Guest Blog: Get Organized the “Spooky” Way

(Another guest blog post from horror author and FIEND, I mean FRIEND, Emerian Rich!) So, you’re a writer and you want to get organized? But how?

Maybe you’re new to all this and need a good marketing plan or maybe you’re not even that far. Maybe you just need some good character sheets and world building tools? Do you need a place to keep track of submissions, publications, or reprint dates? How about charting your research or what movies and tv shows you need to watch to inspire you in your current work in progress. Want to keep track of your “To Be Read” list or expenses you hope to claim on your taxes as a “real” writer?

Well, with the help of my friend and colleague, Loren Rhoads, I’ve put together the Spooky Writer’s Planner. This book is a godsend for all of us who have been trying to keep records but either didn’t know how or couldn’t keep them organized. Now you have a way to keep them together all in one place. You can either use the print version, where everything will be bound in one book, or get the digital version where you can print and reprint the pages that are most helpful to you and keep them in a binder.

We present to you the Spooky Writer’s Planner, a writer-dedicated planner that addresses the pains and worries of the everyday writer, whether you be a bestseller or just starting out.

Are you spooky?
Do you write horror, speculative fiction, dark fantasy, paranormal romance, or fairy tales?
Are you a spooky blogger, macabre non-fiction columnist, or haunt travel vlogger?
Are you ready to stop dreaming and be a writer?
Are you an author who wants to take your career to the next level?

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PLANNER INCLUDES
13 months of monthly and weekly spreads
Monthly goal and recap sheets
Weekly check-ins and note pages
Writing challenges, planners, and instructions
Submissions, published works, and contacts trackers
Marketing, newsletter, and blog planners
Check-off sheets for website maintenance, social media profiles, and expenses
Fun sheets to generate writing ideas, track your favorite TV series, or to be read and watched lists.

Authors Loren Rhoads and Emerian Rich share the tricks they’ve learned over the course of a combined 50 years in publishing, from working with traditional New York publishers, small presses, and as indie publishers themselves.

AVAILABLE NOW PRINT or DIGITAL

PRINT: The Spooky Writer’s Planner is perfect-bound with a glossy cover, printed on high-quality 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Everything you need is included in one handy book you can grab and go! Have book, will travel!

DIGITAL: The quick-download version gives you a digital copy so you can print the pages you want, print multiples of those you think you’ll use the most, leave those you won’t use, and create your own Frankenstein’s Monster of a planner! These pages are designed to be printed on 8.5 x 11-inch paper. You can put them in a three-ring binder, bind them with disks, or a spiral, as you choose. You can print different sheets on different colors. 

Click here to find out more about this planner, see pictures, and spreads for each version.

Story Café: What Goes Up!

Watch me perform my story, What Goes Up, for the San Mateo Library’s Story Café! Super Holly Hansson has been saving the day all day, and she is on a big high as she performs at a children hospital, until she meets someone she cannot save. The story is in Fault Zone: Uplift.

The California Writers Club (CWC) SF Peninsula branch partnered with the San Mateo County Library for video-storytelling from its Fault Zone anthology series. Story Café is in the “Between the Lines” section of the library’s homepage. Click its YouTube link to see me and lots more storytellers! https://smcl.org/between-the-lines/

You can watch my Story Café video below.

Music Credits: The First Noel performed by Jay Man http://www.Our-Music-Box.com
Super Power Cool Dude by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Artist Credits: R.K. Mulholland, Tobe Daranouvong, Matt Hebb, Joel Stokes, Dave Law, Amber Padilla, Batton Lash

My interview on FAE Productions!

As in Fantasy Arts Entertainment Productions. I was interviewed by Fairy Princess Lolly for one hour, and boy did it go fast! Time flies when you’re having fun. I read The Intellecta Rhapsody, and the ending of The Malevolent Mystery Meat. And I answer questions about myself, Super Holly Hansson, Tucker and Wrigley (the Puppy Brothers), and the music I use in my audio stories. And I had a great time!

P.S. Although the music I used for these stories does not require attribution, I will do it anyhow. It will be a good habit to get into.

Music Credits: YouTube Audio Library

The Intellecta Rhapsody
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (by Liszt), Our French Cafe by Jimmy Fontanez/Media Right Productions

The Malevolent Mystery Meat
William Tell Overture by Rossini, The Whistler and His Dog (1925) by Arthur Pryor’s Band with whistling by Billy Murray & Margaret McKee

Story Café: The Sinister Soul Surfer!

Watch me perform my story, The Sinister Soul Surfer, for the San Mateo Library’s Story Café! Cal Critbert (Batman-esque hero) must rescue his beloved Holly Hansson (mighty superheroine) from possession by Bobby Breaker (annoying surfer dude). 

The California Writers Club (CWC) SF Peninsula branch partnered with the San Mateo County Library for video-storytelling from its Fault Zone anthology series. Story Café is in the “Between the Lines” section of the library’s homepage. Click its YouTube link to see me and lots more storytellers! https://smcl.org/between-the-lines/

You can watch my Story Café video below.

Music Credits:
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Super Power Cool Dude, Killers, In Your Arms

Artist Credits:
Batton Lash, Dave Law, Chuck Whelon, Robin Holstein, Robert (BigRob) Beltran, Tobe Daranouvong, Chloe Dalquist, Amber Padilla, R.K. Mulholland

The Sound and the Power!

(David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star)

I often ponder my supervillain voices and superpowers. In my stories, superpowers make my characters more of what they already are (the Swamp Thing movie). Voices should reflect the character also. It helps to hear their voices when I write those characters.

At a recent open mic, one of the other open micers (and one of my fans) said he did not put together that my Stumpfinger character is based on Trump, since I did not sound enough like Trump. So I have pondered how Trumpy to make Stumpfinger’s voice. Should Stumpfinger’s voice be more original, or more Trumpy? (I do have Stumpfinger say bigly tremendously tremendous words cuz he has duh best words.) Stumpfinger’s superpower was easy: eats money to get superpower. Like Trump, if you throw money at Stumpfinger, you won’t get any return on that investment.

It was easy to pick Judge Bart Boofalug’s (Brett Kavanaugh) superpower: all things alcoholic. Do yuh like beer, do yuh, do yuh, do yuh, HICCUP! His voice need not be too accurate, I’ll stick to the original’s whiny rich fratboy self-entitlement.

The real Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a constitutional originalist with only three years experience as a judge. Worships the past, has no history. My upcoming Amy Corney Ferret will be a stuck-up snotty white woman who loves the pure original constitutional, especially that 3/5 rule. And less than three years experience. Greener than The Hulk. Her voice is easy: self-righteous Minnesotan, like that nasty adoption lady on Despicable Me.

Amy Corny Ferret’s superpower? Hmm. How about temporarily returning things to their original state? If she returns Super Holly to before Holly had superpowers, Amy would laugh, “Hoo, hoo! Now you’re all helpless, before all that you-go-girl super strong stuff, doncha know?” Holly would then put up her dukes and say, “I took down bullies years before I got superpowers! You wanted my original self, you stuck-up snot? HERE!” POW POW POW POW POW!!!

Casey Wickstrom Kickstarter Post!

Casey Wickstrom, my musician friend and old open mic buddy, is having a Kickstarter! In November, he intends to rerecord Post, his happy, sweet song about nuclear holocaust. (One of my faves, it put a smile on Super Holly Hansson’s face during a long, lonely, rough spot in her life.) Sample his music at https://caseywickstrom.bandcamp.com. And check out the Kickstarter, your ears and your heart will thank you! Deadline to contribute: October 30 2020 12:19 AM PDT. So contribute by Oct 29.

My Fanfics!

A quick note. I have made my fanfic easier to find. Check either the Super Holly Fan Fiction drop-down menu, or go to my fanfic link page where you can link to and read all of them. I am proudest of His Biggest Fan, which fulfills Super Holly’s wildest dream. It is my longest fanfic to date.

I am finishing up my Sherlock Holmes crossover, and my homage to Beth Barany’s Henrietta the Dragon Slayer. I will post them when ready.

My fanfics star Super Holly meeting other cool characters, except for two: Squidburp is all Spongebob characters, and Sulu’s Gay Trek is all Star Trek.

Can Woke Make Me Woke?

I just watched every episode of Woke on Hulu again. Keef Knight said in a recent Facebook post to watch it again, and then post that you did that on social media. So like a good little fanboy, I binged it. I laughed again. I am posting again. Will repeat viewings make me “woke”? I watched every episode of Star Trek multiple times, that turned me into a trekkie. But way back in the 1960s, I was a nerd already. Not a high bar for me to jump.

Believe it or not, I was called “woke” once. After an open mic, I was talking to a young Asian lady who liked my performance. I most likely read a story from Super Holly’s point of view. I said the solution to diversity was not that I, a white male, write stories centered around women, gays, or people of color, but that women, gays, and POCs write them (and get published!). She smiled so big and said, “Oh, you are so woke!” I was pretty amused, I did not think I had jumped a high bar. I suspect being “woke,” at least for me, is an ongoing process. Took me decades to turn from Republican to Democrat to Green.

I posted this photo back in 2018 when I saw Keef doing a presentation on police brutality in 2018. Here it is again. I wonder if I will ever be able to get that close to Keef again. I’d have to get past his undoubtedly dozens of 300-pound-plus bodyguards, all of whom would be named either Bruno or Otto.

P.S. I gotta finish writing my novels! Okay, I said it! I even had Keef put that on a t-shirt for me years ago! Now I can put “writing” into the tags for this post. So there.

For Talk Like A Pirate Day: Sulu’s Gay Trek!

In honor of today being Talk Like A Pirate Day, I again repost one of my fanfics.

SULU’S GAY TREK! (OR HOW SULU CAN BE STRAIGHT IN RODDENBERRY STAR TREK AND GAY IN J.J. ABRAMS STAR TREK WITHOUT BREAKING CANON!)

SCENE 1:
THE BRIDGE OF THE ROMULAN MINING STARSHIP NARADA, WHERE CAPTAIN NERO, A MANLY ROMULAN MINING MAN, SITS IN THE CAPTAIN’S CHAIR AND FROWNS, MAKING HIS MANLY FACIAL TATTOOS EVEN MORE MANLY.

CAPTAIN NERO: Avast, me mighty manly Romulan mining crew, for aboard me mighty manly starship, even the women are mighty manly! Our big mining starship has just passed through a big space-time rift, and now I spy a puny little starship whose captain might tell us where to find that logical Spock scoundrel upon whom we wish to wage our manly vengeance! ARM ALL WEAPONS!!!

THE MIGHTY MANLY ROMULAN MINING CREW: Aye aye, Captain! ARRRR!!!

SCENE 2:
THE BRIDGE OF THE FEDERATION STARSHIP KELVIN.

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: (talking on his communicator) Really, honey? Your labor pains feel like he’s throwing full body blows?

THE NAVIGATOR: (a young man of Japanese descent hunching over his navigation console) Sir? I detect a tremendous space-time-from-the-future disturbance from that giant stormy rift! And another incredibly manly disturbance from that gigantic ship that just emerged from the rift! (He studies the readings.) As though everyone on that ship is so manly that they only like other… wait, the disturbances are combining…

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: Into what?

THE NAVIGATOR: Into a concentrated energy wave that covers the entire sexual spectrum! And it’s heading directly at our ship! Um, along with a bunch of really big torpedoes and disruptor rays.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: You might have led with that last thing. SHIELDS UP!

SOUND EFFECTS: SKRAAA-CHOOOOOOOOMMMM!!! FZZT! BZZT! ZZZZZURP! THUMP BUMP WHUMP!!!

The entire bridge lurches to tilt at a 30 degree angle. Sparks fly out of control consoles that, after all these centuries, still do not have circuit breakers installed. Crewman fall out of their chairs.

THE NAVIGATOR: (picking himself off the floor) When are they gonna put seat belts on starships? (He checks his console.) Oh no, shields are down! We’re open to any energy attack imaginable!

A rainbow energy baseball rushes toward the main bridge viewscreen, and through it, and onto the navigator’s fly.

THE NAVIGATOR: (doing a double back flip) wwwwWWWWOW!!!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: What was THAT?

THE NAVIGATOR: (staggering) Oh… my… I just felt a surge of incredibly manly energy! Enough to bend sexual space-time 180 degrees!

The main viewscreen lights up with Nero’s mighty manly face.

CAPTAIN NERO: Avast, enemy captain! I be Nero of the Romulan mining ship Narada! Shiver yer timbers over to me bridge where I will torture you for information about that scurvy dog, Admiral Spock!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: Admiral who?

THE NAVIGATOR: Narada? Isn’t that Romulan for raging rainbow?

CAPTAIN NERO: (his tattooed face turning several shades of red, or green if that is the color of Romulan blood) ARRRRR!!! Me blood be boiling with rage! Prepare to enter the Romulan version of Davy Jones’ Locker!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: (disappearing in a transporter beam) But I’m not even wearing a red shirt!

THE NAVIGATOR: (to the first officer) Sir, their incredibly big and manly weapons are powering up again. Speaking of manly, shall we man all escape pods?

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: Yeah, save one for me while I distract Mr. Romulan Road Rage. Computer! Set the autopilot for a collision course with that mining ship!

Computer voice from control console: (singing) Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: Nuts. Looks like I’m the designated driver.

SCENE 3:
CAPTION: A FEW YEARS LATER.

A hospital room. The navigator stands beside a hospital bed where a young Japanese woman holds her newborn baby.

THE WOMAN: (lovingly looking at the navigator) He’s beautiful. (She looks at the baby.) Little Hikaru Sulu. My healthy and strong baby boy. And so stubborn!

THE NAVIGATOR: How so?

The woman points to the baby’s diaper. It is colored like a rainbow.

THE WOMAN: We tried white, blue, and even pink, but he kept tearing them off.

THE BABY: (looking into the camera and smiling) Oh, my!

Keef Knight!!! Woke on Hulu NOW!!!

It is Friday, and I now start up episode 1! YAY!!! I will record my thoughts. And I will play Keef’s drinking game. I have a Scandinavian cider next to me, and I will sip for 2 of the 4 items:

  • After every microaggression, and
  • Every time I recognize something from a Keef comic.
    (I will not consume an edible, nor will I toke.)

A white guy sees Keef on the bus, and says, “Keef Knight? I didn’t think you’d be so… tall.” SIP!

Saw a Keef comic (well, likely drawn for the show). I will count that. SIP!

Keef has a black girlfriend. The only woman I have ever seen Keef with is his German-American wife, Kerstin. (But then, I have mostly seen Keef at comic cons, who knows what hedonism he does when not on the con?) When I first met Kerstin, her German accent was more prominent. I have two characters inspired by Keef and Kerstin in stories I am working on. I just had to keep her accent strong, like when she scolds her two little energetic doggie-superpowered sons (Tucker and Wrigley), “Ach, you little schnitzels, behave!” I gotta kid the real Keef about the hot girlfriend. Hmm, maybe he had one in real life before Kerstin… wait, I’m not saying that Kerstin is not hot! She is nice looking, but I don’t look at her that way… seriously, Kerstin is one of those women who, when you meet her, you know why he married her. She’s a sweetheart. Well, at least at comic cons.

Toast N Butter is his syndicated comic in Woke? I gotta ask Keef about that if I get the chance. Keef is syndicated, but he got in just as the bottom fell out of the newspaper market. I hope he makes $$$ from Hulu.

The black newspaper woman telling Keef that if he is a black cartoonist, he’s controversial (she is looking for that). Hmm, is that really a microaggression? Oh, what the heck. SIP!

The music is good. Some of it is hip hoppy. I kinda wish they’d play some Marginal Prophets, Keef’s old band. I would go see them and be the oldest thing in the room jumping up and down. Mostly down.

This is filmed in Vancouver, isn’t it? Everything is filmed in Vancouver. If Super Holly ever gets animated, I bet they stick her in Vancouver. Even if she flies through a dimensional portal (she does that a lot), she’d end up in a steampunk version of Vancouver.

They mentioned Aaron McGruder, who did The Boondocks (fun while it lasted). Keef used to kid that he was gonna get his fans to go up to Aaron and say, “Hey, Keef, can I have your autograph?”

Gunther is funny, but he is more hippy dippy than I expected. From Keef’s comics, I am used to thinking of him as a big friendly doofus.

Keef hands out fliers like crazy. Always working. At comic cons, Keef always kept his mind on his business.

And the cops tackle Keef and they all have their guns out (they think he’s a mugger, and naturally with a black mugger you gotta instantly be ready to dispense lethal force). Years ago, Keef told me the story of that happening to him, and the cops told Keef they were looking for a six foot tall black man. Years ago, I remember thinking, “Wow, that narrows it down. Do the SF cops ever look for a six foot tall white guy, while ignoring weight, clothes, shoes, age, facial hair, maybe an AK-47 stuffed into his pants?” Anyway. Gunther runs up to the cops, Keef on the ground with the cop on top says, “No!” He fears Gunther will get tackled or hurt. Surprise surprise, the cops holster their guns for the white guy, even if he’s hippy dippy.

Liquor bottles in a store talk to Keef! He is WOKE!!! HEE HEE!!! I love the expressions on the bottles. The artist who did it knows that it is all in the face (I wonder if Keef designed that?). I learned that face lesson during Amanda Conners’ run on Power Girl, google that, believe it or not I looked at her face). But her build did inspire Super Holly (I wanted Holly to have that problem). “Doncha know malt liquor makes black people immune to bullets?” My first audible laugh! What the heck? SIP! AHHH!!!

The bottles mention superpowers. I once asked Keef what would be his superpower. He said the power to make people hurl by looking at them, because he was riding an SF bus, looked at someone on the sidewalk, and he vomited. This happened three times, three different people, on the same bus ride. For now, I gave my Keef character super-speed, since Keef draws fast and admires Sergio Aragonés.

ARGH, the commercials are AGGRESSIVELY LOUD!!! (I am too cheap to pay for no ads.) I will NOT drink to that! C’mon, Hulu, a little audio balancing, please?

Toast N Butter again. I just thought of the old Milk and Cheese comics by Erin Dorkin, (extremely bloody, over-the-top and hilarious cartoon violence) and how some chatty Hollywood woman called him up and asked if she could license them to promote good nutrition in a children’s cartoon. Erin said, “Well, you know Milk and Cheese are alcoholics.”

I laughed out loud again! The two chatty newspaper people show Keef his publicity photo, and Keef notices, “Did you lighten my photo? Am I too black for my own comic strip?” The white guy says, “Trust me, ha ha ha, no one’s ever gonna accuse you of being too black, okay?” SIP!

Hmm, Keef has Vancouver breath. Steam came out his mouth. I hate the cold.

Ah, some smooth jazzy music right after the barber shop. So cool. Not on the list, but… SIP!

Keef tosses the trash can, Spike Lee style, sorta. I laughed again.

The talking wooden spoon is a hoot! Did cowboys really do that to their horses?

Matrix reference! Red pill, blue pill! It fits!

Oh, a comic con, I miss those so much. Sigh. Wow, they really whitened up Keef’s comic con photo! Hmm, when I first met Keef, he had dreadlocks. Maybe that hairstyle is too high maintenance for Hulu. Or too old school? I remember when Keef cut his hair shorter, and on his comic con table was a large baggie with a label on it: “Buy this bag of stinky dreads!” I gotta put that into a story.

“This is San Francisco!” says the white guy dressed up like burned toast, and has the black face to match. “We don’t see color here!” Funny when Stephen Colbert said it, funny now! SIP!

7 minutes 11 seconds left, and not much mango berry cider left. I’m in trouble.

I love how clueless Gunther is.

A line I wanna steal, except Hulu is too big to steal from: “I am the sausage!”

Keef’s rant at the con had classical music to back it up! So CLASSY!!! Okay, I got a weak spot for classical music because I can find some royalty free for my stories.

Okay, I doubt Keef ever tossed a lucrative syndication down the crapper, but after all, we gotta do dramatic license. Like on Law and Order when the judge tosses the video tape of the murderer slicing up a family into hamburger on a technicality. And maybe because the murderer was white? Still hard for me to imagine the real Keef doing that, but even harder to imagine Keef not sticking to his principles. He has had newspaper reject his comics before, I know, cuz I got his books! (actually, I have a little catching up to do.) So I guess this fits. Besides, newspaper syndication went down the crapper anyhow.

How is Keef gonna recover from this debacle, this self-inflicted yet woke and moral wound? Hmm, maybe he can get a fancy show on Hulu… wait, that is the real Keef, who worked his way up for many many many years, and he has earned every scrap of success. It is always sweet when it happens to someone you know. (Well, I don’t see Keef much nowadays. But I hesitate to say “knew,” I might still see him again.)

And here’s the credits! What is Keef gonna do now? Cliffhanger! And I got cider left! YES!!! Here’s to you, Keef! SIPPP!!!

I have to admit that I have a MAJOR complaint! Riddle me this, Batman, is Woke ever gonna be shown in movie theaters? No? THEN WHY IS IT SHOWN IN SUPER WIDE SCREEN WITH THOSE FRAKKING BLACK BARS ON THE TOP AND BOTTOM OF MY TV?!?! (I’d complain just as LOUD if they were white bars, okay?) C’mon, if you are not a theatrical movie, FILL UP THE DAMN TV SCREEN ALREADY!!! (I watched the latest episode of The Boys on Amazon, and they do the super wide screen thing too, so I think I am gonna have Super Holly kick the crap out of Homelander.) I wish they’d stop with the big fat black bars already. I bought a 43 inch TV thinking it would be plenty big enough, and now they go outta their way to rub my cheapness in my face!

My cliffhanger for the rest of Woke’s first season: To binge, or not to binge! Oh, what the heck, I cued up episode 2 even though I will likely go to bed before it is over. But it is titled, “What Prequels?” From the Keef comic sticker and comic strip where he taught his son, “there are only 3 Star Wars Movies!” Here goes the last of my cider. SSSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPAAAAAHHHH!!! Sigh. I loved that cider. Went to a good cause.

My conclusion: Woke will wake up your wits, raise your I.Q., and unclog your arteries. Check it out.