Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Guinness Day

Happy Guinness Day! It's Arthur Guinness' birthday, so to celebrate, folks world wide are sucking back the delicious brew. Close your eyes, drink your Guinness, and imagine John Mann and Spirit of the West singing this traditional ballad:

General Guinness

You've heard of General Wellington
Who won at Waterloo,
But there's a good old Irishman
I'll introduce to you
He comes from dear old Dublin
He's a man we all applaud
For he always finds a corkscrew
Far more hardy than a sword.
He's good old General Guinness
He's a soldier strong and stout
Found on every battlefront
He can't be done without
His noble name has worldwide fame
Preserved through hearty cheers
Hurrah for General Guinness
And the Dublin Boozileers!

This hale and hearty warrior
Is worshipped in the ranks,
For he does his task inside a cask
As well as in the tanks.
He's borne the brunt on every front,
North, South, East and West,
And he wears about ten thousand canteen
Medals on his chest.
He's good old General Guinness.
He's won the world's applause.
It was he who kept our spirits up
In the midst of all the wars.
Who was the first to flirt with
Mademoiselle from Armentiers?
Why good old General Guinness
Of the Dublin Boozileers.

All over bonny Scotland, too,
The General is seen.
They've given him the freedom
Of the town of Aberdeen.
From Inverness to Galloshiles,
They keep him warm at night
And they love to gather round him,
Auuuch! On every moonlit night.
He's good old General Guinness
He's as good as Scottish broth.
He's the one who turned the Firth of Forth
Into the Firth of Froth
All Scotsmen dance the highland fling
And shout when he appears
Hurrah for General Guinness
And the Dublin Boozileers!

(Can be found on the album "Old Material")

Monday, September 17, 2007

Take the plunge

You know you want to.

You've been aching, your fingers vibrating with the creative need to DRAW. But, you've put it off. Your boring job saps all your strength. Or even your moderately not-so-boring job takes up so much of your energy, when you get home (or hell, if you're working from home) you just don't have it in you to.. draw..

Scott McCloud
came up with a nifty device over a decade ago (August 31st, 1990), called The Dare. In this Dare, he challenged a compatriot, Steve Bissette, to draw for 24 hours straight, one page an hour, until by the time he was done, this fella would have a complete comic, written, penciled and inked in his hands. That's all it took. From that wonderful, inspired idea, the 24-Hour Comic has spread like fruit flies on a squishy mango, in other words, FAST and with much sucking of tasty, sticky juice! To check out more information on The Dare and to read McCloud's first 24-hour comic, check ze links!

No writer or artist's block can withstand the energy or will that exists in the sweat of someone working on a project for 24 hours straight. Take it from someone who has braved that valley of darkness three times and come out alive... blind, exhausted, hallucinating, but alive! Below, are panels from my first attempts: "Good Medicine/ Bad Medicine", "The Wyrm's Treasure" and "SnowBlonde" (you can read the last two in their entirety on my website, thanks to the continuing web genius of Carol Busato.)

"Good Medicine/ Bad Medicine"

"The Wyrm's Treasure"


If you're interested in reading more 24-hour comics, you can order them online from Amazon, or via the 24-Hour Comics Day site which has tons of info on the event! You can also order two of Troy Little's 24-hour comics directly from him at Meanwhile Studios ("Smoked Fish" and "Inanimation".)

Come October 20th, 2007, the entire world will host hundreds of mad, creative folks in various locales, drawing maniacally away and creating something from nuthin'! I was interested in joining the fun, but realized it would come very close to overlapping my business trip to Abbey Hill Design in Callander (near North Bay.) I heard that Hairy Tarantula in Toronto was going to host it, but thought the additional drive and then no sleep, then driving HOME would probably kill me. I looked for something closer to Ottawa and realized there was nothing.


No 24-Hour Comics Day event in ANY Nation's Capital comic book stores to encourage artists to create masterpieces on trestle tables, between multicoloured rows of comics. No fervent prophets of art and story, drawing throngs of the interested public through the doors to bring lucre to the tills. No store was signed up to host. So I thought to myself, "Self," (sfx of Arlo Guthrie talking) "Yup?" "Why dontcha host an event yerself?" "Sounds like a great idea. Then I won't end up in flames somewhere near Belleville on the way home from the stint in TO!" "Sounds like a plan." "AND I would get to see all of my comic and animation buddies whom I haven't seen in a donkey's year." "Is that an African or European donkey?"

And so on.

The 24-Hour Comics Day site has wonderful resources (like this FAQ) for hosting the DAY and I have downloaded lots of 'em. DragonHead Studio is officially on the boards at their site, and the fun starts at noon, October 20th, 2007 at yours truly. There is a Facebook Group set up for it, as well as an "Event" that you can request an invitation to.

As it stands, I have a possibility of 7 people turning up, which looks great! There is room for 5 -7 more, so if you are in the Ottawa/ Kanata area and you're keen to draw and you'd like to play with my animals and sit on my deck sipping Rev or what-have-you, drop me a line!

You know you want to.
That leetle voice you spend all day ignoring and the entire drive home from your job trying to feint left and right as its siren susurrus pleading whisper darts from ear to ear... Listen to it. Next time you're about to crank "Sam's Town", take a minute to really listen to what the Killers are saying; don't just let the sound wash over you.

"...I've got this energy beneath my feet
like something underground's gonna come up and carry me,
I've got this sentimental heart that beats
but I don't really mind that it's starting to get to me now..."

Call, write, email ( or sign up on the Facebook Group and pester me. You have 'til October 6th to get your name in! It's going to be fun!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Troy Little CHIAROSCURO Interview!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please proceed HERE to check out Troy Little on national television in Canada, courtesy of the CBC, Compass & YouTube.

For a written version of the interview, check this out.

Please be sure to pre-order "Chiaroscuro" from your favourite comic or book stores. The release date is coming up in October (15th), so don't miss out! Information on preordering can be fond on Troy's site here. Or hit up Amazon and pre-order online.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Unaware of distant thrashings

(Above, a mock-up of me with Frank Frazetta; ha! Probably the closest I'll get to seeing him for real ;-)

I had the happy chanced stumble to find a great comic resource: "The Drawing Board" via Mick Harrison's Blog. Thanks Mick! From there I have found great Classifieds (ads that actually entice pencilers, inkers and the like with MONEY! Wow :-) For those of you who don't know.. many sites have comic classifieds that go something like this:

"...I am actively seeking dedicated comics artists/co-creators with whom to work in developing original comics properties to pitch (at least five to eight pages of finished art)... I am looking for talented artists to help in bringing these works to their two-dimensional life. Only artists with a firm grasp of sequential comic art need respond... [Insert bunch of junk to indicate the dude(tte) has some kind've credentials)
...Work is currently non-pay, but fair percentages for the amount of work done will be negotiated once a project is picked up by a publisher...."

When I got to High School at the ripe age of 14, I looked at my ink-stained hands and said "No More Freebies!" And I stood by it. (OK, barring: relatives, fund-raisers and blood-brethren (& sistren), I don't draw for free. Why should you? Why should you advertise to the world that your work is worthless? I remember my 1st year teacher at Algonquin College, Peter Adamakos, going on at length about that in one of his lectures. I don't recall it in its entirety, but basically it had to do with: Pride, not just in yourself, but in your work, and belief in the validity (and saleability) of your work.

So anyway, it was refreshing to find a professional site that had classified ads for comic artists that offer dough for art. Cool :-) Since it was 1am, and for some reason I subconsciously believed that sleep was STILL for the weak, I thought I'd poke around and see what trouble I could get into there. And I found trouble--of course! A bit of a preamble to this story though, before I get to "ze meat"

When I was growing up, the burg I lived in had a population of maybe 800 (or so.) Now I was only about 20 km away from a major urban centre, so I didn't get the "living in a tiny village" syndrome that sends many people running for big cities, to get away from ALL THE NEIGHBOURS KNOWING EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU... ALL THE TIME!

But, it was a small enough town that the grocery store (the only place to buy stuff at the time) carried a wee spinner rack of comics and a spot with magazines off to the side. This was where you would find the TWO copies of Heavy Metal that would come in irregularly. Some reprobate bought one of those Heavy Metals, and I, at the tender age of 16 or so, bought the other one. It was like buying condoms or cigarettes or something. I'd have to stand in the checkout line, trying to hide my mag under a bag of chips or whatever, and the Octogenarian ringing it through would take a good gander at the stark(ish) naked space-girl on the front cover and wonder about me.

But! Back to the story.

Between the covers of those Heavy Metal comics was a lot of crap. But, there was also an amazing amount of beautiful artwork (like Findley's "Tex Arcana") which helped inspire me to draw, tell stories, get unladylike thoughts zipping around in my fertile teenager's head and such. Included in the long list of inspirational artists that I was exposed to through the mag is the legendary Frank Frazetta. (I mention Mr. Frazetta, because eventually this gets back to how I opened the Blog today.)

I fell in love with Frazetta's work the way you fall into a swimming pool filled to the brim with Jello. Hard, fast, covered in slime and no option to rise to the surface, save to devour everything around you and try not to think what it's made of. I kept my eyes peeled for Frazetta's work and accumulated a small stack of thin paperback art books, which have sadly fallen apart, a mere 20 years later... Mostly to the fact that I went through them over, and over and over again. (Below is "Conan the Avenger" - the cover painting to the first of those art books I had.)
Unlike a lot of people who got turned onto Frank Frazetta's work, it wasn't via the actual Conan the Barbarian paperback books. It was through prints, books, reproduced illustrations, the Ralph Bakshi movie "Fire & Ice", and also the deep respect and admiration of my Dad for the work and the artist. My Dad looked at the Frazetta works, nodded his head and said "This is really great stuff."

Just Sunday, I was visiting Keith's place and we were having a nice palaver over Pad Thai, drinks, convo, Gran Turismo and stuff, when he revealed, like a Magician pulling a dove out of thin air, that he had a movie for Clay & I to watch.
"What is it?" I demanded about a billion times.
"Wait and see!"

It was "Painting with Fire", which is a documentary/ interview/ reminiscence and adulatory piece about Frank Frazetta. I really enjoyed it. I love seeing how artists work. I especially love to see their studios. When I get into an artist, like most "fans" I want to know everything about them and understand where they draw their inspiration, how they work, how they think.

It was delightful seeing the early photos of Frank, hear the story of how he built his career. Realize that even the greats can be amazing procrastinators (putting off work for a whole month, only to burn in a creative frenzy for 8-15 hours to get a piece done for deadline!) It was cool seeing his closet chock full of cameras (I piped up: "Now I don't feel so bad!" --I too have a camera fetish.) It was inspiring, and made me want to draw like crazy (which of course was the effect that Keith had anticipated.) We sat around and drew for a few hours and I was happy as a clam.

Anyway, back to The Drawing Board, poking around in Forums and realizing stuff is happening. Now, you know where I stand on the matter of Frank Frazetta. He isn't God, but he is a hell of a talented painter. Apparently there is a real fooferah between him and another artist, called Mike Hoffman. Up 'til now, I think I'd only seen his work around --maybe in Heavy Metal? Maybe in PinUps? Or magazines? I was unaware of the intense animosity happening between Frazetta & Hoffman.

I was browsing and saw a Forum topic called "Thirteen Reasons Why I'm Better Than Frazetta". Of course I had to look. I mean; c'mon! A link within the Forum lead to Hoffman's website (which I'll post here.) The vitriol and anti-Frazetta garbage that was fountaining out was astonishing. Hoffman's ANTI-FRAZETTA-FAN rage was also surprising (well, I suppose it shouldn't be that surprising really.) But, accusations aside, aren't these two professional painters in the same genre? Where does this rage, petty in-fighting, obvious jealousy sprout from?

One of the fellows (Sirspamdalot) on the Forum at The Drawing Board said: "...I can't help but think of Ash being attacked by his own hand in Evil Dead 2..."
A Hoffman alongside a Frazetta.

One of the Forum posters (visual myriad) puts it perfectly: "...on the artistic side, i think his artwork is a very pale imitation of Frazetta's work. Hoffman rips so many of Frank's artistic touches, but isn't able to use them intuitively, so his work lacks the life and energy that makes Frank Frazetta's work so timeless." - Daniel

I'm not going to waste a huge amount of time belabouring it, but after scanning through Hoffman's page, I had to write something. He's throwing accusations around like smoke bombs at a ninja convention... Yeah, some of them are true, I'm not Frazetta's publicist, so I can't put out a press release or whatever regarding the "Swipes" Hoffman accuses him of. I've watched "Painting with Fire" and yes, Frank says quite a bit of high handed things. But, my G*d man, he's 79; give him a break! If you get to 79 and every artist with two thumbs and a can of paint is killing themselves to paint like you, yes, you're allowed to refer to yourself as a "Legend".

Anyway, I'll hook up all the links, and folks can sort out for themselves what they think. All I know is that I would give a lot to have an original Frazetta hanging in the old pink house, and wouldn't give anything for a Hoffman. There, now I can be counted amongst the "intellectual dust mouse" Frazetta fans as well. Just an aside--I hopped on over to eBay following a Hoffman link and he's selling original "Death Dealer Sketches". Who's swiping what? ;-)


Friday, September 07, 2007

If you love me, you'll buy my stuff

How often have we heard that familiar phrase??
FLOG YOU MONKEYS! Anyway, for fun, I did a photo collage of all the pics I have posted recently...and, for your enjoyment, they are for sale in Poster Form at Cafe Press! For the mere cost of a large all dressed pizza, from a lower end pizza place, you can own a REAL chunk o' Marsden memorabilia! Order now from my Cafe Press shop!

I'll put up a few more nonsensical things there as I go along. But for now, enjoy the moving surrealism of pinning up multiple images of ME in your basement, rec-room or even kitchen. Watch as I sweat and curse, watch as the minutes tick by. Heck, you'll even have additional fun collectible pics of ARLO, CLAYTON, a GIANT PRAYING MANTIS, a MANUSCRIPT! Collect 'em all!

That's it, I'm spent.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mush! Mush you doggies!

(Above are the bills from Canada Post & Staples, respectively from the printing of 2 copies of the old novel AND the cost of mailing it.... :-D)

Hey there compadres, quite a hot day in O-town today. I rarely venture forth into the world if I can avoid, but I had to go to the Post Office to mail my manuscript! I took my jump drive to Staples yesterday, and instead of making me wait a day, they printed it almost immediately :-D Hurray!

The store was a-bustle with about a billion kids and their harried-looking parents. I guess it's back-to-school for all of them. It was nice being able to wend my way through the crowd to the copy desk and retrieve two copies of my... MANUSCRIPT! Haha :-D from the nice girl at the counter. I was trying to explain what the whole 3-day novel thing was to her and she seemed impressed, so that made me feel good. I looked pretty frazzled, but she didn't seem to notice.

Off we went to the Wizard's Tower where Clay found some Palladium stuff and I rooted through the dollar bins... you find interesting things in the ol' dollar bins, discontinued comics, sales etc. I found a copy of Magik #1 for $2.00 or something, but I slid her back in cause I already have it.

Anyway, enough of my thrilling adventures in shopping-land. Here's some pics to describe the fun part of my day, which was fondling my 131 pg baby, trying to ram said-baby into an envelope that was TOO small, giving up, digging up another envelope (way too big), but coping anyway.

I have a few padded envelopes kicking around from MaryAnn Harris, fabric artist and owner of Reclectica, a cool retro jewelery and antique clothing store. She is also the lovely wife of my favourite writer in the whole wide world: Charles de Lint! When I bought 88 vintage sci-fi paperbacks from her in June, the box they arrived in came with a bunch of padded envelopes to protect them (she hadn't know I was picking them up personally and they were all packaged to be mailed!) So, the upshot is, I have a few envelopes with Charles de Lint's name printed on them.

I thought it'd be good luck to use one of his padded envelopes for the transport of my novel to its eventual destination on the West Coast. So, I finally packaged the lil' sucker up, drew a sketch of the main character on the back and trotted off to the the drug store at the Hazeldean Mall to mail it off.
So, now I sit, and plot my next frantic exercise in creative zeal... I recently heard from my buddy Tracy at Abbey Hill Design and will be heading there in October for a week to work on some one-of-a-kind pieces for her. That'll be a blast!

What else? November is National Novel Writing Month, and I feel the stirrings to register for that and throw myself into another fit of passionate creativity. You get an entire month to write, not just 3 days ;-) There isn't a contest fee, and the word count is.. I think 50,000. Might be fun.. though I wouldn't call it a "riot" or "hysterical" (see Troy's Blog!)

Thanks again, everyone who has been behind me all the way, all the great, supportive emails really made the difference. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Diary of a mad woman...

Hey there all, I'll try and document as best as I can remember; I couldn't do it during the foray, because I had to bloody write, didn't I (say the last few words with a good, thick Brit accent :-) I took the odd pic of myself with my digi cam and a few pics of what I ate, the time, calendars and stuff.

The story itself is a Western, loosely based on a character I came up with for a potential erotica story (har har!) and later she actually got made into an RPG character for my friend Keith Savage's role-playing game that he invented (I won't name it here, because it's still in development!) Clayton and I are lucky beta-testers, and my character got to star in her own story with this game. (Well, Clay starred too, but my novel wasn't about his character.)

In fact, the words: loosely based are very accurate. I only used the idea of her origin in the story, and not the game itself. That would've been using KEITH'S story idea, and not my own. Big chunks of the novel wrote themselves, which is very nice. I love when that kind've thing happens.

I wrote 4 or 5 story "threads", that I attempted to pull together late Sunday afternoon. I pulled and pulled and most of them tied together, except for one connecting thread I just didn't have time to reattach. Of course I realized the futility of it around 11:58pm Monday night, and then it was too late :-P Well enough of my rambling.. here we go..

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Got writing around 9:00am, after a pb & wildflower honey on toast brekky, with muchos coffee. Music to start the mood: William T. Stromberg's Trinity & Beyond The Atomic Bomb Movie sndtrk. This is a great soundtrack. If you like Basil Poledoris' Conan sndtrk, you'll love this. Go hunt it down somewhere! The next pieces of music I threw in were a couple of CD's I found at Big Bud's before it closed: Dad's Favorite Western Movie Themes Vol I & II. This basically set the theme for the whole book. Between other CD's, I kept switching back to those two and it really helped.

Mood-wise I was pretty upbeat and positive. Whenever I got stuck or needed a break, I went upstairs and took my friend Myra's doggies outside to walk around in the back yard and get some fresh air. Her dogs are a lot of fun and it cheered me up to play with them and just got my brain away from the story for a few minutes.

It was distracting writing with someone in the room watching TV, but with headphones attached to my massive JVC 80's style ghetto-blaster, I re-immersed myself in thematic music, which in turn, immersed me in the feel of the book.

Drank coffee and later, rye & lemonade (thanks for the suggestion Matt!), ate a mango, stretched, called friends, got back at it. Had left-over pizza for dinner, which was good, cause it didn't take much time to make. I rolled up the carpet on Day 1 around 11:45pm, thoroughly exhausted from the crappy night's sleep I'd had the night before and plumbing creativity all day. Page count: 35 My original idea, when I'd heard that the average submitted pages for 3-Day novels were between 90-120 pgs was to try to shoot for 40pgs/ day. Gahh..

Becky, the toy poodle, curled up and slept as sound as a log against my back. The little Shitsu Brody, barked for hours. Finally had to resort to earplugs...

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007
Woke late and blurry. Made scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast with Clay and was civil! :-D Took doggies outside, drank coffee and realized my brain was starting to buzz with the story. The buzzing was actually snatches of dialogue, scenes, character bits & pieces. There was the odd FLASH of "Yeah, I can link up that thread there..." Which is good, because I was getting worried that none of my story threads would link up...

Continued to drink coffee, then later switched to my homemade Margarita mix w/ ginger ale (thanks to Myra!) Ate Pringles, cookies..mmmMmm sugar... and kept typing. I found writing the second day went much more smoothly. Called Carol & Troy a couple of times & updated my insane status on Facebook to let them know I was still alive.

Music was again a very important part of the process because I had to completely submerge myself away from the TV, Clayton, the dogs, everything. I listened to a variety, again starting with Trinity, but then moving to the V for Vendetta sndtrk., Army of Darkness Sndtrk., Workingman's Dead - Grateful Dead, Indigo Girls' Retrospective, The Hulk Sndtrk... then looping back to the Dad's Favorite Western Movie Themes Vol I & II. Occasionally themes from the "Good The Bad & The Ugly" would penetrate my chattering brain and I'd go YEAH Yeah!!!

The doggies went home around 6:00pm, and were delighted to see that their "Mommy" returned for them. I've never seen dogs levitate that was kinda cool! Had TVP tacos for dinner, which were good & didn't take that long to make. Hurray! Back at it... Knocked off around midnight with a healthier page count in the 80's, thank goodness. Felt burnt and confused, as well as a bit giddy. In fact, glancing at my work after talking with Carol, I saw (or thought I saw) completely different words on the page. I laughed hysterically and sent her this pic:

Monday, September 3rd, 2007
I woke with such an intense feeling of dread and exhaustion that I wanted to crawl back in bed and never emerge. Slid out like an otter and crept into the shower. Only water and scrubbing could save me now. My mind darted like zig-zag flashes you see out of the corners of your eyes when you're sleep-deprived. The story.. the story.. it was in my head, completely entrenched in my brain. It was continuing without me even being at the keyboard. Wait!! Wait! I groaned. The answer spun behind my eyes; the HOW of hooking up the impossible chunks of story that had tormented me the day before.

I can't even remember what I ate. I just slid down the basement stairs with my coffee, booted Clay off the computer, threw a CD in the player and got typing. I was elated, and mad with the need to get it down before it evaporated out of my head. I had to make it work.. had to..

The writing came easily Monday. It flew out of my fingertips... I'd take food/ bathroom/ stretch breaks... but the urge to return to the story would draw me back like a succubus' enticing siren song. When Mom turned up in the afternoon, it was a relief to have a break, and also difficult because I needed to get back to the story. She dropped off some beautiful chairs from my friends Lyn & Ralph, to go with my lovely antique oak table (an early birthday present! Hurray :-)

After she headed off, Clay & I finished the taco leftovers & then had angel food cake with ripe strawberries and cream. That was like heaven on your tongue.. Ooooh!! Precious, delightful strawberries!! Angel food cake! Squirty cream! CHHKKKAHHHhh!

I returned to the desk, which loomed in the darkness like my personal Sword of Damocles, or Sisyphus' cursed boulder & mountain. It was a curse and also the elated freedom of running barefoot down an empty beach with nothing but wind in your hair and the surf in your nostrils. I climbed back in and dialed up music.

Monday, I listened to: Run Lola Run, The Chieftains Film Cuts (they did music for a movie version of Treasure Island, which is my fav version of the film), Thrive (the same CD I listened to when I first invented "Ivy & Dummy"), John Debney's Cuttroat Island, disks 1 & 2, Madonna "Ray of Light", the old standbys from Days 1 & 2, Starship Troopers & Robocop sndtrks AWESOME!!! Trainspotting, Signs, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, and Steve Earle's "The Hard Way".

The words tumbled from my mind and fingers. I did too much editing and not enough pure writing, which killed me in the end. Looked up format online and proceeded to tweak the manuscript, adding my contact info at the top, a word count (36 800), and the title at last... TIERRA DEL MUERTO

I found that a couple of elements I wanted to use in my story, which is set in the 1870's thereabouts were... invented/ published in 1921! Drag! These included Yeats' wonderful poem "The Second Coming" (which I stuck in my book anyway in the introduction), and a couple of other things I can't remember.. The 'Net and Wiki were great for doing quick & dirty fact-checking, finding style pics on Google Images for things like hats, pistols and horses. I'm lucky, because Tuesday our connection went down totally... I'm really glad it didn't do that Monday morning.

By midnight, I'd finished 131 pgs and was in the throes of a turbulent emotional mixture of equal parts elation and disappointment. I couldn't believe I'd finished a book in 3 days, and I was a bit down because I still had one thread I'd not been able to tie-up within the novel. I'm sending it anyway, connected or not. It'd be a real shame not to! The reality is, there's nothing to stop me from continuing to work on the novel and to finish it the way I'd like to... The stipulation of the 3-Day contest is simply to keep an original that is in the same shape as the one you submitted. So that is cool.

At 12:15am, I grudgingly turned off the slightly overheated computer, took a few pics, and trudged to bed, where tired out as I was, I was still buzzing from the whole process. It took far too long to fall into sleep!


I would like to thank Keith Savage for turning me on to lots of great, inspirational music! Thanks dude, it would've been a different story if I'd been listening to just Chris de Burgh, the Pogues and Hoots & Hellmouth!

I would also like to thank my folks for being behind me 110%, my friends for yelling at me to write like KENYANS and for singing the Uncle F**ker song from South Park over the phone at me, and also to all the other 3-Dayers out there, beating their brains out writing like crazies they are. Knowing we weren't alone helped.

Ooh yeah, and thanks to the organizers. With a prize incentive, it makes forays like this even better! (Here follows the incentive!)
Grand Prize: Publication
2nd Prize: $500 cash
3rd Prize: A great literary prize pack
And lots of prizes and fun stuff for everyone who makes the shortlist.

And finally...
How can you recreate the amazing soundtrack to the TIERRA DEL MUERTO 3-day novel in the privacy of your own home?

Follow ze links:
"Trinity and Beyond - The Atomic Bomb Movie" William T. Stromberg
"Dances with Wolves" by John Barry
"Small Soldiers" by Jerry Goldsmith
"Dad's Favorite Western Movie Themes" Vol I & II
Featuring The City of Prague Philharmonic, The Philharmonia Orchestra, The Westminster Philharmonic. 2 CD set with 20 outstanding "High Quality" modern digital recordings of classic Movie Themes. Featuring...... The Magnificent Seven, True Grit, Hang 'Em High, The Outlaw Josey Wales, How the West Was Won, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Dances With Wolves, Unforgiven, Maverick, A Distant Trumpet Red Sun, A Fistful of Dollars, Silverado, Gettysburg, Stagecoach, Lonesome Dove, The Big Country, The Last of The Mohicans, The Proud Rebel, The Professionals.
Army of Darkness Sndtrk by Joseph LoDuca
Track 23 From Red Sonja, by Ennio Morricone
Track 24 From Conan the Destroyer by Basil Poledoris
Track 25 from The Sword and the Sorcerer by David Whitaker
V for Vendetta Dario Marianelli
Starship Troopers, Robocop Basil Poledoris
Steve Earle and the Dukes "The Hard Way"
Cutthroat Island Disk I & II John Debney
Madonna "Ray of Light"
Indigo Girls "Retrospective"
Deep Forest
The Grateful Dead "Workingman's Dead"
"The Hulk" Danny Elfman
Prem Joshua "Dakini Lounge Remixed"
Unbreakable & The Sixth Sense by James Newton Howard
Signs by James Newton Howard
Thrive (Very hard to find)
Run Lola Run sndtrk
The Chieftains "Film Cuts"

All written material & photographs (c) 2007 Suzanne A. Marsden

Wandering in the desert

I feel hollow inside, as Margaret Atwood described once in one of her books (can't recall... Edible Woman maybe?) Feel like my skull is a hollowed out melon, with nothing left but the rind... that's it; soft, crunchy with not much nutritional value.

Still, I live to write another day... The competition was amazing; intense, exciting, exhausting and very satisfying. I found that I ran out of time (I guess that's probably a common enough complaint.) Still, I was literally watching the minutes tick down on my computer clock, going Noooo, it's only 11:51pm, I still have 9 minutes left! Of course, if I'd known all that ahead of time, I probably wouldn't have participated in the following time-wasters:

*Looked after my friend's dogs (Mind you, the breaks outside with doggies, were lots of fun and helped refresh me to write again. Brody barking for 3 hrs. at night was a drag though.)
*Gone shopping Saturday (no matter how badly I needed goodies & booze. Why didn't I go Friday? Who knows..)
*Had a shower Sunday (big waste of time!)
*Cooked food that required more prep time than 15 minutes.
*Dressed (just writing naked would probably save tons of time.)
*Had fun with my Mom. Although, breaks are necessary, and having fun with your Mom is not a waste of time. Just wish I'd postponed it 'til.. I dunno.. today??
*Talked on the phone with all my friends.<- very good time waster.
That being said, talking briefly with Carol, and longer with Troy helped with my writer's resolve.. Sometimes you NEED to hear voices of reason (or insanity) to help goad you along to your goal. So, I wouldn't change that.

Things I'd change if I were to do it again?:

*Get more sleep the previous night. I was completely wound and anxious Friday night, so I got very little sleep before the actual event. The pre-competition tiredness slowed me down for sure.
*Try and eat more healthy food and less caffeine. After 3 days of Cola, Coffee, beer and Margarita slushies (thanks to my good buddy Myra!), my gut rot was horrible and I staggered around seeking antacid before bed, every single night.
*Try not to be too irritated with interruptions, stay relaxed (Sorry Clay!)
*Look AWAY from the screen occasionally.
*Try writing in a notebook in a variety of places--that might be a nice change, plus you're not tethered to the house, computer etc. I'm sure Clay would've enjoyed getting on the computer at some point on the weekend..
*Try doing a brief outline before plunging into the exercise; probably would've helped with pre-competition anxiety.

That all being said, I would love to do this challenge again next year, and highly recommend it as a great way to kick the ass out of writer's block. Like Scott McCloud's 24-hr comic, which I've mentioned about a billion times on this Blog, having that kind've deadline really gets your heart going. You'll either make it, or you'll explode. Since our survival instincts are pretty strong, you'll find that at the end of the 3 days, you'll probably have some kind've manuscript.

It was nice getting pre- and post- emails from the organizers of the 3-Day competition as well. I found it heartening.

Pre Email:
"...Dear future and returning 3-Day Novelists...If you need a
break from your novel, there's an entrant discussion forum...But don't spend too much time there during the contest! Get outside for a walk now and then, too."

Post Email:
"...Dear 3-dayers...We hope you're not too tormented in these final hours, or, if you are, that it's valuable torment..."

I also found reading their site (ACK another time waster!!) during the competition helped to cheer me up and made me feel a little less alone and insane. Especially the "Survival Tips" section.

As for the physical part of the writing; my eyes feel like small grapes rolled in talcum powder and left on a deck to dry. Seriously. My hands and feet have swollen (probably due to an overdose of salty products in the food department.) My hands in particular feel very stiff and non-responsive, even typing this is pretty uncomfortable. My shoulders, back and neck are sore, even though I had a couple of quick massages from the Clay dude. I'm thinking an hour's massage, or soaking in a place like Crystal Seas or something would be really nice.

Well, I guess those are my thoughts. As for the work itself, I'll post another Blog about the DETAILS for those interested. Basically, at the end of it all, I was left with 131 pgs, double spaced in 12pt font, that I'll be running off to Staples later on today to get them to print 2 copies. I'll be slapping copy #1 in an envelope and mailing it off to Vancouver tomorrow (deadline is this Friday!)

We find out news on the contest winners in January. GAH. Can we wait that long? Maybe I'll knock off a few more novels in the interim.. hahahahahahaAHAHAHAHaaha...ahh..ehh.. nah. :-)

Cheers, thanks for reading & being supportive!

PS--Here's my friend Myra's great doggies, that kept me company Saturday & Sunday. Can you guess which one will get invited back next time? ;-)