#NaNoWriMo #Interview: Miranda Kate

*This year I wanted to provide a spotlight for a few writers who have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Enjoy getting to know them and learn from their insights!

Tell us why do you participate in National Novel Writing Month

To get the bulk of my novels written – at least that is why I participate now. In the beginning it was to learn to write forward without editing as I go. I found that a revelation in terms of how much I could produce. And now I look forward to the word sprints and the community of it: all of us writing together – remotely.

I am a Brit living in the Netherlands, and I live in a small village where I haven’t managed to fully integrate, so this is one of the few ways to connect with others. I love opening the door to all the new writers and stepping into that world for the month – it’s like I’m where I belong for a while.

How/When did you first learn about NaNoWriMo?

Back in 2011, I arrived on Twitter at the end of July. I joined to follow a couple of friends, and then found lots of writers and flash fiction contests, and then as November approached I heard about the challenge and decided to give it a go, connecting to everyone through the hashtag. It was like stepping into a whole other universe.

How many years have you participated in NaNoWriMo?

This is my seventh time. My first time was 2011. I was working for a company then and wasn’t able to complete 50K, but in more recent years I have succeeded. I try not to put too much pressure on. If I only get 25K or 30K that is still a lot for me to write in one go. I also tend to flag a bit a couple of weeks in, so this year I am taking it easy.

What is your NaNoWriMo project for this year?

I am finishing the sequel to a novella of mine called, The Game (currently published in my collection called Slipping Through). It’s a dark sci-fi time travel story. I began it last year for NaNoWriMo, so I am planning to complete it. I have sort of let it lie over the year as I have been busy publishing my first full novel, Sleep, which was released on the 1st of September.

Do you listen to music while you write?  If so, what kind of music?

I need complete silence to write. Although I did enter a weekly flash contest which had a song prompt for a couple of years. That was interesting and produced some great stories, but it was difficult. I had to have the song on repeat to keep whatever story had popped into my head going. I can, however, write with a lot of people around me, as I started writing when I used to work in an office and I am used to that.

Do dreams inspire your writing ideas?

Often I will wake up with complete ideas or answers to things I am trying to solve in a story. I had to write an epilogue to my novel, Sleep, and I wasn’t sure what to write, but one morning I literally woke up with it mapped out in my head. It’s fabulous when that happens – although it is rare.

Who is your favorite author? Why?

Stephen King. He covers all the genres I love: Horror, Fantasy, and sometimes surreal stuff. I love how he writes. Whenever I return to his books I sort of sigh to myself as it feels like I’ve come home; it easy to read with such great flow and pace.

How do you get into the minds of your characters?

I think about how they speak to other people. I imagine dialogue first, and listen to that dialogue and sort of see them speaking in my mind’s eye.

Please tell us about your celebrity crush.

Just one? Not sure I can do that!

Actors: Tom Hardy is my biggest, I love his on-screen intensity. Others are Idris Elba, Johnny Miller, Cillian Murphy.

Music: I am a massive Prince fan, since I was 15, so that’s been a permanent crush. And despite his death, which devastated me, I still listen to his music daily.

Also Theo Hutchcraft, from a band called Hurts. He seems to be taking a break from social media and it’s killing me! He has such a great voice, and is wonderful eye candy.

What is your preferred genre to write in?

I like to write dark stuff mostly, can be horror, can be sci-fi, can be general fiction, but I like it to be dark and have an edge to it. I can do fantasy and surreal mixed in too. My novel, Sleep, is a psychological thriller, which was different for me, but was a story that had begun 28 years ago. I tend not to define genres in my writing, I write what comes.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am also a freelance editor, and I see a lot of people worrying about what they could possibly produce in just a month and whether it would be any good. I have worked with several authors first drafts in December, helping them pull it into shape, and having something to work with is the key. It doesn’t matter how you get it down. Just keep writing forward through November, leave the rest for after.

Twitter: @PurpleQueenNL
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Thank you so much, Miranda for taking the time to share with us a little bit about yourself and your writing experiences.  Best of luck for your NaNoWriMo! If anyone has any questions or comments for her please leave them in the Comment section.

10 Films Based On Short Stories

Are all movies produced from screenplays only?

Nope.

Many have been inspired by novels. Think Harry Potter and Twilight. But, did you know that there are a large number inspired by short stories?

Here are a few just to give you an idea:

Sleepy Hollow – based on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Birds – based on Daphne du Maurier’s story with the same name

Minority Report – based on Philip K. Dick’s story with the same name

I, Robot – inspired by a collection of short stories by Issac Asimov of the same name

Candyman – based on Clive Barker’s collection of stories in the Books of Blood

They Live – based on Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In the Morning

Dark Water – based on Koji Suzuki’s Floating Water

Screamers – based on Philip K. Dick’s Second Variety

The Thing – based on John W. Campbell Jr.’s Who Goes There?

In my next post, how does a short story get selected to be a film?

#WEPFF Requisition (Science Fiction #Story)

Pixabay

*Author’s Note: This post will serve a dual purpose. One, to satisfy the word prompt for today’s Write28Days Challenge (Glory). Second, to participate in WEP’s February’s Story Challenge (theme: 28 Days). 

 

Requisition

 

Glory fingered a loose strand of black hair as her green eyes stared outwards. A warm breeze caressed her petite body as she sat on the wooden steps of the white porch. The air carried a mild scent of sweet honeysuckle which she slowly breathed in.

“Enjoying your final day?” Came a husky voice from behind.

She turned partially towards her housemate, an aging, thin man, sitting in the rocker, and nodded, “Yes.”

He leaned back as he took in the mountainous view spread before them.

“It’s a shame you couldn’t be granted another twenty-eight days here,” he said as his colorless eyes scanned the horizon’s deep purple and pink hues, “it makes no sense at all as to why they couldn’t allow you to remain here indefinitely.”

“You know that’s not how it works,” she muttered as her arms wrapped around her knees.

“Yes, but it is unfair, not to mention unjust,” the man tapped a finger on the chair’s armrest.

With a shrug, she replied, “I’m just grateful to have had this one last wish before it’s all over with. I mean, goodness, I had the chance to see all of my friends and family, to say my good-byes…even if none of it was real…it was nice.  Really nice.”

The man scowled as he nodded, “Yes…yes.”

“I know you try to understand, Jessup, and I appreciate it very much,” Glory said as she glanced down the expansive meadow where she could see the shadowy forms of buildings that made up her childhood town, “but you don’t have to stay any longer.”

Jessup let out a long exhale, “Yes, but it doesn’t feel right to leave you to -eh- to face your end.”

She smiled, “You are too thoughtful, but I will be okay.”

His eyes swept over her before he bowed his head, “As you wish,” and within seconds, his body dissipated into a thin cloud of mist.

Glory studied the empty chair for a moment before returning her attention to the sky. The streaks of purple and pink were quickly transitioning to layers of dark blue and black.  The usual nightly orbs obscured by a looming menace in the heavens where billowing sinister clouds barely concealed an enormous fiery mass barreling towards her.

A shiver ran through her body as she closed her eyes.

Will I feel any pain? She wondered as waves of heated air brushed over her.

The earth beneath her rumbled as the roar grew louder and louder until her body shuddered right off the porch, and on the rolling ground.

Crackling and sizzling filled her ears as she opened one eye to see where the fire was when she realized the sounds were coming from her skin.

Just as the burning grew unbearable, everything went dark.

*****

 

Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep.

The blipping line on the monitor instantly became a steady line.

A tall man in a white jacket stood staring at the screen for several moments, the bushy brows burrowing which revealed the deep lines around his brown eyes.

“Dr. Cruz?” came a woman’s voice from the nearby console.

“I will never get used to this,” he said, “extinguishing lives all for what? Profit? So that our government can repay its debts?”

“No, it’s mankind’s next step in its evolutionary process. It has also helped science learn much about the human’s consciousness,” the same woman replied.

He bowed his head for a long moment, eyes closed as he pondered on her words. Then, he shook it.

“Those are just the Company’s taglines.  We are nothing more than an assembling line for repurposing human bodies for those who can afford them. For the few who want to extend their own selfish, futile lives.”

“Dr. Cruz,” the woman’s tone now stern, “I wish to remind you that everything said and done here are being carefully monitored.”

He clenched his jaw, “Time of conscious death, 23:02,” his fingers tapped hard on the blue-lighted tablet’s screen.

To his left, the woman in a white jacket turned to focus her attention on the various displays of electronic devices in front of her.

“Closing the file for collateral number 230645 aka Gloria Swann,” she said as she pressed on the glowing screen, “body already prepped and ready for shipment to recipient number 02A02,”

 

 

Saturday Story: Suppose

 

*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like tp participate. 

 

Suppose

 

Scared witless, he slammed the company’s truck to a full stop and watched as the radioactive sludge engulfed the town. Strangely, the first thought to come to mind was- “Dang, I suppose I should have lowered those control rods.”

Author Interview: David Cedar

 

** This week we have a special guest with us to share about his debut scifi-mystery-thriller novel, Anniversaries.

 

 

Tell us what first drew you to writing. 

I have a creative mind and an Art background and in lieu of expressing myself in paint on canvas (like my father did), I chose the written word.

 

Do you listen to music while you write?  If so, what kind of music? 

Sometimes. If I do, it’s mostly 1960s pop and rock or Classic Rock. And it’s always on in the “background” to keep me company.

 

Who is your favorite author? Why? 

I have read novels in the past but, I mostly read magazine articles, so I don’t have a “favorite author”.

 

Do you have a favorite magazine or two?

I have, in the past, subscribed to two magazines: “Hemmings Classic Car” and “Collectible Automobile”. And have hundreds of back issues. But, I no longer like either publication anymore, I’m sorry to say.

 

You’ve just published a book. Tell us what your book is about. 

ANNIVERSARIES is about Darren Prescott, an ex-drug dealer/pimp who discovers a way to travel back in time to specific events on specific days in his past (and other people’s past too). He plans to parlay this ability into a money making venture, but gets side tracked when he discovers (while Time-Traveling) something horrible his father did years earlier.

 

What inspired you to write this book?

When I was very young (maybe five years old), my mother gave me a slice of Swiss cheese for a snack and as I was about to bite into it, she said, as a joke, “Don’t eat the holes”. Well, I believed everything my mother told me, so when I was finished eating, on my plate were several Swiss cheese “holes” all with bite marks around their perimeters.

This little memory, this quick “snippet” of my life, has stuck with me all these years. And there are dozens and dozens of other “snippets” in my memory bank. One day, I got to thinking that these memories, although insignificant, all have anniversaries. Let’s say that the “Swiss cheese” incident happened on July 10, 1966, that means that every July tenth, it has an anniversary. My novel is loosely based on this concept.

 

You write under a pen name, what prompted you to do this?  Is there a story behind this pen name (on how you came up with it?)?

I decided to use a pen name because, my late father (Albert Swayhoover) was an Artist and his artwork is all over the Internet. If one were to Google “Swayhoover”, the result would be thousands of websites that sell his work. I was concerned that my book and I might get lost among all of that.

The origins of my pen name are: “David” is my middle name and “Cedar” was part of the name of the street in which I grew up, Cedar Point Drive. Then I searched Author names and didn’t find any other David Cedars, so that’s what I went with.

 

Where can we find this book? 

Amazon

 

What are your writing plans for the near future? 

I’m considering a sequel to ANNIVERSARIES. And there are two or three articles on one of my favorite subjects: American Automobile History that I am writing.

 

Where can we find you? 

www.davidcedar-author.com

 

******

 

About the Author:

David Cedar (aka Robert Swayhoover) was born and raised on Long Island, New York. He graduated from Chamberlayne College in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1984 with a degree in Advertising Design. In 1997, he married Patricia Townes-Swayhoover. The couple lived in New York City before relocating to Raleigh, North Carolina in 2003. Writing has always been something David was interested in, but never gave it a try until seven or eight years ago. Besides writing, his interests include: Automobile History and World War II History.

 

Click on image to purchase

 

 

 

 

Friday Favorite: Captain Kirk (Quote)

 

I’ve long been a fan of the Star Trek television series and films, and out of all the Captains, James T. Kirk has always been one of my favorites.  Although I do enjoy the version by actor Chris Pine, the one portrayed by William Shatner will forever be the best.

The most memorable quote by Kirk (Star Trek V The Final Frontier):

(The full quote: “Damn it, Bones, you’re a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!“)

This quote resonated with me on so many levels both personally and as a writer.  Our painful experiences deepen and enrich our lives, and make us the individuals we are.  Without painful experiences, how else are we able to sympathize and empathize with others?  They make us human.  Our painful experiences also enable us to be better writers.  To create real characters that our readers can identify with.

For me, on a personal level, I’ve decided to keep my pain instead of seeing shrinks to help ease them.  Not (just) to punish myself (yeah, morbid), but they help me craft better poetry and disturbing stories.

Sounds so Stephen Kingish, eh?

This is probably one of the reasons why I write dark stuff although lately I’m attempting to write Romance (but of course they’ll have some dark qualities in them).  Life is real, and it’s hard.  Life isn’t all roses and sweet.  But, it does have moments of hope and love and laughter.

Being human is complicated.  Full of layers.  Both good and not-so-good.

Like Captain Kirk.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite quote that resonates with you?

 

 

Story Saturday: The Extinction Event

Photo Credit: Pixabay Free Images

I recently came across a prompt put out by Liam J Cross Writing and Editing:

A rocket ship to outer space. A mission to save the world. Or so they thought…

It was way too intriguing NOT to write a story for this!

 

The Extinction Event

 

 He watched as the white smoke trailed behind the first rocket as it zoomed up towards space.  For months, it was advertised, preached, and listed as “man’s greatest hope for survival,” but he knew the truth.

By agreeing to send “them” any and all offspring for research and food, they basically secured mankind’s doom.  It was only a matter of time before the public found out, and what would happen then?

Again, he knew.

Chaos.  Total anarchy.  And then what would “theydo?

No matter what, annihilation was certain for them all.

Sunday Story: The Vanishing

Click on image for original story

*Author’s Note: I wrote this short story over five years ago.  It’s dark.  It’s creepy.  It’s one of my secular, mainstream stories that I decided NOT to submit for publication now on Wattpad. 

 

Story Blurb:

Leesa, a mother and wife, contemplates on the undesirable state of her life…but one should be careful, you might just get what you wished for in the most unexpected of ways.

 

Shadows wavered in the expansive backyard as the woman peered through the round window in front of her.  The reflection within the twilight didn’t reveal a happy face.  The skin under her brown eyes, fixed on the deck that spread beneath the small set of panes, sagged with a purplish hue.  Premature wrinkles lined her eyes and mouth.  No, she definitely wasn’t a happy person.  Her hands mindlessly moved each dish from the stainless steel sink, rinsed under cool water, and then carefully placed in the racks of the dishwasher.  She then reached for the knife and grabbed the wrong end.

“Damn it!”  She recoiled and placed the bleeding finger into her mouth.

Nope, it’s been the week from hell, and this was just another reminder that it hasn’t end yet.

Voices drifted into the room from a nearby television.

“Here are our top news of the hour.” A male news anchor said. “State and Federal law officials are investigating multiple cases involving children who have gone missing in the past three days. In every cases, each child reported to have disappeared sometime between bedtime and morning…”

“Frank.” She turned her head towards the living room. “Please turn it to something else.”

“Yes, dear.” A man’s voice said.

A click sounded and a commercial about a brand of soda came on.  She went back to rinsing a coffee mug with the uninjured hand when the floor board creaked.  She turned and smiled at her four-year old daughter who stood, wearing a pink nightgown, at the entrance of the kitchen.

Renee.  The small child was the only source of joy in her otherwise joyless life.

“What’s the matter, Renee? Did you have a bad dream?”

The girl shook her head, locks of blonde curls waved over her petite shoulders. “No, mummy.”

Mother picked up a towel to dry her hands. “What’s wrong then?

“There’s a boogeyman in my room.”

Click here to read rest of the story on Wattpad…

 


 

 

I have two other short stories also on Wattpad.  These two have been previously published.

His world was ending. How will he choose to go out? (Click on image to read the story)

Four college-aged people are dead on an island. The killer? Unknown, but definitely not human. Anna Mae Hart and her partner are called to help with the investigation and things get bloody from there. (Click on image for story)