The Call of Lovecraft

Now this is fun! Take an armchair tour of Providence, Rhode Island, where H.P. Lovecraft lived most of his life. It’s eerie to see the actual sites from Lovecraft’s home town that made their way into so much of his fiction. The accompanying text shows real understanding of this tortured but gifted author’s work and vision.

Be careful, though — the Old Ones are always near. And Cthulhu doesn’t like to have his dreams interrupted.

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The Writer’s First Commandment

Cameron

The Writer’s First Commandment is: Read. Write. Repeat. Read everything you can get your hands on, because you never know where story ideas will come from.

For example, one of Aesop’s fables provided the inspiration for my flash fiction piece Cameron Obscura:

AN ASTRONOMER used to go out at night to observe the stars. One evening, as he wandered through the suburbs with his whole attention fixed on the sky, he fell accidentally into a deep well. While he lamented and bewailed his sores and bruises, and cried loudly for help, a neighbor ran to the well, and learning what had happened said: “Hark ye, old fellow, why, in striving to pry into what is in heaven, do you not manage to see what is on earth?”

That got me to thinking about a TV news story I’d seen years earlier about two boys who had to be rescued from a well they got stuck in while trying to see stars during the day. They learned two valuable lessons: You can’t see stars from the bottom of a well when the sun’s shining. And it’s easier to get into a deep hole than to get out of it.

The character I imagined getting into such a situation was based on the brother of a college girlfriend. He was autistic, and took things very literally. It fascinated me how this very sweet, kind-hearted young man could tell you all about his impressive insect collection, but couldn’t fix a meal for himself.

The final element came from an article I’d recently read. I’ve always been a science buff, and faithfully keep up with Dr. Daniel Caton, an astronomer who writes a regular column for the Charlotte Observer. In that article, Caton counseled amateur astronomers not to regret their decision to pack up their equipment when bad weather interferes with their stargazing. Yes, the sky might clear up hours later, but it’s better to live with your choice and return later, fully rested.

These various elements came together nicely into my story, and Fabula Argentea accepted it. It occurred to me that I should let Dr. Caton know his column had inspired it. He was pleased to hear this:

Mike,

I loved the story! I’m glad that adding the “never look back” made the difference in getting it published. I liked the title, too–a clever play on words.

And, thanks for the kind words on my column. May I Tweet/FB the link to the story?

Dr. Daniel B. Caton, Ph.D.

He tweeted my story to his followers, and another astronomer re-tweeted it.

I think C.P. Snow would have approved.

Have a Merry Cowboy Christmas!

RockinK

On Sunday, I attended the annual Christmas present giveaway for Lumbee and Choctaw children at the Rockin K Ranch in Huntersville, North Carolina. The kids got bikes, tons of candy, and clothes.

The little buckboard above that’s all gussied up for Christmas sat in a corner of the dance hall. I loved it and the Wild West paraphernalia around it. Click on the image to enlarge, and be sure to check out the Lone Ranger movie poster on the wall. I figured I had to share it with you.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Q&A with Aztec Midnight Author, M.C. Tuggle

Here’s a short interview in which I discuss my writing process, what inspires me, and the back story of Aztec Midnight. 

Trigger Warning: Yes, the picture accompanying the interview shows my actual work space. Folks used to tidy offices may be offended, even shocked. It’s chaotic, but I manage to write there. Somehow.

Best fiction and writing blogs

Bret

The best fiction and writing blogs, compiled by Bret

Dave’s Corner of the Universe: The 2014 Davie Awards [Most outstanding work in Sci-Fi/Fantasy]
Cristian Mihai: The Angel in the Marble
The Quiet Fantasy Book Blog: Book Review – The Slow Regard of Silent Things
Cindy Knoke: Storm Surge [Coastal scenes that are both beautiful and treacherous]
Thoughts on Fantasy: 5 Ways to Keep Your Dragons Fresh [Great tips for writers! A must read.]
Confessions of a Readaholic: BOOK REVIEW: The Entire Predicament by Lucy Corin
A Writer’s Path: How the Seven-Point Story Structure Can Help Your Writing [This is EXCELLENT!]
Sarah C. Roethle: Print Book Giveaway!

Gifting an eBook

Aztec Midnight ebook

Now here’s a great Christmas gift idea from The Novel Fox:

Try ebooks this year as a gift for travelers, commuters, book club members, coworkers, teachers . . . or any book lover!

Many e-bookstores allow you to gift an ebook. It’s easy to make the ebook a more tangible gift by printing the book cover on card stock or photo paper and including the details on how to redeem it. An ebook is perfect for a stocking stuffer or a little something extra to go in a card, along with a baked good or small gift. Ebooks are an inexpensive, easy, and thoughtful gift for all occasions!

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