Thursday, December 27, 2007

Devoted to Films--See "Once"

I love movies, especially unique and magnificient ones. I saw one today that is called "Once." It's an Irish film and the splendor of it touches you in subtle ways and by the end you're breathless. It's a story. It's music. And it's art--masterpiece kind of art. Once you see it, you'll remember "Once" forever. I know I will.

--Susan Hanniford Crowley, author

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Challenges of Writing and the Unexpected Story

I've been torn recently between my urban fantasy novel which is almost completely edited and my sf novel. I've written mostly fantasy, but it's always been my dream to write a sf novel I could be proud of and what do you know--it came along. I started writing it longhand in a journal in October. Usually I write sf in the morning and edit urban fantasy at night. But sometimes I can't help myself. I thought I would never write horror. I don't care for horror that's just gore. I like horror that creative, inventive, amazing, and unexpected. I didn't expect to write two horror stories that I recently sent out to magazines. We'll see what happens.
When I think about growing up, I have to admit that I thought Charles Addams are completely funny. I adore Tim Burton's movies. I remember when I was in college and read the real stories by the Brothers Grimm. They were frightening and you could easily understand at the time how it would terrify children how not to do something or go somewhere. They weren't just gore but really great stories that you remembered for a long time. Poe, however, was my favorite. I still remember "The Tell Tale Heart" almost by heart. They were revealing stories that not only uncovered fear but sometimes uncovered the deepest part of our consciousness. I loved Sherlock Holmes too. I don't think it was ever any one story but the depth of the character. As the reader, I was willing to follow him anywhere.

Oh, to write such wondrous tales like golden spun dreams on the edge of a twilight reality.

That's all for now as the year begins winding down.

--Susan Hanniford Crowley, Fantasy Author, but now Science Fiction and Horror Author as well

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Great Scenery to Write By

When looking for a place to mellow out and write, I have found some amazing ones. These two are very close by. You probably have a place nearby that you've never really noticed before.

This little public beach on the Connecticut shoreline is generally overlooked and nicely quiet. Perfect for plunking down an unbrella and chair and cooler and start writing. I'd rather not name it as I'm sure you'll find one near you..

This is a view of the Mystic River from downtown Mystic, Connecticut, and a lovely place to go shopping and/or eat when you're taking a break from writing. And it's so inspirational.

The day we went to Mystic there was a storm off coast and it made for some very dramatic skies. My photo doesn't really do it justice.

This is my little cat Isis. She has the right idea. After a hard day writing and windowshopping, a nap is the perfect inspiration.
"Ta ta for now," I whispered. "I'm working on another book."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Finishing a Novel - Archiving and Celebrating

Today I finished cutting 60,000 words out of my 160,000 word novel and it was still wonderful, still made sense. If anything, it made the novel faster moving, sharper in detail, and more riveting. Now I finish my letter to the agent and it's off. Wow! I'll celebrate really when the letter is finished and the whole thing is sent off. It's like launching a new ship. You put all this love and attention and sweat into it, and now it's going out into the world seeing exotic places and meeting people.

I love it when my work meets people. Sometimes I get to meet them too. If ever you see me at a con, please, by all means just say, "Hi!" I had one gentleman that followed me around and around. I finally turned and said, "Hi," and he asked me to sign his book. No problem at all. I'm very easy to talk to at a con. Like I said--I love meeting people.

Now in addition to the letter, I have to archive and make more cd copies of all the version of my book. I keep copies on paper, cds, flash drive back up, and friends. I have a few trusted friends that keep versions of my book for me. It's important to keep all these copies. Yes, I know it's a bother. But at least you'll have them if you ever have to prove you wrote the book.

This is also going to help me with the next book, because I have one cd archive where I have each chapter as a separate file. You see some of the chapters didn't make it into this book, but they will make it into the next one in the series. The mind is a funny thing. Writers don't always get the book in chronological order, so a chapter archive is very handy indeed.

Ta ta for now. I'm off to archive some more and celebrate!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Comments and Writing Exercises and more

I've discovered an unusual phonomenon. People will talk to me about my blog but don't usually comment. I'll get calls. Sometimes I'll be at a conference and someone will walk up to me and start a conversation about it. Well, anyway.

I have over 50 creative writing exercises posted on my official website currently. It's at if anyone wants to try their hand. I've received comments on how helpful they are. I hope they can help you out too.

Lately, I'm in the final edit of my book, after a close friend did an amazing intricate edit of it. Now I'm editing and rewriting on bits and pieces. Next it will be out the door soon. For a while, while I was waiting for him to return it, I worked on another book. I also spent some pleasureable time watching movies. I was so blown away by "The Lives of Others" and "The Illusionist." I highly recommend them as 5 star quality film with brilliant plots.

I also have been trying my hand more in photography. Now if I can only get them downloaded to my computer. I plan on sharing them soon.

Ta Ta for now.

Monday, July 16, 2007

An Enchanted Place

For over 27 years, I've been privileged to live in an enchanted place. It's inspired my writing. My children have grown up here. My marriage has been happy here. I live in the woods of Connecticut in a very modest house. The house is surrounded by a dark green leafy forest in the back and sides and a planted overgrown tree garden in the front that transforms it into a very private place where golden light shines on cherry trees and tufts of grass on the hill sparkle with dew in the morning. This is the same hill that when snow covered provided the perfect sledding path for my children. I remember the time when they were on top of the hill close to the tree that separates us from the street with their sled and our dog Sabrina (half-Rottweiler and half-Doberman). I looked out the window and saw Sabrina sliding down the hill and into the bushes on her own. My girls were laughing. Sabrina actually loved sledding.

We have a giant pear tree (14 ft. high) on the other side of the shed. Last year it rested deciding it had provided enough pears for the family, friends, squirrels, and bees. When we bought it, the nursery had labeled it a dwarf tree so we were surprised when it kept growing. When that tree was still young in the yard, a hurricane ripped it out of the ground. My husband reseated it. I had read about talking to plants so I spent time talking to it. It seems to have enjoyed our conversations. Half the pine trees in the yard started out as Christmas trees that we planted. Each started with the family in a warm cozy home and then was given their own special spot in the yard. I prefer planting plants that show independence. The French pussy willows, the rhododendrons, holly, day lilies, etc. all came from me. The other pines, oaks, birches, cedars, and wild black raspberries and wild grapes all came from the Master Gardener. Together we built an enchanted world where dreams came true, fantasies happened, children played games, adults dreamed, and there was one heck of a Pooh party.

For the uninformed, a Pooh party is a tea party where each participant brings one stuffed friend. While the refreshments were delightful and the games fun, the company was excellent and that's what makes for a magnificent Pooh party.

Well, you're going to think I'm crazy but in about two years' time we're leaving. My husband loves the seashore where he grew up. I love the sea too. Health-wise it's probably better for me. Besides new stories are calling me from far away. I don't know where we'll end up, but I know the journey will be grand. So in moving from one enchanted place in search of another, I have learned it isn't the place, it's the company you keep that makes the magic.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nebula Awards® Weekend

Yes, I admit it. I took the Star Wars personality test and I'm a Yoda. Actually being that way has helped me a lot in putting on the multi-author book signing at the Nebula Awards ®Weekend. This conference is all about the business of science fiction and fantasy writing. If someone was interested in what being a sff writer is all about, this is the conference to come to. In addition to the book signing, I'm doing a reading at the Nebula Awards® Weekend, Marriot Financial Center hotel in New York City on Saturday, May 12th at 4 pm.

Here's the book signing details.

2007 Nebula Awards® Weekend
Multi-Author Book Signing
Friday Evening, May 11, 2007
5:00-8:00 p.m.
Borders Book Store 100 Broadway (at Wall St.) New York, NY 10007

Authors & Times
5:00-6:00 p.m.
Peter S. Beagle
Keith R.A. DeCandido
Marianne Dyson
Carol Emshwiller
Esther Friesner
James Gunn
Joe Haldeman
Elaine Isaak
John Moore

6:00-7:00 p.m.
Christopher Barzak
Richard Bowes
Ellen Datlow
Scott Edelman
Jeffrey Ford
Theodora Goss
Ellen Kushner
Jack McDevitt
Nancy Jane Moore
Delia Sherman
Jennifer Stevenson
Paul Witcover

7:00-8:00 p.m.
Marleen S. Barr
Kate Brallier
Tobias S. Buckell
David Keck
James Patrick Kelly
John Kessel
Nancy Kress
Wil McCarthy
Suzy McKee Charnas
Ron D. Moore
Jo Walton
Connie Willis

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Passion for the Movies--The Holiday

I've always loved movies and for a time wrote movie reviews for two local newspapers. Of late, there are pitifully few movies I would recommend except: I have to recommend highly "The Holiday" with Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, and Jude Law. It is romantic fun at its best. Working with the delightful premise of two women with broken hearts changing locales, it just keeps getting better. Recently I saw it again to comfirm that I was in love with the film, and I was. This is one for stormy nights drinking cocoa by a fire and wanting to forget a sad, weary world. And for the guys that say that this is a "chick flick", I have to say even my husband liked it. It's all around fun, inventive, and leaves you feeling all warm and happy.

Five Stars for "The Holiday"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Passion to Write

I have put over 80 creative writing exercises up on my website. Just when I think I can't come up with something new, I do. That makes me very inspired.

Recently I've been editing my novel that I finished before Christmas. I was reading it and it was like someone else's book. I laughed. I cried. And when I was through I was inspired to write. Well, if I feel that way about my own book, I'm sure someone else will too.

Someone once asked me why I write? I told them because I breathe.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I can smell the ocean.

Today is January 5th and the temperature is 50 Degrees F. It's a little overcast and drizzling ever so slightly. The air is wonderful. I can smell the ocean.

Just so you have a frame of reference, I live in the woods down the street from a lake, 20 minutes away by car from a major river, and 45 minutes from the ocean. Today I definitely smell the ocean and it's filled with stories. I've loved that smell all my life. You inhale it and it's like an adventure coursing through your body. It frees the captive heart. When I smell the ocean, I don't think about errands or work, I think only of the endless possiblities in life, washed up on my shore.

Last night I stayed up to 3 am completely entranced with a short story I'm writing. It was such fun, I wasn't sleepy in the least.