Day 28, In Which I Discuss Where My Ideas Come From

First off, I'll announce the winners of DOGS AND GODDESSES tomorrow after I get home and figure it out.  And let me remind you your comments will be invisible until I get in and approve them, but have faith that they register.

Today we've got a treat -- a drawing for copies of BLACK ICE the iconic (for me) book of sex violence and transcendent happy ending.  I absolutely loved hearing about people's beloved books yesterday.  I'd be equally interested in hearing your favorite obscure movie.  Doesn't have to be good or bad, just one you really really love.  Mine is "Miss Tatlock's Millions" from 1948.  It's probably my #1 movie with greats like "Notorious" and "Last of the Mohicans" coming a little further down the list.  What's yours?

And now a brief discourse on where I get my ideas.  Everywhere.  As I've already told you, I got BLACK ICE in a taxi cab during a one-day trip to Paris, listening to the radio.  It didn't come to me until a few months later, but when it did it was like Athena springing fully formed from the head of Zeus.  I wrote that puppy in record time.

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I used to get my best ideas driving.  When you drive your critical mind is focused on the task at hand, and it leaves your dreaming mind free to come up with all sorts of things.  It's only recently that I've found the most fabulous alternative.  I go to the huge, Olympic pool at the nearby private school, and I use a flotation belt and do water walking in the deep end.  There's usually no one there, and I walk around and around one quarter of it, coming up with the outline of the next day's work and long-range ideas.  I love it -- it feels so effortless, and it actually makes me want to exercise.  The only drawback is that occasionally there's someone chatty, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so it blows the work part of the hour.  But I can usually manage to avoid  it, and the lap swimmers on the other side leave me alone.  Plus there's the drive there and back (25 miles each way -- I live in the boonies) to give me either an added boost or time to listen to my soundtrack.  (More on that another day).

Crusie and Lani Diane Rich and I have come up with a whole fairy-tale world and another one based on water nymphs that simply came from a trip to an aquarium.  I hear a snippet of a song, see an actor in a role, smell autumn leaves burning (though they don't burn them in Vermont -- they're all used for mulch) or wet spring earth (smell seems to be the most evocative of the senses).

I'm on the hook for so many books.  Two for Amazon at the moment (and I want to write so many more of those), a final Fallen novel, a final Rohan novel about Emma and Brandon, a book about a '30s art forger, another about a steampunk police investigator with a mechanical prosthesis (mind out of the gutter, people -- it's his arm), a soul reaper in Regency England, a billionaire with massive secrets, characters who are immortal, a 1940s RAF pilot and a married CO's wife and ... It's astonishing.  I sit down with a notebook and pen and the stories just pour out.  Which is why slowing down or retirement simply isn't an option.  I have to write these stories.

The 1940s story came from listening to a Moody Blues song called "Forever Autumn."  Don't ask me why.  The art forger might be a little Indiana Jones crossed with something else I haven't identified.  The steampunk is Jack the Ripper crossed with gasworks factories and a family of strong women.  Oh, and I forgot Beggar's Ken, a series of books about a den of thieves in England in the mid 1800s and three different people who ran it (an offshoot of the Rohan books).

So many ideas.  It's more a question of where don't I get my ideas.  When I was young I survived a stormy upbringing by telling myself stories when I ran out of things to read.  When I grew up I took a coping mechanism and made it into both a calling and a way to make a living.  I'm a practical soul for all that my head is in the clouds.

I'm driving back to Vermont today, daydreaming about Japanese rock stars and listening to Eloisa James's new novel.  Much as I hate to leave Crusie I've got things to do, books to write.

So tell me about your favorite obscure or unexpected beloved movie.  And you might win a copy of BLACK ICE, either e-format or paperback, and prepare to be shocked, shocked, I tell you!