Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

#AuntieOm #enoughpolitepromotion #buytheshaggingthingfortheloveofGod

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Long Suppressed Rant

*Viewer discretion advised. May (i.e. most certainly) contain strong language and/or scenes of a violent nature*

FOR FUCK SAKE, is it really, really too much in this day and age to expect people to be able to Goddamn spell, even a little bit, even close? Seriously, I'm not being conceited, but it gives me wrinkles trying to read and understand some of the utter bollocks people land out before my eyes these days IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. 

I, me, get absolutely mortified for ye lot, you know who you are! And yes I know, 'if it bothers me so much then why do I read it, blah, blah, blah', but you see, the thing is, I'm a stubborn bitch, so I'm forced to stick at it and read your God awful drivel to the bitter (and I mean bitter) end. And to be completely honest, reading some of those posts and doohickeys is like poking a dead thing with a stick - you just can't help it, you know it's disgusting, and part of you doesn't even think it can be real it's so utterly unbelievable, but you still can't stop yourself.

And here's the humdinger - THERE IS NO EXCUSE. There's spell-check on everything nowadays, even text messages, though I'd say even the most advanced AI machines would be scratching their heads at how to make suggestions for some of the attempts at actual words that have insulted keypads the world over lately. 
Not only that, but for the love of St. Michael on a pushbike, we even have the unlimited fucking option of editing our posts on Facebook this weather.

No longer is there a need to run home and root out the dictionary - we have dictionaries on hand all the time and Google at the touch of a button just in case we're unsure. I know predictive text can be to blame for some fuckups, but at least, most times anyway, this substitutes bona fide words. So it alone cannot be attributable to the fingertip diarrhea some people seem to be mortally afflicted with. 

How, pray tell, did we ever manage in the days of paper and pen? Surely... no... it can't be - did we actually have to use our brains; not be so lazy and ponder for a nanosecond on how a word or sentence is formed? What a preposterous thought, unfathomable.

For lack of any other explanation, I have come to the conclusion that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against the English language actually desire us to think they are uneducated. Well congratulations... you've succeeded, though why on earth anyone would willingly have another think they are stupid is, yet again, beyond me. (And that there is a rant for a whole other day!)

On the other hand we could be looking at the devastating possibility that there is actually a race out there who can only speak in SMS, where the words 'their, there, and they're' are simply a choice and once chosen can and shall apply in ALL instances; where words are dreamed up willy-nilly and I'll be Methusalah's aunt if I'll ever understand what their inventors were driving at with their conception. 

If it is the case that these people really and truly are pure ignoramuses, then I will ask, on behalf of the rest of us, if you could please, for the love of all that's hot in a matchbox, try to fool us. Lie to us, baby, lie to us. 

All sarcasm and slander aside though - seriously, have some respect for yourselves people and learn your fucking ABC's, quite frankly because my crows feet are getting out of hand. Jesus wept. 

*Rant over. We will now return to scheduled programming*

Monday, January 27, 2014

Healthy Start to the Year

I think I've spouted here on more than one occassion, about a short story I started that became a novel, that became a trilogy. What in the name of the seven snotty orphans has happened to that, I hear you roar? Well she has been polished and shined, and then left to wallow in her own white space on my hard drive.

This is not because I didn't like her, or didn't know what to do with her, it was because I was reluctant to do anything with her until I'd gotten the sequel laid out and well under way. After a long and arduous haul, I'm finally about 6,000 words deep into said sequel. It's going strong and lookin' good!

However, just before I started the sequel fate threw a little spanner into the works. This spanner came in the form of a healthy little competition run by the RTE Today show and New Island Books, called the 'publish your novel' competition. And when a chance like that comes up, you just have to take it, a plague on all the well-laid plans.

The instructions are simple - write a novel, send it in. So I gave her an extra spit shine, and done just that. The book is called Walls of Grey, Veins of Stone, and here's a little about it:

Walls of Grey, Veins of Stone is a horror/thriller, set in the late 1800's that draws on startling connections between Christianity and Vampirism. To describe it in another way one would say it is something along the lines of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' meets 'The DaVinci Code' with a side helping of 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' It is spine-chilling as opposed to stomach churning; a thriller on a psychological lever rather than a gore-fest.
Chills, sex and mystery - how could you resist?

The competition closed on January 25th. The shortlist will be announced on February 21st on the RTE Today Show. The winner will be announced at a later date. So I guess what I'm saying is cross your hairs, cross your legs and fingers, and keep an eye on the bookshelves in your local bookshop!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Night Terrors

Last night I had a dream. It was deliciously scary, and not the 'off-the-wall' kind of scary either. But it had a bit of a terrifying end to it, and since I haven't posted here in a while, I thought it would be the best place to muse on it.

In the dream I was at home with my Dad and cats as usual. I think my Mam was here too, but it's not unusual for me to dream that. For some reason we knew that there was going to be a lot of activity that night, spirits and ghosts etc. and we had accepted this. There had been some small incidences throughout the evening - knocking sounds, lights flicking on, doors open where they should have been closed - but it was all taken in our stride.

Later on in the night I was lying in bed and the boiler in the kitchen started to thump. This is a common occurrence in our house, at any time of day. We just need to adjust the thermostat in the boiler press for a few seconds and it regulates itself.

I get up to sort it out, hoping it wouldn't wake anyone. As I'm bent over with my head stuck in the closet, Daddy shows up in the doorway, all scruffy and bleary with sleep.
"You can almost feel them touching you," he said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"The spirits, they're everywhere. The place is thick with them."

A chill ran down my spine, and I told him to stop. We were arguing back and forth when right in front of us, a chair started to move across the room, hovering just inches above the floor. It was understood that things like this were going to happen that night, but this time it was different, this time it was right before our eyes.

The argument was quickly forgotten, and we hurried to our rooms. A little later on I heard some noises. I use earplugs, so I couldn't pinpoint exactly what they were, but I figured it was probably my Dad up again. Then this awful pressure seemed to engulf the room. A drumroll of sounds like a stampede of footsteps started up in the hall outside my bedroom door, getting faster and faster, closer and closer. When they reached my door I woke with a jerk as my handbag fell off the hook on the back of the door.

Now, I've always believed in the power of the mind. It's not the first time something like this has happened - dreaming of the phone ringing only to wake up and the phone starts to ring - but I'm also quite rational and try to make sense of or explain these things. I know that perhaps the phone was already ringing, which caused me to dream about it ringing. But this time it was the opposite - the sound was in my dream, outside my bedroom door... can it be coincidence that my bag fell right at that moment? Or was it the power of the mind?

If I was to take my usual view, I would have to admit that the sound was actually happening outside my door and the vibrations caused the bag to fall, but this is just not logical; there's nothing in the house that could have made sounds and tremors so strong as to make something fall off its hook. Earthquake? In Ireland? I hardly think so. Besides, there's been nothing on the news to corroborate this.

I don't know, and though I spent a long time lying in the dark with my heart racing, I sure hope it continues; this kinda shit makes for damn good writing material!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Random Excerpt

This entire section of something I've yet to write just popped into my head and seduced me. As I was committing it to paper the thought struck me that maybe I'd leave it to seduce you lot also, if you were that way inclined. Enjoy...

The drinks had really done a number on me. When I closed my eyes to kiss her the room began to spin. I tried to lose myself in the sensation, make it work for me, but I found I had forgotten her face.
I pulled away and looked at her, saw the pretty blue eyes and the sweet mouth that had bewitched me, and I knew right there and then, there was nowhere else I'd rather be.
I brushed a lock of hair away from her face and continued to regard her. She gazed up at me in turn, her bottom lip caught between her teeth. She was smiling but her eyes were troubled, and there was no amount of sexy pouts she could try on to hide that. 
They begged me not to lie, to be different. I didn't know if I could. They searched deep into mine trying to find a clue as to what kind of person I would be to her once the deed had been done. Would I be another walker?
Though she spoke not a word, the pressure was hellish. Though she tugged at my neck, dragging my lips back down to hers, those eyes still beseeched me to be something I wasn't sure I could be.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Another Photo Post

Since its release, Red Wine and Words has certainly found itself in some strange places, in strange hands. Here's another photo blog for your entertainment.

Keeping the men quiet since 2010
Handsome Prince
Intermission entertainment
Keeping chefs well oiled since 2010

Slumber Party

Chilling after a hard day

Looks innocent? Appearances can be deceiving

One fan's evening of indulgence
What Pooh does in his spare time

Book club

Creativity inspires creativity

What d'ya think?

Red Wine goes overseas
Red Wine 1 - whoever's on the field 0

It's not Fifty Shades women, dismount!

Red Wine, Words and Scuba Diving

Don't ask

And that's it for now folks. Keep those cameras rolling and the pages turning. Watch this space.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Not Another Interview

Sorry to give the post a misleading title and lure you here under false pretenses, but yes, it's another interview. I was tagged in this interview by Nelson W. Pyles. You can check out his own version here.

If you like this, and what follows, you can check out the following blogs next week and see their answers.

Without further ado, here is my own interview, which I know you're just dying for!

* What are you working on right now?
I've just finished my second short story collection with the working title, 'High Heels and Elegies.' After the long editing process on that I figured it was too soon to go right back into editing. So I decided to write a short that will go into the third collection.
At the minute I've taken a teeny hiatus to travel home to Ireland. When I'm settled in here for a few weeks I'm going to go back and edit a novel I finished last November. This was never meant to be a novel, but in fact another short story to go into the second collection. However, when I started to work out the details it just exploded. About 20,000 words into it, ideas for a second and third in the series were already starting to germinate.
I set the first one aside for a while, so I could edit it with fresh eyes. And this, to haul a long story to a short end, is what I'm working on now.

* How does it differ from other works in its genre?
The novel is set back in the late 1800's. The protagonist is a twenty-something innocent whose family has fallen on hard times - Lillian. With the death of her father, the running of the homestead fell to her and her mother. The antagonist... well that would be telling.
We open with a call from her sister, asking her to come to join her because she's getting married. From there on Lillian's world is thrown into confusion.
The story links Christianity with the occult. It's something along the lines of Bram Stoker's Dracula meets The DaVinci Code without the God awful, frustrating cliffhangers (DaVinci code – I haven't a bad word to say about Stoker.)
Rest assured there's not much that sparkles in this novel. And as for happy endings, well, you'll soon see that I'm a hard-hearted cow in that respect. Sex, darkness, the eternal struggle between good and evil, and some nice, old-fashioned chills – that's how it differs from other current works in it's genre.

* What experiences have influenced you?
It's hard to pick 'experiences' as such, but I guess I could pinpoint some specific episodes that inspired this particular work. Stoker's Dracula is by far my favourite book of all times. They just don't make them like that any more, and this pisses me right off. We need to turn this Hollywood crap around, lose the damn sparkles and boo hoo storylines and bring it back to the 'chill down the spine' basics. (I hear the latest fad is zombie love stories, and I'm not entirely sure I want to live in this world any longer.)
Christianity – and all religions as a matter of fact – fascinate me. They inspire such hope, yet at the same time such mania and violence. So rich and colourful, so many hidden truths. And let's face it – Christianity and the occult go hand in hand. We eat up these stories of conspiracy and shady goings-ons behind closed church doors. It was while researching something else that I stumbled upon a connection between the two - a kind of clich├ęd 'aha' moment if you will.
On a broader scale, beyond this one novel, anything influences me. A dream, a random thought that pops out of a conversation, a photo on the web, my past, my hopes for the future, a single fecking word – anything can be turned into a story in my brain. You have been warned.

* Why do you write what you do?
Because I want to, because I love it, and because it grabs me by the throat, penetrates my mind, and forces me to do it. Some things just get under my skin and make me shiver. Many of these things wouldn't be your idea of traditional horror, but to me they are terrifying – horror without the crawlies and tentacled monsters; horror to me sometimes, can be found in the simple monotony of everyday life.
I love reading, with a passion. They say a person who reads lives a thousand lives, well if that's true then a writer lives, breathes, creates a million lives. And that's why I write. Besides, how else am I going to get all this stuff out of my head without being arrested?

* How does your writing process work?
Explaining that could be a novel in itself. Let's make it short and sweet (stop laughing.)
No music, no TV, no people. The idea has usually been in place for a long time. Blank sheet, Google search engine. I layout the story as it's going to go, handwritten, in a flow chart, each scene in a little bubble, flowing to the next. Outside the bubbles will be scenery descriptions or dialogue as they come to me.
Once I know all the players needed, I will pick their names, envision how they look, decide on their personalities and their quirks – do they smoke, have they a twitch etc. After that we've got to work on the place and setting - more research, more names, more quirks; sometimes maps.
Then, and only then, will I start to type. I make it sound so easy don't I!

* What is the hardest part about writing?
Finding the time to do it. Even when I have free time it seems there's something that crops up to thwart any notions I have of writing unimpeded for hours on end. There is always something, sometimes it can even be my own mind. I may be all set to write, no interruptions planned for a long time, but the mind just refuses to work. On those days every word is like extracting a gallstone, and suddenly chores like cleaning, shopping, alphabetising your trash, flossing the cat for example, become the most alluring tasks you've ever had ahead of you.
If any other career was as impossible on some days as writing is, I'd have given up a long time ago. That's why I know it's the only one for me.

* What would you like to try as a writer that you haven't yet?
A story in second person. I haven't done that yet, haven't got an idea, but I'm sure I'll get to it. The thing with writing is you're constantly learning, constantly hearing of different forms of writing. It could be as simple as stumbling across something you hadn't heard of before and thinking 'I gotta write about that.' Or, in my case, thinking 'spiders scare the shite out of me, I gotta do a story.'
But then there's also things like writing in the second person, which is basically unheard of really, and which many publishers wouldn't even look at. That sounds like a challenge to me – I know I can do this, and do this good.
Recently I stumbled upon a competition to write a story back to front – I'm all over that, says I. And another competition to create a drabble – a story of one hundred words maximum – yup, like a leper's lesions, says I.
I love challenges, and this gig has no shortage of them.

* Who are the authors you most admire?
Oh dear. As we say at home, you've went and gone and done it now.
I'm guessing, at this stage, it won't surprise you if I say Bram Stoker. Well, I do. And to read his biography is mildly heartbreaking. I've read some of his other stuff beyond 'Dracula,' and it's great. But in essence 'Dracula' was his nemesis. It made him, and it broke him. Basically anything he wrote afterwards was reviewed as 'it was good, but it wasn't Dracula.' After 'Dracula' nothing was truly recognised, and that's a terrible, terrible shame.
Next up – Daphne du Maurier. For a woman, writing in her time, she really nailed it, bless her. It was basically unheard of for women writers back then to tackle what she did, but she did it and did it well. This 'women writer' prejudice still exists, believe it or not. Now it's not intentional, it's a subconscious bias, and these are hard to break. I want to break it like she did.
J.K Rowling – against all odds. Poe – you could almost taste his soul in his writing. Hemmingway – in my eyes his best works were the ones with fewest words; the impact has never lessened. Steinbeck – classic, easy reading that will blow your mind. I could go on all night...

* Who are new authors to watch out for?
Okay, you've went and gone and done it!
Suzanne Robb. This girl writes faster than I can breathe, and I've been called prolific. But she doesn't churn out junk. This is good stuff and I would have no qualms recommending her.
Brian Dobbins. I should check this statement for innuendos, but what the hell, he blew me away.
Darren Gallagher – he's struggled, he's succeeded. He's worth it.
Adrian Chamberlin – in the words of Nike, Just Do It. When it comes to writing, this guy has eyes in the back of his head.
Last but not least – me? Sniffle.

* What scares you?
Questions like these!
I don't know. This is a personal question. I could do the usuals – spiders, heights, mild claustrophobia, and, anyone who knows me wouldn't believe it, but shyness. These are all very real and scary but I'm sure any number of people could say the same.
What really scares me? Being alone. I don't mean this in the conventional 'I don't want to grow to be an old spinster' terms – which I reckon I'm fated for – but worse for me is finding that person and losing them to wherever we go after we're done here. Same with my sisters, my family, my best friends. To be the last one, to have known this depth of love, friendship and companionship, and then to be without... I can't even begin to consider that level of fear.
End it with a bunch of bright flowers eh? On a lighter note – with writing I think that even if I'm in that position I can create one of those million lives I mentioned before and live in there. Hmmmmm, material for another interview I wonder?

There you have it. Hope you enjoyed reading. And never fear, I'm sure there will be another one along soon.