Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I’ll Write You Tomorrow…

Camp’s only a day away…

Yeah, I know.  I can’t sing.  Pretend I’m on key, all right?

All right.  Now then, as I was saying…

Tomorrow Camp NaNoWriMo starts and never have I been this unprepared.

I take that back.  I may have been this unprepared for the first NaNoWriMo I ever did, which makes it sort of appropriate, in a way.

My first NaNoWriMo resulted in the rough draft of a book which I realized as I wrote it was the third book of a trilogy.  This year, finally, I am getting around to finishing said trilogy.  Books one and two have been started for a while and have been languishing in a forgotten folder on my computer, but no more!  Now they are seeing the light of day, breathing the fresh air of Camp NaNoWriMo, and hopefully not drowning me in the lake.

The novels-to-be are all packed and ready to go.

They have their characters, their stuffed plot bunnies, and their favorite noms.

They have been vaccinated against procrastination, distraction, and the need to sleep.

They have a shared tent and individual sleeping bags.

They have signed up for activities: plot hole awareness, inner editor avoidance, and completed first draft.

I’ll be going along as a camp counselor/chaperone.

Guess I’d better go brush up on my campfire songs…

(Does anyone know the words to “Kumbaya”?

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Sunday Excerpt — March 30, 2014

More from Sanguine, a science fiction novel (still in progress) with elements of semi-paranormal M/M romance.

(I am done with beta readers, and Sanguine is in next-to-final-edit stage, so this is still a work in progress and the following lines may or may not have been hacked and recombined and creatively punctuated to fit into 10 sentences.)

Picking up from last week’s snippet:

 

“Because I was raised with tales that are much older than history, Master.  Tales of vampires and slaves and servants and wars… tales that stretch back to the beginning, the very beginning.” 

 

Gregor watched him carefully as he spoke, and then their lips met and it was not clear who started the kiss but Kaen shuddered as he felt something inside of him open and reach out and for a moment the two of them seemed to melt into each other and Kaen looked at Gregor with wonder in his eyes.  “What…?”

 

“It is our soul bond, Master.”

 

It was Gregor’s voice, Gregor’s body, but for a moment there was someone else in Kaen’s vision and he held him tenderly.  “Donu,” he whispered, his voice choked with grief and loss.  “Donu.”

 

 

Check out Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.

My other novel, Song and Sword is currently available for Kindle and all other e-readers. 

Song and Sword cover

Available for Kindle at Amazon

and at Smashwords for all other e-readers.

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Looming Deadlines

I love deadlines.  Seriously.  Without them I probably wouldn’t get anything done.

For instance, Camp NaNoWriMo starts on Tuesday, and so does NaPoWriMo.  In order to be ready for the two of them I need to have some stuff done and out of the way:

I want to have Sunday Snippet posts scheduled through April, both for Sanguine and for Doll.  (Which means I have to do some writing for Doll, as I don’t have enough of it written to carry me more than another week, if that.)

I also need to get posts written for my Pagan blog, The Wytch’s Cauldron.

I would like to finish the current edit of Sanguine and either find someone willing to give it a read or just format it and be done with it.

I also need to re-read what I have written for Books One and Two of The Other Mages trilogy and make some sort of rudimentary outline of them for Camp, or at least a list of what needs to happen by the end of each book and what loose ends are in danger of being left dangling.

So…

I’ve been off for the last two days and I have done…

None of the above.

Well, last night I finished rough drafts of Cauldron posts, and I edited eight or nine chapters of Sanguine, but that’s been about it.

Which means that today, in addition to lunch out and a trip for groceries, I need to do everything else on my list, or as much of it as is humanly possible.

And you know what?  Most of it will get done.

Why?  Because there is a deadline looming over me and I know that for the next three days work will suck the life and energy out of me.

How?  Because almost all of this could have been done on Wednesday if I had just buckled down and done it.

Why didn’t I?  Because the deadline wasn’t ominously close enough.  And now that it is,now that I feel like I don’t have enough time to do everything, panic ensues, adrenaline kicks in, and things get done.

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Rats!

So, just over a week until Camp NaNoWriMo starts.  It’s going to be interesting this year…

For one thing, I’m still adjusting to a new job with no set schedule, which is making it a little hard to get into the swing of writing.

For another, I’ll be doing NaPoWriMo along with camp – attempting to write 30 poems in 30 days in addition to the 50,000 word goal I’m setting myself for camp.

Normally I am a rebel for camp, working on an already started project and trying to finish it.  This year I’m actually trying to finish two:  the first two books of The Other Mages trilogy.  Book One is almost done and Book Two is about halfway, I think.  I have no outline prepared for either one – I suppose I should probably do that sometime between now and next Tuesday.  (Or at least figure out what still needs to be covered in each of them.)

And this year I have an additional distraction – three of them, actually: Peter, Paul, and Perry, my pet rats.  They aren’t all that time-consuming, technically.  It takes about half an hour to do a thorough weekly cage cleaning (with quicker cleanings in between) but they are spoiled little critters who love attention and who are endlessly entertaining.

And they are very bad for productivity.  (They are sort of anti-muses.)

They love to come out to play with me, and it’s really hard to resist those bright hopeful eyes peering at me through the bars of the cage, or the tiny little paws reaching out for me.

But it’s also really hard to type with them using me for a jungle gym, especially when Paul and Peter try to sit on my wrists while I’m typing.  (Perry, so far, is not at all interested in the keyboard, although the other two find it fascinating.)

You know, now that I’m thinking about it, they aren’t too different than plot bunnies: trying to get my attention, trying to tear me away from what I should be doing…

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Sunday Excerpt — March 23, 2014

More from Sanguine, a science fiction novel (still in progress) with elements of semi-paranormal M/M romance.

(I am done with beta readers, and Sanguine is in next-to-final-edit stage, so this is still a work in progress and the following lines may or may not have been hacked and recombined and creatively punctuated to fit into 10 sentences.)

Picking up from last week’s snippet:

Kaen shuddered into the kiss and held him tightly.  “How do we work through this, Gregor?   I can’t keep going like this.  I want you and need you and I am so afraid that I am going to kill you…”

“You haven’t yet,” Gregor said, smiling. “It will calm, Master. Once you are used to the fact that you have me, it will calm.  Right now it is too new, too exciting, too intoxicating…”

Gregor’s words wrapped around him like a reassuring blanket.  “How is it,” he murmured, “that you know so much when you are so young?”

 

 

Check out Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.

My other novel, Song and Sword is currently available for Kindle and all other e-readers. 

Song and Sword cover

Available for Kindle at Amazon

and at Smashwords for all other e-readers.

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It Seemed Like A Good Idea…

And then I started thinking about it…

Marketing really isn’t my forte.  I pretty much suck at it, in fact.

But somehow or other, while free-writing in 750words.com, I was writing about a plot bunny that hopped in the other day, and I got the “brilliant” idea that writing little short stories to go with The Academy of the Accord series would be a good idea.  I would post them here on my blog and they would be a fun way to promote the books, raise interest in them, etc.

But then I started thinking…

There are twelve books in the series, some of which aren’t written yet.  Should each one of them have a short story?

And how long should the short stories be?  (Answer: as long as they need to be.)

And what would they be?

Book One is the start of it all:  Marsden and Vinadi meet, overcome obstacles, learn to trust one another, and begin to plan the school.  I was thinking that its short story might be something from Marsden’s childhood – there are a lot of options there:  the incident with the captive wizards and tortured non-humans, something that shows his early training, something with his family, especially his youngest brother…

Lots of options.

Book Two is the start of the school, and introduces five new characters.  Tough to choose something from that, but I do have one in mind, one that will show the nature of one of the characters, and his relationship with the others.  I’ve been kicking it around in my head for a while anyhow.

In Book Three four of the above mentioned new characters go on a journey, sort of a rite of passage for the wizards in the group.  When they return, they find that Vinadi has hired an assistant – someone that none of them like or trust.  I think the short story for that would be how Barlen came to be there

Book Four introduces Senzu, a Wyverian apprentice wizard.  (Wyverians are a race created during the Wizard Wars, sort of a humanoid dragon.)  I have a couple ideas for a short story to go with it, or maybe I can combine them into one: they do fit together, and would provide a good back story for the book, and it would tie in neatly with Marsden’s comment in the book about the fact that he and Vinadi took a lot of journeys south.

Book Five gets messy.  (Book Five is messy.) It used to be the original novel (well, the second version of the original novel) and I’m not quite sure where it ends as parts of the latter part of it are being torn out and moved to the starts of two other books. (I swear, I’m naming Book Five “Migraines.”  Or “Excedrin.”)  So I currently have no idea what to do for a short story for it.

Book Six is one of the books being sort of gently untangled from Book Five.  Or at least the start of it is.  It’s another book that I can’t really come up with a short story idea for until it’s written, especially as the only thing I can think of sort of gives away some info that I don’t want revealed yet.

Book Seven is the other one being untangled from Book Five, but I have more of it written and planned than I do Book Six, so I have a couple ideas for it.  One involves the focus character, Brythel, slipping out of his house (before he came to the Academy) to go listen to the minstrels in the taverns.  The other involves Brythel and his cousins, and sort of sets the stage/provides some background for events in the novel – except that some of those events are also tangled into Books Five and Six.  (The three are sort of set semi-concurrently.)

With Book Eight I’m out of the confusion of concurrent novels and back into a straightforward timeline.  It introduces Terhesh, another Wyverian, and is set just after the end of Book Seven.  I’m not quite sure what to do for his short story yet, but I’ll probably do something set at Arcane Academy, which is where he started his training as a cadet.  It can involve Rarian, who shows up in Book Ten, and it would really help to have their past relationship sorted out before he gets there.

Book Nine is also written.  Mostly.  I sort of stopped because I got confused as to who was where and never wrote the last couple of scenes.  There are a couple minor characters in it that would be fun to explore as a side story – or two.  In fact, one short story is already started, and the other is the plot bunny that started this whole short story fiasco.  (And, no, they cannot be combined.)

Book Ten is started but hasn’t gotten very far.  Two new characters have been introduced, an apprentice and a cadet (Calef and the aforementioned Rarian) who left Arcane Academy to come to Accord.  I think the short story for this one will reflect back to something that happened in Book Eight.

Book Eleven is done, and has so many short story possibilities that it’s giving me a headache, especially since one of them could work as a short story for Book Nine as well, and it is already spawning two.  (Feast or famine…)

Book Twelve is going to (hopefully) wrap up the story arc that has been running through the previous eleven books.  (Please?  I don’t think I could handle a thirteenth book!)  Since I haven’t even begun to outline it yet, and have only the vaguest idea what happens (other than finally confronting the villains) or how it happens, I have even less than no idea what to do for an associated short story.  Maybe something with the villains…

See what one innocent little plot bunny can do?

And why does this make me feel like I’m writing fan fiction for my own books?

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Work

What can I say?  It gets in the way of fun stuff, like writing.

On the other hand, since I’m not yet at the level of J.K. Rowling, it pays the bills.

Plus, it provides fodder for writing.

I’m a nurse. Until August 31st I was a jailhouse nurse, and people kept saying I should write a book about it.  The trouble is, people will believe in elves and unicorns, but no one would believe some of the stories from that place.  (Someday I am going to write a semi-autobiographical memoir about it, though. I even have a title for it.)

Now I work in a nursing home.  Not nearly as exciting as the jail, but still filled with people and their stories.

Now, granted, I write (primarily) fantasy, so some of the plot bunnies from there might be more helpful to people in other genres, but still, the stories are there.

Like an old blind man who speaks in fragments of Italian.  Random ramblings?  Or clues to an unsolved robbery or murder or disappearance?  A nurse fluent in Italian takes care of him and begins to put together the pieces of the mystery.

Of course, I suppose I could change it a bit to make it work for a fantasy setting… An old man from another land is cared for by a young woman who speaks his language, and she learns the fate of the son of the king of the man’s homeland, who has been missing for over 20 years.

Maybe the old man is a wizard? The former royal wizard?  And the prince was showing promise as a wizard as well, which would mean that he would no longer be needed?

I’d better stop before I have yet another project demanding my attention.

But, see? It’s all a matter of how you look at things. Even something that interferes with your writing time can be useful.

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Sunday Excerpt — March 16, 2014

More from Sanguine, a science fiction novel (still in progress) with elements of semi-paranormal M/M romance.

(I am done with beta readers, and Sanguine is in next-to-final-edit stage, so this is still a work in progress and the following lines may or may not have been hacked and recombined and creatively punctuated to fit into 10 sentences.)

Picking up from last week’s snippet, Gregor is explaining to Kaen why he is different than the “Blood Slaves” that Kaen has had before, and shedding a bit of light on why the two of them lose control when Kaen feeds from him:

“Of course not,” Gregor replied, smiling. “They were not true Blood Slaves.  Let me guess… he — or she – was only in it for the pleasure of your blood-taking.”

“Yes.”

“We call them Blood Whores.  They are as different from what I am as…” He shook his head, at a loss for a comparison.  “The simple explanation is that my blood yearns for a Master:  my family was bred to serve you, and it has been generations since we have had a Master to serve.”  His fingers continued playing with Kaen’s hair and he pulled him down for a long slow kiss.  “In short, I want to give you everything, and you want to take everything.  It is in our natures, Master.”

 

Check out Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.

My other novel, Song and Sword is currently available for Kindle and all other e-readers. 

Song and Sword cover

Available for Kindle at Amazon

and at Smashwords for all other e-readers.

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Light Bulbs

I was plugging away in 750words.com, just babbling about life in general, and realized that I needed to come up with a blog post for today, and that I had absolutely no idea what to write about, so I made the comment that maybe inspiration would strike while I was at work.

And, of course, that got me thinking about inspiration, what it is and where it comes from.

I don’t necessarily mean ideas for novels.  I have no idea where they come from either, but I do know that I have more of them than I can deal with.

(So why haven’t I been writing much lately?  Good question.  I think it’s because I’ve been tired, drained.  I’m an introvert: I gain energy from being alone and lose energy from being around people.  And my new job has me around too many people for too many hours in a row.  That is something I am going to have to overcome – and soon! – as Camp NaNoWriMo starts in just over two weeks.)

At any rate, I shouldn’t ever be at a loss for inspiration.  I mean, I’m a writer, so my mind is always on writing, at least partially, which means that pretty much anything can be fodder for a blog post – or a plot.

After all, writing reflects life, and, well…

Life happens.

And what’s currently happening in my non-writing life is that I need to replace a light bulb in my bedroom.  Maybe that will help with inspiration, like the ones that go on over cartoon characters’ heads when they get an idea.

(At the very least I should probably replace it before the other one goes out and leaves me completely in the dark.)

Actually, I need to get a lamp to plug in closer to where I work.  The overhead light just isn’t helpful for late night writing when I need to stay alert and focused.

(Moving the rat cage would probably help with the focus issue too – or at least help on cutting down distractions – but, well, they’re just so darned entertaining.)

So, take a look around.  Where are your light bulbs, and what can you do to make them brighter?

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Perpetual Holiday

“A writer never takes a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.”
― Eugène Ionesco

That is my all time favorite writing quote, and it’s true.  A writer’s mind is always at least partially on writing.

Examples:

I just finished an odd pairing of shifts at work that left me seriously short on sleep.  By the end of my overnight shift Saturday morning I was running on caffeine and whatever willpower I could muster, and I was barely upright.

Even as I went about my duties, part of my mind was busy taking note of my physical reactions — barely standing, lack of balance, the wobbly feeling even when sitting still, and a feeling of nausea.

And part of my mind was noticing me noticing the symptoms and was mildly amused at myself for doing so:  yep — always either writing or thinking about writing.

I remember when I got word that someone very special to me had died:  more than a former professor, it was his encouragement that got me writing again after a very long dry spell.

I remember the overwhelming grief that I felt, the sense of loss.  And the burning in my eyes and the tightness in my chest and the way my face felt like it was going to burst from the pressure from my sinuses and the way my mind refused to focus on anything except the fact that he was gone.

And even as all of this was happening I took notice of my reactions, and thought, in another part of my mind, that he would approve.  After all, he was a writer too — a poet.

And that reminded me of another quote, one he had shared with me once.  I can’t find the exact quote but it is by Colin Wilson, and talks about poetry coming from “holiday consciousness” and creating a “holiday consciousness” in the reader.

To me, that means looking at the familiar as if you are always on holiday, taking note of the familiar as if it was unfamiliar, as if you were seeing or experiencing something for the first time.

So, a writer never takes a vacation, and yet always has a “holiday consciousness.”

Neat, huh?

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