Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Un rêve dans un rêve...

Nicola Samori, School of Pan, 2011


Often when I wake out of dreams the first thing I do is write down the fragments floating around in my head. The problem is if I don't do so sometimes the dream scenarios become trapped and refuse to make way for what I need to be thinking about and working on. There's about twenty or so ragged and dog-eared notebooks full of these which I revisit from time to time. I thought maybe I would start sharing some of them here because sometimes these scenarios blossom into bigger things. There's stacks of them in the third Saurimonde book where I took written pieces of my actual nightmares, rearranged the elements of six or seven separate instances into one semi-cohesive supernatural nightmare sequence, then I added in the mythology and remixed them again (sort of a mild version of the cut-up technique). I think maybe that's why when they work, they have resonance.

So here's the fragment from this morning. I find the idea being trapped or lost within the cycles of incarnation is a theme which often permeates my subconscious.

"The room was lit by the muted television set and a haze of bluish smoke hovered in the air from the cigarette they shared between them. She didn't think she had ever stared into someones eyes and seen herself so clearly before. The feeling frightened her because it spoke of other times and places where they had known each other. Stroking the plane from his eyebrow to cheekbone with her fingertips, she chose her words with care. “I know you.”
“So you are beginning to remember...?”
Burying her her head into the nape of his neck, she whispered against his skin, “You are not the only accidental guest on this darkened planet -- I was never meant to be here either.

Will it go into the next book? Maybe. Speaking of the next book, I've got the outline down and it will center around the enigmatic north porch of Notre Dame de Paris, the Belle Epoch alchemists, signs, portents, and chance encounters -- some of my favorite pet obsessions. Most likely it will be a supernatural thriller which I am kind of excited about writing. I feel the need to re-root myself back into the twenty-first century for a while, and put the puzzle pieces together in a different configuration. It might not work. One never knows. I loved the outline and the ideas behind Demon Priest, and it had a cracking opening, but three chapters in I realized I had made a fatal error -- I'm not a strong enough writer to narrate a whole book from a male perspective. At least not that kind of book. But that is how you learn, and possibly I'll use that first chapter for something else one day, or figure how to come at that story from another point of view when the time is right.

Here's the prologue from Demon Priest: (another snippet of a dream).

"There was that noise again. The throbbing of drums echoed across the valley punctuated by faraway screams. Stirring, she opened her eyes to see the bright spots of firelight glowing like fireflies in the distance. Smiling to herself, she shifted on the ground near the mouth of the shallow cave. Let them celebrate me, she mused. Let them have this night to shout and dance and to make love under the stars. Soon they would be no more, like the others who came before them. She was tired now -- so very tired. The time was near when she would retreat into the cool earth where she would slumber and dream in endless darkness. No one would find her there. She knew these lands like no other and indeed, she had been here before the mountains had been formed, when there was only a vast, endless ocean. Then, the tectonic plates crashed together and what was molten soon cooled as slow moving glaciers formed the first valleys. Like herself, the terrain changed and was born anew, only to become old again. The humans called out to her, shouting her name while waving their cups in the air. A giant effigy burned sending sparks flying out into the night sky as the smaller bonfires were extinguished. I will return, she promised as the weariness took hold of her again. I always do. These humans mean little more to me than insects now. Sighing one last time against the dirt, she murmured, But first, please grant me oblivion..."

There's not a huge amount of news to be had. Currently, I'm finishing up a project I should have completed ages ago. It's tricky and complicated and doesn't want to follow any known set of screenwriting rules -- but it is a challenge -- and I do love a challenge. I only have a certain amount of time out here to get it completed so it's been occupying most of my waking attention.

The sun is rising, the desert is stretching its sun-kissed skin, there's coffee brewing in the kitchen, and I need to get down to writing for the day...

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S - xx


Monday, April 4, 2016

Casu, Consensus, Studiis Magicis....



I keep pondering the so-called real world with one eyebrow raised and the ghost of a smile passing my lips. Spent the last few weeks hunkered down in the desert, finishing up the fourth rewrite of Desired Pyrotechnics ( it's done). In everything I design, in all the the characters I construct, there are bits and pieces of friends, lovers, and those who catch my eye, and I'm always mentally squirreling away other people's idiosyncrasies. Anyhow, the day after I finished the rewrite three very strange things occurred all within the space of about four hours. The first was a video interview on social media with a friend of mine whom I based a minor character on and he said something which he says in the book, even though its nothing we've ever discussed in real life, and I made that dialogue up. The second incident was from a random moment in the book when the lead character digs through a closet in the guest room and comes up with a pink robe, remarking, ' pretty, but not on me'. While drinking my morning coffee on the patio, enjoying the sunshine, a friend of mine staying in the guest room came out in a pink robe, explaining she bought it compulsively the night before, but she wasn't certain about it. Her exact words were 'it's very pretty, but not on me'.  I laughed. A couple of hours later while was driving around with another friend who happened to be in town he repeated something I gave another minor character that I loosely based off of him. He said it sarcastically -- exactly the way I had written it, even though I don't recall him ever using the phrase before -- and it was something I tossed in at the last minute. It's weird. Then there's the whole praying mantis thing... but I'm not getting into that because it's too fucking weird - like somehow fiction bleeds into reality and vice versa kind of weird. Sometimes I wonder about these things. Can you conjure situations by an act of creative will? Lucky for me, this rather brutal story actually has a happy ending because a lot of scripts and stories I've written before don't. In fact, I don't think any of them do. So maybe it's sympathetic magic in action. It's a possibility. I don't believe it to be coincidence -- that's why I say one eyebrow raised and the ghost of a smile passing my lips.

So onto news...

We've finally gotten the brand spanking new Saurimonde III merchandise at the Eden Darkly store -- t-shirts, stickers, coffee mugs (want one!), tote bags, and a bunch of other things. Follow the link to find out more!!!

Saurimonde Super Store


And in other news...


I finally got my ass back into LA and made it into the BTS studio for our seventeenth gonzo podcast. These crazy fucking things are never scripted, but they are so much fun to do -- and are proving to be surprisingly popular. Who knew?




Our seventeenth episode takes a turn for the dark side fast with: a pecker puffer, an Easter special with Lucifer's testicles, a new book from our fave author Mandy De Sandra, and Victorian doctors who thought reading made women insane and depraved.

Finale


The next month is going to be a game-changer. Keep watching this space because some very radical developments are in the works. After pulling magic rabbits successfully out of paper bags for the last many years, I'm about to get very dangerous, and I am so ready to step up...

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S-xx

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Selva Oscura - Absolution is Not an Option...




Hey there friends! Shall we take the sweet with the bitter? I'm rather a fan of the savoury myself...

First up, new, sweet business -- we have a brand spanking new giveaway going on over at Goodreads! We're giving away four print copies of our latest dark fantasy offering, Saurimonde III. All you have to do is follow the link below for your chance to win!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Saurimonde III by Melissa St. Hilaire

Saurimonde III

by Melissa St. Hilaire

Giveaway ends May 06, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


And now onto old, sort of bitter business -- I found this journal entry quite by accident earlier after clicking on the wrong icon. I think it was from the end of summer 2012? When I'd started on the first Saurimonde novel -- a different time and a different place, but it is evocative, and took me quite by surprise.
























2012, Montsegur, France - Summer:

Selva Oscura,

There is a character, a succubus, crafting herself out of darkness and chaos, and I have a feeling she's going to reek havoc on my new story. I don't whether I'm birthing her into existence, or whether she is being rebirthed. Sometimes it feels like she's using me as a conduit and has been waiting for the opportune moment to do so. 

Partial character study -- the words are from a fragment of a dream.

"I'll never forgive you and there's a part of me that will always hate you. The feeling is irrational and rears its ugly head at a moment's notice. I have to keep remembering -- this is not my fault -- I did not cause this situation -- you did. Absolution is not an option. It may hurt me more, but I'll never be there in my soul, not even if I mouth the words of your proverbial redemption. Time should heal these things and I no longer dwell on them like I once did -- you no longer haunt my waking thoughts. When reminded of the past it's more like the sudden pain of being touched with the lit end of a cigarette. I lash out at the world -- of course, that's putting it mildly, when what I really want is to rip down the fabric of creation itself. The irrational rises inside like a darkened whirlwind, an abyss without stars, like utter blackness -- and it builds like the pregnant sky before a southern storm. I cannot control this -- there are no reins, no brakes, no known forms of control, as it spills forth. Do you hear my voice howling in the winds? Don't you not recognize what shimmers in the shadows? There is power there. You hang your head, cowering in shame, but if you only stood still, and raised a hand to the west, you would realize this is a gift. Go, dive deeper into the water. Hold your breath longer than you ever thought possible. Far past the murkiness and into the deep, deep, depths. Why do you deny yourself these things? She is always there waiting for you, shining in her cloak of immaculate darkness. No more celebrated now than the distant memory of a dull glint on a rusted blade."

And that's where it stops...

It's scary. It's violent. I'm well aware of where my head was at the time. I know the circumstances -- but it is raw and honest. I love these fragments of dreams, and I love having forgotten them only to stumble across them at a later date. Besides the first Saurimonde novel there's the germ on Sisters of the Wasteland in there as well. I miss the ancient spirits of the olde country and maybe they miss me too. But the time to return is not yet, although it will be soon. I bide my time as I rebuild an empire.

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S - xx

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SAURIMONDE III -- C'est Fini!

What a month it's been so far! I'm sitting here in Los Angeles, basking in the hot February sunshine. It's such a blessing after so many winters in the freezing cold of the Pyrenees, and as much as I may miss my home, I will never miss the cold.

So first --  the very good news -- Saurimonde III is finished! It's currently available on Amazon Kindle (the physical copy will be out next week) and it's the first book launched on our newly formed Lux in Tenebris Publishing label. There will be lots more about that development in the near future -- so keep an eye on this space!



Saurimonde III:

 Safety is but an illusion...

In the search for a young woman who may already be dead, the tragically lovely Saurimonde, along with her handsome consort, Sordel, travel deep within the mysterious zone where she comes under the spell of the powerful cult leader, Na Dag'ma, who, after initating her into their strange faith, sends her on a quest to find a dangerous ancient relic.


Amid a quagmire of lies, dulplicity, and collusion the veil between worlds becomes threadbare – one existence bleeding into another – as Saurimonde and Sordel wander further into a supernatural web. Upon finding what they seek, will they be able to break free? Or be forced to become the ultimate sacrifice?

It's available here: Saurimonde III Amazon Kindle

*************

Even though it's been an age (not really, it only feels that way) since I've been sequestered in the back beyond, Melissa and I managed to record a new podcast at the BTS studios as soon as I hit the ground yesterday.




In our sixteenth episode we try to get back into the swing of things after our month long break with: a show dedicated to wine lovers, like how red wine is great for sex, as well as another book by Mandy De Sandra, Fox News Fuckfest, for all your bizzaro political erotica needs! (And, yes, we forgot to turn off the A/C at the BTS studios again, damn it!).

*************

Tomorrow, we'll be filming for our brand new super secret project that I am so excited about! Maybe I'm finally starting to travel out of the crossroads. I say this with cautious optimism because I've thought the same thing a couple of times over this last rather surreal and harsh year only to be knocked back to square one and told to wait. Still, all I can do is follow the signs wherever they may lead...

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S - xx

Monday, January 11, 2016

Just a quickie... that ended up not a quickie...

January 10th.


Drowning not waving through  the holidays...

Hey! Am finally checking in. Have had my fair share of unfortunate luck which means I was offline on top of having some version of the dreaded lurgy which lingered and lingered like a most unwelcome guest while I waited for my laptop to be fixed. Things have stabilized and we're in the midst of the very last contraction on SAURIMONDE III. Some days it's felt like I've been pushing a very large boulder up an extremely steep hill, but I'm happy with the material, and it's really fucking bonkers while still retaining a large amount of esoteric wyrdness within all the sex, death and scenes of madness. Plus, we've finally gotten a chance to expand the mythology within the Saurimonde universe. If all goes to plan then it should be released at the beginning of February. Fingers crossed though, because the one thing I've come to learn is the closer you come to finishing a major project the more the real world will conspire to make it very fucking hard for you to do so. I've also decided after we finish SAURIMONDE III that I will go in and give DESIRED PYROTECHNICS one more rewrite. One final brush of the hair. One more coat of gloss. Everything can always be made prettier and tighter. After working on it so intensely I knew I needed to give the last draft some distance. Like with painting, or even cooking, sometimes you have to step back and let things stew on their own for a while before adding the next element or ingredient. But it will be worth the wait -- it always is.



Quite by chance a couple of weeks ago I found out that THE OTHERWORLD (L'AUTRE MONDE) (2013) a documentary that I had the pleasure to co-wrote and appear in is streaming on Netflix. It features cinematography by Karim Hussain, and a score by Simon Boswell, and touches upon some of the more supernatural mysteries in the South of  France. I'm absolutely chuffed and slightly flabbergasted that such a strange and psychedelic film would be on there. So for those of you who have been asking you can watch it there anytime you wish.

************

And at the tail end of having the dreaded lurgy, Melissa and I managed to get in another podcast. Admittedly, I'm a little scratchy and not really on my game at all, but it's still kind of fun even if it is the most PG version we've ever done. At that it's NSFW. You have been warned.



In our fifteenth episode we suffer through the holidays with: glitter beards and armpit hair, a naked artist in a glass box who masturbates, dinosaur erotica by Christie Sims, Ted Cruz holiday erotica, and remembering Lemmy.

*************

Fucking Angus Scrimm died today. First Holly, then Lemmy, and now Angus. I hope someone at Morningside Cemetary lights a candle for him. So strange and awful to have so many of one's formative influences and teenage heroes die at the same time. It's enough to make one feel old. The world will never see people like these again. They broke the mold with each and every one and in today's cookie cutter, prefab world it's a testament to what once was.

January 11th




Then the world stopped this morning. Bowie is gone. I'm sitting here blasting The Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album. One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting in the back seat of my father's dark blue '67 Chevy Mustang and Lady Stardust is blaring from the car speakers. It's near twilight. Neon signs light up the distance. There's a cool wind blowing on my face and all the secret scents of the desert are blooming near nightfall. Bowie's voice breaks my heart and I'm crying for a Lady Stardust I never knew (only finding out later the song was written about Marc Bolan). It's a potent memory for me because it was the moment I realized music could make you feel things you couldn't put words to -- it could come and wrap itself around your soul -- it could find those secret spaces which ached inside of you so fiercely you thought no one else could ever understand. But in reading through my feed this morning that is what struck me the most -- how many of us had the same encounters and how much his music helped us and gave us hope that we were not alone, no matter how damaged we were. That is art, and that is transcendence. When I was transplanted from LA to the ultra-conservative Midwest while beginning high school it was Bowie who played on my walkman 24-7 in an attempt to blot out the ugliness surrounding me. Dropped into a world that loathed anyone who was different from themselves, sometimes it was only his music that saw me through being beaten up by jocks and cruelly harassed by preppies and cheerleaders alike. I had no friends. Music and that goddamned walkman were my only friends. How do you thank someone for such a thing? Do they even know on some level that whatever they are creating is helping some alienated and disenfranchised kid make it through another horrible day? For us overly creative weirdo types he was our role model; part of our yet-to-be-realized tribe, and his music was the touchstone that better days were to come. Art, hope, imagination and reimagination; Bowie was the magician when it came to these things. That is what us freaks, rubbing the starlight into our eyes, loved about him. He was our fucking hero and there will never be another like him. Thank you for being the blackstar, Sir David, in our fragile souls.

So much for this being a quickie... but before it gets any longer I have to get onto conjuring for the day.

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S - xx

P.S. 
January 12th.

A bright spot in the darkest of weeks. I saw this note on FB from Andy Paciorek of WYRD HARVEST PRESS the other day which cheered me up immensely.
"I received a nice note today from Chesire Wildlife Trusts thanking us for the donation raised by the sales of the FOLK HORROR REVIVAL: FIELD STUDIES book. Thought you might like to see one of the actual owls that the donation would benefit. Checking a nest at one of there reserves, they discovered four barn owl chicks, one of whom is pictured here. 

photo by Jenna Sproston


So thank you again to those who worked on / and or bought copies of the book. Folk Horror Revival will continue to donate 100% of sales profits to countryside, community and enviornmental projects run by The Wildlife Trusts."

This book is available at: FOLK HORROR REVIVAL: FIELD STUDIES

Melissa St. Hilaire and I were thrilled to have contributed to this fascinating book with a section about the mythology behind our popular dark fantasy series books, SAURIMONDE. I have an enormous love and fascination of owls (and bats, wolves, and foxes) and this picture makes me smile every time I look at it. 

And... Folk Horror Revival has a new website which is more than worth your time to check out. You can find it HERE 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Beyond the Fields We Know...

I'm playing virtual hooky this morning. I should be writing on the next Saurimonde book like I've been doing every day for the last few weeks but I'm tired. Bone-weary, ass-draggin', tired. And as much fun as it is to write the Saurimonde tales, it also means huge amounts of isolation for myself, and boldly marching into some fairly combustible internal landscapes; dredging through those memories and emotions which I will always bear the scars from. Not exactly a piece of cake by any stretch of the imagination.

But enough grousing...

I'm immensely honored to have co-written a piece in this new book, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies (Wyrd Harvest Press & Andrew Paciorek), with Melissa St. Hilaire, on the little known Medieval and Basque mythology of the Saurimonde stories.




Here's a little more about the book:

"Featuring essays and interviews by many great cinematic, musical, artistic and literary talents, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is the most comprehensive and engaging exploration to date of the sub genre of Folk Horror and associated fields in cinema, television, music, art, culture and folklore.  

Includes contributions by Kim Newman, Robin Hardy, Thomas Ligotti, Phillip Pullman, Gary Lachman and many many more.


100% of the profits from sales of the book will be charitably donated to enviormental, wildlife, and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts."


Wyrd Harvest Press - explores the landscapes of Folk Horror and related realms in film, tv, books, art, music, events, and other media and also psychogeography, hauntology, folklore, cultural rituals and costume, earth mysteries, archaic history, hauntings, southern gothic, landscapism / visionary naturalism & geography, murder ballads, backwoods horror, carnavalia, dark psychedelia, wyrd forteana and other strange edges.

At  498 pages there's a lot of Folk Horror bang for your buck! You can find out more here .


*************

And in other news...

The other day while recording at the latest podcast at the BTS studios we noticed we'd broken the 1000 listener mark. So while I'm here, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who listens, comments, and sends us weird shit. We adore you all! xx

Here's the latest episode - once again, it's NSFW!




*************

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S - xx

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

DESIRED PYROTECHNICS - first peek

All right... I've tried to make this post a few times now, but like the contrary creature I am, I keep changing my mind. Quite possibly it's because this new book is such a radical departure from anything I've written before. There's parts I adore and there's parts that make me nervous. I'll shut up now and just fucking post a piece of the beast


DESIRED PYROTECHNICS

*************.

"I wandered through an unknown countryside with rolling hills and jagged peaks in the distance which looked like broken teeth. Pockets of low lying, heavy fog encircled me, impeding my way forward. There was an abandoned farmhouse which looked like it had been rotting for years and the earth had reclaimed the land. I went to take a closer look when it occurred to me I may not want to. Nothing lived in this landscape. This is where time had stopped and I was somehow trapped there. Which might have meant that I wasn't alive any more. Was I dead? I couldn't remember. There'd been some kind of tragedy which had made time stop but I couldn't recall what it was even if it was on the tip of my tongue. If I could remember what had happened then I might have a chance of making my way out of there. The fog wove its way around me again until it physically pressed down on me and I thought I was suffocating...

I awoke with a start. My heart pounded and I was gasping for air. Night had fallen and the room was pitch black. For a moment I was so disoriented I couldn't remember where I was and thought I was still trapped within the dreamscape. I laid there peering into the darkness until I saw the outline of the marble fireplace from across the room. My heart rate slowed. The dream didn't return and I crawled out of bed and limped downstairs to see if Tabby was there. I needed confirmation someone else was alive.


All the lights were off as I bumped around the kitchen in search of a clock that I never found. With my good hand, I poured myself a glass of wine and went outside into the garden to look at the stars. Even as a small child staring at the stars had been a source of comfort to me. Sitting in a black corded lounge chair, I traced the Milky Way with my finger as it spanned the sky like a celestial spine. Sipping the wine, I listened for the frogs singing down by the river, but they were silent which meant it must have been the wee hours of the morning. It was all so peaceful, but the anxiety I felt with every beat of my heart wouldn't lessen. Emotionally, what I was facing was blacker than the night and no stars were going to save me. Nothing was going to save me... I prayed to the skies for a respite. Give me vast fields of sunflowers as far as the eye could see. Give me anything which resembled a distraction. Give me drugs or alcohol. Give me a lover's arms. Give me anything to take the pain away and make me forget for a while, I pleaded. Please don't let me crack up..."


*************

These last couple of weeks have been insanely creative. I'm extremely thankful to have the time and headspace but I'm stretched thin and only pushing harder. Did take a night off to go out dancing under the full moon and spent the next day at the beach crashing around in the waves and climbing over slippery rocks exploring formerly unknown sandy stretches of shore. 

And we managed to get another podcast done which I will post below. It's been so much fun getting the feedback from these crazy things. And no, they're never scripted.

Between the Sheets with Melissa and Scarlett is a podcast about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more.

Our sixth episode is all touchy feely: From arranging your junk and surprising boob facts to foot orgasms and bizarro dinosaur porn!

*************

Hope you all are enjoying these last dog days of summer. So much change is in the wind...

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S - xx