Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My GIANT Secret...

So I've had this GIANT secret for a while now and until this moment I've been sworn to silence. If any of you know me or have a Facebook page YOU'RE sworn to silence too after you read this... at least until my dad and the extended family has been informed of the afore mentioned secret on Christmas morning and then Sat. Lisa and Laura that's mostly for you since I think you're the only ones I follow on Facebook. Not that I expect you to mention it, but should you, my cousins would see and then they'd tell my aunt and she'd tell my grandmother, and she'd tell my great aunts... you can see where this is going.

So the big secret? My identical twin sister, code name Fenris, is pregnant! It might not be the biggest most amazing most world changing secret, but for us it's pretty awesome. And this little girl (sis's hubby, code name Chucky Duck, already insists it's a girl but we don't know yet) is our immediate family's first grandchild, then for the extended fam it's the first great grandchild, the first niece for all us cousins... and so on and so forth. It's safe to say that as far as my grandmother and her cronies go (they'll find out on Sat when we go up for Christmas) my sister's baby will be our version of Neo. She (he) is THE ONE. The long awaited grandbaby. All the rest of us unmarried, childless cousins will forever be the second-comers now... but that's fine with us. :) The baby is due late June, and I'm sure to post about it again before it gets here. For now it's a Christmas present we get to wait for.

Merry Christmas everyone and have a safe New Year please, my dad doesn't need the business that bad... (for those of you who don't know, dad's a funeral director)

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Christmas Spirit... and all that rot...

I haven't gone shopping once. I haven't eaten anything peppermint flavored. I haven't wrapped one present. I HAVE put up two Christmas trees complete with decorations and lights. My grandmothers and ours. And ours is real so I got to go cut it too! And I've mapped out a plan to spray paint the donkey red and tie a Santa hat on his head. The horses will get wrapped up like Christmas presents. Guaranteed to stop traffic, possibly garner some attention from local law enforcement and, if I'm REALLY lucky, attract PETA's nearest representatives...

My point is that Christmas is not about shopping and presents to me. Yes I grew up flying down the hallway long before the sun even THOUGHT about crawling into the sky and ripping into presents until the living room disappeared beneath wrapping paper. Yes we always wore half of our presents to the grandparents houses and dragged the rest along with us because somehow, once they were opened, we couldn't live if they left our sight for more than twenty minutes. I've survived dinners that would make Chevy Chase faint dead away, and I didn't get paid for the movie rights to them either. I've spent paychecks on family members on occasion, sometimes more than one.


I've also gone Christmas caroling on horseback. Sung ALL the verses to all the OLD Christmas carols. The ones you have to look up in moldy old tomes. Gone horseback riding on Christmas day in fresh snow. Gone sledding on Christmas morning. Cooked Christmas dinner for homeless people. Cooked Christmas dinner and then didn't eat it, but gave it away to someone who just suffered a death in the family and didn't have one for themselves. Bought something and then gave it away before I got home with it. Made all my presents for other people. Baked DOZENS of cookies and then drew goofy pictures on all of the boxes and helped send them to Navy boys on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. Got together with my twin sister and took the Christmas themed pictures I posted here so that we could send them with the cookies to the Teddy R. which is the carrier where my brother in law (sister's husband's bro) is serving his country. That was last year, actually. The last year we had with the boys' mom, Charline. Damn you ovarian cancer.

I can tell you what Christmas things I remember the best, which stories get told over and over again, which ones I'm most proud to talk about. And they don't involve things I bought, sales I made or deals I found. They don't involve aunt so and so's best turkey ever, or cousin whoever's camping trip just to be there when the store doors opened and the FiFi the talking hamsters hit the shelves.

No, the best Christmas adventures, mishaps and memories I've ever had involved my family, bonfires with Bear Clan, and cookie capers with my best friend (I'm planning one of those now which will involve a killer recipe for chocolate chip banana nut bread and spiked hot chocolate) and just enjoying the spirit of the year. If I can find it behind all the obnoxious billboards, electronic advertisements and newspaper coupons...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night...

So the crux of this post is retellings of known Fairy tales. Do you like them or not and why?

I ask because I love the idea of taking an already known and loved story and making it your own. After all, verbal histories are vital. And one of the most obvious examples of this is telling stories and legends. My favorite 'classic' Fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. But even when I was a young child, I hated the ending. I would get so angry when it got right down to the wire and Beauty professed her love to the Beast, only to have the Beast whisked away and replaced by a 'charming' Prince. Charming Princes are well and good in their own right, but I maintain that I prefer the Beast to any 'charming' Prince.

One of my current WIPs is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I've wanted to write one for years even assuming that it would never get published. Then recently Malinda Lo turned me on to two retellings of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, and Rose Daughter.

Let me digress and devote a moment to squeeing over Malinda Lo! She's the author of Ash a retelling of Cinderella. It is a totally awesome book, squee squee squee. But beyond the squee, Ash is beautifully written and one of the best reads I've had all year. By the end of the book I was in an utter state of madness over what might happen to the three main characters. I was SPASTIC. It was wonderful. I've seldom been so torn between characters and possible outcomes. Ash is a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. Rock on Malinda Lo!

But back to retellings. After Ms Lo so kindly directed me to Robin Mckinley's retelling works based on Beauty and the Beast, I immediately read them both. I WANTED to like Beauty: A Retelling, especially because it's written in first person, which was something totally new. However, it so closely followed the original Fairy tale that I failed to get attached to the book at all. Rose Daughter on the other hand (and Ms Lo had said it was her favorite of the two) was a well done, unique version of the tale. Beauty isn't all that beautiful. Her sisters aren't awful at all, although they don't spend much time thinking about anyone but themselves at least to start with. And the Beast is wonderful in a beastly way. Then ending is perfect. I loved it.

There are many retellings of Fairy tales out there. But what makes them work, and what makes them fail? For me, there has to be a distinct difference in the retelling from the original, but it can't stray so far that calling it a retelling is a stretch. At the risk of getting thrashed by someone, I'll use Anne Rice's The Taking of Sleeping Beauty for an example of didn't work. Besides the fact that the books in that series are smut (I don't mean that derogatorily, that's how it's described, as 'tasteful smut') there is little plot BEYOND the smut factor. I've only read enough of them to be totally ickyfied. Anne Rice is an accomplished writer, and I love many of her books, but the Sleeping Beauty retellings... negative.

In my own retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Thornbriar, Lady Beauty is beautiful but spoilt. Her father is rich and she wants for nothing. Rather than exchanging her life for her fathers, she's betrothed to the Beast (although Beauty's own people presume that the King being a Beast is just a rumor) for a great sum of money. She's married to the Beast from very early on in the story and instead the pivot point is on her willingness to prove her love for him and his country. Accustomed to being admired and getting what she wants, Luminre (Beauty's real name) must grow and learn to take on responsibilities and think of others if she's going to discover how to break the curse that's been cast over her Beast husband and his kingdom.

What about you? What retellings are out there that you like? What ones don't you like? Have you ever written a new take on your favorite Fairy tale?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey turkey turkey...

Thanksgiving day story:

I was housesitting for a friend of the family who at different times has various sorts of animals which will be dinner at some point once they're grown. I myself can't raise animals and then eat them. Perhaps I could in certain situations but not right now. But I digress. At this point, the family had a flock of turkeys (about seventeen) which I needed to put up in pens for the night. Normally this was done by shaking a scoop of scratch and hollering 'Turkey turkey turkey!' I was shown the procedure. I witnessed the entire flock swarming amid gobbles (often performed in perfect unison) and filing into their pens. I was confident. Meanwhile, another friend offered me extra tickets to see Elton John. WOW. Awesome. All I had to do was stop off, change clothes, and put the turkeys up. One problem. There were no turkeys that night when I got in. Now, I'd been told that they foraged. But after an hour of screeching 'turkey turkey turkey' there were still no turkeys. I had single-handedly lost seventeen 25 lb turkeys. Well, Elton John was stupendous, but there were still no turkeys when I returned from the concert. I knew that the birds would be parked somewhere for the night, so I reserved looking for in the morning. Still no turkeys. I was just walking down the dirt road when an older gentleman neighbor drove by and stopped to ask if I was all right (chivalry in this day and age!). I explained my plight and he got a funny look on his face.
"So that's where those turkeys came from." He mused.
"Pardon?" I swallowed.
"We have your turkeys down at the church. They're dancing around in the middle of the yard sale putting on quite a show."
Please, kill me now.
"Come on I'll give you a ride down there miss."
"Thank you." It took all my fortitude to face my turkey fate and the crowd that was surrounding them, wondering where the hell they'd come from.
Well, the turkeys were not interested in going home. Two very nice men helped me herd them back through the woods, which cut off half a mile from the full mile they'd wondered. I shook the scratch but we ended up chasing them with switches more like a herd of goats. While we walked, one of the men explained that they'd appeared in his yard the night prior and made themselves right at home. When several of the smaller ones had flown onto his roof, he'd chased them off by throwing green tomatoes at them. That, however, only served to give the turkeys menu ideas and they had proceeded to strip all the green tomatoes from his vines. Thankfully the tomatoes were already ruined for humans by frost and he was more amused than anything else. I'm sure it helped that I was utterly mortified. Needless to say, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving turkey even more than usual that year...

And since everyone seems to be posting what they're thankful for:

My family
My friends
Everything I've learned this year
All the amazing people I've met (extra woot to the Sirens folks, and the authors who attended, you know who you are)
All the AWESOME folks out there blogging, spreading confidence and information to others
New babies
All the people and animals I've lost but won't ever forget

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It'll be alright...

It is as I feared... someone showing interest in my manuscript is somehow more terrifying than no one having any interest at all... and at the same time, it isn't. *sigh* I wouldn't feel this way if I had just a scrap of firm footing, an agent telling me that it'll be alright, things are going your way... oh, wait, that's what I'm doing, trying to secure an agent so that I have one to tell me these things... which is why I'm pacing now... because an agent has my ms....

On the upside, in a strange way, it doesn't matter if THIS agent turns out to be THE agent (although he's been in the biz a good while and I'm sure I could learn oodles from him just through osmosis) because just the fact that AN agent wanted to read my entire ms validates my ms. Which I needed right now. Life has been wildly crazy, and not always in a good way, or even a 'well, I could write about it' way, and my writing had sort of stalled, not because I'd stopped but because it had reached a point where I really needed some sort of sign that I was doing SOMETHING right, even if it wasn't the something that was going to be my breakout ms.

Now I'm assured that it'll be alright. Even if this one agent doesn't turn out to be MY agent, he's someone I'm proud to say that I intrigued, even if just for the evening. Which tells me that I'm doing something right. Which is a pretty darn good feeling for a girl when the rest of her little orbit has been slung into the asteroid belt...

To all you other writers out there: It'll be alright! It will all work out!

And to celebrate, I've thrown in a random photo of me conquering a much more literal challenge... Okay, so I'm not actually hanging on for dear life, but like I could pass up that kind of chance to cheese?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scotch Induced Posting...

Okay, so the title is catchy. It's not exactly true, although I won't lie and say that I haven't had a few sips of the lovely Balvenie Doublewood 12 yr that's sitting beside me.... It's been waaay too long since I posted anything and so I thought I ought to write something, anything, just to prove that I still could, even though my mind is on hungry cats, braying donkeys and the YA that I just finished and now have to write a query for. The title of my post does get me thinking though....

How important to you is the first sentence of a book? I mean the VERY first sentence? Can you buy a book off that one line? Or throw it in the corner and never look at it again? I must say that I've done both at different times. But I've also read on even when the first sentence made me want to tear-ass in the opposite direction. And it's both paid off and resulted in book catastrophe.

I don't normally post WIPs because I'm a paranoid who suffers from 'Throw Momma From the Train' syndrome but in honor of Balvenie...

Here's the first sentence of my YA: Life is so much easier without underwear.

Now, would you keep reading? Buy the book? Label it as 'freakazoid weird? Or roll your eyes and wonder how it reached the stage of 'published'?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Eagle Has Landed...

Okay, so crow might fit me better. Or catbird, or maybe albatross, or better yet, penguin. But any which way you slice it, this chicky has landed in Denver. I'm not in Vail yet. I haven't officially signed into the conference. But I have leapt off the proverbial cliff, and managed to at least soar my way into an adventure. Alright, I know, flying across the country isn't a cliff for most people, but the last time I flew, you could still carry pocket knives on the plane - in your pocket! And for someone obsessed with family and her own Clan of them, flying ALONE was a big deal too. But I'm here, it was almost fun, and nobody in a uniform did anything to me but smile. So I figured that I'd write a little post to celebrate the successful start to my current adventure. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blogger Failure...

I have come to the conclusion that I am - at least by conventional standards - a failure at blogging. I'm not surprised in the slightest by this realization. I have failed my entire life to even PASS THROUGH the ranks of 'conventional standards' as they pertain to anything at all. I tend to be the one officials have to INVENT new standards for. This pleases me greatly for the most part because as far as I'm concerned 'normal' is a setting on the dryer and nothing more. However, there are times when it's a good exercise to at least court the structure of everyone else's 'normal'. Blogging is one of them, since the entire point is to get at least vaguely routine posts out there, or at least routinely scheduled posts. Another incidence when I think it might be a good idea for us far afield unusuals to be familiar with the 'normal' turning of the earth would be the business side of our writing. Specifically, interacting with and meeting possible agents, editors, and other writers.

I say this because I'm preparing to go to a conference called Sirens out in Vail Co. At the moment I'm fluctuating between ridiculous excitement and catatonic terror. Most of the last revolves around traveling, but at least part of it has to do with meeting strange people and trying to make a good impression, an 'I'm serious about my writing and I'm serious about being successful with my writing' impression. At the same time though, it's futile to try and screw myself into carefully coifed and tailored business attire because I'll never make it out of the hotel room without falling down or getting hinge grease all over my hands. And even if I did make it out of the room intact, I'll never dress like that any other time. I can wear pinstripe suit pants and an attractive blouse, but I'm going to have cowhide pumps on or a squash blossom turquoise necklace, or invariably a tattoo will hang out.

And of course, it SEEMED like a good idea at the time to propose a roundtable discussion... And it STILL seems like a good idea... But now I'm hoping that I'm capable of mediating an engaging discussion while appearing professional and yet fun. *sigh* I'm sure all of this dithering will be of much amusement to me once I've broken into the business, secured an agent, an editor, once I have a book on the shelves... After all, you can't please everyone and someone is always going to not like something about you. Being different is what makes people cool. I just happen to be at a point where being too different might not be a good thing, and where I HAVE to worry about who likes at least most of me...

Just to make myself feel better I'm sticking up several of pictures from Dragon Con. It was my first trip down there. It was EPIC. :D

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yada Yada Yada

A girl I went to high school with had this ability to randomly begin telling us stories whenever there was a lapse in whatever was going on. If we went somewhere on a trip and there was a problem and we were forced to wait, Kaileen would whip put a story. They weren't whispered little mutterings either. This was full-blown story telling. The two I remember most clearly involved a meat grinder and your hand in one, and buying milk while stealing a band-aid in the other. "So let's say you're tired and you're hungry. So you put your hand in the meat grinder, yada yada yada. And look what you done to your hand!" At this point she'd leave off her Yonkers accent and wave her hand at us. The second story revolved around a trip to the grocery to buy some milk, but Kaileen fell in a road construction hole and scraped her knee. She only had enough money for either the milk or a band-aid, so she developed a drastic plan to buy the band-aid and steal the milk. Or steal the band-aid and buy the milk. It changed several times in the story. And each time she told a story, even if it was the same story, it changed a little.

They were silly stories. They were pointless. They had no impact on anything beyond the moments it took to hear Kaileen tell them. And yet those moments have stuck with me ever since. The laughter that overtook everyone listening raptly, uncaring of the fact that we were a bunch of high school kids standing in a lobby somewhere with all manner of strangers staring at us, staring at Kaileen while she leapt on couches (shoes off of course) and wielded staplers like swords. See the thing is, it's not about the story all the time. It's about how it's told. Even stories that wouldn't normally interest us might snatch us up and drag us merrily along, might leave a lasting impression on us, if presented in a way that seizes upon our most basic emotions.

A good example of this is 'Shiver' which I just finished and will do my best not to gush about. Two truths you should know about me: 1) I do not do romance. I do not do it. I am, possibly, the most unromantic person ever born. Romance itself has cooties as far as I am concerned. 2) I love wolves. I love them the way I love air and the sound of dry leaves scraping their way to earth. The way I love the smell of summer heat wafting off of rocks by the creek. It is an unreasonable fixation and one that causes me considerable pain since I'm stuck in a coffin of pink skin that will never hold up in the dark of northern winters, not out there where they are.

These truths are important because 'Shiver' involves both romance and wolves in a strange mixture of 'out there' and every day life for Grace Brisbane. I would never normally pick this book up. I've been stung too many times. There have been too many poorly written 'Oh help I'm in love with a monster and I must 'fix' him!' books. 'Shiver' is not such a story. It reached out and took a fistful of my insides. It demanded that I believe in it. Do I like romances any better? No. Am I any more enamored of the overplayed shapeshifter beau themes? No. Would I recommend 'Shiver' to anyone to read? ABSOLUTELY! It's not about the story - a sort of Romeo and Juliet ill-fated love - but about how it's laid out. 'Shiver' is captivating and endearing. It's a book I will read again, and possibly again. Which is another thing that I don't do. Sometimes, it's all about the silly, unassuming 'yada yada yada' of a story that locks it into our mind.

What have you read lately that simply refused to be set aside for even a moment?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Got the Crazies?

Again, time has slipped away and it's been far too long since I posted anything. I've been dodging through life like a frog on a six lane highway (remember 'Frogger'?) and I've almost forgotten how to type at all. But before my mind completely escapes its home within my little sunburned cranium, let me just take a moment to rant about the Lateiner Gang Book Review spot and their currently running contest. Up for grabs is a SIGNED copy of 'Alvor' by Laura Bingham. That's right, a SIGNED copy! I know, I'm ridiculously excited. But what can I say? I love books, and I love books signed by their authors. Especially when the it's a debut book! Anyway, follow this link and enter yourself! Mention me and I get points. Get your friends to mention you and YOU get points! Spread the word and have fun with it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tap, tap, tap, tap...

I'm sitting here picking at the keyboard, very much resembling one of my chickens after I've thrown a scattering of rice down in the grass for them. Duck, sight, weave, bob, PECK! Begin again. Why am I typing like this? Because my right wrist is currently wrapped in a rigid brace that I've been promised will abate the nerve twanging pain that keeps shooting through my thumb and first two fingers. I have my doubts about this, but I will keep wearing the brace. And in the meantime, I will doggedly continue to peck out words like a drunk chicken looking for white rice in a snow storm because, well, it's all I can do.

Writing is like that. You do what you can, when you can. And no matter how long it takes you, or how frustratingly difficult it is, you keep doing it because, well, that's what makes you happy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hint Fiction, How Cool is This?

So my brother in-law, secret code name Chucky Duck, turned me on to this entire thing known as Hint Fiction. He caught wind of an upcoming contest and anthology of which the winners of said contest will be a part. It's a terribly cool concept, and I'm totally entering myself. I've put a link here, both to spread the word, and because if I do, I can enter a third story! :D Check it out and enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's Alive!!! Mooohoohaahaa!

Yes, I'm still around. No, I haven't been in a coma for months. No, my fingers haven't been lost to frostbite, or underfed ferrets, or splunks from under the bed. I simply haven't bothered to stop and check in with the rest of the world for a while. This isn't because I haven't been thinking about the rest of the world. It's because I've been stuck in the spinning of life, like a child on the carousel, watching the brass ring fly passed, watching the blur of faces which exist just on the other side of the vortex, but can't be reached by anyone riding a beautifully sculpted horse or animal WITHIN the vortex. Despite the discomfort, I held onto my horse, for fear that if I let go, I might well get thrown out as if tossed from a sling shot right into the rest of the world. Where I would be woefully unprepared to survive. But now my carousel has slowed down, marginally anyway, enough that I could hop off and learn a couple of things.
1) About a great place to go for reviews and info on books in general, giveaways and interviews with folks of interest to anyone with interest in books.
2) How to put up a link to the above mentioned place!

Righteous me! Okay, okay, I'm aware that anyone who's anyone can manage a link. But I'm not 'anyone', I'm me, and I can still stump my broby in-law with my computer fiascos and he's an IT guy at Bridgewater college. Yup, I can destroy any scrap of technology you can come up with. But I digress. Check out the Lateiner Gang. Great people, awesome, informative reviews and interviews. They're still building and tweaking the site and it's only going to get better. So drop in and have a look-see, post a link, tell your friends.

This is a test...

This is a test, this is only a test. If it were real, it would have worked. Which it might, in the end...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Like Beer Goggles, Without the Alcohol...

I'm aware that it's been, well, forever since I posted. I'm aware, in a distracted, inattentive sort of way. This is because I've been plowing through my ms, hacking and sawing, carving away some 40,000 words. I know. The very fact that I had so many words to start with that I could loose 40k of them and still have a novel is ridiculous. But apparently, I like to say stuff, multiple times. When it was first suggested that I get rid of at least 40k words, I shook my head. Not possible. It won't flow. You'll loose important relationships, vital information.

Well, now that I've stop snorting milk through my nose in amusement at my own high drama, I'll get to the point of this post. And the point is this: I've cut OVER 40k words from my ms and it's only tighter and better paced. And I'm still trolling. I was too close the work, too embroiled in the telling, to see HOW I was telling. I reiterated things, I nagged in places, I over dramatized, and strayed from the fundamental natures of characters. And I never noticed. Not until I let the ms sit for a few weeks and then looked at it with fresh eyes. What I thought would be impossible, was desperately needed. My ms is now hovering around 123k words, and might wane yet. It 's longer than what some say a debut should be, but I think 120kish is a good length for fantasy, especially epic fantasy where it's important to flesh out the world and all its workings.

I have a quote from Ray Bradbury written on a Post-it note, stuck to my laptop where I see it all the time. I've had to rewrite it several times because the Post-it has warn out. It says "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." It's probably one of my favorite quotes. The trick is in remembering that in staying drunk on your writing, you develop writer's beer goggles. I'm sure that there are plenty of writers who never (or think they never) suffer from this malady. But I'm not ashamed in the least to say that I, for one, do. And all the more because I still refining my skill, still honing my craft. It's not all bad though. I believe in my ms, and the good of it was always there, waiting for me to toss the beer goggles and find it. But first, I had to realize that I had the beer goggles to begin with. I imagine that they'll show up again, probably already have, in other wips that I've been neglecting in my editing rampage.... But now I know how to deal with them, and each snippet of wordiness that I hack, teaches me how I might have better formed a scene or interaction, information I'll tuck away for a rainy day and the next blank sheet of paper.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My zombie heart...

These are the sort of people I spent Saturday night with. The Zombie sort. My mother teased me as I was getting ready to leave. "Getting ready to spend some time with 'those people' again are you?" She laughed. It was said tongue and cheek, of course. She knows exactly what kind of people the 'those people' she was talking about are. Good people. Kind and generous people who are gracious to their fans and are willing to take time to TALK to you. People who wear their success with a casual and unassuming grace.

Andy Deane (posing zombie with me) is the lead singer of Bella Morte, a goth/industrial sort of band which has traveled all over the world and put out numerous albums. I met Andy before I knew about the band, in the art store where he still works when he's in town. He's also the author of a book called The Sticks which I've just started reading but I already know is going to be a great. It's available on Amazon. Andy is a guy who goes out and does it if he wants to do it. He's also a guy who'll spend 45 minutes trying to help you work out an art supply problem. Or, in my case, a guy who will stand there cutting paper to size while telling me everything he can about his experience getting published. Since he already has a huge following with Bella Morte, he was a sound investment and publishers were happy to chance his writing success. I, on the other hand, am nobody important (yet). But Andy still took the time to talk to me and give me what pointers he could.

The cherry young lady is Donna Lynch. She, along with her husband Steven Archer, are part of Ego Likeness, another goth/industrial group. They also both happen to write. Donna has several books out, including Isabel Burning, and Ladies and Other Vicious Creatures. The former is a novel, the latter a book of poetry. Don't be swayed by Steven's fierce countenance, he's written at least one book I'm aware of, a lovely children's book called Luna Maris. Their books are available from Donna and I had never met before Saturday, but she was happy to stand and talk to me at length about her writing experiences and what might or might not help me.

Where am I going with all this? Well, I'm going to hearts people. Writing is all about heart. For most of us, it IS our heart. And if your writing comes from your heart, then it doesn't much what the rest of you looks like. Not every successful writer is nice, outgoing, and personable about their successes, willing to talk to those who haven't succeeded yet. That's okay. Being nice isn't a requirement for life, or writing. But the world is a better place because of the people who have gone before, who have succeeded, and who remember what it's like to stand in the shadows waiting for their chance to shine. People whose writing comes from their heart. The people I spent Saturday night with, are people I would choose to spend any day of the week with. They're people many folks would cross the street to avoid, just because of their appearances. They're zombie people, late night strobe light people, eyeliner tattooed people. They're people with heart. People who want to see others succeed as they have succeeded. People who have won my own zombie heart. People that I'll still be thinking about 30 years from now, whether or not I'm ever successfully published.

Check out the books I've mentioned, seek out your inner Zombie. You might be bettered by the experience!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gutter Maintenance...

So I stayed up way too late last night talking to a friend I hadn't talked to in ages and showing him just how not well I can play the jaw harp. We finally managed to say goodnight to each other at 11:30 pm, parting with jokes about not getting washed away before we got a chance to see each other, what with all the rain we've been having. I woke up 45 minutes later to the steady drumming of water on the kitchens air conditioning unit, which is directly above the outside basement stairwell. I was instantly overwhelmed by a sense of imminent doom.

Leaping off the couch (yes, I'm sleeping on the couch, which is a long story) I ran downstairs. Sure enough, water was SPEWING in around the basement door, rapidly gaining ground and threatening all of the 'stuff' that lives down there with the camel crickets. Pounding back up the stairs, I woke my parents (yes, I live with my parents. It's cheap, and convenient, and besides that I happen to love them and get along with them) and then ran around the kitchen trying to see outside and flipping lights on pointlessly. Mom and Dad dashed downstairs, commenced with cussing and exclaiming and Dad proceded to jerk the laundry room door open to look for the wet/dry vac. Problem was, that the alarm system was still engaged. It immediately began threatening a missile drop, so I bolted for the key pad and got there about three seconds too late. The alarm began screaming. So dad came thundering up the stairs to halt that crisis while I went back downstairs just long enough to point out that the wet/dry vac was one of the things that Mom and Dad had been jumping back and forth over to get into the laundry room. Then while they addressed the flooding floor, I went outside and hauled a ladder out in the slashing rain and climbed up to clean out the gutters, which were jammed full of maple helicopters and last years leaves. At 1 am all this was going on.

My point? Clean you're gutters people! And I don't just mean the ones on your house. I, at least, find that periodically, my mind starts to get clogged with various ideas for books or short stories or even oddball things like screenplays, which I will likely never write. Usually, I try to write an idea down immediately, while it's fresh, just so it's there to go back and look at. But sometimes, ideas don't get written down. And they start piling up. This is one of those times, and for the last few days, I've been scrapping things together and struggling because while I'm moved to work on some large things that need my attention, I'm not able to dig my way through all the ideas for other things that I've never yet put down on paper. You'll get thousands of ideas over your career and only some of them will ever turn into a book, only a few of those a book that will see publishing glory. But that doesn't mean that all those thousands of ideas are crap either. Every idea can teach you something, and has the potential to get you to see things differently, or explore something you've never had an interest in before. But if you start ignoring those ideas, they'll start piling up, and eventually, they'll clog the gutters of your brain. And then you'll end up like me, running about in the middle of the night soaking wet and hanging off a ladder trying to get things in working order again. So keep your gutters clean. Write down all those random ideas and who knows, maybe your crowning achievement will be floating around in amongst the maple helicopters, just waiting to be plucked out, polished up and sent out into the world!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yeah... a few random thoughts...

So it's been how long since I posted anything? Nevermind, let's not dwell on the past... In truth, I haven't been doing anything worth posting about. Work sleep, write a word, maybe two, work, try to sleep, work, never go to bed and still get nothing accomplished, work, doze on the tractor... you get the picture.
Of course, I can't complain TOO much. Everybody, human and animal is healthy. I DO still have a job. I never go anywhere, so my exposure to possible swine flu is 0%. Nope, not much to complain about. But not much to post about either. I have managed to start several new stories, which may or may not ever grow to more than sketchy little drafts, but they're something I've never gotten into before, so I'll learn from them in the end.
Both were inspired by a mixture of books I've read and movies I've seen recently, the primary of which were The Hunger Games (book, LOVE IT) The Adoration of Jenna Fox (book liked it a great deal) The White Darkness (book liked it) and the movies Babylon AD and Children of Men, both of which were books to start with. All of them (although The White Darkness has nothing to do with such things) got me to thinking about post-apocalyptic settings. Our current economic and politcal situations don't help matters. But I'm not thinking in morbid blood-letting ways, just postulating on some of the factors that might well become truths, were some sort of apocalyptic even to occur. But really, wouldn't it be possible to come to a post-apocalyptic state even WITHOUT some sort of world-ending war or catastrophe? It makes you contemplate, doesn't it? Anyway, that's the sort of thing that's been teasing my brain and taking up my time and energy and yet leaving me with not much to blog about, and at the same time a whole bunch to be grateful for...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Be careful what you wish for...

So, after the last post I made about babies and writing, apparently the respective gods of both took note. At 5:50 Am April 16 code name Roja arrived at the farm, albeit with the sort of drama that only babies, young children and old people can manage. Look up the term 'red sack' or 'red bag' birth along with the word horse, and you'll get all the info you need and more. But at the moment, things are looking good enough that I feel confident to list a time line for little Roja: 5:50 arrived with much fanfare (and a TINY bit of help) 8:00 Mom had no milk yet and I was hungry and minus colostrum, got stomach tubed 10:30 Got slathered in milk replacer that was supposed to be ingested, officially earned the certificate for achieving status of "Pain in the Ass" 12:00 Mom's still slacking, got the damn stomach tube again 2:00 managed to actually consume some of the milk replacer, even kind of liked it 3:45 Drank milk replacer, and dang, it was pretty good, pooped on A. Grey's sister, code name Fenris "Revenge is mine!" status upgraded to "Real pain in the ass" 4:30, officially reached, bucking, farting, kicking, galloping circles situation pretty damn normal stage. Hoping to avoid getting poked with plasma when the vet gets here....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Having Babies vs Writing

I've spent the last week staring at a very swollen, very contrary, very uncomfortable horse waiting on her to decide that it's time for her to disgorge the tiny-tot she's been busy growing the last eleven months. I haven't gotten much written, I've slept about eight good hours in the last hundred and eight, and neither I nor the horse have anything to show for it. But I have come to a few conclusions, the primary of these being that when someone says 'writing a book is like having a baby' they are absolutely correct. I have never had a baby myself, but I've raised my share of babies of the equine kind and really, they aren't all that different from the two legged variety, and all babies are just like books.

You spend months, maybe years, growing your ideas to adulthood, trying to guide them to become the best that they can be, the most well rounded and self-sustaining. And then, just when you deem them perfect, you have to release them to other people, like sending a child to college, letting them out into a world where they'll be subjected to things you never wanted them to face, opinions you never wanted them to hear. And just like a child, you can't protect your book from everything bad, not if you want it to mature so that it can make its own way in the world. And no matter how you've raised your book, you can't stop other people from seeing things in it that you never saw, or never thought you'd see. All you can do is be true to your book, give it all that you can, bless it with a strong voice and strong characters, a gripping story and then stand back and allow it to go its way. Do your best and leave the rest, as the saying goes.

So now I'm going to head back out and stare at the reluctant baby-mama some more as if I could send out a tractor beam from my eyeballs and draw the foal into the world by sheer will power. Once the little thing does make it's appearance, of course, there will be only so much I can teach it before it's grown and I have to let it go its own way and be a horse. Just like I'll have to eventually hand over the stories and books I've spent so long creating to other people, people who hopefully will introduce them to the rest of the world...

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

I got 'The Adoration of Jenna Fox' last night. I read it in three hours, counting bathroom breaks and two cat fights. (My Ari and my dad's immense Griffon are mortal enemies, except when they aren't) I absolutely loved the book. It was well written, well thought out, gripping and yet easy to read and understand. In a way, A of J F reminded me of a book I read way back in my school days called 'Eva' the difference being that in 'Eva' the girl's brain was transplanted into a chimp. I'm forced to say that A of J F was, in my opinion, a much better book.
'Eva' left a great deal to be inferred and came across as far fetched, even though it was supposed to frighten you with the possibilities. A of J F managed the task flawlessly. I'm a funeral director's daughter. Death does not scare me. Living trapped scares me. Loosing my humanity, to a computer, scares me. Living forever, scares me. I'm already wary of all our 'breakthroughs' and medical feats. People scoff if you buy into alien abductions or unicorns and dragons, but go online and pull up a picture of the mouse with a human ear growing on its back and tell me I'm crazy to believe in other worlds. I dare you to look at that picture and then turn around and try to convince me of what isn't going to happen and isn't possible. Anything is possible, even if it shouldn't be. And humans will never stop exploring possibilities. So in short, I LOVED 'The Adoration of Jenna Fox'. I loved how it made me consider, not 'if' but 'How would I feel if it were me?' And 'How will I feel WHEN it happens to someone?'

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Halleluiah and Holy Hand Grenades it Worked! And Musings on Characters...

Well THAT was exciting. I managed to both change my profile pic and add one in a post, all without destroying the computer, locking it up, or somehow burning out my internet connection. Pretty good considering my track record. But enough about my technological hang-ups, onward to what I really wanted to post about...

So, you really made me stop and think, Tink (please ignore my inability to avoid rhyming on occasion) when you said that you loved that my character was named Pony. I hadn't given her name much thought. It's a nickname, her real name is Nelian. To me, she just appeared in my head as Pony, herself. All the characters that I've ever come up with have just popped into my head, largely formed, if not entirely defined. Sometimes, I'll actually wake up from a dream with a new character, or story idea. I've never been one to sit and 'brainstorm' not about developing characters or stories. Now, AFTER I've gotten a story idea in my head, I might sit and iron out details, especially when it comes to any sort of magic system, or how various races relate to each other, or timelines. But as far as my main characters, they've all just 'shown up'.

It's like looking in the foggy bathroom mirror after a shower a lot of the time. I can see the character's shape, a rough of who they are, but their details grow, the more I look at them, their personalities begin to define themselves, their little quirks solidify and eventually, there they stand, staring back at me. I leave them on occasion and come back later to see how they've changed, how they've clarified, if they've gained any new scars from their continuously coagulating histories. It's my favorite process of writing, the growth and development of characters, although I think every aspect is enthralling, if also sometimes vexing. But having a new character form before your eyes is like meeting a new friend, or enemie, as the case may be.

How do YOU find your characters? Do you spend hours brainstorming? Or just wake up knowing them? Do they drive you nuts? Or do you know who they are and where they're headed right from the off?

Time to Tempt the Techno Gods...

So, I figured it was time to try something new, and change my picture to one that actually had me in it. Yes, that's me, in the persona of Dandy Leon, Pin-Up Zombie Extraordinaire. Well, you didn't think I was going to put up a serious photo did you? As serious as I am about writing, I'm going to be a complete goof about everything else. The eye that I've been using as my photo belongs to the little pile of furry sweetness pictured above. His name is Ari and he is my son in every way except genetics. Well, going to leave it short for now, I have no idea what this'll even look like when I hit 'Post'. Here goes...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Book Reviews, Sort of...

So here's the thing. I HATE the idea of trying to review a book. Movies, theater, anything of that sort, no problem. But with books, it's another matter. It's just so personal, passing judgement on someone else's dream-on-paper. And it's not critiquing because the author isn't getting feedback, they're just having their work picked over. But I do love discussing why I did, or didn't, like a book, and trying to figure out what the author was thinking when he or she did, or didn't, answer or raise questions in their work. So here goes...
I managed to finish two books this weekend, each in one evening. I like reading everything from teen things to the masterful Stephen King. These books were both of the former variety.

The first was 'The Bones of Faerie' by Janni Lee Simner. For the most part, I adored it. Without revealing too much about the book, I can say that it took an idea that I could see actually taking place and spun a tale of what might happen afterward. It was a strange and lovely mix of 'us' and 'them' and the sometimes blurred lines that run between the two. But there were a few things that were left drifting, even in a teen novel that might not be expected to drag on and on about details and plot background.
For instance, WHY was there a war? There are people who remember the War, some of them were directly involved in it. Yet we get no definitive answers as to what started everything and even more importantly, what the aggressors hoped to accomplish, should they win. Things like that irk me. It's like an adult telling you 'no' and then when you ask 'why?' they say, 'because'. Because? What the hell kind of answer is that? Maybe I'm just spoiled. My mother had a reason for whatever rule she laid down. Not that I didn't get a red backside now and then. but at least I knew WHY my rump was stinging, and not just 'because'.
My other issue is with the magic. It's not a terribly big issue, but it irks me the same way that the lack of background about the War does. There doesn't seem to be a trade off for the use of magic. There isn't any 'price' on the effort one must put into casting and using their magic. It's discussed, but you never see anyone ever deal with the price, not beyond getting exhausted. Again, trying not to say too much, there are instances where someone accidentally does great harm with their magic, not even understanding what they've done, not yet. But even when they find out, it turns out fine. People use their magic to the point of killing themselves, but they're saved by others, who suffer nothing for the effort but getting tired. I know that being a teen book 'The Bones of Faerie' has no need for copious amounts of death, but the situations have a serious gravity, and there is a blatant tone of owning your responsibilities, so you would think that there might be something to the magic along the same lines. On the whole though, a great, quick read, I didn't even put it down fro bathroom runs, and two toes met with door facings as a result.

SPOILER WARNING The first lines are spoiler free, but then I couldn't help it.

The second book was 'The Darkangel' by Meredith Ann Pierce. I had high hopes for this book (another teen variety) after reading the cover but I was disappointed in the end. The idea (roughly) is that the Darkangel, a vampyer, steals maidens away to be his bride. The main character Aerial, is a slave whose mistress is stolen. Right off the book was rather confusing from the standpoint that there is no sun, it's the Solstar, there is no moon, it's a planet called Oceanus. There aren't days, there are 'days' that lasts months, and no nights, but 'nights' that last a fortnight - I think. Honestly, I'm still not sure about that. At the beginning they refer to something as nightshade, but it's never mentioned again. And within the first pages, Aerial's mistress and 'friend' makes fun of her very harshly, in a way that no one I have ever called my friend would do.
Still, I liked the story overall, ignoring confusion over names and timeframes, and although the foreshadowing was heavy enough that I knew pretty much what was going to happen before it did, I kept reading, eager to see what happened between Aerial and the lovely, evil Darkangel.

And then the ending smashed it for me. Aerial 'saves' the Darkangel by poisoning him and then giving him her blood and her heart and *poof* he turns into a beautiful prince, who although stolen as a young child has grown up but conveniently stopped growing at 16 even though he's been enchanted for twenty-some years, which puts him neatly right at Aerial's age. And the best part? Even though he was only four or six when he was taken, he remembers everything that's happened to him and he understands how evil he was and sorrows for all his misdeeds and yawn yawn yawn.
Right their I lost all interest in the story. Everything enthralling about the Darkangel, the fact that he did horrible things and yet stopped doing nearly all of them to please Aerial, that he treated her poorly and spoke harshly to her and yet let her do as she pleased, was banished in the end. He turned into the boy next door.
This is a pet peeve of mine. The whole 'I want to be unique, just like everyone else.' It would have been so much more interesting if he'd been trapped in the shape of the Darkangel, or won against his evil tendencies but still had to struggle against them. But no, the Darkangel turns out to be just another prince charming, irrevocably linked to a former slave girl. That and the much over used term 'pity' rather ruined an otherwise good story. I really loath the word pity. To me, it insinuates that whatever you're pitying is worth less than you, and thusly worthy of your pity.
I very much enjoy the idea of having compassion and affection for something that doesn't deserve it, at least one of my characters is utterly weak to having compassion for the most dangerous and undeserving of things. But what (I think anyway) makes Pony so unique is that she has such compassion even knowing that she won't get a reward. And she has no pity for those evil things she loves. If circumstance had been different, SHE might be in the position of the evil creatures. It was just chance. Anyway, when you take a perfectly evil creature who is still somehow completely endearing and then 'fix' him by turning him into a prince charming, or restoring him to his former glory, I loose interest. It just flattens everything. I won't read the rest of the series. But I won't throw away Darkangel either. I'll just put it on the 'I wish' pile.
What about books annoys you?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lightening Has Struck!

No, I haven't secured an agent, I have no publishing contract.  But tentatively I will be getting a short story published in a local magazine called La Joie, which focuses on the relationships between animals and their human counterparts, and respecting life in all its forms.  I think that you gave me good juju Tinkandalissa!  ;)  Like the whole 'I do believe in fairies' idea!  I'm posting the story below, it makes for a long post, but what the hell, I'd like to know what folks think.  All the horses are real horses, my furry herd.  

                          New Life


                           A. Grey

She’s an embattled soul, my Saida, standing in the center of the field, bad leg cocked, long neck stretched low, her head angled slightly to one side to ease the pull on her scarred left shoulder. Dixie stands at the trough, J.D. and Sierra under the pines.  Among them all, Saida is the paradox, the inconstant thread.  Plain brown in contrast to their appaloosa patterns and dusty donkey grey, her winter coat is shaggy, tattered where the CSU and 1808 brands mar the pattern of hair, missing where old wounds inhibit its growth entirely.  Even her name is not her own, just one of many tags she’s borne.  To my mother, she is Aisha, Swahili for ‘new life’.  But to me she remains Saida.  The unconquerable.    

While the other horses were grazing in open fields, Saida was healing from wounds that will never be explained, alone and untreated.  While little J.D. roamed with a herd of incorrigible donkey siblings, Saida stood with hundreds of other horses, crammed into dirt paddocks and narrow chutes.  While Sierra and Dixie dallied at riding camps, Saida struggled to find her balance in a cattle rig traveling across the country.

When I first saw her she was wild and raw, almost unmanageable, carrying a foal that was not her own.  Trust was a truth that she never quite subscribed to, but motherhood proved to be her natural calling.  It was not a permanent state, however, and soon she was cast to the winds again, homeless and ill-suited to the expectations of a palfrey.  But I saw a nobility in her misanthropic ways, a brilliance in her madness, a kindness in her manic attentiveness to the self appointed position of herdsman.  And so here she stands in my field, safe now, but tattered and battered and not much to look at.

But come spring, the matte brown shag will slip from her lanky angles, revealing the crimson of blood bay, a coat of skin-close velveteen as soft as owl down.  The summer sun will bleach her new hide to a copper coated ruby and her scars will loosen beneath its heated golden glare.  She’ll run laps just to hear her own footfalls and the other horses will follow her even though they don’t understand why she finds such joy in the action.  And she’ll never be explainable.  Her sudden affection will never be something I can claim on a whim, her absurd fears will never have a basis I can grasp.

Come fall, her coat will drag low, its dull brown a catch-all for dirt and dead grass.  The chill will set in and her scars will stiffen in its grip and the years will hang from her coatrack hips again.  She’ll take to dozing in the sun, and move in a disjointed swagger, always stepping short with her bum left hind.  But when spring shows up again, it will breath new life into Saida.  The unconquerable.  The inconstant.  The noble and indomitable. 

Friday, March 13, 2009


So this is more of a rant than a post, and any form of writing at all is long overdue because my life has resembled something like an old disaster movie the last month. The Poseidon Adventure maybe, or the Towering Inferno. Intead of loosing characters to gruesome deaths along the way, however, my losses have been more along the lines of a steady stream of rejection letters from various agents. I understand that rejections are part of becoming a published writer, but it would be nice if I ever got a hint of WHY I was rejected. And it would be VERY nice if the rejection wasn't phrased 'We find your idea intriguing but' or 'Your idea was very interesting but'. Spare me the empty flattery. If the story was so intriguing or interesting, you'd be intrigued or interested in seeing at least a synopsis or the first few chapters. Rejection is fine, but a simple, 'I'm not interested, thank you for the consideration' is plenty kind enough.

I understand that I can't get feedback, it's not reasonble for agents, editors, and publishers to give EVERYONE feedback. But after being rejected twenty odd times and counting, it's easy for me to point out the rejections that drove me up a wall and the ones that made me want to try harder. Agents don't want you to flatter them or list how many of your friends and family 'just loved' your manuscript. In the same vein, I don't want to hear how intriguing my story idea was if an agent/editor/publisher wasn't interested enough to actually READ the story. In short, I would remove the word 'but' from the english language.

I will continue to query of course, because the one true NEED I have in my life besides air, food and water, is to wrote and the thing I want most is to write as a professional. And who knows, eventually maybe someone will actually read my manuscript and be able to articulate WHY they did or did not like it or parts of it and I'll be able to work on the problems. And maybe some agent/editor/publisher will find my query interesting enough to bother with learning more about the manuscript. Until that happens, I will continue to write. Or maybe I'll stage a near disaster in which I will save countless lives, since that seems to create instant writers who are sought after for book deals. That last being gotten out of my system, let me make it very clear that I think 'Sully' Sullenberger is a true hero of the highest order and deserves everything he's now receiving. I just wish that those of this without the term 'hero' in our resume had better odds of such success...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wolf in the Mall

I like to think I'm pretty brave. Needles don't bother me in the slightest. I have no qualms about wading into a dog fight and knocking a few heads together, or diving into a horse fight and diverting herbivorous rage (if you've never seen horses actually trying to tear each other's throats out, this one might not seem so bad) I don't have a problem with gaping wounds or dangling tissue. But put me in a room full of people I don't know and, well, it's like turning a wolf loose in a mall. I'll back into a corner where my flanks are protected and simply stare out at all the activity going on around me. If forced to leave my corner, I'll skitter across the floor dodging people like a mouse whose hiding spot has been discovered, or creep along the wall like a sniper changing positions. God forbid someone speaks to me (apparently my terror doesn't translate to my outward appearance) I stare for an inordinate amount of time before remembering how to form verbal responses and when I do manage to speak, I've forgotten what the person said to initiate contact in the first place and I'm forced to ask them to repeat themselves.

There's nothing wrong with being bad at talking to strangers, but you have to have a reasonable ability to converse with other people, escpecially when you're hoping to learn from them. All of this is coming around to the fact that I, a confirmed hermit have signed up to attend the Sirens conference being held in Vail CO in October of this year. I, who never went to a high school dance because I might actually have to talk to someone. But oh what an opportunity to learn! With guests of Honor like Kristin Cashore (personal hero since she's a debut author that I totally 'get') and Tamora Pierce, the conference which is in its inaugural year, promises to be full of information and people of all different backgrounds. All I have to do is manage to smile and respond. That shouldn't be too difficult. Hey, I'm sure that even wolves can learn to like the mall, or the food court anyhow. So until then, I'll be practicing my verbal skills and plotting how to avoid irking airport security.

And maybe I'll work on my computer prowess, since this is the second time I've written this blog because I didn't make my intentions to publish the first one clear and the computer ate it...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Writing is my Tree House

You know when you were a kid and you had 'that place' you went whenever you wanted and as long as you were there, nobody could get to you and nothing else mattered?  It might have been a tree house, or a big rock in the middle of the woods, or even just a fort made of bed sheets and and lawn chairs.  Writing is my tree house now.  It's my safe place, where no one else can go, no matter how they try.  That's what writing is to me, a land in and of itself.  Sometimes it's dangerous, sometimes frustrating and at other times it's a place where anything can happen.  

I have a friend who is always telling me that I love writing because it creates a chemical high, just as potent as taking a drug.  I HATE that he insists this is the true basis for why I'm so obsessed with writing.  And I flat don't agree with it.  I love tattoos as well, but not because I enjoy being poked thousands of times by seven needles at once.  The needles and pain are a part of tattooing, but they aren't why I love tattoos.  I love writing. Period.  I don't need a reason to love it, I don't have to justify the love of it, or try and dissect what causes me to love writing.  I just love it.   

If anyone happens to read this, let me know what writing is to you...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And Again....

So another round of query letters out, and another round of rejections back in. Now I'm getting a new round of query letters together. It rather feels like being on a merry-go-round in a windstorm, with every sailing piece of debris representing another rejection. But hey, I like the wind, and one day, when I'm staring at a hard copy of published work, my eyes will trail over the bookshelves to the massive framed collage of all those rejection letters, or so I keep telling myself. One of the bloggers I've been following (and you'll have to forgive the lack of a link here, I haven't gotten that under my belt yet) by the name of Cat Rambo, recently put up a post referring to the amount of persistence required by someone who wants to get published. In her post, she put a link to yet another blogger who'd posted about persistence. Both blogs are very good and did much to diminish my frustrations over the latest rejection letters.
I've submitted a short story to a local contest, and I'm working on more stories to submit either to contests, or magazines. My position in life is similar one of the astronauts in this quirky play we put on in highschool called "Kaliedoscope". During the play, the astronauts are thrown into space in different directions by an explosion, and though they know they aren't alone, none of them are ever able to find each other again. I'm not so hopeless as that, but for the time being, I'm simply floating through space in search of an asteroid called Agent. Persistence and tenacity are two traits I've never been short on, however, so until something changes, it's out with the queries, in with the rejections and begin the dance again. My collage is going to be magnificent. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Poet Laureate of the D.O.C.

Okay, so the title is technically incorrect because the D.O.C. does not, unless policies have changed and I'm not aware of it, appoint a poet laureate but I'm excited, so sue me. (Anyone who knows me knows that this is a pointless venture because you can't get blood out of a turnip) For anyone who enjoys poetry even in the slightest, I implore you to click your way over to Amazon and look up the just-published book titled Origami Heart, by Erin George. Incarcerated, Erin also happens to be a gifted poet, whose writing is ghostly, disturbing, sorrowful, but also amusing at times. A self-discribed 'dorky white woman' Erin has been forced to adapt to the world of electronic gates and bulletproof glass that will be HER world until death comes to find her. Such constraints fall away within her writing, however, and leaves behind only a mother who has lost her children, a daughter taken from her mother, a wife left a widow.
If you have concerns about a 'criminal' profiting from book sales, never fear, Erin, nor anyone in her family will get a penny. All proceeds will go to support a writing program for inmates throughout the D.O.C. Just check the book out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold Days

I just laid out a rough outline for an attempt on an urban sort of fantasy, a genre I've never done more than flirt with. And then today, out of the blue another idea for a more epic fantasy story jammed itself into my head, on top of the urban fantasy that was busy mud wrestling for brain space with the details of the books I've written and am still working on.
What is it about cold weather that brings me tons of ideas that I'm forced merely to hen peck while struggling to continue the physical tasks required for keeping horses maintained during winter weather? I find myself rigging heat lamps and then scribbling notes with a pencil held in my teeth while my fingers thaw and then it's back outside to break water troughs (one day I'll fall through the ice and then maybe I'll start using a sledge hammer rather than jumping up and down on the ice until it cracks) and writing is put off until my zipper thaws enough for me to climb out of the neck of my coat.
Ideas never come to me at convenient moments, when I'm staring at a blank page, thwarted by a conflict going on amongst my characters and their enemies that I can't resolve in an adequate fasion. They never show up while I'm sitting at the doctor's office bored beyond conscious thought, or during a traffic jam while I'm doing nothing more constructive than burning gas. No, the best ideas seem reserved for the moments when I have something else to do, and usually a horse depending on me to do it, which makes it impossible for me to forsake the task in favor of giving my attention to whatever little thought pops into my head and wants to be addressed. That's why all of my coat and jean pockets are stuffed with scraps of paper filled with notes that no one can read and why the dryer's lint trap is constantly clogged with malformed wads of paper that were lately something important that I'll spend the next week cursing over and looking for...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blogging and Zombies

This blogging thing is an entirely new idea for me.  If you knew my family, you would wonder how talking in any form could be difficult, but nevertheless, it is at least right now.  The women in my family have the ability to talk a bullet through kevlar.  This is a well documented fact.  And yet, ask me about my writing and I will revert to something similar to a three year old who just got caught eating a goldfish.  Which is one reason that I felt blogging would be a good idea.  After all, it won't do me much good to get an agent interested in me if I can't articulate my goals and ideas to them. 
For me, writing is like a zombie (and I've met a few zombies in my time) because no matter what you do to the thing, it's still there, screaming for brains and crawling around getting underfoot.  The only way to get rid of it is either feed it or cut it's head off, and even the latter doesn't always work, sometimes you just end up with two zombies, like a fishing worm cut in half that just crawls off in two directions.   I prefer to feed my writing zombie, it's less messy and I don't have the floor space for more than one crawling around anyway.  Speaking of which, the thing is having a fit at the moment, demanding that I do something with it, so I'll leave this second post of my life as it is, a bit about blogging and a little about zombies, and go feed my own little undead, brain consuming obsession.....

Thursday, January 8, 2009


So, this is it, I have dared to enter the world of blogging, awkwardly, and with a great deal of trepidation, but I'm here just the same. I likely would die an old woman who has never even read a blog, much less written one, but if I'm to become a successfully published writer, I've decided that it might be a good idea to put myself out there a little bit. You never know if you don't try, after all, and I won't meet anyone beyond my own characters if I don't pull my head out of my notebooks at least once in a while. So here I am. Greetings to anyone who finds me! I will be adding more and more to the blog as I slowly figure out what I'm doing so please have patience.