Day of the Dead

St. Lythans burial chamber

We’ve finished redrafting Majesty of Darkness. It now stands at 160,141 words. Hmm. Might need a little trim. Get in the gym, MOD! 🙂 We’ve finished editing Raising the Dead, but are still implementing the changes onto the laptop, so we don’t know what the word count is now. We’re not hopeful about hitting our 150,000 target, but we’ll see.

Speaking of RTD, we’re planning its sequel, When the Dead Awaken. By planning we mean we’ve got a list of haunted places in Wales and are visiting them so our characters can visit them in the book. We’ve been to St. Lythans burial chamber (have no idea if it’s haunted, but we found it on our map and had to go see it) St. Donat’s castle, but it’s not open to the public and Boverton Place. Boverton is supposedly haunted by Wissi, the wife of King John, who exiled her there and she starved to death. We can’t go longer than two hours without food! But she still loved him deeply. Yeah, what a prince. She’s apparently been seen wandering the grounds in mourning clothes. Wow, if we ever became ghosts, people would think we’re in mourning clothes, seeing as we always wear black. We didn’t see Wissi, but Boverton’s beautiful. We’d love to live there. Even though it’s ruins, you can still see the majestic place it must’ve been all those years ago. Now it’s just as decayed as the people who died there.

Boverton Place

Inside Boverton Place

Welcome to the Black Parade

We’d like to wish everyone a happy International My Chemical Romance Day! ♥♥♥♥♥ 🙂 For those of you who don’t know who they are, they’re a rock band from New Jersey. Did we mention they’re our favourite band in the whole world? Maybe once or twice. Today we are gorging on MCR – listening to all their albums, watching their videos and writing Happy International My Chemical Romance Day all over Facebook. We even changed our FB profile pic to one of MCR & changed our surname to Way. (The lead singer and bass guitarist are brothers – Gerard & Mikey Way). If you’re not already fans, today would be a great day to join the MCRmy.

MCR have inspired our writing & lives in many ways. Hearing Welcome to the Black Parade (the first song of theirs we heard) was a life changing moment. It’s one of those rare songs to send icy spiders scuttling down our spines & will always be special to us. Their lyrics are just incredible & always manage to drag us out of our mental dungeons when the darkshines hit. They give us the courage to carry on & not let anyone drag us down. It’s hard to put into words just how much they mean to us.

Writing wise, they have a huge influence in our work. One because their songs feature in every novel we write. Our poem Pentitence Ball was inspired by the first song on The Black Parade album, The End. There’s a line that says “I’ve got front row seats to the Penitence Ball”. So we imagined what a Penitence Ball would be like and wrote it in the same rhyming couplets the song’s written in. The song Thank You for the Venom from their Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge album, has the line “blood is the red the rose on your coffin door.” We wrote a poem called Guns N Roses and have the last line “the blood red rose on your coffin door,” in tribute, as it’s such a powerful image. In our novel, Majesty of Darkness, there’s a Soul Patrol to welcome the newly dead, inspired completely by the Welcome to the Black Parade video, although one publisher thought it was meant to be a macabre Disney parade. Uh no.

So we’d like to thank MCR for being such such influences on our lives, our writing & for making the best music in the world. Without them our world would be a darker place.

Long live the Black Parade!

Hit List

We’re 10 chapters away from finishing the redraft of Majesty of Darkness. We should finish it by this time next week, unless something catastrophic happens like a lightning bolt targeting our laptops or coming under attack from zombies. That would be a very time-consuming battle, leaving us no time for redrafts. We live in daily fear of zombies and if it wasn’t for our apocalypse-sized stash of Red Bull, we’d be joining their legion.

We’ve just finished reading Writers and Artists Yearbook 2011 and have made a list of publishers to send our novels. If that fails we’ve also made a list of agents. As soon as we check them out and see who we like best, we’ll send our novels. Though it’s scarier than submitting short stories and for some reason, we’re scared of a novel being accepted.

Another novel we’re considering submitting, Raising the Dead, is 186,000 words – way too long. So we’ve printed it out to try and cut it. Think of us like derranged surgeons, hacking and slicing like writers possessed. We’re aiming to get it to 150,000. We probably stand more chance of being knighted for services to literature. It’s sometimes easier to edit when the work’s printed out. Don’t know why. Plus it gives one of us a chance to edit that while the other one’s redrafting MOD then we switch.

The submission mission’s hit 49 but one just got bounced back to us. So we’re deciding what to send off and where. We should hear back from a magazine in the next few days so we could send that rejected story off elsewhere. If they reject it, though we’re pretty confident they will. We’re rejected more than a vampire at a werewolf ball. So’s our writing.

Mistaken Identity

Picture the scene. One minute you’re in Starbucks, having just given a mate of a copy of your latest publication, the next you’ve been mistaken for prostitutes.

No, we don’t mean someone mistook us for Belle De Jour and asked for an autograph. This is what happened. Yesterday we met up with our mate Neil, to give him a copy of Writing Magazine, with our winning ghost story, Field of Screams in. We were discussing that, how thrilled he was for us, our submission mission, poetry performance on Monday and future writing/performance plans. Then as we were walking home, there was a blue car in the traffic queue pumping music with a heavy bass. Don’t ask us what it was, we worship in the church of rock (My Chemical Romance are our fav. band but if you’ve been reading this you already know that). We immediately knew something was going to happen. Call it paranoia, gut instinct or experience, but we knew. Next thing, the passenger bellows out the window “oi! How much d’you charge?” When we ignored him, it was followed by “Oi!” several times & whistling. Gotta have the whistling. We actually found the whole thing very funny – one because we weren’t dressed at all like prostitutes (Cat was wearing black PVC trousers, a red and black corset top, black pirate jacket and flat grey boots. Lynx wore black trousers with safety pins all over them, a black corset top, a grey drummer boy jacket & the same boots as Cat) and two because it happened at 3pm. Not normal prostitute hours. We were actually impressed he managed a full sentence. Usually it’s just “FREAKS!” Or other one-word insults, almost always accompanied by a missile (like what happened last month). It could be that we’ve wrongly assumed he mistook us for prostitutes. There could be plenty of reasons for that question – how much d’you charge: for your autograph; a photo shoot; personal appearances; to appear on GMTV; to pose as my friend; to ghost write my life story? All possible alternatives. Whilst we haven’t exactly got a glittering writing career, we’d like to think it hasn’t come to this already.

Speaking of our submission mission, we’re hit 49. We’ve just sent off a 10k word story to America. It was last submitted in September 2008, so we cut almost two thousand words from it, did several redrafts and sent it off. It’s hard finding places for such a long short story, so hopefully we’ll be successful with the first couple of magazines we try. We’ve also just bought the latest edition of Writers and Artists Yearbook, to help us with our submission mission and are trading publishers with our American friends on Facebook. Our talons are firmly crossed. Starting to get arthritis now… 🙂

Just Another Manic Monday

Went to Manic Monday again on, well, Monday. This time we actually performed in the open mic section. When we went to put our name on the list we saw nobody wanted the opening slot. We figured as going first worked quite well for us with Seren, we’d be brave and go first again. Except that meant we had to follow two great poets, Mikey Bryant and Catrin Dafydd. It kinda worked well ‘cos Catrin’s last poem was about Facebook, which was the topic of our first poem (Why can’t it be like it is on FB?) so they linked nicely. We memorised our poems ‘cos we wanted to perform them rather than just read them. They went down quite well, even though we did both forget a line each. Our second poem, Deadly Reflection went smoothly, but then we performed that one at Seren so we knew it better. Our sister videoed it so it’s up on our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/clraven There’s also some photos on there that a professional photographer, Rhys Jones took. His photos are amazing. During Deadly Reflection it does look like we’re looking in a mirror. Incredible. He also took pics of us before the performance. They’re excellent. His camera actually makes us look half decent and not like rejects from Night of the Living Dead. It’s nice not to resemble zombies sometimes.

We’ve written one new poem and are halfway through another, both on society’s ridiculous obession with celebrities and how they’re worshipped as the new religion. We don’t expect to make any celebrity friends (or religious ones for that matter) but that’s fine with us. We’re also redrafting another novel and polishing a 10k word story. We haven’t touched that one for over a year ‘cos it’s too long for most magazines or competitions but we’ve discovered some that want longer stories. It started out as nearly 12k words, so we’ve trimmed it down and done several redrafts on it. Just a final tweak then we’ll email it off tonight. As always, talons will be firmly crossed.

Field of Screams

Warning: May contain images some viewers may find disturbing - we're not wearing makeup

The great day has finally arrived! Our ghost story, Field of Screams, which won first prize in a Writing Magazine competition is out today. So go buy your copy of Writing Magazine. Tesco’s sell it, as do most newsagents. Probably. We got ours from Tescos. Actually, we bought 15 copies, for family and friends and posted it on Facebook (we checked copyright first). We never thought we’d win, especially as we’ve entered 13 of their short story competitions but we did! Still can’t believe it. Even when the magazine arrived we expected them to tell us there’d been a mistake of epic proportions. We’ve posted two short stories off today and have another one that just needs a few tweaks before it’s ready to go. We’ve decided to up our submission mission – we promised 50 pieces of work submitted this year. We’re now up to 45. So we’re going to change our original goal to 100. As we’re already halfway through the years it’s a huge goal but we think it can be achieved. Unlike the missi0n to get 12 pieces of work published. So far we’re up to (drum roll please) ONE. Field of Screams. But we’re not in this for the wealth or the fame. We’re in for love. To quote Robert Tepper’s ‘No Easy Way Out’, “some feelings never die.”