Quote of the Moment

"What's Past Is Prologue." - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NaNoWriMo Fail - Lead Is Not My Friend

November always seems to end this way, doesn't it? I have the best intentions for NaNoWriMo at the beginning of the month, but then life explodes in my face. I never reach that 50k word mark.

Am I a little sad and disappointed? Yes.

However, some things just need to come before NaNo. This month we received blood lead level test results back from our 1-year-old, and the level was elevated. We live in a crappy, old house. One which has some peeling and cracking paint--lead paint. The health of my children is very important, which is why NaNo fell to the wayside. We're currently dealing with the health department, inspections of the house, and figuring out where we're going to find money to fix stuff. I'm supposed to be diligent with mopping and wiping down services, as well as her toys. Needless to say, my stress level is through the roof.

The good news is, she had another test done this weekend, and the results came back with a much lower blood lead level. We even questioned the huge gap, since lead has a really long half life. We were told that the test can be highly inaccurate. Great. Just what I needed. More stress and questioning. But I'm taking the lower number as a good sign that her blood lead level isn't going up. And what we've done so far for precautions is working.

Now to find some money hidden under a rock so we can rip out the kitchen. And sadly, due to the money issues, I'll no longer be able to go out to the In Your Write Mind retreat in June! Ugh. I needed a weekend of writer friends.

Anyway, here's hoping next year I'll have better luck with life remaining quiet in November. I'll hit 50k for NaNoWriMo one of these years!

Also, I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break, maybe for the rest of the year, just so I can get ducks in a row and still make some time to dig back into revisions of Dead As Dreams. I promise come January I'll be back to posting. Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!

NEXT UP: Nothing planned at this time. If I don't blog until January, it'll likely be the yearly goals post!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NaNo Excerpt #2 - Downward Spiral

The second excerpt from my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel, Downward Spiral.

"Mira, honey, there's no need for tears," said the apparition of my dead grandmother.

After staring at the husk all day, insisting that it wasn't Busha, that her soul was no where to be found in the papery corpse that looked like it would crumble to dust if I touched it, her soul sat before me, shimmering in the shadowed livingroom. And trying to comfort me, as always.

Was she here to say good-bye? Because if she was, I didn't want that. I already had to say good-bye when the paramedics took her away after her heart attack. I didn't want to do it again. I couldn't keep losing her. Had I done something so horrible in my life to deserve such a thing?

I knew ghosts were a possibility in my magic-riddled world. Several times a year there'd be a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about a family member refusing to move on. That's when they'd hire a witch or warlock, to help the ghost move on. People thought whatever magic manifested in a person when they were dying, if they timed it just right, they could keep their soul attached to the world of the living.

I never thought Busha had any magic to do such a thing, nor would I have thought she would have wished that on herself. She had been a big advocate of living life to the fullest and accepting death when it knocked on the door.

And I couldn't hire someone to send her off. It would be like her dying a second time, this time by my own hand.

Busha rose from the couch, floating toward me. She cupped my cheeks with her glimmering hands.

This might have been her soul, but her soft, warm touch was now replaced by a cool tingling. Only a body could make a soul warm.

"Honey, honey." She placed a cold kiss on my forehead, then brushed away my tears. "I'm sorry. I guess I didn't realize how much of a shock it would be to see me. Maybe I shouldn't have waited until after the funeral."

Though her touch was cool, I welcomed it far more than any other human contact I had received today. This was Busha, the only person who could calm my worries, allay my fears. I wanted to fall into her arms and never let her go.

I leaned forward, to do just that, but there was no solid form to hold me, and I slipped right through her. The tingling as I passed through her cascaded through my body, like a gust of wind. I lost my balance and stumbled, falling hard on my ass.

Busha turned to me and knelt in front of me. "I wish I could hold you too."

Excerpt from Downward Spiral, Chapter 2

NEXT UP: Excerpt #3

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

NaNo Excerpt #1 - Downward Spiral

The long awaited first excerpt from my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel, Downward Spiral.

That wasn't my grandmother. Not my Busha.

Skin that looked like paper stretched over the skeleton. The wrinkles in the face were painstakingly etched, one by one, to make it all look so lifelike. Hands resting on the chest, clutching a rosary, the fingers like sticks. Immobile, empty.

No, not my Busha.

I couldn't bring myself to approach the casket, even though I was sitting in the front row in the viewing room. But I was required to. People would wonder if I didn't pay my condolences to the woman who raised me, the woman who guided my young life, and the one who I couldn't bear to leave even after I completed grad school.

But it simply wasn't her. Just a wax figure that looked like her. An empty husk that had no personality, one that was absent of the vitality I came to expect from the woman I loved.

No amount of undertaker's makeup could make her look like Busha again.

I turned my eyes from the mannequin in a coffin and pawed through my purse. Looking for something. Hell, I'm not exactly sure what, but anything that didn't require me to look at what was at the front of the room. The purse was pretty bare, though--money, credit cards, phone. Not like I used the thing much, but it was another thing expected of me on such an occasion.

People milled about the room, talking in whispers, catching up. They'd all already offered their condolences to me, and now they waited for my eulogy. Until then, they kept their distance, perhaps sensing I'd rather not talk to anyone. Or they could just think me strange for having not displayed the usual teariness expected of a person in mourning.

Screw them all. That wasn't Busha. How could I cry over a wax figure that looked like it should have cobwebs in its eyes? How was I supposed to offer a heartfelt eulogy for such a thing?

I poked around in my purse again.

Someone slipped into the seat behind me.

"Mira," a voice I didn't recognize said. His breath was damp on my neck, like the promise of rain hanging in the air. "I'm sorry to bother you on such a day, but I need your help."

I didn't turn around, didn't want to face whoever this anonymous mourner was. Busha had many friends and acquaintances. She had lived her life to the fullest, and after today I realized I only truly knew a handful of all the lives she'd touched.

He probably wanted a statement for some article, or perhaps a piece of something my grandmother had left behind.

"What do you want?" I closed my purse and clutched it like he was a thief ready to rip it out of my hands.

He didn't respond right away, probably trying to figure out how to address the coldness in my voice. I didn't like reporters, people who wanted to write flourishing praises about my grandmother, or vultures who wanted something they claimed she had promised them. Only I knew my Busha in truth, none of these people. I knew her heart. And her heart wouldn't want me to have to deal with this shit after she was gone.

"Again, I'm sorry." He placed a hand on my shoulder. It was warm like the clouds from a summer storm wrapping themselves around me. Comforting. I always did love a good storm.

I turned to him, yanking my shoulder from his grasp, about to tell him off for his presumption, but started when I met his face.

He looked to be in his twenties, like me. His short dark brown hair was a bit disarrayed--the tousled by the wind look. But his eyes were what made me jump. They were a whirling mix of blue and gray. And I could have sworn I saw lightning flash in their depths when I first met his gaze.

"I need your help, Mira. I need your magic."

Call me startled twice in the span of seconds. In a world where magic surrounds me--fairies, elves, witches, and warlocks--I had no magical leanings. Though Busha would always tell me differently. She claimed I was a unicorn. A unicorn stuck in the sprawling urbanity of Milwaukee.

Who ever heard of a unicorn? Let alone one without magic.

Excerpt from Downward Spiral, Chapter 1

NEXT UP: Excerpt #2!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

Yes, it's that time of year again! When tons of crazy people decide to undertake the insane task of writing 50,000 words in a month. NaNoWriMo time!

And of course I'm joining in on the madness, as always. This is the 10th year I'm attempting NaNo. Here's hoping this will be the year I actually hit the 50,000 word mark!

I'll also be running Writing Quest in November - some people have NaNo goals there, and some aren't NaNoing at all and have other goals. So, feel free to join us over there. All writing goals are welcome.

So, curious on what I'm working on this time? Nope, not going to be a Rebel this year. This year, I'm diving into an urban fantasy I had an idea for. I threw together a cover earlier this week, as you can see. Downward Spiral is the first book in the Urban Unicorn series. And the cover was just for fun, so don't scrutinize it too much. ;)

Synopsis for Downward Spiral:

All her life, Mira's grandmother claimed she was a unicorn. Words that were hard to believe, since in a world surrounded by magic, Mira didn't display an ounce. But now her grandmother is dead, and a stranger arrives in Milwaukee asking for her help. A stranger with lightning in his eyes, who believes Mira has the magic to save the city from a madman.

I'll be posting here at least once per week (maybe more) with word count updates, as well as excerpts from Downward Spiral. So, keep watching!

And, what you've all been waiting for...the crazy word count meter! I love this thing. I'll update the word count here until I put a new one in the next post. Happy NaNoing, all!

NEXT UP: The first excerpt from Downward Spiral!