Monthly Archives: May 2014

Slow Progress

I’ve been editing Sanguine and I only have a handful of chapters left to red ink, and then I can make the changes on the computer.   I think I want to give it one more round of polish after that, and maybe see if I can get a volunteer to give it a read through and provide feedback.

I found a great location for editing – the common room of the local branch of a university.  There’s not much of anything going on right now so it’s practically deserted and I can sit down and work without the distraction of rats and the internet.  It is slightly annoying because I have to leave myself notes to look something up later, but on the other hand, it’s more productive because I have to leave myself notes to look something up later.

And speaking of productive, I haven’t been very.  But I just signed up for a page a day challenge on Face Book, so I should get 30 pages added to Book One of The Other Mages trilogy before July Camp starts.  Maybe even more if I really get on a roll with it.

And one page a day isn’t an overwhelming amount, so hopefully the “one page at a time” approach will get me through the initiation scene that I’m avoiding.  It will be much smoother sailing once it’s over and done with.

Small steps…

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A Hole In My Sole

Last night I thought I had a piece of tape stuck to the bottom of my foot, so I tried to pull it off.  It turned out to be a piece of skin — apparently my feet are cracking and peeling — and now I have to wear a bandaid on my foot because I now have a hole in the bottom of my foot and it hurts without the added cushioning.

Editing is a lot like that.

(Stay with me here.  I promise that it will make sense — at least in my head.)

See, I was fussing at the “tape” on my foot in the dark — I couldn’t see what I was doing, so I just kept fiddling with it and picking at it until I realized my mistake. By then it was too late — my foot hurt, the peeling was worse than before, and the skin was catching on the sheets.

If I had bothered to shine a little light on the subject, (and if I had been able to see the edge of the bottom of my foot), then I would have stopped before it got to the point of pain and repair work.

Sometimes in editing, there is a failure to shine a light and look at what you’re really doing.  You fuss and fuss at small things and cut them out without looking at the overall picture. And by the time you realize what you’re doing, the damage is done and you have to start patching plot holes that didn’t used to be there.

And that, my friends, is part of what makes editing such a pain…

 

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Sunday Excerpt — May 25, 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.)

Introducing some other characters – and a few bits of Gregor’s past.

Kaen and Gregor are still on the station, making their way back to the ship when they run into an old friend of Gregor’s.  Kaen unnerved her so Gregor stepped away to talk to her for a moment.

 

“Captain, I’d like you to meet Trini Valcour.  She’d like to sign on with us.”

Kaen studied her for a moment, curious about this friend of Gregor’s.    She was maybe five feet tall and he doubted that she weighed ninety pounds fully clothed and soaking wet.  Wide grey-blue eyes regarded him from a creamy olive face.

“In what capacity?” he asked.

“Anything, really, I…”

“No,” Gregor said firmly and she fell silent.  He looked at Kaen.  “Trini is the best engineer I’ve ever worked with, sir.”

“Good enough for me,” Kaen said easily.  “Welcome aboard, Trini.”

Her eyes widened.  “You mean it?  Just like that?”   She looked from one to the other as if expecting it to be some sort of joke.

 

 

 

 

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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Lost in the Void

First of all, why didn’t someone tell me it was Friday?  I almost forgot that I needed to write a blog post.  My excuse is that this was my fourth day off in a row and I didn’t realize that yesterday was Thursday.  (Well, I knew that it was Thursday but somehow didn’t connect that with the next day being Friday and blog post day.)

So…

What have I been doing on my days off?

Well, on Tuesday I assembled a new-to-me-and-the-boys rat cage with no help and no directions.  I have little purple bruises all over my arms from the battle, but I won.  (And now I need to come up with a more interesting story than assembling a rat cage to explain them if anyone asks.)

Wednesday was Barter Night at Pagan Coffee Night so I rounded up some stuff to take to that, and anything that didn’t find a new home there was donated to the yard sale to raise money for Pittsburgh’s Pagan Pride Day this fall.  So, yay for decluttering!  (Not that it seems to have made a difference, but that’s another story…)

Yesterday I worked on editing Sanguine and as per usual when I’m editing, I hate it. (The novel and the editing process.)

Sadly, I just can’t seem to be satisfied with this book, and I have the feeling that it’s going to go through at least one more round of tweaking before it’s ready to be loosed on the world.

And meanwhile, I am in the mood to get back to work on The Academy of the Accord series even though part of me also wants to really work on The Other Mages trilogy to at least get Book One finished.  I’m sort of stuck on the initiation scene that’s coming up, though, which is probably why I’m avoiding working on it. (How much am I avoiding it?  I’m willing to dive back into the unholy mess that is the middle of The Academy of the Accord series.)

And, of course, there’s a shiny new plot bunny that I am sporadically outlining.  (Outlining does not count as writing, right?)

So Id say that I’ve sort of been in a writing void… except it’s getting really crowded in here and I’m being pulled in several different directions.  So maybe “vortex” is a better word.

Yes… a vortex…

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Plans

So, I have four days off coming up and I have been sort of trying to make plans for them.  (Yeah, I know — bad idea.  I always make a lot of plans and overextend myself. But I can’t help it… I’m a dreamer.)

Anyhow…

The plan for tomorrow is to assemble the larger cage for my rats, set it up, and move the rats into it.  (Never mind that I have no instructions for cage assembly and nothing but a picture on the internet to go by…)

Unfortunately, however, this leads to the question of where to put the cage that they are currently in, as I want to put the new one where it is. I don’t want to tear it down as I’d like to keep it as a holding cage for cage cleaning days.  Currently I’m using a bird cage that I converted into a rat cage.

So, the plan is:

Move the bird cage (possibly disassemble it), put the current cage where it is now, and put the bigger cage where the current one is.

If I opt not to dismantle the bird cage, I could put it on top of my chest of drawers, but there is already stuff on top of it so I’d have to clean it of first…

And as I was writing myself a note to sort it all out it occurred to me that this whole procedure is a lot like writing and editing:

If I move this scene to later in the book then I have to change all references to what happened in it.

If I take this scene out then how is Character A going to find out about Character B?

Moving this scene to later in the book screws up Character C learning about what happened.

The characters already know about XYZ because they were there when QRST happened.

And so forth.

For every change you make there are ripples of other changes that have to follow, and consideration must be given to how and where you are going to put things.

I’m facing that in book one of The Other Mages trilogy — I’m torn between D’Laron learning about what happened to Trebor early on or having him not learn about it until a bit later.  (It really makes absolutely no difference to the plot — it would be more of a cosmetic change — but it would make the discovery both more emotional (for D’Laron) and less threatening (for Trebor).  So… decisions, decisions…

And The Academy of the Accord series is full of situations like the ones above, especially considering that it is a 12 book series and changes in one book’s draft causes changes in another book — sometimes in multiple other books.

Ah, well, both the cages and the plots will get worked out eventually — somehow.  I have time for both, especially as my other plans for my days off (switching seasonal clothing) has been put on hold due to unseasonable weather.

Yes.  Even my non-writing life gets edited…

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Sunday Excerpt — May 18, 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.)

Skipping ahead a bit to start introducing some other characters – and a few bits of Gregor’s past.  In this post, Kaen and Gregor have gone to clean out Gregor’s quarters on the station.  Kaen  has been looking through a photo album while Gregor packs.  Picking up from last week’s snippet.

 

A sudden chill ran through Gregor.  “Master,” he said softly, “who was the vampire that you dueled?”

Kaen’s eyes closed and he shook his head. “I can almost see, but not quite…”

“It’s all right, Master, it will come back in time.”

“You think the two are connected, don’t you?  My duel and what happened to you and Sergiu.”

“I think they might be.”

Kaen felt a wave of what he could only describe as nausea.  “If… if I have done anything to cause harm to any of my people…”

“Any harm, Master,” Gregor said softly, “was not of your doing.”

Kaen wrapped his arms around him and pulled him against him, holding him tightly.  “Thank you for that,” he whispered.

 

 

 

 

 

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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A Little Cheese, Please…

to go with the following w(h)ine.

It’s been one of those weeks.  Nothing too major, just a whole lot of little things that added up a big time and energy loss and ended up in a “why do I bother?” sort of mood.

I think all writers probably go through this.  (Well, maybe not the really popular ones, but the rest of us… yeah, I think I’m probably not alone.)

Why do I keep writing?  Does anyone care?  Would anyone miss me if I quit?

The answers to the last one is… “probably not.”

The answer to the second one is…”probably not.”

The answer to the first one is… “Because I love creating stories.”

But that leads to an interesting question along the lines of “If a tree falls in a forest does it still make a noise if there is no one to hear it?”

It’s a bit of a crisis of faith, isn’t it?  If you create stories that no one reads or cares about, why bother?  Why not just give up and keep your stories to yourself, or even avoid the work of typing and just keep them in your head?

*sigh*

It’s just not that simple, is it?

We write — well, I write — for a variety of reasons.

I write because… Because I always have.  I enjoy it.  I even (secretly) enjoy editing. (Sometimes.)

I write because I enjoy creating worlds.  Back when I played D&D, that was my favorite part of being a DM — creating the dungeon and the world.  And even then my characters were pretty well developed — the important NPCs even had back stories.

I write because I have stories to tell and characters to introduce, and I hope that someday one of those stories or characters will touch someone, that a story will strike a chord with them and they will feel less alone for having made friends with the characters whose story it is.

It’s a faint hope, especially in “why bother?” weeks like I’ve had this week, but it is still there, so I keep on keeping on.

For the love of it…

“Just for the love of it,
That’s all the reason you need.
What more could anyone ask?
Satisfaction guaranteed.
Don’t chase rainbows for your pot of gold,
You’ll always have enough,
If you’ll do everything you do
Just for the love.”

 

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Squirrel!

So, I should be working on editing Sanguine, and on finishing The Other Mages trilogy.  That’s what I should be doing.

And I know better than to get caught by other plot bunnies and be sidetracked into starting something new:  that way lies madness – and a whole lot of unfinished stories.

(I may have recently typed up some notes for an idea for a future novel, but I haven’t started anything new in… forever!)

Okay, well, maybe not in forever, but at least not since some time last year when I wrote another installment in The Academy of the Accord.

Ah, yes, The Academy of the Accord. *sigh* I’ve been taking a break from it because I was getting seriously burned out on it – especially at trying to figure out how to fix a major plot hole (plot crater is more like it) and how to untangle some stuff from Book Five that is going to need to go to Books Six and Seven – which run semi-concurrently with each other and with the end of Book Five…

So, yeah, I needed a break from the series – it was creating too many headaches – so I decided that this year, before going back to work on it, I would get Sanguine edited, formatted, and published, and would finish, edit and publish all three books of The Other Mages trilogy.

And the only “new” thing I was allowed to start was to be work on a sequel to Song and Sword for November’s NaNoWriMo.

“Writers plan, and their muses laugh.”

Kicking back and relaxing in the bathtub the other day, my mind turned to two characters in The Academy of the Accord – Rahmael and Shander. (Shander is involved in my bottomless pit of a plot hole, but that’s beside the point.)

The point is… I now have the urge to write their story.  Or at least certain scenes of it. But at the same time, I don’t want to fall back into the inescapable trap of the series that has no end.

But on the other hand, at least I would be writing…

And it’s not really a shiny new plot bunny… it’s an old plot bunny come hopping back to haunt me…

Or maybe it’s a squirrel…

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Sunday Excerpt — May 11, 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.)

Skipping ahead a bit to start introducing some other characters – and a few bits of Gregor’s past.  In this post, Kaen and Gregor have gone to clean out Gregor’s quarters on the station.  Kaen  has been looking through a photo album while Gregor packs.  Picking up from last week’s snippet.

 

“Solovei and Erid’thu are still at war, are they not?”

“Yes.  They would not let me stay, would not let me go to Erid’thu.  They said my Blood is too strong, that it would be too dangerous for me to go there.  Soon it became too dangerous for me to stay on Solovei as well, so I shipped out, working different freighters, drifting…  And always Hunting for the Ferrastin who killed my uncle.”

“What is her name?” Kaen asked softly.

“She calls herself Vivette, Vivette LeMond.”

Again a stabbing pain lanced through Kaen’s temples.

“Master?  What’s wrong?”

“I… I don’t… I don’t know.”  For a moment Kaen’s eyes hazed over.  “It happened when you first mentioned the Ferrastin – it’s like I should remember but can’t…”

 

 

 

 

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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Sometimes it’s the little things…

Once upon a time, a friend of mine (Robert Emmett) posted a thing on his wall on Facebook about a writer calling in sick. It was just a little blip that he had written and he posted it just to post it, not really expecting any response.

At the time, I was writing some heavy emotional scenes, so I wrote a joking reply to it, just to save my sanity. And we started a back and forth exchange that he later posted to his blog.

(It was, by the way, rather bizarre to be writing something that had me struggling with emotions and then breaking to write something humorous, but such is the life of a writer…)

It got such good comments on his blog that he asked me if he could include it in his book, Meowing on the Answering Machine.  I said sure, (and got a free copy of the book. Score!)

That little exchange between the two of us is still getting comments.  He shared one review with me yesterday that was so serious that it left me in stitches.  For some reason, it reminds me of English classes in which we dissected poetry and short stories, with teachers asking the perpetual question, “Why do you think the author wrote such and such?”

I always suspected that the answer wasn’t nearly as deep as my teachers tried to make it.  I’m now convinced that I was right.

Ah, the joys of trying to second guess the mind of a writer…

 

 

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