Latest Blog Posts

The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia: This Island Earth

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!

This Island Earth

THIS ISLAND EARTH (FILM)

Release Date: June 1, 1955 (Contemporary Setting)

Series: This Island Earth

Horror Crosses: Mihmiverse; The Works of Robert Rankin

Non-Horror Crosses: Doctor Who; UHF; Borderlands; Mystery Science Theater 3000; ReBoot; Looney Tunes; A Great Moon Hoax; Arena

The Story: Aliens from Metaluna are abducting scientists to aid in their battle against another world.

Notes: As with most public alien invasions or giant monster attacks, the government and private concerns are able to cover up the events. It helps that in the Horror Universe, people seem almost intentionally oblivious in the face of anything beyond their normal expectations of their world. This is more of a sci-fi film, but the Metaluna Mutant from this film was considered to be part of the Universal monsters combat series in Scary Monsters Magazine. In fact, it was that series that brought this film in. Though this is a Universal film, I still consider the Gill-Man to be the last of the famous Universal Monsters to be introduced. The Metaluna Mutant isn’t so famous, though this is still a fun film if you’re into 1950s sci-fi films. This film (and the written story it was based on) also introduces the interocitor (sometimes spelled interositer). It is an alien communication device that will appear again in Doctor Who, UHF, Borderlands 2, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, ReBoot, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, A Great Moon Hoax, Arena, Attack of the Moon Zombies, The Suburban Book of the Dead (Armageddon III: The Remake), and others. Later on, I will explain more about Doctor Who in the Horror Universe. UHF is a comedy that can still fit realistically in the Horror Universe. Borderlands is a game series that takes place on another planet. Mystery Science Theater takes place in the not too distant future of one possible alternate future. ReBoot takes place within a video game reality that is attached to the Horror Universe. See the entry on Looney Tunes: Back in Action for how I explain the Looney Tunes characters in the Horror Universe. Looney Tunes: Back in Action also has the Metaluna Mutant. A Great Moon Hoax is a short humorous sci-fi story by Ben Bova. Arena takes place in space in one possible future timeline. Attack of the Moon Zombies is part of a series of 1950s B style movies that are part of Christopher R. Mihm’s Mihmiverse, and now the Horror Universe as well. Robert Rankin is an author who uses the device in many of his works, including The Suburban Book of the Dead. Since the device is a recurring item in his works, it brings in all of his works. This film has been referenced and spoofed many times in other films and television.

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. You can listen to Robert’s crossover podcast right here.

If Walls Could Talk: Time Travel

M.H. Norris

There’s a lot of talk about time travel this week. It seems to be becoming a theme, and, as we know things, themes tend to come in threes. I decided to make this week’s blog post the third in the set.

What are the other two, you might ask?

  1. The TVCU crew interviewed the authors of So You Created a Wormhole. I even made a cameo as the guest host of the week. Let me take a second and brag on these guys. They spend a lot of time getting the show ready and talking things through. It was an honor to get to work with them for a week to get things ready and to talk time travel with people who enjoy it. You can listen to it here.
  2. Kairos Kore, a new podcast that focuses on time travel, aired its first episode yesterday. Hosted by yours truly, week to week I’ll be discussing various aspects of time travel from mechanics, to its place in popular media, to anything and everything temporal. You can listen to it here.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the fact that I have a writing bucket list. Writing about time travel in it is high on the list. And, eventually, I plan to get to it.

But what are some things to look for when writing time travel?

We all have our story of when we fell in love with it. When I was young, I don’t think I realized just how in love with the subject I would fall. I was too young to notice paradoxes or inconsistencies, but the story of Marty McFly and Doc Brown is one I fell in love with.

When writing time travel, here are something things you need to consider.

Define Your Terms

This might seem obvious, but when writing your own time travel universe (or writing in someone else’s) you need to have your terms defined. Such as:

  • Paradox
  • Alternate Universe
  • Parallel World
  • Multiverse
  • Time

Some of these may seem obvious, but I know of people who spend a lot of time trying to determine these (myself included).  Knowing you have set meanings to these terms will help you when you are writing. Otherwise, you might find a paradox the size of Belgium in your book.

Know Your Method

Also may seem obvious but how are you getting to your temporal destination. DeLorean? Transdimensional Police Box? Hot Tub? Space Ship? Magic Stones in Scotland?

This method is yours for the choosing and you might not reveal everything, but you need to know all of the details. Knowing your stuff helps you to write.

Should your book blow up and be a best seller, nerds like me will come out of the woodwork and question your every temporal move. Make sure you can outsmart us (within the confines of your own universe, at least).

Know Your Rules

Can time be changed, or are travelers just observers? Can the same person have two versions in the same spacetime coordinates? How flexible is time? Are there fixed points?

All these things, and more, need to be figured out. They will come up (either in your book or when the nerds come with their crazy amount of questions).

After all, this is your universe and you should take great care in worldbuilding while working on your story. And, if you are breaking one of your rules, make sure you have a reason.

Be creative

I’ll admit, it’s this one that’s holding me up from cranking out a time travel epic. I’m trying to find a fun, unique concept that uses time travel and hasn’t been beaten to death. And trust me, that’s easier said than done.

Be creative when coming up with your premise. Cliches and Tropes are like landmines when it comes to time travel and you should take caution lest you step on one.

Don’t Let Anything Else Slide

Don’t let your characters, plot, writing quality, or any other element of craft fall through. Because you may think you can fall back on “Oh, look, I’m writing about time travel,” but Iit won’t work.

Make sure you have great writing, good characters, a solid world for them to live in, and a plot for your readers to love.

That being said, good luck and see you down the time line.

The World of the Wall:

  • 18thWall Productions has two podcasts currently out and running along. Stuff and Nonsense: Beyond Wonderland and Kairos Kore. Keep your eyes peeled here and on iTunes–more will be coming in the near future, and our podcast homepage will be launching soon.

If Walls Could Talk: The Pulp Ark New Pulp Awards

James Bojaciuk

M.H. was given a break this week. In my head, I fancied I’d know exactly what to write. Instead, I have paused over this blog post for days, stunned. Words resist me.

Thanks to you~thanks to each and every one of you~18thWall Productions had an excellent showing at the Pulp Ark New Pulp Awards. You didn’t just vote for us, you voted for us with enough force that we won, and won in significant categories. Thanks to you, J Patrick Allen and From the Dragon Lord’s Library: Volume 1 were chosen for best short story, and thanks to you Morgan Fitzsimons’ cover for From the Dragon Lord’s Library: Volume 2 was named best cover.

As much as I could climb on my soapbox and crow about how great Nicole is at curating collections (and she is), and how great J Patrick is at writing (and he is), and how great Morgan is at her art (and she is), and how great a publisher I am (I flatter myself to think so)…that approach doesn’t feel right.

We didn’t give these awards to ourselves. You saw something in our work, and you remembered it until voting started~months later. You gave us these awards. This was your work, and your effort.

Thank you, on behalf of myself, Ben, and all of 18thWall Productions. We’ll do our best to make this year even more rich in reading pleasure~all for you.

If you’re new to 18thWall Productions, and you want to get a taste of what we do here and why people chose to give us an award, we’re running a special Get Acquainted with 18thWall sale.

Until May 2nd, From the Dragon Lord’s Library: Volume 1 and Volume 2 will be available at 50% off. Our big winners will also be represented in another way–Nicole Petit’s The Dragon Lord’s Secretary (featuring a cover by Morgan) will be 25% off, and J. Patrick Allen’s novel Dead West: West of Pale will be 25% as well. If you liked their award-winning work, be sure to pick up these novels. Both novels spin directly or indirectly out of From the Dragon Lord’s Library.

While you’re at it, feel free to pick up a copy of The Return: A Novella of Sherlock Holmes, which is permanently free for your enjoyment.

If you’d like even more of our award-winners, you can find Nicole Petit on the web here (and listen to an interview with her here), find J. Patrick Allen here, and Morgan Fitzsimons here.

[Please note that this sale is exclusive to 18thWall Productions’ online store, and that our online store can only serve customers in North America.]

If Walls Could Talk: Crime Fiction & Miranda Rights

M.H. Norris

When writing crime, I often find myself having to look up legal jargon, previous cases on various levels (usually State and a few Supreme Court cases), protocol for various things, police procedure (in fact, I have a couple books for that), and of course laws. James and I often discuss my ideas for this column and in my traditional round of  “I don’t have a topic what am I going to do” James came up with the idea of doing a sub-series talking about various aspects of crime fiction. So here’s the first post of that little sub-series, “Crime Fiction &…”

While doing research for Badge City: Notches, I found myself having to have a crash course in police procedure and one of my favorite things was reading about the Miranda rights. Of course with Deidre being a detective, those would come into play and they got mentioned in a book I read.

Often with crime shows and books, we hear about the Mirada rights and people getting Mirandized but until I started working on Badge City, I didn’t know a lot about them.

The Miranda rights earned their name in the 1960s, but have their basis in the Fifth Amendment. Here’s my first writing tip for this blog post, if you are going to write crime, become familiar with the Bill of Rights. (Most writers aren’t lucky like me and have a little brother who has a copy of the Constitution handy.) Granted, there is Google, but you’ll find you know your way around those first ten amendments.

Here’s the Fifth Amendment: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The clause that the Miranda rights focuses on is where they can not be compelled to be a witness against themselves, the right against self incrimination.

But where does it get its name?

A lot of people are like Madea and refer to Miranda as an actual person. She tends to come and visit when you’ve gotten yourself into a nice bit of trouble (or not, as in Madea’s case). But, while they are right about Miranda being a real person, Miranda was actually a he. Ernesto Miranda was charged with kidnapping and rape in 1963 and found guilty and sentenced to 20-30 years in jail. In 1966 the infamous Supreme Court case, Miranda vs. Arizona, came to court and found that Miranda hadn’t been properly informed of his rights under the Fifth Amendment. In his retrial a year later, he was once again found guilty and sentenced the exact same way as before.

Of course, we’ve heard the familiar words on many a crime show, but in case you haven’t here is what is traditionaly said when a person is Mirandized.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” On a show, we traditionally hear these rights being “read” to a criminal as the detective/agents of insert agency here is slapping the cuffs on them. I read in Police Procedure and Investigation that that is often not the case.

Often times, one doesn’t get Mirandized until you are in the interrogation room and not only are you read your rights, but you are given a paper with them and are asked to sign saying you understand your rights. When doing research for this post, just to brush up on my facts, I read a statement that confirmed this. The Miranda rights aren’t necessary for an arrest to be made, they are necessary for an interrogation to happen. Granted, this information doesn’t come into play with your name, age, address and the like, but everything else…

Upon his release, Miranda got into a violent barfight and was stabbed. He was declared dead upon arriving at the hospital. His killer claimed his rights under Miranda v. Arizona.

History does have a sense of humor at times…

The World of the Wall:

  • Our fourth Science of Deduction novella, John Linwood Grant’s A Study in Grey, will be out this Friday. Keep your eyes narrowed on our homepage, and on Amazon. You can find John online at his should-be-awarding-winning website, greydogtales.

A Study in Grey_Grant_Cover

If Walls Could Talk: Let’s Talk Characters Again

M.H. Norris, with some words from James Bojaciuk

Why do we watch TV shows? What makes us come back episode after episode, season after season? What makes us buy merchandise and plan parties?

I’ve said a few times that I’ve learned that people often come for the premise and stay for the characters. Something in the pilot must make you relate to at least one character, and make you want to keep watching.

For example, in Psych (one of my favorite shows, and yes I will happily have a long discussion with you about it if you ask) we are introduced to a couple of character dynamics. On the one hand, we have the infamous duo, Shawn and Gus who have been best friends since diapers and because of an odd string of events they are given the chance to live out on of their childhood dreams. I know I’ve several times compared which one I am versus a friend. I’ll let you guess which one I get the most often. But there itself is something people can relate to. Everyone has a best friend, someone that they would love to grab on go on this kind of adventure with. Whether you’re the impulsive Shawn or the down-to-earth Gus, this goofy duo is endearing and makes you want to keep watching. Then there’s Shawn and Henry. Henry has some of the shortest screen time of the main characters but what little he has in the pilot we quickly see the dynamic between him and Shawn. And for a society where strained relationships with fathers is more and more common, it’s something a lot of people related to easily.

The Dragon Lord's Secretary_Digital Cover

Books take us a to a deeper level when it comes to knowing characters. We get inside their heads, and know more about their thoughts, feelings, and motivations. Just recently we released The Dragon Lord’s Secretary, the first book of Nicole Petit’s Magic Realm Manuscript series, and Josh Reynolds’ “The Door of Eternal Night.” Nicole’s Miss Scarlet Chase and Josh’s Charles St. Cyprian and Ebe Gallowglass have this in common: they’re expertly developed characters that beg you to turn the page and turn the page until you’ve reached the end, counting the characters old friends by the end of the experience. (For a more in-depth look at their work, take a look at two recent interviews I conducted with them. Nicole Petit, here, and Josh Reynolds, here.)

book cover the door of eternal night_Final

What makes these characters so endearing?

First off, characters have to be three-dimensional. I’ve mentioned a few times that I was watching a show and while the writing wasn’t bad, the characters fell flat and I found myself a season in and not caring one way or another what happened to any of them.

Good guys can’t be all good, bad guys can’t be all bad. There is a lot of grey in this world, and your characters should show it. That is, if you’re not explicitly choosing to paint in black and white. Superman, Galahad, and Captain America are captivatingly pure because the best of their authors understood the special touches and flourishes necessary to make white shine. Similarly, Hannibal Lecter and Fargo‘s Grimsrud wouldn’t be half so enthralling if flecked with white. Painting with strong colors requires your total attention and talent, though it can be well worth doing if you do it well~though a nightmare if you can’t tell white from black, as in the case of Zack Snyder.

Superman Saves Suicidal Girl_All-Star Superman

One of my favorite things to do with characters is to give them an odd quirk. In Badge City: Notches, Detective Diedre Tordano is addicted to Starbucks (I’m fairly certain she broke records making it to Gold level on the app). In “Midnight,” my All the Petty Myths novella, Rosella Tasoni is hooked on tea (like me) and struggles with a family who loves to butt in on her cases.These quirks can endear a character to your readers. Sometimes it’s fun letting them see that these characters aren’t perfect. Deidre finds the case in Badge City becoming personal, Rosella has a variety of problem that find their way into the heart of the case.

But even then, their problems can help win a reader over. We all have problems here and while books, and television, are used as a form of escape at time, we find it refreshing to see the characters have problems and then overcome them. Maybe we can overcome the problems we’re having, since they overcame theirs. Isn’t that why Cinderella’s story has existed for centuries in various forms? We all want that happily ever after in the heart of some unpleasant circumstances. We all dream and hope.

Names. I can’t write a character without a name. They’re essential to creating characters, for me. When you write a character, sometimes the hardest thing is the name. Sometimes, you want a name that means a specific thing. Google can be your best friend. Lately, I’ve been a fan of the name generator. I use Scrivener to write and whoever had the idea to put a name generator into the program and I should be friends. However you name your characters, I know I’ve spent a lot of time. Maybe I want a regional name, maybe the good old name generator can help me out, male, female, long short, nicknames, like I said, naming can be complicated.

After a name, you can start to work on more about this character. Who are they? Why is their story starting here? What are their hopes, dreams, fears? Why do they do what they do? Best friends, families, I’ll admit that sometimes I can get lost in creating a character.

My first few stories I did anthologies and while there were original characters of my own, many of the characters were created by someone else (so some of this work was already done). But even then, you still have to flesh out the brief description you get; these descriptions are often less than fifty words, so your full imagination is required. That isn’t always enough to write a whole story. It all comes down to the author’s creativity, for better or worse. For example, I had a character given to me for an anthology that was a big flirt, and it was funny imagining that he flirted with a character of mine. When you’re in an opportunity like this, you’ve got to play up the traits given to you, invent new quirks, and have fun with the characters.

Closing up, even with writing, people come for the premise and stay for the characters. If your character doesn’t change and grow won’t be able to sustain a story.

From there, people take a variety of approaches to creating characters. There are websites dedicated to helping you develop your characters. Some people need to fill out several page long questionnaires. Scrivener has a really simple version. I tend to have a name, some traits, some quirks, and an idea of their motivation. In the case of “Midnight,” where I know I’m writing a series, I have an idea of what’s coming ahead not necessarily the mystery itself but in Rosella’s life.

Wherever you find your inspiration for your characters, make sure you take the time to make them well-rounded, relatable, and fun. That way, when your readers come to your book for your premise, your characters make sure they stay until the last page.

The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia: A Dance of Night and Death

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!

TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN VOLUME III: DANSE MACABRE “A DANCE OF NIGHT AND DEATH” (SHORT STORY BY TRAVIS HILTZ)

Release Date: 2007 (Setting is 1909, just prior to the events of Les Vampires)

Series: Tales of the Shadowmen

Horror Crosses: Les Vampires

Non-Horror Crosses: Fantomas; Arsene Lupin

The Story: Fantomas takes on Irma Vep, new member of the Vampires gang.

Notes: Les Vampires is a film serial already brought into the Horror Universe in TOTSM Volume 1.

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. You can listen to Robert’s crossover podcast right here.

The Door of Eternal Night: Josh Reynolds, Interviewed

M.H. Norris

I had the great pleasure to sit down with Josh Reynolds and discuss his installment in The Science of Deduction, “The Door of Eternal Night.” It’s a new installment in his wonderful Royal Occultist series.

M.H. Norris: Welcome, Josh! Would you like to tell us a bit The Door of Eternal Night and the Royal Occultist (to say nothing of his able apprentice; no,I’m sorry, assistant)?

Josh Reynolds: Hi, thanks for having me.

To answer your second question first, the Royal Occultist is the man–or woman–who stands between the British Empire and its occult enemies, be they foreign, domestic, human, demonic or some form of worm of unusual size. If there are satyrs running amok in Somerset or werewolves in Wolverhampton, the Royal Occultist will be there to see them off.

The current Royal Occultist is Charles St. Cyprian, who’s best described as Rudolph Valentino by way of Bertie Wooster. His assistant, Ebe Gallowglass, is Louise Brooks by way of Emma Peel. St. Cyprian is the brains and Gallowglass is the muscle; he likes to talk things out, and she likes to shoot things until they die. Together, they defend Jazz Age Great Britain against a variety of gribbly monsters, secret societies and eldritch occurrences.

“The Door of Eternal Night” finds a Harry Houdini seeking help from his old friend, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Royal Occultist with regards to an uninvited apparition in his hotel room. If you want to know how it all ties into one of Sherlock Holmes’s old cases and the deadly Cult of the Pyramid Bat, well, you should probably buy the novella.

book cover the door of eternal night_Final

MHN: What caught your interest about “Mr. James Phillimore, who, stepping back into his own house to get his umbrella, was never more seen in this world”?

JR: I think because I find the implications of Mr. James Phillimore’s final fate more strange than criminal, much like the case of Isadora Persano and his worm unknown to science or the giant rat of Sumatra. In my opinion, the best Holmes stories have a whiff of the weird about them, and the snippet implies that whatever happened to Phillimore, it was, at the very least, unusual.

MHN: You made great use of the story Harry Houdini and H.P. Lovecraft collaborated on, “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs.” What inspired you to write a sequel to that tale, and close off the loose ends Houdini and Lovecraft left behind?

JR: I’ve always been fascinated by this particular story–it’s got cults, ancient gods, animal-headed mummies, the whole shebang. Too, it’s a rough, but entertaining, start to what could have been an interesting collaboration, had Houdini’s life not been cut short in 1926. Imagine what other stories might have resulted, had their partnership continued…

MHN: The Door of Eternal Night–and, really, all of the Royal Occultist series–makes excellent use of the Jazz Age. What drew you to it, and how do you research it?

JR: I was drawn to the Jazz Age mostly through my enjoyment of some of the authors of that period, such as PG Wodehouse, Dorothy L. Sayers, Evelyn Waugh, John Buchan and Margery Allingham, among others, as well as the music. 1920s Jazz standards like ‘Limehouse Blues’, ‘Hard Hearted Hannah’ and ‘Snake Rag’ pop up regularly on my rotation.

As to research, well–more books, mostly. There’s a wealth of material, both fiction and non-fiction, on the Inter-War Period in Great Britain. Besides the authors I mentioned above, I have a stack of research books two feet high, mostly having to do with food, clothes, music and daily life in England during the 20’s and 30’s.

MHN: How do you think living through The Door of Eternal Night would have changed the real Conan Doyle and the Houdinis?

JR: I don’t think it would have changed them much at all, honestly. The events of “The Door of Eternal Night” would have only reinforced Conan Doyle’s belief in the spirit world, and I don’t see Houdini admitting that the supernatural was real (at least not in public). Though the contortions that Houdini would have to go through to justify the events with his world view might give even his escapology skills a run for their money.

MHN: What advice do you have for the authors in the house?

JR: Persistence counts for more than you think. Luck is great, skill is nice, but persistence keeps you in the game long enough for the one to happen and the other to be recognized.

MHN: Thank you so much for your time. Where can our readers follow you online?

JR: Thank you for having me! I have a blog which features links to my other work, and a complete bibliography.

There’s also a Royal Occultist-dedicated site which features free fiction, audio dramas and plenty of background on the world of the Royal Occultist, including a complete story chronology.

MHM: And remember that you can get a copy of “The Door of Eternal Night” all your own right here at 18thWall Productions’ website, and on Amazon.

If Walls Could Talk: Writing Cycles

M. H. Norris

When I was looking at how television shows work for a previous project, I found the idea of production cycles fascinating. Once a season gets going, they are constantly in three different stages simultaneously for months at a time.

A show is in pre-production, then goes into production for the first episode, then when that’s done, it goes to post while episode 2 goes into post-produciton and the rest of the season is in pre-production. And yet, they manage this circle year after year and it somehow always comes together. Until the last week, I hadn’t experienced it in writing, per se, but got a feel for the three-fold circle a bit.

The draft for “Midnight” is done so, in theory, it has gone into the writing form of post-production. I’m working on another project that I’m not sure that I’m allowed to talk about yet so that is in the very beginning stages of production. And then, I’m in pre-production for the next All the Petty Myths book.

The circle is fun and sometimes I find myself switching gears. This feels different then working on different projects at the same time because then, they aren’t in different stages.

Sometimes, it’s hard to juggle. For example, as I write this, James is reading and editing “Midnight,” I have a tab open in my browser learning about a location I want to use in my next story, and for now, the next All the Petty Myths is taking the back burner so I can meet some deadlines.

Week to week, I come here and tell you what I’m up to, give advice where I can, and just sit down and collect my thoughts about the various stages of the writing process.

Project to project, I seem to forget various stages of projects as I get so involved in whatever stage I’m in. Like the one slipping from pre-production to production for example. At times, I forget how tricky it can be to have a blank slate and start a story from scratch. Sure, I love the blank page and the potential a new story has, but sometimes development can be a bit tricky. Names, stories, backstories, motivations, all this has to be figured out because it directly affects how your POV character not only tells their story to your readers but affects how they react to the world you are creating. If you don’t understand them, they can’t help you tell the story.

To me, the flattest stories are the ones who don’t allow their readers to connect to their characters~so when writing a story, I like to make sure that my characters have some odd fun quirk that I can reference, now and then, and remind you that for all their skills and abilities when it comes to solving crimes, they are people too and sometimes there is stuff going on right in the middle of a case. (It’s been awhile since I’ve done a post about creating characters. Maybe I should brush the old one off and modify it with my new experiences.)

It’s fun being in various stages of different projects. There’s constantly things to work on, things to think about, and gears to change sometimes at a moment’s notice.

And to those of you who have experienced you know that while it can make things a little crazy, you wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Horror Crossover Encyclopedia: Long Live Fantomas

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!

TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN VOLUME 3: DANSE MACABRE “LONG LIVE FANTOMAS” (SHORT STORY BY ALFREDO CASTELLI)

Release Date: 2007 (Setting is 1890)

Series: Tales of the Shadowmen

Horror Crosses: Phantom of the Opera; An American Werewolf in London/Paris

Non-Horror Crosses: Fantomas; Black Coats; Claudius Bombarnac; Sherlock Holmes; Rocambole; The Wandering Jew; Star Trek

The Story: In this tale, it appears that the infamous Jack the Ripper may be the “hero” named Fantomas, or in reality some other creature who possesses humans to do “his” evil deeds.

Notes: This story brings in the film An American Werewolf in Paris, and thus by extension the film An American Werewolf in London, though the latter is cemented by other crossovers (such as the Spike vs. Dracula tale).

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. You can listen to Robert’s crossover podcast right here.

If Walls Could Talk — Sprinting For The Finish Line

Before this past weekend, I hadn’t attempted a word sprint outside the confines of NaNoWriMo and part of me isn’t sure I consider what I did this weekend to be a real word sprint or just an extra bit of good luck in the writing department.

Either way, between Saturday and Sunday I wrote several thousand words, an amount I hadn’t accomplished since NaNoWriMo. And it felt good to be able to write like that again because it had been quite a while since I had

In fact, I went from the half-way writing point to a finished draft of Midnight, a relief on my part.

During NaNoWriMo, I found word springs to be invaluable and they were helpful when life got a little crazy. I could push myself in a short amount of time to accomplish a lot of writing. It’s probably a good part of what helped me to win this time, since it was something different I tried as opposed to other years.

Saturday, I just started to write. And I wrote, more and more and while part of me wanted to stop, another part of me pushed harder and harder to write. I finally did let myself stop when I realized I hit a point where I would need to do another marathon writing session and at that point in the day, I knew I didn’t have that much writing left in me.

There’s a side tip inside this post. At times, you have to know your writing limits because if you try to push past them on a fairly regular basis, you are going to do burn yourself out. And trust me, that is going to do you absolutely no good.

If case you haven’t heard the term, writing sprint before, let me explain it. The idea is setting a time (people usually go for 15-20 minutes but I have seen longer) and write like mad until the time is up. Anything under an hour is considered a short spring anything over is considered a long sprint.

When I went into my first of several writing sprints, it was unintentional. I wasn’t planning to write that much for that long but once I got started I found that for the first time in a long time, the words flowed and I was able to pieces all the pieces together and write my way towards the end of the story.

That one was more or less around 90 minutes. I had a cuppa siting beside me, Disney tunes playing on Pandora and I wrote.

disney logo

A fun way to do a writing sprint is to get a couple of writers together and compete and/or encourage each other; nothing like a little healthy competition to drive you to write fast and furiously.

I did this a few times during NaNoWriMo and the idea of others out there writing frantically at the same time as you can really help motivate you to write, even if you don’t feel like it.

And while yes, you need to be careful not to burn yourself out, you need to also to push yourself. That or get someone to push you.

Or both.

The biggest thing about writing is that you need to figure out what works best for you. Often times, when I come to you week to week, I tell you things that I’ve experienced, or that I’m going through.

But each person writes a different way, they all have a different method. That’s why there are so many different writing how to books.

So, my hope is that when you read these posts you find a way to take my advice and find out how it works best for you.

Good luck with your writing this week!

By the way, did you check out my interview with the Television Crossover Universe Podcast?