Thursday, April 19, 2012

How Dark Shadows Changed the World, At Least Mine Anyway.

Originally posted in May 2011, today's announcement of the passing of Jonathan Frid, the original Barnabas Collins, on Friday April 13th, compels me to re-share my thoughts and personal connection to Barnabas and Dark Shadows.

They say never begin your story on a train and never in a dream.  That’s exactly how the iconic gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows, got its start.  Film lore has it that Dan Curtis woke one morning and told his wife about a strange dream he’d had about a mysterious woman on a train.  He pitched the idea to ABC and a classic was born.  Just not right away.  The paranormal elements did not appear until about six months in.  Then one year in a earth changing event occurred …Barnabas Collins arrived in Collinsport.

Like many tweens (I know, the term didn’t exist then) I ran home from school so that I could be firmly ensconced in from of the television by 4:00.  Many days, I sat on the phone with one of my best friends, Peggy in an early version of a chatroom except with real voices.  It has taken forty years for Skype to catch up. Peggy was the writer then; I was just a victim of my own vivid imagination.

Dark Shadows forever altered the direction of the paranormal genre.  It introduced us to likeable (okay loveable—alright, already -- lustable) vampires and werewolves.  If you are a Laurel K. Hamilton fan, you are familiar with the vamps vs. weres camps.  Back in the ancient times before flat screens, even before widespread color TVs, Dark Shadows fans were Barnabas or Quentin fans.  For those who have not had the pleasure, Quentin was the primary werewolf.

How little things change. 

It is one of the reasons I write what I right.   Dark Shadows led me to Anne Rice’s Lestat, Laurell K’s Asher (I love the tortured souls, even if they may not have one) and countless others.

Now comes the ultimate thrill, Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and directed by Tim Burton.  Expected release is one year away in May 2012.  I may have to plan some vacation time and the Mayans will just have to wait.

Who was your favorite Dark Shadows character?  What storyline did you enjoy?  And most important of all: Do you like you hottie furry or fanged? 

Friday, April 6, 2012

An Irish Prayer of Hope

This originally came to me as a chain email. I have seen this Irish wish/prayer many times over the years and it never ceases to give hope and promise for the future. I do not subscribe to the chain concept. However, I believe that the very act of sharing a positive idea with friends changes their attitude and their future.  It is the magic of a hug.


May there always be work for your hands to do;

May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;




May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you..

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

First Days, First Pages REBOOT

The first line, first paragraph, first five pages of your novel are among the most important.  Your cover and blurb are the first things that will get a potential reader to those first sets of words. 

Today was the first day on my new day job.  It presents me with a more normal routine than I have had for the last five months. It also presents enough challenge and opportunity to keep me engaged.  I played nice with others and found the bathroom and the copier.

But my passion remains my writing. It defines me, fulfills me, and energizes me in ways I could never have imagined.

Now I must return to a routine.

I had vowed to write at least 500 words a day under the wonderful Cara Michaels #wip500 plan.  I am way behind.  I took time off to focus on stabilizing and improving my personal financial situation. Taking a moral position has a cost, but it cannot be a lifetime cost. So I spent my time writing cover letters to accompany resumes instead of a novel.

How does the line in the song go… every new beginning is somebody’s end???

It is time I ended my hiatus from writing and publishing and get my butt in gear.  The day job requires learning new processes and procedures but it is in my field---financial services and helping find the optimal solution for clients. This is almost second nature to me at this point. I have a twenty minute or so drive between work and home this is just about the right amount of time for me to switch gears. I also have an hour for lunch which can be used in part to advance my ultimate goal—

income to support a lifestyle as a full time writer.

So in the words of Jack Nicholson in The Shining---- It's good to be back!  

I am regrouping on Dark Dealings. Read Chapter 1 here.  

It WILL be published. This is my real business and I will not lose sight of that. I will do for myself what I do for my clients. Weigh the cost/benefit of options and the risks and choose what I believe it the best solution. I will set deadlines and goals and stick to them. I will complete first draft number three, Vines, and begin the edits on Ogham Court (massive, as the story evolved during draft one). I will outline better the next direct installment of Micaela’s story, working title Dark Moon. I will put together a team of beta readers, cover artists, editors and others for my own work plus others through my company, Three Worlds Productions.

Okay, so I’ve said this before, but I have not quit or lost sight of the goal. Life happens. What is important is that every time it does, you reboot.

So as of right now I am moving forward with publishing Dark Dealings through my company, Three Worlds Productions. I am a proponent of indie publishing for many reasons. The main one being (as if those who know didn’t already know) I am a control freak. There is nothing worse for me than yielding control to someone in an uncertain environment who cannot or will not share information and a plan.  I am a strange mix of writer and business person.  A “just trust me” approach works with me about as well as stories about the tooth fairy.

And I close with a song from the first American Idol and a fave of mine, Kelley Clarkson:

Stronger YouTube video.