Category Archives: literature

It’s about the Journey

This blog has always been about my journey as a writer. So, that’s specifically what this entry is going to be about. I’ve grown as a writer tremendously over the last few years and I’m starting to see the products of that growth. I’m about to start my thesis course for my Creative Writing degree and my first novel, Summer Blood, is out and is selling, albeit slowly. Now, I’m journeying into the next realm of being an independent author – promotions.

I’m learning a few things, and the first is that books will not sell without promotions. OK – honestly, I knew that going into it, but now I’m neck-deep and trying to figure it all out. I have some of it figured out, but not all of it. I’m particularly struggling with, how to get reviews. Without reviews, people may not want to buy the book even as a .99 kindle. There are millions of bloggers, and they are ALL inundated with books to read and blog about. I’m sure this is true because my own reading list is a mile long. However, I still need those reviews. Many readers will read the book, but it is a lot of trouble to go back and write a review, especially when they’re really only interested in the next book they’re going to read. So, I’m still smashing this one around, but seriously, if you read a book you really like, leave a review on Amazon, Smashwords or Goodreads or B&N or wherever, because it is really important. If you are a writer it is especially important for you to do this… that way maybe someone else will leave you a review… You know the old Karma thing?!?

So, the book is out there and I’m getting my promotions on track, and I’m working on the sequel and next week starts my thesis (which I think is another novel). It’s a struggle, but the progress is going in the right direction, and the journey has been fun! In fact, the journey is the best part: writing, learning, growing, enjoying the story and the characters… all of it!

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4839007.Sherri_Jordan_Asble

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Blood-Desolate-Incubus-ebook/dp/B00EH1WLHS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379357414&sr=1-1&keywords=summer+blood

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Writing, writing, writing…

I was surprised to see how long it has been since I posted a blog! I knew it had been a while, but 6 months? Wow! Why so long? I’ve been wrapped up doing other things like writing, writing, and more writing. My classes have been more and more challenging, which is great, because I’m honing my skills! The drawback is that I have little time for other things. I have managed to finally publish Summer Blood to Kindle:

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http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Blood-Desolate-Incubus-ebook/dp/B00EH1WLHS/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_3_ZF79

So, check it out – only .99!!
I’m working on the cover for the paperback to put that out also. I’d like to finish it before my next classes start at the end of September. I start the first part of my thesis then… Woo-hoo… as they say, “What a long strange trip it’s been!”

So, look for more posts soon friends!

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screenwriting time!

This is one of the screenplays I wrote for class this term. I got an A so it can’t be too bad. Some of it is a bit vague, but I’m working on it. I’m thinking about turning this into a regular short story. What do ya’ll think?

The format is off for this because I’m copying out of a pdf… but you should get the jist of it:

Dark Hearts
By
Sherri Jordan-Asble

EXT. CASTLE NIGHT
A massive castle reaches up into the darkening sky.

INT. KITCHEN NIGHT
A huge old fashioned kitchen is empty in the dark. The
floors and counters are stone and a huge chandelier hangs
above. There is a doorway on one side and an old wooden door
on the other. The door creaks open to a descending stair
case. PENELOPE slowly walks up the stairs to the kitchen and
looks around. She is wearing a long dress with a tight
bodice. Her hair is blond curls. She looks like a doll.

PENELOPE
James? James? Where is my
breakfast?

CAMERON appears as a dark figure in the opposite doorway.
Then, his figure solidifies as he steps into the kitchen. He
is wearing riding boots that end at his knees and a buttoned
up shirt, open at the collar, tucked in to leather pants.
His eyes and hair are dark, and the look on his face is
angry and heated.

PENELOPE
Cameron! How did you get here.

As Cameron becomes more visible and steps closer to
Penelope, blood can be seen on his face and hands.

PENELOPE
Bastard! What did you to to James?

CAMERON
(laughing)
I’ve come for you, sister.

Penelope grabs a knife from a counter and lunges toward
Cameron. He dodges out of her way easily and grabs her.
Penelope fights him, but he throws her to the stone floor.
He is on top of her and then he leans up, baring fangs as if
he is going to bight her.

Penelope looks over his shoulder to the chandelier above. It
starts to shake, and then crashes on them. Penelope
immediately shoves Cameron off of her, the chandelier pieces
shatter on the floor. She struggles to her feet and runs
through the doorway he had come through.

Cameron stands up, brushing glass from his clothing and then
chases after her with a wicked smile on his face.

INT. BALL ROOM NIGHT
Penelope races into the ballroom. It is lit only with a few
candles posted around the room and in wall sconces. The
light of the moon shines in through windows at the top of
tall walls that stretch into an arching dome overhead. The
center of the room is a wooden dance floor. Along the edges
of the room, carpeted areas wrap around the floor. Chairs
line the outer edges of the room.

Penelope grabs one of the chairs and turns to slam it into
Cameron just as he is grabbing for her. Cameron barely
flinches, but the chair crumbles, leaving pieces of it in
her hands that now resemble stakes. Cameron steps back from
her, as Penelope swings the wildly at Cameron.

CAMERON
You are going to hurt yourself with
those.

PENELOPE
No, I’m going to kill you.
Penelope lunges in with a stake, stabbing at Cameron. She
manages to hit him with the stake, but it is far from a
crippling blow. Cameron grabs the stakes, throwing them away
and back hands Penelope. She flies across the room and into
the wall.

CAMERON
This house and everything in it are
mine. That includes you, and you
know it. Why keep fighting it?
She shakes herself off and runs down another hallway.

Cameron again follows after her.

EXT. A LONG BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO SECTIONS OF THE CASTLE
The drop off from the bridge is massive. The moon is high
over head. Penelope is running across the bridge.

CAMERON
Stop. I mean it. The more you fight
me the harder this is going to
be… on you.

Penelope stops and turns to face Cameron. They are on either
side of the bridge.

PENELOPE
Brother, evil posses you. Have you
no heart left? Why can’t you just
leave me alone. I’ll never serve
you.

CAMERON
My heart? Evil? Morals and laws are
meant for lessor beings, sister.
The do not apply to me.

Penelope runs toward Cameron, faster than before, she’s
almost a blur. She slams her shoulder into him and he falls
back. She grabs him and shoves him over the side of the
bridge. The railing crumbles as she watches him fall. Her
shoulders and body visibly relax.

PENELOPE
That’s way too much evil for one
man.

Beneath the bridge, there is movement. Something dark is
swirling around. A massive cloud of bats flies up out of the
darkness. They have Cameron at their center. They swirl
around him, and he rises into the air, higher than the
bridge. Penelope watches, astonished, as Cameron and the
bats become one. His laughter rings out in the night, and
then he lands on the bridge, Penelope turns and watches. The
bats fly toward the moon and disappear into the night sky.
He is taller than before and his eyes are glowing red.

CAMERON
I am not so easily killed. I have
more power than you can imagine,
Penelope.

PENELOPE
I see.

Penelope falls to her knees, her skirt wrapping around her
legs. She puts her hands on her lap, palms up.

PENELOPE
I give up.

CAMERON
I knew you would. I knew you would
give in when you saw just how
powerful I am. You can’t run. You
can’t fight this. You’re mine now,
sister.

PENELOPE
Yes. Yes, Cameron. I’m yours. You
were right.

Penelope lifts her arms slightly, inviting him to her.
Cameron takes the few steps to close the distance and grabs
her, lifting her to her feet. He leans in and kisses her. He
kisses down her neck, touching her hair. He is lost in her
for the moment.

Penelope bares fangs and sinks them into Cameron’s neck. He
screams, but she has a strong hold on him. As she drains
him, she becomes stronger and he becomes weaker until she is
holding him up. Blood is squirting out and down her dress.
She finally pulls back and looks at him. Cameron is now just
a husk.

PENELOPE
Yes. That is too much power for
someone as weak as you. You can’t
handle it.

CAMERON
(barely able to speak)
Why?

PENELOPE
I can handle it, because I know
that with that kind of power comes
responsibility. It is morals and laws that
keep us sane.

Penelope reaches out a hand and a long piece of wood appears
in it. She stabs Cameron in the chest. This time her aim is
perfect and he dissolves to dust.

Penelope slides back to the ground. Blood and tears cover
her face.

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Vampire Novel??

href=”https://rubiconwriting.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/draculaffcmina.jpg”>draculaffcminaDracula is the father of the vampire novel, but he is not the first vampire in literature. Gothic writing was established in the 1800’s as a dark genre with uncanny events and dramatic writing, and gave birth to modern horror and the vampire novel. The history of the gothic genre can be traced back to at least 1764 with The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (Gothic).

From this genre came forth many different varieties of themes including the vampire. The first vampire to appear in literature may have been John Polidori’s The Vampyre; A Tale from 1819, which was followed in 1872 by a short story “Carmilla” published in the collection called In a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. At the heart of both of these tales are remote locations and some sort of mystery around the vampire. Both characteristics can also be found in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” may have even been a strong influence on Stoker as it was the first vampire story by an Irish writer (Miller, 107). Le Fanu’s work is said to consist of psychological tortures, “…his [Le Fanu’s] conscience-spawned specters show us for the first time the ghost of the mind, which is yet, disquietingly, sometimes seen by others too, so that at the end we know not for certain whether the tormenting spirit comes from within or without (Miller, 107).” Many authors such as Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, and Mary Shelley, etc… gave us writings that shaped the feel of gothic and vampire literature defining the genre as having characteristics of, “vigorous villains, helpless heroines of surpassing beauty and unsullied virtue, and dashing heroes of limp imagination and questionable intelligence (Miller, 105).” However, other authors such as Le Fanu and Edgar Allen Poe gave us the psychological horror, and any of these characteristics of traditional gothic were present in Dracula (Miller, 103-106).

Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897, and the novel became the father of all vampires in literature, solidifying its place in Western culture (Miller, xv). There has been much controversy, however, on the quality of Stoker’s writing, and Bela Lugosi’s 1931 portrayal of the count has done far more for establishing the novel as a classic than Stoker’s writing necessarily does (Miller, xv). Regardless, thousands of vampire stories and novels have since been written with varying degrees of success since Dracula was published demonstrating the lasting impression of the vampire villain (Stoker, xix).

Above all, the vampire was if not created, then developed in Stoker’s Dracula. The vampire comes from a long folklore tradition over multiple cultures of the undead, “a corpse that returns from the grave to suck the blood of the living (Miller, 29).” The blood sucking is extremely significant in the legends and for Dracula. “Likewise, many cultures fetishize blood as a symbol of life and prohibit its ingestion or use,” thus an undead being sucking the blood of the living is a taboo, it goes against the beliefs of society in the most extreme manner making the vampire the ultimate villain (Miller, 29). This folklore can be traced back even into Babylonian cuneiform poems (Miller, 29). The traditions are rich and diverse across multiple cultures even to the Hindu goddess, Kali (Miller, 33). Stoker’s taking of these cultural evils creates the ultimate villain in the good versus evil plot. Further, the blood element adds to the psychological and uncanny elements of gothic literature.

In addition to being dead and drinking blood, the vampire has other features that add to the feel of the gothic novel. From Harker’s Journal we can deduce that Dracula had fangs, pale skin, a cold body, bad breath, hairy palms, and sharp fingernails (Melton, 197-198). Another feature was that the vampire cast no reflection in a mirror (Melton, 199). Other traits were that Harker never saw the count eat or drink and the count seemed to dislike garlic and crosses made of mountain ash (Melton, 199). Additionally, when Dracula confronted the vampire women, his eyes “became red with the flames of hell behind them (Melton, 199).” Ironically, however, the one typically vampiric trait that we normally see with vampire characters, not being able to go out into the sun, is not adhered to strictly in Dracula. While we do see the count sleeping in a coffin during the day, he is also seen several times out in the daylight (Stoker, 214-216). One such place is where Mina and Jonathan saw the Count in London. “…half in terror, half in amazement, he gazed at a tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard, who was also observing the pretty girl (215).” Jonathan reveals that the man is the count and was extremely distressed at the sighting (215-216).

Finally, we know that it is difficult to kill a vampire, and in Dracula Van Helsing and his troop killed Lucy with a stake, decapitated her, and put garlic in her mouth (presumably to keep her from coming back again) (Melton, 201). In future vampire writings these features have been mutated, but these same vampire characteristics are seen in some form repeatedly throughout the literary history. Even in the recently popular Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, although her vampires are very different than Dracula, they are still very difficult to kill, requiring decapitation and burning of all the vampire’s body parts (Meyers).

The gothic genre has grown since the time when Stoker wrote Dracula, and has evolved into what most people now call ‘horror.’ However, there is a difference in the two genres. Whereas horror is scary and may be full of the uncanny, it is also full of violence, blood, and gore. Gothic, on the other hand, is dark in nature and lends to the spooky or uncanny over violence. The scenes with blood and gore are limited and are included for the purpose of the story not vice versa. Thus the vampire has transgressed into horror, but Dracula is gothic and represents the classic traits associated with the gothic genre. Regardless of whether it is called horror or gothic, the vampire novel has been around for a long time, and will continue to keep readers engaged well into the future.dracula
___
“Gothic.” The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Credo Reference. Web. 28 May 2012.

Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book, The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Print

Miller, Elizabeth, ed. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. New York: Pegasus Books, LLC, 2009. Print.

Meyer, Stephanie, Twilight (The Twilight Saga. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005. Print.

Stoker, Bram. The Essential Dracula, The Definitive Annotated Edition of Bram Stoker’s Classic Novel. Ed. Leonard Wolf. 1975. New York: Penguin Group, 1993. Print.

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What I’m Learning… Part 1

If you’ve followed my blog, you probably know that I’ve been working on my MA in Creative Writing. So, I’m taking an awesome writing course right now… I’m learning a lot, and one of the things we are doing is writing about how we can apply what we are learning to our own writing. That made me think that I should be blogging this stuff…. so…. here is the first installment of what I’m learning:

In his essay, “Talking Forks,” Charles Baxter writes, “How a person sees the things that surround him usually tells us more than an explicit description of his mood. The things carry the feeling. They do not when our emotions are placid, but when our emotions are violent, they must.”

This sentence is the epitome of the essay and could be the driving force of “The Things They Carried,” the short story by Tim O’Brien. People attach emotions to objects and they can relate to objects carrying emotions in fiction.

The soldiers in “The Things They Carried,” carried a lot more than just objects: “Grief, terror, love, longing – these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight (O’Brien). Their emotions were heavy and they were attached to things. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross had a stone sent to him from a girl back home. It weighed next to nothing, but carried the heaviest emotional weight that got heavier as the story progressed. When a soldier dies because he wasn’t paying enough attention to the surroundings because he was thinking of the girl back home, the stone suddenly had more weight than anything else in the story.

O’Brien tells about all the things that the men carried and why throughout the story in order highlight the events of the story. For example, he gives a list of things including, “Kool-aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits…” and then tells about the reasons for some things like Kiowa that carried his grandfather’s hatchet to show his heritage and distrust of the white man. Then, O’Brien switches to something that is more significant to the main plot of the story, such as the poncho that the soldiers used to carry the one that was killed.

He also uses things and emotions to help continue the mood of the story. He writes, “They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity” (O’Brien).

In my own writing, I should be conscious of the things around and my characters’ emotional connections to them. Things can be symbolic of other things like the stone the Lieutenant carried symbolized hope and longing and then after the solider died – guilt (O’Brien). Keeping this in mind can help create depth to my stories. Objects do carry emotional weight and these things can make the characters feel more complicated and real. When the emotions are too hard, putting them into the things around us can help, and that can be used to add meaning and context within a work of fiction as well.

____sources:
Baxter, Charles. “Talking Forks: Fiction and the Inner Life of Objects.” Burning Down the House. St. Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2008. Print. http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Down-House-Essays-Fiction/dp/1555975089/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360887487&sr=8-2&keywords=burning+down+the+house

O’Brien, Tim. “The Things They Carried.” The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction. New York: Simon & Schuster. ebook. http://www.amazon.com/Scribner-Anthology-Contemporary-Short-Fiction/dp/1416532277/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360887535&sr=1-1&keywords=Scribner+Anthology

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School Update

Finally, the last week of class… I really enjoyed British Literature. The class was not what I expected. There was a theme of revolution through the years, and we read literature related to that theme. We read Dickens, of course, but we also read Wollstonecraft and others that I would not have ever read on my own. Yes, I finished with an ‘A’.  But, I feel like I got a lot more out of it than just a grade.  I’m a school-nerd!

So, now I have 2 weeks until my next class starts and I’ve been looking forward to the break. The only problem is that we have so much reading for the next class (American Literature) that I’ll have to do as much as I can during the break.

I also plan on spending 4 solid days during the break on editing Summer Blood, my novel that was supposed to be done by now…. Hopefully, I’ll get it done by the end of the year. Stay tuned…

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