Still working, writing, editing


I received a confirmation from one agent thus far that they are reviewing my work, which to me is positive news. I’m still waiting on confirmations from the others, and so, patience is my friend.

 

This fall I begin a part-time faculty role at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, my alma mater! I will be a Program Mentor in the Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts program. So, I will be a part-time faculty member, in addition to holding a full-time career in marketing research, and being a writer. This my friends is how one keeps busy – time management.

 

There aren’t many updates other than that. There are quite a lot of works in progress I need to wrap up; a sequel to Santa Muerte, and a non-fiction book that really needs to be completed…by end of September. The non-fiction book is a true crime novel, which will incorporate a lot of research. So, I’ll keep you posted on that.

 

For now, I’ll keep writing, editing, and asking for your happy thoughts. Thanks for reading.

 

Cynthia



I love getting good news on a Monday!


 

First off, I just signed a contract to appear in Post Mortem Press’ anthology titled 44 Lies by 22 Authors. It’s going to be a wonderful collection of wonderful Post Mortem Press authors. For a tentative table of contents please visit author Christian A. Larsen’s page here who summed everything up nicely http://exlibrislarsen.com/2014/08/08/44-lies-by-22-authors-flash-fic-antho-due-this-fall/ .

 

The short story I wrote for this collection is titled “Funeral Print.” It deals with a new mother who is obsessing over an antique funeral print in her home, and before you ask, yes, it may have some non-fictional qualities.

 

I have not been writing many short stories lately, as I have been focusing on my larger book length projects. This was the first short story I have written in a long time, and I’m happy it will be published.

 

Also, I received another brilliant piece of news this morning that I cannot share, yet. Before you ask again, no, it does not deal with any agent representation. It deals with a project I worked on for a very long time that may have finally found its home. I look forward to sharing those details soon.

 

On the agent front, as those of you who have a literary agent, or who have queried agents in the past, may know it’s a process, a very long, gut wrenching I-want-to-drown-my-sadness-in-a-glass-of-merlot process. I’m keeping up the faith, because that’s all I can do. I’m still writing, editing, and yes, praying to hear back from an agent to request a full manuscript. Then, after they read a full manuscript, if I get that far, I will once again go through the I-want-to-drown-my-sadness-in-a-glass-of-merlot waiting to hear back from them.

 

That’s all I have for now.

 

Thanks for playing.

-Cina



Today, this is me at the office.


Good news, all of my partials are now off in the universe of Agent-Consideration land! Yay!

 

I stayed up late, reading and rereading and making sure that the first 50 pages/first 3 chapters of my manuscript were perfect. At one point, when I finished reading my first chapter for the 100th time I sat back and smiled. I really do like this manuscript and I love this story that I have written. I’m excited about it and I hope someone is as excited about it as I am.
 
I edited my pitch, the same one I delivered verbally in New York this past weekend, as well as my bio. Some agents wanted the sample of the text attached as a Word document and some wanted the text pasted in the body of the email. I spent a lot of time researching all of the agents I pitched to in order to make sure they are a good fit for this project. I see now how very important it is to seek the right agent. You want the right person behind your manuscript. You want someone to be a great writerly boss and a great champion for your word and your voice.

 
I’m now in the next stage – the waiting stage. I’m hoping that the agents read the work and show as much excitement about it as they did on Saturday. While I wait, I will keep picking at my manuscript, editing and finessing. I only hope to write you later this week, or next, with some great news – that a full manuscript was requested.

 
I really do hope this is it. I hope that this is the big hurdle that will lead me to get an agent. I’ve been writing for so long, professionally for nearly 10 years; first as a journalist and then fiction writer. I have so many stories I want to write and I hope they can be shared with the world. This is what I want to do. This is always what I’ve wanted to do. I’m in this obsessive stage now; all I can think about is writing. All I can think about are the lives of my characters.

 
I’m going to take a deep breath and I’m going to wait. Thanks to everyone who has been following along with me on this adventure and rooting for me. I have great friends, and know great people I have met along the way who want me to succeed. I want to make you all proud of me, but most importantly…I want to keep writing and telling stories.
 
:)
 
-Cina



There’s so much news to tell! (Sorry I’ve been quiet), but first…


The mission:

 

-Fly to New York Saturday morning and back to Chicago Saturday night (18 hour trip)

 
-Pitch to seven agents at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference

 
The challenge:

 
-Three total minutes to deliver pitch; 90 seconds for the delivery and 90 seconds for a response
 

The other challenge:
 

-Strategize – Work the room. There are other authors in the room pitching. Lines will happen.
 
This past Saturday I attended the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York!
 
On Saturday, I left the baby with grandma and I flew out of Chicago at 5 in the morning. Yes, I was tired. When we arrived in New York, I went straight to the Roosevelt Hotel where the conference was being held. My hubby, Ger, was there with me. He sat with me for 30 minutes telling me that I had worked this hard for so many years for this moment. It was almost time to pitch to agents. His words were beyond encouraging. He left to have lunch with a friend, and I sat there for the next three hours reviewing my pitch and the agents I had been researching.

 

There were seven agents I wanted to speak with. I will not list their names here. When it was a half hour before the pitch start I went to line up. I went to the waiting area and found the biggest line of my life! I kid. The line wasn’t that big, but it was a line nonetheless. The stressful part about standing in line was that everyone wanted to chat. I didn’t want to be rude. I flew here for one day to do this. This is my dream, my life, what I’m meant to do, and I just didn’t think this was the right time to chat, because I wanted to relish on the words of my pitch. The doors opened. The line filed in and I remember standing in the center of the room in a panic. I had no idea where to go or what to do – even though I had been researching this for what seemed forever. Then, I looked across the room, and there, agent #1 and she didn’t have anyone seated with her! BOOM.
 
Agent 1:  I sat down, awkwardly, held out my business card and started immediately into my pitch. She leaned in, listening, and smiled. Yes, I’ve got this. At the end, she told me it sounded great. She handed me her business card and told me to send her the first 3 chapters. I had a business card and a request, all under three minutes. WOW!
 
Agent 2: There was a line. One person ahead of me. The person left before the bell rang. I suppose the agent told them they weren’t a fit for their work. I sat down. The agent was pretty stone face, beautiful, but stone face. I went right into the pitch, after again awkwardly handing her my card. She smiled a few sentences into my pitch. YES. At the end of my pitch, she said she loved the idea, that it was incorporating historical facts with the present. I got a business card, a request for the first 3 chapters or 50 pages. This happened all under three minutes.
 
I got up, and searched for the next person on my list. This was a huge ball room with tables lined all along the walls. There were at least 50 agents from all of the large New York agencies represented.
 
I felt dizzy.
 
Oh, I realized – I haven’t eaten – since yesterday and I’m literally running on fumes of caffeine. I just couldn’t eat earlier because I was too nervous. I had my gold star agency in my view, but the line was the longest in the room. I needed to strategize. There was my other gold star agency. I needed to pick a line, and wait.
 
Agent 3: The longest line of my life! In front of me however was this darling girl who I was really rooting for. She left her business cards in her room, and she jumped out of line to go get them, and I saved her spot. Good human moment points for me. When it was my turn, I sat down. Have I mentioned how beautiful these agents are? Well, they are! This agent, I feel, gave me the hardest hit questions, and here’s why. I sat down, did my pitch, and right after my pitch she says ‘Let me ask you a few questions.’ The first two had immediately given me their cards, but this one was going to make me work for it. Here were some of her fantastic questions:
 
Agent:  Is this more literary or thriller?
 
Me:        Both, my MFA has formally trained me as a literary writer, but I enjoy popular fiction.
 
Agent:  How does the ending conclude? Does it end with our protagonist being redeemed?
 
Me:        Yes, but there are still sad elements. Somethings are always lost.
 
Agent:  Who has influenced you, particularly, for this work?
 
Me:        Jorge Luis Borges. I enjoy magical realism and incorporate those elements into my work.
 
Agent:  Here’s my card…

 

YES! Another card. There were more questions, but this agent had me there the full 3 minutes. She really seemed business oriented. She seemed like she would be a great boss who would push me to do more.
 
Agent 4: I approached agent four and was shocked there was no line. I sat down and delivered my pitch. The agent didn’t seem too excited. The agent asked if my book was heavy on the history, and I said it highlighted history without being too heavy. Then, the agent proceeded to tell me that they’re having a difficult time these days selling paranormal work. That surprised me, but I still got a card and a request. Again, this agent didn’t seem thrilled with the work, but I still got a card. I will still send the materials for their review.
 
Agent 5: I sat down, started delivering my pitch and then realized I made a cardinal mistake – Agent 5 was part of the SAME agency as agent 3. You are not supposed to pitch to 2 agents at the same agency. I figured at this point, I’m here – go with it. I’ll only pick one to formally pitch to if I get a card. I got a card. BAM!

 

Agent 6: MY DREAM AGENCY. Why? Because they represent my dream client! The line was long. It had been long all session. There were only 20 minutes left and there were still a few people ahead of me. This was likely going to be my last pitch. I needed to deliver. I needed to be great, but I was so nervous and doubting myself. Then, this woman standing in front of me turns around and out of the blue says “You know, you just have to have fun with it.” She was right. I believe God speaks to you through people when he needs to get something communicated to you, and these words helped me so much. I was next. I didn’t fumble with my card. I didn’t fumble with anything. I shook her hand, sat down, and went into my pitch. It was my strongest yet. When I concluded her mouth dropped. She was speechless. She brought out her card and gave me some strong instructions to follow to send my partial. I wanted to cry I was so happy. Her questions were fantastic, and her questions made it seem like this is it, Cynthia, you’ve got an agent, almost.

 

Agent 7: There were 3 minutes left. Agent 7 had 1 person in line. When that one person was done, I sat down and delivered. She liked the idea and requested more.

 

Overall, here are my stats:
 
Number of agents pitched

7

Number of requests

7

Type of requests
 
Partial (First 3 chapters or 100 pages)

 

I’m excited. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. I’m in the race, and I see it guys – I see my dream right there waiting for me. I’m going to work so hard to get this.
 
Dear agent, please represent me!!!

-Cina

 



Folklore, Legends, and Myth


Scary_Stories_to_Tell_in_the_Dark_cover

Now that the media stories behind the brutal stabbings in Wisconsin have somewhat quieted, I wanted to spend some time discussing legend, urban legend, folklore and myth since we have heard these words very often these past few weeks. http://time.com/2817725/slender-man-killing/

 

However, first and foremost, as a publisher of horror we want to say that we do not condone any real-world violence. Horror fiction is just that, it is fiction. Our goal with Burial Day Books has always been to highlight new and emerging horror authors, and ultimately to celebrate good writing. Our thoughts are with the victim and her family.

In the news stories, many of you read mention of myth, folklore, urban legends, and creepypasta. We wanted to go through and discuss some of those terms.

Myth
A myth is a story based on a tradition. Some do have factual origins, but some are completely fictional. These stories tend to explain experiences of man and nature. Their endings are not always optimistic. Gods, fantastic creatures and super humans are often featured in mythology. Popular myths include stories of the gods and goddesses of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece.

Folklore
Folklore, or folk tales consist of legends, stories, and tales that are written, spoken, or communicated through music that are tied to a specific culture or group of people. Artifacts can also be connected to folklore.

Legend
A legend is a popular story often thought to be based on historic events. The Brother’s Grimm defined legend as a story that has historical origins. Examples of legends include the story of the Fountain of Youth, the story of Atlantis, Robin Hood, and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Urban Legend
Urban legends are modern legends. Despite its name, an urban legend does not necessarily mean it originated in an urban setting. The name ‘Urban’ associates it with taking place in contemporary settings and for this many folklorists prefer the term “contemporary legend.” Examples of urban legends include Bloody Mary, The Hook, the Vanishing Hitchhiker, or even the story of cryptid Chupacabra.

Internet Urban Legends
A phenomena on the rise is that of urban legends circulating on the internet. Internet urban legends spread through posts on various blogs, chat rooms and other social media settings. Creepypasta is part of this grouping. The word creepypasta is a mutation of the words “copy paste.” “Copy pasta” is an internet term for a block of text that is copy and pasted from website to website. Creepypasta are horror stories that are posted on multiple sites. Creepypasta can include images, audio and video. Creepypasta, is a literary sub-genre of horror that originated on the internet.

Many of us are familiar with the stock of characters that appear in myth, folklore, legend, and urban legend. However, we are not all clear on the emerging cast popular in internet legends and creepypasta tales. In our next post, we will explore some of these individuals and their origin story.

 

-Gravedigger



Happy birthday to the fantastic, Mr. Vincent Price!


Vincent Price

When many of us think of Vincent Price our memories turn to the brilliant, and often, diabolical characters he played in film, on the stage and on television.

 

Below is a list compiled on Wikipedia of Price’s films. Which ones have you seen? Which ones are your favorites? If it’s been a while since you have seen one of his movies then it’s time to spend some time with him, alone, in the dark.

Year Film
1938 Service de Luxe
1939 The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
Tower of London
1940 The Invisible Man Returns
Green Hell
The House of the Seven Gables
Brigham Young
1941 Hudson’s Bay
1943 The Song of Bernadette
1944 The Eve of St. Mark
Wilson
Laura
The Keys of the Kingdom
1945 A Royal Scandal
Leave Her to Heaven
1946 Shock
Dragonwyck
1947 The Web
The Long Night
Moss Rose
1948 Up in Central Park
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Rogues’ Regiment
The Three Musketeers
1949 The Bribe
Bagdad
1950 The Baron of Arizona
Champagne for Caesar
Curtain Call at Cactus Creek
1951 Adventures of Captain Fabian
His Kind of Woman
Pictura: An Adventure in Art
Notes on the Port of St. Francis
1952 The Las Vegas Story
1953 House of Wax
1954 Dangerous Mission
Born in Freedom: The Story of Colonel Drake
Casanova’s Big Night
The Mad Magician
1955 Son of Sinbad
1956 Serenade
While the City Sleeps
The Vagabond King
The Ten Commandments
1957 The Story of Mankind
1958 The Fly
1959 House on Haunted Hill
The Big Circus
The Tingler
Return of the Fly
The Bat
1960 House of Usher
1961 Master of the World
Pit and the Pendulum
Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile
Rage of the Buccaneers


Happy birthday to the fantastic, Mr. Vincent Price!


Vincent Price

When many of us think of Vincent Price our memories turn to the brilliant, and often, diabolical characters he played in film, on the stage and on television.

 

Below is a list compiled on Wikipedia of Price’s films. Which ones have you seen? Which ones are your favorites? If it’s been a while since you have seen one of his movies then it’s time to spend some time with him, alone, in the dark.

Year Film
1938 Service de Luxe
1939 The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
Tower of London
1940 The Invisible Man Returns
Green Hell
The House of the Seven Gables
Brigham Young
1941 Hudson’s Bay
1943 The Song of Bernadette
1944 The Eve of St. Mark
Wilson
Laura
The Keys of the Kingdom
1945 A Royal Scandal
Leave Her to Heaven
1946 Shock
Dragonwyck
1947 The Web
The Long Night
Moss Rose
1948 Up in Central Park
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Rogues’ Regiment
The Three Musketeers
1949 The Bribe
Bagdad
1950 The Baron of Arizona
Champagne for Caesar
Curtain Call at Cactus Creek
1951 Adventures of Captain Fabian
His Kind of Woman
Pictura: An Adventure in Art
Notes on the Port of St. Francis
1952 The Las Vegas Story
1953 House of Wax
1954 Dangerous Mission
Born in Freedom: The Story of Colonel Drake
Casanova’s Big Night
The Mad Magician
1955 Son of Sinbad
1956 Serenade
While the City Sleeps
The Vagabond King
The Ten Commandments
1957 The Story of Mankind
1958 The Fly
1959 House on Haunted Hill
The Big Circus
The Tingler
Return of the Fly
The Bat
1960 House of Usher
1961 Master of the World
Pit and the Pendulum
Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile
Rage of the Buccaneers



Ghost Ships


Mary_Celeste_engraving

I’m scared of large bodies of water. What terribly scares me about large bodies of water is being near them, at night. There’s something quite frightening about being around a lake or beach in the late hours. The sounds of the lapping waves almost gives the hint of something approaching from somewhere beyond. You never know what’s going to sail in from the sea.

About two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. There are five major interconnected oceans; the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern, and Arctic. Beneath the ocean there’s a world still very much undiscovered by scientists. The ocean is a massive watery world, and many ships have fallen victim to those waves. I have read too many tales of ghostly ships moving along those great bodies of water, and resting beneath the surface awaiting the right time to reappear.

I prefer to stay on land in order to avoid ever having to encounter a ghost ship’s crew.  Following is a list of several ghost ships in folklore, legend, and myth.

 

The Flying Dutchman

Perhaps one of the most famous ghost ships, The Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship that is thought to never make port as it’s cursed. In 1795, writer George Barrington made the first reference of a ship lost off the Cape of Good Hope. Sailor reports surfaced of a ship aggressively approaching them in the sea, and many believed it to be The Flying Dutchman. In 1803, another reference to the infamous ship appeared stating that those on board had been guilty of some horrific crime, and were thus cursed to sail the seas forever.

Mary Celeste
On December 5th, 1872 the Mary Celeste was discovered in the Atlantic. A single life boat was missing as well as the crew of seven men. At the time of the discovery of the empty ship, the weather in the area was pleasant, there was enough food on board to last the crew months, and all personal belongings, valuables, and the cargo were intact and in place. The crew were never seen or heard from again.

Ourang Medan

There are no official records for this supposed ghost ship. Its story first appeared in a Dutch-Indonesian newspaper in 1948. Legend says that the Ourang Medan was a shipwreck and its entire crew were killed. American vessel Silver Star near the Strait of Malacca said they picked up a signal from the Ourang Medan. Morse code messages received included “S.O.S. Ourang Medan,” followed by “Probably whole of crew dead.” The Silver Star claimed to have located the Ourang Medan, but when they went on board they found the ship full of corpses. A fire is said to have broken out in the cargo hold. The rescuers fled and the ship continued to burn, eventually sinking.

Caleuche

People claim to see the Caleuche sail around Chiloe, a small island off the coast of Chile. People claiming to have seen the ship describe it as a massive bright white structure covered in brilliant light. People have also claimed to have seen the ship navigating under water. Chilean mythology believes that the ship carries the souls of the drowned. The crew are dead fishermen and sailors who were kidnapped and killed at sea.

 

We hope you all never have to encounter a ghostly ship. If you do, just decline any invitation to board.

 

-Gravedigger



Ghost Ships


Mary_Celeste_engraving

I’m scared of large bodies of water. What terribly scares me about large bodies of water is being near them, at night. There’s something quite frightening about being around a lake or beach in the late hours. The sounds of the lapping waves almost gives the hint of something approaching from somewhere beyond. You never know what’s going to sail in from the sea.

About two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. There are five major interconnected oceans; the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern, and Arctic. Beneath the ocean there’s a world still very much undiscovered by scientists. The ocean is a massive watery world, and many ships have fallen victim to those waves. I have read too many tales of ghostly ships moving along those great bodies of water, and resting beneath the surface awaiting the right time to reappear.

I prefer to stay on land in order to avoid ever having to encounter a ghost ship’s crew.  Following is a list of several ghost ships in folklore, legend, and myth.

 

The Flying Dutchman

Perhaps one of the most famous ghost ships, The Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship that is thought to never make port as it’s cursed. In 1795, writer George Barrington made the first reference of a ship lost off the Cape of Good Hope. Sailor reports surfaced of a ship aggressively approaching them in the sea, and many believed it to be The Flying Dutchman. In 1803, another reference to the infamous ship appeared stating that those on board had been guilty of some horrific crime, and were thus cursed to sail the seas forever.

Mary Celeste
On December 5th, 1872 the Mary Celeste was discovered in the Atlantic. A single life boat was missing as well as the crew of seven men. At the time of the discovery of the empty ship, the weather in the area was pleasant, there was enough food on board to last the crew months, and all personal belongings, valuables, and the cargo were intact and in place. The crew were never seen or heard from again.

Ourang Medan

There are no official records for this supposed ghost ship. Its story first appeared in a Dutch-Indonesian newspaper in 1948. Legend says that the Ourang Medan was a shipwreck and its entire crew were killed. American vessel Silver Star near the Strait of Malacca said they picked up a signal from the Ourang Medan. Morse code messages received included “S.O.S. Ourang Medan,” followed by “Probably whole of crew dead.” The Silver Star claimed to have located the Ourang Medan, but when they went on board they found the ship full of corpses. A fire is said to have broken out in the cargo hold. The rescuers fled and the ship continued to burn, eventually sinking.

Caleuche

People claim to see the Caleuche sail around Chiloe, a small island off the coast of Chile. People claiming to have seen the ship describe it as a massive bright white structure covered in brilliant light. People have also claimed to have seen the ship navigating under water. Chilean mythology believes that the ship carries the souls of the drowned. The crew are dead fishermen and sailors who were kidnapped and killed at sea.

 

We hope you all never have to encounter a ghostly ship. If you do, just decline any invitation to board.

 

-Gravedigger



Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!


Shakespeare

It is believed that on April 23rd, 2014 legendary playwright William Shakespeare turned 450 years old. Raise a glass of ale to dear ol’ Bard and give thanks to the father of Viola, Beatrice, Lady Macbeth, Othello, Prospero, Hamlet and hundreds more!

Shakespeare’s baptism record state he was born April 26, 1564. In those days, it was typical to have official birth records drafted on the date of the baptism, usually three days after the actual birth. Still, many experts disagree as to the actual date of Shakespeare’s birth.

Regardless as to his actual birth date, Shakespeare is the most famous English playwright in history. The complete works of Shakespeare are available for free here at Project Gutenberg. Please enjoy his works and the brilliance of this famous playwright and poet http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/100.

Shakespeare rests in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church in his hometown of Stratford Warwickshire. A supposed curse is written on his grave, supposedly written by him. It reads:

Good friend for Jesus sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

It’s believed this curse was written to strike fear into the hearts of grave robbers, who were common at that time, and also anyone seeking to move Shakespeare’s remains.

 

-Gravedigger