Horror Novel Soundtrack

While writing, my internet is usually turned to the wonderful allclassical.org (thank you DD!)

But then there is the specific music I seek out, or discover, that is divinely perfect for the story.

The soundtrack for my latest horror novel includes:

1. Swan Lake
2. music from the film version of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita
3. lots of opera, including arias from La Pique Dame, Lulu, Elektra, and Lucia di Lammermoor

What music is inspiring your story?

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Character Interview from PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE

Thanks to Ralfast, for suggesting a character interview challenge.

*Pours two cups of coffee.  One black, and one with lots of cream and sugar.  Authoress knows by now that this particular character has quite the sweet tooth*

*clears throat*

“Well hello, dear character.  you and I have known each other for a few years now.  But for those who have not met you, could you please introduce yourself?”

I would be happy to.  My name  is Anne Durrant. 

Do you have any nicknames?

My brothers used to call me a mouse when I was a kid.

What do you look like? Eye color, hair color, ethnicity, distinguishing marks or features, clothing, jewelry, and gear…

Oh, it is awkward talking about oneself!  Let’s see.  I’m very small, hence the above mentioned nickname.   I have carroty-colored hair, and was cursed with the freckles of a redhead at birth.  A parasol is, thus, of little help.  Also, I’d walk into a wall without my dreaded spectacles.   As for dresses, I prefer a pretty, but unfussy style.  I do have a fondness for lace and ribbons.

What are your hobbies?

Books!  Especially “shudder” stories.  I love to be thrilled.  And I love trying to solve mysteries.   Lately, due to discovering I have the “sight”, I have started studying the occult.

Who and where is your family?Where are you from?

We live in Boston on Beaon Hill.  It’s a very busy street with all the carriages and pedestrians coming back and forth.  I’m a city girl at heart, but am glad to be visiting my relatives in the backwoods for a change of scenery.

Do you have any secrets, and what are they? Why do you keep them?

Of course I have secrets!  Someone without any secrets must have led a rather dull life, don’t you think?  But it’s improper to pry in one’s private business, so please don’t ask again.

Sorry!  You are quite right about that.  Let us move on.  What do you believe in?

I am open-minded.  There are a lot of new ideas circling around Boston right now.  Transcendentalism.  Spiritualism.   It’s all very fascinating.  I’m not sure exactly what I believe in, but I am keen on learning different things!

What is the setting of your story?

I am staying with my relatives in the backwoods of New England.   They live in a tiny backwater village that isn’t on any map.   This is my first visit out here, and I am finding my cousins to be all rather… odd.  And there’s also a dead girl.

That is all I shall say for now.

Thank you, Anne for your time.

Thank you for having me.  It has been  a pleasure.

Before I leave, if I may mention a delightful interview I read at http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/464/

Published in: on May 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm  Comments (24)  
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Mina Loy: Bohemian Artist and Poet

One of the delights of writing stories set in the past is discovering, or re-discovering people who’ve left behind intriguing pieces of work.   We all know the big names of the Jazz Age, but whilst researching books my character, Jackie, may have read, I came across a name which I’d never heard before:  Mina Loy. 

The avant-garde poet, artist, and playwright was born  on December 27, 1882 in London.

At the age of seventeen she moved to the Munich, Germany to study painting.    After marrying Stephen Haweis, she moved with him to Paris where she joined the circle of leading avant-garde artists including Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Djuna Barnes, and Henri Rosseau. 

loy2.jpg (61528 bytes)

Consider Your Grandmother’s Stays: drawing by Mina Loy, 1916

In 1907, Mina and Stephen moved to Florence, Italy.  Soon thereafter, they separated and she began a relationship with Filippo Marinetti, leader of the Futurist Movement.  

Eight years later, Mina wrote “Love Songs” which shocked readers with its frank portrayal of human sexuality.  Imagist poet, Amy Lowel, was so incensed by its publication in Others  that she stopped submitting her own work to the magazine.

By 1916,  Loy had grown wary of the Futurist Movement’s growing attachment to fascism, and she moved to New York City where  she befriended the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Marianne Moore.   She continued to write poetry, and perform in local plays, while her spiritual beliefs led her to Christian Scientism. 

After falling in love with the Dadaist poet, Arthur Craven, she moved with him to Mexico City where they lived in desolute conditions.   In 1919, after Mina discovered she was pregnant, Craven insisted he must find a better place for them to live.   Using a small yacht, he set sail for Buenos Aires whilst Mina watched from the shore.

Craven was never seen alive again.  His daughter was born in April.

Unable to accept Craven’s death, Mina flitted around from Florence to New York to Paris back to New York, and finally settled in Colorado in her final years.   To the time of her death at the age of eighty-three, she never stopped creating art. 

Lunar Baedeker

by Mina Loy:

A silver Lucifer
serves
cocaine in cornucopia
 
To some somnambulists
of adolescent thighs
draped
in satirical draperies
 
Peris is livery
prepare
Lethe
for posthumous parvenues
 
Delirious Avenues
lit
with the chandelier souls
of infusoria
from Pharoah’s tombstones
 
lead
to mercurial doomsdays
Odious oasis
in furrowed phosphorous
 
the eye-white sky-light
white-light district
of lunar lusts
 
Stellectric signs
 

Writing Meme: Day 11- Favorite Characters

11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

These questions are almost impossible to answer!

Presently, I would have to choose my mysterious witch, Beth.  The dark sphinx.   She was one of those characters who I knew inside and out from the very beginning, and our relationship only deepened through various drafts.  But I also had found such joy in writing of the exploits of Mr. Raferat and Mrs. Brent.   Most of all the sardonic banter between the two.

I don’t have a least favorite character.   All characters are in a story for a reason.  There are some that are certainly more challenging because they reveal themselves slowly, displaying more aspects of their personality through each draft.    But if they didn’t belong, I’d cut them out and wait for their correct story to come along.

How about you?

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 11:18 am  Comments (5)  
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Writing Meme: Day 7: Writing and Music

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

Not so long ago, the answer would have been, “no”.  I worked in utter silence or with the television on.  (yes, there is no need to point out the contrariness of that)  But then the lovely DD of Filling Spaces alerted me to the wondrous allclassical.org, and I was thusly hooked.  Love that station because they play such a fantastic variety of musicians and styles, introducing me to lots of composers  I’d never heard of.  And they prove such hosts can be tons of fun and lighthearted.  No  Charles Emerson Winchester the Third-ians need apply!

If PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE has a soundtrack, then I think it would be The Hours.   Philip Glass’s haunting, somewhat monotonous piano music is reminiscent of my characters trapped in their personal hells.

Do you listen to music while you write?  Does your novel have a soundtrack?

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 11:29 am  Comments (8)  
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Thirty Days of Writing Meme: Day Two- Number of Characters

2.  How many char­ac­ters do you have?

Oh, an untold number of characters live in my head, awaiting their turn to be written about.  But I’ll stick to the ones in PORTRAITS  since they’ve been fully realized.

Just a quick glimpse at them:

1.  Anne- My fiery 19 year-old protagonist.  Lover of penny dreadfuls and Gothic Romances.   Upon discovering her ability in communicating with the dead, she sets her ambitions on becoming a prominent medium.

2.  Daphne- Anne’s cousin.    Chess player,  autodidact, polygot with an obsession with Tarot

3. Beth- Daphne’s taciturn younger sister.   Artist and poet.  Very strange objects can be found hidden in her room.

4.  Sheridan- Daphne’s charming, gambling husband

5.  Uncle Gerard- studier of the Occult.  Spends a lot of time alone in his study

6. Grace- the omniscient servant

7.   Mr. Raferat and Mrs. Brent- old friends of Uncle Gerard.   Learned in the Occult and practicing Spiritualists, they are more than happy to aid Anne in her pursuit of knowledge

8.  Mary- the very angry dead girl

Meme: Thirty Days of Writing: Day One- Favorite Writing Project

The preeminent Ralfast (waves hello) has tagged me for a meme in which I am to answer 30 questions related to writing.

If I suppose correctly, I am to answer a question a day.    Well, there goes my plan of blogging once a week.  But no worries, Ralfast.  I’ve never been one to stick to plans: others or my own.  Really.  Don’t feel bad.  😉

So, with a little Wicked playing in the background, here I go:

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

This will no doubt change with time, but right now it is PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE

Why?  It’s the first novel I wrote with the specific aim toward publication.  Wait.  No.  That’s sort of a lie.   But unlike the Little Women knock-offs I penned when I was ten, I think this at least has a slight chance in Hela.

The “universe” that the story takes place in is very tight. I  wanted the setting to be claustrophobic.  The majority of the novel takes place around one  desolate house.   Outside, it’s glorious summer, while inside, the house’s inhabitants are wilting.

I’d speak more in depth about the novel, but no doubt with 29 more questions to go, I have plenty of time for that.

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm  Comments (14)  
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Back From The Dead- Come In and Enjoy Some Tea

Well, that month went by quickly!

First, I want to thank everyone for your super sweet and encouraging comments you left me.   I read them all, and they meant a lot to me.  Thank you!!

During my time away from the blogsphere, I’ve:

1. Doing lots of writing.  Begun working on a revision of PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST STORY, after a great suggestion by an agent

2. continuing my neverending German studies- oh the joys and horrors of that!

3. begun practicing Zhan Zhuang

4. have mentally jotted down new things to blog about which I hope you shall find interesting

5. and well, lots more stuff!  🙂

Anyhow, I’ve missed all of you.  So gather a chair, sip some tea, enjoy a scone…and tell me- what have you been up to?

Published in: on September 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm  Comments (13)  
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Reading, Writing, and Voodoo

Little tidbits:

1.  I am on chapter eleven of Sturmhöhe; and all I can say is,  “My poor little head!”

2.    I haven’t been sleeping much at night because my mind is twisting and turning with ideas for my WIP.  It’s such a frustrating yet exhilerating feeling.  Two characters are mocking me, staying just within my peripheral vision.   On the plus side, I saw a picture of my protagonist and suddenly everything clicked.  (hint:  thanks, DD!)

3. Vodou card of the day:  Petro Houngan

from Sallie Glassman’s, New Orleans Voodoo Tarot : “The houngan of fire represents the fiery part of fire.   He is the virtue of fire doubled back upon itself.  It burns with great intensity but is easily exhausted if other elements do not come into play.   It has but one course, and that is to burn straight through.”

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm  Comments (19)  
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Art Inspired Writing

  Some of my fellow writers have mentioned being struck by a shiny new idea while listening to music.  As much as I enjoy listening to music, thus far, no tune has sent me dashing for a pen.  Rather, when it comes to The Arts, it is is paintings that will often  make me stop and go,  “hmm….”

A few paintings that inspired me while writing my last novel, PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE,  were the following:

1.  Goya’s Don Manuel

This painting with the  child holding a bird captive, and two cats waiting to pounce upon it  hangs in The Hoffmans’ dining room.

Titania Sleeping by Richard Dadd hangs in their parlor:

The renowned English artist went mad during his travels through Europe and the Middle East.  After claiming possession by the Egyptian god, Osiris, he began exhibiting increasingly violent behavior.   Upon Richard’s return home, his father refused to instituionalize him.    Not long afterwards, on August 28, 1843, Richard Dadd stabbed his father to death.

Richard Dadd spent the rest of his life in a mental institution.

While my novel has nothing to do with Dadd or fairies,  the  painting and Dadd’s lifestory made me think of the ill character in my story, and the one who needs to wake up and see the truth…

Do paintings inspire ideas in you?