Vampire Movie Night: Fascination (sorta NSFW)

28 Mar

Welcome to the return of a  segment where we allow Liam Corchoran and Gianni Fiorenza, the so-called heroes of my vampire series, The Family, to regale us with their unnecessary opinions on various and sundry vampire films. Got a rec for the boys? Hit em up!

Tonight is Jean Rollin’s 1979 surreality, Fascination. Oh dear…


Fascination (1979)
Director: Jean Rollin
Stars: Franca Maï, Brigitte Lahaie, Jean-Marie Lemaire

fascination-poster

G: Jean Rollin–there’s a name I haven’t heard in decades.
L: Do all of his movies begin with ladies hanging out in a meat locker drinking cow blood?
G: Of course not. But something very like, anyhow.
L: That’s pretty much how I knew this movie was going to be a weird experience.
G: And it delivered on that, at least.

L: So we have this dude, who is an absolute tool. I mean he’s a thief, which is fine, but also a tool, which is not. And for some inexplicable reason, women keep throwing themselves at him.
G: Well, he’s not terrible-looking naked.
L: I guess, but that red-and-black striped jacket… even know that’s shit.
G: I had one very like it in the seventies.
L: The seventies were a time of special madness for you weren’t they?
G: It wasn’t just me, darling, I assure you.

fascination2

Welcome to our deserted chateau where we run around in nightgowns, Mr. Poorly Dressed Thief! Care for a fuck?

 

L: So basically these two girls are alone in this giant chateau. Having sex occasionally. Even though they kiss like they have no idea how to kiss.
G: It was a movie-kiss.
L: Right. And then, ugly thief-dude decides to hide in the chateau. So they… fuck around with him–and one of them fucks him–to keep him there until night for mysterious reasons. But the other one somehow falls in love with him. For even more mysterious reasons because what the actual fuck?
G: That would seem to be the whole of the plot. It really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for the entire hour and a half.
L: Except to Naked Town. Because the blonde apparently has to screw like everyone in the house. Her friend, the ugly dude, the bandit dude.
G: And there isn’t really a trace of vampires.
L: But there are a lot of boobs.
G: And a little bit of man ass.

fascination1

That’s it. That’s the movie.

L: And then we have what I assume is the iconic scene. Where, after fucking a dude to death in the stables, blondie throws a cloak over her birthday suit then picks up a sickle and runs around killing people.
G: Who have necessarily melodramatic death scenes.
L: While the viewer still has no idea what the fuck is going on, but hey, at least it’s kinda bad-ass.
G: That’s one word for it.

fascination3

But really, it’s not much weirder than what you’d see at Fashion Week, is it?

G: I like the overall concept of the film, though–at least once we discover what it is in the last twenty minutes or so. All of these oxblood drinking, now blood-obsessed ladies finally show up at dark to have their ‘reunion’, waiting to see death and wearing veils… and this hapless idiot thief gets taken.
L: It’d be easier to appreciate if it wasn’t so annoying. Like, the audacity of this guy. He’s hanging out with seven freaky women who keep telling him death is coming and he’s just like whatever “you’re too bossy for my taste” and acts like he can screw with them.

fascination5

Well, he’ll try, anyhow…

G: He thinks women harmless. They are exploiting that idiocy. Though there’s no real vampire, in the way we think of it, it’s quintessential vampire practice.
L: No, it’s way worse than that. This movie is basically saying women who are dangerous are evil. They’re all, like, lusting after this tool. I feel stupider for every minute this movie goes on.
G: You know, while I do think it’s trying to be arty, I think you’re reading too far into it. It’s really just meant to be an entertaining film about sex and death.
L: (makes a face)
G: (rolls his eyes)

fascination4

Wait, did the movie just describe itself on multiple levels? This is getting too meta.

L: There are some major WTF moments right before the end but… I gotta admit, it had a better ending than I was expecting. For a second I thought it was gonna be ‘bad girl leaves her bad girl friends for douchebag boy and is suddenly saved’.
G: Agreed. I almost don’t regret this hour and a half.
L: Almost. Except. Not.
G: So if you’re looking for arty softcore with a lot of blood and deathfucking–
L: And French!
G: –this is the movie for you. And if you’re not, well, there’s no accounting for taste.

fascination6

NOW, it’s a party.

Bullet Point Update!

24 Mar

Oh, life. Are we ready to slow down yet? Sure, I knew we were! Here are the recent developments in Kateyland in bullet point form, since I still have furniture to put together (grrrr argghhhh)!

  • I own a house. Weird but true. It’s a very cute house, too!
  • Lucy the mutant cat approves of the house, it would seem. Or at least, she approves of the windows.
  • St. Patrick’s Day came and went and I packed fueled entirely by Guinness and Paddy Rock that day. Not a bad plan… if no heavy lifting is involved. Probably.
  • Katey Hawthorne has a book coming out tomorrow. Oh, the timing. The terrible, terrible timing. Good reason to hop right back on the horse, though!
  • This week and weekend are RPP week and weekend. Next year’s schedule shall be finalized, emails shall be answered, and even if we don’t get the entire list of potential subs sorted out, we will be well on our way.
  • I am so tired of winter. Can it please be warm again?
  • Vampire Movie Night starts up again this weekend. Apologies in advance for what the first one will be… Fascination. It’s bad. So very, very bad.
  • Did I mention I own a house? Sorry, this is just weird. I also own almost enough furniture to fill it… but not quite. So we’ll be building a library. No really. A library. What else should a second living area be used for? Tea parties?
  • I need to have more tea parties tho.
  • I may be exhausted and slap-happy.

 

Back in the day

6 Mar

Is there anything more groan-inducing than opening up an old manuscript and realizing just how terrible it is?

No, I take it back. It wasn’t terrible. I liked the story, I liked the characters, but oh my god, technically, what a hot mess. Five years–just five!–and the damage was just unbelievable.

Things at which I was more terrible than I am now, apparently, complete with ranty tumblr moments from me and various others on these subjects.

-Overwriting. Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, how many actions does a character need to commit in one sentence? NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION AFTER THE FIRST ONE.

-Similarly: excessive description. Especially when you’ve already described them once. What the hell is this, Dickens? Move on, already! Delete. No one cares.

-Epithets. Okay honestly, I never used these a lot since I started submitting stuff; I’ve hated them for some time thanks to some very clever betas and fellow RPers. However, even titles can get just… bad. Even ‘the Secretary’ and ‘the Inquisitor’ are hard to follow after a while, man.

-Who the hell is talking? Okay, I still get accused of this a lot, but wow. Just. Wow.  Related: tags. Terrible, terrible tags. Hissing words, laughing words, snorting words.

No, Katey. Just. No. That is not a thing that happens.

-Looking. Looking at this, looking at that. Stop, okay, Katey? If you describe something we know the PoV character is LOOKING AT IT. Who else would be? Oh right!

-In a similar vein: filter words. “She felt” “he thought” “he knew” “he saw”… no shit, Sherlock, who did I think was feeling and seeing the crap I was describing? It’s tight third person limited PoV–there is only one possibility! (Assuming I wrote the PoV right. Which, well, at least I didn’t fuck that up!)

-Passivity. Passive voice can be used to such great effect, but I feel like shaking it off as a default has been pretty much the longest process of my entire writing life.

Now I look at this list and wonder, five more years down the road, what horrors will I find in my current works? Ah, it’s the fate of the writer to grow up in public a little bit, I suppose. Bless editors. Bless you all. And bless people who’ve hired me to edit between now and then, because thanks to you I have my little Elements of Style book memorized. And though many of its rules are outdated, it’s still the solid foundation it was back in the day!

Le sigh!

Please do not consider this a writing advice post, but do consider it me taking the piss out of myself. As an editor myself, these days, I find it necessary to reassure authors that I’m not just being mean and I TOTALLY understand where they’re coming from. Let this stand as proof. Because god, that only took a few days to edit up, but it felt like years.

Read an eBook week is here!

2 Mar

As they have for the past three years, Belfire Press is participating in International Read an eBook week with a massive sale at Smashwords. Don’t wanna click through? okay, I feel you, here you go:

All titles – including the anthologies, New Bedlam collections, and Needfire Poetry – are 50% off this week. Visit our Smashwords page, select your titles and use the code REW50 at check-out.

Yeah. Massive.

So that means creepyweird Appalachian Fae…

 

And creepyweird Monsterlove Vampires…

 

Are half off until the 8th. Yay!

And with the second installment of The Family shaping up nicely, now might be a good time to hop on board. Mwah ♥

J is for…

20 Feb

Those of you who know Rhonda Parrish from Niteblade may have seen a post from her a few months back about a project called A is for ApocalypseIt’s totally ingenious, and I’m not just saying that because I was lucky enough to land a spot on her roster for it. The deal is, 26 authors, each with a different, randomly assigned letter of the alphabet, and a post-apocalyptic theme.

Of course when I heard about it I flipped, because I haven’t done post-apocalyptic since Grants Pass, which I loved to pieces. However, the short I wrote for A is for Apocalypse is nothing like “Boudha”–it’s an epistolary supernatural horror short, “J is for…”

Well, I’ll leave that part for later. It involves monsters, though. Just–not the usual apocalypse-monsters.

The list of authors is really exciting–many that I’ve worked with  before, and many that I haven’t, and I’m excited about both! I found blog posts from Cory Cone, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, Steve Bornstein, C.S. MacCath, and Simon Kewin (hi, Simon!) talking about their involvement in the project too, but no one is giving too much away. I guess the only one who knows what all our letters stand for is Rhonda, at the moment. Mysterious, isn’t it?

So now things are all settled and my story has met with editorial smiles (because let’s face it, when someone asks me to write a thing, I am always waiting for a NOT GOOD ENOUGH, because, well, writers are like that), I had to squee about this a little. So exciteddddddd!

More as the project progresses but yay!

Building Backwards

27 Jan

WELP, after about ten years of writing several novels a year (most of which will never see the light of day for very, very good reason), I went an entire year without turning out even a short story. Not to make light of that–short stories are way harder to write than novels in my experience, but just in terms of word count…

Okay, I did actually write one short story, a halfway point between two of my ero-rom novels for Loose Id. It’s actually pretty cool because if you get it from me in person it comes on a CD that looks like it belongs to the band in the story, which revolves around them recording their first EP–

But I digress. It was barely finished on time to be useful. And it was intended to be a thank you for a book I wrote about three years ago and another I wrote one year ago (but that came out this year). Basically, the only reason I still exist on any map as a writer is because my absurd productivity over the last few carried over just enough to keep me in stuff to publish. Short fiction included.

This blog used to function a lot more as a working writer’s blog, with me talking a little about the process or weird discoveries I’d made in how-tos–for myself, not as advice or anything, but just because writing is a lonely profession and the net allows us to discuss these things. I’ve talked a lot in the past about how I draft a book, but the basic rundown is: puke it up in one quick go, leave it alone for a month or two, come back to it, do some worksheets to clarify plot and character arcs, rewrites, beta readers. After three KV Taylor novels/novellas and six for Katey Hawthorne, I figured I had the process DOWN, right?

Yeah. Enter the year of NO WRITING EVER. Watch how it changes. Hollllly fuck.

At first, I thought I’d get back into the swing of things by picking up one of the half-finished novels I had lying around on my hard drive. Should be easier, right? The plotting and stuff was still there in my head. NP!

Haha, no. Wasn’t happening. And while I have had trouble with characters not doing as they’re told, I’ve never before experienced a complete and utter inability to just write. Now, some of this had to do with my health issues, for sure, and med adjustment, and general FML feelings at the time, but in the past when life has sucked, I’ve always turned it into fiction.

I got really cranky, y’all. So cranky. AM I EVEN A WRITER ANYMORE?

Then I remembered an email from my romance publishers, which had been kind of chilling in the back of my mind while all this crap was going down. A call for novella subs on a very particular theme (Missed Connections). So I sat down and thought about that, realized I had some pretty damn cool ideas, and decided to build it from the ground up. I’d never pitched a book that wasn’t actually written before, but it seemed to me that if my old methods weren’t working to get my engine to turn over, why not try something new?

I found some inspirational images, as usual–in this case those funny signs you see outside coffee shops, bars, restaurants, etc. I wandered around my city, getting reacquainted with it. I decided what my heroes looked like and got a sense of who they were and what they needed. I did my worksheets first–both plot development and character arc ones–and built a synopsis from them. (FTR: this is how I do all my synopses and blurbs–here’s a three year old post on the subject–and it’s basically my one habit that keeps my editors from strangling me, I’m pretty sure. I am a synopsis and blurb EXPERT, motherfuckers! Just, I usually do it AFTER the draft to clarify my focus and development on the revisions. Yyyyeah.)

Amazingly, I had a contract in hand like a week later. For a book I hadn’t written. Which is standard practice for most working authors, I realize, but noooooooot for me. I usually have such an epic backlog of finished projects to choose from, I’m more likely to just be like, “Golly, which one do I send them next?”

Haha, those were the days.

Anyhow, I wrote the book. I wrote it in smaller chunks than usual, too. There were some days where my usual 7k chunks happened and I felt like a rockstar again. But for the most part, it was more 1k days between trying to pull life shit together. And it was fun. Like really, really fun. A lot of stuff changed between that first synopsis and where it actually went–as the characters revealed their dimensions to me (okay yes I know it’s actually me revealing their dimensions, this is just how I talk/think about it, come on), things went in different directions, and it was exciting.

I’m about to get the book back from my editor Raven. It’s called In Distress, and it’ll be out from Loose Id mid-March. Ish. It’ll always be the book that reminded me what it is I do and why I do it.

Now for all these half-finished manuscripts. *cracks knuckles* You’re next, Vampire Boy

Red Penny Moves

22 Jan

I’ve explained a lot of what’s going on with me lately, but I wanted to specifically explain stuff as it happens with The Red Penny Papers. Since sending out an email isn’t going to hit everyone who needs to know what’s going on there, I thought I’d put it here so it can be easily found. Basically I created RPP as a creative outlet–there was no magazine doing the kind of pulp I wanted to read, and I love editing as a creative process. People who’ve worked with me as an editor might have noticed–I get really into it. To the point of leaving over-enthusiastic comments on bits I really like.

I’m a generally super productive and self-motivated individual, so RPP me something to do that took me out of my own head and into others’ in my spare time. For two years everything was quite perfect with it.

About a year ago B and I discovered we’d have to move suddenly. We weren’t sure to where, but we had to get out and find a living, and asap. As soon as we were finally settled, that’s when the things with my family and health started going awry. A series of family tragedies and some interesting medications later, we’re about to move again–I detailed a lot of the drama in a post a few months back, so I won’t belabor the point or what it did to my own writing (which was: kill it). This time, though, we’re moving in the same town, somewhere permanent where we can finally settle into our life again.

Cue house-hunting taking over my life. Anyone who tells you this is a fun activity is on drugs. Seriously. I thought apartment shopping was soul-crushing. Oh, little did I know.

Maybe my point is becoming clear now. That meant bad things for RPP, since my partner-in-editing had similar issues at the exact same time. It’s impossible to publish a magazine when things are in flux like that, however. Not just financially–which has been a little bit of a concern just due to uncertainty, but not nearly as bad as it could’ve been–but from a time and effort standpoint, it wasn’t gonna happen. And having Thunderbird blow up on me didn’t help either. (I managed to migrate to Outlook after finally giving up and shelling out for a piece of software that could do it without requiring I open Thunderbird at all. Pray to your heathen gods for my computer, okay, because if that goes I’m even more screwed. Yay new iPad, at least?)

Once I know for sure that we’ve secured a place to live after our lease is up, I will be announcing a new publishing schedule for RPP, starting with a large book project we’ve been working on over the last year while in flux. (I thought that was gonna happen a few weeks ago… the deal fell through. And then another one fell through again this week, hence me just making this post instead of waiting any longer.) After that, my goal is to shift RPP’s balance more equally to serial novellas and short fiction issues. This is the reason we’ve not been able to accept anything for the last reading period yet–we’re not sure on the timing of anything. At all. And we can’t be until I know I have a place to live and can build our schedule around that, so as to keep things moving smoothly instead of these endless delays from 2013 carrying over.

So that’s my explanation–mind you, not an excuse. I also don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because I am really loving being back in Columbus, and without the job/place to live upheaval, that wouldn’t have happened. The family things–well, that’s obviously crap, but it did push me to the point where I got some help for health problems I’ve been trying to ignore for literally a decade now. Things are really looking up around here, and I have absolutely no plan to abandon RPP or its writers and artists, who have been so patient and fantastic with me and the magazine this year. You totally deserve an explanation if you want it, so here it is.

And in closing, if you haven’t checked out Samatha Lienhard’s The Book at Dernier, I gotta recommend it. And the cover by Galen Dara. Wow. Expect more of this kind of classic, pulpy darkfic from us in the very near future.

‘Tis More Blessed to Give…

20 Dec

Tis More Blessed

It’s Week 3 of Tis More Blessed: Milo James Fowler’s holiday giveaway extravaganza~

I’m adding to the giveaways with one of my own, but remember to click that link or the image to go and see what else is up for grabs this week–and if you haven’t been watching Milo’s blog, be sure and check it out for next Friday’s crop, too.

I’m throwing into the pot both a first and second prize! First prize is a print copy of Dagan Books’ beautiful Fish, which I edited along with Carrie Cuinn.

Cover by Galen Dara

Second prize is an eBook copy of my novella, Inedible Sins, also from Dagan Books.

Cover by Carrie Cuinn

All you have to do to enter is hit up rafflecopter and bam:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy holidays!

This is Halloween

31 Oct

Gotta watch it at least once today, right? God knows it’s been stuck in my head all day.

Happy Halloween!

The Lovely Lulu

16 Oct

How about a dark fantasy piece set in a 1920s speakeasy in Wheeling, West Virginia? Magicians and chanteuses! Smuggled hooch and fabulous champagne! Murder and captivity! Queer lady protagonist!

Any of this sound cool? Check out the latest issue of Goldfish Grimm, Secrets and Connections, and there you’ll find “The Lovely Lulu” by yours truly alongside a delightful (and I never use that word but there’s no other for it, seriously) flash piece by Antha Ann Adkins.

Free to read creepiness-and-jazz-age cocktail for all. Mmm. And thanks to the people at Goldfish Grimm being so fabulous to work with. So much fun.

(ETA: Forgot to mention, there’s even a little interview in which I mainly talk about being a nerd. Ha!)

In other news, I have a convention to attend this weekend, and then all shall get back in order around this house. Fingers crossed for me, and see you when I get back from Atlanta!