Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The State of Gray

Howdy, folks! Just me checking in with an update on all the things that are going on.

Or rather, the lack of visible things going on. Life is still crazy but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm fairly certain it's not an oncoming train. Pretty certain. Mostly certain. :)

Faire is over for the time being. I am headed back east in less than a week to help out with family issues there. I am madly working in my fiber business to have things in stock and plenty ready to go to a show with me in July.

But you, who ostensibly come here to read about, well, writing, may be feeling a little left out. I want to promise you, therefore, that Words on Wednesday will continue when I have a little more breathing room. Immortal Lies will come out in ebook form at least. I had hoped to have that done by July 1st, but realistically, that's just not going to happen. August 1st is more like it, so I'm currently aiming for that.

Legion, dear followers, friends and fans, will also happen. If you've been following the twists and turns in Catie's life, you know that her times, too, are currently interesting. So, rather than a month long blast-through-the-book, we're writing when we can. Stay tuned. It's still going to be awesome.

Oh! Here's a little something. If you've been reading And The Skies Fell at the webpage, I've updated it with a couple more chapters. I will do my best to get the rest up there by the end of the week. Apologies for the delay. Think of it like an old-timey cliffhanger serial, or a midseason television break. Only this one didn't last three months.

So, for now, that's all the talk that's fit to type.  More to come when it does.

Thanks for hanging in here with me. It's more appreciated than I can say.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Life may not always be kind...

But true friends will always be close.

As close as they can be, at least, when so many of us maintain long distance friendships through the power of the interwebz.

I know that there are several people in my circle going through rough patches, either themselves or with family and loved ones. It does seem that the universe sometimes decides to test us all at once, doesn't it? If you're having a hard or stressful time right now, I hope things settle for you, soon. Don't be afraid to ask for a shoulder to lean on or an ear from a friend. That's what friends are for, after all, right? And no one can do everything alone.

Which is a hard lesson to learn for some of us, when we think we ought to be able to handle everything. We're human, people. Sometimes humans need other humans to give them a hand. Or a hug. Or both.

This weekend is the second faire weekend for me. I am also sending the Engineer away for a bit (for work) and preparing for my own trip, as well as attempting to do fiber things and writing things and keeping the house clean and the cats fed. I keep telling myself that if I can just get through the month, things will calm down.

Which is really not true because there's more travel and more event stuff going on for me in July, but you know, every once in a while I fool myself, take a deep breath and relax. One small step for me...

If you have plans this weekend, I hope they're fun and that you enjoy yourself. If you don't have plans, I hope you have a chance to sleep in and laze around the house or whatever makes you happy.

And then come tell me about it on Monday! Gotta get my thrills somehow, right? :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

An eventful weekend.

As I have previously posted, I will be working at various renaissance faires this summer. The weekend just past was one such event. (Look at that line. Look at the post title. See what I did there?) It was, as I hoped, a lot of fun. My feet are protesting this fact a little, but they can just hush right up.

It was a beautiful drive up to South Lake Tahoe. Though the internet access up there in them mountains is less than ideal, sometimes you have to take a step away from the computer and just appreciate. Then you spend time around other people who enjoy dressing in historical costume and entertaining patrons as much as you do yourself and, well. I had a blast. I'll be doing it again this coming weekend and then no more playing in garb for a while. Ah well. There will be more of that later.

This weekend also begins lots of travel for the household. Not so thrilled about that. June promises to be quite a lot of alone time. Good for writing and other projects that require no interaction. Not so great for ye olde social skills. By the end of the month, though, hopefully that will have calmed down and we'll be back on something like a normal schedule.

Unless we move. It is to dream.

At any rate, hello again! I hope that your Monday was less than horrible and that the rest of your week goes smoothly. If you are at either BEA or E3, know that I'm terribly jealous. And enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Words on ... Friday?

Hey all!

So, somewhat full disclosure. The cryptic comments I've made about being off my game boil down to this: there are serious health issues impacting my mother and her partner. Finding out about them made my already wobbly attempts to stay on track here even more unstable. Hence things like, oh, missing my Words on Wednesday post.

This should all be settled, for me at least, toward the end of this month. I will be doing my best to keep on top of posting and tweeting and things of that nature, but I'm going to ask for your patience ahead of time so I don't have to spend a lot of time apologizing if I miss days and postings. There may even be a week in there where I don't post at all. We'll see.

But you all rock, so this won't be a problem. And if you've got good thoughts to spare, send them toward Virginia, will you? :)

On to happier things:

Words on Friday! That's right. The first chapter that I promised you on Wednesday is live today. This is the first chapter of Immortal Lies, the urban fantasy with the jaw-droppingly gorgeous cover I showed you. I am working on formatting this book so I can get it into epub format and into the hands of the hungry and curious. I am so excited, I can't even truly express it. I really think you're going to like it. I hope you do, at least.

And. AND! It's June. That means that C.E. Murphy and I will do at least a little work on Legion, the awesometastic YA that will Rock! Your! Socks! Off! No really, it will, just wait. It may not be a complete novel in a month as we originally planned, but there will be work. And it will be amazing! There may be a work log. There may be goofy quotes on Twitter. (There probably will.) Follow along! Cheer for us! Other things that require exclamation points!

This weekend, I will be Ren Fairing it up. If you are in the Tahoe area or will be up that way, come check out the Valhalla Renaissance Faire. I'll be with the Needle's Eye tailor's guild. Good fun.

But now? Fiction! Under the jump.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Just flat.

Today was a day of bad news for the household. Not for me personally, but for family across the states. I therefore confess to having done, oh, nothing that I planned to do today. The long weekend will help sort things, I'm sure.

The Creativity Flow will return on Monday. Yep, I'm going to post Monday, holiday or not.

Have a good weekend! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Words on Wednesday: They're different!

So as I mentioned on Monday, I have something a little different for my usual Wednesday post. I hope you'll indulge me. I hope you can stand taking a break from Tolya and the epic fantasy world for a little while. We'll come back to them, I promise.

But I am so excited about another project that I have to interrupt myself and share with you.

A little backstory: A lot of times, a story will come to me not with a story, but with a character speaking a line that, to me, pretty much sums up the character. It's usually loud, it's almost always undeniable, and it stops me in my tracks and makes me want to write that one right now.

For example (and one day you will know about this project too), I once heard: My name is Triumph. I wear a badge.

I still love that line. *self-indulgent swoon*

But for the project in question, I heard: Being a vampire isn't all it's cracked up to be. Anyone who tells you otherwise is prowling for a snack.


And lo, Tybalt Jones, the hero? Protagonist. Of my next book was born.


Sadly, I was a little behind the times when it came to vampire fiction. By the time I'd finished the book and started it out on the rounds, most agents and editors were saying dear God, send me no more vampires or I will stake you, the author, instead! So Tybalt and Violet (his faerie girlfriend) and Granny (the witch) and the werewolves and and and came home to me.

But there's life in this story, and I am not ready to give up on it. So New York may be tired of vampires. Readers are not. And when we, as writers hear 'Give me the same thing but different!', well...

Meet Tybalt Jones, the reluctant vampire.


This is a cover that I commissioned from the wonderfully talented Anne Cain. I am thrilled beyond all words with this cover, and more, with having a book that has a gorgeous cover with a multi-racial man front and not-exactly-center-but-close-enough. Thrilled. So thrilled. Can you hear me squeeing from there?

I am currently working on getting this formatted so I can release it in a number of electronic formats. Tybalt is going to lead my charge into the world of independent publishing.

And next week, I will have the first chapter available for you to read. I've got a lot of work to do to get everything ready, but that much I can promise.

New words! How exciting is that?


Monday, May 21, 2012

It's Monday! I made it!

Looky here! It's still Monday and there's a blogpost. How cool is that?

Hello, folks. Apologies again for a quiet weekend. How were things on your end? Do anything exciting that you want to share? Or not exciting but that you feel like sharing anyway? It's all good.

This weekend, I did some more renaissance faire prep. I drove up to Grass Valley, about 90 minutes away from where I live, and spent the night with a couple of other ladies from my new guild. Saturday we got up bright and early and continued on to Fallon, NV where we met some other new guild members, did some fitting, did some sewing, and generally had a grand old time.

I've got the Ren Faire bug pretty seriously again. I realized that it's been eleven years since I worked a faire and I've -missed- it, people. I am currently wishing I could work a long-term eight weekends in one place faire, but maybe one day. This season, I'll be doing several smaller faires.

The first of which, by the way, will be the Valhalla Renaissance Faire in Tahoe. It opens the first weekend of June (June 2nd) and runs two weekends. If you're in the area or feel like making the trip, come see us. Let me know.

I am in the process of fixing up some borrowed garb before I can get the material to make my own. I am apparently "squishy" enough to fit into this particular dress (by which I mean I can be laced into a bodice tightly enough to make it fit), so I'm good to go, at least for this faire. We are a tailoring guild, so we'll be talking about and demonstrating sewing and embroidering and lace making and possibly spinning and dyeing and ... it's going to be a blast.

I am also currently obsessing about building my next-step character. I've always wanted to play a Spaniard at Ren Faire. I may get my shot!

At any rate. I'm back on track for posting, I think. If all goes well, Wednesday's post will be a little different. Keep your fingers crossed. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

And The Skies Fell #10

This forgetting to post thing is becoming problematic. I will work on that.

Nothing witty to relate today. Just more fiction. :)


Monday, May 14, 2012

Time keeps on slippin'

I missed another day on Friday. I am sorry for that! Clearly I need to build up a backlog of posts so that when  I have nothing creative to say or I run out of time, I can pull from the pool and be good to go.

Anyway!

Hi! It's Monday again. It's Monday in the middle of May, actually. A very alliterative day and holy heck, how did it get to be that far into the year already? I distinctly remember when a month seemed like fooooreeeevvver, Mom (unless it was summer vacation) and now? Now they just zing by without giving us time to catch up.

Ah, the joys of getting older.

Over the weekend, I finally managed to see The Avengers. Yep, I'm a week behind oh, the rest of the world, but it was well worth the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It's been a while since I was caught off guard and laughed out loud in a movie. That happened several times. There were also a couple of near-sniffle moments. If you've seen it, you probably know what they were.

I have to confess, though: I still don't get Hawkeye. I don't know his story. What's the appeal there? Props for him actually, eventually, running out of arrows, though.

Nothing more exciting than that to report, I'm afraid. I hope your weekend was a good one, and that all of the moms in your lives had a fantastic day yesterday!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brain status: Functional (And The Skies Fell #9)


Hello hello, and apologies for Monday's radio silence. Sadly, I caught my annual head cold and it laid me flat on Monday. I could have tried typing, but it would have come out as nonsense, I'm sure. Rather than being productive, I sprawled bonelessly in a chair at my desk, stared blankly into space and wished that wishing to feel better didn't make my head hurt so bad.

But I'm better now, thanks to the passing of the ick and the Engineer's gift of broccoli cheese soup. (I was craving it while sick. He doesn't like cheese, but he made it for me anyway. From scratch! Now that's love, right?)

I managed a pretty eventful weekend before I was felled, though. On Saturday, I went to a Renaissance Faire symposium. These are hour-long workshops on various topics of interest to those who volunteer, vend at, and perform at ren faires. I used to work at a ren faire. I have not for years, but I'm pleased to say that I'll be slipping back into garb this season for the first time in a decade plus. I am so excited!

Then Sunday, the Engineer and I went up into the hills to visit a co-worker of his and his wife, to spend the day and meet their llamas. Yep, llamas. Silly looking critters with a bouncy gait and long, fluffy, almost-bunny-ears. I got to help shear a couple of them, including a -gorgeous- young gent. I got to touch and pick through the fleeces she's collected for years and I brought home, I kid you not, several pounds of llama and alpaca fiber.

I now have enough of that to last me a while. Probably. Okay, maybe not. What can I say? It's an addiction.

The ick set me back a little on my projects, but I can tell you that I have at least one book cover coming up relatively shortly that I think you will all appreciate (which means I need to finish those revisions so I can share the story with you.) Another is promised and, knowing the artist's work, I don't think any of us will be disappointed.

So the list of Things To Be Done hasn't gotten any shorter, but really, with us writer types, when does that ever happen?

To tide you over until I have something more to show, have another chapter of the good (free!) stuff.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Things to be done.

It is shaping up to be a somewhat busy weekend, here. No, not just because tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, though there may be a refreshing adult beverage or two consumed, just because we can.

No, because there are Things To Be Done.

We still need to find a new place to live.
There is a Renaissance Fair Symposium about ten minutes away.
There is a visit to a llama farm on Sunday.
Some gaming would be nice.
As would going to see the horses in their new digs. (There are sheep there, too. Bonus!)
I could stand to do some dyeing.
And the kitchen floor needs washing.
And The Avengers, of course. Worth the crowds? It just might be!

Only some of which will happen, I'm sure, but that seems like Pretty Busy to me.

And you know what? My writing looks about that busy. Not as busy as some of course, but, there are Things To Be Done there, too.

Finish revising The Dragon Undone.
Finish transitioning Of Shadow Born to this side of urban fantasy rather than that side of paranormal romance.
I really should write the second book I proposed to that e-publisher...
Format Immortal Lies for indie release.
Check my inboxes eagerly for cover art news.
Figure out an anthology story.
Gear up for the Month of Writing with Catie (You're not going to want to miss this. June is going to be epic.)
Complete Songmaker
...

So what am I doing today? Well. I was productive this morning. I was! Now, I am spinning and watching things on Hulu and Netflix. Yep, I know. Pass the popcorn.

What do you have planned for the weekend? Whatever it is, I hope it goes as you expected, or even a little better. "See" you Monday!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A confoundingly busy day. (And The Skies Fell #8)

Despite the fact that I haven't done much out of the house today, it's been pretty busy, at least in my head. I have also been having with my twitter account (I'm wordsofgray over there, too, if you want to follow me but are not yet -- I'm one follower away from 100 at the moment!) so in addition to being "busy", I have felt very disconnected from my virtual peeps.

And sometimes that is okay too. Sometimes social, borrowing from Monday's post, is really not vital.

That said, it's Wednesday and that means there are words to be shared. Enjoy!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Sometimes, social is good.

It should come as no surprise that I am not a very social being. I'm a writer. We can be very solitary beasts.

There was a time, Once Upon, when I was in my twenties (...and how much did I never think I would write things like this, then) that I was relatively popular. Friends would often come to visit, even from out of state. I went and did things. It was fun and sometimes overwhelming. No, I was never Popular Girl in High School popular -- despite doing the morning announcements senior year. Everyone knew who I was, by voice, at least. Did this score me extra party invites? No, it did not.

Anyway! Now that I am older, I am not so social. And really, I tend to like it that way. I embrace my hermitness. And I'm old enough to make up words now, too. I am happy to write and dye at home, alone, for the most part. But sometimes, it's nice to get out and be social, too.

Though I am considering a virtual knit night, I go out to my local yarn shop once a week and knit with friends. We have, as I've mentioned, gone to the local gaming store to play board and/or roleplaying games. And this past weekend, I got to see a friend present a fantastic workshop at my local RWA chapter.

RWA, if you don't know, stands for Romance Writers of America. It is one of the few professional writing organizations out there that allows people without publishing credits to join. It is a fantastic resource for those who are writing or want to write romance, and want pointers, advice, and a shoulder to lean on. I've been a member for many years. When I was crazy, I considered volunteering at the National level. I was on the board of my local chapter for many moons. I got better.

As I am no longer writing pure romance, and I'm in that nebulous space between published and NYT Bestseller, it's not a perfect fit for me any more, but I'm staying. I'm still writing and most importantly, I treasure the people and contacts I've made while a member.

And this was not meant to be a recruitment ad.  Organizations are not required and aren't for everyone. But they do give me an excuse to practice being social, and for that, I have all the gratitude in the world.

Oh, and speaking of my chapter: Brenda Novak is one of my chapter mates. As tomorrow is the first of May, her auction fundraiser for diabetes starts tomorrow. There are amazing things up for bid, my friends. If you have never seen it, go take a look. If you have, come back this year and shop again. You won't regret it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Worth of Words

Hey, look at this. I'm being somewhat serious. It does happen on occasion. No need to mark the calendar.

Lately, there's been some great conversation about what books are worth, at least as far as e-books, e-publishing and independent publishing is concerned. I'm not sure whether that's because conference season is upon us again, there are interesting things happening with regards to security and format on electronic books, because there have some hugely successful fiction projects on Kickstarter lately, or phases of the moon. Whatever the reason, lots of people are thinking, talking, and discussing it.

And since I'm going down the indie road myself over here, of course I've thought about it too. I have not done a lot of opining on it until, well, today, because there are a lot of things to take in to consideration and a lot of factors to weigh.

For instance: Is it possible to underprice a book in the "new" electronic market?  Yes, I think so. Though there's something to be said for free fiction (if I didn't believe this, I wouldn't be offering it) and for the "introductory" price point of $.99 on some of the big book selling sites -- Amazon and Barnes & Noble at least -- I don't think that it's a good idea, personally. Not for a first-time author. Not for a first independent offering.

The argument is that free and low price points get an author's name out there and help to build a readership. I think that those things might help, certainly, but I can't agree that a low price point alone is going to do the trick. If an author writes a crap book and offers it for $.99, it's really not going to benefit them to have a lot of people read it simply because it's cheap.

(I realize that no one thinks that they're offering a crap book to the reading public, but let's face it. No one writes a book that makes people squeal with delight every time. There are good books, better books, books that pale in comparison to others, and crap books. Sorry, but it's true.)

On the flip side, it's also absolutely possible to overprice your book as well. Having read comments and talked to people both on and offline, it is the rare reader who is enthusiastic about paying full paperback (or hardcover) price for an ebook. Though there are still costs and time involved in writing and preparing an ebook for general consumption, the perception is that they don't take nearly as much money to make so they shouldn't be sold for as much.

Fair enough.

I think the solution lies somewhere in the middle. Where, exactly, I'm not sure. There's still a lot of figuring and hashing and thinking to do.

Which clearly I didn't do enough of before typing out this rambly, point-lacking post. If you have thoughts you'd like to share with me, feel free to comment or question. If you don't have thoughts and you just want to doodle smiley faces on your screen where a comment might go? Well. That's okay too.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Words on Wednesday: And The Skies Fell #7

The weather is back in my world, my friends. Fortuately, it didn't bring thunder with it. Not yet, at any rate, but we went from rainy to quite a lot drier and hotter than anyone wanted, to rainy again, all in the space of, oh, a week or so.

And lo, it does play holy havoc with a girl's motivation.

I have been letting my to-do lists slide a little too much lately, and falling back into some of my old habits. I'm still much better about things than I used to be, but it's time to crack the whip at myself and edge back onto the course of Getting Things Done.

To be fair to myself, actually, I have to back up and say that I haven't been completely idle. I've just been concentrating more on the Other Business than keenly focused on the writing biz. That's the balance I need to find again. That's the thing that keeps knocking me off my author's chair. I'm getting butt glue. Just you wait and see.

You do not, however, have to wait any longer for the next installment of And The Skies Fell. Don't say I never gave you anything. (I was going to type nothing. I couldn't do it. You're welcome.)

Remember: If you need to read back to see where we last left off, you can always jump to the webpage and avoid all that pesky rummaging through blogposts. :)



Monday, April 23, 2012

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

To state the obvious: House-hunting is often an exercise in frustration and futility.

Hello! Happy Monday! Can you tell what we were doing for a good portion of the weekend? The area we live in is going through some housing market weirdness. Said weirdness makes me a bit grumpy, even while I struggle to be cheerful. Did I mention the weird?

The big news in my corner of the writerly world is, of course, that the Kickstarter for the Dinocalypse Now project ended not only successfully but SUCCESSFULLY. If I could add bells and whistles to that, I would. 1500+ backers, $42K+ in the end. People are getting awesome package deals out of this project and I'm really excited to see everything as it comes out.

I'm also excited to see what we/I can do as Kickstarter continues to grow.

It's a big day for other reasons too. It is, in no particular order:
  • William Shakespeare's birthday. If you know me, you know I'm a Shakespeare kinda gal. I write my own sonnets, for goodness sakes. Shakespeare and me, we're tight.
  • World Book and Copyright Day
  • St. George's Day AND
  • International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day. It's a wiki page. Go read up about it.
So. Lots and lots of reasons for it to be a good day for writers. Today, I will be a writer and ignore that frustrating house stuff for a bit.

If you are a fan of Jane Austen's works, you should go and read the free story C.E. Murphy has posted to her Livejournal. If you have not yet checked out the free serialized novel that I am posting (there'll be another update on Wednesday!), you should check that out too.

Heck. Cruise the web and find all the free stuff out there today. It's a good day to be a reader, too!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pretty fly for a Friday!

Despite that I have been living by To-Do list for the last six weeks or so, today, I decided that I could let myself slack, just a little bit. It's Friday. There are things to be done this weekend so I'll take my free time where I can get it.

And I'm not being entirely lazy. Not entirely. I did wash the latest yarn I spun up. I am skeining stuff I dyed so I can put it in the shop. I am spinning other things like mad. See, Jodi Meadows, you are not the only spinning writer out here! (She knows she isn't. I tease because she's Pretty Dang Cool.)

Know what else is pretty dang cool? Kicktraq. Yes, my friends, there is a way to look at your projects or projects you're interested in and see how their climb toward funding is progressing. Pretty interesting stuff, I think. When I have a new project up on Kickstarter, rest assured that I will be watching my trends obsessively very closely.

Speaking of friends: Catie more or less officially spread the word that she and I will eventually be Kicking a project together, to get Legion new airtime and new eyes. As she mentioned on Livejournal, this is a project that she and I came up with more than a decade ago when we amusingly thought that two nobodies lacking connections could get a tv show made. We were so young and naive. We have since considered new ways to get the story told because it is an amazing world and concept and we think people should love it as much as we do. Hold on to your butts, because when it arrives, it will rock your toe socks.

And if you happened by this blog because of hers, hey there! Nice to see you! Stick around.

Because there are other Projects and more Stuff. Too much to sum up. One day, I will essplain. (Points for getting the ref.)

But for now, I have more not-slacking to do. Hope the weekend is kind and only eventful in good ways.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

End of an Era (And The Skies Fell #6)

The big news today, for me at least, is that Dick Clark passed away. I am not old enough, obviously, to be of the same generation, but I did grow up watching his New Year's Eve celebrations. I used to watch American Bandstand. I cheered for him when he came back after his stroke. And yes, I had some very amusing and entertaining conversations about whether he was actually a vampire or a demon. I liked the guy and he will be sorely missed.

Rest in peace, Mr. Clark.

In personal writing news, another chapter on a mystery chapter is finished. Go me! This is a collaborative project, so that means I'm off the hook on it, for a little while. Doesn't mean I'm done writing though. I have more stuff in the pipes. Don't we all? More stories, more books, and more ideas than most of us will ever, ever commit to the page.

But let's not dwell on that. Let's dwell on the words that exist, shall we? :) There they are, under the jump.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh, to have a thought.

Sometimes, this word thing, she is hard.

Coming up with words, that is. In writing on a project or just, well, having something clever to talk about on a Monday.

One thing I can tell you: my pal Anna has a new Kickstarter project to fund a pair of urban fantasy novels. The cover art so far is really nicely drawn and promises to be even better when completed. Check it out, if you're so inclined.

And speaking of Kickstarter, it seems to me (and some other people, obviously) that pulling together and doing group/collaborative projects is the way to go. Oh sure, there's nothing wrong with doing an individual project. Many people manage it with grace and skill, but there's a whole lot to be said about combining forces and fanbases and helping everybody involved get a little boost, you know? I fully expect that my next go will be of a collaborative nature. I just haven't worked out what exactly. It'll come and I will post about it, have no fear.

In the meantime, I have started a new week's routine and plug new stuff into my to-do list as it comes up and needs to get done. Very shortly, I need to make sure I include extra dyeing time, as I have a couple of fiber festivals to do to later this year and I want to have plenty o stock. And to build some displays. And and and.

Things to do. Projects to type on. Houses to be found. Life as I know it, currently.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

My very own Friday Five

Because five things make a post, right? Right.

1. It's Friday the 13. You are all well aware, I know. I am a superstitious person, but not really about the 13th. I have a cousin who was born on the 13th, and occasionally, as it will, that means his birthday lands on a Friday. So it's just another day, for me, but if you're fearing, hang on, the weekend's coming. The 13th will pass soon! And if you're celebrating, party on!

2. Those of you who live in parts of the world for which 'April showers bring May flowers' was meant will not understand why the Californians in your life are fussing over rain, I'm sure, but for us, this is -weird-. We don't get rain in April. More, we don't get thunderstorms, funnel clouds and copious amounts of hail in April. Weird, weird and weirder.

3. One of my cats is deaf. Well. Mostly deaf. This does not stop her from occasionally rolling around with the kitten (who will be a year old this weekend!). Because she's deaf, however, she doesn't make a lot of noise. What's the point if you can't hear it, right? So I have started to call their wrestling matches "Silent Titan Fights". It really is sort of like watching a black and white Mothra vs. Godzilla movie with the sound turned off. Hilariously entertaining.

4. I have a copy of Ann Aguirre's Devil's Punch, latest in the Corine Solomon series. She sent it to me. From Mexico. I am ridiculously excited about this. Ridiculously. No joke. Ridic--okay, you get it.

5. And The Skies Fell  is now live on Web Fiction Guide, which is a great place to go if you are looking for/are curious about/would like to read what's out there in terms of web and serialized fiction of all flavors. As with any site, read knowing that there are writers of all levels and I cannot guarantee that you will enjoy everything you happen across, but go poke around a while. It's pretty cool.

And that's five! Now that I've started I could probably ramble on, but I think I'll save some for the next time I need help.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Weather and why it's scary (And The Skies Fell #5)

I do not like thunder.


There, I've said it. You all know. And I know it's not rational. It's just a thing. I have not liked thunder ever. My mother tried, desperately, to cure me of my fear by sitting on the porch in thunderstorms and making up stories about what was making the noise. Elephants bowling is one of my favorites. We would go out when the rain stopped and splash around in puddles and have fun. She really, really tried.

Sorry, Mom. I'm still afraid. I am not afraid of lightning, the thing that will actually do me harm. Thunder raises my blood pressure, makes my heart pound and my eyes about as big as saucers, according to those who have observed me in a storm.

So today we had thunderstorms. Don't get me started about how weird that is for April in California. (It's weird.) We had thunderstorms with hail. Did I mention the thunder? Not the boomers that make the whole house shake, fortunately, but thunder that rolled across the whoooole sky.

I'm glad it's gone now. My heart is beating at a reasonable speed. And the aftermath of the thunderstorm means soggy, grey, eegy air that makes me want to curl up and read. That part's not so bad.

I just wish it would storm quietly.

Anyone else got weird phobias they want to share? :)

Or would you just rather read fiction. It's after the jump.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Altered Plans

I fully expected to be telling you how I spent another weekend being silly and frivolous and playing board games with the Engineer and friends. Yep, those were the glorious plans for Easter weekend for us.

Instead, we were quite a bit more productive. You see, we've been looking for a new house on and off for several months. And so, rather than gaming (though we did swing by the store), the Engineer and I went back out into the field and looked at some houses. We revisited some areas we'd previously discarded. The short version of which is: with any luck, we'lll actually move sometime this year. That was a hope for last year. This time, I'm trying to make it real.

We also filed our taxes. Do we know how to party or what?

Today, I finally finished the coding on the webpage for And The Skies Fell. I can now submit it to some web serial sites and you guys can read earlier chapters without having to dig through the blog for posts. It actually feels good to have that done. And, I proved to myself that I still remember a little of my HTML-fu. Every little dribble helps.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Population: Me!

There are many things a writer needs to know when they start down this path. Many upon many things as a matter of fact. So many that it's easy to get overwhelmed by should haves and must haves and keeping track of which things are dealmakers vs. dealbreakers. And there stands the lowly writer thinking the hard part was supposed to be getting the words on the page.

Insert a pause for those of you who've been through this already to giggle for a while.

Back now? Good.

There's a lot of stuff to do, though, to be up to date and in the know and on the map, so to speak. One of those is having a webpage. The perceptive among you will note: I don't have one. Not yet. I have a blog. (check). I have a twitter account. (check). But no website.

I'm working on this.

Sort of from the inside out, really. I've been posting free fiction here. I figured, if I wanted to have people be able to read the whole novel (it will be a complete novel, really) from start to finish without having to dig through blog posts, I should put all the chapters in a centrally located place. Like, oh, a webpage.

So now there's a webpage! Please to note that this webpage will change when I get my domain redirected, but for now, there it be. You will also note that there's only one chapter available at the moment. It's a start. The rest are coming.

And one of these days, there will be a place on the web where people can flick by and see my little road sign proudly proclaiming Population: Me!

Edited to say: Until then, happy Easter and Passover weekend, to those who celebrate. Happy weekend in general to everyone!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Not forgotten! (And The Skies Fell #4)

I have not forgotten you, oh lovely blog readers. I swear I haven't. It's just that this living by to-do list means that I'm being more productive. Which means that sometimes I leave the house for a while. I know, I know, it's less safe outside the Box, but sometimes, one has to risk it and run. Or, you know, do errands.

So I did errands and now I'm back. Hello! How's your Hump Day been? At least moderately tolerable, one hopes.

During my various erranding today, I did a lot of thinking, and some of that was about that question that authors dread to get: Where do your ideas come from? I think a lot of us sort of go glassy-eyed and possibly a little terse when someone asks that question. Or we smart off. Oh, I have a personal idea fairy who visits every third Thursday...

I will tell you here and now that a lot of my ideas happen while I'm sleeping. When they're really good, I even remember to write bites of them down in the morning before they've completely faded away.


As a matter of fact, just a couple nights ago, I was having a fantastic space-opera-y dream, with a spunky heroine and a partner and action that was determined by the length of time between a beeping alarm went off. I was engrossed!

And then I was woken up by the persistent, perfectly timed beeping of our house alarm warning me about a dying battery. At least my subconscious kept me entertained!

Ah well. The cool parts will show up in a book or story some day.

Not to worry: the fiction under the jump makes up for silly dreams.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just the words, ma'am.

Today there are no projects to bug  you about. There are no finished books to crow over. I haven't even finished my latest read. (Though Matchbox Girls is awesome and you should be reading it right now! What are you waiting for?)

What I have today is me, myself and I. Just the author. I shouldn't say just. An author's a pretty great thing. After all, without an author, all those bookstore shelves would be bare. You'd be left to making up stories of your own devising. All right, so that's how most of us started out. Yes, that's what most of us do on a daily basis, but that's not the point!

The point is: Hi! Glad you're here, either for the first time, or coming back to see what's going on at this website. Last month, I was all about pimping my Kickstarter project. This month, I have no pimping planned. I may boost the signal on other people's writing, but I intend to concentrate on getting some more writing done, prepping some things so they can be pimped in the future, and generally continuing to practice this new somewhat-organized phase of being me.


But stick around. In my mumblings and meanderings I'm bound to kick a couple of interesting crumbs loose. I promise I'll share.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Forward

As we head into the last weekend of the Dragon Undone kickstarter, I thought I'd take a little time and give a shout out to projects that will continue beyond my time on the site, and things I thought some of you might find intriguing.

Quickly, before I launch in: We've passed my personal hopeful goal of $1K! I would be tickled beyond all tickling if it went higher than that, but time is short, so thanks for all you guys gave in the effort!

Now: Currently one of the most active projects on the site, I think. The Dinocalypse Trilogy, being hosted by EvilHat Productions, which is a gaming publisher co-founded by people I have RPed with and know vaguely myself and better by association. They're currently pushing for $20K, at which point my pal C.E. Murphy will write book #5 of the bundle. 5 books for a $10 donation? Can't beat that!

Judith Tarr has already met her funding goal, but she continues to add more cool things to the Living in Threes project. She's got 10 days to go and there's already talk of Ponies in Space and master classes and acupuncture treats for pretty boy Pooka. Go check it out!

If you're a fan of Laura Anne Gilman's Cosa Nostradamus series, she's got a project to publish the stories of a secondary character. Half human, half faun, which just sounds like fun. And only $9 for both of her projected stories. A great deal! Again!

And a cute Percy Jackson-esque idea, but with a reader-chosen option that makes it a little different: Camp Myth. This is not a friend or a friend-of-a. Just someone I tripped over who caught my attention. Right now, I'm the sole backer. Does that seem fair to you?

Needless to say, as Kickstarter continues to grow, there will be a lot more projects popping up. Will Kickstarter eventually get old and tired? Well, those of us trying to do the indie/small/different thing certainly hope not, but I suppose time will tell.

Until then, go rummage around over there, even if you don't like any of the links I've shown you. You're bound to find something that interests you. As a matter of fact, tell me, if you don't. I will put on my best shocked face.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Living with Lists -and- Words on Wednesday: And The Skies Fell #3

I have a confession to make: I am not a big fan of lists. I am a Pisces, which sounds like a copout, but really means that I have a magpie brain. If it's shiny, I like it. I am easily distracted/flakey/insert your favorite label here. So lists don't work for me, usually, because either I can't be bothered to make them or I forget to check things off.

But for the last ten days or so, I have been writing myself to-do lists and checking things off. And you know what?

It works!

Now, granted, I do not always do all the things on my list in one day, but, I am allowing myself a couple days of wiggle room, as long as I do -something- off the list and make progress on other things. It's helping with my urges to procrastinate. It's getting me off my butt. (Oh, the joys of working from home.)

So I may be becoming a list-lover. It's as shocking to me as it is to those who know me well. I will hope that I have not just jinxed myself by sharing this with you lovely people. For the moment, the list survives, post-it noted to the side of my monitor.

Whoda thunk?

In other news, the Dragon Undone proceeds apace. There are only four days left, and right now, I'm just hoping to make it to a personal goal of $1K before then. Magic could still happen, though. I am by no means adverse to that!

I did a podcast interview with Richard Bliss of Funding the Dream. Ordinarily, he talks about gaming projects on Kickstarter, but I met him at the gaming convention I talked about earlier. He invited me to come on the show, I did, and you can hear it here. Bonus: you get to hear me read my sonnet live!

Bonus #2: Free fiction under the jump!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Distracted

Monday is back. I thought we had this thing licked. Maybe not.

I apologize for the somewhat tardy post today. I try to aim for earlier updates, but today I've been distracted by a few things.

I saw the Hunger Games movie over the weekend, and enjoyed it for the most part. I read the books before I went, so I feel I had some extra insight into main character's feelings and rationales that the Engineer did not, since he hasn't read the books yet. That means that I had to explain some things to him and defend a couple of choices, but all in all, we had a good time.

And then I find out that there are people who were upset by the casting of Rue and Thresh in the movie. People who do not read character descriptions very clearly, which is both amusing, since I was talking about character descriptions not that long ago, and infuriating because, here were are in 2012, and people are still upset that black people exist and occasionally populate movies? Aigh.

At some point, I really will write that race and fiction post that's bubbling at the back of my brain. I will try not to froth. No guarantees. You've been warned.

You were spared in part today because I got a new spinning wheel. It's electric. It is kicking my butt as I attempt to learn how to use it, but it's pretty darned cool. It means I can spin at the computer, which is where I spend an awful lot of time, and I'm hoping that means it will help me be more spinning productive. We shall see.

I can report, however, that I was productive for certain in working on the Not-So-Sekrit project. I edited/wrote some -and- I got some laundry done. Who's a superwoman? Yep. That's me.

This is the last week for the Dragon Undone kickstarter, btw. Have you thought about backing me yet? :) There are still cool things to be had. Check it out!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finally Friday

One of our now-defunct local radio stations used to play this weird mashup of cartoons and music at 5:00 PM on Friday and they would follow it up with a snippet of a country song called Finally Friday. That's what I think of every time I type those words.

/random tangent

Hey! It's Friday! If you work a M-F work week, it's the weekend. If you don't, been there, done that, feel your pain. Celebrate F-day anyway. :)

I, like a lot of other people on the planet, am anticipating my chance to see the big screen adaptation of the Hunger Games trilogy. I am taking the Engineer, who has not read the books, so it'll be interesting to see what he thinks. He's been told they're a thinly veiled commentary on the US government by some of his peers at work. I have attempted to correct that, but we'll see.

I am planning to attend an RWA meeting in the morning, first. There is also a gaming store having a free-play event tomorrow, so no matter how the day shakes out, there will be something for us to do.

But it's mostly about the movie, for me, at least.

The Dragon Undone kickstarter has 9 days left to go. There are plans for my amazing Kickstarter comeback. It may not be June. It will involve C. E. Murphy. And angels. And bad-assery.

Are you tantalized yet? You should be!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Words on Wednesday: And The Skies Fell #2

It's Wednesday, which means it's free fiction day here on the blog.

Which means I don't have to be witty today, right? This is a good thing. I am short on wit and will be making a run to the market shortly, but for now, I'll let my writing stand in for me.

I have been busily creating with other parts of my brain (I run a fiber-dyeing business, too, over here, and I am spinning up something I dyed for the first time ever. It's a good exercise. Sort of like re-reading old manuscripts and seeing just how far you've come.

The Dragon Undone is winding down, though there are still 11 days left to pledge at this point. We're still aiming for the $1K mark, which is only 1/3 of funded, but it's a milestone I'd like to see. If we don't make it this time, I'll be rethinking and repackaging and giving it another shot later this year. I'm thinking of June.

But I haven't given up yet. :)

And now for the good stuff:


Monday, March 19, 2012

Geeks just want to have fun.

And lo, much fun was had.

Yep, I'm a geek. I admit it. I'm not even particularly ashamed about it. I must not be, since I am many flavors of geek: writing, theatre, Shakespeare...

This weekend just past, I wore my gaming geek panties and spent the weekend with the Engineer (my husband) playing board games and RPGs (including old school WoD -- I played Killian, LA, you'd be proud!) and whatnot at ConQuest 2012. We live about ten minutes from where it was held, they were talking about it our local gaming store, the boy asked if I wanted to go and ... here I am telling you about it. Go figure.

There was not, as a result, much revising this weekend, but I'm back on track and working through it. There was not much sleep, either, so you wouldn't have wanted me to write. The story would suddenly take all sorts of weird twists and turns. For the bad. Just trust me.

But the fun is over and the games have been put away and the chores and errands and business stuff begins again.  Many errands have already been slain today, but not all of them. O no, my friends, there are many more to be conquered before the week is out.

What did you all do for the weekend? Was it fun? Is the week a drag or a much-needed-break from excitement overload? I hope there was some good sprinkled in there, whatever it involved.

(Did I mention I got a Hunger Games board game? Or that I may have squealed like a twelve-year-old fangirl? No? I still haven't! We shall not speak of this again!)

(ButItotallydid.)

(( And yes, the Dragon Undone kickstarter is still running. More on that later in the week, no doubt.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

But what does he look like?

As I was rambling about over on Twitter today, I have a problem with descriptions.

If you are familiar with older romance novels, you've probably come across a scene where the heroine looks into a mirror while she brushes her hair or does her makeup, or perhaps takes a moment to consider her reflection in a shop window. She will linger over the color of her hair or her clothing or how her eyes are remarkably blue but she always looks at the ground and no one sees them ...etc. etc.

I have always found those scenes strange. I know they're there so the reader knows what the heroine looks like, but they have always felt uncomfortable and forced to me. Maybe because I've never sat in front of a mirror and described myself to myself. More likely, because unless a character is a complete standout in a crowd, I'm not all that concerned about what they look like.

I  prefer to build characters from what they say and do and how they act. I put pieces together in my mind as I read along. Unless it's mentioned repeatedly, I probably don't know for sure what color a character's eyes are. If it is mentioned repeatedly, I hope it's important to some part of the story.

The point is, I'm not great at making sure that people know what my characters look like. Especially the men.

And on a day like to day, when I'm trying to fill out a cover art sheet for The Dragon Undone (so that it can be used if and when the Kickstarter project funds), that is problematic.

Do you want the author to tell you what a character looks like? Does it matter to you? Enquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Words on Wednesday: And The Skies Fell

I had a thought. It happens. No, really.

Since the majority of the success of an author relies on his or her readership, it's tough to be successful if people aren't reading what he or she writes.

Makes sense, yes?

So. I figured, I've got a lot of stuff written that is simply sitting and waiting for a shot at the spotlight, but that I'm not actively pursuing. I also have things that I wrote for specific publishers that closed their doors before my stories were ever told.

So I have potential readers with no stories and stories that have never been read.

I can fix this.

Starting today, and every Wednesday at least until this story is told, I will post a chapter of a fantasy novel I wrote called And The Skies Fell. It's a mix between epic and high fantasy with a somewhat Russian flavor. There are gods in disguise, a young emperor on the rise, and a plot to take over the world and cast it into darkness. Fun stuff!

(And if you like what you read, maybe you'll take a gander at the Dragon Undone kickstarter. Almost at $1K!)

So without further ado (fiction after the jump):

----

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekends are for fun!

It is Monday again. Somehow, despite the many campaigns against its continued existence, Monday continues to rear its head once a week.  My Monday involved another visit from the friendly stove repair guy, to see if we could actually get ours to, you know. Work. After last week's visit, it did not want to enhotten.

Boo.

But the stove failure was forgotten in the face of company coming to visit to help me celebrate getting older during the weekend. There was yummy sushi consumed, there were Girl Scout cookies and alcohol purchased and sampled, and we went to see John Carter.

Which was, in short, thoroughly entertaining. Not perfect, not breath-taking, but it was fun. I really enjoyed it, though I still question how it was enhanced by 3-D, but that is me being grumpy about everything being 3-D now. We had the option of seeing the movie in D-Box seats, which are apparently the next stage of entertainment. They vibrate and lean or something, as you watch the movie. Like an amusement park ride. Smellovision can't be far behind now.

I taught my guests the very basics of knitting, too, which makes me feel pretty good. These are the first people I have personally taught and they were so enthusiastic and so happy to learn, that I just grinned a lot. Matter of fact I'm still grinning.

And with 20 days left to go in the Dragon Undone Kickstarter, we're still aiming for $1K and a short story on top of the novel itself. Check it out if you haven't, already. Spread the word if you have.

And happy Monday!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Old -and- graceful? Unpossible!

If I had to turn 40, at least I managed a pretty good day. :)

Yesterday I got all of my hairs cut for the first time in about five years. I know, I know, scold me if you will, but it took courage to go and tell a hair stylist that my self-esteem had kept me from letting anyone look at the sad state of my hair. I did it, though, and I am now sleek, smooth and tidy and I feel much better about myself. +1

I then took cupcakes to my knitting group. +1

And met my husband afterward at the gaming store to watch him finish up the last of the evening's board games. +1

Then home to relax and order the electric spinning wheel I've been wanting for a while. +1

And to discover that you, my lovely people, had indeed pushed me to, and then past, my $500 benchmark on the Dragon Undone kickstarter. Just shy of one-week post launch! +eleventyjillion!

So not at all a bad day.

Today I have company incoming for more birthday weekend shenanigans. We may see John Carter. We will most likely eat amazing sushi.

And I have another benchmark for us to reach.

In going through my writing folders, I discovered a short story I wrote for an anthology last year. It was not picked up, but I'm still pretty fond of it, and so I'm going to offer it to you.

When the Ravens Came Ashore is about 3,500 words. It's a different take on the Morrigan, the triple-aspected Celtic goddess of battle. And it starts like this:


     Stena knew the Romans were coming. Not by reading patterns in water or pulling out the insides of birds to  murmur over. That was her brother, OlĂ­ndico's, gift. Stena never saw portents in the clouds or heard omens on the wind. She didn't rely on an itching in her elbows or a pricking beneath her skin.
     But Stena knew the Romans were coming when the ravens came ashore. 

If the Kickstarter reaches $1000, I will send this short story to all of my backers in electronic version when the project is funded, in addition to anything else promised as incentives.

Sound good? Interested? Help me spread the word.
 And thanks for an amazing birthday.  :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mark up your books!

Or, you know, use bookmarks.

Yes, I think I'm very clever. Sometimes, anyway. Other times, like today, I'm just a goof.

I have continued to work on the beading so that I can show examples of what the bookmarks offered as part of my  Kickstarter project for The Dragon Undone. Everyone who pledges $100 or more to the project will get one of these hand-designed, hand-beaded bookmarks of their very own, as well as digital and print copies of the book and a copy of the cover art. It's going to be an awesome package of stuff, if I do say so myself.

I mean, I think my bookmarks are pretty cute.


I have a couple more colors planned for examples. Gotta have a silver dragon, after all.

All in all, the project is doing pretty well. Chugging right along and nearing the $500 mark. I would dearly love to see it reach that number this weekend, at least.

Okay, I won't be modest. It's my birthday tomorrow. Having the whole project funded this weekend would be amazing.

A girl can dream. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Now with that fresh cover artist smell!

It's Monday! (How did that happen again?) How was your weekend?

Mine was laid back and calm, just the way I like it. I spent some time playing board games with my husband and a group of like-minded individuals, and then I settled in for some domestic-type chores. In between those things, I played a mad game of F5 with my web browser, hoping to stay on top of my Kickstarter project for  The Dragon Undone. I launched on Friday, and I am not at all disappointed with where it's gone since then.

Onward and upward, though. That's the perpetual hope.

The first update has gone out to backers, and while I won't share the entire letter, I can share some pretty exciting news: I have a cover artist!

Yes, I hinted before, but I wanted to be sure our schedules would mesh somewhat before I put either one of us on the spot. I think I can do that now, though, so without further ado, the cover artist for <u>The Dragon Undone</u> is Anne Cain!

Go check out her website. Take a look at her portfolio to get a glimpse of the awesome that is to come, and do a little dance with me. One step further along the road to A Book.

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's that time! *drumroll* The Kickstarter is Live!

Technology and I kissed and made up. It was tough, but we're on speaking terms again. We may even get married some day. The long and the short of it is:


The Kickstarter is live!

From now until Sunday, April 1st, the drive to fund the revision and release of The Dragon Undone, as well as set up the next two books in the series, will consume my life. Which is not a bad thing, at all.

What does that mean for you? It means that you have a standing invitation to go check the page out. Watch the video, tap out a rhythm to the sonnet, enjoy the music, and if you have a little money to spare, consider backing what I consider a very worthy cause.

I will be sharing snippets of the project, pictures of some of the incentives, the cover art and other things that come to mind, as it does so. Want to see something? Ask. Want to suggest something? Feel free.

And spread the word, if you would. I'm hoping this will be a grand success. Crowdfunding thrills me more than text on a screen can really express, so I can't wait to see what comes of it!

Oh, and one last thing: Thank you so much, for all the support so far, and in days to come. :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Technology and I...

Sometimes we are not friends.

But you are all my friends, and as such, I will tell you that I had hoped to have my Kickstarter ready to go tomorrow (or today, depending on your time zone).

However.

Due to some glitchiness on someone's end regarding bank accounts and whatnot, I have not managed to get my account completely set up in time. Also, Kickstarter has made a policy change that requires review and so, long story short, The Dragon Undone is on hold until these things can be resolved.

No one is more disappointed by this than I am, I promise you. I made great strides toward getting things set up with third-parties. I finished the creative bits on my end. Being held up by someone and/or something else is frustrating (and there's been a lot of that, this week -- ask me about my diabetes medication) (on second thought, don't), but I'm sure it will work out.

Rest assured that I will flail, gesticulate wildly and make other amusing noises the minute the project is ready to go.

Until then, I'll continue to prep for the house cleaners. Ten years of two people cluttering the house. One person attempting to remedy this currently. I'm going to have a drink while they clean.

Hey. It could be fun.

Stay tuned! There will be news! Honest.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A rambling writer

So, S. Got any news to share with us?

Well, randomly invented questioner, not really. A few decisions maybe, but nothing truly concrete.

That said:

1. The Kickstarter will run for the month of March. Mark your calendars because that's coming up Real Soon Now.

2. I have a cover artist in mind. She's pretty dang amazing so expect to see something wonderful in conjunction with this project. She will not be able to start until Aprilish, probably, so it'll be a reveal after the Kickstarter has concluded, successfully or not. Maybe we'll get lucky and she'll be able to start a little early to give us all a peek.

3. I am going to redo the intro video. That has to happen in the next couple days. I'm not so thrilled with my big head out there doing the intro, and I came up with a -much- better idea anyway. I just have to, you know. Do it. It'll happen. Stay tuned. Hints: It involves sonnets. And dragons. Could it get any better?

4. In the meantime, I will stress over having my house cleaned on Friday. I feel like I need to scrub the place before they get here, which...sort of defeats the purpose. And yet...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Men vs. women

I'm quite sure I've asked this question before in some form or other, but it comes up all the time when I'm writing, or more particularly, revising as I'm doing now.

I find it much easier to get into the heads and hearts of my male characters than I do with my women. For some reason, despite the fact that I set out to write strong women, and I think I'm pretty strong myself, my women tend to start out whiners. And wafflers. And I have to work pretty darned hard to make myself toughen them up.

Maybe it's because I'm not fond of Xena syndrome. You know, women who kick ass, take names, chew bubble gum -and- still manage to wow in an evening dress, while insulting everything with a penis for laughs. Maybe I just don't know my female characters well enough before I start writing. They don't tend to pop into my heads fully-formed like the men, it's true. Maybe I have some deep-seated, therapy-required issue with members of my own sex and should make an appointment ASAP.

Whatever the reason, they give me fits.

But I'm working on it.

Here's a buffed up dragon-girl for your snippet-reading pleasure:

Anger blazed in the glare she returned. When she backed away, disappearing into the shadow beneath the beast's legs, she didn't do so in retreat. Oh no, she'd issued a challenge. Even when Berdhan could no longer see her face, he could feel the weight of the invitation. If he dared he would have a fight on his hands. 
  
Come and get me


Monday, February 20, 2012

Beads are tiny, needles are sharp.

I continue to pick away, both at revisions and at setting up and arranging things for the Kickstarter project I have planned for next month. This is requiring not only my writing brain, but many different slices of the creative pie as well.

Like a lot of us writerly types, my urge to create does not only come out in putting words on the page. I'm a crafter. I was a crafter before I started trying to write for publication. I cross-stitch. I sometimes play with clay. I have done some drawing though nothing much that I would share with anyone else. I have a small business in which I dye yarn and spinning fiber. Makes sense, then, that I'm a knitter, spinner and crocheter myself yes?

I also do beadwork. I don't string beads, as I feel I have no real talent with that, and the few times I've attempted wire-wrapping, I'm mostly made spaghetti with beads for meatballs, but I do beadwork, or more specifically, beadweaving. I've made bracelets, necklaces and earrings. I design them myself.

And sometimes I design things that are a little more silly, a little more fun. Like this guy:


This little fella will be attached to a length of ribbon soon, and become a bookmark, something I'll be adding to my incentives at one of the higher levels of my project. Why higher? One takes me about three hours to do, start to finish. You can understand then, I'm sure, why I wouldn't want to make one for everyone who donated $5. There are other rewards for that.

But at the higher level, I will absolutely make one for those interested. I'll be making up a few more in different colors, just to give options. I think they're fun.

But this is supposed to be about writing, yes? Here's my favorite snippet of the day:

"Of all the things she loved about her brother, his careless elegance topped the list. Some dragons worked hard on their appearance, waiting for just the right sunlight. Just the right breeze. Silaune was simply himself and he was stunning."

I don't know. Something about dragons posing for effect amuses me.  Is that wrong?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Today, I feel accomplished.

Some days, I do a lot of little things and feel like I've accomplished nothing.

Other days, I do a few bigger things, and feel like I've accomplished a lot.

Today is one of the latter days for me.

What did I do? Thanks for asking.

Today, I completed one of the steps on the road to launching my Kickstarter project. I made a video, of myself, talking about the project. It is by no means professional or even particularly pretty, but it works. Given that it was the first time I'd ever used a webcam to record anything -- does that make me an almost-Luddite? Maybe. -- I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. The last time I did anything like that, it was for the very first Project Greenlight, it took the better part of a weekend, and realizing that yes, Catie and I really had just shot for an entire day with no sound, and was just as awkward in the end.

When the project launches, you can all take a gander. Package deal and all. Also, this means I get a couple more days to work up the guts to put the button that puts my mug out there in front of bunches of strangers. I did/do theatre. You'd think I'd be over that 'omg, they're looking at me' fear.

There are no stage lights to blind me in my house. (My fellow theatre geeks will get it.)

Other than that, I finished another chunk of revision. I made some fake fudge (choc. chips + frosting + refrigeration).

All in all, not a bad day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The first (second version) of the project: The Dragon Undone

So it's official. I've decided. I am running with the project that spoke loudly to me and the one I think I have the best chance of completing.

Why?

Well. Because it's already done.

As mentioned in my last post, I took a crack at The Dragon Undone back in 2006 when I started e-publishing. I was determined, at that point, to be a romance writer and sadly, in most cases, that didn't work out so well for me. As my pal Catie has always said, I don't write industry romance. (Neither does she, btw, and if you're not reading her books, where have you been?) So for more than a few years, I've been trying to hammer square me into a round hole. Or vice versa.

Not this time. This time I'm revising the story to make it what it should have been all along. Will there be romance? Probably. It does tend to creep in.

At any rate: the book is complete. No waiting for me to finish a first draft. I am excited about revising the book. It opens the door to finishing the other two books of the trilogy. Most importantly, it's gotten me writing again and that, my friends, is crucial to this whole being a writer thing. Go figure.

And since I'm rambling about dragons and things, how about a sample of things to come?


----

Tomas reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of cloth while he shook his head. "If that was a daydream, I hope I never have another. That sort of daydream leaves things behind."

He thrust his hand at Berdhan with the cloth draped over his fingers. What lay in the center of the bundle could be mistaken for nothing else.

Firelight flickered in reflection on the curve of a black dragon's claw.

Berdhan's stomach lurched, and he swallowed hard to keep last night's spirits down. "Who made this?" He looked around the table, searching out a guilty glance, hoping for the shoulder twitch that would give the prankster away.

But the others stared back mutely. Some shook their heads but non one flinched or grinned or began to sweat. Not one bit of mischief between them, damn it all.

"Made it?" Tomas frowned and glanced at the others as well. "No one made it, Berdhan, I told you. A dragon came."

"And left a claw where you could pick it up?" Berdhan leaned away from the thing as if it might somehow infect him. As if his luck could somehow get worse. "A silver dragon, you said. Why is this black?"

Tomas drew his hand back and refolded the cloth. "I don't know the way their colors work. I only know what I saw. I didn't make it up," he insisted, a little louder. "I wouldn't do that." His gaze met Berdhan's again, darkened in resignation. "You don't believe me."

"Toss it in the fire."

There was stunned silence on all sides. Berdhan shoved to his feet, this time welcoming the burn in his muscles. He was awake. Sober. It couldn't be a dream. He snatched the cloth-covered bundle from Tomas' hand and crossed the room to pitch it in the fire before anyone else could move.

"Hey! My mother gave me that!"

"It's just cloth, boy. It can be replaced." Berdhan watched while the fire peeled fabric away from the claw inside. Burn, he willed it. Catch fire. Prove yourself a fake. If it would burn, it might be wood. It could be a piece of many things.

But a dragon's claw, the legends said, could withstand any fire. It would carve stone and never break, spill the blood of a thousand men and never dull.

Someone jostled him, and Berdhan looked over his shoulder to find himself surrounded by a ring of curious men. Tomas fidgeted beside him, waiting.

"It's real," he announced when the last ashes of the cloth drifted away.
 
"I told you," Tomas murmured, "but you didn't believe me."

"I didn't want to believe you, boy. There's an important difference." He turned from the fire and faced the circle, taking the measure of each man listening. All his reluctance had been burned away with the disintegrating cloth. There'd been no time, no chance to avenge himself on the beast that had ruined everything with a swipe of its claws.

Now, today, that would change. Berdhan could reclaim his life, his reputation. His name. "Get your swords, your axes, and anything you need. We're going to fight a dragon."

And this time, he meant to bring all of them home.

----

Tada!