Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Word: Badinage


badinage |ˌbadnˈä zh |
nounhumorous or witty conversation cultured badinage about art and life.ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from French, from badiner‘to joke,’ from badin ‘fool,’ based on Provençal badar‘gape.’

It's seems like half the English words are French. WTF is up with that? I understand when it comes to culinary terms, because the French are a bunch of hedonists and epicures.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Vintage Monday: The Odd Ones


This is one of the more peculiar vintage photos I've discovered on Pinterest. That place is like quicksand for a visual hoarder like myself. It has a wonderfully clean interface, simple but easy to use search, and the option to both link and upload images. When you search one image leads to another till you've killed hours.

I've set up my own boards, covering subjects from food to street art, and I have them for my books too. Being rather visual, I tend to look up pictorial references for all sorts of stuff as I write, even if thing is question only appears for a few lines. Like the steampunk wristwatch that plays minor role in Spirit Sanguine. In the old days I kept the images in folders on my desktop, later in folders within Scrivener. Now I put them on Pinterest too, keeping the board private till the book's release day.

I have no idea how many readers actually look at the images I've put up to illustrate my stories. The Dead in L.A. board has a photo of the lookout spot in Griffith Park where Jon and Leander have a conversation, and the Dead in the Desert one has pictures of the library in the desert where Leander make an important discovery. They are both real places, even if the characters and events are fictional.

Now excuse me, I have important "research" to do.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday Word: Jigger

jigger 1 |ˈjigər|nouna machine or vehicle with a part that rocks or moves back and forth, e.g., a jigsaw.a person who dances a jig.a small fore-and-aft sail set at the stern of a ship.• a small tackle consisting of a double and single block or two single blocks with a rope.a measure or small glass of spirits or wine.dated Golf a metal golf club with a narrow face.used to refer to a thing whose name one does not know or does not wish to mention see them little jiggers?verb [ trans. informalrearrange or tamper with.PHRASESwell, I'll be (or I'm) jiggered used to express one's astonishment.ORIGIN mid 16th cent. (originally a slang word for a door): from the verb jig (the relationship with which is obscure in certain senses).

According to my other dictionary, "I'll be jiggered" is a British expression. I've sure never heard it before yesterday—from Charlie Cochrane.  Brits have the awesomest expressions. I want to steal them all. And sometimes I domy poor editor keeps asking if I'm intentionally making my characters sound British.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Vintage Monday: On the Beach


Cyanotype is a photographic process going back to the 19th century. It's original purpose was to create technical drawings, and as far as I know it is the origin of the "blueprint."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday Word: Aslant


aslant |əˈslant|adverbat an angle or in a sloping direction some of the paintings hung aslant.prepositionacross at an angle or in a sloping direction rays of light fell aslant a door.

A simple word, yet seldom used.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Vintage Monday: Ladies Man


I found this old postcard at the flea market and thought it was cute. The guy wears red and white striped socks and it makes me think he might be an ancestor of Denton Mills, aka Dead Man.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Status Update



Dead Man and the Army of Frogs is off to my beloved beta readers, and I'm busy doing preproduction for my next book. So far I've written 1,800 words of plot outline and it's not even the detailed one. The story is a sort-of-mystery, as mine often are, and what I've figured out is that instead of what will happen in the narrative, the first outline should contain what happens everywhere, including stuff my protagonists are not privy to. Put it in different terms, this is a chronological, omniscient description of events. The next step is to distill it into a bullet point list of events from the POV if my narrator(s).

I like this phase—it's exciting, and a little scary, but mostly all potential. I haven't always done it, but now I find it exceptionally useful. For example, giving names to all my characters even before starting the outline helps me to flesh them out. This is also the time I start doing research. I'm very visual and tend to look for a pictorial reference for every little thing that appears in my story, even if it's for one line.

A chunk of the book is to take place in a two bedroom Craftsman house in Silver Lake, so I drove around there to scout, then spent an hour on Google searching for photos of Craftsman homes. I even downloaded and printed a floor plan—it'll help me to visualize the scenes.

I grabbed another floor plan too, even though the place will probably only appear in one scene. It's a bungalow belonging to Mme Layla, aka Layla Maurell. Yeah, she's Bran's mom from the Dead Man books. :) I like having supporting characters walking from one book to another. This time I'm also planning guest appearances by Detective Lipkin from Dead in L.A. and Sandy Baker from Hanging Loose. Well, that's the plan. You know never know what actually happens once you start writing.