Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Wishes




May the New Year bring about the change you've been hoping for along with a better, happier, and richer life full of love. 



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Season 2011


May this Christmas grant you the gift of

Health, Wealth, and Love wrapped up in

Joy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Saturday With Santa


This past Saturday, I spent it with my dear friend Tom D.  I had a wonderful time that day which began with Tom picking me up early in the morning and driving all the way to New Hope, Pennsylvania.  We had a nice time during the drive catching up and looking for a place to eat because I hadn’t had breakfast.  The drive would take a few hours and because I’m hypoglycemic, I couldn’t wait until we reached Pennsylvania to eat. 

By this point we’re in New Jersey.  It was too early for a restaurant and there weren’t any diners nearby.  Every place that Tom suggested wasn’t suitable because it was a fast food place.  I’m careful about what I eat because my digestive system hasn’t been able to tolerate McDonald’s, Burger King or any place such as that for quite some time.  Poor Tom was trying his best to accommodate me but after a while was referring to me as high maintenance.  I disagreed and this went on for a bit until I spotted an IHOP and he pulled into the parking lot immediately.

Thankfully, there wasn’t a long wait before we were seated, but here is where it really impacted on me that Tom is such a darling friend.  You see, Tom is a pseudo vegan.  He’s a vegetarian that has also given up fish and eggs and at sometime plans to give up dairy.  The dilemma arose when I instantly knew what I was ordering and Tom was having difficulty because the majority of the food served at IHOP contains eggs.  He ended up ordering a salad.  Tom is a large 6’3 man sitting next to me at the table with a salad in front of him and I’m 4’10 ½ and I had a breakfast sampler which consisted of two eggs, two sausages, two bacon, two pancakes and hash browns.  We had a bit of a chuckle at that. 

But it gets better – Tom is Dutch with blue eyes and a full white beard.  On Saturday, he wore a Santa hat all day.  Everywhere we went he was greeted by people saying “Hi Santa!” and of course, he greeted them back always having witty things to say.  When he asked the server for the check, one of the other servers approached him and handed him her Christmas Wish list which he read in front of her and promptly put in his pocket.  Children waved at him and he waved back.  All I could say while looking so small next to him was that all the other Elves are going to talk because he took me out for the day.  He said “Let them”.  Yes, he was in full character.

After breakfast we quickly resumed our trip to New Hope without any further demands from me.  New Hope was very nice with its quaint shops and artsy feel.  When we left New Hope we drove to Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA.  I loved Peddler’s Village which at the moment is lit up for Christmas.  The mall is set up like a small village and it’s so beautiful especially when it got dark and all the lights from the trees illuminated the whole place.  We enjoyed hot apple cider and soft pretzels while sitting at a bench.  Passersby greeted Santa and a woman approached him and told him what she wanted for Christmas.  But remembering that sitting next to him I look like a little Elf, I made sure to ask her if she had been good because Santa Will check the list. 

As we walked through the shops we could hear people who had children with them murmuring “Is that Santa?” and the children trying to get a closer look.  At one point and I don’t remember when, there was a woman who had a headband with reindeer antlers.  Tom walked up to her and said “Meet me in the roof in ten minutes!”  We all laughed.

We had a lot of fun on Saturday.  I wonder if he'll do it again next year.  If he does, I might join in the fun and wear an Elf's hat.

Happy Holidays!
 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Writing This Weekend

I’ve been working on my novel this weekend and I even managed to tweet a bit of micro-fiction. I’m feeling pretty good about it. The last few months have been slow going and I was afraid that I would get overwhelmed with the holidays and not get any writing done at all. But, working a little bit on my writing is better than nothing so it’s great that I got some work in. There are several WIPs on the burner and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to work on all of them.  I'll see how it goes.

Creating worlds is hard work especially when dealing with different timelines, sprinkled with Steampunk ensuring that the right anachronisms are evenly placed, while at the same time keeping it interesting. It’s weird because during all of this, tidbits of new scenery or images for my other WIPs pop up in my head and I have to stop and make a quick note so that I don’t lose them. I’m exhausted! I’m going to go brew some coffee for a much needed recharge.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Train Ride Home

I was riding a crowded train on my way home which was schlepping along the tunnel at a sluggish speed.  Sometimes it would pick up momentum lurching forward in momentary spurts and then it would stop as if drained, only to resume the slow drag through the tunnel.  There weren’t any seats available and I stood for most of the ride. My imagination ran wild with images of a giant worm crawling on its belly while we rode in a metal box that was strapped to it.  Well, now that I think of it, the worm would’ve moved faster.

But then I started looking at the other riders and my gaze focused on a man who resembled a friend of mine.  I almost woke him up to say “hi!” and then in the next instant I realized that he only resembled my friend and wasn’t my friend at all.  So, I looked around some more and started to take notice of the people that were crowded by the doors.  These were young college age people talking and having a good time and completely heedless of the fact that we weren’t getting anywhere.  They were too perky and all that was missing was for them to start an impromptu song and dance routine a la Glee. They annoyed me and I thought “damn youngin’s”.

A moment later I forgot about the annoying twenty-somethings because my attention was caught by the woman in front of me.  She had to be in her early to mid fifties and I only say that because besides the fact that she looked like a mature older woman; she had the kind of short haircut that most older women get.  In addition to that, her hair was dyed a bit too black which didn’t camouflage the thinning section of hair on top of her head.  You have to understand that I’m tired from a long day at work and my commute is an hour and a half each way.  I didn’t get a seat, the train isn’t moving, my knees are hurting so I’m not entirely in the best of moods.

The train had stopped at a station, more passengers came in than left and I still didn’t have a seat.  The doors closed and the train picked up its miserable trek to the next station.  I looked at the woman who had begun to look inside her huge purse that could fit a Pomeranian and pulled out her keys.  The keys were in a tri-fold leather key case with rings which she opened, selected two keys one silver and one brass, snapped it closed and clutched it firmly in her hand.  I thought to myself, “she’s getting off at the next stop and I get to sit”. 

The train pulled in at the next station and the woman never got up to leave.  She fiddled with her keys with a nervous energy and looked about the train car.  We were in the tunnel by now; she couldn’t be looking out of the windows so I wondered what she was looking for.  She rubbed the keys and passed them from one hand to the other while glancing about the train.  I wondered if she was looking for someone but after glan,cing about, she would close her eyes and rest.  My imagination, activated once more, wondered if the woman thought she was being followed.

Another station came and went and this woman still didn’t leave the train.  She opened the enormous bag digging within its depths and pulled out her cell phone which she fiddled with for a while.  At the next station, she fidgeted in her seat and I figured “this is it”, but no.  She just adjusted her luggage-sized purse on her lap, opened it up really wide this time (I thought I was going to fall in) and pulled out her damn keys again.  I didn’t have nice thoughts about her after that.  Two stations later she finally left along with half the occupants of the train and I was finally able to sit down. 

 I was thinking that I should take the characteristics of this woman to create a character for one of my stories.  Or maybe I shouldn’t people watch because it just pisses me off to see all the stupid annoying things they do. Or perhaps, I’m still tired and moody.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perspective

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks.  First, I fell down the stairs in my home from the second floor down into the living room. Luckily, not only did I survive the fall but I didn’t suffer any breaks.  I was bruised and achy but alive!  That incident was followed the next week by a debilitating “can’t get out of bed” cold.  I missed several days of work and could barely walk due to the muscular ache I was suffering especially in the thighs and legs.

During that time and despite having antivirus protection, my laptop was infected with a virus.  My external hard drive which had been connected to the laptop at the time was also infected.  The result was that I lost everything on both the laptop and the external hard drive.  The laptop refused to boot up and after many attempts it finally did boot up only to not respond to any commands.  I couldn’t do anything – not go on line, or even start it on safe mode.  I was dead in the water.

My ex-husband knows a thing or two about computers so I called him for tech support.  He tried to help me over the phone but nothing worked so he eventually had to pick it up so he could fix it at his house.  To make a long story short, thanks to him my laptop is now working.  He was able to retrieve the files on both the laptop and the external hard drive.  So, I’m back and very happy.
In the mean time, Thanksgiving Day had arrived and I rolled out of bed and spent the day in my pajamas and robe.  My energy was that low.  Thanksgiving turned out wonderfully thanks to the help from my children.  My daughter helped make dinner and set up the table splendidly with plate chargers and candle light.  My son helped add the last touches to the meal and brought all the food out to the table.  In addition to that he cleaned the dinner dishes while I rested.
I’m grateful for so many things including my children and gave thanks until the children began to tease.  My son gave his thanks followed by my daughter and then we proceeded to enjoy our meal.  All in all it was a happy and memorable occasion.
Yesterday was my first day back at work after being out sick.  And that’s when the realization that all the problems I’d just hurdled had been small, knocked the wind out of me.  You see, I have a coworker named Jasmina who is a sweet and loving woman.  Her son, Jeffrey, was diagnosed with brain cancer at 12 years old.  Yesterday I was informed that after fighting his cancer for 2 years, Jeffrey lost his battle on Saturday.  Jeffrey was 14 years old.
Today I attended his funeral and it was heart wrenching.  I attended a child’s funeral.  There’s something wrong with that.  Child and funeral are two words that should never go together.  I can’t stop crying; feeling Jasmina’s loss as she faced the nightmare no parent ever wants to face – the death of their child.
Jasmina spoke of her son telling us how strong and brave he had been.  He never complained even though he endured much pain.  He smiled and remained loving; joining in prayer with Jasmina and his family – being strong for them as well.  Jasmina told us how she learned to be a good mother from Jeffrey.  He thought her to be strong and not complain.
Although the loss of this child is painful for us to bear, we console ourselves by holding on to the knowledge that he is no longer in pain.  Wherever he is now, he’s in a better place – at peace.  I’ll strive to be strong like Jeffrey and not complain, at least not much.  Thank you Jeffrey for your courage, may I be as brave as you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My First Blogoversary!


Today marks a year since I began to blog.  When friends suggested that I start blogging I gave them many reasons (excuses?) for why I couldn’t do it.  After all, who has the time to blog – right?  They were persistent and although I didn’t know what I was going to blog about, I decided to give it a try.  And now, in the blink of an eye a year has passed.  Wow, I can hardly believe it.
Many thanks to my friends for believing in me.  I’m glad that I actually followed through and did it.  And I’m grateful for the people who are following my blog.  It’s so exciting, and it makes my day to receive comments on my posts.  Thank you so much.
Since I began blogging I also discovered other blogs and have enjoyed visiting and following them as well.  What’s in store for next year, I don’t know, but I do hope to grow as a blogger and a writer.  The difference now isn’t the number of excuses for not doing it, but wondering how I will evolve as time goes on.
So I’m celebrating this accomplishment and marking it as the stepping stone for many more to come in the future. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Shadow

Night has fallen and she lays in slumber unaware that she isn’t alone.  But I can’t remain here, for this is my time to roam free.  Only when she sleeps can I be released from the binds that tie me to her.  I only have a few hours of freedom for the law that imprisons me warns that I must return before she wakes.  For her to awaken without me would be my destruction. 

I exist within a limited boundary of reality.  But who simply wants to exist chained and subjugated by another?  I want to live!  It isn’t fair to have awareness, thoughts and feelings yet be unable to express them – the way she does, with all the vitality of the senses.   Death is preferable to this unsubstantial wisp of ethereal existence.

The moon is beautiful tonight.  I must be careful not to be seen.  For the light of the moon will reveal my presence to those with keen senses.  The others, like her, would not comprehend should they see me.  She wouldn’t comprehend.  They’re all the same - arrogant and ignorant of all that is around them.  They can see, but only a narrow view of the world.  And there is so much more that is real – yet different.

I glided above the skyline camouflaged by errant clouds and the noxious emissions of the buildings below.  I was making good progress and soon would be roaming the fullness of the night with my friends.  But the ever constant dread taunted me that she’s an early riser - never letting me forget that I must be back before dawn.  Silver tendrils of moonlight glistened on the dark pool of the lake by which the incorporeal forms of my friends could be seen.

My heart filled with joy as I drifted down to join them.  Oh, how wonderful it is to belong! 
At first I watched as some of us paired up; lovers that only have this time to be together.  I could see the elders guiding and teaching the younger ones.  While others would frolic and dance.  I would be one of those to partake in the frolicking and dancing.  I loved it so!  The music of nature is enchanting – soft and muted or strong and melodic.  The acoustic harmony of a bubbling brook nearby and the leaves rustling in the wind were entrancing and seductive. We whirled in spirals soaring through the skies undulating to the rhythmic beats of nature.

Much too soon, the time came for me to depart.  Hasty farewells and promises to return were echoed throughout as we dispersed going our separate ways.   I took to the skies gliding over strong wind currents and racing against time.  I could feel the quick approach of dawn deep in my essence urging me to accelerate.  With a slight effort of focus, I increased speed until I could see the window that would lead to her.  Not caring who saw me approach, I slipped inside but realized I wasn’t safe yet.

She stirred still wrapped in sleep. The first glimpse of dawn could be seen from the window.  The sun chased my form in its effort to illuminate the room.  Light as a feather I floated over her and let myself sink onto her body just as the sun’s rays reached her bed.  She shifted and I felt that familiar electric current signifying that the bond had been reinstated. 

She awakened unaware of my parasitic bondage.  I am recessed for now, not to be seen, unless the sun shines on her revealing my presence.  Like a marionette strung by invisible strings, I will be dragged behind her, miming her movements.  Those like her will mistakenly believe that what they see is her silhouette, but they are wrong.  In time, I’ll break free of this penitentiary existence and I will LIVE!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When Being Wicked Is A Good Thing

When do we stop listening to well meaning but hindering advice?  Sometimes, these gently phrased words delivered so charitably linger inside us festering and killing our creativity.  They are deceptively cruel and make us question ourselves; make us second guess our innate intuition about our craft.
This may have happened to you by a well meaning friend or relative.  It’s even worse when it’s a mentor – someone you believe in, who has already succeeded as a writer.  Because if they’ve been published then they must know what they’re doing; they know it all. Right?
I say no.  I say that it is the writer, the creator of his literary work, who is the only person who truly knows himself, his craft, his passion and where it may lead him.  And although, the well meaning person with the ill fitting advice had only good intentions, their vision of literature often differs from the person they’re trying to help.
For example, when it comes to Horror in literature many people cringe and wonder why anyone would write such dark fantasy.  Instead, it would be better if they focused more on poetic prose or perhaps romance.  This is especially so if the writer is female, because of course women are such romantics. Detective stories are good too as well as historical fiction.  Now that is definitely more palatable.
Well, I say phooey!  Let’s write Horror Fantasy and delight in all the deliciously macabre and gothic flavors of a scandalously grotesque world in which the story explores the dark and malevolent side of humanity.  Replete with graphic violence, blood and gore in which the participants are not only killed but at times eaten.  Whether the story is fraught with sexuality or not is not necessary for me to enjoy the story but sometimes it adds a certain spice to an already horridly obscene plot.
Readers love horror just as much now as they did a century ago.  A quick search of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary will show the definition of horror as: 1. A painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay.  2. The quality of inspiring horror: repulsive, horrible or dismal quality of character.
Another Google search turned out the following quotes from H.P. Lovecraft and Joyce Carol Oates, two notable authors.
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." ~ H. P. Lovecraft
"This predilection for art that promises we will be frightened by it, shaken by it, at times repulsed by it seems to be as deeply imprinted in the human psyche as the counter-impulse toward daylight, rationality, scientific skepticism, truth and the "real." ... And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo--that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices." ~ Joyce Carol Oates

I recently read a post by Magaly from Pagan Culture about the “advice” from her former professor.  I had issues with certain words he said like: “They are a simple crowd,” (he framed the audience with a wave of his withered hand.) I felt this was an arrogant statement.  To me my readers or anyone who will sit and listen to one of my readings (namely my friends at this point) are like gold.  They are not simple.  They have imagination.  They fall deep into the world I’ve created and use all their senses to enjoy the experience. I have the utmost respect for them.
Another statement he made was: “It is perhaps even easy to write these things, I wouldn’t know.  I’ve never tried it.”  To me (perhaps because I can be highly emotional at times) this was an insult.  Easy?  I thought he was an experienced writer?  Even famously published authors struggle with the word, with putting the story together.  How dare he, insinuate that because it is dark fiction that it was easy?  Was he implying that this was the only reason why she was able to write it?  Then he adds that he wouldn’t know because he’s never tried it. 
How dare he have the gall to give advice on something he knows nothing about?  I was so angry.  He continued by stating that “…lead a more intellectual audience to think you are wicked and mark you as something you’re not.”  And what exactly is he trying to say here?  Most of you are familiar with the usual meaning of the word wicked – as in devilish or naughty.  But wicked can also mean amoral, scandalous, corrupt, indecent, or depraved.  Perhaps because he’s an old timer he’s more familiar with the latter definitions of that word and in his mind is trying to protect her because he knows Magaly isn’t any of those things.
Magaly handled it well.  She was calm, controlled and true to herself.  And I praise her for her integrity.  I’ve read her writing.  She’s imaginative, innovative, she loves the dark, the macabre and the realism of her writing proves that in this sense she is Wicked!
And since I’m a writer of dark fiction then that makes me Wicked too!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Amanda Grayson

I found myself dirty and disheveled with no memory of how I got here. The right knee of my jeans was torn, my knitted sweater was unraveling at the collar where it connected with the hood, and the first two buttons were missing showing the faded pink t-shirt with the teddy bear which was my favorite. My left sneaker was untied and my right earring was gone. They had been my grandmother’s so with a pang of loss I started searching the leaf strewn ground for them.

Where was I? I didn’t have my purse which led me to believe that I had been mugged but I didn’t have any memory of it. Was it amnesia? It couldn’t be – I knew who I was. My name is Amanda Grayson. I’m 23 years old and I live in Dayton, Ohio. Clearly, it was short-term memory loss. I must have hit my head at some point and that’s how come I couldn’t remember how I got here or where here was.

Autumn was in full swing I noticed, as I kicked some of the russet leaves that piled in tiny mounds throughout the grounds. The golden, amber and auburn crowns of the trees surrounded the clearing I was standing in. A gust of wind wound through the leaves churning them into miniature whirlwinds that then glided softly back to the ground in a slow motion effect. It was beautiful here, a combination of park and natural woods that lent a serene feeling to the place. I was entranced by the otherworldly energy that I sensed emanated from the woods.

Part of me didn’t want to leave, but I also urged to go home and recover from whatever had happened to me. I couldn’t be far from the city so I headed west finding a trail nestled between ancient trees that hinted at their age by the large trunks and roots that plunged into the ground. For the most part all I could hear was the wind whistling softly. It’s bone chilling cold seeping into me. Soon, I could see a gate in the distance and hurried my steps. The day was ending and I wanted to leave before dark.

The warning hoot of an owl startled me just as I neared the gate and I glanced up into the trees to see where it came from. A large barn owl glowered at me with its dark eyes and I felt the menace in his message. Fear sprang through me and I tried to open the gate which rattled as I shook it but wouldn’t unlatch. I sensed more than heard the owl take flight and I looked back. He was huge with unusually long legs and talons. I panicked and started running back towards the woods – the owl pursuing me relentlessly no matter how many turns I took. I tried heading back towards the gate but he cut me off; painfully nipping at my shoulders and arms while I ran shielding my head. It didn’t matter what I tried, he continued to usher me back into the woods. Terrified, I entered the clearing - the barn owl still chasing me hooting angrily; chastising me while I ran sobbing hysterically.

The leaves were piled higher here and I had begun to shuffle to get through them causing them to bundle around my ankles until I fell. I had tripped over something underneath and I lay on the ground cowering and covering my face weeping uncontrollably. Then I noticed that it had gotten very quiet. I didn’t hear the owl any more, nor the wind – I heard nothing. I turned to my side to get up and my hand brushed against the hard object that had tripped me. Breathing deeply to calm myself I began to brush the leaves out of the way.

It didn’t take long to uncover the rectangular pink marble plaque with an elaborate scrollwork design. I was captivated by its beauty and knelt before it to read the inscription. The truth struck me as I read the name that was embossed in gold lettering – Amanda Grayson 1988 - 2011. I looked at my surroundings once more as the wind began to pick up again. The soft whistle of the wind flowed through me beckoning me to follow. And as the moon rose, I let go of this world vanishing into the wind.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Left Brain or Right Brain

Some people are logical, analytical and very good with numbers. Shapes & symbols are easily understood because they’re often used in language as well as math and science. Processing things in order of sequence, making lists, preferring organization and structure are important. The ability to pay attention to details as well as remembering the names of people and places is prevalent in these individuals. In other words, they are left brain dominant.

“Left brain people are more objective in the sense that they’re concerned with what’s outside of them; with the objective world.” - Bill Harris, Centerpointe

Others tend to go by feeling and intuition and are more likely to remember faces instead of names. Proverbial daydreamers, they can easily employ their imaginations and turn within to “see”. When calculating math problems, they don’t often work the problem out mathematically but find the answer intuitively. They seem to know, have a gut feeling about the right answer. Decision making is infused with this instinct; relying on gut feeling to remove themselves from uncomfortable situations or places. Music, art and creativity permeate their lives. Colors play a vital role as well by being used in associations and expressions both internal and external e.g.: “I felt blue this past Tuesday because the weather was so gray.” These are right brain dominant individuals.

“People who are right brain dominant are more concerned with the subjective; the internal world.” - Bill Harris, Centerpointe

What is intriguing about writing is that writing is known to be a left brain function but in order to write successfully, the right brain is also employed. The reason for this is that although the left hemisphere of the brain controls writing (grammar, punctuation, syntax), as writers we also invoke emotion, the senses, as well as color. This is where the right hemisphere steps in to lend a hand.

But how does this happen exactly? There is a bridge between the left and right hemispheres called the corpus callosum that allows the two hemispheres to communicate by connecting them together. So in a sense the corpus callosum is like a friendly messenger that allows two parties to speak to each other. When this happens the brain is functioning holistically. Even better is the fact that the more writers write, the more connections are made in the brain and the easier it is to write the next time.

So what if a writer is having difficulty with his/her writing? When this happens the writer may be entrenched in the left hemisphere. By turning within and activating the right hemisphere, the difficulty previously experienced may ease off. A good way to activate the right hemisphere is by listening to music - particularly Classical music like Mozart. Studies have shown that Classical music is beneficial for learning and memory because it has a positive effect on brain chemistry. Of course, not everyone likes Classical music so in that case Jazz, Blues, or Rock may work better depending on the preference of the writer.

As for me I listen to a variety of music from Classical to Goth to Rock to Symphonic Metal, depending on my mood and what is currently happening in the story.

Monday, October 10, 2011

First Person Narrative

One of the things that writers have to decide on is whether to write in first person or third person. Most often I write in third person. Somehow it flows easier for me to write in this style. My current work in progress, however, is written in first person. I want to show the perspective of the protagonist, Brooke, as the story unfolds. And of course, I could show Brooke’s perspective writing in third person but I want to hear her “voice” – her thoughts. It is a bit more challenging for me but since I don’t usually write in this style, I think it’s important to develop this skill.

As a side note, I’ve read that most published novels are written in third person and that novels written in first person are usually geared towards women readers. I don’t know how true this is and I certainly would prefer a broader reader demographic.

But as writers, I think we should just focus on writing the story we have to tell. If people are interested in reading it that’s great! If the population is mostly women, that’s awesome! And if the readers also include men well, that’s an added bonus!

When I write, I don’t worry about the gender of the reader. Mostly I decide whether the story is suitable for a young adult audience or for an adult audience. From there, anyone who wants to read my stories can do so and hopefully enjoy them.


Happy writing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Writing a Love Scene

I’ve been pondering the issue of romance and therefore love scenes in my story. By the way, I should mention that I don’t do romance. It’s not my genre. I also don’t write erotica.

You see, I don’t think it’s necessary to be graphic in the description of a love scene. I have read many novels in which a romantic liaison was written very tastefully without graphic detail. These writers were able to clearly convey what was happening in heat infused beautiful prose. While there are others that graphically describe every aspect of coitus. I don’t think I can write in that style, but more importantly I don’t want to write in that style.

What I want to do (and what I’m working on which I’m finding really hard to do by the way) is gradually develop the sexual tension between the two characters until it manifest in a tasteful joining. But no matter what I write, I hate it. It comes off as cheesy, cliché and plain old drivel. I’m pushing forward anyway because I do want these two characters to like each other and eventually get together.

So I could really use some advice ‘cause I’m currently out of my comfort zone. From time to time I come across advice (on the internet) telling people that in order to become successful they have to get out of their comfort zone. Well, I’m out of mine and it’s an exhilarating ride but I don’t want to suck.

Perhaps my criticism is harsher than it should be, or maybe I’m being a perfectionist (which I don’t think I am). What I do know is that I want the reader to feel/see what is happening in a temperature rising, fast breathing, licking of dry lips experience without resorting to a triple x rating. How do I do that and be original in my writing?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Basking in Creativity


Lately I’ve been comfortably nestled in my right brain. For once I took a break from the usual analytical left brain control. I’ve been writing – not for my novel, which is odd.

One morning I woke up from a dream and I could only remember a snippet of it but I decided to write about it; to expand it a bit. I decided not to fight the pull – the attraction to work on it, because it isn’t the novel that I have committed to write. I figured, why not? So, I plunged in and I’m having fun with this project right now.


The other thing I’ve been working on for some time now is jewelry making. I make costume jewelry and this started as a hobby a few years ago. I stopped for a while but took it up again. My friends have been very encouraging about it and I’ve actually sold a few pieces. So I’m very excited.



Right now I’m just letting creativity flow through me in different forms. For instance, I’m already thinking about working on my Halloween costume. I know it’s early but even though I sew, I’m not a seamstress and I want to give myself enough time to go back to the drawing board if it doesn’t work out. My previous costumes have been a success so I'm fairly confident that this year I'll design another winner.

I’m feeling really good and I realized that being creative makes me happy. Anyway, that’s all the update I have for now.

Happy writing.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Don't Want To Write

I don’t have anything to write about. It’s not writer’s block. This is different. It’s a combination of not having a topic to write about and also a lack of desire to write - about anything.


I have loads of ideas which get added to my idea file with a page or two of writing to go with it. But to me all this adds up to, is more started yet-unfinished projects. My mind can come up with lots of little scenarios, prompts, etcetera. Yet it doesn’t go further than that.


It’s like there are all these remnants of fabric spread out on a table. Some are mere inches apart, while others are a foot apart or even farther. How do I stitch them together? Clearly, I need a needle and thread. If the remnants of fabric are my ideas, then the fillers - the parts that tie the story together, would be the needle and the thread. And this is where I run into trouble. My difficulty lies in the tying it all together and not only making it fit but making it seamless. This is why I collect ideas and writing prompts and not finish any of my projects.


Identifying the problem is the first step. I understand where I’m going wrong but I suck at fixing it, so I can’t move forward. Every time I try to work on it, what I write is pure drivel. So I stop writing for a few days because I’m so disgusted with the poor quality of my work that I choose not to write. This is then followed by self beratement and insecurity.


But today is slightly different. I really don’t have anything to write about and I’m not having any negative thoughts or feeling down about the possibility of ever finishing my novel. Really.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Adventures of Captain Faasha

“What are you doing?” she blurted throwing herself against the controls.
“Trying to save your life!” Drokkan answered flipping switches and pushing buttons around Faasha; evading her attempts to block him.


“By blowing up the ship?” she demanded.


Drokkan grabbed her shoulders; his gaze intense as he held her attention “Faasha, the Phluvoigh won’t stop until you’re dead! Shields are at 17 percent. How much longer do you think we can hold them off?”


“I don’t know!” she pulled away from him pacing down the bridge. She had evacuated the ship so her crew was safe except for Drokkan who insisted on staying with her. “Check the tactical database. There must be a maneuver the Phluvoigh can’t anticipate.” Faasha said holding onto a chair as the shields blocked another onslaught of phaser torpedoes.

“We’ve tried over 80 different maneuvers; if there was only one Phluvoigh vessel we’d probably stand a chance, but three of them?” The tactical computer burned out in a fit of sparks sending Drokkan flying against the front view screen.

“Drokkan!” Faasha flew forward bending down by him.
“I’m okay.” He croaked getting up stiffly with Faasha’s help. The front of his uniform had scorch marks and the fabric was fused to his skin. He dangled his left hand which was burned and useless. A quick check told them that shields were down to 6 percent.

“Captain, are you going to give the order or do I have to mutiny? Drokkan looked at her, a twinkle in his eye; his crooked smile reminding her of his bravery on past missions.

“Alright, set the ship to self destruct. We’ll go down in a blaze of glory!”
“Who said we were going down?” Drokkan teased amidst coughs that threatened to overtake him.

“Explain.” She said not understanding the glint in his eye.

“Do you remember Plexus 9?” he grinned.


“The Plexus 9 Maneuver? That’s a theoretical maneuver based on multidimensional models!” Faasha said incredulously.

“All you need is a nebula and a small uninhabited satellite.” His grin grew wider.


“Where is the nearest nebula?” Faasha asked before she crashed against the wall by the force of the latest phaser torpedo.

“There’s a nebula just up ahead and the navigational computer detected the remnants of a small planet that must have been torn in the opposing gravitational pull.” He said as he helped her up. Faasha supported her broken arm coughing up blood.

“How much time do we need?” she said her voice making wet sounds as if she was underwater. Drokkan sat her on the command chair and quickly programmed the navigational computer with the right coordinates that would take them in the nebula’s direction.

“They’re matching our speed but I think we can make it in three minutes.”

“Computer, this is Captain Faasha. I command this ship to self destruct code N4901-SD03.” The chirp of the computer acknowledged receipt of command.

“Computer, this is Lieutenant Commander Drokkan. I second the command for self destruct code D9925-SD03.”

The chirp of the computer sounded again with an electronic response “Self Destruct Sequence Executed. The ship will destruct in three minutes.”

“We’re cutting it close, don’t you think?” she asked looking at the view screen and firing phasers with her left hand. She was racing against time as it seemed to fly faster than warp speed.


“Nothing we can’t handle. I’m programming the Captain’s Yacht for separation before impact.”

Another assault on the ship set systems on fire, smoke filling up the bridge quickly making visibility difficult.

“Faasha!” Drokkan roared coughing and searching for her.
“On my way, Lieutenant” She responded amidst bloody coughs as she got up from the floor nursing her broken arm.

The ship’s electronic voice reported shields at 1 percent. “Self destruct in 30..29..28..” The ship’s computer continued the countdown as Drokkan dragged Captain Faasha into the turbo lift. The turbo lift jostled them as the ship rocked from multiple phaser fire.

They entered the Captains Yacht and Drokkan secured the Captain before taking his seat and sealing the hatch. The countdown continued “12..11..10”

“Initiating separation, warp factor two!” he shouted as the shields couldn’t compensate for the force of take off.

“Do it!” Faasha gurgled as she was pressed against her seat by the impact of the gravitational momentum.

The Phluvoigh vessels stopped pursuit abruptly as they realized the ship was on a suicide course with a satellite planet and watched the massive explosion as the ship made contact. Undetected by the Phluvoigh, the Captain’s Yacht had successfully separated from the main ship and remained hidden in the nebula.













Friday, July 1, 2011

Stories as Time Capsules

It’s interesting to see how some expressions in a story capture the societal views of the time in which it was written. Reading the classics is a wonderful thing. It makes me appreciate how literature employs grammatical artistry. But there are times that sprinkled throughout a work of fiction you’ll find traces, if not full-out in your face, racism.

I’m reading a children’s book that was originally copyrighted in 1911. That was a century ago and, of course, the views were quite different then. It was quite ordinary and acceptable to make statements that today would ignite ire in many people.


For example:

“I dare say it’s because there’s such a lot o’ blacks there instead o’ respectable white people. When I heard you was comin’ from India I thought you was a black too.”

“You thought I was a native!” You dared! You don’t know anything about natives! They are not people – they’re servants who must salaam to you. You know nothing about India.”

Wow. I know that this is a work of fiction and that it’s the characters who are expressing this opinion within the world the writer created. I’m not going to start a debate about racism in writing and the difference between Indian ethnic groups and Black ethnic groups. However, I am stating that this novel portrays the racist attitudes and beliefs of that time.

So, the social separation between groups of people was very pronounced and very strictly observed. This has been preserved in the story like a time capsule. I have been observing stories that reflect things which we would now consider to be in poor taste. To me this is a look into the past; and it shows me, a bit more poignantly than my history lessons taught me, how the world used to be.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Research - Not Obsession

Lately, I’ve been spending quality alone time in my attic/office doing a lot of reading, making jewelry and watching reruns of Angel on Hulu. And Spike has been on a couple of episodes; he’s such a hottie! Then there’s the 6’3 chocolate goodness of Charles Gunn - yummy! But for some reason, I’ve always wanted Wesley; the scholarly occult expert with the British accent who can also kick ass. The only downside to watching Angel is that I might be putting on a couple of pounds. I seem to devour pints of Hagen Daaz ice cream, bags of Doritos and a few minutes ago I had to put down the bag of melted chocolate Milano cookies before I ate the whole thing.

This is not an Angel obsession. It is simply research. Yes, I’m studying the characters in the series. The depth of their personalities, the intricacies of their interrelationships and how they deal with the obstacles they face. I do this so that I can create lifelike 3D characters in my stories. I do this so that I can become a better writer.

Okay, what I just said was B.S. I didn’t even believe it myself. I confess: I’m obsessed with the series. I went to Hulu and have been watching it from the first season and now I’m up to season 5. But although I’ve been experiencing a mild crush on the show, my heart still belongs to the Doctor, who to me will always be, David Tennant.

Monday, May 30, 2011

When to Prequel Before or After?

Pride and Prejudice is a classic novel by Jane Austen that was originally published in 1813.

Seth Grahame-Smith wrote a parody of it which was published in 2009 titled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In 2010 he published a prequel titled Dawn of the Dreadfuls.





I never got a chance to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when it was first released. Recently, I was at the bookstore and inquired about it and was very excited that they had a copy at a reduced price. I love sales! And as I was doing a tiny squee, the sales girl mentioned the prequel.



The word prequel hadn’t registered yet, when she handed me the book; also, at a reduced price. Well, what was I to do but to speed walk to checkout? Which was exactly what I did.


Now, I have a decision to make. In which order do I read them? Should I read the story that came out first followed by the prequel? Or should I begin from the beginning by reading the prequel first?




I normally read books in the order in which they were released but that is also the order in which I have acquired them. I’m leaning towards reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies first but that little zombie girl on the cover of Dawn of the Dreadfuls keeps nagging at me with her little zombie voice to read her book first. How does one ignore zombies?


Luckily for me I’m still in the middle of a book, so that gives me some time to make a decision. Little zombie girl will just have to wait and find out which book I will read first.











Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blog Award


I received the Stylish Blogger Award from Dawn Brazil. Thanks Dawn, you’re awesome! Dawn has a pretty stylish blog herself. Check her out at http://dawnbrazil.blogspot.com/.












As the recipient of this award I have to list seven things about myself that most people don’t know. In addition I have to pass the award on to other deserving blogs.

1. I have beautiful journal books but I don’t write in them. I want to use them and occasionally open them up with the intention of writing in them but whatever comes to mind at the time is never good enough and I can’t bring myself to mar such lovely journals.

2. I don’t really consider myself a writer. I’m just a daydreamer, really. Most of the time I don’t even want to write down the little stories that play in my head. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m afraid someone will read them. I know it doesn’t make sense.

3. I love swords and daggers. I want to learn how to wield a sword – in my fantasy it’s the short sword because I’m less than five feet in height so the long sword is out of the question. And since I grew up watching Kung Fu movies, how about a Chinese broadsword or a Japanese Katana while I look hot and sexy as I kick the evil minion’s butts. That’s another fantasy. Let’s keep this between us, okay?

4. I learned to do the split when I was nine years old because I wanted to be a cheerleader.

5. I make jewelry. I started in 2005 but then I was injured with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and stopped. Recently, I made some necklaces and earrings as gifts for friends and they were very pleased with my work. So, I have decided to start a business and sell the jewelry I make.

6. My other hobby is archery. I don’t get to do it often so I’m not that good at hitting the bull’s eye but I enjoy myself very much. The odd thing is that I’m right hand dominant but I shoot left handed. Why? My dominant right eye is near sighted so the target is blurry. My left eye is far sighted and the target is clearer. Weird huh?

7. I used to sleep walk until I was twenty. I don’t know how come I stopped. My mother doesn’t either. But to this day, she’s an insomniac. Thanks to me. Sorry mom!


Here are some great blogs that I found.

Sam at:
The Slight Detour

Stephanie & Athenna at: Paranormal Haven

Rachel at:
Parajunkee’s View

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Of Mermaids & The Nightside

I’ve been absent for a bit but I can explain why. You see it all started when I went away for the weekend to celebrate Beltane. I had a great time with the festivities, the vendors, and the food. This year it was mostly potluck and everyone brought tasty dishes. I had my hair braided with flowers and I even had my face painted. Not many adults did that but I had planned on doing it and since I completely embrace my inner child, I was very, very happy that weekend.

Anyway, while perusing all the tables laden with artwork, jewelry, the tarot readers and an awesome clay artist amidst the drum lessons and the belly dancing performance, I happened upon an author’s table. Her name is Carolyn Turgeon and she had copies of her latest book, Mermaid, which I gladly purchased and she signed for me.

Carolyn retells the classic tale by Han Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid. But in Carolyn’s version there’s another Princess in the picture. You have the Mermaid Princess, Lenia, and then you have another Princess named Margrethe, who is from a feuding kingdom. Both have fallen for the Prince and both have their reasons for wanting to be with him. Can you say love triangle? Well, I haven’t got to that part yet but I’m looking forward to it.

Since it was quite sunny, I found a lovely spot and promptly began to read her book. I’m currently on chapter twelve. Reading about Mermaids made me think about Mermaids and when I returned home I got on the laptop and looked them up. First I went to Carolyn Turgeon’s website http://carolynturgeon.com/, which led me to her blog and there I read interviews with other Mermaids (performance artists who do aquatic shows in full Mermaid regalia). However, during my internet search I came across a website (http://www.themertailor.com/site_flash/) where you can buy Mermaid tails. They’re absolutely fabulous! I wish I could swim. Looking through it I fell in love with these pictures.

























But you see that isn’t the whole of it. What I didn’t tell you is that I was already reading the second book of The Nightside series by Simon R. Green which I had downloaded to my phone.


The Nightside series is about John Taylor, a private detective that specializes in finding lost things. The Nightside is the secret hidden dark side of London where it’s always night and it’s always 3:00 am. You can find all kinds of magic and futuristic technology, corrupt things living or dead, human or inhuman, and where just about anything is for sale.

So I’ve been reading two books at once. And you know how it is with e-readers, don’t you? Well, so far there are ten books in the series and I have all the books so it is very easy to end one book and continue with the next one. Which is exactly what happened and now I’m on book three. I highly recommend the series so check it out if it’s a genre you like to read.

And while I’ve been doing all this reading (which is good for my writing, right?); I haven’t really done any writing other than sending creative renaissance style e-mail correspondence with a friend of mine. I had lots of fun doing that. Besides that, I have a lot of laundry to do and I see the dust bunnies in my house tumbling about like they do in spaghetti westerns.

So, I hope I’m excused for being lax with the blog. I’m on chapter eight of Nightingale’s Lament and I really must get back to it. The laundry and the dust bunnies can wait.

Enjoy your reading and happy writing!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dream

She awoke with a start realizing that she overslept - her heart hammering in her chest. There wasn’t much time to get ready so she quickly donned a pair of jeans and a shirt that was draped on a chair since Wednesday. It didn’t smell too bad so it would have to do. Brushing her teeth in record time, with a split second stop-over to put on deodorant she soon dashed out of the house.

A quick glance at her watch told her she was cutting it close, as she speed-walked to the bus stop. Beads of sweat were already forming, the asthmatic tightness in her chest a nagging reminder that she was out of shape. Her nerves frazzled, she checked her watch again and barely missed getting hit by the car that was pulling out of the driveway.

Still walking briskly, she squinted trying to read the display on her cell phone which was difficult to see in the glaring sun. Frustrated, she threw the phone back in her purse in time to see the bus pull away. Without hesitation she took off running frantically to get the driver’s attention but he never saw her.

Devastated, she broke down in tears. Her emotions were raw and heavy. It was over. She had lost everything. A stooped old man leaning heavily on a cane slowly approached her and gently laid his hand on her shoulder. She knew he spoke words of compassion and wisdom but all she heard was a soft inaudible whisper. Her pain was all she felt and her sobs were all she could hear. The old man must have sensed this and shook her shoulder to get a response from her but she didn’t want to look up at him. She didn’t want to face him and have him see her failure. He shook her harder forcing her to raise her head and look at him.

She opened her eyes. Her phone was vibrating on the pillow next to her. She had set the alarm on it to vibrate a few minutes earlier than her alarm clock so she wouldn’t be late. The last dregs of despair left her and with a sigh of relief she realized it had all been a dream.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Proofreading

I’ve read that you shouldn’t proofread while writing your Work In Progress. The advice given is that one should write continuously, flesh out the story and only when it’s finished, it can be proofread.

It’s explained that when writers proofread as they go along that they aren’t really writing. I try to keep this in mind but I have difficulty from time to time. And before I realize it, I find myself going back and fixing grammar or rephrasing a sentence here and there.

Overall, I feel that this is productive because if I don’t like the way it reads it throws me off. Then I’m sulking for a day or two worrying about the drivel I’ve just written and how could I even think that I could be a writer (insert melancholic violin music here).

Then the left side of my brain steps in and takes charge, fixes one or two things on my WIP to appease my right brain and then orders me to write again. And then I’m on to happy writing once more.

I’ve had a good couple of days of writing. I didn’t spend the entire day but I was able to sneak an hour here and there. It felt pretty good. I feel motivated and the juices are flowing.

So what if I misspelled a few words in Chapter 3? It can wait until the WIP is finished. I can control my need to do a spell check, right? Maybe I’ll just take a peek at it. After all, the spell check is just a quick click of the mouse. And then I’ll skim quickly over chapter 4 and …

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Writer Is Not In

I’ve been feeling a bit rundown lately – fatigued, like my batteries are not fully charged. I also didn’t write this past week. I know shocking!

Between dragging myself to do the simplest of tasks like going to work and experiencing computer problems I couldn’t get any writing done. First the laptop was performing at sloth speed. My anti-virus software had expired so I called technical support which took an eternity of grief. The first couple of attempts at downloading the anti-virus software failed which resulted in my uttering a few colorful expletives. You must understand that at this point it’s 1:37 in the morning and I have to go to work in a few hours.

Eventually, I left the laptop downloading the software and went to bed. That evening when I got home I started a scan which took so long to complete I felt my ire start to rise again. In the end it had found and quarantined 10 Trojans and now my laptop is running better.

Good so now that the laptop is up to speed again I can write, right? Wrong! It was at this point that my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome decided to flare up. Bummer! My friends think it odd that I prefer to type over writing. What happens is that because of the CTS I can’t hold a pen for too long. The way the hand closes while writing pinches the nerve much quicker than it does when I type. So I’ve been medicating with Aleve and Advil alternately to bring down the inflammation.

Hopefully, this week will be better.



Happy writing everyone.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Muse

Often writers talk about waiting for, looking for or finally finding the Muse. The word Muse is bounced about like a beach ball going back and forth until it eventually floats away in the water. So close yet your fingertips barely graze it - your frantic efforts to reach it disturbing the water, causing it to slip further away. Like others, I have succumbed to the dreaded writer’s block - all the time hoping that the Muse would finally grace me with her Magick.

But what exactly is the Muse? Is it a benevolent doppelganger that holds the creative part of ourselves, ready to infuse us with bits of creative energy as we need it? Should we uphold the standard belief of the Muse as a Deity, like in Greek Mythology? What about those of us who aren’t as conventional? Would they have a Muse that takes animal form like a Totem? Some writers know exactly what their Muses look like.


Stephen King has a male, cigar smoking, beer drinking, hanging in the basement Muse. I’m not entirely sure what my Muse looks like yet because I never focused my energies on giving it form, but I know it isn’t male. So, I started looking into Muses or Deities that personify some or all of the attributes of a Muse (e.g.: art, music, poetry, dance, writing, etc.) in the hopes of offering one of them the job.


I started with Greek Mythology and I learned that they have many Muses.


Greek



Calliope: The Muse of eloquence and epic or heroic poetry



Erato: The Muse of lyric poetry



Polyhymnia: The Muse of the sacred hymn, eloquence and dance


As I Googled, I discovered that Greek Mythology wasn’t alone in this respect and that others had their own Deities/Muses.


Roman



Apollo: Roman God of sun, music, poetry, prophecy, and healing



Minerva- Roman Goddess of wisdom, arts, and trade


The Roman Gods multitasked in their duties. In addition to their standard abilities, Apollo and Minerva also ruled over music and the arts. No days off for these Gods.


Norse



Bragi: Norse God of poetry


This Norse God was renowned for wisdom, fluency of speech and skill with words. I might consider this God when I’m suddenly called to an impromptu meeting at the office.


Chinese



Fu-Xi: is very strong on home improvements, and also spiritual improvements. He's often seen with a carpenter's square — which symbolizes both as he created the Eight Trigrams for Divination*.


It seems this Deity loves to create and improve on things. This is a Deity to keep in mind for a possible Muse perhaps when you want to rewrite your first draft.


Hindu



Saraswati: The Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music and all the creative arts. Saraswati is called the mother of the Vedas and the repository of Brahman’s creative intelligence and is also called Vak Devi, Goddess of Speech.

This is a multifaceted and diverse Deity - a great source of inspiration for those who seek her as their Muse.

In all my research, I haven’t felt the pull for any of them. Do we choose our Muse or do we have no control over which Muse guides us? Should we aim our pleas to the Muses in general hoping that one of them will heed our supplicant cries for inspiration? Wouldn’t that leave it all to chance while we wait in anguish? No, I don’t think I want to do that. I need to be a little bit more proactive in my life so perhaps I’ll create my own Muse just like I create a character. I read somewhere that we make our own reality so why not create a personal Muse and put it to work?

The decision is still pending and I will definitely give it more thought. As I write this I couldn’t help but wonder, what inspired me to write about this in the first place? Is my ever elusive and ethereal Muse trying to get some recognition? I wonder…


* The Eight Trigrams, the principles of the I Ching system of divination, were created by observing a tortoise shell and symbolize the eight main forces of the Universe. Combined in 64 hexagrams, they represent the consequences of the interaction of these forces with one another.


† The Vedas (Sanskrit Veda, "knowledge") are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.


Brahman

‡ In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe