Caution: crabby writer rant ahead.

Earlier today, when I was out driving my son to karate and buying sick-food for my husband, I thought of a good topic for tonight’s post. Damned if I can remember what it was.

The work I planned to do in my online critique group got ahead of me. Now (as of midnight somewhere) my latest chapter is up for review – which is good – but I missed the deadline to critique some stories that were up during the last review period. That means I missed my opportunity to earn full credits for work that I’m going to have to do anyway. I tried to get one quick critique done before the queue switched, but I got sucked in, and went past deadline.

Now it’s 2:30 in the morning. I’m only just starting my blog post. I haven’t yet responded to recent blog comments. For days, I’ve been posting only to WordPress, with the intention of copying posts to the mirror blogs “tomorrow”. ‘Haven’t done it yet, though.

I haven’t yet graded some critiques I’ve received on an earlier chapter, even though it’s polite to give feedback as soon as possible. I have read those critiques, which were thoughtful and helpful … and embarrassing. You see, I spelled the word envelope wrong – a half dozen times. Apparently, I typed envelop …repeatedly. Which just sucks. I do know the difference. (Clearly, I rely on that squiggly red line too much.)

I haven’t yet worked on my manuscript today.

Right now, the theme from The Big Bang Theory, is playing over and over in my head. (Well, the first two lines of the song are anyway.)  Why? Because, instead of buckling down and doing the work I needed to to do today, I sat, knitting, on the sofa with my sad, sniffly husband, watching all the episodes we had recorded to the DVR.


Screw it. I’m going to go take a bath, then drink a Bailey’s on the rocks in front of a TV tuned to something soporific. I’ll start again tomorrow.


Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. ― Mary Anne Radmacher


I hearby solemnly swear to never make anything up.

My husband’s first question to me today, after he read On the trail of the cryptid known as the Linwood Woolly Beast, was: “So. Did you make that one up?”

No. I actually found references to the creature on a couple of websites when I Googled Minnesota paranormal. (Though I must admit I was several pages deep into the results by the time it came up.) Despite sounding so irked last night, it turns out that I’m glad I learned of the legend. My boy and I had a lovely time looking for the thing as we drove into town.

As long as the question came up, I want to promise you I will never confuse my personal fiction with my paranormal studies. Even if I could craft a better story. Which I could.

(That’s a clumsy segue into the subject of my fiction.)

My book is in review at a critiquing community. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to boast about nice things people say, but I’m making an exception for the critique I found in my email tonight. Because it literally made me tear up. Because I’ve been hoping to hear something like this for a long time:

While reading it, I was thinking that your writing style is much more similar to literary fiction than to a typical horror/mystery genre novel. … So, people have probably been saying “go faster! go faster!” but now I am not sure how much faster you really need to go. There are definitely areas that can be trimmed, but this is going to be a slower-pace, more internalized novel. And it is really working. Such an interesting combination…the pretty words slowly telling this intriguing ghost story. I like it.

Don’t get me wrong. I WANT to be a genre writer. I read and love horror. (Albeit old-school horror like King and Rice and McCammon and Simmons.) I know I have to ruthlessly cut what I’ve written. But it was awfully good to read that someone, somewhere gets what I’m trying to do.

I didn’t intend to post of any of that. I came downstairs to satisfy my quota for NaBloPoMo by simply sharing my thoughts about the movie I watched tonight: Carnival of Souls (1962)

Director Herk Harvey plays the "Man"...

Carnival of Souls

This movie was shot in 3 weeks, on a tight budget, and it shows. (Not always in a bad way.) The editing leaves something to be desired, and the soundtrack started to give me a headache after a while, but I’m glad I stuck with it. In the latter half of the film, there are some wonderfully creepy, surreal images which I fear I will see again in future nightmares. Even the makeup, which looks too thick in stills from the movie, is effective in the context of the story. (The smeary-lipped, rictus grins will stay with me for a long time.) It’s a contender for the 13 Creepiest Horror Films list that I’m still working on.