Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writer: A second chance at everything



You were in love. You finally got a date. Everything was absolutely perfect. The waiter was unusually nice. You ordered wine. She drank wine. You said funny things. She laughed. She said funny things too. You laughed some more. Then, you took a post-dinner walk in the most romantic city in the world and came midnight, you were on a bridge over la Seine. There was a light breeze of course. The moon. The freaking stars all aligned. Her hair dancing across her face as she looked at you.  

And then… then…. something absolutely horrible happened: NOTHING.

You didn’t kiss the girl! I mean, seriously! What’s wrong with you, dude? She was there, right in front of you, smiling, and… you know… like open territory! And you…? You stood there talking about the Seine becoming swimmable again, once they're done upgrading the waste water system.

Poof. The moment was gone.

You messed up. She’s gone. Partie. Departed. Dating better guys who would rather French kiss her than talk sewage.

No problem! You’re a writer. All you have to do to get the girl back… when you’re done knocking your head on every wall of you tiny apartment over rue des Martyrs while crying that you’re a freaking idiot for not kissing her… All you have to do to get her back, I was saying, is to switch on your laptop, start your word processor and just… correct that.

See, shazam! You can relive the entire event. The restaurant. The walk. The Seine. The Breeze. You can even pretend it smelled like daisies in spring. You cut out all the embarrassing moments, you don’t mention cleaner water, and, finally, you can jump on the girl and give her that kiss you failed to deliver in reality.

FYI: You can also add UFOs, Aliens, Spacegirls, Vampires, a guy called Nancy - anything that will make this stupid kiss take place, really.

But then, beware of the blank page… the blank page is the literary equivalent of a guy not bungee jumping into a first kiss.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Me vs What lives in the Dark




Most people leave their dangerous tools back at the shop, safely locked away.
What about a fiction writer? Say, someone who writes about nasty little Aliens, zombies, ghosts and ghouls?
Can you detach yourself from your work when night comes? Can you switch off your computer, go to bed in an empty old house and go like … “yeah, everything is hunky-dory, cute rainbows and gentle butterflies… monster and ghost are just business… this is real life… I can safely look into a mirror and my reflection won’t grin back at me while I scream in horror!”
If you write about… the end of the world, you tend to see signs of the forthcoming doom everywhere. If you write about UFOs, bingo – your night sky becomes an E.T. highway at rush hour. If you write about ghosts, even in a comical way, won’t they start walking out of walls and haunt your nights? The wind becomes a spine-chilling complaint. An old cracking painting turns into a gateway for specters to slide into our world and drag you back into their realm of terror.
The problem with ghosts, trust me, is not if you believe in them or not. No matter how irrational ghost fear seems during daylight, at night the argument for their existence sounds more like… ‘WHAT WAS THAT FREAKING NOISE DOWNSTAIRS!?”
Once, a teacher in creative writing told me to be careful when you write fiction. He said writers get haunted by their stories. When I told him mine will be about demons, exorcisms, and what’s undead in general, he told me “good luck with sleeping!” Now that I’m writing this post trying not to look away from my computer screen in case something white and dead is actually staring at me from the darkest corner of this creepy bedroom, I’m convinced he was right.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ten Great things about being a YA writer


1. You get to work in your pajamas and commuting is reduced to 8 seconds (from bedroom to sofa, with short compulsory stops in the bathroom and the kitchen) 
2. It doesn’t matter what adults think 
3. Zombies, Vampires, Death Games, Aliens, Ghosts, the Amazing Creature from the Black Lagoon, Werewolves, Witches and Making out at dusk after surviving a space invasion: those are your main concerns of the day. 
4. People in the industry think you’re not a SERIOUS writer, which surely means that you’re a FUN writer 
5. It’s perfectly okay to quote Scooby Doo 
6. Young Adults are mostly concerned about love, sex, their place in the world and what creature might eat them – all very valid subjects 
7. Your lunch break lasts up to 5 hours
8. You share with other writers a secret handshake 
9. Shopping new books and reading novels while lying in the park is considered “professional development”
10. It’s simply the coolest job in the world, up there with professional surfers and the janitor at Area 51.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Invasion of the Body Snatchers



If you have doubts about UFOs, Aliens - or simply Spacegirls! - visiting our planet and interacting with us, just watch this series (narrated by Peter Coyote, btw)


After you watched this, the question won't be “what if...?” anymore, but… “WHY!!?”

Why are they here? Why are they flying around so discreetly? Why couldn’t they land on Times Square on a busy day, get out their flying saucers and ask where to find a reasonably priced restaurant and a decent show?

My answer is simple: little green men are zoologist and you, my friend, you’re the animal!

To study you properly, they try to disturb you as little as possible – just the way any biologist would do – hiding in camouflage, observing, taking pictures, and, yes, time to time, discreetly lifting a sample (that would be your poor uncle Ted who disappeared while duck hunting, even though everyone thought it was Jack Daniel’s and deep water that did him).

So, beware. There must be cameras everywhere. Act natural. Don’t make silly faces when you believe no one’s watching. As I type this, they’re probably observing you taking a shower, while a Zoomoplasmic version of David Attenborough get all emotional about you not dissolving in water, like they do.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Dark Side of Paname


If you love Paris, you need to get a copy of



It’s highly readable, and it will captivate you and chill you to the bones.

Forget the Paris of Lovers! Forget drinking gallons of red wine, long romantic walks along the canal Saint Martin and dinners Chez Flo.

Think blood, pain, murders, and more horror than in the entire collection of Universal Classic Monsters Movies (Creature from the Black Lagoon included).

Very inspiring if you’re working on a horror series set in Paris! If there’s murder, there’ll be ghosts. ;)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Do the right thing!



When the Hunger Games came out, I was desperate. I was in France and I couldn’t get a copy of the book. I didn’t want to wait and read it in French translation. I couldn’t have Katniss go “sacrebleu!” and “merde alors!” every second page. So I did the wrong thing. I found a German website which illegally offered a full version of the trilogy online.

I read it and adored it.

Now that The Hunger Games trilogy is available worldwide, I’m doing the right thing! I just bought it (with a croissant, because I’m still in France).

Now, I'm reading it again (while eating my croissant) – which make me thing… everything always tastes better when it’s legit!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

an old classic: the "beard or no beard" game

Solution 1 - BEARD! (picture taken right after I finished writing How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend and didn't shave during the entire process)


Solution 2 - NO BEARD!!! (Picture taken, like, well... Now)




Dear American friends, what look should I go for while reading excerpts from my book in the US (you have to imagine that I have a really strong French accent before you make up your mind)?

Your help will be much appreciated

PS. don't worry about the "rabbit caught in headlights"  look - it disappear with the third pot of coffee.

Win an ARC of How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend ( + French goodies)

If you can solve the following riddle, my book is yours!

What is hot, black, extra strong and keeps me writing zany spacegirl novels through the night?

Email me the solution and your address at garyghislain@yahoo.com and I'll mail back a copy of my book and something very Fresh, French and Edible.

Oh... I give you a subtle clue in the following picture.



Good luck, Holmes!