WIP Wednesday: Wanderlust

I live in my head a lot of the time. Thinking, plotting, brainstorming…it’s a solitary thing and as much as I love writing, sometimes a change of perspective is exactly what I need to shake things up and inspire new stories.

So, yeah…if you follow me on Facebook, you know I just spent 2 weeks roadtripping through California. From San Francisco, up to the Avenue of the Giants, over to Yosemite, then down to San Diego, those 2 weeks were full of countless adventures.

We saw the mist roll in over San Francisco every night like clockwork. We drove on white-knuckle mountain roads up and down the coast. We saw towering redwoods (and even drove through one), saw Ancient Egyptian artifacts, slept on a historic ocean liner and had the time of our live in the sand, sun and surf.

Point Arena Lighthouse

Point Arena Lighthouse

So, yeah…it was time to decompress and experience life, and in the process, I was gifted with not only countless cherished memories (and a bunch of snow globes to add to my collection!) but also a bunch of new story seeds that I’m going to gleefully explore.

I’m not underselling it when I say I literally saw places that seemed otherworldly to me. Places that were so curious that even standing there in that space, they still didn’t seem quite real. The astonishing peaks in Yosemite; the rockpile terrain leading up to Palm Springs; the endless coves, pristine ocean and everything from pines to palms.

Even now, going through our 2000+ photos we took along the way, I see new things to inspire, things I didn’t notice then and will use as inspiration for future stories.  Normally, I use an overheard piece of conversation or some strange news story as story inspiration so I’m going to try something completely different – and it will be available as a freebie for All Hallows Read!!! I’ll keep you updated.

Now, it’s back to reality and workworkwork. Lots of freelance work to tackle, a new novel to outline for NaNoWriMo (!!!) and one to edit. For now, the only traveling I’ll be doing is in my mind…but that doesn’t mean it will be any less exhilarating.

Psst! Don’t forget – I’m holding a contest until October 5 to win a month-long Backstage Pass to my Patreon Campaign. FREE STORIES! FREE SWAG! Don’t miss out!
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

New Contest: Who Wants To Win A Backstage Pass

Although I’m a firm believer that scary stories should be enjoyed all year-round, there’s no better time for creepy tales that fright & delight than Halloween!

Which is why I’ve decide to hold a new contest called…Who Wants To Win a Backstage Pass!

whowantstowinTHE DEETS
The winning entrant will win 1 month of PATREON goodies! That’s right! The monthly ebook (in your choice of digital format), all the extra stories, the behind-the-scenes scoopage that my patrons currently receive…all of it is yours for the entire month of October!

You’ll get the ROCK STAR treatment that my highest level of Patreon supporters receive (which is currently the ROADIE level) for the entire month – I may even throw a few extra special treats your way.

How sweet does that sound?!

HOW TO GET THE GOODS
All it takes is a comment! No jumping through hoops, nothing to sign up for or no skill-testing questions to sweat over. All you have to do is say you wanna win, and you’ll be entered into the contest.

WHAT MY PATRONS ARE SAYING
Not sure it’s quite your thing? Check out what my current patrons have to say about the goods they’ve received:

“Mary Rajotte’s Patreon offers all sorts of goodies, from twisted stories (which are awesome) to her ‘Altered Words’ segments. She also isn’t shy about pulling back the curtain and revealing the inspiration behind these dark creations. If you’re a horror fan, I recommend putting down a couple of bucks and supporting Mary’s work.”
- Todd K

WHO WANTS TO WIN?
So, you wanna win a month of skin-crawlingly good fiction and a sneak peek into the methods of my madness? Just enter your comment below (as well a your email address so I can contact you if you win), and you’re entered!

The contest runs until midnight on October 5, with goodies being sent to you throughout October.

Winners will be chosen at random & content delivered directly to your inbox, so again, don’t forget to include a working email address so I can sully your inbox with my nightmarish tales.

So…WHO WANTS TO WIN A BACKSTAGE PASS?!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Life (and death) imitating art

So, who remembers my ebook, The Lockwood Collection? More specifically, who remembers the cover?

I know, it’s not that difficult to forget. I’ve even been told it’s on the verge of being nightmare-inducing. GOOD! Hahaha!

Um..yeah, so…as I was saying…on our trip to California, I managed to work a trip to the Egyptian Museum into our schedule and it did not disappoint. As an Ancient Egyptian enthusiast (i.e. obsessive), all the artifacts, artwork, jewelry, statues, and pottery were fascinating to me (not to mention the replica tomb you could climb down into!).

When we went to see the Mummies of the World exhibit, I saw a few themes that I’ve already explored in my fiction, and at the Egyptian Museum, there was something a little familiar in one of the cases…

CHECK THIS OUT

Mummy1
Look familiar? No? Here…try this…

lockwoodmummycompare

I know, right?! How cool is that?! I definitely had a specific idea for my book cover when I set out to create it, but seeing something so similar in real life thrilled me to no end.

Oh, and this shot I got of King Tut wasn’t bad either…

Tut

So, to say I was inspired is an understatement. I discovered a few “story seeds”, one of which I think should fit nicely into my next NaNoWriMo project!!! And the Egyptian Museum itself will play an integral part, too.

More on that later…

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Breeding Ground – Mummies of the World

breedingground_logoWelcome to Breeding Ground, a new series of posts where I share sources of inspiration for my fiction.

I wanted to offer friends, readers and fellow authors a little peek into where my ideas come from, how I take little tidbits (or story seeds, as I like to call them), and add to, alter and cultivate them into short stories, novellas and novels.

Enjoy!


 

So, for my birthday, Chris gave me tickets to the Mummies of the World exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science. I’d seen some mummies at the ROM before, but I knew this exhibit was going to be cool because it had mummies from, well…all over the world, not to mention mummified animals as well.

mummies_logo

I’m not sure when I first became interested in Ancient Egypt, mummies, hieroglyphs and all that jazz, but if there’s a documentary on NatGeo or The History Channel, you can bet I’ll watch it!

My snazzy scarab paperweight

My snazzy scarab paperweight

So, when I saw the billboards for the exhibit during one of our cross-border shopping trips, I knew I had to go! I’d already seen the Book of the Dead exhibit a few years ago, and this little visit would add nicely to my obsession of all things Ancient Egyptian.

When we first walked into the exhibit, there was a sarcophagus showing off an elaborate painted motif – the perfect welcome to the exhibit. Throughout, there were artifacts, tools and resins used in the mummification process, ushabti, jewelry, canopic jars – everything you would expect (and hope) to see.

My trusty Thoth statue who stands guard while i write

My trusty Thoth statue who stands guard while i write

It was cool to be able to get up close (or as close as the glass cases would allow). Being able to see different types of sarcophagi was fantastic. Some had hieroglyphs carved directly into the wood while others had a layer of linen between the case and the designs, which were painted on the linen.

All in all, I’d say there were maybe a dozen or so human mummies – some from the same family, others individuals, each one breathtaking to look at. You could see faded lace on some of the female mummies, or the socks on another. Some still had hair, while others had intricate jewelry or awe-inspiring burial masks.

There was also MUMAB (the Maryland Mummy), a modern-day ancient mummy created by scientists in 1994 using the same methods as ancient Egyptians. And I can’t forget to mention the family of mummies from Vac, Hungary unintentionally discovered in a church crypt.

Another section of the exhibit displayed specimens from The Burns Collection – human cadavers from the early 1800s that were anatomically dissected and preserved to teach anatomy and surgery to medical students. Some showed off anatomy, or the intricate weaving of ligaments, tendons and veins in medical specimens.

There were also a few different stations, with touchscreens where you could “investigate” the cause of death of a corresponding mummy, viewing scans, medical records, and other info that allowed you to step into the shoes of a medical examiner/pathologist. Egyptologist. Very cool!

I think one of the most curious cases displayed shrunken heads! It was amazing to see a human face in that state – the tiny spray of eyelashes on one; the pursed together, stitched  lips of another. All in miniature form – and don’t even get me started on the process of shrinking a head.

Photo by MummiesoftheWorld.com

Photo by MummiesoftheWorld.com

Another cool thing was seeing reference material on the walls, some of which I’ve used (or that I’m currently using) for inspiration in my stories.

There were 2 different panels that discussed mummy brown paint, a theme in my story The Lockwood Collection. Another specimen allowed me to get up close and personal with a concept in one of my works-in-progress – and although I don’t want to spoil the secret just yet, I’ll just tell you that seeing it up close and personal was really cool and spurred me on to finish the story and get it out to readers! So, stay tuned…I’ll be sure to keep you updated as the story progresses.

Photo by MummiesoftheWorld.com

Photo by MummiesoftheWorld.com

I really can’t say much more about how interesting, thrilling and extraordinary the exhibit was. The cool thing is many of the mummies were on loan from the Museum of Man, which just so happens to be in San Diego, where I’ll be going next month! I’ll be sure to keep you updated if I happen to see any cool things – and of course, any new stories inspired by my adventures.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

WIP Wednesday: World In My Eyes

worldeyesSerials and series are a big deal in publishing these days. But damn it if it can’t take what seems like an eternity to fulfill. I have 3 different series on the go right now – all in various stages of completion (not to mention the state of each book). I just can’t say no when a good idea takes hold.

So, I’ve started writing stories that, although set in the same world of some of these series, may not have the same characters, for one. It’s a way to explore the world I’ve created, while giving something to readers to keep (or get) them interested in the world while I work on longer stories.

My buddy Colin F. Barnes (to name but one author doing this and doing it well) has made this one of his trademarks with his Techxorcist series.

He is not only working on what…Book 4? But he has also started a new series under pen name C. F. Barnes in collaboration with another author, T.F. Grant, which will also see separate yet connected novels in the same universe by each author. He’s also working on yet another collaboration project with Darren Wearmouth. I’m not even sure I got all the various series and universes Colin is writing in, both with collaborators and on his own, but one day, I hope to be as efficient and motivated as him to keep up with all my own various series.

It all sounds a little dizzying but I can see exactly why this approach is appealing. As a reader, who wouldn’t want new adventures and new universes to explore (and as often as possible)? As a writer…well I’ve spoken more than once about my million-and-one ideas and the only way any of them are going to see the light of day is if I start to mix things up, ramp up my output and get the stories out to readers.

Right now, I have a suspense/thriller, a near-future sci-fi trilogy, and a paranormal suspense novel set in Victorian England all on the go and I want them to be read! If only that pesky task of editing wasn’t getting in the way…

So when it comes to short stories, I still want to write them. In fact, so many of my longer works have come from the little story seed I’ve explored in shorter pieces. So, I’m not going to quit writing shorts anytime soon…they’re an important tool for me as a writer to uncover bigger stories.

Because I do have big stories to tell.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Altered Words Challenge

alteredwords_titleSo, I’ve been having fun with my Altered Words series of posts – but why should I be the only one?

I’m extending a challenge to one and all – to take my stories…and tear ‘em up!

That’s right! Consider this an invitation to experiment! Anyone who wants to get in on the fun will receive a 50% Discount code for an ebook of their choice with which to experiment. Already own a copy? Well, what are you waiting for?!

RULES

  • Open up your copy of Flowers for the Dead, The Lockwood Collection or Like Flies To Honey
  • Print out a copy or load it into your favourite photo editing program and black out the words you don’t want
  • Send the poem/prose to me or post it on my Facebook Page

PRIZES
I’ll choose my favorite poem (or poems!) and that person will win a mini prize pack! Bookmarks, stickers, pencils and other goodies!

EXTRAS
Why not write a quick review while you’re at it? Something short & sweet will do the trick and posting it on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

GET YOUR COPY
If you don’t already own a copy of either of the 3 ebooks, just head over to my website, choose either Like Flies to Honey, Flowers for the Dead or The Lockwood Collection ebook and use the following Discount Code to get 50% off:

Use Discount Code: 50OFF
Then, mark it up in your photo editor of choice, or just write the poem out & send it to me so I can share it with other readers! Or feel free to post it to my Facebook page. Easy as pie!

Now…get out there and find your poem!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Altered Words: Things As They Should Be

No, it’s not a new Nine Inch Nails song…it’s time for another Altered Words post!

Hello, patrons, readers and friends alike! Bet you thought I forgot about you, huh? Perish the thought! I’ve been working on the ebook that will be going out before the end of the month (yeah, not going to lie…this one’s been giving me trouble) – but I DO have a new Altered Words poem to keep you occupied.

I found this poem in The Liminal Man, the 2nd book in the Monochrome Trilogy by my good friend Todd Keisling.

In case you haven’t heard of Todd yet, be sure to check out his Ugly Little Things – a series of creepy, crass and often skin-curdling tales. They give you a good does of his warped style and are sure to be a gateway for any horror lover into Todd’s longer works.

CHALLENGE ALERT!
Later this week, I’ll be issuing a challenge for everyone who wants to try their hand at Altered Words, with details on how you can grab a copy of one of my ebook!

For now, I give you Things As They Should Be…

Note: As I was working on this poem, I was listening to Corvus Mysterium by Lustmord – it makes a nice little soundtrack if you want to use as as mood music by which to read.


THINGS AS THEY SHOULD BE

TLM_pg120

From The Liminal Man – page 120

A monstrous sea of eyes and teeth,
with glee, pursued their prey.
A shrill laugh echoed,
began to weaken,
but a few moments later, he was alone.
A gaping emptiness, a black hole pulling at his insides,
a memory of humanity,
of its many tethers,
that banal coil.
The gray manifested within his being;
through the infinite murk
the Monochrome’s lifeless abyss,
he could see things as they should be.
The riddle of flesh and mediocrity festering beneath their skin,
their strings his to pull now.


 

What do you think of Things As They Should Be? If you’ve read The Liminal Man, does it give readers a good snapshot of the larger story? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Original text of The Liminal Man © Todd Keisling

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Unadulterated Tapestry of Awesome

Okay…I need to take a few deep breaths here. I’m working on a new story that I am so crazy psyched for that I might have a heart attack right here and now.

So…I admit it…I may be a bit of a hoarder. Pens, journals, old Christmas & Birthday cards…I’ve got stacks and boxes of mementos squirreled away.

The same could be said for story ideas. I know I’m not the only writer to have so many ideas, you don’t know what to do with them. You finish one project and then sit there in silent wonder of which one to tackle next when all you want to do is write ALL THE THINGS, ALL RIGHT NOW.

Well, this story…It kind of came out of nowhere, and yet I’ve had the pieces scattered in my brain for a few years now.

This particular story was going to be just a short piece that I was going to include in a collection. I’d actually already written the first draft but it wasn’t working for me, so I decided to cut it down to a flash piece and post it for free on my website & via my Patreon campaign.

And then it happened…I started thinking…Maybe I should just rework the original piece. Expand it a little. Just…A little.

Yeah. Right. Does any story you intend to expand “just a little” ever stay that way. Hell no.

As I was brainstorming, adding bits and pieces, taking stuff away, going through the usual whos and whats and whys, the story started to grow. Little tidbits of research came back to me. What if I add this? Can I tie this idea to that? And what about that other thing i read? Holy crap…I think I’ve got something here.

You see, along with the hoarding situation I noted above, I have tons upon tons of notes, articles, interesting facts, strange news stories – all cataloged for future story ideas. Some are just seedlings – I’m not sure how or when I’ll use them so I’ll file them away for later – and it’s finally paid off because with this idea, I can sew a few of them together into an Unadulterated Tapestry of Awesome that will hopefully be my next project!

I know…I have enough going on as it is…but I will gladly backburner a few of my other projects to work on this thing. I’d hate myself for not striking while the iron’s hot.

Um…You guys…I’m SMITTEN over here. Like I can’t even type fast enough to get my ideas down about this story. Usually I get a cool story seed but when I start to rework it, something doesn’t sit right. Some little segment doesn’t fit or just won’t logically work no matter how hard I try to mash it or stretch it or piece it together with something else until I have to resign myself to the fact that it just won’t work out the way I had originally envisioned it.

Now…I’m not naive to think I won’t run into roadblocks along the way. That always happens. And I hate to jinx myself before I’ve even gotten out of the brainstorming phase yet.

But this little seed that is really starting to grow like fucking gangbusters? It has me all twisted and turned around and so giddy with anticipation that I just want to figure out all the mechanics of it so I can just WRITE IT ALREADY.

I know…you wanna know more. You’re scoffing right now. Pssshhh…Every writer thinks his or her idea is genius. I’m not even saying it’s genius. I’m only saying…this is what is going on in my head right now…

plasma-ball

I know I’m being vague…but I can’t share it, not yet. Just know that is a story connected to The Lockwood Collection and I’ll be able to explore my obsession with mummies even further. Good thing I’m making a stop at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum when we go to California in September, not to mention the Mummies of the World exhibit I’ll be hitting up this month. Inspiration waits!

Now you see the reason for all these big declarations and all the drama. I’m not sorry for any of it. This is what I live for, why I keep the crazy hours, the reason for all the daydreaming and gnashing of teeth and hunched shoulders from sitting at the keyboard.

When I write it…and when you read it…You’ll see :)

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Altered Words – Cold Fear

alteredwords_titleIt’s time for another Altered Words post!

This time, I “found” a poem in a story by one of my Scroll of Anubis ToC mates – Rhiannon Frater!

Rhiannon is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies trilogy, as well as a wealth of other horror, zombie and other dark fiction works. I admit it – I was pretty stoked when I found out my story was going to be included in an anthology with her, as well as a bunch of other fantastic writers. Rhiannon is such a talent that finding a cool poem “hidden” in her work was not difficult at all!

ABOUT ALTERED WORDS

What is Altered Words all about, anyway? In case you missed my first post, Altered Words is my take on “found fiction”, where I take a story, poem, or other literary work and try to “find” a story within by simply crossing out the words I do not want to include in my piece. Anyway, enjoy the poem!

divider

rhiannon_anubis

Cold Fear – found in Amunet by Rhiannon Frater
pg 27 of The Scroll of Anubis Anthology

The night was stifling,
the breeze barely stirred,
the heat too much to endure.
She was struck by the quiet that filled the house,
shadows thicker and blacker than ever,
moving along beside her in the darkness.
She was alone.
Trembling with cold, she continued,
the shadows following her,
hovering over her.
A sigh, a soft murmur drew her attention,
slowly crept over her;
the cold hand of fear slid down her spine.

Amunet © Rhiannon Frater

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

#SpookySelfie Week 1 Winners

It’s been a great thrill seeing the first entries for the #SpookySelfie contest and I’m happy to announce the winners for Week 1…EVERYONE!

Tony Rapino…you get an ebook!

Linda Kollau…you get an ebook, too!

And last but certainly not least…Matt Butterweck…you win an ebook!!!

spookyselfie_tony

spookyselfie_linda

spookyselfie_matt2

spookyselfie_matt1

 

That’s right…everyone who sends in a #spookyselfie gets a copy of The Lockwood Collection (or they can choose from my other 2 ebooks if they like).

But that’s not all! The contest is open-ended, which means anyone can use The Skeleton Man sticker found in this blog post at any time to create their own photo, upload it to my Facebook page or tag me on Google+ or Twitter and they will also win a free copy of the ebook.

Winners, email me at maryrajotte[at]gmail[dot[com] with the title of your choice (The Lockwood Collection, Flowers for the Dead or Like Flies to Honey) and your file format of choice (EPUB, MOBI or PDF) and I’ll send your prize out asap.

Don’t forget…it’s never too late to send in your own #spookyselfie…because The Skeleton Man is always lurking…

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather