Random Drive-By Thoughts – The New Edition

Long-time blog readers may remember an occasional series I used to do called Random Drive-By Thoughts.  They were essentially Twitter before Twitter, in a way — a chance to drop a few unrelated one-liners, or post brief thoughts on different subjects.  They often generated some interesting conversation on a variety of different subjects.

I thought I’d reinstate the occasional Drive-By — but with an eye toward making it a different animal than Twitter.  Let’s see how it goes.


I’m not really sure what to think about this whole Hachette/Amazon thing.  Publishers have had a long history of, let’s say, trying to maneuver things to serve their interests first, so what Amazon is doing seems, on the surface, no worse a tactic.  Also, in the interest of fair disclosure, my entire backlist is sold through Amazon, both paperback and e-book.  Now, I’ve heard notable authors taking both sides, and making compelling arguments.  What I think is, the united voice of authors using social media to battle for fair treatment, as in the Dorchester situation a few years ago, has proven that we can shift the balance with publishers.  With Amazon, maybe not so much — they have the money to strong-arm a situation which seems to me, in my limited understanding of such things, to be bordering on a monopoly, and not the fun kind with the little monocled guy in the top hat.

I don’t think it benefits writers for any one group controlling the publication and/or distribution of our works to have ALL the power, and I guess that is the main thing I struggle with in choosing a side.  I’m okay with a percentage of my money going to a middle man like an agent or publisher only because I don’t feel confident enough in my business acumen to completely discard those traditional services.  My fan base, while growing, isn’t large enough yet that I have the clout to see that my best interests are met simply by handling it myself.  However, that being said, I’m not so new that I can’t see that a publishing paradigm that looks good today might not look so good tomorrow.  Sometimes I really wish we could return to the concept of writers needing to do nothing more than write great books.


I could really use some new hair clips.  Also, call it sexist, but some smells are manly and some are feminine, IMHO.  Using the wrong body wash and hoping your own pH or whatever balances out the smell doesn’t work.  I looove the smell of certain kinds of Axe and Old Spice body washes, but I don’t want to smell like them.  Note to self: thou canst not steal thy son’s bath products.  Motherfail on double levels there.


I read recently in PWD an article where the author put forth that the best crime fiction was being put out by women nowadays.  The gist of the article as I understood it was that he saw former trends in character development that were growing stale (the cozy English mystery, the hard-boiled anti-hero detective), but that women approached both plot and character development by examining the multifaceted aspect of relationships.  He also mentioned that by writing about a whole host of character types as heroes that in the past had been relegated to the side bar of “furniture” in a mystery, the quirky minor characters, that it allowed writers to look at crime/mystery/thrillers from a new perspective.

I remember someone saying something similar about horror not too long ago; that women were producing some of the best and most genuinely frightening and powerful horror fiction nowadays.   In a genre so heavily driven by emotion, it makes sense that women, who often tend to regard emotion to be as useful and reliable a gauge in decision-making and life-planning as logic, reason, and intellect, would explore a horrific situation from other dimensions of perspective.  I believe that at the heart of any good fiction one has good characters, and the crux of any good story is an examination of the relationship those characters have to each other, to themselves, or to outside elements.  I think women tend to examine relationships in their lives and the lives of others through a number of different filters, and in their fiction, particularly in their horror fiction, the causes and effects of those relationships are significant.  This is not to say that men don’t do any of this; rather, I tend to think that men more often examine person vs. self as a primary potential conflict, with the consequent issues thus effecting person vs. nature and person vs. person, whereas women examine person vs. person, the possible fallout of which effecting person vs. nature and ultimately, person vs. self.


I think Nutella should be used as currency because it’s so awesome.  Or as a way to end wars.  Who wants to bomb somebody who gives you a jar filled with love and ground up angels?


Speaking of bombers and terrorists and such, I think ISIS is a beautiful name for one of the ugliest groups this planet has ever produced.


Speaking of Isis and planets, I caught a marathon of Ancient Aliens last night, a show which at best provides creative inspiration for cosmic horror and at worst makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.  They believe that ancient astronauts are from Orion and Sirius.  I can dig it.


I think lobotomies are barbaric.  Just saying.  It kills the part of you that fights back, sure — but it also kills the part of you that fights to feel the experiences of life, good or bad, wondrous or scary, diabolical or divine.  And although a portion of the psychology/medical field seems to feel differently, I also think electroshock therapy sounds pretty barbaric, too.  I have depression and anxiety, the severest cases of which I believe is what they use EST to treat; sending painful volts of electricity through me is sure as hell not going to make me feel good about myself, although it is going to make me TELL you I’m all better, to avoid the treatment again.

I certainly would be interested in hearing from professionals in the field as to what the benefits of the latter treatment are, as it’s quite possible I’m missing something.

The former practice, by the way, has been banned.  The latter is still in practice, although they call it something else now (the name escapes me at the moment).


Have I ever mentioned that I’m terrified of and morbidly fascinated by hospitals and asylums?  Gurneys, wheelchairs, needles, nurse hats, the whole nine.  I’m not scared of losing my mind; I’m scared of losing my memories, and my grip on reality.  I fully expect, though, to be the kind of little old lady people kindly call “eccentric.”  Midnight bike rides in my underwear, flashing chickens, spouting conspiracy theories about ancient aliens among us and robots controlling Stalin and Hitler.

Eccentricity, tally ho!!!


On an unrelated note (ahem), I’m developing my own religion.  Just because.  It’s got magic and monsters and symbols and all kinds of cool occultish stuff, and yet, it all makes sense.  At least to me.



Pumpkin or apple.  That is all.


Ok, that’s it for tonight.  I had an idea for a short story I’m not sure I’m good enough yet to write, but I’m going to try.  Research, then work on the novel.  Stay surreal, dear readers from the deepest depths of darkest dimensions.

About Mary SanGiovanni

Author of the Hollower trilogy, Thrall, Chaos, For Emmy, Possessing Amy, The Fading Place, and more.
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4 Responses to Random Drive-By Thoughts – The New Edition

  1. I love the format of this post. “Writer at home” sort of insights are always fascinating. I will do my best to respond:

    Hachette/Amazon: I am a bad citizen, and have mainly kept this at the periphery. The whole thing has spurred me to start working on my own website, so I can always have marketplace for my books, no matter what happens. Digital sharecropping makes me nervous, but I still love Amazon for what they’ve done for indie authors.

    I could really use some new hair clips: I am in the year long (and counting) process of growing out a pixie cut. I could use some longer hair!

    In a genre so heavily driven by emotion, it makes sense that women, who often tend to regard emotion to be as useful and reliable a gauge in decision-making and life-planning as logic, reason, and intellect, would explore a horrific situation from other dimensions of perspective.: I agree, and love your statement of that premise.

    Nutella: YUM!

    ISIS: And another thing I keep at the periphery. Not that I don’t know what’s going on, mind you, just I can get myself into such a state worrying about the ultimate barbarity and horror of reality that I can no longer function. I believe in Evil.

    Ancient Aliens: Okay, maybe I got rid of my television in haste! This sounds like my sort of show.

    Lobotomies are barbaric: And terrifying. EST is also terrifying. I always recall Plath’s accounts of what it felt like to be shocked, and the incredible lightness of disassociation that followed.

    I fully expect, though, to be the kind of little old lady people kindly call “eccentric.” : Me, too!

    I’m developing my own religion.: I’m in the market for one of those. 🙂

    Pie.: Pecan.

    I had an idea for a short story I’m not sure I’m good enough yet to write, but I’m going to try.: Yes, you can. You are an amazing writer!

    Thanks for the fun post! It brightened my day, and I appreciate that.



    • Awww, thanks, Aniko! And I’m glad it brightened your day. 😀

      I think that’s a wise decision re: your website. I’m working on making mine more dynamic — I’m kind of a binge poster. :p But I can see a trend toward authors eventually becoming writer-publisher-packager-promoter, and books being sold directly from authors’ websites.

      I think pixiecuts are cute! I have a big head though, so I don’t think it would look right on me. I also have very thick and abundant hair with a mind of its own. heehee

      Thanks! It still amazes me that there are people out there, both men and women, who think that women can’t write scary stories because they “girl it up” with romance and soft fluffy things. Someday, I’m going to write about evil pink princess ponies and have it be terrifying!

      ISIS — exactly! You said it perfectly.

      Picture it…Nutella on pie. I think it would be a foodgasm.

      And thanks again — maybe I’ll give that story a shot. 🙂

      Thanks for responding! 😀


  2. I’m not sure I’ve ever left a comment for you, but I’ve been subscribed and reading for a while. (Okay … I’m actually kind of streaky about that … for weeks at a time I’ll remember to check in on my blog reader almost daily, then I’ll just stop for another long period of time.) ANYWAY. Now that I’m making the effort to read again, I stopped by to see the guest post by Matt Manochio. Then I came to see what else you’ve posted lately.

    I love this piece, and I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about what women bring to horror. I think I need to seek out more female writers in the genre. Lately I’ve been trying to “tighten” my own writing to make it more like that of the guys. Your thoughts clarified for me why that’s a bad idea, and helped my to understand why my efforts have been so uncomfortable.

    I just finished re-reading another King. Now I think I’m going to go pull The Hallower off my shelf and re-read that.

    I guess I just want to go on record saying that you should do more of these drive-bys 🙂


    • Hi, Renae! It’s good to hear from you! 😀 And thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I’m also glad it helped. I used to do the same thing, and met with the same results, basically. I wasn’t telling a story strictly the way only I could tell it. Women have a unique perspective that way, and I’m glad more readers and writers alike are recognizing that. 🙂 I’ve been hoping to do the drive-bys regularly — hopefully one before the weekend is over. hee hee

      Liked by 1 person

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