Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Lesser-Known Tales of ... Me?

So, as it turns out -- get ready for some shocking news -- it actually takes, like, a long time to finish a book!

Which is not to say that I haven't been working on any books. Truly, I have. (Even if often it's The Nick Miller Way. If you don't know what this means, it is my moral obligation to point you toward the New Girl episode "Eggs" as soon as possible. It is definitely one of the most consistently hilarious episodes of television I have ever known, and I have seen it ... too many times. MAYBE MY PROBLEM IS I'VE BEEN LIVING TOO CASUAL WITH YOU CLOWNS! I NEED REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE LIKE ERNEST HEMINGWAY! I WANT TO KILL A MAN AFTER MAKING SWEET LOVE TO HIM AND SLEEP IN THE BELLY OF HIS HORSE! I WANT TO EAT MY WAY OUT OF A SANDWICH HOUSE! I'M BECOMING ERNEST HEMINGWAY, YA IDIOTS. ... that was all from my imperfect memory, so, ya know. Take it for what it is. But God, doesn't it look good in caps lock? Also, Nick Miller is me, HE IS ME BUT THE MAN VERSION WHO LOOKS BETTER IN CASUAL FLANNEL, but that's another blog post for another time.)

Unfortunately, I write like I read, and also like I blog: which is to say, all over the place. I am usually reading about five books at the same time because I am both voracious and ambitious when it comes to my story consumption. I want them all! All at once!

Aaand usually it leads to me not reading anything because I just can't choose between them.

My writing impulse is very similar, in that I currently have like a handful -- or two handfuls -- of novel ideas battling each other for dominance. (Jolly dragon slaying adventure about a prince and his lady squire! No, feminist Gothic fairytale-deconstruction romp! No, Know Not Why sequel! No, fluffy lesbian Cinderella retelling where she falls in love with her wicked stepsister instead! No, angsty YA novel about Guinevere and Morgan le Fay being unlikely best pals! No, sequel to that fluffy fairytale novel I finished in 2010 and then left to gather dust! No, figure out how to do something with that fluffy fairytale novel I finished in 2010 and then left to gather dust! No, some kind of romcom that Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart could star in the movie adaptation of, because come on, THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN, THAT CHEMISTRY IS NOT TO BE DENIED! No, it's time to finally finish the 750+ page romantic comedy magnum opus I co-authored with my dear dear friend also named Hannah in the halcyon days of 2007-2008! ... actually, that one is always the true priority, and I am super excited to one day get that out into the world. THIS IS HAPPENING, MY OTHER HANNAH!) Anyway, in short: I love all my novels-in-progress and want to spend time with all of them! It's the choosing that messes me about.

I am definitely trying to work on figuring out how to be more disciplined as a writer and focus on one project rather than bouncing from one to the other merrily and madly. But I'm not sure how much progress I'm going to make in terms of producing something e-publishable in the very near future. Just know that I am working, and more is on the way! And I promise I haven't just vanished, never to return. Your readership truly means the world to me. I love it even more than Nick's Hemingway monologue from the New Girl episode "Eggs." And that is how you know this love is very real and, frankly, a little freaky.

So in the meantime while I'm fighting my way through the writing process, I do have some other stories that are currently available as well! I don't think these have been quite as widespread as Know Not Why, so I figured I'd just talk a little bit to you about each of them in case anyone's curious to read more from me.

I took that picture of those flowers in Canada,
which makes sense, because Canada is
One day I'll live there! One ... day ...
1. The Beautiful Thing: Fairytales Retold is a trio of, well, fairytale retellings. (A shocking twist, I know!) The first story is based on The Princess and The Pea, but with more prostitutes. And I promise it's fluffier than that necessarily makes it sound. The second one is a sequel of sorts to the Keats poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci -- because you can't just mope over mysterious fairy succubi forever! Even weary knights need their "We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together" moments. The third story, still one of my very favorite things that I've ever written, is -- well, actually, I don't totally want to give that one away. It's about a young girl named Iris who becomes the apprentice to a rather charming witch. Let's leave it at that for now.

I wrote these when I was getting my undergraduate degree in English; it was the time right after I'd finished my general requirements and was really delving into upper level English classes for the first time. And oh heavens, y'all, I was just so happy. I was blessed (and continue to be!) with a really wonderful group of English professors who are entirely guilty for making me fall even more head-over-heels in love with literature than I was already when I showed up to college. With my own Intro to Composition students, I often tell them that we don't write into a void: writing is entering a conversation. With these -- and with a lot of the fantasy/fairytaley stuff I write -- I love "entering the conversation" of these old stories and examining them in a different way. (And, ya know, sometimes taking elements of the stories that really piss me off and making it go a new way instead. :D)

The Beautiful Thing @ Amazon Kindle Store / @ Smashwords

2. Fairish and the One-Eyed Goatherd

Sadly, I could not find an actual one-eyed
goatherd to pose for this cover art.
Ergo its vagueness.
This one is also in the fairytale vein, except it's about 75% more bonkers. Let's be real here: make that 90%. Here, I'll bust out the summary for you:

"Beauty(of 'and the Beast'-type fame)'s okay-looking older sister Fairish gets her own potential fairytale. It doesn't go too well. Featuring a heroine who really likes to say 'screw you,' a hero who knows how to rock an eyepatch, adventure, danger, random dragons, and all the goats you could possibly dream of. And then some. Seriously. There are just too many goats."

It's tremendously silly, and sometimes I like to daydream about expanding this one into a novel. Because it's not like my list of To-Write Novels is already astronomically long or anything!

Anyway, I like the love story in this one. They're just such weirdos! And as we all know, weirdo love is the best love. Just look at Nick and Jess! (Boom, New Girl reference #2! Can you possibly tell that my gentleman companion and I have been New Girl rewatching lately?)

Fairish and the One-Eyed Goatherd @ Smashwords
It also has a little sequel tale!

3. Fires I Would Like To Know

Ooh, get it? Red like FIRE! And trees like ... trees!
(Fire bad, tree pretty. -Buffy Anne Summers)
I wrote this while I was also writing my undergrad thesis, which was all about Jane Eyre and the awesomeness of Jane and Bertha and how Rochester is a frightful patriarchal tyrant. (Sorry, Rochester! I just don't get it, except in a way where I like to make fun of you SO MUCH. It is truly one of my life's great passions. And while we're on the subject, everyone go read Sarah Rees Brennan's crazy-fabulous recap of Jane Eyre. It understands my Rochester sentiments like nothing else. Except perhaps Kate Beaton's comics.)

One of my very favorite writers (and the other author I did my undergrad thesis on!), Sarah Waters, said that Jane Eyre was marred only by the fact that Charlotte Bronte liked Mr. Rochester too much. So I guess, in short, this story is asking: what if Jane didn't? What if it was something else about Thornfield that captivated her? (Hint: it's Bertha.)

I like this story. It was cathartic as hell to write as I slogged through Rochester's nonsense for month after month. Honestly, I can only put up with that guy for so long.

Unless he's played by Toby Stephens. That dude's winsome, what can I say?? He's so jaunty!

Fires I Would Like To Know @ Smashwords

4. When Flirting Met Zombies / Lifeless in Limbo

The cover art for this is legit RIDONKULOUS.
What was I thinking?? What am I ever thinking?
(Usually about food.)
Long ago, an online writing group of mine had the challenge to write a zombie apocalypse story. Because I am me, I wrote a zombie apocalypse romcom! In a world with Warm Bodies (which I still need to watch!) and Z Is For Zombies (I love you, Nick Miller!), this is no longer a fun and original idea, but I swear it was groundbreaking revolutionary stuff in 2007! ... well, I'm not totally sure about that. In any case, it was fun to write.

This is technically two short stories. It's like one of those movie two-packs you can get at Target, where suddenly you're the proud owner of What A Girl Wants and A Cinderella Story for $9.99! Plus, the titles are deeply nuanced (...) homages to When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless In Seattle!

Also, once upon a time I made cover art for them with Scarlett Johansson as Sarah and Justin Long (who was known in those days as The Mac Guy) as Benjamin. The tagline on it was, I believe, "Just because the end is nigh don't mean the sparks can't still fly."

I have always been slightly too quippy for my own good, or indeed the good of anyone around me.

In other words, maybe just imagine that Howie Jenkins wrote these two tales.

I apologize to Oasis for how much these stories make fun of them. Wonderwall really is a very lovely and powerful song. Like, damn: have you heard Ryan Adams and Cat Power cover that thing??

Although the original is obviously really excellent as well.

God I hope the members of Oasis don't read this. (They're a band, right? And not a Bat for Lashes situation?)


When Flirting Met Zombies / Lifeless In Limbo @ Smashwords

And that's all for now, folks! As always, thank you for devoting some of your time to my babble. :)

I remain ever yours in not writing in a timely fashion,