The Busy Procrastinator

Yes, I know. It’s been a while. But there’s a good excuse for that (says the procrastinator).

I’ve been writing. A lot.

First off, I have to direct you to the micro-fiction website 101fiction.com. Four times per year, the site publishes free stories of exactly 100 words, and each issue is themed. June’s issue was Dragons and Summer, and I am proud to have been a part of it! Check out the website to read my story, “Danny,” along with numerous other great authors.

I know, that was news I should have shared last month. Like I said, I’ve been busy. Even the garden has over-ripened fruit hanging from the vines… Whoops.

I spent a month plotting a new novella, developing characters and themes, etc. Then I went on a writing retreat, and spent the entire time writing…

Just not the story I’d planned. I don’t know what happened. Sitting with my computer in my lap, a new idea sparked, followed by an unending string of cohesive plot points and characters that I loved watching react to them.

So I wrote that. It was supposed to be a long short story, but at 15,000 words, I’m just getting to the really good stuff. It has evolved into something bigger, and that’s super exciting.

You can see now why I’ve been away for so long.

So go check out my story at 101fiction.com, and stay tuned for more news from the homestead-in-progress.

Cheers,

M.R.C.

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Keeping the Momentum

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                                      Totally brain-fried

Thanks to my wonderful critique group, the Illiterati, I subbed two more stories today, both 100-word flash fiction pieces. My brain is fried, but in a good way.

In other news, ceiling fan progress is on hold until it isn’t 300 degrees in my attic. It is supposed to cool down here soon, though. Fingers crossed.

 

Cheers,

M. R. C.

Back to the Grind

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It’s been a while, so here’s an update:

The garden is flourishing. I’ve got a handful of tomatoes already, and the cucumbers are coming in. I’m picking a handful of strawberries every day, and they are delicious!

IMG_1099 IMG_1098Looking forward to a healthy harvest within the next few weeks.

 

Oh, and I submitted two stories tonight. 🙂

 

That’s all for now. This week, I will finish installing my ceiling fans. Hopefully that will help keep the outrageous electric bills down in this sweltering summer heat. I’ll post before and after pics (as long as everything goes well and I don’t electrocute myself in the process).

 

Cheers,

M. R. C.

Horror and Marigolds

I’ve been busy this weekend. Finally got my first round of planting done. (I had to build an extra box, though; and, I happened upon a new dwarf grapefruit tree.) Garden looks nice, doesn’t it? I’ll have plenty to share once it fills in.IMG_1085 IMG_1086

Mmm...Strawberries!

Mmm…Strawberries!

My first attempt at canning chili was a success. I canned four pints in the pressure canner (one seal didn’t take, but I have no qualms with chowing down on it sooner rather than later).IMG_1088

And… I wrote! Unfortunately, what I thought would be a short, short story is turning out much longer than I planned. But hey, my characters will tell me when their story is done. I feel good about it, though. It’s a small departure from what I’m used to; not straight horror, but definitely dark-fantasy with scattered humor. I’m supposed to have it done by tomorrow night for critique, so I’m hoping to find time tonight or tomorrow to finish it up.

Are there any cool projects, writing or otherwise, that anyone is working on? I’d love to hear about them.

Cheers,

M. R. C.

Off to a Great Season

So, I made more applesauce this weekend. Feel like I’m finally down to the last of my apples. Why do I keep buying them forty pounds at a time?

Pickling will have to wait, because I just stumbled upon a 25-pound box of Roma tomatoes from Bountiful Baskets. Going through some recipes now for sauces and such. Any suggestions, friends?IMG_1079

Anyway, the gardening season is under way here in beautiful Las Vegas. To prepare, I tore up all of my old planters and built some new ones. This year, I will be attempting the Square Foot Gardening method. After I add a long row of boxes for vine vegetables along the back wall, I will be ready for planting. IMG_1077IMG_1078

Yeah, I know I should be writing…Let’s hope I can get some done this week.

Cheers,

M. R. C.

NOLA and the WHC

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So a week has passed since our return from New Orleans, and I realize this post is a little late. When the muse strikes, I must abide. I’ll get to that in a bit.

When we started planning our weekend in NOLA for the World Horror Convention and Bram Stoker Awards Weekend, we didn’t know what to expect. I stayed in a great little house in Treme with Mercedes M. Yardley, Mason Bundschuh, and Bailey Hunter, and I couldn’t have asked for a better set of roommates. When we weren’t rubbing elbows at the convention, we were home writing or reading; a mid-day nap wasn’t uncommon either.

On Friday, I had a few hours to kill, so I walked to the bus stop to head back to our house. I watched the bus pull away just as I turned the corner, money in hand. There wouldn’t be another for at least thirty minutes. So, I headed back into the French Quarter by myself and wandered. It was the best decision I’d made up to that point.

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The cat at Cafe Beignet

The city has so much to offer in history and culture. I stopped and browsed some of the used book stores tucked away inside 150-year-old buildings and made my way to a tiny cafe called Cafe Beignet, where I sat with a coffee and fried deliciousness, flipped open my notebook, and wrote for an hour as a local cat weaved through my legs and some street musicians jammed their jazz across the street. I couldn’t remember the last time I tried to accomplish anything without my computer or iPad. I felt free, and in a way, connected to the city.

The convention was a blast, as well. I attended a few great panels, including the future of zombies in literature, and the rise of Young Adult horror (look for a post on this later). I also had the opportunity to meet some really cool people, including Jonathan Maberry, Mort Castle, and Glenn Chadbourne. It was great to see some of the people I had met at Killercon back in September, as well. I’m looking forward to seeing most of them this September.

The best part of the weekend, though, was spending time with my travel mates. We walked. A lot. We sat in the square and listened to great music. We ended up in a dive bar for open mic comedy/burlesque show (at least the first half was pretty good; wish I could say the same for the latter). These people are awesome. Without them, I would be staring at a blank computer screen, pulling my hair out.

When one of us needed to write, we wrote. When one of us felt stuck, the rest of us helped to inspire through brainstorming session and writing prompts.

I know I’m leaving a lot out here, but I must get back to my novel. Yup, that’s what my friends did for me. I’m back on track.

Cheers to Fears,

M. R. C.

NaNo Progress: Week 1

So, the month started off pretty slow on the writing front, but with good reason. I spent the first week of my hibernation moving all of my stuff into my new house. While I’m excited to finally be closed and moved in, it couldn’t have come at a more hectic time. Eight days have passed since NaNoWriMo began, and I’m at (wait for it…) 3,200 words. That means, only a daunting 46,800 more to go.

But, I’m going to catch up. I’ve had the critique group over already for a write-in, and it was nice having the support here to help me keep writing and stay on task (even if every ten minutes I wanted to unpack another box or prep the living room for painting). Thank you Jessica, Sheryl, Karen, and Mason!

Keep writing, everyone. I’m going to.

Cheers to Fears,

M.R.C.

 

NaNoWriMo

So, I’m all signed up and ready for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’ve got a great idea brewing, and it’s nearing the end of the brainstorming process.  In the next few weeks I will be outlining each chapter so that I am ready to write come November 1st. As I write, I am going to post my progress here. Hopefully this will give me some accountability, and I’m hoping for some help from everyone that reads this.  Anytime I feel stuck, or I can’t imagine a scene or emotion, or whatever, I will post those questions here. That way, you can all help me get through this.

So, I will start with this:

Have you ever felt like there was something more you wanted from your life, but you can’t have? How would you describe that feeling?

Thanks for your input!

Cheers to Fears,

M. R. C.

KillerCon 4 and Other News

(photo credit: KillerCon.com)

Well it’s official: I will be attending KillerCon 4 on September 20-23 at the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas.  I am beyond excited about this event.  While the organizers don’t have a lot of information about the conference posted on the website yet, there is already an impressive list of special guests, including horror legends William F. Nolan and Jack Ketchum. All you horror writers and fans out there that will be in the Las Vegas area during these dates should check out the KillerCon website and sign up early!

In Other News…

I had to take a short break from writing the endings to End of Harvest for the week because of a flash fiction piece I started working on for a contest through horror magazine Shock Totem (If you’re not familiar with this ‘zine, check it out!).  But, I have one of those endings finished and will start working of the other two in the upcoming week, so stay tuned and look for them in the near future.  If you haven’t read the beginning of the story yet, check it out so you can help decide how it will end.

Read This Book:

I recently picked up the book The Girl Next Door, by Jack Ketchum, and spent an entire day reading.   What a book!  It is a horrific story about the torture of a teenage girl by her sadistic aunt, told through the eyes of the boy next door.  As much as I couldn’t stand to bear witness to many of the events, I couldn’t put it down.  If you’ve never read anything by Ketchum, get to the bookstore and pick this one up.  Be prepared to throw it across the room a few times (though you’ll run to pick it right back up again).

I will be working on some full book reviews in the near future, so I’ll be sure to post links to these as they’re finished.

Has anyone stumbled across any horror or dark fantasy lately that is a must read/see?

Cheers to Fears,

M. R. C.

But How Will It End?

Old Truck, RhyoliteLast week, I posted a story for feedback, End of Harvest, and asked for suggestions on how to end it. First of all, thank you to anyone who offered an ending. I got quite a few great suggestions from you all (even those of you that chose to call or email me, rather than comment on my page 😉 ).

I decided that I’m going to write three different endings, two of which are inspired by your suggestions, and another that I have tucked away in a dark place. I will post these endings there, soon.

Once I finish and post these endings, I’ll ask all of you to choose which one you like the best, and the one with the most votes will become the official ending to the story. Yes, the fate of Manny and his family is in your hands, dear readers.

In Other News….

Yesterday, Neil Gaiman posted an interview he did with Stephen King.  The article was quite interesting, focusing on the success of King’s career, how he started, his daily writing habits, and where he plans to go from here. Of particular interest is the bit where he describes the idea behind Dr. Sleep, the upcoming sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining.

Check out Neil Gaiman’s post here.

Cheers to Fears,

M. R. C.