A Little Magic Would Be Handy

Wanna See Me Turn a Book into a Diptych? Just tap the magic wand on the cover three times....and presto chango! Gahhh...I wish it were that easy!
If I had realized when I decided that the opening chapters of my novel needed a little fleshing out, that I was committing myself to writing a novel length prequel that would change much of the landscape for the main novel (thereby adding the prospect of another draft to that one), I probably wouldn’t have embarked on it.
After all, Avenging Glory was pretty much complete. I just intended to add a wee bit more colour, depth and detail to part one – because I was setting up one of my major characters and had just breezed through his potentially fascinating backstory with an “and then this happened” approach. And he deserved SO much more.
As I worked on it, I kept finding valid rationales for dramatizing bits of this backstory and adding new scenes and characters, and before I knew it, I’d added several chapters. And then more, and a bit more..…

Panning for Gold in the River of Artistic Achievement

Once the dirt is washed away, what’s left at the bottom of a pan is probably just gravel. But every now and then, comes a Eureka moment. 
Any art that has been around for awhile, but is inspiring enough to track down and enjoy long after the ship originally sailed, is probably going to be worth your time and attention, because even while sinking into the sediment, real gold continues to shine. It’s still prime material for the for the groom’s ringbox or the alchemist’s vial. For me, there’s nothing more inspiring than great art. I’ve struck a lot of gold lately:
Recovered nugget #1: Black Swan– after seven years and many enthusiastic recommendations by friends. As soon as I saw it, I regretted taking so long. Dark magic realism as opposed to horror; the film is intensely visual, symbolic, and devastating in its complications and implications. The character of Nina is inhabited more than acted by Natalie Portman, and the film is composed as much as directed by Darren Aronofsky.

The film…

Happy 100 to Me

I began this blog in May 2011. It was one of six I was running at the time. The blog for my business was discontinued when I stopped publishing Canadian Newcomer Magazine in 2014. And it was so much work maintaining all the other blogs, when they were generating no income, that most of the others gradually fell by the wayside. Sculptor's Touch still has a blog page on Wordpress that has been pretty much inactive for the past few years.

Which means that, for me, Psychedelia Gothique is the last blog standing. And this marks my 100th blog post on this site! That feels like some kind of landmark, although admittedly, a little one. The blog has been improving with each passing year, with more interesting content and more frequent posts, but it's still a long way from what I have ambitions to make it.

I would love to have a fascinating, controversial, cutting edge blog like Peter Watts over at ...but I can't even approach Mr. Watts' knowledge …

Seven Good Reasons to Write a Novel and Several Reasons Not To

I’ve been writing fiction since Junior High School, took creative writing in university and starting publishing short stories (and a few poems) in the 1980s. 
I never tried writing a novel until I was in my forties, and the path was fraught with hazards, the road, littered with unfinished manuscripts.
Here we are in 2019, and I am just finishing the fourth draft of my first novel to go beyond first draft. Was it worth all the angst and self-flagellation I’ve put myself through over the years? Am I qualified to make that call before I have actually published it and received reader and market feedback? Can I do it credibly?

Hmm. Okay, be that way. I’ll do it anyway.
1)The best reason to write a novel is because you can’t not write it. You persevere through the obstacles, risk alienating your family (because you need that private time to write), and face 100+ rejections when you try to try to find an agent and a publisher. And then you sit down to start your next novel – because you have n…

Seven Good Reasons to Write Short Stories

Seven Great Reasons to Write Short Stories
Writing short stories is a good way to learn the craft of fiction writing. With a very small investment you will learn how to put sentences together to tell a story. You will learn the basics of character creation, world-building, creating natural dialogue and continuity. Most importantly, you’ll learn if you actually like writing.Especially when you’re still in the early stages of learning how to write well, it’s much easier to get people to read your 3,000 word story than your 80,000 word novel. Since stories are easy to read and to judge on both their writerly and structural merits and shortcomings, they are the perfect length to workshop. Workshopping can give you feedback, that you can use to improve your craft. There may well be a market for your short stories. You can send them to editors who could purchase them for magazines or anthologies.  They may even pay you money.It’s a time-tested way to start your writing career. Many writers h…

What Do You Mean, "Read this"?

In my day job, I frequently give people documents with clearly written instructions for how to proceed. Please fill out your name and address. Payment must be made by cheque or money order in the amount of $500.00 to Monkey My Monkey Corp.
There’s a 50/50 chance the instructions will be read and followed. If I highlight the keywords, my odds improve to 60/40.
The rest of the people give back their documents, complete with contact information and signatures, while asking me, “Okay, how much do I owe you and who do I make the cheque out to?”
Even when there’s a compelling reason, and clear directions to “READ THIS NOW”, many of us go to great lengths to avoid actually reading things. The instruction “Door Out of Service. Please Use Other Door,” is often ignored, or assumed to say “Grab the handle, push, pull, shake, then ask someone nearby “what’s going on?”
As I think about how few people bother reading anything, I laugh at my own tendency to view it as a symptom of our times. “Damned Mill…

Seven Great Reasons to Become a Small Press Publisher/Editor and Seven Reasons Not To

Seven Great Reasons to Become a Small Press Publisher/Editor The chance to present your taste and “vision” to the world. Publishing/editing books and magazines gives you an opportunity to do that – albeit with the presentation of other people’s work rather than your own.The chance to help others achieve their literary/artistic dreams.A chance to piggyback on the successes of those you have published. When a book or story you have published is longlisted, shortlisted, declared the winner of recognized awards; or when a story you’ve published is selected or receives honorable mention for in a respected Best Of anthology – it adds prestige and credibility to you and to every other author you publish.The chance to not only become a part of the writing community – but to become a hub. The centrepoint, around which an entire community can accrete or revolve. If you enjoy being respected, this is potentially a great route to that goal.The chance to become a tastemaker and trendsetter yoursel…