Blue Moon Slumbers

August is on the way out in a big way; there is a blue moon in the sky tonight.

You know what a blue moon is, right?  It’s the second full moon for a particular month, and it doesn’t have very often.  After tonight, you won’t see another blue moon until 2015–according to Sky View Cafe online, July, 2015, will see the next blue moon.  (Note of interests:  you have to wait until January, 2018, for the one after that.  Which means we’ll have a full moon on New Years Day.)

So as I lay in bed last night, the pre-blue moon was shinning upon me.  It wasn’t keeping me awake; in fact, I don’t get to see the moon very often when I head off to bed.  There’s something comforting about that cool, white light that puts you to ease.  At least for me, that’s what happens.

Except for last night . . . no, last night was not a good night.

I tossed and turned getting to sleep, and this morning I was up about 4 AM.  By that time the moon was long gone from my window, but it didn’t matter:  I was wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Rather than get up, I laid in bed, hoping against hope I might doze off for a little bit, but that didn’t happen, either.

Today is something of a long day.  I have a full day at work, then on to the drive to The Real House.  This later could be a nightmare if people decide now is the time to head out for their long weekend.  So . . . if I have to get off the main highway and take the back roads, I’m ready to rock and roll.

I finished my article last night, so all I need think of this weekend is the next chapter of my story Replacements.  I have the chapter in my head, and it’s going to be . . . interesting.

But there’s something else niggling around in the back of my brain now–yeah, like I need that, right?  Another story idea, but this one goes back to some characters from my unpublished NaNo Novel, and how they spend a certain Yule.  I shouldn’t do this, add another idea to the list of ideas I have taking up clutter in my brain, but what can I do?  My Muse is getting frisky, and when she smiles and gives me that come hither finger curl, I got no choice; I gotta go see what she wants.  Even though I know what she wants–“Hey, I’ll give you somethin’ special . . . all you gotta do is write this story.  So get to it!”

Yeah, what a relationship.

There are times when I feel my Muse is my soul mate, because who else understands me as well as her?  Hell, I don’t even know myself that well, and I’ve been around me for quite some times.  But I’ve gotten better at understanding, and knowing who I am, and what I want, has become a simpler deal.

Now . . . write?  Right.

Time to get popping.

Brachistochrone Trajectories Around the Mind

It was one of those days where the body said, “Get up, you have things to do,” the mind says, “The hell with that.  I am in no mood for anything.”

That was today.

There was nothing in me today, at least from 6 AM until about 2 PM.  Body was functioning, but the brain had walled up the joint, and wasn’t coming out of the bunker.  It wasn’t a lack of caffeine, I can tell you that:  two large cups of coffee were had this morning, and there was plenty of iced tea at lunch.

I should say there was something going on; a story in my mind.  This newest idea I’ve spoken of, that was there, floating about slowly like a Mars rover taking its time getting to the destination.  There’s a reason they do that:  delta v requirements.  Or, to put it in terms a layperson would understand, there is a certain amount of velocity change needed to go from one orbit to another, and you have to burn reaction mass to make that change.  If you have a lot of reaction mass, or a totally kick-ass rocket engine, then you get a huge change, and you can zip to your destination in no time, taking what is known as a brachistochrome trajectories.  If you don’t have a kick-ass rocket engine, or gigantic quantities of fuel, or both, then you creep out to where your destination is going to be in many, many month, using what is known as a modified Hohmann trajectory.

We are in later category, so we creep along in modified Hohmanns, and get help, now and then, from gravity assists.

I was very much in Hohmann trajectory today.  Creep, creep, creep . . . only I had no destination.

Around 2 PM, though, it was like a slap up side the head hit.  There was a very obvious “Eureka!” moment, and I started coding–and thinking.  Coding and story thinking.  I was off, doing two things, and that lasted until it was time to go–and beyond.  I get home, I slap dinner in the oven, hit the shower, and I’m still thinking about where to take this story.  When I come out of the shower, just in time to grab dinner and start this post, I know the start, the middle, and the end of my story.

Somewhere along the line I got me a kick-ass rocket engine.

Now, perhaps my friend Allison is right:  the reason I perked up is because I knew work was almost over, and I just wanted to get the hell out of there.  There’s probably more than a modicum of truth to that statement, though I’m not saying if she’s one hundred percent right.  I’ll just say–maybe.  Possibly.  Likely.

I’m in my jammies, thinking of going home tomorrow.  I’m hoping that most of the people who are going somewhere for the weekend are taking tomorrow off, and will be on the road tonight.  I am, however, anticipating that traffic will be hell tomorrow, so I’ll relax, take a deep breath, and go with the flow.

I have some writing tonight, and some this weekend.  I’m going to get my notes in order this weekend, ’cause I need to have these thoughts laid out so I don’t forget.

Then come Saturday–Daleks!

Hey, do I know how to party, or what?

At Home in the Darkness

Things are moving along, plans are coming into focus.  With a long weekend ahead–well, three days, which is almost long enough, especially since there are Daleks on Saturday–this is giving me some time to really get into my ideas.

Those ideas are kicking around now, coming from a lot of different directions.  I spent some time chatting with people yesterday afternoon and evening, but at the same time, I was running one idea through my mind . . . which is either an indication of how much it’s grabbing me, or that the conversation was sorely lacking.

The idea for one of the stories The Muse is pushing on me–if by “pushing on me”, you mean, “shoving a USB data stick in one ear while muttering, ‘What’s my name?  What’s my name?  Say it!'”–concerns an alternate past where there was never a space race–or, at least, it never got to the point where either side decided going to the Moon was a worthwhile endeavor.  Enter into the vacuum left by a lack of interest in flying into the Big Black a person who has dreams about rising above it all . . . well, you can guess the rest.

One of the things I was thinking over last night was how one would, if you had the sort of ships that I’d use for the story, go about establishing a permanent presence in Earth orbit.  Putting my mind to work, I sort of figured out what I would need to do, or my characters would need to do–or maybe I was bored with the conversation, and my mind mine was trying to conjure up images of my Muse dressed like Black Widow.

Funny how that happens.

It was a very gratifying exercise, because I spent about ninety minutes running numbers and ideas and concepts, and was even visualizing some of these things.  This is where I need to get a better understanding of using a modeling tool like Blender, because I could actually make these images become real, and perhaps even do a little movie of the events.

The flow of the scene, the imagery . . . it was great.  There wasn’t a sense of struggling as I’ve had in the last few months.  Rather, it was point, click, go:  I was off and running.  It felt good to know I was back in business.

Now, to do the same with my other stories . . .

The only issue I run into with this story I was thinking upon yesterday is that it will involve a lot of–here it comes, drum roll, please–research!  I already knew this, but it’s the sort of research I love.  It will likely drive me nuts, but I still love this.  But there it is; I’m setting myself up for some work.

I need to begin making notes; I need to get this stuff sorted.  I said that yesterday, but my Muse flashed me with visions of space ships and low Earth orbit, so I was distracted.  Blame her, the crazy wench!

It’s gonna be fun enjoying writing again.

Taming the Whirlwind

Well, now, this is a late in the day post, isn’t it?  I have been one busy writing-type person, let me tell you–though only a little of it has had anything to do with writing.  I’ve actually been–gasp!–writing computer code!  Oh, what is this world coming to?  Get the fainting couch!

I got into a grove today and couldn’t get out.  I also had some tasty tunes coming in over the earbuds, and that helped keep me entertained while I slung code like a mofo.  And, over lunch, I chatting with a friend in New York City.  Yes, I am cosmopolitan, are I not?

(Something I’ve been listening to on YouTube a lot these last few days is the album Trilogy, by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.  This has always been one of my favorite recordings, and another of those, “Nothing On It Sucks!” albums I’ve mentioned from time to time.  Give it a listen; it’s progressive rock at its finest.)

When I wasn’t coding, I was thinking about writing.  I’ve helped with a solution on the Storytime blog that will allow people to have an easier time reading through our stories.  I’ve been asked to join a Facebook group so I can review erotica:  apparently someone there thinks I know something about that genre.  And I’ve been put in contact with an illustrator who may do a cover for me.

You may ask, “Why do you need a cover?  Are you publishing something?”  I’m giving the notion a bit of serious thought.  I’ve had a couple of friends–women on both coasts, if you must know–who are telling me that I should self-publish my NaNo novel, rather than find some house to do the work for me.  A few months back I was hesitant to go that route:  I’ve done the self-publishing thing, and seen little success.

I am eager to publish my NaNo novel, and with the first anniversary of the publishing of Kuntilanak coming, the notion of going the self-publishing route feels enticing.  So, I’m beginning discussions with an illustrator for the cover of a book that may, in the next few weeks, may be ready for people to buy and read–and, I do so hope, enjoy.

All the ideas that have been running wild in my head for a couple of weeks, I’m starting to get a handle on them.  There is work ahead of me, writing work, and some reading work, and it’s going to keep me very busy for the rest of the year, it would seem.  I’m managing time, and in order to do that, I need to get my arms around these ideas so that I know what they are, what they mean, and how I can write them.  Maybe even go so far as to set up a Scrivener file with the ideas, some notes, maybe a time line or two.

I know writers are always the most organized people in the world, but if you have ideas coming fast, and you don’t want your Muse showing up at your door wearing the thigh high boots with the five inch heels, with plans of kicking your ass, you better tame that whirlwind.

Then again, maybe my Muse in stiletto thigh high boots isn’t that bad a thing . . .

Day Tripping at the Mental Divide

I’m crazy these days, of that I’m very certain.  The brain is out to get me—or, should I say, my imagination?  Because in the last couple of weeks it’s decided to come together and bum rush the stage—

Of late I’ve had a few old ideas come rushing back to me, and doing so with great detail and urgency.  For a while I was fighting to get something, anything, to come to mind.  And now, The Muse is tap dancing in the bedroom while wearing a leather teddy, black silk stockings, and some really cute pumps, saying, “Be good to me, and I won’t beat you too hard about the head when you’re writing one of these suckers!”  Ah, she certainly knows the bedroom talk, doesn’t she?

Here’s the thing:  I’m out to lunch today, and I’m beat.  I’m dragging.  I didn’t sleep worth a damn last night, and that luna moth that’s suppose to come and help me get rest must have been out drinking with his buddies, ‘cause the medication did nothing to help.  Needless to say, I’ve been brain dead most of the day.

But I’m at lunch, getting coffee and something light to eat—or so I thought, until I saw the huge plate of food—when who shows up, but My Muse.  “Hey,” she says, snapping her fingers to get my attention.  “Remember that story idea you had a few years back about . . .”  And just like that, I remembered something I’d dreamed up, something to do with an alternative history of space flight that involved—well, it’s not important now, but lets say it’s one of those stories that gets very involved, demands a lot of research, and wouldn’t be an easy undertaking to write.

But it’d be a great story.

Now I’m reaching a dilemma.  I have a story I’m writing, but will end in three more chapters.  I’ve agreed to write a Halloween story for a blog, because—hey, I’m a nice guy.  And I like the idea of one of the characters being a sexy witch in fishnet stockings.  I’m editing Echoes—or I should say, I’m going to get back into editing the story, as I seemed to have just let it fall by the wayside.  And there is an article, or two, that’s I’ve promised to write for someone else.

That’s a lot of stuff to do.  And not a bit of it seems to involve a story my Muse is kicking my ass to do.

Or are they?

I’ve picked up steam in the writing area again.  I feel as if I’ve gotten a second wind, but . . . I guess you could say that I feel like, if I get back into writing another novel without selling my others, I’m going to burn myself out creating stories that no one sees.

Who wants to do that?  Not I.

I’m giving serious consideration to taking something I’ve written of late and returning to self-publishing, but I’m not there yet, not quite.  Though this suddenly bring another thought to might . . .

My Muse; she’s such a naughty lady.

Star Born Unicorn

I remember a time when no one walked on the moon, save in the science fiction stories I read, or movies I watched.  Hell, wanna get real, when I was born no one had even launched a satellite; I beat Sputnik I to the gate by five months and one day, and it would be another four years before a Russian went up for one orbit around the Earth, mostly because he was a very good parachutist–but that’s another story for another day.

I was big into science fiction as a kid, which meant I was big into space–’cause, we’re talking about reading stories that had been written during the Golden Age of Science Fiction–and that meant I was into everything that happened regarding space flight.  We had no internet, so everything came from papers, from radio and TV news, from Life Magazine–which used to print most of the pictures released to the public–and from the few books pertaining to the American efforts, as those wacky Soviets just didn’t want to talk about their stuff.  Hell, they even named their launch complex after a town that was hundreds of miles away, just so we’d get confused . . .

Whenever I had the chance I watched whatever was shown.  I tried to keep up; I tried to gather as much information as possible.  It’s not easy when you’re nine, ten, eleven years old to get your hands on stuff that wasn’t normally available to the public, or had limited accessibility.  That’s the 1960’s for you:  we just weren’t on the cutting edge of the future, you know.

I saw it all.  I watched every mission that went into orbit.  I watch every one that went to the moon.  And I watched, to the best of my abilities, every walk upon the moon.  Even saw a few cars drive around, saw three Lunar Modules take off, and once watched one of Galileo’s experiments get proven.  It was a great time for science, and an even better time if you were a geek.

Those times are long gone.  We haven’t walked on the Moon since December, 1972.  If you removed the trips to the Moon, we haven’t had anyone higher than a few hundred kilometers above the Earth since the last days of the Gemini Program.  While we’ve had a continuous presence in orbit for a long time, we’ve lost our will to explore.

There will come a time, probably within the next five years, that everyone who has ever walked on the moon will have died.  The youngest of the walkers is 76; the oldest 82.  After that, we might have to wait until the middle of the 21st Century before someone does it again–unless people do start walking on the Moon in the late 2020’s, as some are saying.  And the chances are good those people who do the walking again are Chinese, because it seems like no one here gives much of a shit anymore.

In the U.S., there is a definite feel that science is for people who are just too damn smart for their own good, and who are pretty anti-religious as well.  That ignorance is just as good as intelligence, and in some ways better.  When you have people yelling at Bill Nye, as they did a few years back when he spoke in Texas, that the Moon gives off light like the Sun ’cause the Bible says so, one has to wonder where they hell we are going.  When you still have people saying they have “proof” that we never landed on the Moon, you have to wonder how we are ever going to continue.  And when you hear people state, as “fact”, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and they have “proof”, it makes you want to just end it all.

One day we, as a species, will get back out into The Black.  It might not be us as a country, but someone will go.  Someone is going to take more steps–on the Moon, maybe Mars, maybe somewhere else.

Say it won’t happen?  You’re surely wrong.  ‘Cause one day I’m gonna hop on my unicorn and take my own trip . . .

And join those who can tell me what it was really like to skip along in the dirt of another world.

Kill Me, My Darlings

Today is Guest Post Day, and who better to have come over and guest than Bruce Blake, a most entertaining gentleman who has graced these pages before.  So sit back and listen closely while he gives us a little bit of his writing knowledge.

Take it away, Bruce.

 

 

On Murder and Deletions

 

Kill your darlings.

That darling little piece of writing advice is attributed to William Faulkner, author of Absalom, Absalom!, As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and many others. It may be derivative from some other writer’s advice, and it has certainly been adopted by Stephen King, who tends to beat it to death (though why hands that out as advice in the midst of writing 1000+ page novels is a mystery). What it refers to, for those who may be uninitiated into our little band of serial killers, is not letting your own love of your writing stop you from cutting a word, sentence, scene, chapter, etc, which is not necessary to your novel.

Our assignment this week for the blog tour is to share with you a deletion. When I first began thinking about this, I was concerned. It is not often I delete whole chunks of a manuscript. Words, sentences, sometimes paragraphs, to be sure, but rarely more than that. How was I going to find a few sentences here and there to cobble together for my post? And then I remembered my current work in progress.

You forgot your work in progress, Bruce? Well, no, not exactly. The first book that makes up my four part epic fantasy, Khirro’s Journey, was the first novel I wrote and I finished the first draft about six years ago (don’t hold it against me; I’ve written and published two novels in the meantime and the first two books of the Journey have made it to draft number 11).

After I finished the first book, Blood of the King, I did a couple of edits, then passed it off to my beta readers. They wanted me to change the beginning. “The beginning?” I cried. “But that sets the stage. It introduces the characters! How can I cut the beginning?” The debate raged and, after much arguing, pouting and probably a few tears, I ended up chopping off the first thirty pages of the book.

You heard me…thirty pages.

I’m not going to reprint them all here, but I will give you a taste, and then I’ll let you in on why I ended up making the cut. Please bear in mind, these words never made it to the final edit, and I didn’t try to spruce them up for this post, so forgive any errors in spelling, grammar or good taste.

Without further ado, the never-to-be-seen-anywhere-but-here former opening of Blood of the King.

 

Men boiled over the land bridge, swarming onto the salt flats like so many maggots spilling from a burst corpse.  Wavering sheets of heat radiated from the sun hardened land, twisting and distorting the army into unearthly shapes.

“The heat is in our favor,” Braymon said leaning against a merlon.  Even the gentle sea breeze playing across his face gave no respite from the summer’s swelter.  “But the parched flats will make for an easy march.”

Neither of the men standing behind him said anything, allowing their king to ruminate aloud on the invaders who had been seeping into his kingdom for the better part of six hours.  If he wanted their input, he would ask for it.

“I played on these plains as a child,” Braymon said wistfully.  “I learned to swim in the Bay of Tears.  Back then, the fortress was a place to be explored, soldier was a game to be played.  How things have changed.” Sunlight flashed on shields and armor, melding the distant army into a blurred, shimmering mass.  “How many do you think, Rudric?”

“Thousands, my liege,” Rudric replied from his place at the king’s left. Braymon didn’t look at him as he spoke, instead keeping his eyes on the horde encroaching on his kingdom.

“Always trying to lift my spirits Rudric.  Thank you,” the king said with an unenthusiastic chuckle.  “But I should think they are more tens of thousands.  What do you think, Therrador?”

“At least, my king.  They are many, but the fortress is strong.”

Braymon looked to the sun in the east climbing higher into the sky.  Below, the Sea of Linghala sparkled, waves rolling gently shoreward, indifferently chasing the enemy onto the plains.  Would he ever dip a toe into its bracing waters again?  Only time would tell. He turned and put a hand on Rudric’s shoulder, bare flesh slapping against metal armor; it was hot to the touch.

“A day—maybe two, but no longer—and they will fall upon us; I’d wager it. Have the men ready by nightfall.  Our enemy doesn’t conceal their intent, so we best give them the courtesy of a fight they won’t soon forget.  There’s bloody work ahead of us.  Go and make ready, Rudric.”

The knight bowed shallowly at the waist before taking his leave. Braymon turned back to the plains stretching out from the foot of the Isthmus Fortress’s massive wall.  Therrador stepped up beside him.

Atop the wall, they were more than a hundred feet above the plains and, on a clear day like today, could see for leagues upon leagues.  Built nearly a thousand years before, the fortress wall was some forty feet thick, its surface scarred by battles fought centuries ago. Braymon traced his finger along the jagged corner of the merlon where a piece had been knocked free by an enemy catapult the Gods alone knew how long ago.

“It’s been many seasons since this wall was last called upon to keep out the enemy,” the king said.  He pushed at a crack in the stone and a piece came away in his hand.  He turned it over in his fingers, examining it as though he were trying to learn its story.  “I had hoped many more would come and go before it was tested again.”

“As we all did, my king.  But the wall will hold; it need not prove its mettle often to repel those dogs.”

Braymon looked at the man—his friend of more than two decades.  All those years had changed his looks only little—a few strands of gray showed in the braid of his beard and his short black hair, his naturally dark complexion was showing more wear.  Still, his features gave way little of the ferocity with which Braymon had seen Therrador fight.  But for the scar over is right eye, one might mistakenly think he had held the role of statesman and adviser all his life, rather having grown into it alongside Braymon’s rule.  Many times had the king felt relieved and thankful Therrador was on his side.

“It’s not the strength of the wall which burdens my thoughts, Therrador,” Braymon said.  He tossed the piece of stone absently over the crenellations, sending it hurtling to the ground too far below for them to hear it land.  “It’s been nearly twenty summers since Erechania has seen anything more than skirmishes.  The warriors who fought beside us all those years ago are old and tired, or long since gone to the fields of the dead.  Too many of our soldiers have never loosed an arrow but at a target nor swung their swords for more than practice.”

Therrador nodded, meeting Braymon’s gaze.  “You’re right, your majesty, but they are well trained.  And the soldiers of Erechania couldn’t ask for a better leader.”

“Hmph.” Braymon returned to surveying the enemy as they continued to funnel from the land bridge, filling the distant flats like sand in an hourglass.

How appropriate, he thought.  For soon time will run out.

Waves on the Bay of Tears rolled on, mindless of human indulgences like war and greed, or of man himself.  No matter what came to pass, the sea would go on forever; blood would wash away, the dead would rot and decay and disappear, but the waves would roll ever on.  So many years had passed since Braymon had frolicked on those waves, equally as heedless to the follies of men.  So much death had happened since then, and there was still more to come.  Soon the plains would be stained red, waiting for the sea and the rains to wash them clean.  And the waves would continue.

 

 In the 28 pages that follow, we meet the main character, Khirro, and see him interact with others as the fortress is prepared for siege. He’s a farmer who makes an inept soldier (sorry for the cliche, but the truth is, in a medieval-style society, most of the citizens were farmers by necessity) who eventually finds himself fighting off invaders at the king’s side. At the end of the 30 pages, Khirro has been incapacitated and King Braymon is seemingly killed.

There is much I liked in these pages: the negative imagery of the men invading like maggots from a corpse; the powerful king’s wistful remembrances; and later, Khirro’s relationship with some of his fellow soldiers. So why cut it? Three reason:

  1. King Braymon dies on page 30 and does not appear anywhere in the book again, so why spend a bunch of time building his character? That can be done through other characters.
  2. Too much time spent on description, not enough action. If you’ve read  my other books, you know I like to keep description to a minimum. In my opinion, the reader should create the world with only a little direction from me.
  3. The characters Khirro interacts with never show up again in the book, so they also became wasted words. Other characters and situations later in the story are more than enough to reveal and build Khirro’s character.

So where does the book start? With Braymon’s death and Khirro almost immediately being dragged into a magical plot to save the kingdom. Instead of 30 pages of character building, the story begins in media res. And I think it has made a stronger book. Watch for book 1 of Khirro’s Journey to be released in September.

One of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Good Writing is “try not to write the parts that people tend not to read”. Have you ever read a book and wondered why a scene was there? Do you skip parts of books? Did you skip to the bottom of this blog post?

I hope not.

 

Biography

Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don’t take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn’t really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the “u” out of words like “colour” and “neighbour” then he does shovelling. The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of burlesque diva Miss Rosie Bitts.

Bruce has been writing since grade school but it wasn’t until five years ago he set his sights on becoming a full-time writer. Since then, his first short story, “Another Man’s Shoes” was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon, another short, “Yardwork”, was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod and his first Icarus Fell novel, “On Unfaithful Wings”, was published to Kindle in Dec., 2011. The second Icarus Fell novel, “All Who Wander Are Lost”, was released in July, 2012, and the first book in the four-part “Khirro’s Journey” epic fantasy is due in September, 2012. He has plans for at least three more Icarus novels, several stand alones, and a possible YA fantasy co-written with his eleven-year-old daughter.

 

On Unfaithful Wings

I was alive, then I was dead, now I’m stuck somewhere in between.

My name is Icarus Fell. I am a harvester.

The archangel Michael brought me back to collect souls and help them on their way to Heaven–that’s what a harvester does. If I get enough of them before the bad guys do–if I do a good job–I can have my life back. Now people I knew in life are dying, killed by a murderer’s knife, their bodies defiled, and the cops think I’m the killer.

I’m not, but I think I know who is.

But how does a dead man, a man who no longer exists, stop a psycho? I’m not sure, but I’m going to stop him before everyone I know is dead.

I have to stop him before he gets to my son.

 

 

On Unfaithful Wings

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The Torture Muse

Last year, this was a time of wonder for me.

I’d finished the story that would become Kuntilanak (still for sale, still good, still a good slice of horror from across the seas), and was in the process of doing the first edit on it before giving it to the public via the self-publishing route–and learning a hell of a lot of things about self publishing alone the way.  I was working on another story that would eventually become Captivate And Control (also for sale, if you like a neat little slice of adults having a bit of a go with each other, say what?), and would finish that up in the months of September and October.

I was spending time reading, role playing online with sweet Annie, talking about ideas we had about gaming and our characters, and where they were headed.

To paraphrase a line from Goodfellas, it was a glorious time to be an up and coming writer who has the world ahead of them.

A year later, I’m a lot wiser, a little better with my writing, and a whole bunch of more tired.

I am getting more sleep these days, and I’m dealing with my personal issues a great deal better.  The panic I felt the last few months has pretty much gone away, and I’m discovering a better balance throughout each day.  Still not happy with the job, and I do wish The Undisclosed Location would just up and piss away for good.  That’s not happening yet, and it may not happen any time in the near future, so right now it’s deal, deal, deal.

As for the writing . . .

It seems as if the moment I finish one story, and decide to step back so I could recharge my mind, spirit, and need to do something creative, I get hit with ideas.  I have an idea for my NaNoWriMo 2012 novel.  I have ideas for a new novel based on a character design I did for a writing class two years ago.  I have an idea for a Halloween story a friend suggested I write. And I’m getting hit with images of an old story I started some twenty years ago, a trilogy about a ship, a mission, and a group of people who have to made a very hard decision about their duty . . .

I won’t lie:  I struggled writing Diners at the Memory’s End.  It was hard.  It was hard trying to write while feeling as if you were going to fall asleep at any moment.  It was hard writing with tension and anxiety from the moment I got up to the moment I finally crawled off to bed.  It was hard writing when the words were in my mind, but my fingers just wouldn’t work the way I needed.

The story took a long time to write because I couldn’t write.  It was shear will that allowed me to finish the story.

Now that it’s out of the way, is my Muse now saying, “You’ve cleared out all the crap while doing that last sucker, but lookie here, dude, I got somethin’ sweet for ya . . .”  It’s strange that I was so totally blocked up with a story that I wanted to do, and now that it’s out of the way–everything is dumping on me creatively-wise.

I swear, my Muse is one jacked up creature.  She whispers that I need to do things, that I need to write even when my heart isn’t in it, because . . . who the hell knows?

If I didn’t love her so much, I’d kick her ass outta my head.

Pick Up the Projects

Yes, it’s that time again, kiddies.  This is the point where I find myself taking on way too much stuff, and spending my weekends writing like a madperson.

Allow me to explain.

My story Replacements—which I’m writing on another blog, but you can see the latest entry here—is going well.  It’s one of the few I’ve tried where I sit down and just write.  Well, for me, “just write” is a bit of a misnomer, because I’m thinking about where I’m going with it, and I’ve already figured out the ending.  I think.  We’ll see.

It’s actually fun to write, because I don’t feel any pressure to get this done—other than the deadlines I’ve had imposed upon getting each chapter posted.  Other than that, there’s no pressure, because I don’t know if I’ll ever publish this.  Oh, well:  who am I kidding?  This would be a good one for a quick self publishing book.  It might even be short enough to be considered a—gasp!—short story.  I don’t know; I haven’t checked the word count.  That’s how little I’m worrying.  I’m only writing here, folks.

There is an issue, however:  I did say I’d have my normal Monday entry in on time, which means I gotta boogie this weekend to get it written.

Then there’s the blog.  I’ve been getting the entries out a little late these days.  Not late as in, “I’m doing Monday’s on Wednesday,” but late as in, “Rather than write at five in the morning, I’d working at one in the afternoon.”  This was how I used to do it, last year, when I started blogging.  Then I decided I’d write first thing in the morning.  Why?  Because I was up, and I’m a bit crazy.

These days I’m mucho tired in the mornings.  I’m trying to catch up on my sleep, and while that is happening slowly, and I’m starting to feel less worn out during the day, it does mean I’m not rising and shining early enough to whip out my posts as I have done most of this year.

It feels as if I have more energy in the afternoon, and that means I can write with a bit more speed than I was showing during my early morning sojourns.  There is always the matter of what I’m going to write, but that’s an issue every write faces, and the time of day plays a small part of what you want to say.

Unless you’re brain dead; then it’s a problem.

Also . . . article time!  Not only am I on a blog tour, and writing a blog, and writing a story, but I promised someone I’d get them an article this week.  What on?  Hummm.  I had an idea a few weeks ago, but now I’m thinking of something else that ties in with something I was dreaming up last night . . .

What will I write?  There’s a third option that I came up with this morning, and I might give that a shot, but—

Hell, I don’t know.  I’ll figure it out tomorrow, once I’ve had a chance to get out of work, and drive home, and relax, and sleep.

You know:  when I get to my writing.

Super Questions From the Lounge

Today I’ve opened the Interview Lounge, and today I have author Allison Bruning hanging with me today.  I’ve a few questions for her, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the conversation.

 

When did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was in Kindergarten. I was so excited when I wrote my first story that I showed it to my grandmother. She saw the potential I had and encouraged me throughout my schooling to create books then read them to her.

What was the first story you wrote?

I can’t recall. I started writing poetry, moved into prose then into short stories. By the time I was in High School I was writing screenplays. In college, I went back to poetry and short stories. I began my first novel six years ago.

When did you first think, “Whoa, I’m really a writer”?  Or have you not yet had that epiphany?

I’m staring to realize the talent I have. I’ve had people tell me that I am but it has been hard to believe it myself because I am too hard on myself. Recently, since I began Graduate School, I have had the epiphany that I am a writer. Not only a writer but one that can straddle the fine line between the entertainment business and literary sides.

Why did you start blogging?

Last year.

Tell me something interesting about your blog that you’ve never made public before.

My first few posts are all over the place because I never quite understood what blogging was all about. It wasn’t until I hired Tasha Turner and she explained it to me that I was able to comprehend what blogging was supposed to do.

Tell us about your current project.

I am currently in the process of writing a short ghost story that takes place outside of Fort Davis, Texas. It’s loosely based on a local legend from the area.

Who is your favorite character in (name of your current story here), and why is that?

I just love Doctor Alexander James McGillpatrick Turner of Calico. He was so fun to write. Although he’s a secondary character he is a very complex man with inner demons of his past that he has to work out.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My dining room. I have a nice round table in a small room with a window. I love to look out the window periodically when I write.

Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character, and if so, whom?

If I could I would marry Little Owl from Calico in a heart beat.

What is the best story you’ve ever read?

The inheritance cycle – all of the books

I’m in the  middle of the Hunger Games. Usually I don’t read 1st person stories but these are really sticking to me.

What is the worst story you’ve ever read?

War of the Worlds by HG Wells

When your story gets made into a movie, (1) who do you want to play the main character?  (2)  Who do you think will actually play that part?

I would love to see Taylor Swift as Calico

And Michael Spears as Little Owl.

What story do you really want to write, and why?

I have so many! Where can I begin? I like to write the untold stories from history, especially ones that have strong female leads.

What does your muse look like?

Depends on the story I am writing on. She tends to change form based on the time period. I’m really attracted to the Grecian era and Native Americans.

What is your favorite word?

I tend to write really a lot, really I do.

Lastly, if you could, for one day, live anywhere as anyone, where and whom would that be?

I would want to be Pocahontas. She was such a strong woman and she showed the Europeans that not all native people are bad.

 

About Allison Bruning:

The Executive Director of the Kentucky Young Writers Connection, a non-profit agency of writers who promote young authors throughout the state of Kentucky. Allison originally hails from Marion, Ohio. Her father, Roland Irving Bruning, was the son of German immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Her mother’s family had been in the United States since the 17th century. Allison is a member of the Peter Foree Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution. Her linage traces to Private Reuben Messenger of Connecticut. Her educational background includes a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Anthropology and a Texas Elementary Teaching certificate. Both acquired at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Allison received National Honor Society memberships in both Theater Arts and Communication. Allison was also honored her sophomore year with admission into the All American Scholars register. She holds graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007 she was named Who’s Who Among America’s Educators. She is also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards.

Allison lives with her husband in Kentucky.  Calico is book one from the series, Children of the Shawnee. She is currently working on the sequel, Rose.  She is also working on another series, The Secret Heritage, which traces the life of her great great grandmother at the turn of the 20th century in Ohio. Allison’s interest includes Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking, spending time with her family and genealogy. Her genres include historical fiction, paranormal, romance, and suspense.

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Lament of the Lolita

What brings me here today?  Good question.  Because I think my mind is stuck in a number of places today.

I’ve had this idea on my mind for so long now, the one about the story idea I had almost two years ago that never went beyond a five hundred word scene.  Right now it’s in need of a good outlining, as well as some time lining and some technical specs on different things.

Though I’m tempted to say, “I need to work on this right now,” and do it, I know I’m not ready with it.  More thought needs to go into it, more work on the first story outline is required.  There’s nothing wrong with having ideas; there is something wrong if you shoot off half-cocked on a story, and find, halfway through, you have no idea where you’re going.  Good Doctor Asimov said to know your ending before you begin, and I’m getting the ending set up.

I don’t want to start off without an idea of where the journey ends.

I’m somewhat conflicted this day.  I slept very well last night:  I would even go so far as to say I received a great night’s sleep.  But here, at The Hole, I’m spinning my wheels.  I know I’m getting things done, but it doesn’t feel that way.  It feels like I’m off on a race, and I’m going nowhere very quickly.

There are things I want to do, rather than what I should do, and therein lies the conundrum.  Yes, I know the arguments:  you have a job that pays, as opposed to this writing thing that has so far paid you enough to buy you lunch once.

But, hey:  starving artists, you know?  Someone’s gotta do it.

Then there were the strange-ass dreams from last night . . . with this exhaustion starting to go away, the dreams are becoming vivid once more, and the latest was vivid and weird—

The plot seemed to be this:  I was being followed by people I didn’t know, who didn’t want me to do the things I wanted to do.  I wanted to study science; they said I needed to study English.  I wanted to study creative writing; they said I had to study cooking.  I wanted to go to the museum; they said I had to go shopping.

The “me” who was getting all this grief from the unknown “they” was the Cassidy me, the cute redhead who started out as a role playing character.  She/I was dressed in some gothic Lolita outfit the whole way through the dream, which had some black in it, but also some cream and some white, and some pink.  In fact, the gloves were pink, but I’m sure my boots were white . . . hey, it was a dream, you know?

I seemed to be pouty most of the time.  Not because of the outfit—no, I was spectacular.  It was because I was being thwarted from following my chosen path every time I was ready to begin walking.  It pissed me off, because I’m ready, I’ve been ready, to move forward, and I was being held back all the time.

The writer in me is ready to move on:  I’m ready for the one true path.  It seems like there are so many things holding me back—

Not the least of which is probably me.