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Childhood Monsters Blogfest

Hosted by Christine Rains, author of “Fearless.”

I didn’t have, as a child, a particular monster. I had things that frightened me, but they were all very real kinds of things. For example, a fear that there might be a fire in the middle of the night. I used to want to keep all my favorite stuffed animals in garbage sacks near the window so I could toss them out and save them on short order if the need ever arose. That kind of thing.

I do recall quite vividly a nightmare that must have struck when I was six or seven. You see, I had a loft bed that my father had built—basically, it was like having a bunk bed with just a top bunk. Down the foot of the bed were shelves, quite handy, and below the mattress platform was a space for my bureau. On my bureau were my television and alarm clock. The idea was that I wouldn’t be able to turn off the alarm from my bed and would have to get up, but in reality I just got very good at hanging off the side of my bed to reach and slap the off button.

The point of all this is that this nightmare I had involved the space under my bed. The bureau didn’t take up all of it, so there was a big, dark gap between it and the wall. A big empty. Shadowed. And this nightmare I had was about that space. I have this vague sense Cleopatra was in it, but the terror came from there being crocodiles and spiders. While I had no especial fear of crocodiles (or alligators, being from Southern Louisiana), I’ve never liked spiders. And maybe that all started with this nightmare: these things trying to get me and my being stuck on my bunk, unable to leap down or over safely.

So there you have it: the literal monsters under my bed. Very average. But I find the possible and the real can be so much more terrifying in some ways than the fantastic and fanciful.

Not that there would ever be a crocodile under my bed. Or Cleopatra, even. But spiders? They can hide, silently, waiting . . .

For more about childhood monsters, read Christine’s novella “Fearless,” which is available on Amazon, at B&N, or FREE on Smashwords. No e-reader? Then pick up the print version via Createspace. And be sure to drop by on Thursday when I post my interview with Christine!

Matchbox Twenty’s “She’s So Mean” Video

Normally I post this kind of thing over on spooklights. But then again, I’m really not going to review this video. What can be said about it? Except: why do they have a desk/table with a bunch of junk in a crate, all covered with a tarp? I mean, really?

It’s a catchy, dumb, bubble gum kind of song, which means the video is the kind of thing that makes my six-year-old son laugh like a maniac. Though he’s at least kind-hearted enough to worry about Paul once the drums catch fire. (“Is he dead?” my son asked. I assured him Paul would be fine and the band would be touring—intact—soon.)

I’ve never been the kind of person who thinks much about the fact that I’m female. I don’t think about gender often in any case, nor do I think about race or sexuality except when these things are being presented as a topic of discussion or debate. It’s not that I’m “colorblind” (a term I dislike) or “anti-feminist” or anything; these just aren’t things that occur to me for whatever reason. They aren’t the kinds of things that spring to my mind. By which I mean, when I read about a woman producer or screenwriter, I don’t automatically think, “A woman! Hooray!” I think more like, “Good for her,” without any emphasis on the “her” bit. (Or, if it’s bad news, I don’t think, “They booted her for being a woman, for not being part of the men’s club.” I just think: “Huh.”)

It’s late as I type this, so I’m not even sure I’m making sense. But the bottom line is that I don’t make a big deal out of the fact that I’m a woman screenwriter/playwright, not even in my own head. Being female is a part of everyday life for me after all; I’m kind of used to it. I did work for a female producer—a gaggle of them, though my boss was one in particular—and she liked to make a big deal out of women in the entertainment industry. “Alpha males” and all that kind of talk. But whatever. I’m one of those women who tends to get on better with guys anyway, not in a I-love-football! kind of way so much as just finding them easier to deal with.

BUT. For once I’m going to play the gender card and just say I think Sherlock needs a female writer and it should be me. It’s generally accepted that Steven Moffat hates women; hiring a female writer would give him a way to refute that. And I happen to be really good at it. At least, so my fans have told me. (Decide for yourself: go ahead and read my faux Series Three script “The Empty Flat” here.)

Last year there was a big fuss made about Bridesmaids, how women can be funny and be good writers (gasp!) . . . I don’t get why that’s news, but maybe I have blinders on. In fact, I’m almost certain I’ll hit that glass ceiling sooner or later; right now I’m just so low on the totem that being a girl is the least of my concerns.

Now Available: “Fearless” by Christine Rains

I’ll be reviewing it later, but you can get your copy free on Smashwords or via Createspace. Lots of different formats supported, so take your pick.

For those wondering, the story is of Abby, a young woman who helps children fight off the monsters under their beds and in their closets. Genre is paranormal romance.

And don’t forget: I’ll be interviewing Christine right here on my site on August 9th!

The Winedale Parting Song

Shakespeare at Winedale is a Shakespeare program through the University of Texas at Austin of which I am proud to be an alumna. I believe it’s grown since I was there, but back then (if not still now) we lived in an old farm house and spent many late hours sitting on the porch and singing. “Rocky Raccoon” was a favorite for some reason, and of course “I Will Survive,” as well as “A Lover and His Lass” and “Sigh No More.” But on the last night, tradition calls for the Winedale Parting Song:

I want to linger
A little longer
A little longer here with you

It’s such a lovely night
It doesn’t seem quite right
That it should be my last with you

And as the years go by
I’ll think of you and sigh
This is goodnight and not goodbye

Olympic Opening Ceremonies

I love the UK. It’s my home away, really, and I go back as often as I can. So I really wanted to like the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, but I just couldn’t.

I’m not sure what went wrong for me, exactly. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a lot of little things, like a lack of unison on the choreography—from what I saw, things that should have been done in time were a bit sloppy. I realize it’s extremely difficult to manage that many people doing something all together, but . . . I don’t know. It was just off somehow.

Too, I think the broadcasting and editing did the show a disservice. Better camera angles might have made the whole of it seem more impressive. As it was, I went to bed disappointed. Though Her Majesty was a good sport about allowing herself to be co-opted, even if she appeared a tad severe whenever the camera turned her way. And the Rowan Atkinson bit was funny.

It will be difficult for me to keep up with the Olympics the way I’d like, what with being on the West Coast at the moment. And there’s only the one television in the house besides. I’m not at the point where I love watching any of these things on my computer, either. Though if I get desperate enough . . . Well, and I can always go out to my sports club and watch while getting in a workout. I’ll never be an Olympian, but I can at least be fit.

Strength & Her Lion

I sit patiently in the meadow, waiting. The lion circles on the periphery of my vision, proud, but he is also limping, bleeding. For all his regality, he has lost at something, and now he is wary, alert to any additional threat.

I will not chase you, Lion. I will continue to wait, and when you see that I am calm and still, perhaps you will come close enough to allow me to take the thorn from your paw, the broken sword points from where they remain embedded in your heart. I can help you, and am willing, but I will not force you to accept my aid.

Come to me, and I will heal you.

Writing Opportunity: AACT New Play Fest

Just a heads up since the actual call for scripts isn’t expected to come until the fall, but the American Association of Community Theatre is putting together a New Play Festival (AACTNewPlayFest) in which selected community theatres across the country will produce new works by unpublished playwrights. Details here; keep checking for updates.

Just a note to point out that, in order to make it faster and easier to find my books, I’ve added a “Shop” button to the top of the page. My e-books are featured there, each with links to the various available formats.