10/2/10

Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead

Review, Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead

Well this is my first review, so thanks for reading. Today's book is listed above and is edited by Nancy Kilpatrick. Published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing based out of Calgary, Alberta. There is a quick blerb, can't even really call it a forward, by Dacre Stoker; Great Grand Nephew of Bram Stoker. For those who aren't up in the Fantasy genre: Bram Stoker wrote the Massive book Dracula.

The goal of this anthology was to include Canadian Writers writing about the Vampire, in a new and different way. A great Introduction by Nancy Kilpatrick introduces the genre and many of the great movies and books in the genre. She goes on to argue, however, that the vampire has changed several times since the earliest vampires in entertainment. With this anthology of great short stories, she proves that indeed the vampire has changed in literature. Nancy states, "...in Evolve you will find kindly vampires, vicious vampires, helpful and hurtful vamps." She proves quite right.

From shorts about a vampire taunting a vampire hunter "trainee" to a group of medical doctors who are cleansing the blood of the diseased, Evolve has many shorts that will tickle your fancy if you like the vampire sub-genre.

I'd like to also include a review of a short that a fellow Yukon writer had published within this anthology. "How Magnificent is the Universal Donor" by Jerome Stueart is a quick and fun read. Jerome has created a character that keeps us on the edge of our seats while we're wondering when he'll slip up. And, when we finally meet his husband at the end of the piece we're really enthralled at the challenge he faces while his husband is drugged and hilarious. Jerome has not only changed the vampire genre with his interesting twist on vampire as saviour (but are they really?), but also on the presence of homosexuality within literature. His writing is effortless and while the relationship centres on a homosexual couple, he's not preachy about homosexual rights. It was refreshing to see a very well groomed and personable man go through what any husband would call: terrifying.

Congrats again Jerome on your short! It was a pleasure to read, and thank you Edge for giving me an enjoyable way to spend those handful of times I found myself waiting in the car, at home or even in the library!

For those wishing to get more information on Edge, please copy and paste this address in your browser:http://www.edgewebsite.com

Announcement and Great Loot!

So I thought I would share the great loot I got today at a garage sale down my street. I went on a nice walk around my neighbourhood and saw a garage sale so I stopped and took a look. What I saw surprised me!

I bought for a total of $5.50:
-A guilded, leather-bound copy of Darwin's On the Origin of Species
-The Joy of Writing by Pierre Burton
-VHS movies (yes, I still have a VHS player:
*The Wedding Singer
*Mrs. Doubtfire
*The original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
*Die Hard, and
*Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Plus a little plushy for my daughter that sings and rocks out! It's a little stuffed platapus that sings "Splish, Splash."

I had a great walk after that since my daughter slept the rest of the walk and I was able to stop and eat my oatmeal and blueberries when I wanted a break. Yes, I know 2.7 Kilometers isn't that far... but YOU haven't recently given birth... :P (Unless of course you have...)

So, I thought I'd share my great loot on that. I also wanted to share with everyone that I will be doing book reviews and author reviews soon. Today I will review the book Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick. An anthology about evolved or the "new" vampire. Stay tuned!

9/30/10

Serendipity.

Yesterday I was in the public library writing away when I ran into someone. She asked me about the chance of helping her. She is French Canadian and is writing a Feasibility Study for a Bookkeeping business that she would like to start. Some funding options would open for her if she does well on her feasibility study. Because she is still learning English, she would like me to do some proof reading and editing of the document, and she's willing to pay. It's really exciting because I would love to begin really working with the written word. Obviously I have a job to go back to after my maternity leave, so I think I've found myself a part-time job to have on the side :D

In any case, because she would be a business client I would be able to put that work on my resume for future reference. :D Yay!

Lately I've been making more and more contacts abroad. I've been going to Mother Goose program and I'm a part of a program called Mothering your Baby. Both are excellent programs funded by the United Way, and it's been great to be able to run into other moms. At the grocery store on Wednesday I ran into a mom who I took prenatal classes with. It felt great to catch up and find someone with similar daily issues and interests.

Right now I am in a great state of mind. So, that's it for now! :D Gotta get writing!

9/29/10

Malachy...

So, today is an interesting one to note since I have not had more than an hour's worth of sleep. It's made me caffeine starved, jealous of my now-asleep child, and a little wacky. So please excuse me should anything not make sense to you, it will have definitely made sense to me at one point. :D

To clarify on one of my previous posts, someone asked "Your husband is demanding?" :O To which I replied: No, and yes. By my post two days ago about finding the time I was simply using basic language to say that every relationship demands time and effort. Sometimes it feels like that time and effort you put into your relationship with everyone else far outweighs the time you put into your relationship with yourself. So, as far as my husband- I love him, he's sweet and my best friend; however, to foster that relationship takes time. We both have needs and in order for both of us to be okay, we need to foster and meet each other's needs- which takes time. So, in essence I was only talking about the time that everyone demands of you in your personal life, because everyone does. For example, I call my mom probably every two days or so and put a huge demand on her time...(Sorry Mom, Love you though!) But she handles it well and lets me know when she doesn't have the time for our usual chat.

Moving on, I know that I mentioned needs. There's something I've wanted to get off my chest since I was a child. It's something I instinctively knew but couldn't put into words. It came to a head when I was a teen and it was a volatile time in my life, but more or less I just want to clarify something about me, and others like me.

As most people know there are two categories that most people fit into; most likely you're a mix of both but lean to one side. I am talking about introverted people and extroverted people. The basics: introverted people are those at parties who have a harder time mingling, they're the shy kind. They're also the kind who enjoy being alone and can really feed off of quiet solitude. They can be alone in their heads and they need their time to really figure stuff out. If a personal crisis occurs then they need to be alone and think through things. On the other hand it can be hard for them to communicate what they need, they feel too shy to ask people to leave them alone and they can often take on personal responsibility for communication or relationships gone bad. (Often, unnecessarily.)Also, while they make good listeners they would rather not share at all because they don't enjoy sharing or being extroverted, they fail to understand why others might need to be. This group, surprisingly, is also the group most likely to gossip since they do not care to share their own personal feelings and emotions, they would rather share something that is not scary to share. For these individuals, to share is to reveal something very private and personal and it takes energy to share. Whereas they get energy from being alone.

On the flip side is the extroverted person. They enjoy being around other people, BUT, and this is important, they NEED other people. Being around other people gives them energy, spunk and a skip in their step. They also need to verbalize or share in another way (Art perhaps, etc.) what they are going through and who they are. These people enjoy new experiences and find ruts infuriating. When they are alone, in a new place, or meeting a new person at first they over compensate by telling them a lot about themselves. They look like the person you can't talk to or that's only concerned about themselves, but they're not. They adore listening, they think it's a great mutual exchange and they see it as a growth in the relationship and meaningful communication. When given the opportunity to listen they gladly do. They also seek out relationships with others but don't know how to go about doing so, and can often scare others away by sharing too much.

While these are very broad definitions about those extreme personality types, they fit within certain characters. And even if you're a mix of the two, there is usually a side that wins out over the other. If you're not sure which category you fit into, go to a party. When you open the door and the noise hits you, how do you feel? Anxious about the people and the mingling? Anxious about the energy you're going to have to expend? Then you're more introverted. If you feel hesitant because of the new people, but excited to meet them and dance and get your groove on; then you're more extroverted.

Why Amanda are you sharing this?

I am sharing this because unlike many others, I am almost completely in the extroverted pile of people. Some who know me would say "Well, that's an understatement!" But it isn't.

You see, as a teen I grew up mostly with Mom who's an introvert for the most part. She enjoys more personal company, one on one visits and less people and less noise. My extroverted Dad could usually coax her out to functions with promise of a good time and leaving whenever she wanted. But, it took her a long time to be comfortable enough to drink and really let lose at functions, and to share with some of those people what she was thinking. For her, sharing her opinion was risky business....
Then she has a daughter like me. Her and I had a rocky couple of teen years because, like other introverts she didn't understand. I need people.

As teens girls like me get pegged off as any of the following:
-wanna-be's
-attention whores
-flirts
-teases
-loud mouths
-and it goes on.
Some of the things I've been called are not pretty, but they all undermined who I am. I am an extrovert, and while some people may not understand this, if I am cooped up at home or in a place where I don't know anyone I'm not just lonely- I'm claustrophobic. I become depressed easily and begin to mentally talk myself down because I do all of my thinking while I am talking. I need to have background noise and people around me. If I live with a room mate or a husband, I need them to check in on me daily and chat with me. Just have usual chatter, could be about anything or nothing, but something. I need to have meaningful exchanges with others or I begin to suffocate in my location.

For a long time here in the north I've felt like that. I came up here, got a brand new job where I was a supervisor and (at the time) the only people who I felt like I clicked with were people I supervised. Needless to say I couldn't do much personally with those people. I felt it would be inappropriate. Also, the two coworkers I had at the time were the following: Someone who was awesome but had a personal lifestyle I didn't understand, and a person who I just didn't mesh well with at all. Then, onto sick leave and maternity leave I went... Alone, at home. I began to write and it was good, but I couldn't share anything about myself in my fictional work that left me feeling like I had a meaningful exchange.

Yesterday I posted my blog onto my facebook and people responded "Thanks for sharing." I say honestly, Thank you for reading. You've made sure I felt heard. To me it's like needing air to breathe, I need to communicate, for me it's verbally or written.... I paint, sure... but I don't feel like it defines me the way words do...

So, if I ever come across as big headed, talkative, attention grabbing, etc. Please know that I'm probably really nervous. You see the less I'm around people, the more it feels like I'm drowning... and what does a drowning person do to their lifeguard? They stand on top of them to try and get air, because they panic. They need that promise the lifeguard represents....

So for today I will leave you with the second verse and refrain to a song I adore called Malachy by the Irish Descendants:

Malachy stood behind the bar dressed in his apron white
A philosopher of sort, he claimed, and sometimes he was right
A curious combination of poet and of sage
Yet he had a healthy outlook you won't find on any page

''Chorus''
''He said, "Sit down, what's your hurry? No need to move so fast.''
''Life will offer you many things, and some that may not last.''
''The things that we ought to cherish and search for till the end,''
''are the moments we chance upon, like the beauty of the setting sun''
''and I haven't met a man yet I cannot call my friend."''

9/28/10

Second time's the charm...

Yes, I know- I already posted today. Do I have a life? No.

I've finally gotten organized enough to sit at my desk and write. I found out that my child doesn't just adore her high chair in the kitchen watching mom cook, but also adores it in mom's office while mom types away. I shall give this a shot so that I can write... I really need to find a way to integrate taking care of my daughter and finding the time to write my book, or it'll never get done.

BTW, in previous post I mentioned that the Baby was crying all night long? Well, turns out she had some major gas. I'm talking gassier than the gassiest adult. :S It's actually kind of cool. I like to sit her next to my husband when she's like that and blame it on him. He gets all red in the face and tries to convince me it's her, when it is. Yet I insist on saying; "Really, you're blaming it on the baby? Clearly that's a loud fart- she can't possibly fart like that, that was an adult fart." Then I shake my head at him and tsk away! It's quite a great game, worth having a kid just to do that to someone. Or how about on public transportation? It's really a fun game! No one thinks it's you, because everyone knows it's the baby or the person beside them. How about your local library, I spend a lot of time there. :D Okay, enough of that I guess. There's the gross factor to my blog. While I am a writer and I hope to be professional about it, I find that I still need an outlet for all the baby stuff in my life, and Mom's heard it all before... so you, my readers must endure! Muah ha ha ha ha!

Well, moving along. The snow up here has come and gone several times and it has caused a little bit of inner turmoil for me here. You see, I am allergic to wood smoke. Since natural gas does not exist up here for us Yukoners, a huge portion of the population uses either propane, wood heat or both to heat their homes. Problem is, wood's cheaper. So while I adore the Yukon, it's geography and it's inhabitants.... I look like I'm constantly sick! Ugh.

It's no coincidence that my migraines, sore throat and watery,itchy eyes all started when the cold weather did. Usually I only feel that way if I missed my morning coffee, but I swear I had two cups this morning and still- symptoms persist. So, I am writing through the fog that is so eloquently advertised on the Claritin commercials. I'll let you know how far I get!

Children...

Remember that last post where I determined to get up earlier to write before my daughter got up for the day?

Well, that didn't work so well. My daughter woke up about four times through the night and then my alarm didn't go off, but my daughter did. But I got a lot done last night. God I love Starbucks! You can do anything there... plus, usually I wouldn't leave my laptop unattended but around the time I'm there the RCMP shift change must occur because at least six of them pile into the store...which means I can go pee without having to pack up!

Yes, I take advantage of them... but they take advantage of the fact that I speed to meet their weekly quota for tickets. Karma balances it out!

Yesterday while writing I tackled a story that's been evading me for a couple months now. Wasn't sure about how to structure the plot or the POV. Got it down last night, it's a short thriller and I'm pretty proud of the quality on first draft. (Usually that means I did well, because I rarely enjoy my own writing, but others seem to.

Need to get going, but tomorrow I will tell you what Crazi_Ivan said about my recent shorts... ttfn

9/27/10

Getting the Time

Last night as my daughter lay in my lap, I read LK Hamilton's Blog entry titled: Invaders from Porlock: part III It was really an eye opener. She speaks in this entry about the difficulty of having a baby and finding the time to write, but still she managed. Plus, during her time as a new mother she published my favourite book of hers, and the one I think is the most well written of all her works: Obsidian Butterfly.
So I sat there wondering: How can I make this work. I have it a little harder in that I am yet unpublished and a new mom. How can I deign to find the time?
She also tweeted (days and days ago) that she sat, at her desk to write one morning and it was dark outside. That got me thinking, since it was late at night.
As I lay my head on the pillow and my daughter in her Bassinet I realized that I was burning the candle in a pot; rather than from both ends. I was staying up super late and waking a little later than I'd like in the mornings which makes me even more tired. What balance would it take for me to feel good?
I remembered a time when I felt most rested and organized. It was a time of numerous dark mornings, a time when I could focus on me and a time where there was nothing I didn't do well.
So, I decided to take this evening to go to bed early and wake early tomorrow morning. It would give me the time I need to write while Babe is still asleep and time away from the demands my husband puts on me. I would also have that much needed time to absorb my morning cup of Joe... I might even be nice that first morning when both of my family members wake up and I'm already bushy tailed, bright eyed and caffeine loaded.
I also want to make an honourable mention. My brother Evan Ramsay, a very fine artist, has agreed to evaluate my current short story projects and keep me informed about his opinion... Well, he texted me yesterday and gave me a little bit of a mood lift, Thanks Evan!

9/26/10

Current projects underway...

Hello All,
It's been awhile since I last posted but I'm still working on the novel. I also have two smaller projects on the go. One is a submission for the CBC Literary Awards and another is for the Tesseracts 15 Book that Edge Publishing is working on right now. The CBC one is due November 1st. The Tesseracts one is open between Sept 1st through the 30th of November. Wish me luck for both. I'm really hoping I get the Tesseracts one too because it would mean publication in a Canadian book. Gawd, wouldn't that be great!

I think in this day and age it's really important for people to stay true to who they are but it's equally important that your work support you. So, reality time: My novel is mostly aimed at the American Fantasy/Thriller markets but that doesn't mean I can't write shorts for the Canadian Markets... Anyone knows that Canada's genre markets are TINY! Which means that any genre writers out there should either work at getting an agent or publication in the USA, or both. So, good luck to all Canadian Genre writers out there- I wish you luck.

Also, I'm on twitter now so check it out! All the literary agents and editors are on twitter now. It's also been suggested as the best way to market yourself as a writer because readers can keep up with your current projects... my name on Twitter is: @writeramcdonald. Have a good one.