Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recharging the Battery

It's been a number of days since my last post because I've been away at my sister's house up north. Good God in Heaven, but it was hot. Four days of 100 plus temperatures with my sister, her two kids and the five kids from the neighbor's coming over every five minutes. It went so fast I can't quite remember everything that happened. However, it was a battery recharging I needed, a chance to get away from my tiny apartment, see my family and immerse myself in the majesty and beauty Northern California has to offer.

I will give you some blurbs: Lots and lots of trees. Most very tall. Ash, oak, fur, apple, neat lines of walnut trees, lacey strings of grapes and snarls and snarls of burdocks. Flat white rocks that ground together like teeth under my car tires. Sweat dripping down the back of my leg, then blood from three mysterious gashes. The feel of Robin's breath on my calf as she bandaged me. Lisa's laughter outside, echoed by everyone within hearing range, because Lisa's laugh is more infectious than swine flu. Cassie's wheat colored hair being slicked and straightened under a brush. Dustin upside down on every piece of furniture. Sunlight slanting through blinds and striping kitties with gold bricks. Cattails itchy against bare legs. Flip-flops smacking against concrete, packed dirt, and slipping on gravel. Meat bees humming over the skirt steak. The dogs hitting the motherlode when the kid's table is abandoned. A pinata filled with toys and hard candy. Three little kids smeared with chocolate icing, followed by three naked little kids smelling of berry soap. Poor Hailey's labored breathing in the night. Birds with magic wings flitting to the feeder. Waking up covered in sweat, so it feels like all your folded places have been oiled. Lifting the blanket to grab cooling waves of air from the fan. My dad up on a ladder and briefly wondering about his mortality. Indestructible moon sand meteors. Smiles, tears, why nots? He saids, you saids, I wannas. I hate yous. You're not my friends. Glad you came. Glad I came. Missed exit. I made it home. I had a great time. Thank you for coming. Thank you for having me. I miss you already. I love you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AW Blog Chain

Well, the AW blog chain is rolling along. I am picking up where Fokker Aeroplanbau left off
http://rightfarright.blogspot.com/ . This blog chain has no set topic, we are just supposed to roll off each other as we go along. So far, the topic has been climate change, and our impact (or lack of impact) on it.

My topic will be individual responsibility about resources, and the scientists can fight and argue over whether or not it affects our climate. Rain forests are disappearing, logging is clearing huge chunks of the United States, and whether or not it affects the weather, I am not well educated enough to tell you. I don't think it's a good thing for trees to be sacrificed to fuel the wasteful practices of some people. I was raised with "waste not, want not" ringing through the air, from my grandmother and a plethora of aunts and cousins. I still use my teabags at least twice. It kills me to see someone write one line on a piece of paper and then throw it out. It's one of my pet peeves!

We live in a world glutted with paper. Paper cups, paper napkins, paper liner on the try at the deli, paper instructions, paper wrapper around the paper cup, paper receipt for buying the newspaper. I remember the joy of buying clean white paper to print out my stories. Now I am older and A) Poor and B) More aware. I would love to print out my stuff on new paper, but now I use recycled paper from an excellent source: my work! You would not believe the amount of paper we throw out in the specialty plumbing business. I am not such a snob as to overlook free paper, I don't care if it's got orders or breakdowns of faucets and toilets on the other side! This way it is: A) FREE! and B)Would just be going into a landfill if I didn't use it. When I'm done marking up my manuscript and done retyping it, I'll carry that to the recycle bin at my apartment complex. That is at least 500 pages of paper I know aren't going to be disintegrating among the plastic bottles and broken dollies in a landfill. When it's time to start querying, I'm going to make my first attempts online. If I should find an awesome agent I just HAVE to query that doesn't accept email queries, I will use recycled paper, recycled packaging material (and probably recycled money to mail it with. Who needs cable tv, right?!)

Do I think this is going to change the world? Is the Antarctic going to stop melting? Are the polar bears going to have more seals to eat? Probably not. But there is no reason to buy a new ream of paper (even though... oh doesn't it smell good?) wrapped in a paper wrapper, for which I will get a paper receipt, and a plastic bag to carry it home in. I do this because it seems like the right thing to do, and it might make things a little easier on our friends, the trees.

If you are interested, here is the rest of the blog chainers:

Razib Ahmed:
http://hobbyeconomist.blogspot.com/ --- Hobby EconomistFokker Aeroplanbau: http://rightfarright.blogspot.com/ -- I'm Always Right, Far RightBettielee: http://farseeingfairytales.blogspot.com/ ---- Far Seeing Fairy Tales Bsolah: http://www.benjaminsolah.com/blog ---- Benjamin Solah, Marxist TalksForbidden Snowflake: http://www.alleslinks.com/ ------ DeliriousRosemerry: http://beyondtourism.wordpress.com/ --- Beyond Tourism: Florida's YesteryearDnic: http://four-lettered-words.blogspot.com/ ---------- Four-Lettered WordsLady Cat: http://www.randomwriterlythoughts.blogspot.com/ --- Random Writerly ThoughtsTruelyana: http://expressiveworld.com/ -- Expressive World Tika: http://tikanewman.blogspot.com/ ---------- Tika Newman Bill Ward: http://www.billwardwriter.com/ --- BillWardWriter.comdancingandflying: http://madeofcarbon.blogspot.com/ ---- Made of Carbon

Monday, June 22, 2009

Progress, and A Writer to Writer Meme

So, things are going along singing a song! The end is near, things are coming to a head, things are coming together, and the last two days have been writing magic! I have so many ideas about what’s happening I had to open a new file and type them all down, before they drift away like seeds on the wind. Now, if the cat would stop trying to eat my mouse cord....

I came across this on Isaac Espriu’s Place who said he found it at Got Muse? A Writer-To-Writer Meme . I am enjoying these....

1) Where do you write?
I have a card table (had to ix-nay on the esk-day, damn chair wouldn’t fit!) I am surrounded by my pictures of architecture. For some reason, architecture just sets my brain free. I also have pictures and figurines of fairies. I gotta have flair. 

2) When do you write?
Unfortunately,  I work for a living. I hate that. So after work is when I write. I am a night owl, but I am trying to write earlier, so it is the first thing I do, not the last.

3) Planner or Pantser?
Pantser! Loud, Proud, Pantser! I’ll tell you why I started writing. Stephen King said I could, and that I didn’t have to plan it all out. And I don’t mean he personally told me I could, but I read “On Writing”. He believes that stories are found things, that they are in the earth, and all you have to do is chip away the stone and dirt, and yes, the occasional rotted piece of plastic or old shoe loafer. You don’t always get it all, sometimes you break off a piece, but if you are honest and telling a story, you will get out as much as you need. He told a journalist that, who told him he was coo  coo for coco puffs. Stephen King told him he didn’t care if he (the reporter) believed him. Frankly, I don’t care if you believe it either. It works for me, and time and time again, I stumble over a big huge piece of ancient buried story that I never knew was there. It’s awesome.

4) Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Iced in the summer (but I have to buy those!), warm in the winter. Generally, I brew my own, but oh, how I love a mocha from Starbucks....

5) Pen and paper, or computer?
Computer - for writing. However, I adore journals, love love love journals. I always have one for my notes, ideas, character information and general ramblings.

6) What gets you in the writing mood?
Writing. I need to get the fingers and brain warmed up a little, so I like to go on Absolute Write and do some goofing off. 

7) What pulls you out of the writing mood?
I use any excuse, but I am doing so much better now. Being broke. Being broke sucks! Being depressed, but the writing helps with that. I guess... not writing pulls me out of the writing mood! The guilt begins to weigh....

8.) What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever read/heard/received?
Read a lot. Write a lot.

9) Got muse?
Yes. She comes out of the aether. From nowhere. I’ll look at a rock... and think, what if there were elf-like elephants that came out of the desert to dispense wisdom, or punishment... The more I write, the more I read, the more ideas I get. I love ideas. They’re like particles. They bang into each other and make more little particles.

10)Who is the biggest supporter of your writing?
I’ve written this almost verbatim on AW. When I mention my writing, my sister says “I know you’ll publish. I know you’re gonna be a writer.” It makes me feel special.

11)Sound or silence?
Music! I gotta have tunes. Each book has had a different soundtrack.

What about you? If you want to do this, please be sure and follow the link Got Muse? A Writer-To-Writer Meme and read the instructions for contributing. (We’re writers, we ought to know how to do that!)

Look forward to reading everyone’s answers!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ask The Characters What They Want to Do

Today’s writing was in short, totally awesome. Ten pages, and I didn’t pull anything or make any sacrifices to any Gods, real or imagined. It felt like the good ol’ days, back when I was doing the first book. It’s like I stopped positioning characters and just stood back, turned off the thinking part of the brain (that does nothing for me except spin and throw me off) and the story just played itself out. Threads of plots are coming together, stuff is coming to light. The end is coming, and it is going to be a BANG.

I’ve also been waffling about a certain scene with a certain pair of characters. I went to a lovely writer of romance I have become buddies with for advice (Nancy, AKA, wannawrite). She gave me lots to think about, and chief among them was: see what the characters want to do. Then I remembered, they had to do it for the plot. Damn plot. Well, you know what happens then. When plot gets in the way, the characters balk. Apparently, throw sex at them and they get all agreeable. It’s possible my recent rubbing up against sparklepeaches on AW is rubbing off, because I wrote my first real sex scene. I had imagined it would be nothing but the before and after, but well, I just got in there with them. Now this is fantasy, and you can’t be graphic. Your euphemisms must be beyond euphemistic, in other words, throbbing and swelling aren't allowed. And it is integral to the story, I will jump up and down and proclaim that from the mountain tops. Without the information gained through this scene, things don’t add up.

Coming near to the end of book II, and a breakthrough. And I’m spent....

Saturday, June 20, 2009


So ironic. I just asked what a meme was, saw on one on Isaac Espriu’s Place asked about copying it (which I will, but the link to the original blog isn't working) and was tagged by Sarah Dooley for a meme! It's all comin' together. I feel very special!

Sinful Nature

"Sometimes you can learn more about a person by what they don’t tell you. Sometimes you can learn a lot from the things they just make up. If you are tagged with this Meme, lie to me. Then tag 7 other folks (one for each deadly sin) and hope they can lie."

Pride -- What is your biggest contribution to the world?

My witty responses in AW

Envy -- What do your coworkers have that you wish was yours?

Two computers on their desks!

Gluttony -- What did you eat last night?

Chicken salad from Jack in the box (don’t cook on Fridays. Don’t cook!)

Lust -- What really lights your fire?

Naked pictures of Colin Farel.

Anger -- What is the last thing that really pissed you off?

An a-hole pointed out a spelling error I made in public. With a really snarky, patronizing tone. 

Greed -- Name something you hoard and keep from others.

Just about anything I can get my hands on. I wish I was less greedy and more generous. 

Sloth -- What’s the laziest thing you ever did?

Did I mention Fridays? Once I did that all week. All week....

I tag the following people:

Adam Slade



Leah Michelle




Now. Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie... even though... I think all mine were filled with truthiness...

As for the book, things are hummin' along singing a song. I vowed to write every day this week, and I have, but Thursday was pathetic, with only a page and half worth. Now I am getting to some more stuff I had planned on over a year and a half ago. Now, if only the cat would leave me alone....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Incarnation of Ghorn, really!

The question of “to outline or not to outline” has been raging over on the AW board this week. I am no outliner, but I don’t begrudge those of the I II III set their plan. I feel like the story is there, I just haven’t written the outline. I’ll get there eventually.

This “by the seat of your pants thing” can be fun. As I’ve said, I know where the story is going, I just don’t know how I’m going to get there. Sometimes that can be hard, sometimes, it is damn fun, especially when the surprises happen. In my last post, I alluded to a dragon named Ghorn. The problem with Ghorn is that in the first book, we don’t see him. He is briefly mentioned and that brief mention lets us know he is a little off. “Off” as in, not like other dragons. The first time this hint is dropped, Jale is thinking about her lover, Baerwen, who is missing, and Ghorn, his bond (think: partner) has fled because something has happened to Baerwen (we don’t know what at this stage.) When I wrote this little sentence, “He was a singular and unique dragon. In truth, few might miss him, but few knew him as she had.” I honestly didn’t know what I was talking about. I thought it might be cool if Ghorn was a little different. Every story needs its odd ducks, its comic relief. It squiggled at my brain, because if I didn’t come up with some way that he was different or strange, I would have to go back and take that out. Cut to a book and a half later, and Ghorn’s uniqueness is only a hint at his true nature, which turns out to be a much bigger part of the story (and perhaps the 3 books I see beyond the first cycle of stories - cue dramatic music!) 

What is his different-ness, you ask? To what drum does he dance? Sorry, kids, to find that out, you must wait. If the luck of the Warlocks is with us, the Tales from the Dragonfael will be finished and published someday... or perhaps you will be given the task of beta reading. (The latter, as we all know, is more likely than the former, but hey, we gotta dream, right?)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Goals, Fear, and the Incarnation of Ghorn

I’ve had some interesting conversations about goals and progress this week. Some people have commented on my “consistency” which I find flattering. I certainly don’t feel consistent.  I just see all the wasted time, as I’ve said before. Hopefully, another 49 days and this book will be done. Then on to the next book, before coming around full circle and stepping back to look at the big picture. It’s been exactly a year and a half, and that isn’t a year and a half of constant writing. I went months and months or weeks and weeks without writing, mostly out of fear. 

I’ve decided that I have to write every day. I usually love it, or I remember loving it. I know I love the feeling of “having written”. It’s been a hard go this past month. The last real string of daily writing was back in November, maybe December before getting back on the horse in the middle of May. I did some work on editing the first one in February and March, after I discovered how I had caught passive voice disease. The good thing is, the story feels alive again, even if I’m having trouble getting the words out of the Magic Fiction Machine and into the Word Processor. I even had a breakthrough the other day about a certain troublesome dragon. Guess what? He had every right to be troublesome. He finally got out a frying pan, hit me over the head with it, and made me understand his conundrum. Problem children. They are the best.

I’m going to try and keep taking my own advice. Don’t know what to do? Write. Afraid you’re messing it up? Write. Think this is going off in the wrong direction? Well, if you don’t write it, it won’t go in any direction, will it? So write.


Friday, June 12, 2009


I’ve noticed something. My characters pace the floor deep in the night. Often. Sleep and sleeplessness have become a part of the theme. Trouble sleeping has become a sign when diviners or sybils are going to prophesy. Dreams can be a guide, or a physical conduit for conversation. Regular humans don’t sleep deeply enough to have what are called “the living dreams.” There is even a veil to the edge of sleep, which the Dragongar can grab ahold of and pull over themselves. They can go toward the field of traveling orbs that are dreams, or withdraw and fall into restful, dreamless slumber, knowing their dragon can come under the veil and get them if needed.

Guess who’s an insomniac? 

Dunh dunh dunnnnn

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Desk, My Flair

I have little to report on the writing front. I am doing it, but I am tired of complaining about what a wrench it is. I mean, every other day it’s a wrench, and every other day I think I am Ann Frickin’ McCaffrey. So, today I am going to talk about my desk, or rather, the environment around my desk. Because I love my desk, everyday!


Now, this is the new and improved desk layout. I had a great big card table that was a little wobbly. It required a cutting board so the ol’ Mac wouldn’t tumble over if I sat down too enthusiastically (yes, that’s what I said.) 

One thing you will notice is the flair. I am a flair person. I’ve got to have stimulating pictures, trinkets, pretty things all around me. No doubt you have noticed the abundance of fairies (including Mariposa Barbie) Well, they are the statues I mentioned in the very first post about my muse. She can inhabit one or the other of these, and we can have a conversation... or I can have a conversation as she looks on disapprovingly. 

Along with the fairies are several dragons. Now, I guess this is obvious, as I like dragons, and my WIP is about dragons. I find the pictures (or figures) inspire me. I came up with idea of the tiny little dragon from one of Selina Fenech’s paintings of a beautiful red fairy with a small dragon on her shoulder. It also helps with references and size. My dragons are huge. I look at a picture and imagine that serpentine tail wrapping itself around the dragon’s body, the texture of the scales and the way they rub together, the way it hugs the legs, or flexes and tightens in anger or coils and bounces in the air when amused. I imagine the huge papery wings and the sound they would make, the air they would  displace when flapped, the way the sun would shine through them on a bright day. There are all different wing angles, and in my story, the dragon’s wing positions and body posture are forms of communication. That idea came about from looking at one of Ciruelo Cabral’s paintings of two dragons facing off.

 I'm terrible at forming faces in my mind’s eye, but I look at pictures of faces and I can talk about the slope of a cheek, the plump bit at the end of the nose, or the way chins are soft and round or pointy and delicate, or nonexistent. The way hair flows or catches light. 

Lastly, architecture. I love old buildings, and ancient cathedrals are a wealth of reference. I have stolen the faces of many famous buildings for inspiration, and also demolished them and put them back together to make new ones. I have no fewer than fifteen wallpapers of Neuschwanstein castle. I find the place absolutely magic.

Sometimes, living in my head gets a little stagnant, and going outside of it and into another artist's is pure inspiration. I like to keep these things close to my desk, things for my eye to play with and keep the internal eye from falling asleep!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The 300th Page Blues

You might have noticed the lack of posts. Well, I’ve been floundering. Have suddenly discovered what a little whimp one of my main characters is. He just floats along like a bit of dandelion fluff. I also realize I have about 4 subplots that have just sort of wandered off and been left to float in the wind. This happens every time I get to the neighborhood of 300 pages. I don’t know what to do: go back and do some fixing, because I never know where things are going until I write them, so therefore, I don’t know how to go forward. Or, do I leave well enough alone, trusting that whatever I write in the future will not affect or will be easily blended into the past?

So I have been silent on the writing front since Thursday. Not that I haven’t attempted to write, but most of it has been staring at pages, or cutting up paragraphs or pages and moving them to alternate files, thinking, I will insert something here, then realizing how fruitless that is. So I sit there, and read things about writer’s block, knowing that’s not what I really have. What I have is the fear. The fear of farking it up. So tonight, I just sat and wrote the one storyline that I knew how to proceed on. I got 5 pages. Somebody give me a big fat hug and a kiss.

I guess the good news is that there is no problem ramping up the angst on the whimpy mc. I mean, he’s a teenager in a fantastical situation, with a female authority figure leading him around by the nose. (And, though I love her, she’s a bit of a bitch, and that’s being nice about it.) His mother is a mush-headed drug addict. Gee, I wonder what the conflict should be...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

58 More Days

I am moving closer to my goal! I got around 8 pages done tonight. I know that is small beans to some people I know (who shall remain sparkly, or living in Japan and nameless, you know who you are) but it was a pleasant evening in Fahr Calladahn for me. I will take all of those I can get.

It still feels like I’m stumbling around in the dark. I’ve got too many people in a scene. I need to remember, what is so and so doing? And I am trying to follow my own advice. Noun, verb. Noun, verb. Don’t say “so and so saw the wave approach” - no. The Wave Approached! The wave roared! The wave slammed down on the beach. Stop thinking about the rewrite. I always think the rewrite is going to be impossible, and four or five months later, I am shocked and amazed that I see how all that glunk I spewed out can be formed into something resembling a stew, something edible. It’s funny how, in the cold light of day, the stuff you worried about doesn’t matter, and you see missing shingles and warped boards that need replacing. But before I can make stew, or repairs on the house of my story, or whatever other metaphor I can dredge out of my tired, sleep deprived brain, I have to do all the chopping and erect the framework. I am getting there!

If all goes as planned, 58 more days till The Truthsayers Plot is complete.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Only 3 Pages

I had to give up after a while. I only got 3 pages tonight, but I got a late start. I’ve been having some cool email exchanges lately. I’ve been critiqued and done critiques for people, tried to inspire someone to trot out some poetry, exchanged story ideas - do you know, I know two people working on fairy stories? And I am not working on a fairy story! 

Speaking of critiques, I don’t mean to toot my own fairy flute, but I’ve gotten two nice responses from readers on the first chapter of Tales from the Dragonfael. Both of them were confused about some things, but apparently, I worked my magic well enough to confuse them into saying it had promise! I am stoked. 

If you, too, are a writer of the fiction, the short variety or the poetry, there is a killer new ezine taking the country and the internet and even  the printed realm by storm:


And it pays cash money! Check it out, please follow the submission instructions, as that is always an admirable thing in a writer. It helps you get published. Not following the submission instructions lead to derision and failure.

I’ve also noticed my ranks are swelling. I now have 10 followers. Have faith, my people, and await the signal. You will be given instructions.... soon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

whooooo hooooooo

Two words for today. WHOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!

Finally! A breakthrough. I had a writing session where I wasn’t sitting there, counting each and every page, wondering when does the torture end? When can I stop for the day?! Or, God, I wish this was over because I have a good idea for a blog entry, but if I had to to one extra half page in the Truthsayer’s Plot, I’m going to have to slit open my wrist and make a deal with the nearest devil. My goal was 4 pages, I did 6-1/2! 

I really need to start writing earlier. It is such a relief to have it “over” for the day, and have the rest of the night to myself. Maybe its been hard because writing seems to be the last thing I do, rather than the first. By the time I open up my word processor, I’ve got a few hours of guilt. Maybe they are holding me down. 

On another note:

Anyone a Stephen King fan? He co-wrote an excellent book with Peter Straub called the Talisman. In it, the main character, Jack, had this fairy-tale place he visited as a child. As he got older, he learned that the Daydreams weren’t pretend; he had the ability to go there. A man named Speedy Parker tells him how to get back to this land, and says they are called “The Territories.” At one point, Jack, who has departed on a Quest for the Talisman, is picked up by a nasty man running a “Christian” home for wayward boys. It’s all a scam, and connected to the baddies in the Territories. One of the sermons the bad man gives is from the bible, and it struck a chord with me:

Fret not thyself because of evildoers,

neither be thou envious against

the workers of iniquity

for they shall soon be cut down like the grass

and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;

so shalt thou dwell in the Territories

That is my wish. To dwell in the Territories, obviously, the ones of my own making. I have this saying on a card on my desk, and I read it all the time. I guess I think of it as Trust in the Muse, and do good, because I am sure she has an ear bent God’s way. I am trying to do good, in life and in writing, and in reaching out to other writers and giving them encouragement. I think I get more from reaching out to people with a kind word (or a kick in the butt) than I am giving. It’s an interesting discovery!

I’ve noticed I have 8 followers now. I thank you all for stopping by, and hope to hear from you, your thoughts on my posts, or free advice, if you have it to give. Thank you!