Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday Weird: The Greggton Werewolf

Time for another post on werewolves for today's Wednesday Weird.

I've blogged about werewolves before, here, but its been awhile (years, apparently.)

Today we're going to talk about a fun little account from 1958.

In July of 1958 Delburt Gregg, of Greggton Texas was home alone while her husband was away.

The night was stormy and hot, so she moved her bed closer to the open window, hoping for a cooling breeze.

In the middle of the night, scratching sounds at the window would wake her.
When the lightning from the storm flashed, she saw a "huge, shaggy wolf-like creature" that was "clawing at the screen and glaring with baleful, glowing, slitted eyes."

Gregg jumped up from the bed and grabbed a flashlight. The creature quickly dashed into a large collection of bushes.

Gregg kept the flashlight on the bushes, waiting for the creature to emerge, but it never did.

Instead, a tall man rose up from the bushes and walked away, down the road into the darkness.



Thoughts or theories?

 

Monday, May 23, 2016

In Which We Talk (Defend) Instalove

Morning all!

Today begins a sort of series of posts I've been thinking about/planning to write for a long time.

Why didn't I write them sooner you (maybe) ask?

Because I'm lazy.



Anyway, these posts are, well, I don't want to call them rants because I'm going to try not to actually rant (though you will notice that the label I chose is "Rants" so, you know...) but they're going to be posts about things that kind of get my ire up in regards to books and publishing and other things.

So strap in! Because today we're talking instalove.

What the hell is instalove you (maybe) ask?

Well let me tell you!

Instalove is a trope in fiction (especially kidlit) that's like love at first sight. The hero (usually heroine) sees someone (usually a boy) and they fall immediately in love with said character. Sometimes this is their first time being in love, or even in a relationship, and usually this love lasts (in other words, they don't break up at the end.)

So that's instalove in a nutshell.

Lately, though, instalove gets a bit of a bad rap. You will see book bloggers or reviewers who absolutely LOATHE instalove.
Some to the point where they will refuse to touch or read a book that may have instalove or maybe even one star it on principle alone, due to their deep hatred of instalove. And they may hate anyone else who loves a book with instalove and they probably for sure despise the author if their book has instalove.

Perhaps you though this post was going to be an argument against instalove, but AHAH! I you thought so, you are wrong!

This is a post in defense of instalove. Or, if not in defense of instalove, to at least examine misconceptions that the haters put up as reasons to hate instalove. (I mean, it's in the title, too, though, so if you really thought I wasn't going to defend it, then may I suggest you read blog post titles in the future.)

So, first point:

1) Instalove is a very real thing that happens to real people.

Many instalove haters hate it because they think it's unbelievable. And maybe for them it is. There are a ton of people who don't fall in love and marry and live happily every after with a person after the first time they see them.

But there are plenty of people who do, too! You would be amazed! If you ask a room full of kidlit writers how many of them are victims of instalove in their own personal lives, there will be more than two or three of them who will raise their hands.

Just because instalove is not something you have not experienced, does not mean it has not happened to other people, and cannot happen to fictional characters.

2) Confusion about what instalove is

I see a LOT of complaints about instalove in books when it turns out what is actually on the page is a crush.

And crushes, I'm sure you know, ARE A VERY REAL THING.

Please don't read a book where a character sees someone for the first time and is immediately attracted to them and write that book off as having instalove.
I promise you, I'm attracted to strangers all the time, and it's not instalove.

Don't make this mistake.

3) Automatically rejecting a book because of a small trope is a way to miss out on some great books.

I get it. We get tired of the same things over and over again. But to forever swear off it, and hate on something, just because it's been done too much is going too far in the other direction.

Like, I love mac & cheese, but when I've had it too many days in a row, I don't go to social media and say that mac & cheese is the worst food and I will never eat it again and also whoever made this make and cheese is a terrible person and should never, ever cook again and anyone else who likes mac & cheese is just an asshole and also dumb.

No. I take a break from mac & cheese and then return. Or I eat it, but I talk on social media about how my meal was problematic for me, personally, because I've had too much mac & cheese in the past but your experience could be different. And maybe the chef made something that was not to my taste at the moment, but I understand that that is on me and my fickle tastes and maybe I should have ordered something else off the menu instead of mobbing the chef on twitter.

Yeah. So not too ranty, right?

Maybe we can just all calm down about instalove and try to see the story as a whole and why the author chose to include instalove and what might be different if it was gone, etc.

In other words, a little critical thinking can sometimes go a long way towards art appreciation.

Annnnnd now I wish I had mac & cheese (also, I lied. I will never get tired of mac & cheese. NEVER! Me and mac & cheese were instalove, baby. All the way)




 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday Weird: Mothman

We're back for another Wednesday Weird, this one possibly the most famous case I've blogged about: Mothman.

Mothman begins in 1966 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia when 5 men were in a cemetery, preparing a grave for burial.

While they were working, they saw a man-like figure rise into the air and fly over their heads. They reported that it had wings, and was brown and really just resembled a man with wings.

This is considered the first sighting of Mothman, though by the end there would be over 100 supposed sightings (though, it's important to note that the vast majority of these were never and can never be corroborated)

A few days later, there was another sighting of Mothman, and this one is the most famous.
2 couples were driving in a car near an area of town called the "TNT area," which was home to an old WWII munitions plant.

As they were driving, the car headlights picked up two red eyes attached to something that was "shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six or seven feet tall. And it had big wings folded against its back". When the creature moved, the couples panicked and they sped away.
 
But the creature followed them. It spread it's wings and rose into the air, chasing the car and keeping up even as the car passed 100mph until it finally flew off into the night.
 
The couples were so terrified by their experience that they went immediately to the police. And the police believed them. Deputy Halstead, who was working that night, took them seriously because they had never been in trouble before and were clearly terrified by what they had witnessed.
 
The next night, a woman would report seeing Mothman outside as she approached her car. She was so terrified that she dropped her infant daughter to the ground and lay on top of her in protection, until she finally found the courage to flee back to the house where they'd come from.
 
Over the next year, more and more residents would claim to see Mothman, with its red eyes and giant wings.
 
On December 16th, 1967, a little over a year after the first sighting, The Silver Bridge, a steel bridge connecting Ohio and West Virginia, collapsed, killing 46 people.
After that, Mothman was never seen again, bringing rise to the belief that Mothman was some sort of death omen.
 
There are a lot of theories and suspicions regarding Mothman. Many people believe it was some sort of supernatural death omen, or perhaps something to do with extra terrestrials (this belief comes from the fact that there were many strange people sighted in town during the Mothman years, including men in dark suits and sunglasses.)
 
Some of the more benign explanations is that perhaps it was an owl, though the size of the body and wingspan wouldn't match up, even with the largest owl.
 
Another thought is that it could have been a sandhill crane, off it's migration path. Sandhillls can stand as tall as 4 feet with a 7 foot wingspan. And they have red markings around their eyes.
 
 
 
Point Pleasant would erect a statue, commemorating the strangeness 1966 and of the Mothman sightings.
 
 
 
Thoughts, theories?

Monday, May 16, 2016

In Which I Have Some Updates

Morning all you awesome peeps.

Been away from the blog for a bit. Some of it was because I was out of town (at the cabin, putting the dock in the lake and all that jazz) but mostly it's because I still haven't really adjusted to writing bog posts on something other than my laptop, which was my primary blog posting pc.

It was crappy and slow and dumb, but I miss it.

Anyway, I thought I'd do a quick post of some updates and fun stuff.

First, I got the lovely news that ASSASSIN'S HEART sold to Turkey! Which is super fun and awesome. Now you can buy ASSASSIN'S HEART in North America, Australia and Turkey, if you're a world traveler or, like, live in one of those cool places.

Second, I will be doing a signing at the Blaine Barnes & Noble for the B&N Teen Book Festival on Saturday, June 11th at noon! I know a lot of my readers don't actually live in the twin cities like I do (you should join us, though) but if you do, stop out and see me!

Third, I have seen the rough draft of the ASSASSIN'S HEART companion (THIEF'S CUNNING) and guys, guys, I may have gasped out loud when I saw it. It's so pretty. So so pretty.
 



I can't wait until it's done so I can share it with with the world.

So, how are things with you?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday Weird Call For Submissions!

So, I have an issue.

My laptop crapped out. That is to say, it no longer works with the internet. It's an old computer (I actually blogged about getting it alllll the way back in 2009) and it's been on its last legs for awhile.

I came back from my cabin a few weeks ago and the wireless option is just completely gone.
And because I'm saving money to buy a house, I can't just hop out and buy a new one.

It's not the end of the world because I have my netbook (which is also rough going, but it'll do) but the biggest problem is, almost all of my Wednesday Weird post ideas and plans were saved as bookmarks on my laptop. And because I'm dumb, I didn't back the up anywhere else.

So, yeah. Hence why there hasn't been a WW for a few weeks (and why April has been a crap month for blogging for me. I almost always blog on my laptop)

So what that means, is, until I get my list of WW back up and running, I could use some ideas from you!

Do you have any Weird things you'd like to see my blog about? I've already got a request for Mothman (which I haven't done yet just because there's a fair amount of info to wade through and condense down.)

OR!!! Do you have a weird or strange tale that happened to you personally? I would love to host you as a guest for a Wednesday Weird! I LOVE personal spooky or strange tales more than anything, so if you're sitting on anything like that, I would be my utter delight to host you.

Tell me all your spooky tales!


Anyway, I hope to hear from you either way! And do not fret - this is not the end of WW - it may just be a bit of a hiatus while I get back on my feet.

Monday, April 25, 2016

In Which The Front Row Writes

Howdy pals!

So today starts a new blog series I'm a part of called The Front Row Writes



Look, we have a logo and everything!


The Front Row is a writing group I belong to, made up of my MFA peers, the ones I walked across the stage with in Januray *sniff*

We're called The Front Row because, shocker, that's where we always sat during lectures and stuff.

Awww - look at these awesome jerks


Anyway, I blog fairly regularly and so do my pals, so were tying a new blog series where we take a topic and write about it.

I took Monday, (because it's super easy for me to blog on Mondays) and the theme this time is WHERE WE WRITE.

I used to write kind of all over the place.

Well, I used to write on the couch with my laptop and my pups on either side of me. It was great. But also distracting because the TV was right there and sometimes Brother plays video games.

And, I mean, I can write while watching TV or video games, I just am not very prolific when all that's going on.

And over the last 5 or so years, I've gotten away from writing on the weekends (unless I really have time (which, let's get serious, I never have time for anything anymore. I am busy busy busy)) and I pretty much never write in the evenings (I think the last time I did serious evening writing was in 2009, the first time I did NaNo. I would come home from work, sit on the couch and punch out my 1600 words. But that was back when I had a 1.5 hour commute (one way) so a lot has changed since then)

So now, I pretty much do all my writing at my desk.

Which is good. I love my desk.



I've talked before about how it's an uplift, so I can raise it up to stand if I want.
But it also has a ton of space. I have my little netbook on there, to keep my gmail open (this is a habit I developed during my years of querying and it has stuck fast) my current notebook for whatever novel I'm working on, knick knacks (of course) and a box to the right which is filled both with used notebooks and folders, as well as brand new notebooks and folders for whenever I need one.

Also, the windows are great (except for when it's really cold in the winter, or when the sun hits the screen during a certain time of year) because I can watch the birds at the birdfeeders.

So, yeah. That's my writing space!

Here's the schedule for the rest of the Front Rower's posts:

Tuesday: Josh
Wednesday: Zack
Thursday: Jessica
Friday: Brita
Saturday: Jennifer
Sunday: Anna

Monday, April 18, 2016

In Which I Did An Awesome Reading

Man, it's finally getting warm here and that is so awesome. Put all the plants outside, got the patio furniture out, set up the fountain and might have to think about mowing the lawn next weekend.

Good Times.

Last Sunday I did a reading for Second Story.

Second Story is this great series held at a local writing center here in the Twin Cities called The Loft (it's an awesome place and I'll be teaching a teen class there this summer and I'm SO EXCITED.)

Second Story takes an established author and a newbie author (me this time) and pairs them up. They do a reading, then there's a Q&A and then themed snacks and a signing.

The best part is, it's offered free of charge. And when I started attending the Second Story readings a few years ago, I desperately wanted to be invited to be a reader one day.

And then that day arrived!




I was paired up with author S.A. Bodeen who writes great books about survival situations (being trapped in a compound, being trapped on a raft at sea, getting kidnapped. Check her out, her books are great!)


 

I even got my own reserved parking space! (I was going to get a pic of that, but forgot)

The reading was fun. I tried something new and read an action scene and that went well. Then I signed books, and after everything I hung out with some friends to do some writing, then we went to a bar across the street for some snacks.

One more check off the bucket list!

How have you awesome peeps been?
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