Friday, October 10, 2008
Today I'm interviewing Helen Ginger, Author, Editor and Ex-Mermaid.
If you weren't a writer, what would you do?
I used to teach public speaking at San Antonio College and also taught at Incarnate Word College. I really enjoyed teaching, but quit a month before my first child. So, if I weren't writing, I'd probably go back to teaching at the college level.
Where do you like to go to do your best work?
I have to have quiet so I work in my office and sometimes have to close the door to block out voices in the house. I spent four weeks at the Vermont Studio Center on a writing fellowship I received from the Brown Foundation. I had my own room with writing table and my meals were served in a communal setting with other artists. All I had to do was write. That was an amazing experience and my most productive stretch ever.
Do you listen to music or prefer silence?
Silence, although I can write with soft music in the background, but no words. If there are words in the song, I start to listen to it and sing it in my head. Then I can't hear my thoughts or the characters' voices.
What kind of research do you do for a project?
Depends on the project. I do a lot of Internet research. I check out or get books on certain subjects. Sometimes I look for travel books if I'm writing about an area too far away to physically visit. If it's a nonfiction project, I might travel to do interviews or other research.
What resources do you find most helpful?
Clearly the Internet. What did we ever do without it? Not just for looking up information, but for making a connection with people who can answer questions.
Which character you've created would you say is most like you?
There's a bit of me in all of them. The character I'm writing now may be most like me. Not in age – this is my first attempt at a young adult book. But she's like me in that she has a single parent and works hard to keep his trust and respect. She's stronger than I was at that age, though, and more adventuresome.
What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, definitely. Cross stitch. I tried knitting, but just could not loosen up. No matter how I tried or how big the needles were, my stitches were so tight I couldn't get the needles through. I used to do ceramics, even had my own kiln. Now I seem to sit my rear at the computer and not get up until I have to quit.
How does your family feel about your writing career?
My husband is very supportive. He always has been.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write?
Humor. I can write from the viewpoint of the serial killer as he's killing. I can write scenes that make even me bawl. But funny? That's difficult.
If there was one thing you could change about your work, what would it be?
A bigger desk and more time in the day. Honestly, I need a bigger desk and it's not like my desk is tiny. It's just covered and I need more room. And more time, of course. I have my own writing, my blog and another which is a co-op blog of editors, and my newsletter. Then there's networking online which takes up a chunk of each day. As a freelance editor, I edit for authors. Each manuscript takes time since I work through it at least three times. I'm also on call for two different companies to do edit and marketing work.
Do you have a website or blog? Tell us about it.
I have both.
My website is http://helenginger.com. A lot of it is information about me, but it also lets readers know about the free weekly e-newsletter, Doing It Write, I've been writing for 9 years now. I also have a page about the editing work I do for other writers.
Then I have two pages for writers, one listing contests and one listing events. Then there are several pages of Writers Resources. Two of the websites pages have nothing to do with writing. I've belonged to a Bunco group for over twenty years. Those pages tell about our group then give recipes gathered from the group – really delicious recipes, I might add.
My blog is called Straight From Hel. It, like my site, is geared toward writers. Almost every post is about writing, the publishing business or writing events. Occasionally I'll get tagged and write something about myself, but probably 95% of the blog is about writing. You can find Straight From Hel at http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com
What's the biggest mistake that new authors make?
Not spending more time editing before they start querying and not spending time prepping to promote as they write the book.
Edit, edit, edit. Vet it through a critique group or trusted readers. Let it sit after you've written it, then go back and read it again. If you can afford it, send it to a freelance editor like me.
Thanks for stopping by, Helen. It’s been a blast.
And, don’t miss a chance to read Helen’s blog, Straight From Hel at http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I’m a freelance editor, book consultant, and writer. I teach public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops.
In addition, my free ezine, Doing It Write!, http://helenginger.com/diw.htm, which goes out to subscribers around the globe, is now in its ninth year of publication.
I'm also an Owner/Partner and the Women’s Marketing Director for Legends In Our Own Minds®. http://www.legendsinourownminds.com/
Of course, what I get asked about most often are my three years as a mermaid at Aquarena Springs. Swimming with a shimmery tail, picnicking underwater, performing synchronized ballet, blowing air bubbles ... all year round, even in the winter.
I'm actively involved in the writing community. I was the Executive Director of the Writers' League of Texas from 2003 - 2005. Currently, I serve as a Committee Chair for the Texas Book Festival, and volunteer as a gift wrapper for the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship fund.
Stop by her web page at http://helenginger.com/
Stop by tomorrow and hear her talk about her career, with advice on editing your work, and what every new author should look out for.
Subject: new reviews
Cthulhu Australis, Volume Two
by David Conyers
Reviewed by Jeff Edwards
by William King
Reviewed by Kevin Lumley
DS9: Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers
by James Swallow
Reviewed by David Roy
Sirens of Titan
by Kurt Vonnegut
Reviewed by Ron Sanders
by Sam Enthoven
Reviewed by Jennifer Hairfield
by Elizabeth Moon
Reviewed by S. J. Higbee
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Her twitter link is
1. Ooo, random. okay, I love dogs. Especially chuahuahuas.
2. Cussedness, my very good friend, is the owner/publisher of Davrana Enterprises, and handles all of my novels. Cool, huh?
3. I have been putting off updating my web site for almost a year. Bad ghost.
4. I love lolcats, and try to post them in my blogs at least once a week.
5. I love the work of indy writers and small press mags, and intervew them of review their work as often as I can.
6. I love to play sim video games like pikman, harvest moon, ect., where you can build or solve puzzles.
And now I'm tagging these friends who may either post six random things about anything at their own blogs, or post here and relate their comments to reading and writing, or both. ;)
We all know you can crosspost.;)
Here are my six.
Friday, September 26, 2008
After having been a straight-A student, Karina Fabian has made a career of Fs: Family, Faith, Fiction and Fun. Karina's writing career began with writing about parenting issues, the Catholic faith, and artists and community leaders. She's written for over 50 publications, including newspapers, magazines of all sizes and radio. She doesn't just write about family, but with her family. She wrote three craft books for a EcceHomo Press by using her kids to test, create and model the crafts. She and her husband, Robert, write science fiction stories while on dates.
After having been a straight-A student, Karina Fabian has made a career of Fs: Family, Faith, Fiction and Fun.
Karina's writing career began with writing about parenting issues, the Catholic faith, and artists and community leaders. She's written for over 50 publications, including newspapers, magazines of all sizes and radio.
She doesn't just write about family, but with her family. She wrote three craft books for a EcceHomo Press by using her kids to test, create and model the crafts. She and her husband, Robert, write science fiction stories while on dates.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I've always wanted to write and dabbled with stories from the time I was in elementary school. However, in 1996, after getting out of the Air Force active duty (I was still in the reserves), and going a little stir-crazy with two kids at home, I decided to really devote myself to my dream.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Too often, I heard writers answer this question with, "Never give up" or other well-meaning but not useful comments. The fact is, writing is a job, like any other job. You need to learn how to do it, how to market your works and yourself. No one owes you anything just because you wrote a story or a book, no matter how good you think it is. Learn the business.
Set goals; set hours. Plumbers don’t stop working because they "aren't inspired." Can't write a story? Write a press release; read a book about writing, edit something--or sit down and make yourself write out the scene, even if it's the worst piece of prose you ever slapped out on a keyboard. You can always fix it.
What is the best thing about being an author? The worst?
Best thing: Seeing my stories come to life on the page, seconded only by hearing my kids laugh when I read one to them.
Worst thing: Dealing with the business side of getting published. I'm not a good business person.
What person has helped you the most in your career?
My husband. He's the one I go to when I'm stuck for an idea, need to bounce a scene or a letter off someone, get a fact straight, or cant' think of the perfect name, event or place for something. He has a brilliant mind, a quirky sense of humor and my taste in literature.
What's the best piece of advice you ever had on writing?
Don't take rejection personally. Editors reject manuscripts for thousands of reasons, from it doesn't fit their guidelines to they just hired someone else to write that idea to they don't need another gun-slinging vampire romance. It's a business, not a power play. If you keep that in mind, you can take any advice they have, and move on to the next submission.
When was your first publication?
I was a Freshman in college and wrote an article on my uncle's cogenerator business. I'd done it for a technical writing class and sold it to North American Co-Gen for $125. I was thrilled. My first fiction sale was to Aberrations. I got $14 and they never printed the story. I sold it again later. My first anthology sale was "DragonEye, PI" to Firestorm of Dragons, and it's my favorite to date, as I've written many stories and novels in the DragonEye universe.
What are you working on right now?
I'm editing Live and Let Fly: From the Case Files of DragonEye, PI, a novel coming out in 2009 by Swimming Kangaroo. In November, I'll finish my sci-fi novel, Discovery. I'm also shopping around Asylum Psychic, a fantasy, and compiling a second volume of Catholic SF, Infinite Space, Infinite God II.
What is your favorite genre to write? To read? Authors and books in that genre?
Science Fiction and Fantasy are still my favorites to write and read, though for reading, I've been branching out lately into other forms of literature, from chic-lit to mystery to straight literary.
Favorite authors: Madeleine L'Engle, Mercedes Lackey (though mostly her earlier stuff), Robert Asprin's Myth series, and of course, Terry Pratchett.
complete bio and interview on http://ghostwhisper.proboards29.com/index.cgi?board=talktotheauthors
www.fabianspace.com, where you'll find info about her, her writing and her eclectic writing/homeschooling/humor/just-gotta-say-it blog
www.virtualbooktourdenet.blogspot.com, where she'll gladly advertise your book if you'll return the favor to someone else
www.dragoneyepi.net, where you can learn more about the fantasy noir dragon detective Vern, his partner Sister Grace, and the world of Dragon Eye, PI.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
MEAT the movie – full steam ahead!
Current mood: Proud
In principle, the optioning of MEAT has been on the cards since February when Antshake producer, Sean Kelly, first read the novel and decided he wanted to make it into a film. The whole process became bogged down when we reached the paperwork stage, slowing progress considerably. I'm happy to announce that we finally signed our agreement (with rusty scalpel tips dipped in our own blood) yesterday. Development now begins in earnest.
Scouting for locations has already started, as have plans for casting and raising finance. Fans of MEAT with a hankering for big screen notoriety may get the chance to appear as extras – there's a possibility we may hold a competition later on to see who's suitable so watch this space.
I'm delighted to be working with producers Sean and Kath of Antshake and John Costello – a script writer with serious talent whose writing classes I used to attend. For an author to be included in development and consulted on the script is a very, VERY rare thing indeed. It practically never happens. So I can tell you with hand on heart that I am utterly ecstatic to be involved from the ground up in this project.
More news, as it happens, right here…
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
You are 48 %Treasurer, have 71% Seafairability, crave 65% Bloodlusting, and lust 32% in Wenchwanting!
Captain Moody you scalleywag, you! You crave only two things in life, bathing in the blood of your victims and sailing the high seas. While these two are good in themselves, you need to expand your horizons to your whores and plunder. I know you enjoy the fear your name and flag brings to Merchant Vessels, Royal Navy Officers, and Privateers; red meaning no quarter given and your idea of a symbolic sick joke: 'Your Time Alive Flies Away by the Hand of my Sword'. The truth is, Moody, anyone can be a good sailor and kill his enemies, but to be a real pirate you need to rape and pillage, and you're just not cutting it.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
SFReader is pleased to offer reviews on speculative fiction novels and anthologies (all flavors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror). We don't review other genres (such as mystery, western, romance, etc.).
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* you send an email to Pete with the aforementioned information
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* The reviewers, who go over the list regularly, see a book they want, and hey, if it's yours, yippee!
* Pete then gets hold of the book's contact person, and tells them where to send the book.
* End result – if chosen, the book only gets mailed once, and if not chosen, publisher or author need not mail the book at all.
Make sure and read the page itself and the special notes before sending your book:
By: Andrea Allison
Leyla searched for months to find the perfect office to start writing her new novel. Her apartment was too small and uninspiring. Moreover, she hated to be cooped up all day. She stood before a grotesque building, staring at her new professional haven. The rest of the block was new. Most of the other buildings had been restored to their former glory days, but this one was never touched. Interesting enough, no one seemed to mind either. It was as if they accepted it as the odd one out, which made it that much more appealing to her.
"Hellooo? Leyla?” Raina said. “Wake up, girl. According to you, we have a lot of work to do."
“Sorry, it’s just so mesmerizing. Don’t you think?”
"What planet are you from?” Raina said. “Here on Earth this is a Hilton for the homeless. The other buildings are laughing at it."
"So, it's not fancy. But it's cheap and close to my apartment. Besides, you haven't even seen the room yet. It has lots of potential.”
“If you say so.’ Raina rolled her eyes.
They approached the front door guarded by two eroded granite sculptures. As they walked through the lobby, Leyla examined the room which played host to scattered trash, peeling wallpaper, and broken furniture. It looked like a tornado swept through, and no one bothered to clean up.
“This place is really growing on me,” Raina said.
“Will you please stop with the sarcastic comments?”
Raina put up her hands in surrender.
“Thank you. The stairs are this way.”
“Stairs? You didn’t say anything about stairs. What’s wrong with the elevator?”
"Well...it's kind of broken. It's only a few stairs. You'll barely break a sweat," Leyla said, biting her lower lip. Raina reluctantly nodded and followed her to the stairway.
As they climbed, Raina complained, "Oh, sure. It's only a few stairs. I feel like I'm climbing a tower. You couldn’t tell me about this yesterday?”
"I know, and I'm sorry. But look at it this way. It's exercise," Leyla said, panting heavily. “We only have one more flight to go.”
They struggled up the last few stairs like toys winding down. After taking a short breather, they proceeded down the narrow, graffiti-covered hall. "Here we are." As Leyla slid the key into the lock, she continued, "Raina, prepare to be amazed." She tried to turn it but the key wouldn't move. Leyla jiggled the knob until it finally gave. The door squeaked as it swung opened.
"Oh! What is that funky smell?” Raina said, masking her nose and mouth. “Did an animal die in here or what?"
"Ummm...no. The smell is new." Leyla dashed to the window. She pulled and pulled, pleading for it to open. The window finally released its grip. "Maybe if it airs out for a little while, the smell won’t be so bad. Other than that, what do you think?”
Torn floral wallpaper exposed the dull lime color paint. Unidentifiable stains tainted the hardwood floor. The only object occupying the room was an old radiator nestled in a corner.
"Well...," she shrugged and continued, "I guess it has potential. But do you really want to put money in to transforming this place?”
"I understand what you're saying, but I still want to do this. It's not going to cost all that much. The electricity is already connected and there is a decent restroom down the hall. All I have to do is take down the wallpaper and add a few coats of paint. Strip the floor and polish it. Have a phone and DSL line installed. I have all the furniture I need in storage. It is going to be great when it's finished. I just know it.”
For the next week, Leyla and Raina worked inexhaustibly making the room presentable. After Leyla finished painting the window trim, she laid the brush across an open paint can while watching Raina reveal the refinished floor.
“What do you want me to do with these sheets?” Raina asked.
"Just put them in a pile somewhere. Since we're almost finished, how about I go and get us something to eat.”
“I’ll go. The paint fumes are starting to get to me.”
"All right. Could you put these extra brushes in the car, please?" Leyla asked, handing the brushes to her. "Wait. I have one more." She walked over to the paint cans near the window. "That's odd.”
“What’s wrong?” Raina joined her. “What? It’s just a can of paint.”
“Yes, but I just laid a paint brush on it a second ago. Now it’s gone.”
“Are you sure? Maybe you already gave it to me.”
"No. I set it right here," she said, pointing to the can. "Things have gone missing all week. First, the trash bags, then an entire can of paint, and now a paint brush. What's next?”
“Don’t worry about it. I think someone has been stealing out stuff,” Raina said.
"I don't know." Leyla sat down, arms crossed against her chest. She took a few deep breaths.
“Calm down, girl. It’s no big deal.”
"I know. But I think it's a sign. I feel that maybe my dream is turning into a disaster. Yeah, the supply disappearances are pretty trivial. But what if this is just the beginning of something worse?”
"I don't think I've ever seen you like this. What happened to that happy, confident girl last week?”
"I don't know. It seems like the more time I spend in this room, the more depressed I feel,” Leyla said, wiping a tear from her cheek.
"How about we get out of here for a little while. Let’s go get a few slices of pizza at Joe’s. We’ll finish this later.”
Leyla knew going out would do her some good, but an overwhelming feeling convinced her not to. “You go. I’ll stay here and maybe clean up a bit or unload a few boxes from the car.”
“Are you sure?”
“Ok. I’ll be back. Don’t have too much fun without me,” Raina said, winking.
Leyla didn't acknowledge her friend's reluctant exit. Instead, she began packing up supplies. As she was packing up, Leyla noticed a small box hidden under a metal folding chair. "Where did this come from?" A black light sat nestled inside the mysterious box. It couldn't hurt to see if this room had any secrets. She turned off the lights and pulled down the shade. Positioning herself in the middle of the room, she flipped the switch.
“Don’t tell me it needs batteries,” she said, shaking it vigorously until it finally worked.
She examined every aspect of the room. Leyla couldn’t believe what she found.
An hour passed before Raina returned. Leyla waited patiently on the floor with the black light clenched against her chest.
After switching the light on, Raina asked, "What are you doing sitting in the dark? Better yet, why are you on the floor and what is in your hand?”
“Turn off the light,” she mumbled, gazing at the wall.
“Why? What’s going on?”
"Turn the light off now." Raina hesitantly flipped the switch. Once the room was dark, Leyla turned the black light on again.
“Oh my god. What is that?”
“I’m not sure,” Leyla muttered, “but I think it’s blood.”
"Are you sure it's blood and not paint or something? What language is that?" Raina asked, admiring the hidden words.
"I read somewhere that the only way to see blood undetectable by the naked eye is with a black light. I think it’s someone’s diary.”
“What language is it? Do you know what it says?”
"Yeah, it’s Spanish." Leyla stood and shone the light on a particular section. La angustia es tortura en el alma de una persona. Usted sufiria apenas como tengo.
“And that means what?”
Leyla ran her finger under each word as she translated. "Basically it means: Heartbreak is torture on a person’s soul. You will suffer just as I have.”
"Oh please. This is just some stupid prank. Didn't this building used to be a college dorm at one time?”
"Yeah, in the 80s I think. I don't think this is the product of a bored teenager, Raina. I can't explain it, but something is really off about all this.”
"Whatever," Raina said, stumbling her way to the light. "I think the paint fumes are starting to get to you, Leyla. Let’s call it a day. We can go to RJ’s, have a few drinks and flirt with some guys. It’ll be fun.”
“What? No. I’m not leaving. Not after finding this,” Leyla said, sitting on the floor.
“Are you crazy? I’m not leaving you here.” Raina struggled to pull Leyla to her feet, but she wouldn’t budge.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Leyla said, folding her arms like an angry child. “If you want to leave, just leave then. I’ll be fine.” A voice in the back of her mind told her to go with Raina but she couldn’t shake the urge to stay.
Raina pleaded for her friend to come with her but Leyla stood firm with her decision.
“Fine. Stay then. It won’t be my fault if something bad happens to you. I don’t know why I even try anymore,” Raina said.
Leyla watched her friend storm out of the room. She felt like a ferocious dog ready to attack. But once Raina was gone, Leyla's anger disappeared. What just happened? It felt like someone took complete control of her thoughts. Leyla dashed to the door, desperately trying to open it. The knob wouldn’t budge.
"Not again. Come on. Open." As she tugged on it, Leyla noticed a shadow creeping up the door, slowly swallowing it. Her heart pounded like a drum. Her breath accelerated. Leyla backed away. The room’s temperature dropped with every step she took.
Suddenly, the air became very heavy, making it a bit difficult to breath. Something brushed against her shoulder. Leyla spun around. Nothing was there. A cool breeze swept passed her. She made another full circle. The dark figure broke away from the door. It crept slowly toward her, changing form. Leyla tried to scream but nothing came out.
She fell against the wall and slid down. Curling into a ball, she prayed for it to go away. Tears flowed down her cheeks. After a few minutes, Leyla pried her swollen eyes open. It was gone.
Leyla had no clue what happened and didn't care. She bolted to the door. "Please open!" Turning the knob, the door opened with ease. She sprinted down the hallway. Just as Leyla was about to enter the staircase, Raina climbed the remaining steps.
“Whoa. What’s wrong? Did someone attack you? I knew this was a bad idea.”
Before Leyla could speak, her mind started to spin. Her vision became obscured. Her legs buckled as she collapsed to the floor.
Leyla woke to bright lights and a killer headache. After adjusting her eyes, she began to analyze her surroundings. “Where am I?” she mumbled.
"You're in the hospital, sweetie," Raina said, holding her hand. "You passed out. How are you feeling?”
“Pretty much everything aches.”
"The doctor said you may have been exposed to some kind of gas leak. He said you should be fine in a day or two.”
“Gas leak? Are you sure?”
“Yeah, pretty sure. I bet you wish you went with me to get lunch.”
“Lunch? You saw what I saw, right? It wasn’t some hallucination, right? Right?”
“What are you talking about?”
“The missing stuff? The words written in blood on the wall? Any of this ring a bell?”
“I really don’t know what you’re talking about. I was stuck on Highway 59 since noon.”
“No, you were there. I know you were,” Leyla said. Her head began pounding harder.
“Leyla just rest now. We’ll talk about it later.”
Leyla closed her eyes. How could it not have happened? The eerie shadow was real. She knew it.
Leyla spent the next day in the hospital. She went back to her office after being released. Raina strongly advised her not to go, but Leyla had to see for herself that it was all just hallucinations.
As she entered the room, the false memories flooded her mind. Leyla searched for the black light, but couldn't find it. She went to a nearby store and bought one. Retracing her steps, Leyla turned the lights off and pulled down the shade. She switched on the black light. Shining it all around the room, she replied, "It's gone. All the words are gone." She couldn’t believe it.
After Raina turned the light on, she replied, "Leyla, I don’t think you're going to find what you're looking for. You should get your deposit back and find another space.”
No gas leak was ever found. Leyla knew her experience couldn’t have been just a hallucination. It was something more. Something supernatural. Leyla knew she should take Raina’s advice and give up the space, but she couldn’t. She felt like there was a piece missing. The first place to start finding answers is the walls of that room. Somewhere among those words is the key to unlocking the secret and Leyla is determine to do everything she can to discover it.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
The Afterblight Chronicles: Arrowhead
By Paul Kane
In a Post-Apocalyptic Future a Legend is Reborn.
In the years following The Cull England has reverted back to the Middle Ages, ripe for invasion by the Frenchman De Falaise and his group of mercenaries. They enter through the Channel Tunnel and work their way up the country. Ex-policeman Robert Stokes lost everything to the virus that ravaged these isles. Along with his wife and his son, it took Robert's whole reason for living. Retreating into the woods and forests near Nottingham, he has become a hunter, living off the land and avoiding any form of human contact until now. Pockets of survivors are now attempting to build up small communities.
But when De Falaise arrives at Nottingham, proclaiming himself the new ‘Sheriff’, Robert finds himself drawn reluctantly into the fight, using the famous legend of a Hooded Man as his guide.
Part of Abaddon’s Afterblight Chronicles (The Culled, Kill or Cure, School’s Out, Dawn Over Doomsday) this exciting new adventure, combining the best in action, heroism and SF, comes from multiple British Fantasy Award nominee Paul Kane, author of The Lazarus Condition and 'Dead Time', the story upon which Lionsgate/NBC’s Fear Itself episode ‘New Year’s Day’ was based (adpated by Steve '30 Days of Night' Niles and directed by Darren 'SAW II-IV' Bousman).
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Hello! I am Bhaswati Ghosh, the person behind Talk Text. A little about me and my work:
Working across a wide range of writing/editing related job profiles over the past eleven years has helped me develop a variety of writing styles. I have worked in television (news and features) as an assistant producer writing scripts for news stories, as a content developer for a children’s portal, and in editorial positions at a couple of publishing houses. I have a master’s degree in English literature.
My working style is transparent and collaborative. I always keep the channels of communication open with people I work for. This helps me receive feedback at every stage of a particular assignment and keeps the clients satisfied. A win-win scenario for you and me.
Qualified as Master of Arts in English from Annamalai University .
Graduated as Bachelor of Journalism from Delhi University .
Working as a freelance editorial consultant for students applying for higher studies abroad. Work involves editing student essays and providing consultation to students regarding the same.
EDITOR IN DORLING KINDERSLEY PUBLISHING HOUSE
Writing promotional articles for print publication.
1. Worked as a producer in ANI—a South-Asia based television news agency working in collaboration with Reuters.
2. Worked in Sahara India Television Network as Assistant Producer in the News and Current Affairs department.
3. Worked with Business India Television International (BITV) as Assistant Producer (NEWS) for a period of two and a half years.
4. Worked with Etcetera Communications, New Delhi as an Editorial Executive for two television shows—Writers at Work, and The Arts Quiz Show.
Worked as a Senior Writer with ‘Pitara Kids Network’.
* Feature story, On Angels' Wings
Published in Letters to My Mother anthology, Adams Media, F+W Publications.
* Feature article on writing memoirs
Published in ByLine Magazine , USA .
* Feature article on Modern School , New Delhi
Published in Teenage Buzz magazine, Orange , CA , USA .
* Feature article on the surfeit of news channels on Indian television
Published in Chowk—an online platform for debate and discussion on
issues concerning South Asia .
* Feature article on the state of theatre auditoria in Delhi
Published in The Pioneer.
* Review of a play by the Summer Theatre Workshop, Bal Bhawan, Delhi
Published in The Times of India.
* Feature article on contemporary Punjabi theatre and culture in the capital
Published in The Times of India.
* Interview with author Upamanyu Chatterjee
Published in The Times of India.
* Feature article on regional theatre in Delhi
Published in The Pioneer.
This month I am celebrating two years of my work-at-home status. There’s reason for celebration, too. Besides enabling me to earn from the convenience of my bedroom desktop (or any-room laptop, as the case may be), these two years have seen me gain good health—something that eluded me during my decade-long affair with office jobs. The past two years have revealed to me how working at home can actually be a godsend when it comes to acquiring a healthy lifestyle. I have discovered that freelancers working from homes have an edge over their office-going counterparts in the keeping healthy department.
From Calling in Sick... Permanently
WHY (Work.Home.You) Magazine, Nov-Dec 2007
Writing about your past can be painful and scary in places. Some of it may be hard to even write out, let alone share with the world. Don't let that make you selective about memory; that's only a form of denial in my opinion. The resulting book may be superbly written, but it won't be sincere. And that will show. Rather, like a talented writer friend of mine always suggests, "Write as if no one will ever read your book." Be uninhibited and non-judgmental. Many writers will attest to the cathartic powers of writing. This is particularly true in the case of memoir writing. Show integrity to your vocation as a writer; even if it hurts, do put it down on paper. You may be startled to find out how liberating that can be. Not only that; writing with abandon would make you more compassionate toward others. No matter how biased you are; when you observe your story from a distance (created by time), you end up getting a better perspective on others' actions that may have seemed repugnant and hurtful at the time they happened.
From Penning the Past
ByLine Magazine, January 2007
For more than five decades, she has kept her date with Indian masses and classes alike. She’s bulky and imposing, accomodating and comfortable, steady and faithful. No wonder, in an age when things change within a matter of seconds, she has held court unfailingly. Meet the Ambassador or ‘Amby’ as she is affectionately called, India’s very own brand of car. She happens to be one of the most important icons of post-independence India, with the honour of being the official carrier of the country’s politicians and bureaucrats. She is to India what Chevrolet is to America and Holden to Australia. The only thing foreign about her is the original design, which was based on the British Morris Oxford of 1948.
From What’s in a Car? India’s Tryst with Amby
Dispatch Literary Ezine, June 2006
Every morning, a large human mass gravitates toward various offices in the bustling Connaught Place (CP), the most happening commercial center in New Delhi, India’s capital city. Amidst this giant mass of office goers stream in a few thousand young people, ready to shape their future in a place called Modern School. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, this expansive structure is hardly as imposing as many of the buildings in the area. But for more reasons than one, it stands out.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
by Janrae Frank
How do you describe a forest? Green, towering trees, and loveliness? Let me describe for you a forest as I have known it. A forest forlorn and without hope, and yet it drew me irresistibly into its bosom, and embraced me in a way both carnal and arcane, marking my life forever.
My father was King Carles of Gormond's Reach – my brother William rules now – but that's another tale. At the time of my story, I was sixteen. Ah, what that was like! There was a wildness in my soul that could not be quenched. My father wished to make a proper match for me, a king, a prince, or a duke. But I would have none of them. King Vansolo of Minnoras was too hairy. Prince Marcellus of Shaurone was too slight of build. Duke Lachlan laughed like an old woman. Freeholder Euen of Darr was too rough mannered. I found fault with them all. So my father sent me off to his least favorite hunting lodge to meditate upon my choices. And that is where it all begins.
I leaned out the deep-set window ledge of my room and stared at the forest. On the west side of the stream, the forest was green and what you would normally expect it to be; on the east side of the stream, it was dark, always dark – from as far back as I could remember. Even the leaves were black despite the thickness of the foliage. It was not dead, yet it did not live. Yes, I know that is a contradiction – I know no other way to describe it.
My father sent me here whenever he was unhappy with me. That forest had always both frightened and attracted me in manner which grew into an obsession as I matured. I often fancied that there was something out there looking back at me.
"You can't spend all day staring out the window," said Mina, my ladies' maid.
I turned and gave her a nasty smile. "I can do anything I wish." On impulse, I rephrased it. "I can do anything I damn well please."
Mina's sky-blue eyes blinked in startlement and then she snapped back at me. "That's not ladylike. That's not ladylike at all."
"Oh, don't be so prim! I'm stifling in here. I want to go outside."
I roved the room, running my fingers along the furniture.
"We're not supposed to go out. You're supposed to be thinking."
"I'll think better outside, Mina."
I didn't dislike Mina exactly, but I disliked my father's reason for sending for her. She was my cousin, my father's sister's daughter. He had asked her to set me an example for good behavior since none of the governesses he had provided had been able to handle me. Mina was considered one of the true beauties of the court with her pale translucent skin and creamy hair, delicate features and slender frame. They called me handsome because I was everything that Mina wasn't. I had my father's strong features and heavy bones, his cinnamon hair and dark skin. The only feature I got from my late mother was her eyes like large turquoise stones well polished.
Mina crossed her arms. "Well I don't wish to go out."
"Then you're my jailor and I'll treat you as such!" I flounced to a sofa and threw myself down on it with my head turned away from her. "If I go mad from boredom, what are you going to tell my father?"
"You're just being childish," Mina said, following me to the couch.
"No, I'm not."
"Yes, you are, Marian."
"I'm suffocating!" I fled to the window again to stare at the darkened forest. Did I see movement beneath those black trees? What could possibly be out there? I felt this overpowering urge to ride there and see for myself. The wind shifted as I stood there and a breeze wafted from that forest to my window with a scent that made my body shiver. It was intensely sweet, and yet, odd. Like the sweetness of a lotus wrapped around a freshly opened orange on a tabletop spread with rose petals. Call me mad, if you will – they all do – but that was how it smelled.
And then I heard the voice. At first I thought I was hearing it with my ears, and then I realized that I wasn't. It was inside my head somehow. "Come to me, Marian. Come to my arms and know joy. Your true one awaits."
I trembled violently and felt chill, although the day was warm. "I want to go outside."
"We could walk in the courtyard," Mina suggested.
"No, I want to go outside. I want to go riding."
"Your father says you are to stay within the lodge until you come to a decision.
We argued, but in the end Mina won and I lost.
That night I lay tossing and turning on my bed, consumed with the need to see what lay beneath those forest eves. The night was cool, but I was hot, feverish with a desperate longing. I dreamed of a man waiting at the edge of the forest for me. He was more handsome that I ever believed a man could be. He had black hair that hung past his waist and an arrogant, wild glance that spitted me to the core. His shoulders were broad, his waist narrow, and his hips perfection atop his shapely legs.
"Come to me, Marian. Come to me, my one true love. You want no other. You know it. You have always known it."
I woke from my dream disturbed, my loins wet. I went to the window and peered out at the forest. There he was, limned in the silvery light of the full moon, motioning for me. Reason left me. I could think of nothing, save that I must go to him.
"Come quickly," came his voice in my head.
I did not bother to dress, simply wrapping my robe around me and stole from my suite. It was a snap to elude the guards on watch, I had done it often enough as a child, and went down into the courtyard. The gardens were in two sections and I slipped through a rose bower. Along the wall was the secret gate that my brother and I had found years ago. Ivy had grown over it, but I ran my fingers along until I found the tiny crack that held the locking mechanism. I thrust my finger through and the gate creaked softly open. To my dismay, the gate caught and would not open completely. It must have gone without care for much too long. I sucked in my tummy, and pressed my breasts down with my hands as I squeezed through, scrapping my arms on the stones. My nightgown and dressing robe snagged, I pulled and they tore free. I wondered briefly how I would explain this to Mina.
Then I heard him calling again, and I forgot about Mina.
I ran to the place where scattered stones made a slippery path across the stream. The moonlight made the wet surface of the rocks gleam brightly. I skipped across them, thinking only of my lover to be, and reached the other side. He stood there, beckoning to me with outstretched arms, my dream made flesh.
My heart seemed to catch in my chest as I approached him at last. I stood before him, waiting for him to take me in his arms, to tell me his name�. And then he smiled�. And I saw his fangs.
"Oh, gods, no!" I screamed, snapping out of his spell at last. Mina had been right; I should never have left the lodge.
He grabbed me by my arm and ripped my gown open. I twisted, and kicked him between the legs. He howled in pain, and his hold loosened. I jerked away from him, and in confusion, fled into the forest.
Vampire, demon, or monstrous sa'necari necromancer, I knew not what, except that I had to escape. Yet instead of running back to the lodge, I thought only of hiding in the forest. I now realize how foolish that was. I could not escape him. I held my hems high to free my legs and ran for all that I was worth.
He caught me. His powerful hand closed on the back of my robe and ripped both it and the nightgown beneath it away. I screamed and flailed at him to no avail. He struck me on the back and sent me sprawling on my face. It hurt and I whimpered as I gained my hands and knees, trying to crawl away from him.
And that was when I saw the tree.
It was a tremendous tree sitting alone in the center of a tiny glade. And, wonder of wonders, it was green with a mahogany sheen to the bark. It seemed to glow in its own light and it beckoned to me, promising safety. I scanned the branches as I kicked again at my attacker. None of them appeared to be low enough for me to climb onto, and yet I felt compelled to go to it. I gathered myself and lunged away into the clearing.
"Come back to me," my false lover called.
But this time his spell could not ensnare me. I fled to the tree and wrapped my arms around it. Don't ask me how, I can't explain it. I still wonder, at times, if I imagined it, and yet, I couldn't have. But the branches dipped down and lifted me up, higher and higher until I was well out of my attacker's reach.
I could hear him raging beneath the tree, shaking his fists in impotent fury.
Then another voice spoke to me.
The tree spoke.
"Give me all that I wish of you and I will force him away. I will purify the forest, for I am divine."
I looked down at that ugly death-eater and pressed tighter to the tree. It seemed a simple decision. I could either be raped and probably killed by the fanged creature below or I could be molested by a tree. Either way, it was very clear that I was losing my maidenhead that night. I wondered what my father would say. Mina would be very unhappy with me. I heaved a great sigh. At least, I would not have to worry about suitors any longer: they all wanted a virgin.
"I'm yours," I told the tree.
Twigs like gentle fingers removed the remnants of my clothing, and to my amusement, dropped them on fangface. He called out curses and imprecations, but the tree ignored him. A soothing languor spread over me as the tree's fingers stroked my body. I arched back and rubbed against his bark, which smoothed to silk as I touched it. He – somehow I could not think of the tree in such an impersonal pronoun as it – pinched my nipples and kneaded my breasts. It had never felt this good when I did it for myself. My nipples became hard and erect. He tormented them into ecstasy.
I moaned in pleasure, and pressed my pelvis to his trunk. He cupped my buttocks with his many hands to support me, and a single finger probed the intimate door in my ass. An unimaginable thrill went through me as he worked deeper into my body. Suddenly I trusted him and no longer clutched in panic at the branches. Instead I slid my hands along his trunk and felt what? Sleek skin and powerful muscles and an intense aura of overpowering masculinity.
Fingers ran along my inner thighs and I quivered with anticipation. He seemed to have an infinite number of hands and long fingers, all bringing me to readiness to receive him in my most precious place. He pressed my clit and began working it until I wanted to scream and weep at the intensity of sensation that overloaded my awareness of self with lust. Then something long and thick and hard bumped the entrance to my womanhood, and I knew the moment had arrived.
He entered gently, tearing away my hymen in a thorough fashion. It hurt, but I wanted him inside me too much to mind the pain. His thrusts quickened, going satisfyingly deep and hard, touching all those seats of pleasure where I had dreamed of having a man. I sobbed when I came, and his seed spilled into me, filled me.
I rested for a time in his arms, and then we began again. In that way we whiled away the night.
At some point I fell asleep, and I awoke the next morning lying nude before the gates to the lodge. I felt something in my hand and spread my fingers. In it, hanging from a slender chain, lay the silver bear rune of Willodarus, God of the Woodlands and Wild Creatures.
Needless to say, the guards found me. I was bundled up and examined by the midwives. They Read me and saw that I was pregnant. I told them the story, but no one believed me.
The next day the black forest turned green.
I took a party of my guards into the forest. We found the clearing. My clothes lay were they had fallen. Yet, the tree was missing.
No one wanted me after that. The suitors disappeared. No one says it to my face, but I've heard the whispers of "Moonstruck Marion" spoken behind their hands.
My daughter is a striking child, if large for a girl, cinnamon-haired with sapphire eyes that seem to peer into your soul. I named her Nans. When she was a very solemn-eyed six-year-old, I gave my daughter the rune that her father had placed in my hand as I slept the morning that he left me at the gates to the lodge. I always believed that it was meant for her and not me.
They say that Nans is odd. She talks to the animals, and they obey her. She possesses incredible strength. She lifted a broken cart of stones off a man who had fallen beneath it – and she's only seven-years-old. If that does not mark her as a child of divinity, I do not know what would. I point this out to anyone who will listen, and while they humor me I can tell they don't believe me – and they call me mad when I try to describe what happened that night eight years ago.
about the author
Janrae Frank is the publisher, owner, and Lizard-in-Chief of Daverana Enterprises. She manages the business end of matters. Submissions should not be directed to her. Queries about PR materials and advertising should be directed to her.
Janrae started out in publishing thirty years ago with a sale to Amazons, the DAW anthology edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, which went on to win the 1980 World Fantasy Award for best anthology. She had a varied career ranging from journalism to editorial work, and has settled into her chosen profession as literary curmudgeon.
by Mark Orr
"He's here again."
"That guy over there. Creepy Joe."
"Why does he hang around here?"
"He likes emergency rooms."
"I asked him that once. He said it's like what Willy Sutton said when they asked why he robbed banks."
"He said, 'That's where they keep the money'."
"So, Creepy Joe said he hangs around emergency rooms because that's where they keep the pain."
SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
by Mark Orr
It may be that printing the instructions in Urdu was not a good idea. By the time Wilson Anderson finished putting together what started out to be a kid's bike, it was actually something altogether different.
Which is why the first time Junior hopped on and spun the pedals backwards while simultaneously holding down the right hand brake, the Tyrannosaurus Rex crossed 65 million years and showed up very unexpectedly on Main Street.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Ghostly Thirteen was inspired by the Thursday Thirteen meme. You list thirteen paranormal-related things like your top 13 posts (if you have a paranormal blog), mythical creatures, gods, haunted houses, etc...
My Theme - Paranormal Investigation equipment
1. Digital Thermometer - measures temperature changes
2. Electromagnetic Field Detectors - measures fluctuations in the electromagnetic field
3. K2 Meter - sometimes used to communicate with ghosts
4. Geiger Counter - measures fluctuations in radiation
5. Thermal Imaging Camera - uses infrared radiation to form images
6. Digital Audio Recorder - used to capture EVPs
7. Air quality monitoring equipment - measures levels of gases such as carbon dioxide in the air
8. Digital camera - used to capture visual manifestations such as orbs, apparitions, ectoplasm, etc...
10. Beam Barrier Alarm - creates an invisible beam. When the beam is broken, it triggers the alarm
11. Handheld Digital Cameras - used to document investigations
12. Dowsing Rods - two L-shaped, metal rods used to help indicate the presence of ghosts
13. 2 Way Radios - vital for keeping in contact with members of your group throughout investigations.
Labels: Ghostly Thirteen
August 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm (Uncategorized)
Before beginning today’s post, I have to do something which, hopefully, won’t happen too often. I need to give a kudos to the Old Monster. While I would normally avoid any advice from this source like holy water, I have to admit that the monster has hit the coffin-nail on the head with the August 17th column. Nothing is more frightening to a writer than scam publishers - as a rule, anyone asking YOU for money is a scam publisher or a scam editor or a vanity press.
My colleagues often believe that these bloodsuckers are useless, but my colleagues are mortals, with a limited outlook. I have had quite a few scam editors as guests of honor at my bloodbaths parties, and I can tell you that hot pokers and sharp objects are quite satisfying when used judiciously. Always remember that plastic sheeting is a good way to spare the Louis XIV upholstery.
Writing, we all know, is a poor and frustrating way to keep body and soul apart (mortals might see it as a way of keeping them together, but I lost my soul nearly a thousand years ago, and would be seriously put out if if came areound to bother me again). But what are the alternatives for the nicely aged undead?
The thing might be to to do what Jarvis did. Jarvis is my butler, and has held the position for the past couple of centuries. He is ideally suited for the position, as he is that rarest of creatures, a fat vampire, and makes for a perfect butler of the Wodehousian persuasion. So, if you are a bloodless creature with a tendency towards obesity, I highly recommend it. Well preserved Zombies are probably also a good bet here (by the way, and just as a pedantic aside, doesn’t it irritate you that all the move zombies are thin? Why, if much of the world has a weight problem, are there no fat zombies in the movies?). Jarvis’s duties include dusting the coffin and mopping up the blood, which are both light enough, although feeding the rabbit from hell, who doesn’t like him for various reasons too lengthy to go into here, is heavier going.
But what if you’re one of those creatures who just doesn’t clean up that well, or looks ridiculous in a tux (werewolves, regardless of what you may have seen in the movies, this means you!)? Then I see two paths, the easiest of which is becoming a programmer. Trust me, even the tattiest zombie will look like the MC at the French Embassy gala compared to the fashion don’ts perpetrated by this crowd. I know a programmer who regularly wears a blue shirt with the Superman logo to work with a straight face.
If you have no computer skills (excusable, I guess if you were created undead during the plague years), I would go for telemarketing - or better yet, consumer service callcenters. Even raspy undead voices will be hired, and, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, you are allowed to say ANYTHING to the customers, as long as you leave them indefinitely on hold after they ask for your supervisor. Even zombies who can only manage a tortured moan should do well here. Good place for banshees, too.
If you have no pride, of course, you can do what the Monster does, and live off of whatever you find in your victim’s pockets, but that leads to a different kind of lifestyle altogether, and respectability does not lie down that particular path, even for those of us with all of eternity to save money in.
I, of course, do none of these things, because I invested wisely after the French Revolution. But that’s another story.
The new issue is really up ....
For now, here's the direct link to the pdf download
Of The Flash Fiction Contest Issue.
http://www.whisperingghosts.com is the home page.
Be sure to keep an eye on our Magazine Discussion Board - we'll be having guest appearances there soon!
My story "Old School" is appearing in the anthology BLOOD LITE.
Here's what the folks at Publishers Weekly had to say:
Edited by Kevin J. Anderson
Pocket, $16 paper (400p)
This toothsome anthology of 21 funny-scary stories from members of the Horror Writers Association arrives just in time for Halloween. On the humorous end, Matt Venne's "Elvis Presley and the Bloodsucker Blues" recreates Presley's voice with pitch perfect swagger and sets the record straight on how he really died, while Charlaine Harris's "An Evening with Al Gore" depicts a novel way to deal with environmental criminals; both tales are truly outstanding. In a creepier vein, Steven Savile's "Dear Prudence" finds a conflicted man repeatedly revising a note where he details gory plans for his significant other, and Nancy Holder's "I Know Who You Ate Last Summer" features stomach-churning "rock star cannibals". Big names like Jim Butcher and Sherrilyn Kenyon will have comic horror fans grabbing this anthology off the shelves.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Title: Serpent's Quest Lycan Blood: Volume One
Author: Janrae Frank
Website of Author: http://www.janraefrank.com/
Length: 210 pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Reviewer: Lucille P Robinson
The Red Wolf Clan led by Chieftain Claw Redhand is the target of Malthus Tyrins, a bloody killer who brings Lord Daemon's enemies under his power then destroys them. Malthus is out to destroy all the wolfweres known as lycans. The Red Wolf Clan uses tests to determine whether an individual is a human, a wolfwere, a vampire or a Nibari, "the genetically-altered humans created by the vampires and sa'necari as slave cattle. Malthus is pleased to have passed all their tests.
The wolfweres are satisfyingly deceived and Malthus is able to gain control over one of the female wolves and use his fangs to taste her blood while his mind takes control of hers. After a few days, he makes a deal for a horse to go the a place called Hell's Widow and obtain a chest containing "jars of powers and bottles of liquids in strange colors." His mother sent the chest and she works as a bio-alchemist for Lord Daemon. Between her and Malthus many of Lord Daemon's enemies have been destroyed. Malthus is now targeting the Red Wolf Clan. When Malthus had most of the camp under his power, he thought himself capable of hitting on the one young wolf that irked him. The young wolf beat him in a mock fight, and the camp members, male and female alike, stoned Kynyr Maguire.
The rest of the story tells of Malthus killing several of the Lycan here in Wolffgard, but no resolutions have occurred. To read a book without any resolutions is like telling the reader that they can't have what they want unless they read all the stories in the series. This is a fine way to do installments in a newspaper or magazine, but it shouldn't be done in a novel.
Serpent's Quest Lycan Blood is a good story as far as it goes. I'm amazed at the imagination of the author who dreamed up the character names, settings, various bits and pieces of background information and other story elements; everything seems to tie together. Be on the lookout for the rest of the books in this series, I know I will be.
At age eight, while Janrae Frank was hospitalized with polio, her grandmother gave her an expensive pen and pencil set with the admonition to go out and "whip them with a pencil." Janrae interpreted this as "get good grades and write books."
She was first published in 1979, in AMAZONS (edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson), the volume that went on the win the World Fantasy Award for best anthology of 1980. She sold a handful of short stories and then a trilogy to Donning/Starblaze before leaving fiction for a 15 year stint in journalism which included pieces published in Movieline and the Washington Post. During that same period she worked as an outside editor on new age and metaphysical books for Newcastle and Jeremy P. Tarcher Inc., among others.
She currently has four series out in ebook, Journey of the Sacred King, Mother Damnation, Lycan Blood, and Dark Brothers of the Light. Daverana Enterprises has released a print edition of the first book in the Lycan Blood series, Serpent's Quest. The new edition includes 10,000 words of new material.