Sunday, November 19, 2006

Entering Edits

Oh, it's a tedious job, this entering edits. It seems like it's taking forever. Am I going off on tangents to avoid the final, scary moment when I pass it off for publication? Probably. Because no matter how careful you are, no matter how many "pairs of eyes" look at it, it'll never be perfect, and you can never, EVER, please everyone. But it gets a little discouraging when, halfway through the edits, you realize that you've used the word "like" incorrectly in a few places, and way too many places in general, and you start wondering how many other bad habits you have that maybe the editor and reviewers WON'T catch -- but the reviewers will.

Still, you plug on. And occasionally you run across something that you particularly like, something that feels good to read, and you think that maybe the book isn't worthless after all.

And so, I leave you with a little teaser from the book. Have a great Thanksgiving and I hope to report more progress after the holiday.

Here's the quote:

She could feel the vibrations in her breastbone,
her throat, her life. She felt breathless, as if
she were poised high on a mountain, one foot out,
ready for a step across the wide unknown.

She could almost feel the cool mist of the high
clouds across her face and the heat of the sun on
her scalp. She was soaring, yet standing still,
frozen in that moment of boundlessness, life
stretching before her.

Months later she would recognize this image as she
laid down the tarot card representing the past:
The Fool.

(Copyright 2005-6 Morven Westfield)

Have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving,

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Article in latest Witches' Almanac

Just got the 2007-2008 copy of The Witches' Almanac. Guess who's got an article on pages 12 and 13? Moi! You can order the book from either the publishers, The Witches' Almanac, or from my publisher, Harvest Shadows Publications. They also have the 2006-2007 edition, in which I had an article published, too, mainly because I have articles published in these editions.

The new edition has a glossy cover and is in a slightly larger format (now 6”x 9”) and looks great. You can even look at the table of contents online. There's even an article by their regular astrologer on Anne Rice's natal horoscope.

Oh, and my publisher currently has a deal where if you buy a book, any book, you can get the 2006-2007 (current year) edition for only $4.99 (available in the US only, though, because shipping costs are prohibitive outside the US). Oh, and they're also giving away some fun trinkets: a bottle opener and mood pencils. Check this out:

(Bottle Opener) Do your long talons make it difficult for you to pop the tops on your soft drink cans? Is lack of a bottle opener standing between you and your favorite refreshment? Seek no further... Unique conversation piece, great item for camping or dorm, this multi-functional beverage opener opens bottles and caps. Made of durable plastic, it's imprinted with the following memorable words: For your DARKSOME THIRST.

(Mood Pencil) Do you have the power? Test yourself and see! Okay, so it's just a mood pencil and it doesn't REALLY indicate whether you have the power or not -- just how warm your hands are. Amuse your friends as the pencil magically changes color and then returns to normal when it returns to room temperature.

Link for shopping area of Harvest Shadows Publications web site

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Vampire Secrets

I recently watched "Vampire Secrets" on the History Channel.

In general, the show, though very nice to look at, wasn't really impressive. They kept repeating the same footage, which was aggravating. You kept seeing a re-enactment of Countess Elizabeth Bathory bathing in blood, an NYC vampire club scene, and a man with page boy haircut biting a woman's neck. (I was, however, pleased that the Countess was not played by an anorexic actress, but instead a woman of normal-to-ample proportions.) Commercials interrupted frequently, and coming back from the commercials, the intros seemed to contain lots of fluff (maybe they didn't want the refrigerator crowd to miss anything).

The show included Katherine Ramsland's search for journalist Susan Walsh, which she recounted in Piercing the Darkness, and also a bit about Rod Ferrell, a kid from KY whose vampire name was Vassago and who bludgeoned his girlfriend's father and step-mother to death. In mentioning Ferrell, of course they mentioned Vampire: The Masquerade, which Michelle Belanger also commented on. Belanger, the author of the Psychic Vampire Codex, had some interesting insights in general throughout the program, but it was boring to see the repeated shots of her psi-vamping a willing participant.

There was also a man with blond hair and interesting eyes (lenses? hard to tell) who was interviewed who seemed knowledgeable.

Buzz Out Loud's Veronica Belmont made a cameo as a kerchiefed victim of Bathory. She had no speaking parts, but did a convincing head turn -- seriously! She looked like someone submitting to the whims of royalty: fearful, yet resigned. BOL's Tom Merritt also made a cameo as a French doctor examining a corpse that then turned to dust, and again, well-done for a short appearance. Of course, if you don't recognize BOL or the names of the actors, you're probably not as amused as I am: They're hosts (along with Molly Wood) of a regular CNet internet podcast "of indeterminate length" that discusses geeky stuff in great detail, so to see these technophiles in period costume in a TV production that, in part, investigates historical vampires, is quite amusing. Well done, Veronica and Tom!

Of course, no historical account of vampires these days would be complete without a mention of Vlad Tepes, better known as Vlad the Impaler. New was the narrator pointing out that the impalings and beheadings were psychological warfare and that he did indeed succeed in protecting his country from being overrun by Ottoman Turks, something I hadn't considered. They mentioned that Tepes is considered a hero in his country, which I hadn't realized. Him being a hero doesn't prevent locals from making money off the tourists who come for the vampire lore, something Ceausescu encouraged to strengthen the economy.

Having written two novels with vampires as major characters, I've read quite a bit on the history of vampires and vampire lore when doing my initial research, so I expected that I'd be familiar with most of what was presented. That indeed was true; the only thing I saw that was new was a comparison of Kirlian photos of the fingertips of a psi vamp and a victim before and after the energy exchange. You can see the psi vamp's aura change to a much, much stronger one, and the victim's aura diminish considerably. I found that segment very interesting.

The show could have been done in much less than 2 hours; could have been much tighter. I resented spending that much time on a fluffy show when I should have been working on the final touches to my second novel (The Old Power Returns), which my editor (and foreign publisher) are waiting for.

Oh, well. It's Halloween, and I can take some time out for some spooky viewing, no?

Happy Halloweentide,