The Curious Evolution of Jennifer K. Oliver
A stroll through the mindfields
entries 
jenniferkoliver: (EXO-M | Tao)
Can I stay in denial that LJ fandom is slowly dying? More and more people are leaving. I like Dreamwidth, but it still doesn't feel like home. I've been on LJ since 2003 in various incarnations; it's like watching an old, good friend gradually slip away.

OK, enough with the melancholy. There are positive things! It's my wonderful BFF [livejournal.com profile] davidrcooke's birthday this week, and that was cause to celebrate last weekend. After hopping down to Southampton on Friday night, me, Dave and his partner Chris went out to The Olive Tree restaurant, where I had the most delicious confit duck leg & pan-fried duck breast with herb mashed potatoes and Morello cherry sauce, followed by a mocha cheesecake. Nom. Later that evening, after they'd had some wine, I cunningly EXO-bombed Dave and Chris, making them watch the phenomenon that is shaky pockets in the History video. Oh, how I laughed. On Saturday we somehow managed to cram Portsmouth and Winchester into our day, though the Winchester Christmas market was so crowded we couldn't get to many of the stalls for a proper look around. In true me-like tradition, I bought my own Xmas presents: an Emporio Armani "Diamonds" gift set (if only we had smell-o-screen!), and a cute plum-coloured Superdry coat that was on sale. It was the last on the rack, it was in my size, and I saved £27. Mm, bargains. They almost taste as good as mocha cheesecake.

And in true me-like tradition, I forgot to take any photos.

I've passed 40k words on the steampunk novel draft #2. It's a bit of a milestone, possibly marking halfway. The first draft rounded out at only 63k words, but it was one-sided, told by only one of my two main characters. This version has both POVs, plus some little extras that I hope will make it more structurally interesting. I'm going to try and write the next 10k words before the 25th.

I've also been struggling with my zombies in a new short story in progress. The trouble with zombies is they're not prone to thinking, well, much of anything apart from braaaaains; they certainly shouldn't be having deep, literary thoughts about un-life and such, especially when they haven't eaten any brains in a while. There must be a way around this, however, and I'm determined to find it.

And now, I must go and write all the Christmas cards in the universe (or so it feels, on this side of the pile).

Night of the Hunter, by 30 Seconds to Mars.
9th-Dec-2011 02:31 pm - Xmas creeping up like a zombie.
jenniferkoliver: (Quote | Zombie Brains)
A mini celebration: Wednesday was shaping up to be a bit disappointing after I received two story rejections, but heeding the good advice of many writers, I sent another story out and tried to forget about it. Then Thursday morning I woke up to find an acceptance in my inbox. Hurray! My weird urban dark fantasy "Death Car Alley" will be included in Jersey Devil Press's February 2012 issue. I'll post a link and synopsis when the story is live. In the meantime, I recommend heading over there and reading their current stories, especially if you like the weird, zany or uncanny.

Shortly I will start working on a piece for the Storyslingers Christmas party that we're holding on the 20th. It'll be pretty much the same as a regular meeting, only with the addition of food, drink and silly writing games. On Tuesday we played Consequences with hilarious results, so there will probably be more of that. Plus, we might do some Dada stories made from various holiday-themed songs. Anyway, what I was originally going to say was that I got bunnied for an insane Xmas story at work this morning. It will have a zombie. And elves. (But not zombie elves, unfortunately.) If I can get it polished in time, I might post it here, too.

I shall end this post with a couple of links that I've used for research purposes (honest!) lately:

My Daguerreotype Boyfriend - I can't remember if I've blogged about this before, but it bears repeating anyway. A site dedicated to pictures of vintage hotties! I sometimes use this site to build up a vivid image of my characters in my mind. It's especially helping me with my current steampunk piece, since I have two male protagonists in their 20s. I mean, check out this guy! You just would, wouldn't you?

[livejournal.com profile] vintagephoto and [livejournal.com profile] vintage_sex - the latter is NSFW, so beware if you skip on in there. Pretty self-explanatory.

And finally, a song: ♫ Glass, by Bat For Lashes.
jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Wouldn't Like Me)
I've uploaded a video on YouTube of my cat not particularly enjoying his Christmas present, the ungrateful little sod. In fact, I think I get more of a kick out of it than he does. I never knew those Zu-Zu Pets were so bloody funny.

Also, look what just arrived in the post. Probably the most awesome pair of shoes in the world (well, for a fantasy author they are), the Iron Fist "Wolfbeater" werewolf high heels: Pictures under the cut. These are just beyond all win ) The inner part of the shoe is lined with black velvet, the heel is covered in red velvet, and there are lovely black satin bows at the back. When I opened the box they looked quite narrow, and I was worried about my wide-fitting feet, but the shoes stretched out comfortably as I slipped them on. I love them so much, and hope they don't break my neck!

If anyone's interested in Iron Fist, you can find more quirky, horror-themed shoes here. I especially like the Zombie Stompers at the bottom of the page. :)
21st-Jun-2010 02:33 pm - Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies.
jenniferkoliver: (James Hook)
Vampires, werewolves, and zombies seem to have a really bad reputation at the moment. Which, OK, sounds like a bit of an understatement, but I don't mean literally, more literary. A handful of the magazines I've been checking out state firmly on their submission pages that they will not accept any vampires, werewolves, or zombies, and I mean they won't even look at the story, let alone read to the end with a biased eye. They simply reject and move on with nary a backwards glance.

This is perfectly within the rights of the magazine, but are people really so sick and tired of these fantasy and horror sub-genres? I know there's been a rash of teen vampire/werewolf clichéd plots in recent years, but there are still a lot of amazing authors out there turning out incredible pieces. To think that a decent writer's horse is stalled before the race even begins is more than a little disheartening, but not only that—isn't this risqué on the part of the publishers, who could be missing out on true gems? You hear the phrase "There's no such thing as an original idea" banded around the writing community, and yet people reinvent ideas and genres all the time. It's a shame vampires, werewolves, and zombies are given less chance to revamp, refresh, and rejuvenate a popular sub-genre and bring readers a new spin on an old, well-loved idea. I'm interested in fresh (or maybe that should be decaying, in the case of zombies) spins. Damnit, bring me the undead in all their slinking, salivating, growling glory! But give me something new as well, even if it's only a detail here, or a nudge there to some undiscovered territory.

That said, there's another side to every coin, and I can imagine how tedious it must be to wade through the same generic plots day in, day out. The general frustrations is apparent in a lot of submission guidelines. I can only sympathise with slush readers and editors.

Still, I believe even the most tried and tested idea can be shaken up and punched around to create a new twist, and I hope more people allow for that intelligent, well-written vampire, werewolf, and zombie fiction that's popping up all over the place—a bit like the undead themselves.

Vampire, Werewolf, and Zombie stories

  • Feature Development for Social Networking, by Benjamin Rosenbaum. What spreads just as fast as a zombie outbreak? News on social media. (Zombies)

  • Up, by James Hargrave. A brutal night-in-the-life. (Vampires)

  • Teeth, an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, featuring stories by Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. (Vampires)

  • Finisterre, by Maria Deira. (Werewolves)

  • The Days of Flaming Motorcycles, by Catherynne M. Valente. (Zombies)

Will add to this list as I find more stories. I'm not including all novels and anthologies, as they're easy to search for on sites like Amazon.
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