The biggest complaint I have, that most people have in fact, is that there’s not enough time in the day. There are so many things I want to do, want to experience. Even if it’s just an extra hour to watch Animal Planet, I want that time. I know for sure that if you’re reading this, you’ve thought, “If I just didn’t need to sleep, I could have so much more time. Maybe I’ll try crack cocaine.”
Okay, maybe that’s just me. Just kidding, sleep is sacred.
Anyway, once every four years we get the gift of not another hour in our day, but a whole extra day. An extra day to work, to play, to read. To pet our dogs and drink coffee. An extra day to go to the park, get ice cream or catch up on cleaning the attic.
What are you going to do with your extra day? Will you go to work, make dinner with your kids, watch tv? Whatever you do, I hope it’s good.
It’s a Saturday, so I’ll be at my day job. But I get done early, and I’m going to make the most of it. Because this year we get what we always pray for.
I was honored to interview Madolyn Locke. She’s an artist, poet, editor, playwrite and author. And it was a facinating conversation.
What books have you read so many times that you wore out a copy?
Too many to name! LoL The first was probably Ballet Shoes (Noel Streatfeild), but a couple
others would be: Shakespeare’s collected works & I Will Fear No Evil (Robert A. Heinlein)
What author inspires you the most?
Anyone who can create a world that pulls me in, characters that I care about, and a story that keeps my attention.
What was the first book that you remember reading and realizing that your own work was way better?
You know, I really don’t remember. I know it’s happened, because everyone thinks their work is great (when they’re not telling themselves it’s drivel!) but I can’t pin down a ‘when’ specifically.
Stephen King talks about writing for just one person, a constant reader. For him, that’s his wife, Tabitha. Do you have that sort of constant reader in mind when you’re writing?
Not a specific reader, no. I write stories that I would like… I guess I just believe there are readers out there who agree with me.
What made you want to start publishing anthologies?
I’ve always loved a good anthology. ‘Back in the day’ they were everywhere. The Confederacy of the Quill was born out of a desire to create an artists’ cooperative where everyone pooled their creative talents – the anthology just seemed like a natural result of that cooperation.
What’s your biggest pet peeve when editing stories for the anthology every year?
LoL! Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but it really bugs me when writers don’t do a good, SOLID, initial proof of their own work. As an editor, I should be able to focus on content, not the minutia of spelling, punctuation, & sentence structure. Some of the best writers are guilty of not proofing well!
What inspires you to come up with the themes every year?
G. Russell and I take about a day to breathe after the SylverMoon Chronicles anthology launches every year, and then we turn toward the next one. The first thing we do every year is decide on the theme. It’s usually a rapid-fire back & forth conversation where we throw ideas at each other until ‘the one’ sticks & we go “Yeah! That’s it!”
Tell us about your own novels.
I only have two, actually, and neither is very long. Of course, my perception of what’s ‘long’ may
be a bit skewed because I’m used to editing VERY long (and very good!) novels from a
couple of my writers. But I have ‘One Real Summer’ which is a young adult, ‘finding yourself’, summer-read book. The other is ‘Silent Love’, a pseudo-historical (depending on if you believe in Camelot or not) fantasy romance… that one gets a bit spicy – definitely not for the ‘under-age’ set.
So, you actually write screenplays and novels. How different is the process for writing screenplays?
Extremely different! I actually find screenplays much easier. With a screenplay, it’s 100% about dialogue. You don’t have to describe the scenery, the history, the ambiance… you don’t have to bring your audience into the world – that’s ultimately the job of the director, location scout, and production designer. You can just focus on your characters & what they want to say to each other.
You also write poetry. Is there a particular poet who speaks to you?
E. E. Cummings. I always had an appreciation for poetry, but when I first read Cummings it was like a whole world of possibility opened up. These poems didn’t rhyme. They didn’t have a particular cadence. They were hugely open to interpretation both in meaning and how they were presented. I actually used Cummings in Poetry Interpretation competitions in high school. I was the only one who ever did – at least at the events I went to.
Most authors find that they have to write in a lot of places, but have a place they write best. Where do you feel that you write best?
No place in particular, really. Whatever I’m working on I generally do on my tablet, sitting on my sofa, covered in cats.
What does your writing routine usually look like?
Can you think of a modern author who doesn’t get enough attention?
Absolutely. My best friend & creative partner – G. Russell Gaynor. The worlds he creates are AMAZING and more people need to recognize that. Also, Jean Brashear wrote a wonderful book called ‘The Goddess of Fried Okra’, and I never heard a splash for it like it deserved.
Do you have anything coming out soon?
Just SylverMoon Chronicles: Volume VIII! (And the bonus-book, CyberMoon 2020)
Finally, if you hadn’t become an author, what would you be doing?
To be honest, I’m not really sure how to answer this because I don’t consider myself an author ‘first’… more like an author ‘also’. My first focus (outside of my day job) is my art. I’m a fine-art photographer & digital artist working under the studio name of ‘SylverLight’. So – I suppose that’s what I ‘would’ be doing… since I already am.
But do we? I have to think, if we loved our dogs, we would embrace the breed that most closely resembles ourselves.
Most Americans are mutts. There’s a reason why all these ancestry businesses are making bank right now. I’m Hungarian, but there’s some French and English thrown in there. Pretty sure some Irish, too. Basically, I have greasy hair, lots of freckles and I’m not white so much as patchy red. But I got the bonnie blue eyes and my nose is a normal shape so no complaining here.
My dog, Oliver, is also a mutt. He’s half Boston Terrier, half hell if I know. I think he’s half
Pitt, though. So, he’s a bouncy tank.
He’s also the most lovable, sweet thing you will ever meet. He follows me around the house, is super easy to train, loves other dogs.
I don’t know that he would have been as good of a match for us if he’d been pure terrier. That breed tends to have a strong hunting instinct, especially when it comes to small furry animals. You know, like my beloved cat Harper. And while Oliver does love playing with his ‘big’ sister, he has never shown hunting behavior towards her.
Which brings me to the actual point of this post. It wasn’t to show off pictures of my dog. (Okay, it wasn’t just to do that.)
Pure breeding in dogs is animal abuse.
I am not willing to argue or equivocate on the point. If you have a purebred dog, it is the result of animal abuse.
This is not your fault or the fault of your beloved friend. If you have a pure breed, love the hell out of that little sucker because s/he needs it. Here are some awful facts about breeding animals like this.
-Purebred dogs have chronic health problems. Some breeds have bad livers. Some, like my beloved Dashounds, have bad backs. Some breeds have an issue where their organs just twist up in their stomachs. Genetic diversity matters, people. There’s a reason why we don’t inbreed.
-Speaking of inbreeding, that’s pretty common for less than reputable breeders.
-It’s also common for bad breeders to just pump litter after litter from momma dogs until
their bodies just break down and stop working.
-Another fun fact. If your version of fun is bone achingly sad. Each breed has certain characteristics. So breeders breed for those. Pugs have those squishy flat faces, for instance. We bred them for that flat face. What does a breeder do with puppies that don’t show the proper traits for their breed? Well, what do most companies do with defective products? They either sell them at a loss or get rid of them.
Now, before anyone comes at me in the comment section, I know that not all breeders have these horrific practices. Some breeders are good, honest people who take excellent care of their dogs. Some breeders would joyfully bash in the skulls of people who abuse animals with a Louisville Slugger. God Bless you people, you know what you’re doing.
It still doesn’t help the genetic defect issue.
It also doesn’t help the biggest issue I have with buying a purebred dog. And I think you know what I’m going to say.
Every single town and city in America has at least one animal shelter. I volunteer sometimes at ours. They are not at full capacity.
Adopt, don’t shop.
As an American, we’re all immigrants. We’re all mutts. Let’s embrace our fellow mutts.
You can get SylverMoon Chronicles on Amazon right now!
Hey, guys. You’ve been hearing from me a lot this week, but that’s because it’s been a busy week. Like, really busy. Please feel free to insert some nervous laughter here. Taxes and deadlines, doctor appointments and book launches.
So, let’s talk about the SylverMoom Chronicles. It’s put out by the Confederacy of the Quill, which I’m honored to be a part of. This year includes a story of mine called Fairy Coin. It’s a dark little fantasy with magic, fairies, and blood. A healthy amount of blood. Beware the Faie, everyone.
Do you ever feel like you’re just repeating the same day over and over? Not like, Groundhog day level, but that you’re just stuck in a rut? That’s where I’ve been. I go to the same day job, write the same series I’ve been working on for years. I eat the same food, read the same sort of books from the same authors, watch the same content creators on Youtube.
It becomes dull. And while I’m not in my twenties anymore, I’m not old. I’m sure not ready for my life to be stuck in a predictable rut. I’ve never been a fan of ruts.
The long term solution for this is to buy an RV, quit my job and write full time. Become a digital nomad. I’m calling that Project Serenity. And if anyone’s interested, I’ll be happy to do a post detailing how I’m doing that.
But that’s long term. It’s potentially years in the making. And I have no intention to wait until I reach that big hefty goal before I’m happy.
So I came up with a plan to make this year exciting. Every week, I seek out a new experience. An adventure.
The rules are simple. Find some new experience every week. It can be a Youtuber I’ve never watched, a book from an author I’ve never read, a recipe I’ve never tried. It can be something big, like going on vacation to a city we’ve never been to. Or something small, like driving down a road we’ve always been curious about right here in our hometown.
Now, I’ve been doing this since the start of the year, and I’ve been keeping track of all my adventures in my planner. So far it’s been nothing big. But still quite enriching.
We tried the Incredible Sausage sandwich at Dunkin. It was pretty good.
We’ve discovered some cool new Youtubers.
We’ve had several driving adventures, exploring our hometown. It’s amazing how little we’ve seen of it.
We have so many plans for new experiences this year. I don’t think this is going to be some major life-changing experience. My only goal is to have little new experiences that brighten my life.
And I already got my copy! It’s sitting on my desk quietly waiting for me to finish the book I’m reading now. I’m going to really have to focus on actually getting things done with this book sitting here. I cannot wait to crack into it.
Honestly, if you’ve been around PBW for any amount of time, you’re fully aware that Ash Ambridge is basically my Beyonce. Which isn’t to say she’s a musician that a lot of people fawn over. No, I mean in terms of inspiration. Her blog, also called The Middle Finger Project, inspires me with every post. And if you want to live, actually live, then she should be inspiring you.
I’m also pretty sure she’s my soul sister. She grew up in a trailer in PA, just like me. She’s a classy professional who really likes the word fuck, just like me. And she’s not about apologizing for any part of her life. I’m working on that.
What follows is some awesome experts and information from the woman herself. If you haven’t already gotten your hands on a copy of this book, go do it right now. Or read this, and understand better why everyone needs this book.
Then go get it.
Animals Who May or May Not Want to Pee On This Book
The rhino. (Seems like a total alpha male.)
T-Rex. (Shitty reading arms.)
Any type of mollusk. (Jealous of my name.)
The Common Molly. (For obvious reasons.)
What the F*cking Thing Is About
Girl grows up in a trailer park in rural America
Mom = social anxiety, doesn’t leave house
Dad dies when girl is 14
Mom dies when girl is 21
Girl leaves small town. Goes to big city. Tries hard to fit in with people who paid real money for “nude” as a nail color.
Becomes disillusioned to discover nobody actually knows what they’re doing and the rules were made up by a guy named Ted who ate a cheeseburger for lunch and has a dog named Wedgie.
Leaves job. Rebels. Sleeps in car in Kmart parking lot.
$26 left. Lots of chicken nuggets.
Hears radio announcer. New music album available for pre-order. Suddenly realizes that value comes in many forms—not just in all of material things she never had—and art is worth paying for. And? It doesn’t have to be *finished yet* in order to be exchanged for future value.
Takes hidden talent—writing—and uses it to create an all-new job for herself.
Earns first $2,000 from backseat of car.
Uses it to kick start new life.
Makes first $103,000 that year, and then goes on to earn several million dollars from her art.
Learns lots of lessons along the way, like: You must be brave enough to cause problems. And: Sometimes you’ve got to be a bitch about money. And: Every good idea is offensive to someone. And: Selling yourself requires you to insist on your own brilliance. And: We must learn to become mothers to ourselves.
I NEED TORN DOWN SOULS TO READ THIS. I need them to see that they can do so much more than they think. And not just them, but anyone who feels like an imposter every single day of their life. Anyone who doesn’t know what else to do. Anyone confused about their career. Anyone who doesn’t have passions anymore. Anyone who feels like they’ve lost themselves. And anyone who is still really just an innocent babe inside, trying to find their way.
Books, especially fantasy books, have experienced a great swelling of interest. Streaming services and cable channels scramble for new content. As they can often offer a long-form setup and give more room to tell a story, more and more good books are ending up there. And they’re doing way better there! For instance, the movie Series of Unfortunate Events with Jim Carey was terrible. But the series from Netflix with Neil Patrick Harris was phenomenal. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, block out some time and binge it.
As an answer to this, movie companies have started looking for ways to give more space to tell stories the right way. They’re doing this by splitting books into multiple movies.
Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
I am the first person to complain about books being made into movies. They always leave out the best parts! There’s always some scene or character I was excited to see that just never happens. And why did they never happen? Because they weren’t considered essential to the plot, so they were taken out for time.
Having two movies’ worth of time allows for the whole story to be told. Things that aren’t essential to the plot but essential to the enjoyment of the story are all there. The directors even have space to add in new elements as well. One fine example of this is Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. There’s a great scene with Harry and Hermione dancing to the radio while on the run. It’s a sweet moment in a dark time, and it wasn’t in the book. I’m glad it was in the movie.
That isn’t to say that this can’t be taken to far. Take, for example, The Hobbit movies. The Hobbit is a fine book, but it’s not a particularly long book. There’s not enough material to span two movies, let alone three. And unfortunately, the team responsible for beefing up the story wasn’t gifted with what I’d call creativity.
So why do it all in that case? Well, the easiest answer is that three movies will make more money than one. I’m willing to pay that money if the movies are good. If the movie is full of unsatisfying filler, I’m feeling pretty ripped off.
There’s another issue with the two to three movie system. There is by far too much time between the films. Waiting for Mockingjay part two was torture. But then, I’m not a super patient person.
Like most things, splitting novels between two movies have the potential to be a great choice. It also has the potential to destroy what would otherwise have been a fantastic movie experience. It all comes down to intention as most things do. Is the studio trying to give the story the space it needs? Or are they just after a double return on their investment?
So, what do you think? Are there books you feel needed the two movie experience? Or are there some that would have been better left to one? Let us know in the comments.