The other night while I slept, fosteronfilm watched a couple vintage horror movies: Diary of a Madman and Eye of the Devil--and I could swear Vincent Price was in both of them, although IMDB assures me it was David Niven in the latter. Snippets of dialogue filtered into my half-dreaming consciousness, and my submerged mind fused both films together. My sleep-self became convinced that Matthew was watching some sort '60s re-imagining of "Swan Lake" that incorporated Guy de Maupassant's invisible Horla monster. Being a fan of retold fairy tales, and the ballet was one of my favorites as a little girl, I tacked up a mental "make sure we ask Matthew about this movie later" post-it note because I might actually want to see this genius creation of Hollywood.
Of course, after I woke up, I proceeded to baffle my husband by demanding a synopsis ("Swan Lake? Wha?"), and then we went to work unraveling the knotted snarl of Eugie's brain space.
It seems that Diary of a Madman is indeed a retelling of "Le Horla," and there's a character in it named Odette. (Odette is the heroine's name in Swan Lake.) Eye of the Devil, apparently a film with a similar theme as the better-done The Wicker Man, has a character in it named Odile--the anti-heroine's name in Swan Lake. Amusing fluke, but there were no swans and no lakes. Alas.
Now my mind is percolating with ideas for doing a retelling of Swan Lake. Vincent Price and David Niven have reached out beyond the grave and galvanized my idiot muse, who apparently has a predilection for '60s-era schlock horror flicks.
"When you close your eyes and go to sleep
And it's down to the sound of a heartbeat
I can hear the things that you're dreaming about
When you open up your heart and the truth comes out"
--The Romantics, "Talking in Your Sleep"
- Feedback from the client on my freelance work. They thought my research was "excellent and exactly what they are looking for." Happy back-petting to commence.
- The next installment of the collaboration story I'm working on with mtrimm1. Ball's in my court. Now where did I put my hockey stick?
- Word from the editor of Modern Magic that the anthology is now available. Yay! But also that I'd have to wait until the 10th to get my contrib. copy. They've only got the initial print-on-demand ones currently on hand--for filling orders through Ingram--while they wait for the traditional offset printed ones to get to them. I could've opted for one of the POD ones, but I'd rather wait to get one from the print run--whining, instant-gratification monster notwithstanding.
- 8-day reprint "sale" of my horror story*, "The Reign of the Wintergod" to the Maniac Press anthology Blood, Guts, & Psychopaths.
Note the quotes around "sale." This is a royalty-paying, trade paperback, POD anthology. To date, my payout from sales to those sorts of publications has amounted to a big, fat zero.
The business model of such projects tends not to be conducive to writers getting money. The editors/publishers can typically "buy" as many stories as they want (although this one has a stated target of 20 in the GLs) without any risk, since they don't have to pay the writers upfront. They also usually stipulate in the contract that you don't get paid until your royalties hit a certain threshold . . . which becomes more and more unlikely the more authors there are since the amount is split between them. And being POD, there's no incentive for the editors/publishers to promote their titles. And finally, (although this is more to do with small, start-up editors/publishers who then disappear or lose interest, and not the business model itself), royalty statements tend to stop coming (if they ever manifest) as time passes.**
Normally I don't submit to these on principle, and I will never again surrender first publication rights to them, being a devout follower of Yog's Law. But this story is one of the darkest and squickiest I've ever written. It was originally published in The Asylum 3: Tales from the Quiet Ward, another POD, royalty-"paying" anthology (from when I was less worldly and less cynical about the nature of POD anthologies, and actually labored under the starry-eyed belief I'd get some money from that "sale"), which has since been dropped by its publisher (Prime Books) and is therefore out of print. I've had little success at finding a paying reprint market for it; it is a pretty hardcore little piece. But I still think the story is a good one; it was a top-ten finisher in the 2003 Preditors & Editors Readers' Poll in the Best Horror Short Story category. So when I saw this open call for submissions, I figured, hey, if these guys accept it, at least it'll be back in print, I'll get another pretty trade paperback out of the deal, and, if that most unlikeliest of unlikelies happens and I actually see money, it's cake.
*I've noticed my horror output has flatlined since I stopped having a day job to go to. Huh. Funny coincidence that.
**Which reminds me that I haven't received a royalty statement from Scrybe Press in over a year, although I'm supposed to get them semi-annually. Well, at least those chapbooks did earn me something initially. Sigh.
Hammer Horror and American International films totally rule. Some of my happiest childhood memories center around watching those flicks on Friday nights. They came on at 11:30, a time when I was supposed to be fast asleep. My parents would put me to bed at 9:30 or 10:00, but I'd keep myself awake by pinching myself. If they went to bed by 11:00, I was safe. I'd sneak out of bed, tiptoe into the TV room, and turn the set on. I'd have to sit right up close to the screen, because I'd turned the sound down as far as it could go to be just barely audible -- my parents' bedroom was right next door. Of course, I couldn't turn the lamp on, because they might notice the light seeping under their door.
My favorite actor from those films was Peter Cushing. I hated Dracula. I felt sorry for all the other monsters -- Larry Talbot, irradiated spiders, the Mummy, King Kong -- but Dracula got what was coming to him, as far as I was concerned.
I had almost forgotten about Eye of the Devil. It's one of those flicks we Pagans like to watch and snicker at, like Wicker Man. Silly muggles! Don't you know the old gods must have their due? ;)
I once met The Romantics, back in their heyday (such as it was) about 20 years ago, in a music store. I was playing with the keyboards with the lead singer, whose name turned out to be Wally. They all had really big hair. ;D
I love this entry, and these comments. Wow. When you write that retelling of Swan Lake, I'm so (buying whatever you sell it to and) reading it. I think maybe your muse got a little obsessed. seems to me there's all kinds of love/death/sleeping metaphores going on there. awesome.
And I'm going to chime in on the thanks for explaining the royalty-'paying' POD publications. Gives a nice solid answer to the little kitten going "but...but...it'd be a book!" Instincts say there's no such thing as a free lunch, and logic says the reverse can't be any too good either.
ome sort '60s re-imagining of "Swan Lake" that incorporated Guy de Maupassant's invisible Horla monster
You know...you could always write that screenplay;). Or, write a detailed outline, send it to me, and I'll write the screen play:).
Hee! You have a cool brain, Eugie. I want to read that story when you write it. (You're not going to deny The Muse, are you?!)
And that's totally cool about the feedback! Of course, I could have told you that whatever-it-was you were writing was brilliant. But I think a check will say it better... ;-) Yay for getting paying work!
On April 30th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Funny thing, I was going to ask you what fosteronfilm had been watching lately when I emailed you tonight. You read my mind.
Did he ever watch Exorcist III? Not perfect, but far far better than you would expect from the third instalment of Exorcist. And besides, when they're in the hospital, you can hear someone paging a Dr. Hoffman.
"Did he ever watch Exorcist III? Not perfect, but far far better than you would expect from the third instalment of Exorcist."
Not yet. I think he's still got a bad taste in his psyche from Exorcist II. But it's in our Netflix queue.
"And besides, when they're in the hospital, you can hear someone paging a Dr. Hoffman."
Heh. I knew it. You're evil, eeeeviiiil!
Hee. I guess because I'm such a cynic, I never get terribly excited about "royalties" on a POD. (Not that I don't eventually give up and think, "Hey, why not? It's a publication.") My tiny brain thinks, "twenty writers, fifty books sold (to writers' friends and family), split the profits and get miniscule percent of microscopic profits--ten cents."
Ultimately, a sale to a cheapy 10$ market nets more moolah.
On May 1st, 2006 01:18 am (UTC), (Anonymous) replied:
Hey, since when've you had an LJ?
Huh. Interesting. LJ does an email notify thing...
I set up an account because, A, I'm tired of being Anonymous and B, I need a separate journal to accompany a webcomic (still on the drawing board, literally).