Southern Gothic

Sipping sweet iced tea by moonlight.

Planning vs. Execution

I’m really good at planning. Like, crazy-good! I can plan everything out to a perfect “T”, write it all down in a notebook, and present the ideas like nobody’s business!

Execution, however, presents a bit of a problem.

Part of it is that execution can get messy. Execution demands that I refine my plan. Execution involves navigating life’s unexpected events. In short, execution requires the planner/executioner to have a sense of adventure and whimsy. If I don’t have both of those, then I get stuck in the planning stages and never get anywhere.

The idea of publishing anything terrifies me. It scares me to death, the idea of putting my bare soul out in fiction form for all the world to see. Will people like it? Will they find it inspiring? Will they want to dress as my characters for some kind of convention? Will I have crazy fans who break into my house to steal my clothes? Or worse…will I have critics who tear apart my novel like bad, one-ply toilet paper at a Mexican restaurant?

Not to be too dramatic, but…what will become of me?!

(Feel free to imagine that last part with me falling, in full Victorian Goth garb, onto a fainting couch.)

What’s worse than critics I don’t know personally tearing my stuff apart, or even the idea of it not getting very popular at all, are the potential reactions of close family and friends.

A lot of what I want to publish is based on characters from a time long ago, when I frequented a certain art site ( and was obsessed with textual role-playing.

For the uneducated, “role-playing” is exactly what it sounds like. You imagine your fictional characters reacting a certain way to other people’s fictional characters. You and the other person(s) keep building and building the story in this way – usually script-style – until one or all of you is tired of it.

There’s…usually no ending. There’s not even really a clear beginning, other than “Everyone walks into a bar/cafe/etc.” It’s a ridiculous amount of fun, but can also get terribly dramatic.

At the time I was actively role-playing on said site, I was lonely. There were a lot of odd things going on, and I needed the distraction. Unfortunately, the role-play fed my temporary insanity at the time instead of relieving it, resulting in things seeming a lot weirder than they probably, actually were.

What I fear is that people who knew me back then and are already familiar with some of my characters will take it personally when I actually publish something starring them (it won’t be) or that something else weird will happen.

“Why not start over with brand-new characters?” I hear you ask.

That’s…not an option. I can write different stories with different characters, but this particular fictional world isn’t going away. I’ve been building on it forever – since I was a teenager – and simply doing away with it or ignoring it isn’t working.

And it’s not for a lack of trying!

So, here are the fears I need to overcome:

1. Fear of evil critics

2. Fear of insane fans.

3. Fear of disapproving loved ones, both former AND present.

Also, I need to stop being afraid of editing. It’s seriously a beast of a thing.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  What fears stand in the way of your dreams and things?

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30 Days of…Hustle: Days 1 & 2

I haven’t felt well. Christmas brought with it a sinus infection, and the New Year’s brought a particularly angry Aunt Irma.

As such, I haven’t yet had the creative thinking energy to post properly on what I want to post about. Long and short of it is this: I’m doing Acuff’s “30 Days of Hustle” thing on Facebook.

Yesterday, he asked us to choose something to do. Anything. It just had to be a specific goal that’s particular to us. I wavered between “Spend 30 minutes on writing” and “Finish David Wong’s book, This Book Is Full Of Spiders.

I decided to post the first one, but actually ended up doing the second.  Because thinking involves being able to, you know….think.

Today, he asked us to consider the WHY of what we’re doing.  That took me a bit.  Why do I want to spend 30 minutes a day writing?

Well, the answer to that is simple, and something most fiction writers (or really, anyone in a creative field) can understand:  Because it won’t leave me alone!  Because the stories and the characters need to be in the world in the same way that a 9-month fetus does.  (Yes, in this scenario, my brain is pregnant.)

It’s better not to think too hard about it..

Also much like an unborn fetus, they’re going to come out one way or the other, or both host and parasite will die.  Or, be really, really antsy.  Whichever.

I need more tea..

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Do you do New Year’s Resolutions?  If so, what have you resolved?  If not, what goals do you have regardless of resolutions?

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Movie Review: “Head Trauma”

Pic source:

I’d seen this one floating around Netflix for a while, but it didn’t sound that interesting to me.

From Netflix:

When mentally unstable drifter George moves into a condemned house that once belonged to his grandmother, he’s plagued by nightmares after he suffers a blow to the head.  Things take a dangerous turn when a ghostly entity begins to torment George.

Sounds like pretty standard fare for us horror fans, right?  Well, don’t dismiss this one quite so quickly.  What that blurb doesn’t tell you is how atmospheric this movie is.

From the beginning (and this isn’t a spoiler), I was treated to the typical bad-camera, bad-audio that I just hate.  While it wasn’t shaky-cam, it was still very low-resolution, low-audio-quality one expects from a children’s birthday video filmed in the 90s.

However, unlike most movies with a seemingly similar budget of about $10, it works.  It works for the main character, and it works for the story.

I won’t go into any details for this one.  It’s not the best I’ve ever seen, but it is surprisingly good given what there was to work with.  Both the writer and the director should get some special notice for this, and I would love to see more with quality story and direction like this one.

Final Verdict:

3 cookies out of 5.  

Not the best I’ve ever seen, but a FAR cry from the worst!

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Have you seen this one?  What did you think? (Keep spoilers to a minimum, please.)

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Movie Review: CROWSNEST

That isn’t misspelled. That’s the name of the movie as it appears on-screen, in all caps.

You would think that with a cool name like that, this horror/thriller would be about crows. Or a nest. Or at the very least, have some kind of cool legend behind the serial killings/disappearances/murders/etc. Even if it is shaky-cam.

(Spoilers after the jump.)

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Holiday Panic!

If you’re like me, the holidays are filled with a kind of nameless dread that no other holiday can equal.  Between the gift shopping, the meal planning, the traffic, and ridiculously high expectations (whether of our own or other people’s), it can be quite a maze to navigate through.

That’s my theory on why folks get crazy and wasted on New Year’s Eve; we’re all just thrilled that the holidays are over with!

Make no mistake:  This doesn’t mean I don’t like Thanksgiving dinner or giving gifts!  Those are two of the things I love most about the holiday seasons!  But getting to T-day dinner and Christmas Day can be a wee bit harrowing.  And we always have some rough idea of exactly how things should be.  

We can’t help it.  It’s human nature to want things to be “perfect”, to have all the family around a perfectly decorated table, laughing and smiling, as the perfectly-browned turkey is gently carved and…well, you get the picture.  It’s all over the commercials and ads.

Yet….Yet…!  If you’re loved ones are (or were) anything like mine, the holidays always ended up resembling something from the Griswald’s, something like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Or like Ralphie’s family in A Christmas Story.  

In other words, the reality takes our dreams and plans and ideas and beats them to death with a baseball bat.  It’s still way memorable, but for completely different reasons than we were expecting!

This isn’t a bad thing.  A few hundred years ago, there wasn’t that kind of expectation.  If you got a new shirt to wear on Sundays to church, that was a Big Deal.  If you had enough money to even afford a turkey, you were living the good life!

But, things have changed.  Now, you can have not just a turkey, but a duck and a chicken….all in the same bird!  (Fun Fact:  The first time I heard about a turducken was from an episode of Supernatural.  And I thought it was completely fictitious.  Imagine my surprise when I saw it in the very-real grocery store…)

Point is this:  Take it easy this holiday season!  Don’t let the crowds and the manic-panic nature of it all rule your emotions.  Just let the chips fall where they may.  And if Uncle Jack gets drunk and starts arguing with racist Grandpa about the state of the Obama administration, give them each a piece of pie.  It’s absolutely impossible to eat pie and argue at the same time.  ;)

~L. A.~

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