Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NaNoing with a Newborn - Part 2: Mastitis Interruptus

It seems life wants me to slow down and stop trying to do more than I can currently handle.

I was healing fine from my daughter's birth, but then I got a pretty nasty cold, which was then followed by mastitis. Mastitis is a breast infection with flu-like symptoms that knocked me on my behind. I am still trying to recover, and running on little sleep between the newborn and cough keeping me awake. Breastfeeding has also been difficult and painful, so I have a lot on my plate with just that!

Needless to say, the only thing I've written this month is the birth story, which clocked in around 3000 words. I don't plan to write anymore this month. Not actually sure when I'll start writing again. It's definitely more difficult to adjust to a second child, and the health issues have made things even more difficult. I can hope I'll have adjusted by the end of the year, but I really can't predict. For now, I'm going to concentrate on keeping healthy and tending to the newborn, then I'll slowly add things back in.

I hope everyone else who attempted NaNoWriMo succeeded or at least made a decent amount of progress. I'll try to post another update in December. But if things don't shake out the way I'd like, I send my holiday wishes to everyone!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NaNoing with a Newborn - Part 1: Newborn Has Arrived!

Mama's Little Green Girl arrived on November 5 at 1:46am! Better late than never. And now that I can step back and look at things, she had perfect timing.

This of course means my NaNoing with a Newborn will be getting a late start. I did begin a pregnancy journal right before she was born, and I intend to use the word count from that as well as the birth story for NaNo before I start work on Seeker of Dreams. I mean, it wouldn't be a normal NaNoWriMo for me if I wasn't a bit of a Rebel. ;)

Hopefully by the end of the week I'll start Seeker of Dreams. I've been itching to work on it, but there are just some things that need attention first! I still hope to reach at least 25,000 words for the month. At least I already have 500 in from the pregnancy journal.

Good luck to all those deep in NaNoWriMo waters already.

I'll leave everyone with a picture of both of my girls, Little Dragonfly and Little Green Girl!

NEXT UP: NaNoing with a Newborn - Part 2

Friday, November 01, 2013

NaNoing With A Newborn?

I am far overdue for an update!

I was hoping my next update would be announcing the birth of my second child. However, she has proven stubborn. I'm still pregnant. =/

So, then why is my post title NaNoing With A Newborn? Well, it was my intention to do a series by that name starting in November. But I need the newborn first! I am actually 40 weeks along today, and since I have gestational diabetes, it's time to force baby out whether she wants out or not. I won't know the exact details until later this afternoon, but I suspect she'll arrive no later than Wednesday, likely sooner.

I thought it would be fun to undertake the challenge of doing NaNoWriMo even with a baby on my hands. And since I need to keep my head in my Dead As Dreams' world (for revisions), I'm going to start the sequel, Seeker of Dreams! The first scene I want to write is actually a birth scene, so I'll be waiting until baby's arrival to start my word count. I'm not too worried about starting a few days late because I think my goal will be more around 25,000 than 50,000.

Good luck to everyone doing NaNoWriMo this month. And don't forget to join Writing Quest - November! I promise my next update will be in no more than a week. ;)

NEXT UP: Birth Announcement (stubborn baby has to come out!) and NaNoing With A Newborn Part 1

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Complications

So, life keeps throwing roadblocks in my way.

I figured I'd at least post an update of things, but by the looks of it, I'll be on hiatus from blogging for at least another month--by mid-November I should be back to more regular posts at least.

I developed some pregnancy complications. Several weeks ago, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This diagnosis has not only stressed me out to no end, it's also consumed a lot of my time trying to monitor my sugars, time meals perfectly, count carbs to make sure my sugars don't spike, and have to schedule three times the amount of appointments I originally needed to schedule. If I wasn't going for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), perhaps I wouldn't be quite so stressed. But I can't be induced for a VBAC, and the doctors will only let me go so far due to the diabetes--in other words, going overdue isn't much of an option, unless I refuse another c-section and decide to go overdue anyway, but part of me thinks that would be selfish since my goal is to make sure baby arrives healthy.

Of course all of this has brought my writing to a halt. I'm attempting to focus on my health (exercising is a must as well, and it's so hard to walk with all the creaky pains of pregnancy) and baby's health first. There will be time to write after baby is here--no snickering. Babies do take up time, but it's easier to plop baby into my husband's arms and go to another room to write for an hour than it is to take a break from her being in my belly and blocking my ability to utilize insulin!

I do intend to critique a little--I have something on my plate this week that needs to get done. This is mainly so my brain keeps functioning at more thought-provoking levels. ;)

Six and a half more weeks to my due date, but I'm hoping she decides to arrive a couple weeks sooner than that! I have to get the revisions of Dead As Dreams finished!

Oh, I do have one bit of good news. Harper Voyager has reduced their pile of submissions from their open call in October 2012 to 550 manuscripts (out of around 4500). I sent an inquiry to make sure I didn't miss a rejection in the e-mail ether. They confirmed that my manuscript is still under consideration. It feels good that The Mind Behind the Mind has made it this far. I count myself lucky, even if I do eventually receive that rejection. So, yay!

Otherwise, that's my update. I hope to at least plan out some posts before I start posting again so I have a good idea of what I'll be writing about over a decent span of time. Until then, happy writing and reading!

NEXT UP: In all likelihood, a birth announcement. ;)

Friday, August 02, 2013

In Your Write Mind 2013

I know it's been a month since the In Your Write Mind retreat, but I'm finally getting around to posting a bit about it. My apologies.

And as a side note, I will likely be taking a blogging hiatus for a while (undetermined amount of time), until I can get some other things in order. This doesn't mean I won't be writing! Revisions of Dead As Dreams are on my list. I did manage to write 2,600 words on another humorous fantasy short story in July, and that rough draft needs to be finished as well--those things and house stuff (before baby comes) are my high priorities, so that's why my blog will need to take a back seat! Writing Quest will still be run every month, unless an emergency arises. Don't fear, though, my blog will not die. ;)

There were a lot of fun modules I attended at In Your Write Mind: Things That Go Bump in Your Prose, Public Speaking for Authors, Cutting and Tightening Your Novel, Fabulous Beginnings and Unforgettable Endings, Self-Publishing, Time Management for Writers, The Promise and the Payoff, Women's Undergarments through the Ages, Working Magic and Religion in Fiction, The Best Time to Read Your Contract, Short Stories, Cracking the Code, Adding Emotion to the Page, World Building, More Stuff Tim Is Tired Of, "Wet Cement": Transgression and Risk in Fiction, and Young Adult (YA) Voice.

By no means will I be discussing everything I listed above. If many of the topics you see interest you, I highly recommend considering attending In Your Write Mind next year! There were many other topics as well which I didn't or couldn't attend.

Before I mention some great key points about the modules I attended, I did want to mention some of the presenters. The special guests this year were Lucienne Diver (agent), Laurie J. Edwards (editor), Treva Harte (editor), and D. Harlan Wilson (author). Other presenters included Tim Esaias, Mike Arnzen, Maria V. Snyder, Scott Johnson, Diana Botsford, Lawrence Connolly, Shelley Bates, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Jason Jack Miller. And that's not even a full list!

Onto the good stuff, right?

One of the modules I desperately needed and I think any writer could take from, at least one or two tips, was Lawrence Connolly's Time Management for Writers. The most important thing I took from the module was to find your best writing time. Many of us are busy, so our choices for time to write are limited, but if we take a step back and look at our schedules, we should be able to find some small chunks of time to write. During the module, we had to write in our daily activities into a schedule. For me, this was very much what felt like what people call an Unschedule. You fill in those hours with things that need to get done--work, getting ready in the morning, eating, etc. Then you see what open spots there are. For those open spots, you consider what the best time for you to write is. Are you more alert and awake and focused at a certain time? Do you have a one hour long lunch hour at work but don't take that entire time to eat and still have enough energy? You can find time to write, and if you look at your full (or not so full) schedule, you can analyze when you have an open slot and when your most productive writing time would be in those open slots.

The other big tip for time management that we all know but I think we need to remind ourselves constantly is that when you sit down to write, just write, allowing no other distractions. Don't check Facebook or e-mail--don't even open an internet browser! The phone rings? Leave it, if the call is important the person will leave a message. Door? Ignore. Significant other wants you to look at something not terribly important? Yell at him/her that you're writing and will look when you're done. Unless it's an emergency, don't let anything interrupt your writing time.

If you want to read more about this topic, Lawrence Connolly actually wrote a blog post on his module: Time Management for Writers.

I also enjoyed the World Building module presented by Lucienne Diver. There are so many things to consider and balance when building your own world (or when using our own world). Here, I wanted to at least list the 7 things she suggested you should consider when world building: Environment, Technology, Religion (especially importance of rituals), Politics, Family Unit, Economy, and Language (cursing shows what a society holds sacred or profane). All of these things should be taken into account when world building. Of course, not everything you know, as the writer, will make it into your novel, but it's important that you know all the facts.

Since this post is getting rather long, there is one more module I wanted to touch on--More Stuff Tim Is Tired Of. Tim Esaias was my mentor when I was in the Writing Popular Fiction program, and if anyone knows how to find inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and clean up prose, it's him! I won't go over everything he mentioned in his module, but just a few tips. One that made me cringe, since I have it in my original thesis novel, The Mind Behind the Mind, is the overuse of the name Haven for a city or town. If certain names are used too often, they become cliche, so try to avoid using ones you start to see often when you read.

Some silly stuff that doesn't make sense: ritual slicing of palm (you then deny use to that hand for quite a while and could hit many nerves), talking through clenched teeth (try it), tightening grip on a sword when it's about to be used, and characters who don't actually suffer the ill effects of wounds and illnesses. Tim is a fount of information, and I have a full page of notes from his 50-minute module, as well as some handouts he sent to the participants. If you see him listed as a presenter or panelist at a convention or workshop, don't hesitate to attend!

Again, I'm sorry for the delay of this post. I hope the information I imparted was worth the wait! I can't recommend enough actually attending the In Your Write Mind retreat, especially if you are serious about your writing.

NEXT UP: Hiatus. Length to be determined.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Vision Issue

Yes, I was supposed to blog on Wednesday. I was actually going to get that blog post up today. Lo and behold, this morning one of my nose pads to my glasses snapped off. The metal must have weakened enough and had it with me pushing my glasses up my nose.

Right now, if I wear my glasses, I have a sharp piece of metal digging into my nose. Hopefully I'll be able to get a temporary repair done tonight, but if they can't glue it back on at all, even for a short time, I will be without for likely a month (insurance - that every 12 month thing for coverage sucks, you know).

I am currently developing a headache just trying to type without the glasses!

So, posts will be further delayed (as will writing and other things that I would love to be able to see to do) because I would prefer metal not digging into me and gouging a hole in my nose on a regular basis.

Maybe I'll take a nap--that doesn't require vision. ;)

OK, time to hold my glasses to my eyes to see how many misspellings I made while typing blind.

NEXT UP: When vision returns, I'll post about In Your Write Mind 2013.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo - July 2013

Wait, what, you were expecting me to keep to my word on exactly what I intended to blog about today? Maybe I would have if I haven't been dealing with getting my luggage back from the airlines for two days straight. My trip home was hellish. It will be vented in a brand new Grinka and Syndago story.

And...that is the first thing on my list for Camp NaNoWriMo. I'll be getting started a few days later than originally intended, but the goal I've set is 25,000 words. Totally doable. Especially since the morning sickness is pretty much gone and my 5-year-old will be spending a week with my in-laws! After I finish the super rough draft of the new Grinka story, I'll work on the super rough draft of Into the Ash, the first novel in my Elements of Anian series.

Yes, I have revisions to do on Dead As Dreams, but since I haven't touched anything for a few months, I don't want to worry about perfection for a month, and then my gears should be well oiled.

I promise, next post will be about In Your Write Mind. I just need a few days to organize things and figure out what specifics I'll post about. A lot of great workshops (and a lot of fun socializing). =)

Don't forget about Writing Quest - July! Of course my goal this month is simply Camp NaNo.

So, anybody else diving into Camp NaNoWriMo this month? It allows you to key in your own word count goal - no need to aim for the usual 50,000 words!

NEXT UP: July 10 - In Your Write Mind 2013 (I mean it this time)

Friday, June 21, 2013

June? Where Have You Gone?

So, this post was originally supposed to be a Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic post, but my house is such a mess, I don't think I'd easily be able to find all the books I'd like to refer to for the post on Summer Solstice. That post will have to wait for next year! But I hope everyone has a happy Solstice today!

My evil morning sickness has pretty much passed, but I am still not feeling the best in other regards. My plans for revisions kind of went down the drain, but at least growing another human being is a good excuse, in my opinion. To ease back into writing, I'm actually hoping to do Camp NaNoWriMo in July, and since the In Your Write Mind retreat is next week, that should feed the writing itch in mass quantities! It's much easier for me to pump out rough draft material than it is to revise (although I'm going to aim for 25k and not 50k so as not to kill myself - lol), and then the pump should be primed for August, which is when I'll dive back into revisions of Dead As Dreams.

Not to mention I have a house to get in order. I am NOT going to be hard on myself over the lack of writing, as that will just put up more roadblocks. Sometimes you just have to accept that life gets in the way.

I'm still running Writing Quest on a monthly basis, and you can always find those events over on my Facebook page. Also, I'm hoping to build up more consistency with the blog posts. I won't be posting next week, since I will be traveling, but the following week should bring a post about this year's In Your Write Mind retreat!

So, what does everyone think are valid reasons/excuses to interrupt writing? Do some of you think nothing should? I'd love to see others' opinions!

NEXT UP: July 3 - In Your Write Mind 2013 Actually, Camp NaNoWriMo

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fun With Words

Yes, I realize I'm nearly a week late in posting. As it stands, better late than never the way I've been feeling.

I haven't made any progress with my writing projects, although I did complete a critique for someone. And I've been reading a lot.

I'm starting to feel a little better, though, and I'm hoping I can start chipping away at revisions for Dead As Dreams either later this week or next week. I'd love to get a full revision done by mid-June, since I plan to go to the In Your Write Mind retreat, and I'd like to be able to pitch. We'll see how things work out.

Since I've been dealing with morning sickness, though, I thought it would be fun to examine the term. Morning sickness is a true misnomer. For most women, morning sickness doesn't just happen in the morning (mine is actually worse at night). So, why is it called morning sickness? From some of the stuff I've looked at on the internet, my guess is it's because most cases doctors observed happened in the mornings.

But since my brain doesn't like to shut off, I thought of another interesting way the word "morning" could be perceived. Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. The first trimester could be considered morning, the second afternoon, and the third evening. Most morning sickness (except for some extreme cases that can last the entire pregnancy) happens during the first trimester. So, it's during the "morning" portion of pregnancy.

Do I think too much? Maybe. But it's still fun to consider, in my opinion.

OK, enough about silly words. It's still not too late to join Writing Quest - May for those interested!

NEXT UP: At this point, no clue! Some time in June there will be another Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic entry, but I can't promise exactly what I'll post before then. ;)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic: Beltane

Magic is Reality, Reality is Magic is a series that highlights aspects of religions, particularly Paganism. We pull things from everyday life to use in our fiction. Magic is one of the key attributes of fantasy. Why not explore the realm of magic that many people already have in their lives?


Picture By Michael Maggs
May 1 heralds Beltane, also called May Day. It's a day that represents fertility and a day to celebrate all the earth has to offer us. We're firmly in spring and everything is growing around us, giving us the bounty of the earth. Life is the central focus of celebration on Beltane. One of the main colors of this sabbat is green, unsurprisingly.

The most well-known symbol of Beltane is the Maypole, which traditionally used to be the trunk of a tree. Ribbons hanging from the Maypole are part of the Maypole dance. However, there is another large symbol for this sabbat, and that's the balefire, or Beltane fire. Fire can be seen as a clear representation of life, and the balefire is a central symbol of Beltane. Also prominent to Beltane celebrations are garlands, chaplets, and baskets of flowers--flowers that are blooming and prolific during this time of year.

Beltane is a wonderful sabbat to read about, and if you'd like to learn more, you may wish to look at the following websites to start with: Beltane, All About Beltane, and Beltane--Holiday Details and History.

Further Reading Suggestions:

Grimassi, Raven. Beltane. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.

I hope you found this tidbit interesting! If you would like me to touch on a particular topic that fits in this series, please don't hesitate to contact me with suggestions.

NEXT UP: May 8 - Monthly Update

Friday, April 05, 2013

2 Days Late, 2 Dollars Short?

Yup, post was supposed to happen Wednesday. Unfortunately, barfing while brushing my teeth kind of derailed my entire day.

Nope, not kidding. I'm not sick-sick though. I'm actually pregnant--9 weeks along and all day morning sickness is happily destroying my life. I should really be paying bills right now instead of blogging. =/

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have a second child on the way, I just hate the nausea! And the couch is my constant friend. I've been watching far too many judge shows lately because it's hard to think when I'm trying to make sure I don't barf my brains out.

Yes, this means blog posts will still be less frequent for a while, and writing progress will be slow. Hopefully in the next month, the morning sickness will let up so I can get some work done before the baby arrives in November (yup, no NaNoWriMo for me this year - lol).

I was originally going to examine what a misnomer morning sickness is in this post, but I'm lucky to have gotten this much written. Time to go pay those bills!

But don't forget Writing Quest - April!

Oh, and just for fun: Lilypie Maternity tickers

NEXT UP: Maybe something on the 17th, but not sure what. If not, May 1 will be a post on Beltane!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic: Ostara

Magic is Reality, Reality is Magic is a series that highlights aspects of religions, particularly Paganism. We pull things from everyday life to use in our fiction. Magic is one of the key attributes of fantasy. Why not explore the realm of magic that many people already have in their lives?


Picture By Will Merydith
Ostara, or Spring Equinox, is one of the two sabbats that signifies that the day and night are of equal length. This day is also considered the first day of Spring, which usually lands around March 20-22. Ostara is a time that represents the sun's return to dominance, as once this day passes, the days will grow longer and the nights shorter.

Many of the symbols of Ostara are the same as those used for Easter celebrations. Eggs are considered the most prominent symbol of Ostara. They are a symbol of fertility. Each color used to dye eggs has a different meaning. For example, pink can represent love or peace. The rabbit or hare is another symbol associated with Ostara. This symbol is derived from a tale of Eostre, the Goddess of Spring--a small hare offered her eggs as a gift.

Would you like to know more about Ostara? If so, you may want to start with the following websites: History of Ostara, Ostara, All About Ostara, the Spring Equinox, and You Call It Easter, We Call It Ostara.

Further Reading Suggestions:

McCoy, Edain. Ostara. St. Paul: Llwellyn Publications, 2003.

I hope you found this tidbit interesting! If you would like me to touch on a particular topic that fits in this series, please don't hesitate to contact me with suggestions.

NEXT UP: April 3 - Monthly Update

Friday, March 08, 2013

Oh, Look - March!

How are we over a week into March already? Where does the time go?

Well, I honestly don't have much progress to report. LIFE has intervened. I'm not going to go into details right now, but I'm thinking life interruptions will be a factor in my writing progress for the next couple of months still.

Now, this doesn't mean I won't be trying to get some writing done, but unfortunately, there are just some other things that need to take priority. The only thing that would immediately move writing to the top at this time is a book contract. =P But here's hoping I can find little slots of time to continue revisions on Dead As Dreams as well as work on some short story projects. I would still love to indie publish more of my short stories, but right now I'll have to wait until I have bigger chunks of time.

However, I am still hosting Writing Quest every month. Come join us at Writing Quest - March!

NEXT UP: Wednesday, March 20 - Ostara!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Unhinged

This post might end up being a tad of a rant. Just a little. Or maybe a lot. Who knows--I'm scatterbrained lately.

Where is the next chapter in The Lavender Legacy, you ask? Well, it's kind of hard to write it when I haven't played anymore of The Sims. Oops. In fact, I've had no motivation to play any games at all. This wouldn't be a horrible thing if I filled the time with writing instead, but that's not the case.

So, my bit of a rant is actually about myself. My brain has this way of obsessing over things. It latches onto something and won't let go, then everything else gets neglected and shut out because of it. Right now, I'm obsessing over something personal, so I won't go into details. Hopefully once this weekend has passed, I can convince my brain to move on. Perhaps it's all just a reminder that I suck at multi-tasking. That is of course unless I have nice deadlines looming over me--my last term at school I had a novel to work on as well as work in two other heavy-load online courses, and the only time I missed a deadline was when I was so sick I couldn't even move off the couch. I think I need someone to be accountable to. Preferably someone scary. Nice people are nice, but don't crack the whip like I need!

There is only one thing that has been able to distract my brain. Reading. I plowed through one and a half books this past weekend. It was lovely. And I still feel like I'm learning plenty for my own writing when I read, therefore it's not wasted time. I'd be reading during the week as well to pry my brain off of the worries (stupid leech of a brain), but I can't very well read and take care of my 4-year-old at the same time. It doesn't help that she's been home from the little bit of school she has for the last two days due to it being insanely cold out (no, I will not walk my daughter a mile when the wind chill is below 0--that ends up being 4 miles for me, 3 if I spend the time at a coffee shop at the halfway point...it's a bookstore too, though, which is not nice for temptation!).

I dwell. My husband has told me on many an occasion, I dwell too much. I wish I could just shut off that part of my brain and not dwell. It's not as easy as flipping a switch, though. When my husband tells me to stop dwelling, I wonder if he realizes how hard that is for me. It's like an addiction. I may just have an addictive personality, but instead of drinking or smoking, it's dwelling, video games, and reading. Ugh.

I wish I was addicted to cleaning and writing (I LOVE writing, don't get me wrong, but it's not quite at the addiction level--it's at the "I'll wither if I don't write or revise something on a monthly basis" level).

Raise your hand if you think I'm being whiny and pathetic. That's what I thought. You can all put your hands down now. Seriously, put them down! =P

One of these days I'll get back on track and find something that is a sure thing to stop my constant dwelling over silly things. For now, I guess I'll remain unhinged.

NEXT UP: Who knows! I sure don't. I don't even know when. Let's hope next Wednesday. Any ideas what you'd like me to post about? Post or e-mail me. =D

Friday, February 08, 2013

Is Winter Over Yet?

The post title pretty much sums up my thoughts over the last month, and likely for the next month or two ahead. I HATE winter. Not only is it cold and painful to trudge through snow that people feel they shouldn't have to shovel (grrr - shovel your sidewalks!), but I have zero motivation, for anything. This unfortunately includes writing.

I have made some progress. Chapters 5 and 6 of Dead As Dreams are now revised. However, that's not a lot of progress. My to do list for writing and home grows longer and longer, and I can't keep my head above water because all I want to do is hibernate. I need spring! It has to return quickly. The stupid groundhog better be right about spring coming early, or I might make it so he can't predict anything next year.

Oy. Was that a vent? Yes, that was a vent. My apologies. *straightens head out*

But yes, I've revised a couple chapters of Dead As Dreams, but didn't do much else in January, aside from transferring all of my manuscript submissions tracking to spreadsheets (I mean, that did take a while, but it was busy work in the end). I also found out about Duotrope going to a pay model, and I'm a bit sad about that--that was the best place to search for markets to submit my short stories. I picked through a little of my study, but that just means the books I had piled in there are now cluttering the rest of the house, and the box of papers I started to chip away at has a new home on the loveseat in the living room. Sigh. It needs to warm up, so the the heat can put a fire under my behind.

This month, I hope to at least get something done, a little progress. But until it warms up, I don't think I'll move above a snail's pace, not unless I have an actual deadline that I don't assign myself (it's amazing how imposed deadlines from other people, like when I was in school, get me going even in winter--if only I could trick myself with my own deadlines).

In other news, my 4-year-old is now writing books of her own. =D She writes squiggly lines on several pieces of paper, draws some pictures along with the lines once in a while, then has her teachers staple the papers together. She then reads me the books when she gets home. Her first series is The Five Cats of Christmas. What do you think, will she have a book published before I do? Lol.

Oh, yes, don't forget to join us at Writing Quest - February, if you're interested! How is everyone else dealing with the winter weather? Having any motivation issues? Just want to pull the covers over your head and sleep until it's warmer out? If so, I sympathize!

NEXT UP: Lavender Legacy--Chapter 2 (Will likely be posted on the 20th...sorry for skipping a week!) - The Best Laid Plans....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic: Imbolc

Magic is Reality, Reality is Magic is a series that highlights aspects of religions, particularly Paganism. We pull things from everyday life to use in our fiction. Magic is one of the key attributes of fantasy. Why not explore the realm of magic that many people already have in their lives?


Picture By Culnacreann
February 1 (or 2, depending on what text you read or who you ask) is the sabbat of Imbolc--also spelled Imbolg, or called Candlemas. This is the holiday that celebrates the slow return to spring. The days are slowly getting longer now, as mentioned in the last post on Yule, and the Goddess will soon bring the light back to the world. As many people know, Groundhog Day lands on February 2 as well--both holidays represent the eagerness for spring to return!

A candle wheel is the biggest symbol of Imbolc, especially when worn on the head during ritual, a representation of the sun returning, of spring approaching. Another symbol is the Grain or Corn Dolly. This doll is woven from sheaves of grain. Sun Wheels or Brigid's Crosses made out of vines are also used. Red and white are associated with Imbolc. Perhaps a precursor to Valentine's Day? The goddess Brigid or the Triple Goddess aspect are usually the focus in any rituals on Imbolc, as can be seen by the many symbols.

Of course there is more information on Imbolc than I've listed here (I only offer a taste!). So, if you'd like to know more, you may wish to look at these websites: History of Imbolc, Imbolc Lore, and Imbolc (Candlemas) Sabbat.

Further Reading Suggestions:

K, Amber. Candlemas. St. Paul: Llwellyn Publications, 2001.

I hope you found this tidbit interesting! If you would like me to touch on a particular topic that fits in this series, please don't hesitate to contact me with suggestions.

NEXT UP: Monthly Update

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sookie Vs. Sookie

SPOILER ALERT! If you have not read Dead Until Dark or watched the first season of True Blood there are spoilers in this essay.



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So, I recently re-read Dead Until Dark, since I wanted to read the next two books, and my memory is rusty (one of the good things about having a bad memory is sometimes if I haven't read a book for years, I actually forget big things, like who the killer is in Dead Until Dark - it's like reading a novel for the first time again!). But I also wanted to read it because I just started watching True Blood. Again, I point out my crappy memory. When watching True Blood, I struggled to remember how it compared to the book, and it was driving me batty - the weirdest things drive me batty. And there are always differences from book to screen, so it's no surprise that this is the case in this instance. Some things are more drastically different than others, but the thing that made me think the most were the differences between Sookie Stackhouse in Dead Until Dark and True Blood.

Now, I usually prefer the book over the TV/movie version of things, and that's true here. I'm actually kind of astounded how different Sookie's character seems to me, though, even if many of the lines in the show are taken straight from the book. I like it when there are differences if there is at least character consistency between the book and the show. However, I feel Sookie is nearly two different people, similar lines or no.

Keep in mind, I still have the final two episodes of Season 1 of True Blood to watch. I'm also halfway through reading Living Dead in Dallas. And if anyone disagrees with what I say here, feel free to speak up and tell me what you think.

I like Sookie in the books more than I like Sookie in the show. Here's the simplified reason why: Book Sookie seems like she has a better head on her shoulders, and Show Sookie doesn't seem to think things through. Now, I know one of the reasons it might seem this way is because you can't really get into Show Sookie's head. The book is in first person, and we are always in Book Sookie's thoughts. Still, I think the differences leave a pretty wide gap.

Examples? Of course I have examples! My first is Sookie's show of professionalism. Book Sookie acts the perfect waitress in the first book. Even when Bill is there and she is waiting on his table, she doesn't plunk herself down and dreamily stare into his eyes and chat about personal business. She asks him to speak with her when she gets off work, so she can ask him for the favor for her Gran. Show Sookie on the other hand walks into work, the second time Bill was ever in the bar, and gets this weird look on her face, walks to him like no one else around her exists, plunks down and talks with him - yup, here comes the dreamily staring into his eyes. It's like she has no thought in her brain but, "He's a vampire, and he's so hot!" Book Sookie at least clearly battles and debates her feelings over Bill - both Sookies are naive, but Book Sookie doesn't just fall head over heels without considering the implications.

One more example, and this is the biggie for me. When Sookie first has sex with Bill - in both instances, this happens after her Gran's funeral (although in the book, it's a few days later), but the differences in how it happens shows the differences between the Sookies. Show Sookie is driven much more by lust and hormones than Book Sookie is. Book Sookie wants to be alone after the funeral. She showers and gets into a Tweety Bird nightgown, not intending to head to Bill, to sleep with him. But he shows up at her place, combs her hair out for her, and one thing leads to another. It's a more natural progression, in my opinion, and she isn't frenzied with things like, "Oh, I must sleep with Bill to help me forget my Gran's horrible death!" And that thought is exactly how I feel about Show Sookie. She gets home from her Gran's funeral, eats Gran's last pie, and then changes into a frilly nightgown to run across the cemetery and into Bill's arm. First, the nightgown differences are a big thing that demonstrates what type of character Sookie is in both the book and show. Second, in one instance the sex isn't planned, and the other it's fully intentional. I have more respect for Book Sookie because unlike Show Sookie, she doesn't want to drown her loss in sex.

Do you see the differences between Book Sookie and Show Sookie? Are there any other examples that support my claim? If you disagree with me, why do you think they are more similar than I believe? And what other differences between Dead Until Dark and True Blood do you see that you either like or that bug you?

It's always interesting to compare differences. For me, I like the book better, but I know that can be completely different for others. I just hope as I continue watching True Blood, Show Sookie gains a little more sense!

NEXT UP: Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic - Imbolc

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Crazy Necro Antics, Second Edition - Winter!

The necromancer is a playable character class in Everquest, also called necro for short. Necros have an ability called feign death--some nicknames for this ability are FD and flopping. This series will highlight some funny instances of feign death. You do not need to be an Everquest player or even a gamer to laugh at these antics. Happy giggles!

Last time Morrigann showed us how fun summer can be for a necromancer. Well, winter is even more of a blast! It's not wise to go for a swim in winter, especially when the river is covered with ice! Oh no, poor Morrigann looks like she didn't make it out, and she was so close. Is she still alive? Will someone rescue her?

Phew. It looks like she made it out. Perhaps her pet dragged her to safety--they may look like bones or shades, but those necro pets are strong! Wait, is she moving at all? She better get inside where it's warm, or she's going to become a necrosicle. Poor thing.

Looks like she finally did make it inside, but she's in an ice cavern! That's no help. The indigenous spiders saw her as a hostile creature. Eek! Better flop before she gets eaten. But be careful, those ledges are slippery. She may just fall off, and those darn spiders don't want to leave her alone.

Back outside. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! What a perfect time to make a snow angel...face first.... Necros are weird ones! Oh look, there's a mammoth in the distance.

Go, go undead polar bear army! Kill the beast! Because, um, Morrigann's health is dropping. Er, come on polar bears, you're supposed to kill the thing. Ack, Morrigann is going to have to flop if she wants to survive this one.

And so she flopped. Wait, you don't see her? Take a look at the left side of the picture. Yes, near the mammoth's backside. See her there? Squished under the gigantic mammoth foot! A big strong wizard had to come rescue Morrigann, but she survived.

And Morrigann finally made it into the warm guild hall. But after all the snowy antics, she drank a bit too much eggnog and flopped into the Frostfell tree! I think this necro has had enough of winter. =)

If you have any suggestions and silly antics you'd like to see, please post in the comments! It's possible your chosen antic(s) may be used in an upcoming post. All requests will be attributed in the post with a link back to the requester's blog (so include your blog link as well if I don't know it).

NEXT UP: Sookie Vs. Sookie - comparison of the characters in Dead Until Dark and True Blood.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 Will Be THE Year! Right?

The year for what? I don't know. Use your imagination! Anything could happen in 2013. Absolutely ANYTHING. We're only two days in, so possibilities abound!

Maybe it will be the year where I never miss a planned blog post. *laughs* Or the year that I reach my writing goals each month. *laughs harder* Could even be the year I complete more than my slated goals. *laughs my ass off*

Sorry about that. Perhaps that's a sign I want it to be a year where I don't guilt trip myself and can laugh off my shortcomings. No more dwelling on the past or missed opportunities. Onward into 2013!

Even though the last couple months of 2012 weren't that productive, I have to keep reminding myself I did accomplish a lot. I mean, I did earn my M.F.A.! However, I'm sorry to admit I have no submissions stats to report this year. Not because I didn't submit (I did, I did!), but because I lost track of tallies due to being busy with school. Maybe next year I'll have stats, but it looks like I'll have to draw up my own spreadsheet for manuscript tracking--my old program will soon be unusable once I upgrade my computer, and I have not found a suitable replacement. From scratch it is!

I am rather optimistic about 2013, which is a good thing. Let's just hope I can hold onto that optimism.

Oh, you want me to stop yammering about the year ahead and just spit out the goals list? Sure, OK, whatever. ;)

Writing Goals of 2013:

- 20 hours of writing-related work each week, except for certain occasions (like holidays, and let's see, vacation time - everyone, even writers, need vacation time)
- Complete the first revision of Dead As Dreams by June 30
- Complete the second revision/edits of Dead As Dreams by October 31
- Start sending out queries for Dead As Dreams by November 15
- Participate in one Camp NaNoWriMo
- Maybe even give November NaNoWriMo another go
- Short stories--work on lots, submit lots, indie publish a bunch (Perhaps it's THE year of the Short Story!)
- Fiddle with some Elements of Anian world-building
- Blog consistently =D
- Read 50 novels (The one goal that might be over-reaching it?)

I have a few other odds and ends on my list, but the rest is boring (things like catching up with writing forums and groups and fiddling more with social media, yadda yadda yadda). Oh, and I may join Critters again--the perfect place for short story critiques. Can you tell I'm not trying to overdo it this year? I have one novel on my plate, and if I get some work on other novels completed, that'll be gravy.

This list is doable. Yup. I can do this. You don't think I can? You don't want to be optimistic along with me? No dragging me down! Ready or not, here I come!

No, I don't promise to beat down my off-the-wall mood. I like it. I'm having fun, and I hope you're having fun reading my crazy scribblings.

Anyway, I can't forget to mention Writing Quest - January! Come join us if you have any writing goals of your own that you plan to start the year off with.

And I bet I'm not the only one with goals or resolutions for the New Year. I'd love to hear some of your goals too! Writing related or not. It's always fun to share with others--it solidifies those goals more, makes them more real. Feel free to post in the comments! ;)

Happy New Year, and Happy Writing!

NEXT UP: Crazy Necro Antics--Second Edition - Necrosicle?