Here I Am, Speaking Wise Stuff

Today I’m doing something I haven’t done in long time:  I’m speaking on another blog!  Yes, I did a guest post over at My Write Side and I am giving Wednesday Writers Wisdom–which you can probably take or leave.

You’ll find me here on this link, so come on over and share the love, and see what I have to say.

I'm even having coffee.  Come join me.

I’m even having coffee. Come join me.

The Girl With the Traveling Jones

Kassidy 2533

Almost wide awake here, just like the blog.  I’ve even been busy, as you may or may not be able to see.  One of Google Searches that came to this blog the other day was “Cassidy in Gallifreyan,” and since I do have a Gallifreyan translator, I thought I’d help out that said person.  So, Google Searcher, if you’re out there still, here you are:  Cassidy as those pesky Gallifreyans might write it.  Enjoy.

Normally I’m talking about my writing and my stories and the such right about now. I can’t do that today because I didn’t write last night.  No, I actually watched TV.  I know, bad girl.  But it was worth while, because I was watching the original version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” the one made in Sweden with Noomi Rapace.  I’ve heard about it but never seen it, and since it was on the Sundance Channel, I thought I should catch it.  (The whole trilogy was on last night, but no way in hell was I staying up until 4:15 in the morning to watch all three movies.)

I’ve never been one for mysteries, so I’ve not enjoyed a lot of writing by a lot of authors.  In reality I don’t have many friends who read them, but then, I don’t have many friend who read, period.  I’ve never read The Millennium Trilogy, and probably won’t.  But I wanted to see the movie, because–well, because I did.  So I took the night off and watched and enjoyed, and didn’t feel the least bit guilty about not writing.

I do a strange thing, however.  Since the movie is filmed in Sweden, there is a lot of scenery that I’ve never seen.  There is the estate, and the island where the family lived, and there was one shot of a bridge that I’d love to find on a map.  I want to find these places on a map and imagine I’m there.  And since Google Maps can easily put you on a spot these days, a lot of times I’m hitting the maps to find these same locations within hours of watch a movie–or, in this instance, I was hitting it this morning.

I’ve always had an interest in maps.  I started reading them when I was young, and I was probably one of the first eight year olds who got excited when they found their first Rand McNally Atlas.  I’ve always been able to take a map and look at a location, and imagine myself at that place.  I’m not always good at that–pictures of the same place do help with putting your mind in the local–but even now, nearly fifty years after combing through my first map, I’m still looking at places on a map and forming a picture in my mind of what I’d feel if I were standing in the same spot.

Twenty years from now, if I’m still around, it’s likely I’ll be doing the same thing.  I can’t always travel to these places, but as long as it’s on a map, I can imagine the landscape.  I can put myself in those places and build a story from there.  I’m doing that now with my fantasy story, and I’m building another world based off a location I found on Google Maps.  It’s what I do, and have done for decades.

Someone should pay me for this; I’m very good, you know.


Where We Last Left Off

Sounds like I’m coming back from a cliffhanger of an episode, doesn’t it?

In many way publishing is episodic, and can turn into high drama when you least expect things to go sideways.  My experience has been very minimal to this point, as there are only two stories in my collection, but with Her Demonic Majesty being such an endeavor  it was bound to hit some snags.

Snag One:  the novel loaded to Amazon Kindle Direct without issues, and late Sunday night I was told it was live and ready for download.  Only one problem:  every time I tried to go to the novel page, I was getting a 404 message, saying the page didn’t exist.  I let that go for Monday, but by Tuesday the situation was the same, and I was having a not-so-good feeling taking hold in the pit of my stomach.

Snag Two then showed:  all of my work on Smashwords was rejected for Premium submission.  Going Premium on Smashwords means getting set up on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and a few other distributors.  What happened was this:  I’d altered the name on my Smashwords account to reflect the name on my new cover, but that was a no-no, because the cover names on my other works didn’t match, and all hell broke loose.

So I switched the account name back, and therein appeared Snag Three:  Her Demonic Majesty was rejected for Premium submission because, it would seem, my Table of Contents links were bad.  Could be they were pointing at the wrong thing, could be they were formatted wrong, could be there were hidden bookmarks–  Oops.  Yeah, I remembered that I did that during the creation.

With that in mind, I set about getting things right.

First, I created new accounts on both Smashwords and Amazon for Cassidy.  Then, I pulled up the Smashwords version of the uploaded document, removed all the bookmarks and hyperlinks, and started over, making sure there were no hidden bookmarks this time.  Put them in, linked them, checked the links–everything was super.

Then I uploaded again.

The novel processed in two minutes, because I watched as it ran through the meat grinder.  Everything came out fine, and the novel was at a new home with a new ISBN–yes, I couldn’t use the old one, because that one was assigned to my other name.  Another thing to keep in mind.  Right now the novel is going through review for Premium submission, and I’m hoping that all is well this time though.

What next?  Tonight I’ll pull up the Kindle version of the novel and redo the Table of Contents as I did with the Smashwords version.  Then, once that’s done, I’ll upload it to the next Amazon account, wait for the word that it’s been published, and look to see if it is, indeed, ready for selling.

Then I’ll get the world out.

Of course I could end up with errors I haven’t anticipated, but I’m hopeful that the current snafu came about because of the accounts, and not because the book format was sucky.  After all, the meat grinder told me all was well, and why would it lie to me?

I’ll be right here, keeping my fingers crossed.

Goddess Slapping Time

Yes, Cassidy, it is possible to write and do several things at the same time.  You aren’t going to crank out that thousand words in an hour, but then, you weren’t looking to do that.  You were looking to get the words down, and in an order that made sense.

In that effort, I succeeded hugely.  But that wasn’t the full extent of my greatness.  Oh, no.  Pay attention, class . . .

I knocked around this idea of doing something quick and dirty for Camp NaNo in June, because I feel like I have nothing better to do than write stuff.  One of the things I’ve considered is doing a ten thousand word soft core erotica because I’ve been busting on a lot of the stories I’m finding on Smashwords and Amazon, and wondering (1) how the hell this is getting published, and (2) who is buying this stuff?  There is a another component to that, which is (3) are they making money?  Not that money is my driving motivation  but it’s still nice to have for all your hard work.

With me, there is no half-way:  either I dismiss these niggling ideas that take hold in my head, or I hop in the car and drive it like I stole it.  Unfortunately, someone left the keys in a 2005 Lamborghini Murciélago, and I’m damned if I can’t help but get behind the wheel . . .

The idea is crazy, and it’s goofy–but it’s also one I can tie into Camp NaNo in more ways than one.  Plus, I’ve decided to include two of my writing friends as characters in the story, which means I get to do naughty things to them, or with them, or . . . who knows?  I only hope they forgive me when strange things happen . . .

With that, I put this down in my Idea File, and I have it set up with a little notice about what I think will happen, or what I want to happen, or what will happen.  Then when I finish it, I give it a quick polish, another polish, then get a cover (maybe something as cheap as the covers that tend to accompany these stories, because I’m all about fitting in), get it out into the Internet, and watch the money roll in.

And if it does, I’ll be surprised–or will I?  Because if there’s one thing I never underestimate, it’s the kinky tastes of the reading public.

Speaking of ideas . . .

I did get my thousand words in last night, with the final total being just short of eleven hundred words.  In the course of working on my chapter, I did something that I hadn’t thought of when I was working this story out in my head.  After I wrote the scene in, I thought about what had happened, and went, “Damn, I just figured out how to make the next chapter work.”

That’s how my stories go.  As far as people saying I plot everything out–in a way, yes, I knew something was going to happen in Chapter Sixteen that will effect the last two chapters, but I didn’t completely understand the mechanism that would make something happen that I need to happen.  Now I have it, and I can go into the next chapter with an understanding of how to set up the scene.

Yeah, imagination is a great thing.

I should use mine more often.

Voyages Among the Dreamscapes

It is done.  Her Demonic Majesty went out to Harper Voyager last night, about 8:15 PM.  Now all that remains is the wait.  Harper Voyager states that if you haven’t heard anything after ninety days, then you didn’t get the brass ring.  So, I figure, if nothing has come through by 5 January, 2013, then the novel was not deemed fit for their ebook section.

No matter.  Should that happen, I’ll send it out again–or self publish.  Who can say?  I can.  Ultimately, I decide what happens.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed, though.

With everything that’s happened over the last few weeks, I have suffered from a singular lack of sleep.  Yesterday I took a two-and-a-half hour nap after returning from breakfast.  Last night I went to bed about 11 PM, and didn’t crawl out of bed until a little after eight in the morning.  That’s nine hours of sleep, plus the nap, and that’s more sleep than I’ve had in a long time.

During the night I had some really vivid dreams–vivid enough that it almost felt like they bordered on lucid.  It isn’t often I get that deep into my REM, but last night it actually felt as if I was directing myself in several instances.

It was a bit strange as well, but then, those are my dreams.  If they weren’t strange, they wouldn’t be mine, would they?

First off, I was seeing everything from point of view.  It was as if I was there, and not looking over my shoulder, or seeing this from a third-person perspective.  Second, this was a Cassidy dream.  I know this because ever so often curly red hair would fall into my line of sight, and I’d need to brush it away.  And lastly:  I was a mutant.  I know this because I was told several times I was.  Though I didn’t seem to have any cool X-Men like powers, unless I could do something like throw sparkles and dress like a fashion victim–which would mean my name was Jubilee, not Cassidy.

Everything seemed to take place in a Crapsack World.  Everything exude an air of extended entropy; things were shabby and run down.  Everyday items looked as if they were makeshift and ready to fall apart.  Trash was in the streets, and every building looked run down.  All we needed were hookers on every corner and constant rain, and the environment would have been complete.

For some reason I was looking for an item for someone.  I found what I was looking for:  a TARDIS model.  Seriously.  That constituted a huge part of the dream.  I went from building to building searching for a present, and that present happened to be a TARDIS model.  I finally found one among a very cluttered dump that reminded me of an antique store where I once worked.  The model wasn’t that great, either, but I found it, and I took it–without paying, I believe.  Hard to say.

One last thing:  I ran into someone who told me that everyone in the world, save mutants, had disappeared for thirty days, and we now had the run of the joint.  Also, I needed to spend those thirty days finding my soul mate.  Yep, not only was the world reduced to a million or so mutants, but my soul mate was out there, and I needed to find them.

I know where some of that was coming from–an idea I have for a story.  Not to go into details, but it’s one I’ve thought about off and on for a few weeks, and I’m wondering what to do with it–besides write.  I’ll get around to that eventually.  For now, it’s just an idea.

As for the soul mate . . . well, one can never tell, right?  I might turn a corner and find them tomorrow.

Or they could already be here–


Slumber of the Aware

Back to the hole, back to work.  The week lay ahead, and there are plenty of things to do.

But first, lying in bed, in the darkness.  And enjoying it.  Yes, I was.  It was something I was told to do; if I wake up, and it’s dark, and I’m not sleeping, just lay there in bed and relax.  Don’t get up; don’t start making coffee; don’t start writing.

It was one of those half-awake, half-asleep moments I used to have a lot last year, but haven’t had a lot of this year.  2012 has been the year when a lot of things have changed for me, and that was one of them.  I used to love those moments when I’d be in a state of slumber, somewhat aware of what was happening around me, but never certain if what I was seeing and feeling was real, or a dream.

It was like that this morning.  I could sense things happening, I could hear things being said, but I’m not sure if I was thinking it, or dreaming it.

Maybe it was Cassidy speaking to me, since she seems to be with me a lot these days.  Maybe it was my Muse, who is also always with me, even when I don’t see her there next to me.  But whomever it was, the message was the same:

Remember Jim Butcher.

Allow me to explain:

A while back, Jim–whom some of you might recognize as the author of The Dresden Files series–wrote a blog post where he said, “If your dream is to be a writer, and you stop writing, you only have yourself to blame.  Only you can kill your dream.”

Which is right on.  No one else is going to take your dreams away from you.  Not your parents; not your siblings; your significant other; not your friends; not you cat–okay, maybe the cat.  If you throw up your hands and go, “Fuck it, I’m not getting anywhere with this, I’m going to chuck it,” then you have killed what you wanted.  You killed your dreams, and there’s no way you can point fingers at anyone else, because you know what “they” say about pointing fingers . . .

Yesterday I made a comment to someone that I was starting to feel as if I wasn’t getting anywhere, that it seemed like I was doing a hell of a lot of writing, but getting very little in return.  I’m not talking money here:  I’m talking about response.  It was getting me down just a little.

But the person I was speaking to said, “Don’t feel like that.  You’re one of my inspirations.”

Something like that stays with you, and it has, even to this morning.

Giving up is very easy; millions of people do it every day.  Being creative is hard; everyone who’s ever sat down with the intention of creating something, be it a painting, a story, a play, a movie, has found it to be something of a solitary affair.  You work in a vacuum, and never know if your effort is going to produce something that will make you proud, or make you want to put a bag over your head.

But you create because you want to do so.  You want to make something.  You want to live your dreams.

Do it.  Don’t stop.  Push on forward, and keep going.  Because the opposite is also true:  the only one who can keep your dreams alive are you.

Okay, maybe the cat can help . . .

Songs in the Key of Fantasy

In terms of the week I’ve had, yesterday wasn’t that bad.  Yes, I felt like I was dragging a little, but I was writing.  Between blogging and my WiP, I managed about two thousand words.  Oh, and I wrote another two thousand word guest post that should be up later on another blog.

Considering I feel like I have the Chest Buster roaming around inside me, that’s not too bad.

I finally finished Part Eleven of Diners at the Memory’s End.  It was helpful to get some of what I was feeling out, but unlike my, Cytheria is very cool under fire.  She just blows things up and doesn’t get all that worked up over it.  Well, she did upset a bit:  just ask the exploding dummy at the end.  But she knew it was take it out on something inanimate, or you might end up smoking someone close to you.  Or you could break down a building.  Decisions, decisions.

So now I can move on to Part Twelve, and that means there are only six more parts remaining to write.  At least two of those are going to be big, and those will likely be the parts that kick this story up over fifty thousand words.  Me, wordy?  Surely you jest!  But this is going to hit the short novel limit once more, and I don’t have a problem with that.  Hey, where else can you get the most bang for your $2.99?  If and when it gets published, that is . . .

In the meantime, I let my mind drift last night.  Because that’s what I do when I need to do something that doesn’t involve thinking.

I got to thinking about Kerry.

I’ve written about Kerry more than a few times, but of late he’s been missing in action.  A lot of that is because I’ve been so busy with my other writing, and trying to publish things, that he took a back seat to the action.  Plus, I’ve been feeling sort of sad about him, because there are things I would love to say about him and his lovely girlfriend, Annie, but I can’t seem to find the voice for these things.  It’s one of those things where I want to say something in words, but I can’t find the words.

And for a while, I assumed I might not ever.  There are tales here, but I’m not sure I can ever tell them.  But one never knows, so it doesn’t do to think about them.

But last night he was on my mind.  I was listening to music . . . see, one of the covens supports an annual talent show around Ostara, and while Kerry can’t sing all that well–autotuning is the way to go, even if it’s magical–but he loves to perform.  He loves being on the stage and put it out there for all to see.  Yes, he’s not a very assuming person:  in fact, if he could, he’d stay in the background all the time.

And the stage is where he does one of his craziest things every . . . but that’s another story.

I miss all that.  It was a good trip down memory lane last night.  I really need more of those, because when we can’t remember our past, we can’t ever see where we are going.

I need to see a lot in the months to come.