Authorguy's Blog

Archive for the ‘Funny’ Category

Hi, It’s me, posting for the first time in a very long while. My stories ganged up on me, and I’ve been stuck writing them rather than blogging. The upside is that I finally managed to finish my fourth novel, Ghostkiller. The downside is that I now have to write a query synopsis for Ghostkiller.

So when my friend Nimue was looking for places to post I said “Absolutely!” And someday, when my mental health allows, I’ll write a blog post about query synopses.

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Hello. You may have been expecting Marc, this being his blog, but he’s very kindly let me borrow it to help me further my plans for world domination. (Said plans are to involve cake and tentacles.) I’m Nimue Brown, and I write stuff. Which sounds ominously like an alcoholics anonymous style opening gambit, doesn’t it? No, I could stop any time, I have this under control… I’ve never written a political thriller. Otherwise, at some point I’ve tried just about every form and genre, although on the non-fiction side my insane rampage remains limited to the tiny handful of subjects I know anything about. (Paganism and Druidry, and how to write really awful books, for the greater part).

Having grasped that Marc likes to blog about the writing experience, I thought rather than just beat you about the head with ‘buy my book’ content, I’d try and write something that might fit in here and could possibly amuse someone. Anyone who thinks the life of a book author is glamorous ought to spend a couple of days actually trying to sell books to people. It’s like working in a sales department, with the added bonus of getting to take it personally when people aren’t interested. Therefore, in self defence, I’m trying to find ways of talking about my new books that won’t bore me to tears. You, dear reader, hopefully benefit from this as well.

Finding the writing voice depends rather a lot on who I’m supposed to be being. This, for example, was going to be written in my serious-blogging-author voice, which seemed appropriate for the task in hand. That was two paragraphs worth of lost the plot and failed miserably then. We’ll try and straighten up now and get the right voice in place, yes?  Because of course the voice you use as an author is an important sort of thing.

I have my meaningful Druid voice for www.druidlife.wordpress.com which carries me safely into the realms of non-fiction book writing as well. I’ve got my dark and grim voice, best used for gothic horror, but sometimes that gets confused with my comedy voice if I accidently get too Lovecraftian. Things too terrible to describe have a life of their own. It’s dangerously easy to shift from deliberate horror to accidental comedy, I’ve learned. It’s also far too easy to go from deliberate smut to accidental comedy too, but that’s another story.

If I really want to mess with my own head, there’s always the option of writing something that doesn’t even have a narrator in it. Despite years of doing comics scripts, this still feels a bit weird, like going out in public wearing just my knickers. Writing without a narratorial voice is just so… exposed and… naked.

Inevitably there are days when I get confused, when the playful steampunk voice somehow sneaks into the Druid writing. Worse still, the alter-ego gets out when she shouldn’t. (The other me is a sassy, obscenity-touting author of rude books with a much more defined attitude than the regular me, and who is starting to develop a decidedly American accent.)

I’ve never been very good at sticking to the same thing for long. I get bored easily. I go from fiction to non-fiction and back again. I flirt with novels, churn out short stories and blog articles, the odd script… some of them are very odd, truth be told. It means I don’t have a stable author identity. I don’t have one voice that is definitely mine. How I write depends so much on what I’m writing and who I’m writing it for. If that sounds a bit like an ongoing identity crisis… that might be a fair assessment.

The really odd thing is, that when it comes to my own preferences, what most attracts me to specific authors, is their voice. But then, most of the writers I follow tend to stick to one thing, rather than ambling about all over the place, which probably helps. It’s much easier to market yourself and develop an audience if you do one identifiable thing, I suspect. There isn’t the same problem of waking up in the morning and wondering who you’re going to be for the next couple of hours. Nor is there the issue of getting part way through what was supposed to be a sensible sort of blog post and hearing the other, not so sensible voice sneaking in.

Who was I supposed to be, again?

It’s possible of course that the little voices in my head will undertake to organise, synthesise and turn into one, coherent voice that I could use for everything. What would that sound like? Comedy gothic druidry with a steampunk twist? That’s got to hurt. There’s probably some kind of cream you can get for one of those, mind.

Oh, and did I mention, there are books? On the non-fic side, Druidry and the Ancestors http://www.amazon.com/Druidry-Ancestors-Finding-place-history/dp/1780996772/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349344809&sr=1-3&keywords=Druidry+and+the+ancestors#_, and the embarrassingly naked in public without a narrator thing is Hopeless Maine, a graphic novel series from Archaia, which is here – http://www.amazon.com/Hopeless-Maine-1-Personal-Demons/dp/1936393573/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349345049&sr=1-1&keywords=hopeless+maine

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Book Title: St. Martin’s Moon

Heroine Name: Candace (and Bing-Bang, via Miss Miho Tanaka)

What were you like before the story began? (Tanaka) My client was dead then, and is still dead. I’m a medium, appearing in the novel Ghostkiller, but I’m taking a break now. (Candace) I was the Communications Officer for Coventry Base, which sounds like a big deal except we didn’t talk to anybody.

Who are you in love with and why? (Candace) Nobody, until I met (sigh) Joseph. (Tanaka) That’s ‘Joey’, my client says.

Possessive, aren’t we? (Tanaka) He’s mine! I mean, he’s hers. Bing-Bang’s, that is. (Candace) You’d never think she’s been dead four years already, would you?

So how did you meet? (Candace) Two of our guys were found on the surface of the moon, looking for all the world like they’d been slaughtered by a werewolf, and we were a little upset by this. We couldn’t see how it could happen, and we really, really needed to, so we asked the System authorities, and they sent him. (Tanaka) My client met him at work, they were partners. I like Candace’s story better.

What was your immediate reaction to Joseph? What did you first think of him? (Tanaka) He was my client’s teacher. Naturally she was terrified of him. She got over it. (Candace) I thought he smelled nice. And he looked nice. And he sounded nice…

Surely it wasn’t that easy? (Candace) Well, no, remember I was head of Communications, a certain professional, um, decorum… (Tanaka) I think she means she didn’t drool. My client, of course, did not drool either. It messes up the space suit. (Candace) Not to mention that I had to keep secrets right and left, it got so I forgot what lies I was telling to whom!

So you had some little bumps on your road to romance? (Candace) Well, it didn’t help that all sorts of people were spying on him. One of them activated a bug in our systems, and I thought it was him, and well…And of course there was the sex. (Tanaka) What about the sex? (Candace) We couldn’t have any. You know, throes of passion, love bites…

So it was hopeless? (Tanaka) My client took an asteroid to the chest, and is currently incorporeal, so I’d say yes, it’s hopeless. (Candace) I’d hoped it wasn’t, but the station started to come apart and they were going to throw him out no matter what. I never thought I’d say this but thank God for Dr. Ron, and even Bertrand.

I interviewed him earlier. Isn’t he a psychopath? (Candace) Betrand is, yes. The important part is that only Joseph could attack them from the rear, and he did. Our savior. (Tanaka) Your idiot, you mean, going up against a werewolf in a locked room. Didn’t take him long before he went my client’s way. (Candace) Yes, well, it all came right in the end.

Any regrets? (Candace) No, none at all, not even the vat-grown whiting in tofu sauce over rice. (Tanaka) I’m sorry, my client is howling in my ear. I don’t think she has anything more to say.

No, this blog is not about my latest short story, you can tell, because all the words aren’t capitalized. My story is the jumping off point for this post, though, so it seemed appropriate. Nor am I doing yet another tedious post about all the myriad places one can get the inspiration for a story from, although those will become clear in the course of it.

A story is composed of many parts, you see, and just because you the author have an inspiration for a story doesn’t mean that it covers all the parts. I write slowly, and as I write my few words a day, that gives real-life a chance to subtly screw with my text, by giving me ideas that I would never have had, if I’d written this thing at a blazing run, tucked away in a home-office somewhere.

This post is something in the way of a shout-out, to those in general who supply such inspirations, and two people in particular. The first is Esther Friesner, editor of a series of comic anthologies with a series title of Chicks in Chain Mail. Titles include Chicks in ChainmailChicks Ahoy!, Mathemagics, Chicks N’ Chained Males, and lots of others. When I was writing Struck By Inspiration (see the caps?) I found myself introducing a buxom lass in a chainmail bikini. Why? Because it was funny. More to the point, this was a story about a story with two heroes, and a third almost-hero, who was the hero. (You’re confused? I had to write the damned thing!) In the first story in the series I had introduced an archetypes union called the FHA, or Fearless Heroes Association. Obviously I had to have another such union for the female heroes, because we authors know you have to take conflict where you can find it. I called it the CCM. Not because either of the stories in question had anything to do with Ms. Friesner’s series, or referenced any of the characters or storylines in any of the books. Simply because the phrase ‘Chicks in Chain Mail’ was funny, and it worked. So my thanks to Ms. Friesner for coming up with the phrase.

The other person I wanted to thank is W.S. Gilbert, of Gilbert & Sullivan fame, but he’s dead so I won’t. He wrote a comic opera (without Sullivan) about an author writing something called ‘sensation novels’, who had contracted with an occult entity to supply him with the inspiration to churn out one such novel a week. The characters were condemned souls, punished by being forced to appear as characters of the exact opposite temper they really possessed.

One such character was called the Yellow-Haired Panther, who was usually allied with a Wicked Baronet, whose job it was to seduce and ruin the Virtuous Hero while the Baronet did the same to the Innocent Maiden. Or some such. I forget the actual terms used but you get the idea. When I introduced my CCM-affiliated female hero, she was eventually given the name Yellow-Haired Panther, although of the good sort.

I kept the words (since sometimes they’re just the right ones), but changed the meanings. Because that’s what authors do.

It should come as no surprise to those who’ve read this blog that I have a particular fondness for a short-lived TV show called Wonderfalls. It was a brilliant comedy based on the premise of this underachieving, cynical, Gen Y girl who gets tapped by the gods to do the things they need to have done. Since my own fantasy series is based on much the same premise (except for the underachieving, cynical, Gen Y slacker part)(what the hey, it’s not a comedy) it really struck my fancy.

Wonderfalls was cancelled in its first year, but they were still shooting the final episodes, so the producers were able to rewrite the scripts to turn the final few episodes into a story arc that resolved most of the plot threads. In particular they brought back the ex-wife of the male romantic lead to challenge our heroine for his affection. But every time she tries to stand up for herself, the gods keep telling her to shut up, in the form of their avatars, animal toys and images with faces that talk to her and no one else.

I was recently watching these last few episodes again, don’t ask me why ’cause I don’t know, and I discovered a new bit of whimsy that for some reason just makes me laugh even when I just think about it.

She’s trying to get to the chapel where the man is re-marrying his ex-wife (it’s complicated, you really should see the show), after the gods have finally given her permission to go after him. Her car was taken by her best friend, who was also trying to disrupt the ceremony (but who gets sidetracked by one of the avatars), so she has to take a cab. The cab has an air freshener in the form of an angel or some other creature with a face. She lunges forward, grabs the air freshener and throws it out the window. As it goes, the air freshener cries out, “I didn’t say anything!”

It’s a little thing, but it just fits so perfectly with the whole show. I already loved the show, and to find this little funny bit was like finding a $20 in an old pair of pants. Not that I think you need to have the connection between ‘found money’ and ‘found funny’ spelled out for you, because I don’t. It’s one of those little pleasures that makes reviewing and re-reading so much fun, the stuff you pick up on the second time around. Has this ever happened to you?

We’ve all read them, those lines that speak in dread foreboding of grim and ghastly events to come. Lines like, “That’s funny, my watch stopped too”, or “What do mean all the lights are out?” When the phone lines are down you know something dire is in the wind.

Well, I don’t want you to write anything like that.

For every sure-fire spinetingler, there are a lot of wanna-be lines, not quite losers, definitely not winners. These are the lines that deserve their moment in the, umm, halogen headlight of fame.

Write a line that has the shape, the form, the structure of one of these classics, but without the content. Lines like, “That’s odd, there are no fire hydrants along this entire stretch of road”, or “Buy why would only one show be missing?” Perhaps “Bob, why would the kitchen smell like spinach when we had peas last night?” has occurred to you, but since I just used it, you can’t.

Prizes are as follows: The winner (chosen by me) will receive the entire corpus of the Author Guy oeuvre, yes, both short stories will be yours! That’s ‘Chasing His Own Tale’ and ‘Chasing His Own Tale 2: Struck By Inspiration’, for those of you who haven’t looked to the right yet.

For you non-winners out there, you will have the inestimable pleasure of reading all the entries to this little contest, which is prize enough for any sane man. They should be put into the comments, of course, but if you want you can email me instead at mvonkann2000ATyahooDOTcom, and be sure to put VPP+$TR_01 in the subject header so I’ll know that this is an entry into the Author Guy Vaguely Sinister Contest.


Unbinding the Stone

A Warrior Made

A Warrior Made

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St. Martin’s Moon

St. Martin's Moon

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Ghostkiller

Chasing His Own Tale

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Struck By Inspiration

Struck By Inspiration

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Steampunk Santa

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Bite Deep

Christmas among the vampires!

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Click here to buy NOW!

Cyber-pirates. Sort of.

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Off the Map

Reality TV...without the Reality!

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