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Today, I will try.

Forks

I was inspired by an article today.

A beautiful article about a talented girl who felt she needed to be older to accomplish her goals.

It made me think. It made me think about my recent successes and triumphs over fears and foes.

It made me think about what was so different from kid Shannon and adult Shannon. Why couldn’t kid Shannon star in musicals? Why couldn’t she sew? Why couldn’t she write a novel, or draw, or bake, or be otherwise fantastic?

I haven’t been training these last twenty years. I haven’t actively been taking lessons.

That’s a lie. I took voice lessons. For like two months. Those notes were in my throat, I just had to mentally get to them. I didn’t flip some switch and all of a sudden my notes were higher and brighter. I just had to try.

One day I wanted to make bomb cupcakes. So I tried. And I did.

One day I wanted to learn to crochet. So I tried, and I did.

One day I sat down and started writing a book. Five years later, it has a legit, small, but legit, fanbase.

So why didn’t kid Shannon ever want those skills?

Oh she did. She desperately wanted to be smart and skilled and talented.

I remember one specific day. I was maybe 15. I was auditioning for a summer musical at my high school. I sang for it and was a nervous wreck. I shook. I cracked. I probably forgot the words. But then I read for it, and the director said it was perfect, but that I had to sing just like I spoke. Terrified, I told him, “I can’t.”

Then he let me leave.

My teacher – who was supposed to guide and teach the young performers of this performing arts program I was a part of… let me leave, because I said I can’t. He never once tried to help me see that I could.

That day still bothers me.

I wanted to be talented, but there was always someone else better. One girl could sing better. One could dance better. I had strong feelings about gender equality, but another girl was the better feminist. I loved history, but another girl was smarter. Someone could cook better. Had a better collection of vintage dresses. Could play the damn bagpipes better. Prettier. Had longer hair. A whole slew of petty, inconsequential things.

About the only thing I was “the most” at is having the smallest foot. That’s not something to rally for.

There was always someone better, so I never tried.

And as I sit here today, thinking of the most “non-desperate” way to convince high school friends on social media that I’m not the loser I was when they knew me, I realize that all I had to do was try.

All these years.

There will always be someone more something than you, but who cares, just try.

Try to make dinner. Try to sing higher, or lower, or louder. Try to tap dance. Try ballet. Try to swing dance.

Try to start a business. Try to use a skill saw. Try running. Try hand lettering. Try using a film camera. Try coding. Or mixing a drink. Or volunteering at the library. Or the humane society.

Paint. Make a movie. Study the stars. Learn about finance or special effects make up. Drive a stick shift. Flirt. Play basketball.

Sure, there will be someone better, you might even be downright terrible. But you can collect those bits of skills and build yourself into an amazing person.

It’s amazing what happens when you try.

 

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In my next edition of #WatchingEveryVampireMovieEver , we took a stab (tehe) at The Twilight Saga.

Say what you will.

That they are amazing. That they are awful. That it’s mormon propaganda. That it’s a blank slate for chicks to slip in to so they can have a vampire romance.

I don’t care.

I have read the books.

They were an easy read.

I have to give Stephenie Meyer credit for having an idea, putting it on paper, selling it, and getting people who would otherwise never read to read. #GoLiteracy

It’s not freakin’ classic literature. But neither is Charlaine Harris, or Christopher Moore, or Mark Z. Danielewski — all of whom I, and others, enjoy.

Hell, my three books are the length of her last one, so good job with all those words.

Her editors released her with tense issues, writing problems, etc. There are a lot of bad authors out there, not all of them get picked up.  And maybe some of our favorite authors get released after drafts and drafts of polishing. I think there is a lot of people to blame 🙂

But there is no need for blame.

I like what Anne Rice had to say about Twilight and True Blood to George Stroumboulopoulos:

“GS: What do you think about the mania around Twilight?
AR: I think it was a stroke of genius for ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and Stephenie Meyers to put vampires in high school. I never thought of that – my vampires would NOT go to high school… I’d have to torture them to go to high school! What I did with them was totally different. I wanted very glamorous, mythological vampires – and they did the opposite. They domesticated them, they put them in high school, and Charlaine Harris put them in Louisiana in Sam’s “Merlotte’s” corner bar, it was great… I’m a fan of Charlaine Harris, I love ‘True Blood’…”

Not that Anne Rice is the end all be all for vampire lore. Each book and each author creates their own world, forsaking and adapting all sorts of mythologies to make their vampires perfect for them.

But making them accessible. Good job.

Anyway!

So I watched Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn 1 and 2.

I originally rented Twilight from a Redbox and watched it quickly after I read the book. About a month later, I saw New Moon in the theaters in opening night with my girlfriend.

Then Eclipse. Opening Night. Then Breaking Dawn Pt 1. Opening Night. Then Breaking Dawn Pt 2. about a week after opening. By that point, my interest had waned.

But I own three of them on DVD, mainly bc I love the soundtracks. And come on, everyone loves Alice 🙂

So when the movie I wanted to watch wasn’t available on Netflix, I turned to my DVD collection.

Yep, it was a little rough to get in to. That silly, silly scene where Bella can’t use ketchup.

ketchup

#TheStruggleIsReal

I realized that the most engaging part of the movies were the side characters.

Billy Burke (Bella’s dad, Charlie) being a dad full of dad humor. Anna Kendrick complaining about watching movies full of zombies and no hot guys and kissing.

I like the soundtrack.

I once was told that putting a scene to a Radiohead song does not make it awesome, but I respectfully disagree.

Carter Burwell’s score in the first movie is beautiful.

But let’s actually talk about vampires.

Weird.

They can drink animal blood, they are strong, and cold. They are fast and strong. Their eyes change colors. They talk briefly of them being “monsters” – but there is no actual transformation; no connection to hell, other than Edward thinking he doesn’t have a soul.

Here is where it gets interesting.

Stephenie Meyers gave some of her vampires powers. The ability to read minds, to tell the future, to see every thought you’ve ever had, to protect people, to make people feel pain, to control moods.  It gives them some interesting advantages.

And of course, they sparkle in the sun, bc, from what I can remember, their skin is cold like marble and as hard as diamonds.

I’ve got to hand it to her, she took the vampire mythology and made it her own. She didn’t take the Buffy world, or the Anne Rice world, or the True Blood world and plug her story in to that.

Whether or not it’s awesome is beyond the point (tehe). It’s her world.

I’m not going to get in to the plot of these movies. You all know what it’s about. If you like it, you like it, and if you don’t, independent of if you’ve seen it or not, you don’t.

They are vampire movies and they have been watched.

#WatchingEveryVampireMovieEver

The first movie I decided to watch was Fright Night and it’s remake of the same name.

I first saw Fright Night with my mom when I was in high school. I didn’t like it. I was distracted by the general 80s unallure of Chris Sarandon, the bad score, and the gross teeth. Remember, I was in high school.

But I rewatched it.

I was still distracted by the score, less disinterested in Chris Sarandon, and still grossed out by their teeth.

I guess I haven’t matured that much in 14 years.

But I liked it.

Have you seen it?

It is about a kid, Charlie (actor William Ragsdale) who starts to believe his neighbor, Jerry (actor Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. We find out with Charlie that indeed Jerry is a vampire, but no one will believe him — not even his best friend, Evil (Actor Stephen Geoffreys), and his girlfriend, Amy (actress Amanada Bearse – Marcy D’arcy of Married with Children fame). (Amy has unfortunate 80s hair).

Charlie visits a late night horror actor Peter Vincent (actor Roddy McDowall), who doubts him as well.

When Charlie plans to attack Jerry, his girlfriend and bff decide to ask Mr. Vincent (no relation to Roosevelt St. Vincent) to “test” Jerry for vampirism — which they think he’ll fail.

When Jerry fails to produce a reflection in a mirror in an unintentional “test” — that’s when shit gets real.

It’s a fun movie. It’s certainly in the Horror realm, but is lighthearted and full of humor.

What is so vamptastic about it?

They go through what feels like all of the myths.

Jerry is affected by crosses, holy water, stakes, and sunlight.

We see Jerry shoveling soil into a coffin, turning into mist and a giant demon bat.

Preying on virgins, invitations into homes. Clocks – which I knew was a myth, but I can’t seem to find confirmation of it. And also, if you kill the maker, the made turn back human.

He goes from human to demon in stages. First with long fingers and nails, then his whole face, with elongated, jagged teeth and crazy eyes.

Fright-Night-1985-Jerry-Dandridge-Chris-Sarandon

Spoiler, bff Evil gets turned by Jerry, but ends up morphing into a wolf (a regular dog looking wolf) then once attacked, he turns into this gross monster that reminds me of that gross monster in Big Trouble in Little China.

Picture-271See! Gross.

But, more spoilers, Amy the gf is also turned by Jerry. She is nightmarish.

images

So the only thing consistent is their effed up teeth.

Another inconsistency is Amy turns back human after Jerry is killed, but, we are to assume the Evil is still “haunting” Jerry’s house. (I just thought of that now, it didn’t throw me off at all while watching the movie).

Now for the 2011 remake.

I like what they did. I like how they updated it — what they kept the same and what they made different.

Charlie is now played by the adorable Anton Yelchin (of Star Trek fame), Jerry by Colin Ferrell, Amy by Imogene Poots, and Evil by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Of I Love You, Man/SuperBad/Kick-Ass fame). And of course Peter Vincent is now the hilariously decked out David Tennant.

I saw this Fright Night in the theater and loved every second of it. I also rewatched it this weekend to get a better grasp on the changes.

2011 Jerry still has an aversion to daylight, stakes, crosses, holy water, and needs to be invited in, but does not turn into mist or bats. 2011 Charlie lights about a million candles, but we don’t actually see it affect Jerry.

We don’t see 2011 Jerry dealing with coffins, but he does seem to be awake during the day (unlike 1985 Jerry who was quite cranky when awoken mid day). 2011 vampires also burst into fiery ash, similar to Blade 3 (And a very interesting novel I read once upon a time).

Both 2011 and 1985 Jerrys have super strength. I forgot to mention that earlier.

2011 Jerry makes a similar grotesque change, with teeth reminiscent of Amanda Bearse in the original.

vampire-jerry-big

And like the original, we find gf Amy turning vampire (although very pointedly not a virgin), then turning back human once Jerry is killed.

In 2011, we have some fun camera work with the camera-shy vampires, like in 1985 we had fun mirror play with Amy and Jerry.

You know what is interesting? Neither Jerry is particularly pale.

I don’t generally like my vampires all grossy and demony (though they never talk about vampire origins or connections to hell) – I did like these guys.

I think that’s it?

Is that it?

That’s it.

Stay tuned for my next installment of #WatchingEveryVampireMovieEver

 

 

 

 

You may or may not have heard that I started a little game with myself…to watch every vampire movie.

Ever.

You may say it’s impossible.

It probably is.

But I have a list, so far of only 500 movies, that are vampire related.

So as I tick off the movies on my list, read my fun blog about what I thought 🙂

I have a lot of posts that say, “It’s been a while.”

I’m the worst.

But you know why?

Bc I’ve been super busy actually WRITING my book 🙂

I have Books 1 and 2 out and about in the world.

Book 3 is currently being editing and beefed up.

It’s all very exciting.

The best thing about this whole process, is that even though I don’t know what I’m doing, and have gotten good reviews from readers, and mediocre reviews from writers, I am having a blast. I love reading my story and I love the twists and turns it takes.

I love figuring out why a character  never knew about this or that, bringing them to life — them telling me where they should go next.

That’s it.

San Diego Comic Con Part 3

Oh, it was well worth the wait. Some people had been waiting in line since the day before. I left the hotel room at 8am and I thought I was hardcore.

Oh hellz no.

I definitely was in the back of the line. Not the very end, mind you. No, no. From my seat, there was at least another 1000 yards of people. But the line in front of me…F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

This was not my line. My line was full of vampire porn lovin’ chicks.

As they started letting people in, there were moments of “I’m not getting in” and moments of “Oh hellz yeah I’m getting in.” The room never seemed to fill up.

You know when it did fill up? Two people before I was allowed in.

“NO!” you think. Nope. That was just for the first panel…for some show I’ve never even heard of. And as that panel ended, people exited and I was then let in, just in time for the Once Upon a Time panel.

I had never seen the show before then and the actors and writers on stage were so friendly and so genuine, that I quickly added the show to my list.

I did end up watching it and really enjoy it! Except the finale, but that’s another post.

I also sat through the Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad and Futurama panels. Yeah, except for the stereotypical guy that asked about time travel in Futurama, they were pretty tame.

Then the Vampire Diaries. Oh man. Yeah. I was not a fan before Comic Con and I am not a fan afterwards. The fans were intense and the main chick was boring. Not gonna lie, one of the brothers was dreamy. Way dreamy. But not dreamy enough that I didn’t spend that hour writing a death scene for my own book.

Then….

wait for it

TRUE BLOOD.

I had waited in that room since 10am. I hadn’t left to pee. I ate goldfish crackers to survive.

They were super nice. And appreciative. And attractive.

This was the only picture I got before my camera died. Worst. Ever.

Anna Paquin was super pregnant. Christopher Meloni was thrilled. Ryan Kwanten didn’t say much. I want to be Deborah Ann Woll when I grow up. And Rutina Wesley.

I was upset when Alan Ball said he wasn’t returning for the next season. He his a huge inspiration for me (But that’s another post).

The only thing I regret from the entire experience is not having balls to push forward and get pictures and autographs. But the best part of sitting in the middle? I sat next to an usher, who ended up giving me his swag ticket. So I got to go to another building and claim my prizes. TWO prizes. Which I got to share with the best friend and the girl friend.

You’re welcome.

What did I learn from this panel? That I love vampires and that I want to be on one of those panels one day.

 

San Diego Comic Con Part 2

On day two, I continued my novel-writing research by attending a panel entitled “Paranormal Love Potion.”

There was a panel of women who all wrote in the genre of Paranormal Romance. There was only I recognized. I followed her randomly on Twitter, unbeknownst to me that she was actually kind of a big deal. Which also proves that I need to get my head out of my ass and read more.

“I am the only author who has written more books than he’s read.”

I was a little disillusioned.

An audience member (a man from a newspaper, not necessarily a fan) asked a question of the panel regarding Vampires being the “It” monster. Immediately the audience boo’d him and the commentator chastised him for not knowing that no one on the panel wrote about vampires.

Another audience member asked if the authors ever wrote love scenes first then the rest of the story. They all said no.  They all started at the beginning and ended at the end.

Well that’s no fun, and I definitely felt self-conscious that I write out-of-order and that one of the first scenes I wrote was my characters first kiss.

What I got from this panel?

Not much.

The commentator had cute hair.

And what of vampires being the “It” monster. It doesn’t matter how many books are out there in the paranormal romance universe, the media gives attention to a particular subset and that’s what we see “exploding.”

We can also use this chart:

http://www.cracked.com/article_19402_6-mind-blowing-ways-zombies-vampires-explain-america.html

I don’t write about vampires because they are popular. I write about vampires because I like vampires. I like teeth and blood and hypnotism and demons and strength. I like vampires as the good guys and as the bad guys.

I had one friend, one of my first sets of readers, tell me that my writing was good but that I should start over and write about something less cliché. Fair enough, friend. Whether or not you think vampires are too mainstream now, literature has been full of them since way before Twilight and Buffy and Vampire Diaries and Sookie Stackhouse. It’s not going to stop me from sharing my awesome story, another vampire in the sea of monsters; another chick narrated novel.

What makes mine different?

It’s mine.

San Diego Comic Con Part 1

Over 200,000 people swarm the sunny San Diego Convention Center to see panels on their favorite shows/movies/comic/etc, buy exclusive merchandise, meet celebrities, wear awesome costumes and overall revel in their geekery.

And in 2012, I got to be included in that.

Thanks to some great friends, one of whom (so far) has a character named after him, I was able to get tickets (because he stood in line at 6am to buy them at 2011 Comic Con – dedication!).

The list of things to do is long and varied and after I studied the brochure, I structured my visit all about novel writing and getting published.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, I had to miss the first day, but jumped right in the next morning!

 

How to Write More Terrifying Stories

I chose this panel because one of my favorite authors, Mark Z. Danielewski, was there.

He wrote this book. If you haven’t read this book, you need to go to a book seller immediately – local, chain, online, I don’t care – and get this book. Scary. Awesome. Unique.

Okay.

I didn’t recognize any of the other authors and the one thing I took away from the panel was an interesting thought on monsters.

There are old monsters and new monsters. Old monsters from the Old Country – vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc – versus New Monsters from the New Country – serial killers/psychopaths.

Their take is that America doesn’t have the deep folklore of fairy tales. That what we have, what is unique to our country, is Jason Vorhees, the Ghostface Killer, the guy from the Saw movies. Pyschopaths and Serial Killers.

I don’t know how I feel about this distinction, and I don’t have enough knowledge on the subject to refute it or agree with it, but it is an intersting topic that stuck with me more than a lot of other things.

Although no one directly addressed the panel topic of how to actually make your writing more terrifying, I still found it interesting. They all agreed that it doesn’t take a warped mind or a devistating childhood to write scary stuff, and it doesn’t have to leave the author in perma-depression. That’s like saying Romance novelists are all addicted to sex. That’s not how it works and only writing more will make your work better.

 

 

To Be Continued…

 

Lots of things have happened in the world of In Between: The novel.

In my last post, at least 80 years ago, I went from Draft Five to Draft Six. I have since written Draft Seven and sent it to forty different people. I got great feedback from two people in particular and have Draft Eight on hold while I:

Put together Draft Two of Book Two.

I needed to let the info from Book One simmer while I figured out problems in Book Two and Book Three. The Girlfriend and I had several Cracker Barrell writing sessions and hashed out some great ideas.

I finished typing everything I had written on Book Two and am now in the first editting process. I am about 2/3 done with that.

Book Three has several scenes written, but is all on the back burner. Book Three has a bad guy now, and a little to my dismay, it’s not someone who can be played by Tom Hindleston. Sorry Tom.

In other news:

A friend of mine kicked National Novel Writing Month’s ass and finished the novelization of a movie he filmed. Ian was a great source of encouragement and we had many a-writing parties just to keep each other in line. The Boyfriend joined in as well, working on his very creative screenplay. It is thanks to Ian that I got as much written as I did! So all of the people out there waiting for Book Two should thank him 🙂

I’ll stop there so I have something to write about next time 🙂

I just bought my plane ticket and I just printed out the scheduled panels and made a novel writing game plan for the weekend!!
How to write more terrifying stories
Paranormal love potion
Anatomy of a fight scene
Publishing
Marketing
Promotion
Creating your own novel

So excited!!!!

This, of course, doesn’t include the entire day that I will wait in line for the True Blood panel!!

I love how excited I get about making my book become real!
I wish there was info on self publishing. It’s so overwhelming!

Stay tuned for pictures!