This month’s Drollerie Blog Tour theme is “mothers”, and this time around, I’m hosting Drollerie Press author Meredith Holmes. Meredith is the author of Unseelie, and if you know me well at all, you can bet that this is a book I can support.
Y’all check out Meredith’s essay on her own impending motherhood, and how she feels this may affect her writing! Enjoy.
This month’s Drollerie Blog Tour is shifting the schedule to earlier in the month to accommodate monthly themes in a more timely fashion; as of this month, we’ll be putting up posts on the 21st instead of the end of the month. You can find all of this month’s posts here!
For the month of April, our theme is “poetry”, and I’d like to introduce you all to Catherine Schaff-Stump, who is in turn hosting a post from me today! Here’s what she’s got to say about the poetry that’s influenced her as a writer.
The first poem that reached out to me was Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach. When I was a sixteen-year old kid growing up in Southern Iowa, my tiny school started sending me to community college two days a week during my junior year. Well, back in the day, in the hollers of America, there were no talented and gifted programs, so the district made it up as they went along. Relevance? I had a college text book to read in my spare time, and Dover Beach was in there.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you all to in particular note the piece hosted by the fine David Sklar, featuring my very own favorite (fictional) bouzouki-playing Newfoundlander, Christopher MacSimidh, bumping into David’s hero Tam from Shadow of the Antlered Bird. Because Seattle is just chock full of fey like that, and a young Warder-to-be cannot help but find the fey even if he would really rather not!
Go! Enjoy the goodness, folks, and tell ’em I sent you!
For this month’s Drollerie Blog Tour the theme is Character Interviews. This is the piece that resulted with my working with Joely Sue Burkhart on an interview of her character Herakles from the novel Beautiful Death. Enjoy!
Only when she is safely behind the protection of her closed and locked apartment door does Iris let herself explode. She can swear with impunity; her domicile, after all, was the best that the salary of one of New Olympia’s top news anchors could be. The walls are very well insulated, both to keep any urban din without, and her own temper within. For good measure she seizes a few expendable and satisfyingly fragile trinkets, and takes vicious pleasure into hurling them into her fireplace. Each one shatters, and one, a slender glass bottle filled with potpourri, sends sharp bursts of fragrance into her living room as its contents burn.
Only one chapter tonight, but that’s okay, because some of my writing-related time this evening went into finalizing the next post I’ll be putting up for tomorrow’s Drollerie Blog Tour! Y’all be sure to come by and see what I’ll be posting on behalf of Joely Sue Burkhart, giving y’all a glimpse of Marshal Herakles from Beautiful Death.
Went through Chapter 17 tonight, as well as tweaking a couple of small things in previous chapters to clear up things that niggled at me through this edit pass. And it has occurred to me, after all the yammering I’ve done about writing a book being a lot like doing a software release, that this is pretty much RC1 for this book. This brings me lulz.
Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up the pace tomorrow evening. I’m feeling a little off-kilter and am really hoping I’m not coming down with whatever crud is going around at work. Now is really not the time. Besides, I’ve got Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Season 4 DVDs to look forward to as my incentive for getting done with this edit pass! I can’t keel over now!
Edited tonight: Up through Chapter 17. Six more chapters to go!
John B. Rosenman joins me for the February 2009 Drollerie Press blog tour. This month’s topic: origin stories!
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
by John B. Rosenman
“Where do you get your ideas?” It’s a common question that writers get, especially famous ones. I’m not famous, but I thought I’d talk a little about the origins of some of my stories and novels, and how they came into being.
One day I was walking through Barnes & Noble, and I saw a book title: The Calm Technique. Wham-o! All at once a similar title leapt into my mind with one chilling word change. The Death Technique. And I knew at once it would be about a man with a morbid “artistic” gift: the ability to will his body to decay as if he were dead. Gruesome and sick? Yes, but it found a home with Dark Arts, a professional hardback horror anthology published by Cemetery Dance Publications.
And here’s how the story begins:
I discovered the Death Technique the day after my twelfth birthday. Perhaps it was puberty that made it possible, or the fact that I simply did the right thing at the right time.
It’s more likely, though, that I was genetically predisposed to discover the DT, that it was in my nature to lie down one day and concentrate on a realm somewhere beyond this one and start to dissolve as a result. Well, “dissolve” isn’t the word. “Decompose” is more like it, as in ashes to ashes, dust to dust. “Decompose,” as in there goes my right eyeball, there goes my left. And darned if I can’t feel my bones emerging from where my flesh used to be.
Charming, huh? Well, here’s something a little more pleasant, though the origin, as with many of my stories and novels, is extremely slight. One day I found myself wondering what would happen if a person found that every time he made love or had sex, he changed into the opposite gender, and the only way to change back was to have sex again. The result was a story called “When I Was Mischelle,” and the experience of his first transformation goes like this:
When Michael Truman was seventeen, he made love to his first girl. It was the most wonderful and exciting experience of his life.
An hour later, his whole world fell apart.
It started with a tingling in his genitals that soon intensified and spread to his entire body. It felt like a thousand crazed insects were scurrying over his skin and biting deep into his flesh.
Alarmed, he locked his bedroom door and tore off his clothes. What he saw made him whimper.
Uh, sorry, folks, I can’t go any further. This is a PG site, after all. But I hope you get my basic point, which is that many, not all of my tales originate from the flimsiest of sources. One story, “High Concept,” sprang full bloom from just glancing at a page when a book fell open. I didn’t read a single word. Another, “Ancient Art,” which I just finished, came from watching a documentary on ancient Australian cave art which in ancient days, was accompanied and complemented by musical instruments. Suddenly the basic plot and theme were just there. All I had to do was expand them a little.
I even wrote a novel inspired by a single evocative word: Dreamfarer.
Occasionally my stories do have a more substantial foundation and ripen a while in my mind. That’s the case with my longest and most ambitious novel, A Senseless Act of Beauty, published by Blade Publishing and available at http://www.bladepublishing.org. Beauty is African SF that takes place on a distant, exotic world in the 24th century, and its hero, Aaron Okonkwo, is a Nigerian scientist who has to save this “New Africa” from colonial exploitation—just as the original Africa was conquered and colonized.
Where did I get the idea? For many years I had taught at three historically black universities and was immersed in African-American culture. Then one day I was sitting near a bookshelf at Norfolk State University and suddenly just knew that if I reached out and picked a book from a shelf, the book would inspire me to write my next novel. So I reached out and picked a book at random, and when I brought my hand back, I saw that it held Things Fall Apart, a novel by the great Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe. In it, Nigeria is conquered by colonial exploitation—something that my hero on the planet Viridis tries to prevent against overwhelming odds.
First, though, since all my novels involve romances, Aaron has to resist a more immediate threat by a delectable native girl who will soon prove to be irresistible:
Peering through the shining leaves of a sarberry bush, Aaron Okonkwo watched the naked alien girl dive into the pond. Her green body lithe, and breasts full and firm in the sun. He wet his lips, feeling his blood course as her delicate, sinuous form glided through the water faster than any human could swim. She moved smoothly, with barely a ripple, her webbed hands flowing with graceful precision. Watching the water caress her long, slender limbs, he felt his body respond.
So where do I get my ideas? Like many writers, I get them from many places, although it seems that often I reap when I have done only the barest of sowing. Whatever the source of my ideas, I’m grateful for every one and invite you to come explore them with me at http://www.johnrosenman.com.
Ladies and gents, the next Drollerie Blog Tour has been confirmed. This time around we will be posting on the topic of “Origin Stories”–not only about how we all decided to become writers, but also about how our books and characters sprang to life. Be on the lookout for posts from many of last month’s participants, but this time around, Heather Ingemar and David Sklar as well!
Posts go live on February 28th. Hope you’ll come by and say hi to all of us.
Meanwhile, y’all may note that angelakorrati.com (for those of you who may be reading this on LJ or JournalFen) has switched themes, mostly because I was in the mood. Also, I’ve added a bunch more names to the sidebar, not only of fellow Drollerie authors, but also of authors who are in general Nifty, and who you should definitely be reading. Enjoy!