An Homage to Dracula

For over 30 years, I have been a vampire fan. I’m an equal opportunity vampirephile. I like the traditional and the modern (yes, even the sparkly ones). I can’t say that I read or watch everything out there, that would be insane. There is so much. I’ve logged enough vamp time to qualify me to say that all of it is based on a novel, the one that started it all, Bram Stoker’s, Dracula.

Do yourself a favor. Turn off True Blood, put down your copy of Twilight and pick up the original. It remains, by far, my all time favorite book and vampire. Oh, and if you want to know which Hollywood vamp gets my
 vote. It’s ….

Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker’s-Dracula
Trick or Treat!

Music to haunt by

I told my son that I was going to put together a Halloween playlist. So I’ve finally done it. It’s based mainly on song content, but some are by title (although they had to have some “creep” factor), and others may not make sense to you, but they evoke something for me.

Here, without further ado, is my Halloween 2011 playlist. Have fun checking out any of the songs or the entire list. Enjoy!

This is Halloween – Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Toccata & Fugue in D Minor – Bach
Howlin’ for You – The Black Keys
Beat the Devil’s Tattoo – Black Rebel  Motorcycle Club
Killer – Plain White T’s

October – Broken Bells
Blood – Band of Skulls
Hotel California – The Eagles
Severed Hand – Pearl Jam
  Bleed to Feed – CC Adcock & The Lafayett Marquis
Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett & and the Cryptkickers
Mayhem – Imelda May
Creep – Radiohead (explicit)
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) – Marilyn Manson (version)
Bad Things – Jace Everett
Strange Times – The Black Keys
Who’s That Creepin’ – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Body in a Box – City and Colour
Unnatural Selection – Muse
Wolf Blood Honey – The Upsidedown
Bodysnatchers – Radiohead
Danse Macabre, Op. 40 – Camille Saint Saens
Bones – Little Big Town
Dracula Moon – Joan Osborne
Black Magic Woman – Santana
Eli, the Barrow Boy – The Decemberists
Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
Ghost Opera – Kamelot
If I Was Your Vampire – Marilyn Manson
Devil’s Dance Floor – Flogging Molly
Cirque dans la rue – Plain White T’s
Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo
Light of the Morning – Band of Skulls
Jonathan Low – Vampire Weekend
Spiriti – Mediaeval Baebes
My Immortal – Evanescence
Night of the Dancing Flames – Roisin Murphy
Oogie Boogie’s Song – Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Strange – Tokio Hotel & Kerli
Welcome to Mystery – Plain White T’s
Monsters – Hurricane Bells
Full Moon – The Black Ghosts
The Wolf – Fever Ray
Shankill Butchers – Sarah Jarosz
Inquisition Symphony – Apocalyptica
Spiders – System of a Down (explicit)
Vicarious – Tool
Swampblood – Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers
Wolves and Werewolves – The Pack A.D.
Tamlin – Mediaeval Baebes
A White Demon Love Song – The Killers
Turkish Song of the Damned – The Pogues
Oh Lately It’s So Quiet – OK Go
Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost? – Taking Back Sunday
This Blood – Black Lab
Waltz from ‘Maskarade’ – Aram Khachaturian
Worms – The Pogues

Here’s the windup…..and the pitch!

The world series is going on and it’s nearly Halloween, so why not throw a little of both in here. This past Saturday, my critique partner and I went to the Hearts of Denver Romance Writers conference. Neither one of us writes romance, but it was open to any genre and we had the opportunity to pitch to an agent. The idea was that we would give this a shot and see how it went, you know, kinda like being in the bull pen, practicing.

We get there and I find out that I’m the very first pitch of the day – right after the welcome and introductions. Here is where is gets Halloween scary. I think I might have looked like Elsa Lanchester in the Bride of Frankenstein. I’m pitching to an agent from New York, not a local agent, but one from the city of the New York Times Best Seller’s list (cue Psycho music).

So during the introductions/question and answer session, we meet the agents. They are normal people. They even seem a little on the nervous side themselves. Okay, maybe this won’t be so bad. This line of thinking did nothing for my Tell Tale Heart, which was trying to beat it’s way out of my chest. Taking a few deep breaths, squaring my shoulders, and putting on my most determined face, I made my way to the table and introduced myself. After that it was a blur. I actually managed to recite my pitch (log line/elevator speech) from memory (and the crowd roars!) and I answered all the questions he asked without hesitation and satisfactorily. Then when I expected him to say, ‘Well, it sounds interesting, but I don’t think you’re ready.’ he takes his business card, flips it over, clicks his pen, and writes on the back, ’50 pages and synopsis’ (hallelujah!). My critique partner, Lisa, came away with the same results. We are happy and ready to learn about openings and query letters, and even though it was a long day, it was a good one.

The day ended with getting my blog fixed up and some delicious chili prepared by Lisa’s daughter. A big thank you to Lisa, Brandi, and family. It was great to meet Lizzie T. Leaf! And thank you Jim McCarthy, for chasing the ghouls away and giving me the chance to tell you about my story. I hope to send those 50 pages soon!


The Importance of Being Ernest

I want to say, that it is very important to have a critique partner or group. That person or persons can put things into perspective that you, as your own worst critic and editor, may not see or catch. Just sitting at Starbuck’s and discussing the plot of your book can bring that AHA! moment or the subtlest of changes that help the flow of your prose.

Make sure that you establish ground rules, even if they are unspoken/unwritten. When my critique partner and I met for the first time, we barely knew each other. We each brought something to read, but we also found out a little about each other and what we wanted to get out of the “business” of our meetings. We would not demoralize, humiliate, be hypercritical or mean. We would be honest and supportive, offering suggestions and constructive criticism. I would liken it to a couple who are courting, everything is tentative at first, but as the relationship grows, a more open dialog is established. Pretty soon, you each know how to approach critique with your partner.

I am truly blessed with a critique partner, who is becoming a good friend as well. I also belong to a writing group where learning craft is the focus, but we manage to throw in a little critiquing from time to time, and the people in it are honest and constructive, never destructive. That is key!

So, cheers to Lisa and the Golden Wannabe Writers Group! They are awesome!


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