‘NetNet Mega-Size: news and reviews of new horror books, shorts, movies & TV; true ghost stories; an original song; paranormal nerd appreciation; 19th century ghost nonfiction; bigfoot, an invisible bird, a puppy named Weasley and more.

Okay, Gang. I imagine you’ve all noticed that I haven’t done a #NetNet roundup for a while. I have been grabbing some favorites since the last installment, and I just found a bunch more when I finally got caught up on my blog reading. There’s a lot of good stuff here, so I’ll add minimal commentary and just let you explore at will. If there’s no text link, click the pic to be taken to the post.

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FROM MATTHEW ALAN BENNETT, A GORGEOUSLY BLUESY ORIGINAL: RIVER CITY LIGHTS

You might as well listen while you look over the rest of my offerings. (Just remember to right click the links and open a new tab or window, in case WordPress chooses to ignore my instructions … again.)

Here’s the link to Matthew’s post about the backstory of the song.

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FROM EVA HALLOWEEN – 9 WINTER HORROR TALES TO KEEP YOU WARM

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FROM PATRICK KELLER: 15 REASONS TO BEFRIEND A PARANORMAL NERD TODAY!

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FROM TIM PRASIL: A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF 19TH-CENTURY NON-FICTION ABOUT GHOSTS

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FROM BRITT REINTS: INTERVIEW WITH A “PROFESSIONAL SCARER”

Margee wants to scare the crap out of you. And I don’t mean in that airy-fairy “scare you by pushing you out of your comfort zone” way.

I mean she wants you to scream because you think a zombie clown might be coming after you with a chainsaw.

Figuring out how to scare you is Margee Kerr’s job – she works for Pittsburgh’s notorious ScareHouse – and her passion. She’s researched, experimented, and earned advanced degrees on the subject.

Read the rest here: What Happiness Looks Like: Dr. Margee Kerr, Professional Scarer

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FROM HUNTER SHEA, WHO HAS BEEN A BUSY GUY: 

1) A thought provoking blog: Is Evil Real? An Exorcism In America

2) A new THRILLER novel, out from Pinnacle in paperback: The Montauk Monster

3) News on ANOTHER (horror) novel that will be available April 1st, The Waiting. Apparently this ghost story is based on true events. Here’s an excerpt and here’s a review.

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FROM ACADIA EINSTEIN: REVIEW OF THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND (ON HISTORY CHANNEL)

Acadia’s piece convinced me to give it a shot, and it turns out I really like it. There may be hope for this type of program.

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FROM CONNER THE DOG (COMPANION TO EMILY EINOLANDER): REVIEW OF INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2

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FROM JOSEPH PINTO: PUBLICATION IN MIDNIGHT ECHO, OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE AUSTRALIAN HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION

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Apparently it’s an all-ghost issue … and you all know how I love my ghosts. Here’s the link to his announcement at his blog.

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FROM HALLOWEEN GIRL: A REPORT ON AN APPEARANCE BY BIGFOOT “EXPERT,” RICK DYER & HIS “BIGFOOT CORPSE”

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FROM JONATHAN JANZ, WHO HAS ALSO BEEN A BUSY GUY:

1) Publication in Piercing The Darkness: A Charity Anthology for the Children’s Literacy Initiative (You’ve GOT to see the company he’s keeping these days.)

2)  A post that will make you say awww: Introducing the Sixth Member of Our Family: Weasley the Puppy

3) A new novel – this one a vampire western: Dust Devils

AND FROM ERIN SWEET AL-MEHAIRI – WHO CAN MAKE ME WANT TO READ A BOOK LIKE NO OTHER CAN – A REVIEW OF DUST DEVILS BY JONATHAN JANZ 

UPDATE: SHE FINISHED THE BOOK AND POSTED THE FINAL REVIEW AND AN INTERVIEW WITH JANZ – READ IT HERE 🙂

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FROM NINA D’ARCANGELA: A ROMANTIC STORY – THE BLOODY VALENTINE 

Can you feel it? My heart? It is beating solely for you; so strong – so swift; the rapid pump pulsing ever so swiftly through me.  My body pressed so close to your own; my soft fetid breath scampers across your sweet creamy skin.

Read the rest here: A Heart For Valentine’s Day

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FROM RAY YANEK, WHO GETS TWO SPOTLIGHTS FOR HIS RECENT BLOGS:

1) This one for being both timely and helpful: He’s a Character All Right … or at least I hope so. (It’s a great template for creating characters for fiction.)

2)  This one for just great writing in A Newbie Guide to the Digital Scent of Comic Books

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FROM CHRISTY, AT GHOSTS & GHOULS: ANOTHER GOOD TRUE-GHOST-STORY SUBMISSION

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FROM MICHAEL THOMAS-KNIGHT: THE TOP 5 HORROR MOVIE REMAKES

This is an elegant post, even though my favorite is only an honorable mention.

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OOPS, EVA GETS ANOTHER ONE: 5 GREAT HORROR FILMS BY FEMALE DIRECTORS

Read: Women in Horror: 5 Films to Watch on Netflix Instant

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AKA Monster

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FROM CRACKED.COM: 5 DISTURBING OLD-TIMEY ADS OBVIOUSLY CREATED BY ALIENS

Yes, the topic is a good one, but it was the actual writing that had me in near tears.

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Is the song done playing yet? I’ve saved the videos for last, so I wouldn’t cut that short.

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FROM MICHAEL LAIMO: 3 TEASER TRAILERS FOR HIS CHILLER NETWORK ADAPTATION OF DEEP IN THE DARKNESS

When I read it, back in 2004, Deep in the Darkness was one of the books that made me think, I can do this writing thing. (Wanna-be horror writers should not read Stephen King exclusively.)

See the other two here: Deep in the Darkness Movie Teasers – Coming May 2014

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AND FINALLY, FROM RANDOM VIEWING OF YOUTUBE VIDEOS, THE WORLD’S MOST BRAZENLY HIDDEN BIRD — THE COMMON POTOO

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There is no way I’m going to capture every great thing that happens in my personal web, let alone on the wider internet. The posts I feature here just happened to catch my eye. They resonated with me and whatever is going on in my life right now. And they are worth sharing.

‘NetNet

#NetNet

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wrimoprog 03/08/2014:  2 + 12 = 14/80


Becoming a horror writer: now I know the difference between editing and revising a manuscript.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the entire Lizzy Novel manuscript printed. I thought I was going to fix the ending (which has been giving me fits) then do a hand-edit, make a few changes, check on the flow and pace, then start the second full draft of the book – you know, the one where you check for dangling subplot threads and go cross-eyed looking for adverbs  and clichés.

LN editing session on deck

See how clean and crisp those freshly printed pages look?

Then I read the damn thing – from page one to the end – and discovered that whole great swaths of the behemoth are pretty much useless.

The good news is that I had far exceeded my intended word count anyway – so much of the cutting was only painful, as opposed to excruciating.

The bad news is that somewhere in all those pages, I had become lost. My plot-line had become diluted and weak. Too many tangents had crept into the work as I tried to write my way from one flimsy section to the next, and too many crucial bits of story development had been glossed over or written around.

There was much worth salvaging – the characters are likeable, distinctive and engaging; I seem to have a decent handle on creating atmosphere and mood; there isn’t much info-dumping – but the foundation of the story was more like a haphazard cairn you’d stumble onto in the woods than the mortared stone wall I wanted it to be.

I set to with a will, but working with the pages didn’t get me anywhere. I kept getting caught up in details, rather than getting a clear overview of the story. No matter how much I manhandled the manuscript, and slashed at it with pencils, I couldn’t find my way back to the heart of the plot. Worse, I started to fear that the whole thing needed to be burned in a cleansing bonfire fueled with frustration and shattered dreams scrapped.

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I stomped around the house and complained I needed a way to see the whole thing at a glance … I wanted a massive whiteboard or something. I didn’t make any real progress until Ogre reminded me that I already had the tool I needed, in the form of the section map I’d made before I started generating text. (A section map is basically a detailed, scene-by-scene, outline – the method is from The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing.)

I only needed about a day with my original section map  to see how it was flawed. In the months since crafting it, I had done my job by writing to its specifications, but I had also learned a lot about how a plot should actually unfold. The map was solid at the beginning and ending, but the middle sections were too vague, and they had led me down the tangential paths. (When I made the map, I had not written anything as sprawling as a novel, so I didn’t spread out the plot development well.)

At first, I tried to make corrections on the original map. For a while, it worked. But then even the map became unwieldy as it stretched to several pages. Once again, I couldn’t see the big picture. I started a fresh one, and kept my section descriptions to a maximum of three lines. With patience, I was able to create what I needed – a map that showed me exactly where the major problem was … turns out, it was smack dab  in the MIDDLE of the thing.

2013-07-01 section map holes

The start was good, the end was good (surprise!) but I needed to make sure the reader would find tasty crumbs all the way through the book. When I had pulled all the pointless tangents, I had revealed the holes. Into those holes, I needed to redistribute events and revelations more subtly and evenly; I also flat-out needed more of them. And I needed to figure out if any of the discarded sections were worth keeping, after being flogged into submission with a thorough reworking, of course.

I wanted to talk it all through with someone, but  no person on the planet has enough patience to listen to me think-out-loud as I go over every detail of a plotline.

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No person except me, that is.

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So, I took the ultimate Artist Date. I settled in on my balcony with iced coffee, my smokes, the revised (hole-riddled) section map, and my cell phone. I fired up the same Easy Voice Recorder I use for EVP hunting. Then I talked my way through the entire story. It took an hour and a half. Then I listened and took notes for another two hours.

And now I know what to do with my writing time this week.

God, I wish I’d done this a long time ago.

I’ve taken the first seven minutes or so of that session, slapped it on top of a slide show of images that suit the book, and posted it to my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RRudeParanormalist

Those seven minutes cover the first five sections (of eighty-one.) Each section is  3-5 manuscript pages. (Sections are not chapters, nor even necessarily scenes – a scene can have multiple sections. These are guidelines, people, it’s not as restrictive as it sounds.)

You’re welcome to have a listen.

http://youtu.be/lC7sTobj9Ts
In case you’re curious, I can tell you the swearing on the full recording doesn’t start until right about section 23. After that there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth until 34, then I’m calm for another dozen sections, then there’s one more terribly-irked rant, before the ending sequence really kicks in at 56. That’s not too bad, is it?

By the way, In this process, I may have stumbled onto my title. It might be appropriate to name the story after the town in which it takes place, especially if the name of the town also describes the story arc. (Here’s the plot synopsis.) Of course, that may be too punny. If it works though, which do you like better, Heritage Falls or Legacy Falls?

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It’s the first of the month, so WriMoProg is open for a new cycle. 

I’m really proud of my June results – As usual, I spent too much time on social networking and could have done better on the novels, but I exceeded my total goal.
June, 2013 –  GOAL: 68 (novels) + 30 (blog and other social media) = 98 (hours) 
ACHEIVED: 60 +58 = 118

I feel like I can do better this month, so I’ve set my bar higher – kind of a lot higher, now that I think about it, but we’ll see.
July 2013 WriMoProg: 2 + 8 = 10/145
[X + Y = Z / total-hours goal, where X = writing/editing time, Y= other writerly tasks.]


Nitrous oxide, synesthesia & time distortion.

When I was a kid – maybe 10 or 12 – I wrote the first sentence of a novel in a green, college-ruled note-book: “We are descended from witches and weres and vampires.”

I imagined the line – and its ensuing conversation – taking place in a homey, kitchen, redolent with the smell of melted paraffin, hot sugar, and chokecherry juice. I imagined the speaker was a pink-cheeked, soft-skinned, elderly woman with a sweat-damp Scandinavian braid wrapped around her head, and that she was speaking to her sturdy, plain-faced, middle-aged daughter, who was concerned about an uncharacteristic and terrible act committed by her own wild, wayward grandchild.

I still have that notebook (even though I’ve otherwise conquered my heritage of hoardishness.) And I’m still writing that novel.

Well, kinda. Not one of my manuscripts contain that specific line, but all of them are meditations on that basic concept – the idea that normal life (that which is familiar) is a matter of situation, circumstance and perception. Embedded in that line – at least for me – is the realization that life itself is magical and mysterious and that we spend far too much time – as individuals, as families, as communities, as a society – pretending that it isn’t. My writing has always been about asserting that “normal” life is an unhealthy, cult-ish state of being, and that pursuing the norm – or more accurately, denying the magical – is like drinking poisoned Kool-Aid.

You’d think, then, that I’d be able to bring that conviction into the real world, but I am as vulnerable as everyone else to getting sucked in to mundane. Lately life has thrown a lot of its most distracting normal-world challenges at me: financial stress, work-schedule conflicts, eldercare needs, and parenting decisions that will affect THE REST OF MY SON’S LIFE. The weather hasn’t been helping. I can’t remember when Minnesota has had a longer, colder, wetter, drearier winter and spring. Consequently, I’ve been too tired (wound up, stressed out, bone-chilled, etc.) to taste the contents of the cup I’ve been drinking from.

Who’d-a-thunk that an emergency visit to the dentist would be my antidote?

First you must know that I have a full-blown dental phobia. I don’t know (remember) why. It’s not like there have been a ton of opportunities for this phobia to take root and grow. I’ve been mostly lucky. In an effort to avoid ever visiting the dentist, I am religious about dental hygiene, and have developed a high pain tolerance. But one can only do so much. When my entire face recently swelled up and I could no longer eat, I made an appointment.

The first visit was quick. An x-ray revealed that my eyetooth was the problem and would require a root canal. I left the dentist’s office with a prescription for antibiotics to bring the swelling down, and a future appointment on the books.

Something else you should know is that I weep when I go to the dentist. I don’t mean that I sob, or thrash about, or make a scene – I just … leak tears. I can have a full and lucid conversation about the required treatment, and I can quietly submit to whatever needs to be done, but I cannot stop leaking. This is disconcerting to dentists. In fact, this makes them very solicitous. When I tell  a dentist that I will require nitrous oxide no matter what the cost, they are eager to give me as much as I want. And they are confident that I will want A LOT.

When the day came to perform the root canal, my new dentist was ready with plenty of laughing gas. As I settled in under the mask it occurred to me to ask if one could overdose on nitrous oxide. He laughed and said no. I relaxed as much as I could, closed my eyes, and started to do the same kind of deep breathing that helped me get through two drug-free births and every crisis I’ve had in the past 27 years.

I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel much pain when he injected me with the first of several shots of Novocaine. I remember him telling me that after he finished the series of shots, he would wait for a while before starting the root canal, so that the numbing agent could take full effect. Then I drifted.

I have a recurring dream in which I first run, then bound through a meadow. In the beginning, it’s a lovely dream but then I realize that it’s like I have springs in my feet, and that each time I return to the ground, my rebound is more powerful – and I can’t stop going higher and higher. It becomes dizzying, then terrifying, as I plunge from the sky toward the ground.

(Yes, I know that I have control issues.)

While breathing my nitrous, I was reminded of that dream and I tensed up … repeatedly. Knowing that I didn’t want to actually feel what the dentist was doing, and confident that he was a professional who would eventually and appropriately stop the flow of the blessed gas, I resisted the urge to struggle back to a more conscious state. I became aware of a sound, like that of music being played on crystal glasses. I concentrated on that sound for a while, until I realized it was probably the noise of the drill as the dentist worked, then I tried to ignore it. Even so, I was aware when the pitch of the sound climbed higher, then higher again. Each time the pitch shifted I felt my breathing speed up and become more shallow. It was too much. I pushed hard toward the surface of my mind.

When I opened my eyes, both the dentist and his assistant were bent over me, their masked faces inches above mine. The assistant was repeating my name and saying, “it’s okay, you’re fine.”

The dentist was wiping tears from the corner of my eye with a gloved finger. He said, “There you are!” I could see relief in his eyes as he straightened up.

“I’m sorry,” I said. I took in the situation, then asked, “I hyperventilated, didn’t I?”

“Yes. Yes you did.”

“How far are we?” I asked. “How much is done?”

The two of them exchanged looks. There was a pause. Then the dentist finally said, “Nothing. We’ve done nothing except give you the Novocaine.”

“But I heard the drill …”

“No. There was no drill.”

We determined together that I probably didn’t need quite so much nitrous oxide. I decided to keep my eyes open for the remainder of the procedure, so that I wouldn’t sink so far into my own mind. Before I gave myself over to the gas, I heard the dentist reassuring his assistant that such bad reactions were rare, but normal.

Once the gas was restarted, I realized that I could breath deeply until I felt my fingers tingling, but then I needed to take a break. Eventually I figured out how to take in just enough gas (how to hypnotize myself just enough) to stay somehow above what was going on in my mouth. I maintained a nice semi-conscious state, but I had no idea how much time was passing until my cell phone’s alarm chimed. (I have  reminder alarms set for various tasks through my day.) When the alarm sounded, I was relieved to know that I’d been at the office for more than an hour – at least this time, I thought, they are making progress.

We got through it.

Except we didn’t, really. Toward the end of the procedure, I realized they were taking an awful lot of x-rays. Though they reassured me there was nothing wrong, I knew something wasn’t right.

It turns out that the root of my eyetooth was too deep for the dentist’s tools to reach. Apparently my “fang” is half-again as long as an average eyetooth, and no tool in the dentist’s arsenal could get to the bottom of it.  (We are descended from witches and weres and vampires.) He ended up putting in a temporary filling and referring me to an endodontist – a specialist in root canals.

So it all happened again a week later. In that visit, I knew how to self-regulate my nitrous so I didn’t hyperventilate (nor terrify a young dental assistant), and  my mind converted the pain I felt into an overpowering taste  of copper pennies dissolving in my mouth – rather than the sound of crystal glasses singing.

Now that my fang is fine, I’m grateful for the experience. I needed to have my consciousness altered a little. Going to the dentist broke the spell “normal life” had on me.  Since then, I’ve finished the Lizzy novel. (I’m editing and revising now.) Pretty soon I will be seeking first-readers/critics, then picking up on the hotel novel that I started for NaNoWriMo.

Apparently, I needed to be reminded that the mind can translate its experiences into something strange and interesting, yet still reflective of reality. I also needed to be reminded that time is subjective. The first two-thirds of Lizzy’s novel was written over more than a decade, but was finished in a matter of weeks. The hotel novel took shape in 30 days.

I’m curious to see what happens next.

dental xray (2)

 

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June WriMoProg 0 + 5 = 5/98

[X + Y = Z / total-hours goal, where X = writing/editing time, Y= other writerly tasks.]