Monthly Archives: October 2013

Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ Dracula Scorches the Small Screen

One of the promotional images for NBC’s Dracula reboot describes it as “Old Legend. New Blood.” They certainly delivered on that promise in last Friday’s premiere episode. 
Dracula has been remade dozens of times since Bram Stoker first penned the novel in 1897. Each actor who played the part brought something new to the role. Every interpretation gave a new spin on the legend. This incarnation dusts off the old tropes and breathes new life into a story everyone thought they knew. 
I was aware going in that in order to create a season (hopefully multi-season) weekly drama based on a single novel, the writers would have to introduce new storylines to keep the audience tuned in. But what they created far exceeded my expectations. There are tons of surprises in store for even those who thought they knew everything there was to know about the characters. In addition, the production values are truly excellent, the costumes lavish, the acting superb, and the special effects are understated and powerful. 
The most effective special effect, however, is Meyers himself. The way his eyes glittered as he looked on Mina Murray from the shadows spoke volumes about the character of Dracula and hinted at things to come in a way that the script could never do. He has a power and charisma on screen that is incendiary, and it makes the audience root for him, even with the knowledge that he is not the hero. Or is he? I, for one, can’t wait to find out. 
If you haven’t seen the pilot episode, you’re in for a treat. I plan to keep watching every week to see how the plot unfolds…and to see more of Jonathan Rhys Meyers. 

Eagle Radio Interview with Thomas Gilson

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Thomas Gilson from Central Methodist University’s Eagle Radio about my writing. Since Blogger, WordPress, and Facebook all lack the ability to post audio files, I created a Tumblr account in order to host the interview file in it’s entirety. Tom and I had a lot of fun doing the interview together, and I think it came out pretty well. I hope you all enjoy!

If you would like to hear more from Tom or listen to Eagle Radio, click through and just hit play.

Exciting News!

I’ve kept it under my hat for a month, wanting to wait till there was something definite to say, but it’s time. People have been asking me about the book, and I’m ready now to talk about the reason for my delay.

In September, I made arrangements with R.J. Cavender from The Editorial Department to annotate my manuscript of Ma Chère Antoinne. Yesterday, I got them back from him, and I don’t think I’ve ever made such a great investment in myself.

Annotation, for those of you who don’t know, consists of notes that are made throughout the document. I’m notorious for annotating my books at home (though never library books, I swear), and it’s the same technique I use when grading papers in my composition classes. Some of the notes are corrections or suggestions while others are reactions to the text. It’s a way of interacting between reader and writer–a conversation.

I think if I hadn’t had the experience of giving just these kinds of notes to others, I’d have felt very defensive and frightened at the prospect of reading through 265 pages of someone else’s commentary on my work. But setting ego aside and seeing the annotations as a conversation rather than a threat makes a potentially anxiety-ridden situation into a learning experience that can be transformative.

Having the right editor makes all the difference. That sounds obvious, but it truly isn’t.

I’ve seen “editors” who simply marked sentence level issues but who never really appeared to engage with the text. That’s not editing. That’s proofreading. I’ve also seen “editors” who try to force a writer to give up his/her own voice in order to make the content fit their own desires. That’s not editing either. That’s rewriting.

Good editing, just like good teaching, engages in a conversation with the writer, reacting to what is working right as well as to what isn’t.

The best situation is when an editor’s sensibilities match those of the writer. They just “get” it. They understand the writer’s intent and help hone the text to achieve that goal.

That’s exactly how I feel as I’m studying the notes. I couldn’t be happier with the work R.J. did for me, and I can’t thank him enough for his attention to detail. I’m only just starting Chapter 6, and I can already see how much cleaner, tighter, and better the text has become. Not only that, but I’m starting to internalize the lessons I’m gleaning from his notes, and that is a gift I will carry with me always.

All this means that Book 2 is on hold while I complete my changes. But after learning what R.J. has to say, I’m confident that Book 1 is going to be vastly improved, and the things I’m learning will carry over into the rest of the series.

By nature, I want what I want when I want it, and I have a hard time waiting patiently for the things I’ve set my mind on. I’m most impatient with myself. It’s easy for me to become annoyed with myself for not being able to complete a project as quickly as I’d like. However, when it comes to my writing, I remind myself that the wait will be worth it, both for me and for those who will read it.

Writing a book is like deciding to run a marathon. It’s not something you can just wake up one morning and do. It takes training, time, planning, dedication, and a willingness to accept that natural talent on it’s own isn’t going to get you to the finish line. It means getting up every morning, even on the days when you don’t feel like it, all with the belief that the achievement will make any short-term hardship fade in time.

Writing a series is like running a series of marathons back to back. That is what I’ve taken on.

So please be patient with me. I’m running as fast as I can. And I promise to make it worth the wait.