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Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 260

Oh dear. It’s now been TWO MONTHS since my last post. That’s … not great. But in my defense, it’s been a packed two months. I’ve been out of town for large chunks of it, and I’ve been working on two big projects.
 
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the happenings. 
 
The most exciting thing was the eclipse. I was lucky, since I live in Charleston, my brother in Columbia, and my sister in Greenville - all three in the path of totality - I figured I had a place to watch no matter what the weather. 
 
It was obvious from the first 10-day forecast that Charleston was going to be a no-go, so I knew I was going to have to travel. On the day before, Greenville was predicted to be clearer than Columbia, so my brother and I headed up there. My sister planned eclipse-themed food and drinks, and we had a blast. The weather was gorgeous, and the eclipse was truly a mind-blowing event. Mother Nature is freakin’ cool. It was so surreal that even now it kind of seems like something I watched on TV rather than something that really happened. 
Siblings watching the eclipse
Diamond ring right before eclipse totality
Eclipse totality
Diamond ring after eclipse totality
Then the next weekend, I was a presenter at the SCBWI Carolinas conference in Charlotte.  My presentation was called Write Like a Hollywood Movie Crew, and I spent tons of time working on my presentation because I felt like such an imposter. When the big morning arrived, I was super nervous, but I think it went well. At first there were projector issues, so I almost simultaneously had a heart attack, fainted, and barfed because my presentation was extremely reliant on visuals. But only a few minutes after my session was supposed to start, the IT guy got it working. People laughed when I hoped and were very engaged. And I got a lot of compliments afterwards, although that could have been because I bribed them with cups of popcorn at the start.
Jocelyn Presenting
I had a great time at the conference and met lots of fun writers and publishing folks. Plus I absorbed the surge in creative energy I always get at these events.
 
Then the next week was a retreat with my writing group, the Sisukas, in Beaufort. Unfortunately, that was also the week that Hurricane Irma was bearing down on South Carolina, so we were mostly stressed and nervous about potentially having to evacuate. After two nights, we decided to cut the trip short so everyone could get home to make hurricane plans. Fortunately, Irma shifted enough that I didn’t have to evacuate, but she sure made a mess. 
 
And then the week after that, I had another writing retreat with a different group of writers in Nebo, NC. I know, I’m a lucky gal! It was five days of writing while taking in the gorgeous view and enjoying the company of accomplished and hilarious women. 
Lake at Nebo
Writers at Nebo
In between all the travel, I’ve been hard at work on two big projects. Earlier this year, I mentioned I was working on grant applications. Well, I won my grant! Whoo hooo! And my brother won his grant! Double whoo hooo! And we’ve been focused on getting both projects up and running. I’ll talk about my grant project next week, but this week, I’m introducing his. 
 
His grant project is to create an anthology of short horror films via a contest. At the last minute, we decided to do a contest for a winning screenplay as well. So I’m pleased to present Grave Intentions!
Grave Intentions
We’re now accepting submissions here: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/GraveIntentionsAnthology
You can check out our website here: http://www.graveintentionsanthology.com/
 
We also don’t have many followers on our social media, so if you want to give us a pity follow we’d REALLY appreciate it!
 
If anyone you know makes or writes short films that would broadly fit into the horror genre, please (pretty please!!!) let them know about our contest. 
 
Whew! Okay, I think that’s the big things. If I were a good #15tt tweeter, I would make up for the last eight weeks of 15 Minute Tweet Tales that I missed, but I’m just going to pretend like that didn’t happen and only do one for this week. Sorry, not sorry!
 
purlicue - the space between one's forefinger and thumb when extended.
 
10/10 – He stares at the purlicue of his right hand. The cat’s neck will fit perfectly & the yowling will finally stop when his fingers clench.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 253

On Saturday I went to a screenwriting workshop given by Peter Fox. It was pretty basic, but it’s always important to be reminded that when I’m writing a screenplay, I need to 'write in pictures' not words. Since I go back and forth between novels and screenplays, I sometimes slip into prose mode rather than the blueprint mode that’s needed for scripts. 
 
The cool part was that the workshop organizers invited me to have lunch with Peter and several other folks involved with making movies in South Carolina. I felt like one of the cool kids! And I got to eat with a Hollywood star! After his stint in Army Wives, Terry Serpico moved to Charleston, while continuing to act in movies and TV shows like Purge: Election Year, Michael Clayton, The Inspectors, and the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. That’s him standing next to me – he was super nice! 
 
Terry Serpico
 
I’m now working on a short script to apply for the film grant again – maybe I should write a part just for Terry! 
 
And now for this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales word:

15 Minute Tweet Tales

lemniscate - the infinity symbol; a variety of quartic functions producing similar figure-of-eight closed curves. 
 
5/9 - When I get off bus, I notice a lemniscate in driver's pupil. Then see it in my barista's eye. Then my cubemate's. Afraid to look in mirror.
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 47 + A Busy Week

Whew, this week has been crazy! This Boob Tube Junkie was so busy I didn’t watch TV for seven whole days. I know! Surely that means there are now some demons downstairs doing triple axels in sparkly costumes. So what kept me from my beloved boob tube?

For one, my short film Saying Goodbye screened in the Unofficial Google+ Film Festival this past weekend. It’s a very cool way for people to enjoy some of the film festival experience from home and for us to share our film with an international audience. Frustratingly, I had technical difficulties and couldn’t join in on the live Q&A (you should have seen me shrieking at my computer), but luckily my brother was able to represent us. Hopefully we can be part of the lineup next year with High Heels & Hoodoo!
 
The other big event was the Twitter Fiction Festival, and I participated in two different ways. The company Page 27 makes a storytelling game app, and for the festival they invited fifteen writers to participate in a collaborative storytelling event called Once Upon a Line. We’d get a text when it was our turn and have an hour to write the next part in 1-2 tweets. It was an interesting experiment as we tried to find the balance between improvisation and creating a well-plotted story, as well as the balance between a cohesive storytelling style versus each writer showing off their best flowery prose. As a genre reader/writer, the result wasn’t really my kind of story (not enough murder and mayhem!), but it was great fun to play along and see what our collective creative brains produced, plus I met some new talented writers. You can read the whole story here, and if you want to see what my contributions were, you can click the tweets by day tab and look for my smiling face. Huge thanks to Page 27 for asking me to participate!
 
The other way I participated was by animating one of the #15tt tweet tales from each day of the festival (except for one day because of more technical difficulties – I think I need a new computer!). The little movies are silly (especially with the horrible voice “acting”), but I had a TON of fun making them. However, each one took waaaay longer than I was anticipating (hence no TV and really no sleep either), so I was pretty drained by the end. But it was so enjoyable that I plan to keep doing them occasionally, especially if I can spread the time out rather than trying to get it all done in one night.  
 
Here’s the first one – I was very nervous about animating someone else’s story for the first time, but thankfully I got a thumbs up from the author.
 
I think this second one turned out to be my favorite. Growing up with a brother, I have felt like this on more than one occasion.

When I read this one, I got excited since I knew the animation software had Santa and elves. Turns out it only has female elves and only in these skimpy outfits. The feminist side of me was a tad offended, but *shrug* it’s all in good fun.
 
One of the long-time #15tt regulars really wanted one of his tweet tales animated, and since I’d told him the software was very limited as to what I could animate, he craftily wrote this tweet as a sequel (prequel?) to the tweet from the day before to ensure he’d meet all the prop/setting/costume/action limitations of the software.

 
Stay tuned for future #15tt animations, and play along some days – your tweet tale just might be the next to get the animation experience!
 
On top of all that, I had company in town, and there were lots of events happening on the blog. I ended up posting every weekday for the first time since the A to Z challenge. Don’t forget – I’m giving away a signed copy of Kami Kinard’s The Boy Project. It’s super easy to enter in several ways, so get your entry in before 11:59 Wednesday night!!
 
And if you’ve stuck with me through all that, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:
 
11/28 – Tom beams at his neophyte’s success. She might be small, but her passion gives her strength. He buries the pieces of the missing man.
 
11/29 - Her tempestuous wails send him scurrying. The shoes were too tasty to resist. He peeks at her with extra sad eyes. She sighs, then smiles.
 
11/30 - With one hopeful breath, I send dandelion fluff floating across the sky. My wish? That my womb will soon pullulate like that wildflower.
 
15 Minute Tweet Tales12/1 - A blizzard of words overwhelms her as he tries to convince her tp stay. It just reminds her why she's leaving: he talks too damned much.
 
12/2 – My dog wouldn't acquiesce to my commands, so I took him to the vet. She told me he was a cat. I think I might need glasses.
 
12/3 - "Do you want to go up to the roof to see my dovecote?" I hate birds but say "yes" hoping the city view will inspire our first kiss.
 
12/4 - I know our marriage is over when he starts wearing flamboyant ties to work - a flourish of fun from a man who no longer smiles at me.
 
And now I’m off for some much needed rest that will include catching up on some of my favorite TV shows!
 
Did you participate in the Twitter Fiction Festival in any way? Have you ever done any collaborative storytelling? Should I win an Academy Award for my awesome voiceover work? (I think my Santa was particularly inspired.) Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?

Engaging Events

Normally I’m pretty much the homebody type, but during the month of November, the Charleston area is hoppin’ with happenings that are forcing me to break my hermit-like habits. Since these events might be of interest to fellow local storytellers (both writers and filmmakers), I wanted to share them here.

YALLFest
The one I’m most excited about is the second annual YALLFest. Last year was a fantastic event, so I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this year. It will be Saturday, November 10th from 10am to 6pm in venues around King Street, and the lineup of YA authors is enough to make my head explode with excitement. I can’t believe I’ll be able to see writers like Kathy Reichs, Holly Black, Carrie Ryan, and so many others with just a short thirty-minute trip to downtown Charleston.  
YALLFest
 
But the absolutely coolest thing about the event is that Kami Kinard will be one of the presenting authors. I met Kami at a conference a few years ago, and we've stayed friends. We actually sat together at YALLFest last year, and now this year she will be on stage with all the other YA authors!! She’s such an inspiration, and I’m so thrilled for her! 
 
If you like writing and/or reading YA novels, make sure to come out and see some of your favorite authors in action. Most of the events are FREE and you can find the schedule here.
 
Charleston Jewish Book Fest
Charleston Jewish Book FestThroughout the month of November, the Charleston Jewish Community Center is hosting a number of authors, and you can find the schedule and ticket information here. I was especially looking forward to Delia Ephron (who worked with her sister Nora to create charming romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail) and Stephen Tobolowsky. Although Stephen is also a writer, he’s probably best known for playing a number of memorable characters, including Sandy Ryerson on Glee. I also had the chance to see a hilarious short film he was in called Say It Ain’t Solo when I was at the DC Shorts Film Fest last month. Unfortunately, with so many exciting things happening in November, some of them were bound to overlap, and I won’t be able to see either Delia or Stephen. But hopefully you’ll be able to make it to one of the many events.
 
Literary Dogs
Hub City Press is a non-profit independent press in Spartanburg, SC, and they are publishing a book called Literary Dogs & Their South Carolina Writers (edited by John Lane and Betsy Wakefield Teter) in which 25 Palmetto State writers talk about their dogs. As someone who is absolutely ga-ga about her canine cuties, this sounds fan-freakin’-tastic to me. There are events happening all over SC to promote the book, but the one I’ll definitely be at is on Tuesday, November 27th from 5pm to 7pm at the Charleston Library Society (164 King Street).
Literary Dogs

 

Lowcountry authors like Mary Alice Monroe, Josephine Humphreys, Dorothea Benton Frank, Marjory Wentworth, Nicole Seitz, and Beth Webb Hart will be there with their dogs. I can only imagine how chaotic that is likely to be, but so much fun at the same time. Ticket information can be found here.
 
Carolina Film Alliance
Charleston Film AllianceThe Carolina Film Alliance (CFA) is an advocacy voice for film and television in SC, which has worked toward job creation for state residents and economic development though SC film rebates. If you are involved with filmmaking in SC or have a business that would benefit from potential revenue brought to our state via filmmaking, then you should attend the statewide rally on Sunday, November 4th from 3pm to 5:30pm at Pure Theatre (477 King Street).
 
Richard Futch is the CFA President, and he was also the amazing casting director for both of my films, so I’ve seen firsthand the passion he has for filmmaking. This will be a great chance to hear more about how we can help lure Hollywood dollars to SC to bolster our economy.
 
 
As you can see, the month of November has a lot of exciting things happening around the Lowcountry – I hope to see you at some of the events!
 
Are you planning to attend any of these?  Do you know of any other storytelling-related happenings in November that I missed?   

Monday Movie Madness and #writemotivation

Since the months continue to whip by at a most alarming rate, it means it’s already time for another #writemotivation goal check month. I’m starting to feel a little bit like this:

… except it's more like: Gee, Jocelyn, what are your goals for this goal check month? The same thing I do every month, Muse, try to finish rewriting my WIP! At this point I’m starting to fear I’m much closer to Pinkie’s insanity that Brain’s genius, but like Brain, I won’t let that stop me from trying again and again and again.
 
This time I’ve added a few other goals to the list, so I’ll have the satisfaction of crossing something off the to-do list:
1. Revise at least three pages a day in my WIP.
2. Post two blog posts a week.
3. Spruce up at least one of my short stories and submit it for publication.
4. Finish reviewing critique partner’s novel.
 
I already know I’m going to fall way behind this week revising three pages a day because I’m leaving on Wednesday to go to Washington, D.C. And why am I taking this trip to the nation’s capitol? Because my second short film High Heels & Hoodoo is having its World Premiere this weekend at the DC Shorts Film Festival – whoo hoo! It’s a really great fest, and my brother and I are super excited to be part of it. My sister is even joining us to make it sibling road trip. Parties and workshops and movies, oh my! If any of you live in the DC area, come out and see the film – I’d love to meet you in person! Click here for details about the screening.
 
In other movie news, it’s now been two weeks since we made our first short film Saying Goodbye available for public viewing. The response has been so amazing! We’ve received emails from people, many of them strangers, sharing stories about how the film reminded them of their last moments with loved ones – I even had to break out the Kleenex while reading some of them. Here is a sample of some of the kind words:
 
“A story simply and beautifully told about a subject that's hard to face, but is so important to face.”
 
“I watched as the tears ran down my cheek in memory of those I have loved and who have earned their wings.”
 
“This film made me cry, sad and happy all at the same time.”
 
“…it’s a reminder of why we love film so much. Sometimes movies tap into our emotions in an important way.”
 
I share these not (just) to toot my own horn (although it’s fun to have a reason to!), but because this whole movie-making adventure has been a path on my writing journey that I never expected. I write horror and thriller stories for young adults. That’s what I love to do, and I never planned to write anything else. But this story came to me out of the blue, and even more unexpectedly came the opportunity to turn it into a movie (if you want the longer story about those events, click here). To now hear about the ways the story is touching people is truly rewarding. The entire experience has taught me to stretch my writing in ways I never dreamed, and I hope it encourages you to try new forms, styles, and genres of writing, too.
 
If you’re interested in watching Saying Goodbye, it’s only sixteen minutes long and available for free at: http://www.sayinggoodbyemovie.com/content/watch-saying-goodbye  If you enjoy it, please share the link with family and friends – thank you!!
 
Are you participating in #writemotivation this time? Are you expecting obstacles in meeting your goals? Have you experimented with writing beyond your usual style and genre? Have you watched Saying Goodbye yet, and if not, why the heck not?!?

Nine is Divine

Chloe with the letter NIt’s Movie Monday, and even though it has nothing to do with the letter N, I wanted to start off by mentioning my movie High Heels and Hoodoo had its first sneak peek screening on Saturday.  Since it was the first time actual strangers saw it, my brother and I were very nervous, but the screening went incredibly well.  The audience reaction was great, and lots of people came up to us later to tell us how much they liked it.  So we can now release the breath we’ve been holding since we finished the edit.  Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive!

And now back to our regularly scheduled N post.  Today’s Netflix find is the movie The Nines.  Here’s the official description:

Ryan Reynolds, Melissa McCarthy and Hope Davis appear in multiple roles in writer-director John August's independent thriller, which combines three intertwining stories that creatively converge in unexpected ways. A popular TV actor is under house arrest in "The Prisoner"; a TV producer struggles to launch a new series in "Reality Television"; and a video-game designer seeks help for his stranded family in "Knowing."
 
I’ve been a huge Ryan Reynolds fan since his goofball days in Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, and I think Melissa McCarthy is hilarious, so when this popped up as a recommendation, I eagerly pressed the play button.  It’s tough to explain The Nines without spoilers, and since I think very few folks have seen this movie, I don’t want to spoil anything.  But even if I were to incorporate spoilers, it would still be tough to explain this movie.  That probably doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but I really liked it.  
 
The NinesRyan and Melissa both do excellent jobs in very dramatic roles – much different from the silly characters they often play.  Along with Hope Davis, they play different characters in each of the three vignettes.  It’s confusing, yet intriguing, as pieces from each of the stories bleed into the others until it reaches a completely unexpected conclusion.  
 
I’ve seen on the interwebs that people seem to really love or really hate this movie – there’s not much middle ground.  I can see the point of those who dislike it, thinking it’s pretentious, philosophical drivel, since I tend to think the same thing about these types of navel-gazing movies.  However, this one really struck a chord and stuck with me long after I’d watched it.  It makes you think because there are a lot of pieces to put together, but it also makes you THINK.  You know, that pondering your place in the universe type of thinking.  Plus, Ryan Reynolds shows off his abs, so what’s not to love?
 
Have you seen The Nines?  What did you think?  What movies has Netflix recommended that you enjoyed but never would have picked on your own?  How Nifty is Chloe with her letter N?

A to Z Video Challenge

When I signed up for the A to Z Challenge, I noticed they were also having an A to Z video challenge to help spread the word about the blogging challenge taking place in April.  The video entries are due tonight, and since I wait until the last minute for everything, I finished mine this evening.  

Regular blog visitors know I’m crazy about my dog, which is a trait I share with the rest of my family; so when I was trying to think of ideas for the A to Z challenges, I knew they had to be dog related.  For the video challenge, I gathered clips from my brother, sister, and parents of their adorable dogs in action.  Some of the footage is not great quality, but I think y’all will agree that the canine cuteness more than makes up for it. 

I now proudly present… ABCDogs
 

I’d like to thank my sister Joanna for creating the doggie version of the ABC song for me.  I’d also like to thank my brother Brian for helping me with the editing.  I sat with him while we edited our two short films, but he always drove Final Cut while I watched, so this was my big chance to try out what I'd learned.  It was fun!  And I was unreasonably proud of what I was able to do on my own.  I only had to get his help with a few of the things.  Thanks again, siblings!
 
I hope you enjoyed my canine commercial for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  If you haven’t sign up for it yet, think about giving it a try.  This will be my first year, and I’m really looking forward to it. 
 
Voting for the video challenge is now open, so if you thought my dogs were cute, you can vote for us here.
 
Are you entering the A to Z Blogging Challenge?  If you participated in the past, any tips for us newbies?  Aren’t the Rish family dogs adorable?