writer life

Redheads Writing In Cafes (except when it’s from my bedroom) Why I Love Vamps

No. No. No that kind of vamp. Not a vampire. The silent film vamp! Ok. Ok. Let me explain.

The term vamp (for a woman) originated in during the silent film era. Prior to that it was generally a short form for the word vampire. In the 1920s A Vamp was the combination of the Flapper and the now more public erotic behavior of women. It might have also been used toward a woman who was a tease. Vamp gained even more popularity when silent films began.

Along with my love of silent film, I absolutely a more interesting characters, clothes and their make up was always way over the top. They were saucy. They were seductive. They were sassy. They definitely were bolder, braver and stronger. These were women I would have looked up to if I was around in the 1920s.

Theda Bara was probably one of the most famous vamps or at least a name that is recognizable to most. But… there were more. So many more.

Olga Petrova, Nita Naldi, Pola Negri, even Hedda Hopper (aka Hollywood gossip column queen), and Virginia Pearson, were also incredibly popular vamps, but somehow their names don’t come up as often. Some of these actresses went on to have long careers on stage and screen while others were not able to make it past these roles.

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Nita Naldi

Poala Negri

Here are a few other great articles on Vamps in the Silent Movies.

https://silentology.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/vamps-your-great-grandfathers-femme-fatales/

Stay The Fuck Home Authors Edition

One thing we can still do right now is thankfully read. Whether it is a blog or an actual novel, it is a great escape from what is currently going on right now. I love so, so many writers and am inspired by them. As a writer it is important to read as much as you can as it will benefit you in the end. Plus, reading is amazing! Below I’ve listed my favourite Toronto authors and where you can find their writing!

David Bateman is a powerhouse of talent! He is a photographer, painter, collage artist, poet, actor, playwright and writer! An all around entertainer! You can find him here!

Duncan Armstrong/TOPoet posts daily on his website and creates wonderful chap books – fresh poems, explanations of poems, serializations of my novels & a detailed look at my huge record collection – all at TOpoet.ca. You can order one from his website. Another super talent!

Heather Babcock is not only a talented writer, she is also a sassy redhead with a grand knowledge of the 1930s! Her debut novel Filthy Sugar will be coming out on May 26, 2020 and is available for order here soon. You can also read her blog Meet Me At The Soda Fountain here .

Heather Wood is not only an incredible writer and editor, she has hosted many wonderful literary events. I’m absolutely in love with her novel Roll With It (that is the roller derby girl coming out in me) and Fortune Cookie. Fortune Cookie can be found on Amazon as an ebook by clicking here.

John Oughton is a multi-talented photographer and writer. Mata Hari’s Lost Words is my favourtie of all of his books of poetry, but, I think you should buy them all so you can pick yours! They can be found here!

Philip Cairns is a creative force! He is an actor, poet, playwright, painter and writer! He is truly an inspiration. You can find out more about this super talent here!

Lisa de Nikolits is a huge inspiration of mine! I not only love her novels, I really love to hear her read live! This woman is a true force! Her writing can be https://www.theminervareader.com and
https://bit.ly/InterviewWithJohannaSkibsrud and
https://www.lisawriter.com.

Myna Wallin is beyond incredible! The first time I heard her read I was instantly in love with her work. It is absolutely impossible not to be! Confessions Of A Reluctant Cougar was the first of her novels I have read and I’ve been addicted ever since! You can find her work here.

Valentino Assenza is beyond amazing. When he reads his work in Italian, we all swoon! Along with reading his incredible work, you can listen to his velvet voice at CIUT’s Howl. Check out his writing here.

Day 1

Over the next 30 days I am going to be blogging about doing the Yoga With Adriene. However, before you think, OH NO she’s turning into a fitness blog. I’m not! Along with my daily hurrah, I’m also going to write a little bit about myself.

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I did it! Day 1 is done! But man, was I shakey! It’s been a long time since I’ve done yoga. It felt good to do it!

Who else joined in or is joining in today?

This is Richmond. He is my favourite character in the IT Crowd. I was that weird kid growing up, especially in High School. I never fit in. As soon as I started to watch the IT Crowd and that moment we were introduced to Richmond, I honestly connected with that character. I always felt like I was in a room, locked away from everyone else. The square peg that everyone tried to shove into a round hole. This is why I love Richmond.

Canadian Ginger Anthology! Killer B Cinema!

I am super excited to announce that my poem Foxglove, about an aging redheaded superhero, is in the amazing anthology, Canadian Ginger. I am honoured to be in this book along with some super talented writers, including Margaret Atwood. Yes, that Margaret Atwood!

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You can get your copies at Indigo (available online and in stores), Amazon or directly from the publisher Oolichan Press. I’m certain they are in other stores as well and I will update the list when I know where.

Please go buy a copy and support Canadian redheads and authors!

Author list:
• Margaret Atwood • Aidan Chafe • Carolyn Clink • Anita Dolman • David Fraser • Maureen Foss • Kim Goldberg • Heather Haley • Carla Hartsfield • Tracy Hamon • Penn Kemp • Kateri Lanthier • Joanne Levy • Winona Linn • Christine Lowther • Bruce Meyer • Rebecca Pǎpucaru • Charlie Petch • Rachael Preston • Heather Spears • Diane Tucker • Jordan Watkins •  Lizzie Violet • Darryl Whetter • Jennifer Zilm

This Saturday, please join me and my partner in crime Zoltan Du Lac for another Killer B Cinema!  You get two killer b flicks for only FIVE Dollars!  There will also be trivia with prizes!  Click here for the link to the invite.

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Redheads Writing in Cafes — let’s rock and or roll unless it’s with Jack.

1910-Palm-room-cafeArchtop Cafe has become one of my favourite neighbourhood cafes. It’s located in Bloor West Village and is about twenty-minute walk from my home. There are a few things that make this cafe one of my favourites.  The staff are top notch and make you feel at home right away. There are classics from the 1920s to the 1980s being piped out of the sound system and in the theme of the music, the cafe sells vinyl, both new and used. A few months ago, they opened a section of their basement as a used vinyl shop. Vinyl lovers, you need to check out this place.

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The cafe is a nice size and has quite a few tables, it would be a great place if someone was considering holding a reading. At one point they had live music on Thursday and Friday nights and though they have put that on hold, it may resume again in the fall. Out front during warmer weather, there are a few cast iron bistro tables. The other day, while running errands, we sat out there sipping lattes as we watched the villagers walk by.

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I love that I live in a part of town that has neighbourhoods with their own individual personalities. Each feels a little like the small villages they use to be.  High Park, The Junction, Roncesvalles and Bloor West Village.

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In the basement of the Annette Street, Public Library is the West Junction Historical Society. I need to visit the Historical Society when it’s open to the public as it will assist me with my research. I also need to find a day to go to the Toronto Reference Library. I keep putting it off and need to just suck it up and go. One the problems of living in a neighbourhood that you are in love with and has almost everything you need within walking distance is you tend to not leave the area. Personally, I am also someone who can go days or even weeks without leaving the hood. I would much rather go to places that I can walk or cycle to. If only the information I needed from the Toronto Reference Library was online!

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In other news and in the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing promotions for the new documentary on H.H. Holmes. My friends also know that I’m a bit of an H.H. Holmes aficionado so I often get tagged in things referencing him. I am on the fence about watching the documentary as the topic it’s about has already been debunked several times and I honestly think his great grandson is just trying to cash in on the fame, especially with the movie Devil in the White City with Leonardo DiCaprio coming out and the popularity of the novel.  Every time I hear about the documentary on the History Channel I feel a rant brewing and ready to bubble up. H.H. Holmes was NOT Jack the Ripper! I could get into a whole detailed timeline showing why he wasn’t, or the many glaring and obvious reasons that he could not be Jack, but I would rather leave that fun to you. Seriously, go read up on both of them. Though the history is gruesome, it is also very fascinating and once you educate yourself, you will also realize how impossible it was for H.H. Holmes to be Jack.

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I’m going to end this blog post before I go off on a serial killer tangent.

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Until next time…. stay shadowy.

 

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 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!