If Walls Could Talk: Dragon Libraries and Thanksgiving

M.H. Norris

If walls could talk this week, they’d be talking about one of three things this week. Or rather, the people around the wall would drown out whatever else it wanted to say with those three things.

First, happy 52nd birthday to Doctor Who.

Second, Thanksgiving is on all our minds. Visions of turkey and all the fixings dancing through our heads as we realize that we have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

From all of us here at 18thWall Productions, we want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. We hope that you have a fun day with family, food, friends, food–and did I mention food?

One thing we’re thankful for is actually the third thing that is occupying time at 18thWall’s watercooler. The digital release of From the Dragon Lord’s Library, curated by Nicole Petit. Out now, and available on this very site. Volume One & Volume Two are ready for your eager reading.

Did you ever wonder what a dragon keeps in his library?

You can tell a lot about a dragon by their hoard.

Not the shiny one, the other one. The one where they keep their favorite things. Some dragons keep a private stash of dwarven-wrought artifices, and others tapestries that run from wall-to-wall and corner-to-corner. The Dragon Lord himself has a library. A library that devours halls and caves, filling them with every kind of book and codex and scroll.

These are the stories that fill his favorite shelf. Of course they’re his favorites—they’re all about dragons. Pull these stories down. Breath in the vanilla scent that only comes from the oldest books. Savor the writing. Trace your fingers over the calligraphy.

Welcome to the finest library ever known.

Featuring stories by Jilly Paddock, Joanna Hoyt, Claire Davon, J. Patrick Allen, T. Fox Dunham, Dorian Graves, Denarose Fukushima, Kelly A. Harmon, E.A. Fow, Robert W. Caldwell, Jim Lee Patricia S. Bowne, Shawn Hossein Mansouri, Silas Green, Rose Taylor, Edward Ahern, Elizabeth Hopkinson, Gregg Chamberlain, Liam Hogan, Sylvia Downes, and Sue Pettit, this two part collection features the first volume for general audiences and the second volume for readers of all ages.

I’m thankful for the chance to get to come to the wall every week and give it a voice. I love the chance to get to sit down, type whatever is on my mind and hope that you enjoy it as well.

What are some things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving?

We can also be thankful for the idea of what’s to come in 2016. We’re heading into the last full month of stress and publishing and—finally—turkey. It’s a time where things are so magical (like dragons—couldn’t help that reference).

And we’re thankful for you all for coming to read our stories and for taking this journey with us.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

From the Dragon Lord’s Library: Volume 1

From the Dragon Lord’s Library: Volume 2

If Walls Could Talk: Writing Every Day

M.H. Norris

I’ve written about this topic a few times, it’s a popular one amongst writers. But NaNoWriMo is great for one thing. It allows a writer to establish a daily writing habit.

1667 words a day is a lot and if you fall behind, it can seem overwhelming to try and catch up. And Friday you can start to win at NaNoWrioMo. And people are ready to go.

Me?

I’m sitting her smiling and nodding as I creep over 30K words. I don’t plan to see 50K until the very end.

But to each their own.

I do try and write around 1000 a day of one project or another. Sometimes, short stories are a good example, I write a little less.

Steven King, if I remember right (James has my copy of On Writing so I can’t look it up), writes for a set amount of time every day. I think he’s a morning writer.

I laugh at morning writers.

James laughs at morning writers.

Once again, to each their own.

My favorite time to write is the afternoon to early evening, though it isn’t entirely unusual to find me writing late at night. Usually, you won’t catch me writing a whole lot after midnight, because, like Cinderella, the clock strikes midnight and the magic is gone.

But I do see the value of writing every day.

I see the value of writing every day especially when you have several projects that need your attention.

Somewhere along the way, I got into the habit of working on several projects at once. There are weeks where I say, “this week I’m working on this this day, that another day, and so on and so forth.”

To me, that helps me to keep myself interested. Different stories, different characters, different chances to get to tell all these different stories.

Some people will argue that that means I can’t focus on any one particular project. But to me, too much focus on one single project is a sure fire way to give myself a nasty case of writer’s block.

And then I don’t write any day.

Which it isn’t the end of the world. You need a break now and then to allow yourself to relax and refresh (not according to Steven King, who says that you should write every day, including your birthday and Christmas).

So until I make it to the bestsellers list, you might just want to listen to him instead.

The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia: Total Drama

Join us each week as we share a new excerpt from Robert E. Wronski Jr.’s book, The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia, now available in print and digital editions!

TOTAL DRAMA (ANIMATED SERIES)

Release Date: July 8, 2007 – present at time of writing (Contemporary Setting)

Series: Total Drama

The Story: A reality show recruits a group of young people to compete in challenges in an isolated location. Each season has a different themed setting, but each season sees the same celebrity wannabes returning for more drama and humiliation to recapture that 15 minutes of fame.

Notes: The cast were about 21 when the show started, and would be around 28 now. For now the show operating in real time still works for the Horror Universe concept. Another few seasons and they will be stretching the “young people” bit if they keep using the same characters.

SEASON 5 EPISODE 16 “TWINNING ISN’T EVERYTHING”

Release Date: July 8, 2014 (Contemporary Setting)

Horror Crosses: Evil Dead

The Story: The second half of season 5 is Total Drama Pahkitew Island. In this season they do have new contestants joining the cast, while they phase out the old cast. Clearly they want to keep with the concept as I said above. The setting this time is Camp Pahkitew. This episode centers around a balloon competition. Plus love and hate, loyalty and betrayal. Reality show stuff.

Notes: One of the contestants, Max, is a hopeful evil genius. He has snuck contraband into the camp, including a copy of the Necronomicon ex Mortis.

If you’re dying for more, you can find The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia on Amazon, and more of Robert E. Wronski Jr.’s work on The Television Crossover Universe.

If Walls Could Talk: A Novel in a Month

M.H. Norris

For some reason, I got it in my head a few weeks ago that doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) would be fun. It’s a good idea I said to myself, an excuse to knock out a draft of something in 30 days.

The above statement is true, it is a good excuse to knock out a draft of something. It’s also a great excuse to knock out something because you want to see if you can make it work. Having the deadline and the community of support behind you while you experiment and play and push yourself is a good idea and an invaluable tool.

National Novel Writing Month

Because NaNoWriMo is an experience I recommend and—knock on wood—so far I haven’t fallen behind.

So, in today’s edition of If Walls Could Talk I’m going to take a few minutes to take a break from my frantic attempt to make today’s word count and talk with you. Hopefully encouraging any of you readers who are embarking on this journey with me.

What is NaNoWriMo? I realized that I should take a second to introduce it in case you haven’t heard about it.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place in the month of November. It is a time where writers strive to write 50 thousand words in 30 days. If you are not in the mood to do that math right now, that equals out to about 1667 words a day.

While NaNoWriMo is fun, and I highly recommend it, it is a challenge and isn’t for the faint of heart.

This is my third time doing NaNoWrimo. If I win, it will only be my second win. And that victory was not easily won.

Day 4 so by the end of today you should have at least 6668 words if you want to be on track. If you are behind, don’t sweat it. I was behind in 2013 (the year I won) and did a come-from-behind-victory thanks to a road trip. I took advantage of being stuck in a car to catch up, get ahead, and coast over 50 thousand words.

One thing I did: I put the NaNo calendar in my Scrivener research tab so I have quick and easy access to what goal I should have for each day (it also takes away my excuse to wander to my browser tab and spend ten minutes looking it up (and then wandering to Facebook to chat with people—when you’re struggling for words, anything is much more interesting than writing.)

Stories are a precious thing. 18thWall is dedicated to finding fun and unique stories and bringing them to you. Taking the old ways of writing and bringing those styles forward.

Because there is something about a book that just takes you to a special and magical place. And as writers, we get the privilege of transporting readers to worlds that only previously existed in our heads. How cool is that?

So here’s my pep talk, finally.

Write that story that is on your mind and in your heart. I received that advice ages ago from an author I greatly admire and I wanted to make sure I passed it on to you.

And write. This is advice for myself even because I’ve struggled already this month to reach the daily word count. But each day you get to have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you make it.

So good luck fellow writers! May we all make it to the end of this crazy month together with a fresh new story upon our pages/screens.

If you need me, I’ll be frantically getting to today’s word count. See you next week!

The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia: The Federation Holmes

Join us each week as we share a new excerpt from Robert E. Wronski Jr.’s book, The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia, now available in print and digital editions!

Federation Holmes

THE FEDERATION HOLMES (NOVEL BY DANA MARTIN BATORY)

Release Date: 2001 (Setting is 2265 A.D.)

Series: Star Trek; Sherlock Holmes (see notes)

Horror Crosses: Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos

Non-Horror Crosses: Lord of the Rings; The Lost World; Indiana Jones; A.J. Raffles; The Saint; Journey to the Centre of the Earth; Pink Panther

The Story: On the Amusement Park Planet, a construct is made of Professor Moriarty from the stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The construct embraces his character so much that he leaves to embark on a life of real crime. Spock makes the logical deduction that only constructs of Holmes and Watson can stop him.

Notes: This is an anthology of interconnected stories by the same author. The premise is used to imagine Holmes in the world of Star Trek. Though Holmes is thought of here as a fictional character within the world of Star Trek, in Star Trek VI, Spock will claim Holmes as his ancestor (on his human side). It’s certainly realistic for people to confuse the worlds of fiction and reality after some time has passed. Think of all the people today who think that Lovecraftian lore is real, for instance. (It’s not, by the way.) In real life, ships and places are often named after other real places or historical figures. Thus, when writers are being clever, we get crossovers. In one of the stories, there are ships named the O.C. Marsh, the Cthulhu, the Arkham, the Sothoth, and the Alhazred, and there is a reference (curse) to the three Hells of Rlyeh. Those Lovecraftian references bring this story into the Horror Universe, though Star Trek has had other links mentioned elsewhere in this guide to connect it to the Horror Universe. Star Trek, of course, is in one of many possible alternate futures of the Horror Universe. Holmes sets up shop on Memory Alpha and finds copies of The Origin of Tree Worship (from the Lord of the Rings) and The Ladder of Life by Challenger (from The Lost World). A looter of an archaeological dig on Indiana IV is named Jones. A jewel thief is compared to Raffles and Templar (the Saint). There is an asteroid named Lidenbrock Alpha. Lidenbrock led the Journey to the Centre of the Earth. And there is a safe model P1I3N7K Panther.

If you’re dying for more, you can find The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia on Amazon, and more of Robert E. Wronski Jr.’s work on The Television Crossover Universe.