horror writer

Redheads Writing in Cafes – Bring on the gloomy weather

What weather helps to motivate you to write? Some will say, especially in the summer, being able to sit outside in the sun on a clear, hot day. I prefer gloomy days. I love thunderstorms and the dark gray weather. It not only helps to inspire me when writing ghost stories, it also allows me to not burst into flames when I go outside. If you are reading my blog for the first time, I’m not a vampire, but I do consider myself a ghoul. A ghoul who glows in the dark and will be burnt to a crisp if left out in the sun. I don’t enjoy bursting into flames.

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When most are celebrating the arrival of summer, my heart is already aching for the fall. If we could only have late spring and early fall weather all year long, I would be in my version of heaven. I love late spring, with its warm days and cool nights. Everything is growing and alive. Early fall also has warm days and cool nights along with crunchy leaves under our feet, the reds, and golds of the tree leaves and Halloween. In my case, Halloween is all year long, but the month of October will always have a magical feeling.

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Around mid-July, I start to feel a pull of nostalgia and longing for the crispness of fall. I start peering through store windows, wondering if I am going to catch my first glimpse of Halloween sales items. I anticipate being told to shut up about my constant chattering around the subject of the spooky season since I should be enjoying summer. Ghouls don’t particularly enjoy summer. Please see above comment about bursting into flames. I am currently enjoying the cool breeze blowing through my window at the moment. Bring on the fall I say!

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I have been reading up on the subject of zero waste and am not only interested in reducing my carbon footprint, but want to research more on when our society went from zero waste to the creation of landfills for all of our unnecessary garbage. I’m sure it will be hard for many to wrap their heads around the fact that there was a time when we weren’t creating garbage. Is that time prior to 1900? 1920? 1950? This is something that will definitely inspire a short story, a horror-themed short story.  There is a town in Japan that is almost zero waste. Check out this video from YouTube. It would be amazing if Canadians could set the same example.

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I’m making huge progress on Freaks & Grimm. I had a huge AHA moment this week and am now working out how to write the next few parts of my novel. I am finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  The ending hasn’t quite written itself, but I do feel it forming. I was beginning to worry that I might have a War & Peace on my hands.

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Each time I think it might be safe to head to a cafe to write, there is the treat of rain. I love my red couch and that I am able to sit here an write, I would however, also enjoy sitting in a cafe and sip a coffee while I work on my novel. Maybe that will also have to wait till fall. For now, I will continue to pretend that I am in a spooky cafe.

Until next time… keep dreaming of Halloween.

Redheads Writing in Cafes except when on their red couch

Well, I’m not technically in a cafe again today, although my home smells like one. A mix of coffee and sourdough bread baking makes it feel pretty legit right now. Speaking of bread baking. I have started a journey (which I mentioned before) into removing processed food from our lives and diet. Yes, it’s a hell of a lot of work and it will be worth it. My recent journey and science experiment was making sourdough starter and bread. I now have  an amazing starter going and am waiting for the second loaf I’ve made to come out of the oven. I get so excited when I take the lid off for the final bake and see the amazing oven spring. Each time I make a loaf I will get better at it. I’m still doing basic loaves and once I am confident that I have that down, I am going to explore other flavours, adding seeds, different shapes and get artistic with the scoring. I figure after about a dozen loaves I will have a good feel for it. To read more about my adventures, click here.  The next two things on my list to create are Vegan butter and Kombucha. I will be blogging about those as well.

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Once the loaf is out of the oven and cooling, I need to put my big girl panties on and go out for a walk and fruit run. Once again the forecast is calling for rain. I know, stop whining, we could be having a drought. I’m sure you are all sick of my constant complaining about it. I’d just like a few days in a row of no rain, so I can actually go to a cafe and write. I’m hoping July is lovely and sunny. I live a few minutes walk from High Park and am hoping to get to the pool often. Several years ago, I hurt my knee and due to this, I am no longer able to go for runs, which was one of my main methods of exercise. Thankfully swimming is low impact. Not to worry folks, this isn’t going to become a blog about exercise. I only mention this in passing. I’m a creative, not a jock. Can you even imagine? I thought not.

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My fella and I have been revisiting all of the original Twin Peaks episodes before we watch the new season (3). Last night my fella wanted to also watch Fire Walk With Me. I warned him it a) wasn’t necessary to watch and b) is terrible. We watched it anyway. I honestly feel that it was a movie that David Lynch didn’t need to make. I love his warped mind and insane style of filmmaking. I have and always will see whatever David Lynch makes, this movie, was not good. When it first came out, I think I rented it on VHS. It actually took me two attempts to watch it.  The first time I think I got about thirty minutes in and had to shut it off. The second time, my roommate cracked open a bottle of wine. I think that wine was the only thing that kept us motivated to watch. We had to cleanse our palettes by rewatching Blue Velvet. Thank goodness for Isabella Rossellini!

I’m back on track with my novel again. Yesterday I spent a good chunk of time sending out short story submissions and I may send a few more towards the end of the week. I have a few first drafts to pull out and work on, I may do that on Friday instead. By then, my brain will need to switch to something else for a few days.  What are other creatives currently working on? I’d love to know.

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Until next time… stay freaky.

Redheads Writing in Cafes except when they are on the road again

I’m on the road again and now saying that, the ‘on the road again song is stuck in my head. Why do I do this to myself? I’m on my way back to Toronto, back to my fella and my own bed. Don’t get me wrong here, I will miss my parents. I am thankful that as a full-time writer, I could be there for my Mom to help her after her surgery. What I won’t miss, is the futon bed/couch torture device. I have the sore hips and bruises to prove it.

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The bus from Owen Sound to Toronto leaves hella early. We were up at 6 am, to ensure I was packed, fed and to the bus by 7:30. I’m not a morning person, this was and always is a struggle. Yesterday my Mom kept apologizing that we didn’t get to do more things while I was there. I reminded her that I wasn’t up there for a vacation, I was there to look after her. Why must parents feel bad when we look after them? Being there was just like being a kid, my parents couldn’t remember which child I was and my Dad kept mixing Flash and me up. I know I have puppy-dog eyes, but I don’t think my ears are quite that floppy.

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One of the advantages of being at my parents was the lack of distractions the city has. I was able to get a lot more writing and research done. I am hoping to keep up the same pace with I return home. I’m incredibly disciplined and work hard, however, it is easy to procrastinate when you live in a really amazing neighbourhood and have incredibly interesting and fun friends. Being at my parents and my hometown also gave me incredible amounts of inspiration for my novel and reminders as to why ghost stories will always be my favourite genre.

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I’m hoping we get a chance to head back up to my parents again at some point this summer. I didn’t get a chance to hang out near the water this time around but would love to find an opportunity to sit by the water and write. Living near High Park, I can do this whenever I like. Grenadier Pond is a stunning body of water and I always feel inspired when I am near it. I’m sure it has it’s own ghost stories to tell. We are also very close to Lake Ontario and can walk to it in about thirty minutes.  I’m never that far away from water.

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Today is also the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. Fortunately, it is also sunny (enjoy it, it’s raining again tomorrow). Unfortunately, I will be spending the first half of the day on the bus. I would normally go out today and enjoy the extra daylight, but I am likely going to spend it relaxing, on the couch with my fella, finishing off season two of Twin Peaks (refresher for me, newish for him) before we start watching season three. I’ve made it this far without seeing spoilers. I’ve also been spending less time on the book of faces these days, that could explain why. It’s good for the soul to take Facebook vacations. Tonight might also be a good time to watch Jaws again. Always a fun summer movie favourite.

I’m signing off, until next time…. SHARK!

Redheads Writing in Cafes — there will be some swears, but for a change, it wasn’t me.

Oh. There you are! I’d wondered if I’d see a blue sky again. Of course, I feel a storm brewing, but not the weather kind. I’m currently sitting at the kitchen table, attempting to write and instead am listening to my father curse. I think he’s to the point of his tirade that he’s making up swear words. You see, at some point during the night, the basement sump pump broke and now the basement is flooded. This is what happens when your house is built beside a former swamp and it hasn’t stopped raining for days. There will be swears and lots of them. Mom and I are steering clear of him for the moment. Oh, the swearing!

Susan Strasberg in Seth Holt's SCREAM OF FEAR (1961). Courtesy P

My Mom had her staples removed and the doctor reported that things are AOK.  Such a huge relief for everyone. While staying here, I’ve been doing most of the cooking and we have figured she may also have a form of IBS. I have convinced her to take her diet down to the basics, keep a food diary and cut out foods that are likely the irritant, then discuss with her doctor. All was going well until last night when there was indulgence in greasy foods. Hopefully, the mostly whole foods, plant-based diet will get her tummy back on track. It would be awesome if she went all Vegan, but… baby steps.  We have found a few really good sources for an IBS diet and if she sticks to it, she should be back to normal quickly.

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Now that she is healing up and 75% more mobile than when I got here, I can return to Toronto. Look for another edition of Redheads Writing in Cafes except when it’s on a bus unless I fall asleep, the bus leaves here at 8 am and I haven’t been sleeping well. Remember that episode of Seinfeld with the pull-out couch that had ‘the bar’ — I’ve got the futon couch/bed, with ‘the bar’. I’m looking forward to being in my own bed and back to writing in actual cafes.

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02 May 1960 — Carol Burnett as Princess Winnifred in the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress, taken from the fairly tale of the Princess and the Pea. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I hope the rain holds off tomorrow. I want to make another trek to the Salvation Army to see if I can find some treasures. It was also suggested that the drugstore downtown may carry books written by Diane Madden. I’m on the hunt for her books titled Tale of the Unusual, More Tales of the Unusual and Yet More Tales of the Unusual. I’m not a 100 percent sure these are the books, but they sound closer topic wise to what I am looking for. Sometimes, when I can’t find these specific types of items, I often wonder if I dreamt them up. Anyone else do this? It’s incredibly frustrating.

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The cursing has at least settled down a bit. I’m still at the kitchen table trying to will my laptop to charge faster. Seriously, charge faster, I want to retreat to the covered front porch. Hopefully, it will be quieter and I can get back to working on Freaks and Grimm.

Till tomorrow… stay ghoulish.

/nb A question for my readers. Do you read my posts via your browser or directly from your email?

Redheads Writing in Cafes — I’m back on the front porch

When I started to write my novel Freaks and Grimm, I decided in the early stages, that it would be based in a small town. The town I grew up in is my inspiration, along with the house and neighbourhood I grew up in. Down the street from where I lived is a huge Victorian, with a wrap around porch, gable trim, and amazing stained glass. There was and still is, something about that house that is creepy. I have always believed it was filled with ghosts and because of this, the house has become a character in my novel.  There are a few other buildings in town that inspire me and I hope to get photos of them before I leave. I took some photos of the Victorian and had to be stealthy since there was some guy sitting on the front porch.

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Next time I come to my parents, I am going to bring my DSLR. I didn’t bring it this time since I was taking the bus and had to make decisions on what to I could actually carry. Next time I will bring just my tablet so I can also bring my camera. I need to document some of the creepiness here and get better photos of the crows. I’ve tried to capture them with my phone, but a zoom lens would be optimal. Also, they seem to sense when I’m trying to take a photo and fly away. Are crows really camera shy?

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I’m by nature a night owl. I begin to feel my artistic energy later on in the day and am always finding inspiration when the sun goes down. When you are in a small town… being a night owl just doesn’t work out since everything literally shuts down at 6 pm, with the exception of the 24-hour grocery store and the Tim Horton’s. Neither of these is appealing to me for places I want to write. My parents are early to bed, early to rise and I am worried that I will make too much noise and disturb their sleep and by 10 pm, I’m in my room watching YouTube videos. I’ve gotten so used to heading to bed at the witching hour, that I am really missing it. I’m also really missing my fella right now.

While I’m looking after my Mom, I’m also doing all of the cooking. This means, that all of their meals are Vegan. I wasn’t sure how this would sit with my father, but so far, I’ve had zero complaints. It may have been my famous chili or the tasty stir fry that has won them over. Tonight I am making my ‘are you sure there isn’t meat in this’ pasta sauce. I wonder if he will argue with me again on whether or not there is meat in the sauce. Mom is also realizing her diet needs to change and though she won’t go Vegan (yet), she is considering being Vegetarian. She is also cutting dairy out of her diet.

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Today I had four goals. So far… I’ve accomplished two of them.

  1. Write while on the deck. So far… no rain. — Doing that right now!
  2. Get a good picture of the crows and raven. — So far, no luck. They seem to be in hiding at the moment.
  3. Tell you to subscribe to my website at www.lizzieviolet.com so you get notified when I post. My latest series is Redheads Writing in Cafes. — DONE!
  4. Not burst into flames when I go outside. — The sun is still out. I’m still trying to not combust.

Until tomorrow…. Stay ghoulish.

/nb I couldn’t resist adding the photo of my Dad’s dog Flash. I love Beagles! Flash is spoiled and a dog filled with old man charm.

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Redheads Writing in Cafes — except when it’s raining and from my parent’s kitchen table

Rain, rain, go away
Come again some other day
We want to go outside and play
Come again some other day

Raise your hand if you sang this nursery rhyme as a child. I did then and am singing it now. It’s pouring here right now and isn’t going to be letting up until Monday, which is fine on one side of the coin since I am looking after my mother and am writing. However, on the other side of the coin — ENOUGH WITH THE RAIN ALREADY — I want to be able to go outside, go for a walk, get some exercise. I know, I know, stop complaining, it could be worse, we could be having a drought. Blah Blah Blah Blah. Seriously, it’s overcast, gloomy and my kinda weather, minus the rain. Seriously, I want to go outside and without an umbrella. Ok. Enough of the whining.

When it’s raining, I love to watch schlocky 1950s, b-movie, horror, and sci-fi. The schlockier the better. When I’m not at home and near my DVD collection, I’m grateful for YouTube and the growing selection of bad, I mean b-movie selection. There is such an incredible selection and one could easily spend days binge watching. Some of my favourites are movies such as The Screaming Skull, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Plan 9 From Outer Space (actually any Ed Wood Jr. movies), Eegah!, The Manster and all of the Universal Monsters pictures.

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The dream is to have my own schlock horror channel. It is one of my projects to be started after I get the first draft of my novel finished. I will also need to purchase a light and some clip-on microphones, but worst case, I can borrow these items till I can get my own. Channels such as Macabre Theatre and many of the ones I watched as a kid inspired me. I even wrote a blog about it, that you can read by clicking here

I’m not generally a morning person, but my parents and the crows are up at that crack of freaking dawn, so I have been as well. The gloom outside actually gave me that ah-ha moment I needed, for a place I was stuck in my novel. There was a very important scene I have been writing around, trying not to get myself stalled. Today it clicked. I know what that scene/chapter and arc will be!

Well kiddies, I am closing off this blog entry for today and back to working on Freaks and Grimm.  If you are looking for something to watch on this rainy Thursday, here are some movies I suggest. If you click on them, you will be taken to the YouTube video.

Until then… stay gloomy!

The Screaming Skull   

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

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Eegah!

Redheads Writing in Cafes — except when it’s the front porch

The sun — it burns!  IT BURNS!  When you are so pale that you look like you may be dead — the sun is your enemy. It’s extra evil when you forget to bring your sunscreen. I’ve been to the grocery store twice now and both times forgot to pick up some. Yesterday my mom scavenged through the medicine cabinet to find a tube of SPF 30 that expired in 2012. Might be time to get a new tube Mom! Maybe? Until I remember to buy a tube, I will be hiding out in the safety of the shade. This is what happens when you are part vampire.

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Two mornings in a row at 3 am I have been awoken by a strange noise outside. A low, guttural clicking noise. It sounds like it is coming from the side yard, just on the other side of the deck. Is this an animal? A reptile? What makes this kind of noise? Zombies? Werewolves? The neighbours? Every time I am up north, it always feels like the beginning of a horror movie.

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Then there are the crows.

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7:30 am on the dot, second morning in a row, my wake up call was the very loud, very boisterous cawing of crows congregating on the fence beside my parents house. At least a dozen of those gleaming black beauties cackling away at each other. This sound is music to my ears. I love crows and ravens. Once I finally stumbled out to the kitchen, I could see them all lined up along the rail-tie fence. Then I spotted her. A massive raven perched on the roof of the house directly above them. She looked regal, as if she was looking down at her coven.

Ravens are my spirit animal.

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I have always been fascinated by crows and ravens. More so ravens. They are birds that work in communities, who protect each other, are super intelligent and seem to be in tune with the energies around them. Many of my women partners-in-crime see themselves with houses filled with cats when they are in their eighties, I see myself with a house filled with ravens and crows. No. I’m not kidding. Two of my favourite things are a charcoal drawing of a raven that my super talented friend Laurie made and a small statue of a raven pulling flesh from a skull. My perfect creepy house, when I’m in my eighties and nineties will include a raven, on a perch near the front entrance. You definitely don’t need a fancy alarm system or a guard dog if you have a raven on the watch.

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I’m going to be at my parents for at least another week. I’m hoping to get a good photo of the raven. I may need to figure out where in Toronto to find ravens and crows. It would be a good series of photos to take with my DSLR. For now, while at my parent, I will need to rely on my cell phone camera.  

Until tomorrow… stay creepy.

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