Tuesday 29 March 2011

Musical Inspiration . . .

Have you ever listened to a song and then out of the blue a whole new story emerges? Just from that one song? It's happened to me (reminder of that post).

For many people, music plays a huge part in their inspiration, be it whole new ideas, or just to envoke certain emotions. I'm one of these people. I have so many CD's that I'm now struggling to house them all. My collection includes a bit of everything, from Heavymetal to classical scores, and from heavy trance and the likes to those ambient, chillout tunes. My first concert I ever went to was to see Jean Michel Jarre, and I still say, from all the concerts I've ever been to, that was one of the best. Visually stunning.

Going through some of my older CD's that get lost amongst the vast expance of my musical heaven, I came across a band called 'Airbourne Toxic Event'. They're quite a folky type band. Anyway, their first song I ever heard (the one that prompted my to get their album) was called 'Sometime Around Midnight', and the lyrics blew me away. I don't know what it will for you, but for me it certainly envoked some emotions, and so I thought it worthy of a mention.

So what about you? What song/band has inspired you the most when it comes to your writing?

Friday 25 March 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Infected Mushroom Album Cover

This week's Pic of the Week is from an album cover. The band is called 'Infected Mushrooms'. They are from Israel but are pretty big in LA apparently. I like music, but I have to say their work doesn't really inspire me. Their album covers, however, are a different matter.

I remember when I first saw this piece. A friend of mine saw it in a magazine and fell in love with it. He then decided he wanted it converted into a tattoo for his shoulder and arm . . . and guess who he came to to convert it? Yep. Me. The piece I drew for him was stunning, but as of yet it hasn't been tattooed.

Still, here's the original.

Have a grand weekend!

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Awards and Acceptance Speeches . . .

I discovered this morning that I've been awarded the Stylish Blogger Award by Amanda Borenstadt at A Fortnight of Mustard.

What can I say? I'm dead chuffed!!! And as I wipe a tear of happiness from one's eye and stand proudly on the stage holding my award close to my heart, I can't help but think how lucky I am. I feel (*sniff) so honoured to be here accepting this. I never dreamed this would happen, and I'm sooo happy (*Wipes at another tear). But I couldn't have done it without my wonderful followers, who's very presence has been a constant reminder that I need to keep my (*snivel) my blog looking stylish so as to appeal. So I thank you. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Thank you! THANK YOU . . . (*Squealing as one gets dragged off the stage).

Anyway, back to reality. Because this is the first 'award', I feel it's only right that I carry on the tradition that Amanda brought to my attention. I need to list 7 things about myself, and then award 7 other lucky bloggers.

7 Boring Facts About Myself:

1: Writing and drawing are my life, and have been since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I also squeeze reading and movies in there from time to time too.

2: DRC are my maiden initials - Dawn Rose Cartwright - and I think it's great when I hand over my credit card, they see DR Cartwright and think I'm a Doctor.

3: I'm a big believer in the paranormal - but I'm also a sceptic. If I can't think of a rational explanation for something I put it down to those pesky ghosts, ghouls and goblins.

4: I love cats. I go all gooey over them - including my own persian fluff-ball.

5: I'm a major daydreamer. This is probably where I get most of my ideas.

6: I'm a blonde through and through (although starting to speckle with grey). I'm the sort of person who puts blindfolds on and then turns to a mirror to see what they look like wearing it (yes, I did this).

7: I love writing horror and reading horror, but I seldom watch horror films.

Now, those 7 lucky winners are:

1: Darke Conteur
2: Volataire
3: Ted Cross
4: From Sand to Glass
5: Boudica Marginalia

So there you. Here's your award. Hold it high with pride . . .

Friday 18 March 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Assassin's Creed

Something a little different today. I thought I'd go with the topic of Assassins this week, to help inspiration for a new short story of mine. This brought Assassin's Creed to my attention. Wow!

Assassin's Creed is a game and normally I'm not a gaming person, but if I was, Assassin's Creed would be the thing I'd go for. I don't know much about it, but from what I've seen in adverts, it looks pretty awesome.

This got me thinking. I imagine that creating a computer game is much like creating a novel - without all the techno jargon that goes with it. You have to build your world and make it real; you have to create characters; you have to give it a story, a reason, and you have to put obstacles in their way to make things interesting.

Visually, the main character - the assassin - is stunning. Unfortunately I don't know a lot about the game to comment on anything else, but what a character he'd make in a work of fiction. And I have to say, I'd rather read about him as opposed to the Super Mario Brothers.

(However the choice between the assassin and his Lego version is a different matter...lol).

Anyway, Pic of the Week - Art from Assassin's Creed.

Have a good weekend.

Monday 14 March 2011

Creating Real Characters . . .

My thoughts on this topic:

I read a blog not so long ago about whether or not your protagonist should appear pleasing to the eye - ie, should they be the tall, dark handsome stranger that us women often fantasise about - or should they be rugged with flaws?

Well, there's no right or wrong answer. I believe it's down to the author. If you want your character to be the next Casanova, to be dashing and handsome and be able to sweep women off their feet with just a whisper, then so be it. But if you need your protagonist to be disfigured in someway that makes them feel ugly, then you should. It all boils down to the story you're creating and who needs to be involved.

In my opinion, a protagonist who's either disfigured or drop-dead gorgeous doesn't alter a good read.

But for characters to feel real, they do need flaws. A lot of writers with good-looking protagonists compensate by giving them 'psychological problems'. Maybe they're smug, knowing that they're good-looking, and they constantly look down their noses at others.

Or those who are disfigured, how would you have them be? Underneath their scars, could they be the nicest person in the world? Is that nice person trapped under all the resentment that they harbour over their looks, the main reason why people cross the street when they see them? Either way, these little things help give a character depth, making them feel real.

A couple of examples:

Phantom of the Opera: He hid his scarred face under a mask and lived under the opera house where no one could see him, then fell in love with Christine after hearing her sing. But Christine was able to see past the scars and his bitterness and fall for him, too (I'm guessing at the storyline here).

Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame: Seriously disfigured and kept in the tower away from civilisation - until he falls for a gypsy woman.

THEN - something I watched the other night - V for Vendetta: Horribly disfigured and hides beneath the mask of Guy Fawkes. He's a monstrous terrorist who's killing everyone involved in what happened to him - but beneath he's a kind man who is reminded that he is capable of loving - and of being loved (rather touching).

But then, what about those in between? Those who aren't stereotypical, Hollywood hunks, but those who aren't disfigured. One man has caught my attention. Professor Brian Cox. He presents the TV Documentary, Wonders of the Universe, which explains about the big bang theory and supa-novas. He freaks me out. When he's quiet, he looks fine, but when he talks he has a constant, wide grin on his face, with those round, chubby, gleaming cheeks - and the way his whole mouth moves when he talks. It's probably just me, but there's something about him that makes me question his looks . . . do I like him or don't I? . . . or are these questions that I see one of my characters asking? Forget Hollywood Hunks (if that's possible). These are the real people that would inhabit worlds of fiction.

What do you think about this guy? I know I'm being vain - and I apologise if it sounds like I'm judging him on his looks alone.

Normal . . . I'm thinking, yeah, he looks ok . . .

Then there's the grin - and yes it is that wide when he speaks, too . . . lol

Friday 11 March 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Benita Winckler . . .

This week's Pic of the Week is another from Benita Winckler.

She is superb at capturing that subtle beauty in her work, and I have to admit, she is one of the most colourful artists I've come across . . .

Oh, and if you like her work, be sure to keep up to date with her website. It says it's being updated soon, and it will be interesting to see any new pieces.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Tuesday 8 March 2011

The Dark Tower - Film Adaptation . . .

Something has been brought to my attention today (which is a good thing because I didn't know what to blog about). This is something that I should have known, seeing as I'm a huge fan, and I hang my head in shame with the fact that I didn't.

The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King, is being made into a film (for 2013).

For those of you who haven't read The Dark Tower series, shame on you. I give you permission to flick away from this blog right now, go find the first book, and read that instead (as long as you come back and finish this post, that is...). There's seven books in total, starting with the Gunslinger (1982), The Drawing of the Three (1987), The Waste Lands (1991), Wizard and Glass (1997), Wolves of the Calla (2003), Song of Susannah (2004), and the finale, The Dark Tower (2004). They follow Roland Deschain and his companions across worlds that mix Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror and Western, in search for the fabled Dark Tower, the source of all existance.

It truly is a King masterpiece, and I'm sure those who have read it will agree.

However, there's much debate about this movie adaptation (or three movies and a TV series to be precise). Will it do the books justice, or will it be like other adaptations and be a disappointment? I'm open minded - and easily pleased when it comes to the big screen.

One of the other big debates was who is going to play the role of Roland Deschain. The choices were Daniel Craig, Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen and Josh Holloway . . . but it looks like they've decided upon Javier Bardem. I like him. He's rugged enough to play the part.

And for those who have been blogging about art work commisioning for their WIP's just recently, you should check out some of the pieces for this series. There are some fantastic pictures.

Oh, and did I mention that it's being directed by Ron Howard? Happy Days . . . lol . . .

I will continue to fish for news regarding this topic.

Friday 4 March 2011

Pic of the Week . . . An Anonymous Artist . . .

I fell in love with todays Pic of the Week, and I know nothing about the artist. Its a piece I accidently stumbled across. All I know about it is that it's oil on canvas and being sold on some random site similar to Ebay for $60+.

One of my favourite artists of all time is Leonardo Da Vinci - a little odd considering all the fantasy art I publish on my blog. I absolutely adore some of his unfinished pieces, the ones that look like mere sketches on canvas, and this very piece reminds me of that.

This looks like one of those unfinished masterprices, but that gives it magic . . .

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Short Piece . . . Anchored . . .

Friday's Pic of the Week inspired me so much I thought I'd write a little piece to go with it. Enjoy!


And so this was how it was to end. There was to be no fairytale romance for me; no riding off into the sunset with the man I loved. Instead here I was, bound and waiting for death. His blood churned with the water that surrounded me, like smoke in open air – only this was red. It danced in the currents, taunting me and reminding me of its intentions. It was calling on the waves; calling to any willing to listen; any that was willing to bring about my death. I prayed that none would come, but I knew it was inevitable. The smell of blood on the open currents carried for miles. Something would be coming soon to answer those calls.

I closed my eyes against the swaying sight in front of me. I didn’t want to look upon the horrific scene anymore. It wrenched at my broken heart. I felt the gentle shift of the sand against my tail, a contrast compared to the rough feel of the iron anchor against my back. Every little movement caused it to grate against my skin, and I should have been reeling in pain but my sorrow numbed me to it. Instead I had no choice but to accepted it – and wait.

I recalled the events that brought me to this situation, this final hour. They had started off so promising, and I was hopeful that there was going to be a happy ending. I didn’t know how it was going work, but I knew we’d be together. Then things went wrong. We were caught and we were punished – by both our people.

Man and mermaids were forbidden to meet.

At least that was the law under the waves – a law that I chose to disobey. But it wasn’t my intention. I couldn’t just stay back and watch as nature claimed the life of this man. He had been thrown overboard from the galleon ship that he crewed during a storm. He would have died had I not taken hold of him and carried him back to shore. As I lay on the sand watching over him, I had no idea what was happening to his ship. I didn’t know that the storm was to claim it, that the seas were going to drag it down and state it as its own. How could I?

I was too preoccupied with staring at the man I had just rescued, mesmerised by his beauty and innocence. And when he opened his eyes and stared upon me, we were both hooked.

I knew it was wrong, but my heart couldn’t deny what I felt. My love for him continued to grow, and he felt exactly the same. We’d meet in a nearby cove where no one ventured, and we’d share our love – but one day we were caught, and our relationship wasn’t just frowned upon, it was revolted against. His people were sickened and claimed that it had been me who had taken down their ship. I had been the cause of all those deaths, despite the fact that I saved one and was nowhere near the ship when it went down.

They sentenced my love to death.

Horrified, I sought help from my own, hoping that they could help, that they could somehow rescue him, but they shunned me. Our law of never meeting with man was because of this exact scenario. Men believed mermaids to be a bad omen, and because of their beliefs, they were cruel and cold hearted. They believed me that I had nothing to do with the taking down of their ship, but my being there at that time was bad luck.

They wouldn’t help, and they turned me away.

In the end I had no choice but to go back and try to plead with the men, but they chose to use me as an example instead. They wanted to send a message beneath the waves that they were not people to toy with. If we took lives, then so would they. Where their beliefs came from, I didn’t know, and I certainly didn’t understand. We had never hurt anyone, but still I found myself captive and brought back out to sea. I was forced against their anchor and bound, the crew jeering and taunting. My love could only cry as he watched, his eyes telling me how sorry he was.

And then the anchor was dropped overboard.

What they hoped to achieve with this, I didn’t know. Didn’t they understand that I couldn’t drown? That I lived in these salty waters? But as I registered the splash above me, I knew what they meant to do.

Looking up I saw as my love, bound and tied to iron weights, sunk to the seabed before me. He withered against his ties, the oxygen in his lungs running out, and I screamed and fought against my own ties, wanting to help him, wanting to prevent him from downing.

But I couldn’t help.

I watched with shame as he stopped moving and stared at me one last time, and then as he died before my eyes. I had wept then, cried and wailed. I fought some more against the rope that bound me to the anchor, but I couldn’t move.

My heart was broken.

And then I noticed the blood.

I understood then how they were intending to kill me. They had slit my loves arms, wanting his blood to be taken by the surrounding currents. They wanted to call the beasts that lurked in the deep, wanted them to smell the blood and come with hunger in their minds. They wanted to have our flesh ripped from our very bones. And me being tied to the anchor, I couldn’t hide. But then why would I? I had lost the one person I loved, been shunned from my very people because of it, and I couldn’t live with the grief and guilt that it had been I who had done this to him, I who had caused his death.

No, I decided. Let the men win. Let the beasts come.