Friday, August 18, 2006

The Kindness of Others - An AW Chain post

Well, it's my turn -not to mention my first time- on the AW Chain, a great blogging exercise by the folks at I was just tagged by Kelly at Organized Chaos and among the experiences she wrote about, one thing reminded me of an incident a few years back when I was still in college. You see, Kelly mentioned this friend who offered to pay her share in order for her to go on a trip with friends. It is indeed a moving experience when you meet such kindness from people who are your friends, but it becomes even more special when it comes from someone you are not that close to.

I had a 1/4 scholarship when I entered college here in Peru but that didn't make it easy for me. You see, since I was coming from a "rich hich school" (even when I was anything but rich) I was immediately tossed into the higher paying category, which was estratospherical and a very big problem for me. I remember going to the financial aid department saying my family couldn't afford this category and the lady there said something like "you should have thought of that before applying".

Anyway, I managed to get through the first couple of terms with huge sacrifices and I eventually got a job on campus with a woman who turns out was the wife of the head of Student Aid. Who knows whether I would have been able to finish college without her help, but there she was, out of the kindness of her heart, putting in the good word for me.

So eventually things got more manageable but never easy. You see, tuition was not such a big problem anymore, but courses demanded some money for some projects. On my 8th term (the program had 10) I enrolled in a TV Production course which I needed for my specialty (Media). Our project was to produce 2 episodes of a soap opera with everything that implied: actors, props, food, equipment, etc. As you can imagine, this was quite a problem for me.

When things got really bad and money began to become a problem not just for me, our group (7 of us) decided to raise funds by helping organize the faculty's fraternity lunch. So there we were, all day buying food, making sandwiches, handing out beers... and losing money by the minute. By the end of that day we were deep in the red and now we not only had the course to pay but we had to cover the losses.

So there I was. The following Monday I was ready to walk up to the teacher and say I was dropping out because I simply could not afford the project. Seconds before I walked in the group said they were having a meeting upstairs. I went there and this guy, Gastón Vizcarra, said "you don't worry, I'm gonna cover your part, you pay me whenever you can". And that was it. The group immediately moved onto some other issue and I was left there standing holding back tears (yup, tears).

Gastón was a great person, fun to be around, but we were never really close. But that was him. And that's the way some people are. They are there ready to help others. It was a touching experience I would never forget.

Eventually I did pay him back. And I passed the course too ;)

So there we go. The next in the chain is Just a Small Town Girl.

If you want to follow the whole chain, which I invite you to do, here you go:


Pass the Torch

The Road Less Travelled

Fireflies in the Cloud

Even in a Little Thing

The Secret Government Eggo Project

Curiouser and Curiouser

At Home, Writing

Mad Scientist Matt's Lair

I, Misanthrope - The Dairy of a Dyslexic Writer

Beyond the Great Chimney Production Log

Flying Shoes

Everything Indian

The Hal Spacejock Series

Organized Chaos

Of Chapters and Reels

Just a Small town girl

Midnight Muse

Kappa no He

Hope you enjoyed this post, a bit different from what you might expect to find but no less fun.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shadow Regions

Here's something really special I'd like to share with all of you. As some of you might know, last year I started an anthology project called Shadow Regions. I grew up in the 80s and I remember growing up mesmerized by the different anthology TV shows that were on back then (The New Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside, Monsters, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, etc.). It was those stories which fueled my desire to become a writer, to create tales of my own, to have a taste of those worlds created by such names as Rod Serling and Richard Matheson.

I love horror, but I've always prefer the psychological aspect of horror. The unease. The fright. The restlessness. These things in my opinion don't need to be triggered by a monster, a ghost, a vampire or anything similar. They can be activitated in a very subtle way by just a peek of the supernatural, and it can happen to anyone. So that's what I wanted to get for Shadow Regions. Stories that dealt with everyday people whose lives are inevitably change by a supernatural event.

I got lots of great stories during the selection process, and it was hard to settle for only 20. But I really like every single one of them. I love the fact that John Shea's "The Bus Ride", while being the longest of the 20, pulls me into this nerve-wrecking atmosphere and doesn't let me go until the end. I love Chris Hawkins' "The Painfully Slow Seduction of Aldus Lamb" where the spark of an office crush starts the fire of a lifetime obsession. I love Trent Roman's "Lost & Found" and how it instantly took me back with a classic tale of the supernatural about two boys and a magic box. I love the fear in A.C. Wise's "Under the Bed" and the smothering heat in William Carl's "Three Days"; the anxiety in Nick Tyler's "Invisible"; the poignancy in Lon Prater's "A Road Like This, At Night"; the need for love in Brian Rappatta's "Passage". I love the way the real world collides with a picture perfect sceneario painted by Lynn Carney in "Pulse".

These are just a few. I love them all.

After so many months I am so glad to inform that Shadow Regions is finally up for presale at the Surreal Magazine website and at This beautiful trade paperback will be ready for distribution in September. In the meantime you can read a great review at HorrorScope.

Thanks to everyone who showed their support for this product. Now I can only hope that you will enjoy this collection as much as I enjoyed putting it together.