a preposition - see I just did it). And so far, I've got 8,000 words!
I've written in an airport, on a bus, on a train, in a hotel room, and in my apartment. This book has now seen two different countries, seven hotel rooms, three trains, a plane, and an airport. Oh the places we will go!
Off to do today's 2,000 words!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flash Fiction

This is a short flash fiction I wrote about a year ago and just found in a notebook.

Rick carried his plate of meatloaf and pasta toward his table. The silverware clenched in his right hand beneath the plate made clinking sounds as he walked. Rick put his glass of chocolate milk down on the table first and then his plate and silverware. 
"Hey," Rick said as he sat down.
"What's up?" Jason said. 
"Nothing man, just glad this week's almost over. It's been a bear. You comin out with us tonight?"
"Yeah, I guess. I mean it - SHIT!" Jason's eyebrows lifted higher than Rick thought they ever could. 
"What the hell, man?" he said. 
"I think I just saw a bear outside the window." Rick's voice was serious. 
"You saw a what, where?" Rick flipped around in his seat. This was going to be one of those stupid, "made you look" sort of things, he could tell. But Jason had sounded so shocked that maybe just maybe - Rick felt his own eyes widen. The hinge of his jaw opened just enough for the bottom of his face to hang. It really was a live, freaking bear!
Rick leapt out of his seat and cringed at the sudden shrieking in the room. Other people had seen it, too. At least that meant he wasn't crazy. But it also meant he could become bear chow any second. Suddenly, Rick was being jabbed with elbows and assaulted by the screaming. 
Somebody shoved him into the table until his solar plexus met with wood and he slammed his face into the plate of meatloaf. Someone grabbed his shoulder and used the leverage to climb on top of his back. Rick screamed as three of his ribs cracked. He could hear neither his own scream nor that snapping pop ribs made upon breaking.  
Rick coughed, trying to pull some air into his lungs. He looked down. He didn't remember putting ketchup on his meatloaf. The thought was torn away as someone drove a spiked heel in between the tiny bones in his wrist. Rick could no longer feel his legs. The table began moving, pitching sideways. Rick tried to blink and focus on the dark cherry wood. He could no longer hear any screaming or see anything other than a small knot in the top of the table. His eyes blinked closed and refused to be reopened. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Result of Bribing my Muse

So, as I said this afternoon, it was time to bribe the Muse again by writing some Creative Non-Fiction. - Here it is.

Lobbing Lobsters at Red Lobster

You would think that a woman allergic to seafood would avoid going to a place which specializes in shell fish. Well, my mother is not one of those women. Allow her body or physical limitations to stop her from doing something? Never. Well this particular day she was tempting fate, it decided to give her a solid Bitch Slap (and I do mean that with a CAPITAL B).
So we’re sitting there in the booth, just beside the live lobster tank and she murmurs, as if in true sympathy, “Aww, they tape their hands closed.”
“Claws, ma, they’re called claws… and it’s to stop them from fighting.” I tell her.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever,” Dad replies.
“Well, if I were to go over and snatch one out of the tank and lob it at you, you’d be damn glad they had their claws taped up,” I say.
We all laugh, and then my imagination takes over… hmmm lobbing lobsters at Mom… it holds possibilities.... 

I look around the restaurant and wonder… what would everyone do if I plunge my hands into that frigid water and come up with one lobster in each grip? Only one way to find out… I leap up from my seat and dash to the tank. I push my hands into the icy wetness and snag a lobster in each grasp. I spin around, facing the filled entryway of shocked faces and gasps. I laugh maniacally at them all. Wide-eyes and open mouths greet me.
“Jo, what the hell are you doing?”
I twirl to face my mom, brandishing my wrapped-clawed beauties. I toss one in her general direction. She snatches it out of the air.
“En garde!” I holler. She is learning French, after all.
I hop onto a chair, my lobster swinging in my hand in front of me, ready for her to come at me. She charges, letting out a battle cry that Genghis Khan would envy, and it’s on like Donkey Kong. We slap lobsters together, the wet, hard clank reverberating through the hushed cavernous restaurant. Her lobster’s claws pull against the thin paper keeping my baby’s claws contained. They spring open, snapping and mashing at his opponent. I’m going in closer for the kill, almost there and…

“Jo… hello! Jo – your order?”
I blink my eyes rapidly, bringing the booth back into focus and stare blankly at the waitress.
“Oh, I’ll have the lobster.”