Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oh, the horror . . . the horror . . . ?

I spent a few hours at some book stores earlier today. While I'm probably contributing in some small way to the decline of the brick-and-mortar shops by shopping for most of my books online, I still like to visit the local Borders (this one is not closing) and Powell's. They're right down the street from one another, and about a 20-minute drive from my home. Today I spent more money at Borders than Powell's; I actually spent more than I had planned at either.

I have a few sections I always hit when I go to a bookstore, but I always end with a stroll through the genre shelves. Both Borders and Powell's have a Horror section . . . but I found more horror titles in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy sections as well. I've gotten used to seeing the "paranormal romance" and "urban fantasy" titles in the "safer" non-Horror section, but it struck me harder today when I came across a number of books that were clearly about monsters and such shelved no where near the Horror section. Something like Monster Hunter International opens with its main character almost getting killed by a werewolf! Yet, the books filled with all sorts of things that go bump in the night are packed far away from the Horror titles.

If it means that more people might read these horror titles, than that's a good thing, right? But on the other hand, it still struck me as off-putting. As a writer/reader of horror fiction, I suppose I can take some satisfaction in knowing that for whatever reason, a horror book might somehow sneak itself into the hands of someone who wouldn't be caught dead reading something that shares shelf space with Lovecraft, Barker (pre-Abarat) or Straub.

But I think I'd be happier if all these paranormal-investigator-women-wearing-tight-leather-pants-on-the-cover books could serve as a sort of gateway into the genre proper.

I suppose I should just be happy that these two stores still have Horror sections.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Check-In

One of the ways I plan on keeping myself on-track with the goals I set forth for myself for 2011 is by checking in here once every month or so to record my progress.

Health. Honestly, I've not done what I needed to do . . . yet. I can make some excuses - the most valid being that I got hit with a very nasty cold that took me out of commission for almost two weeks in January. Brenda got hit by the same cold, but it hit her about a week into my "cold-ness," so we had some overlap between varying stages of health around our home. It made it very difficult to be overly active. I've started making progress this month, though, in terms of making regular trips to the gym a reality.

Podc
asting. MOZ is going strong, and we were just nominated for a Rondo Award! (So go vote, will ya'?) We're also gearing up for our annual Dead Letter Awards, and we've got some fun plans for this year's zombie movie/media awards show. (So go vote, will ya'?)

Writing.
The novel-in-progress started having some problems . . . or maybe I had some problems with it . . . whatever the case, it's been pushed further back into my brain while I work on some other writing projects. In fact, today I just submitted a short story to a publisher that's collecting stories for an anthology! My short story goal was to have four short stories completed and submitted by the end of the year, so I'm fairly pleased with myself so far. (As far as this short story is concerned, the hardest part will be waiting to hear back from the editor!)

I've joined a private online writers' group (if three people can be considered a group!), and while I haven't posted any of my own work for critique yet (that'll be happening in a few weeks - more on that in a moment), I've still learned about my own craft through sharing with others, critiquing their work, etc. And it's fun!

I am feeling a pull slightly away from horror, which is something I've struggled with for a LONG time. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE horror, but as I've mentioned before (on previous blogs, Facebook, message boards, wherever), growing up, I wasn't allowed to watch horror movies or read horror fiction, so I turned to Star Wars and fantasy instead. I've pretty much gotten over Star Wars at this point, but up until a few years ago, for every three horror novels I read, I'd read one fantasy novel. It's just part of my upbringing and reading development, so I can't imagine I'll ever be completely away from it. Besides, Robert E. Howard is one of my favorite writers, so it's not like I don't have a love of sword-and-sorcery sifting through my veins.

So I have this short story I wrote a few years ago. A few beta readers gave it a look-see. I made a few changes . . . then sat on it. I've been thinking a LOT about the main character in that short story, and want to revisit him. I feel like getting this short as polished as possible and cast into the world is the best thing I can do for him, so that's next. My primarily-horror-fiction-writing group has agreed to take a look at the story, so I'm happy about that.

But I'm not getting away from horror at all. The short story I just submitted features a character I've written about before; he appeared in one of the stories that appeared in Dark: A Horror Anthology, and I have more stories to tell about him . . . including two novel-length tales.

Other. I've not read as much as I would have liked. I'm almost through a non-fiction book right now, and about 1/3 through a novel. I've never been someone who can read more than one piece of long fiction at once, so I'm a little behind here.

Movie-wise, I've watched a greater diversity of films in the first month-and-a-half of 2011 than I have in previous years (one of my favorites so far this year has been, for better or worse, Policewomen!), and have managed to get a number of zombie movies in at the same time for MOZ, which has been good. I've been listening to more non-film-related podcasts, and have even been dipping my toes back into comics a bit more than I have over the past few years.

So far, I can see that 2011 hasn't been a bust, and I'm happy about that!

Onward and upward, right? Now, I just need to make sure I don't stay up too late tonight - I need to get up early enough to hit the gym tomorrow morning before work!