Shameless Story Plug

Looking for something short but sort of festive to read? Do you like fiction? How about overworked civil servants that deal with keeping the paranormal under wraps while maintaining the ignorance of the general population?  I’ve got just the thing and it is available for download on Amazon for only $0.99!

Bite Of The Sugar Plum FairiesChristmas is coming and the officers of the Arcane Investigations Division are finding the holiday season to be a busy one. Everyone has been working extra hours but Paul and Mike have been promised two precious days off if they can just manage this last case without major incident. All they have to do is break into an occupied house and round up a bunch of angry fairies without waking the owners or exposing the existence of the supernatural. Easy right?

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Writing Pain

tacks-1726654_1920This morning I stepped on a tack in the kitchen while feeding my cats. It hurt of course, but it also lead me to start a new short story after I had my wound properly disinfected and bandaged. I am a writer. That’s how things happen. I am also easily distracted which is how shortly after 300+ words on the new story I suddenly found myself sewing our shivering Chihuahua a shirt out of a bit of leftover fleece.

Anyway, I am now currently researching superstitions to help with the new story because stepping on a tack sounds like something that should be involved with a superstition. I don’t really know what the story is about completely. I have a general idea and it will have the feeling of cool October days to it, I hope. Sort of a seasonal type story or something. I’m still working on it.desk-3231118_1920

 

I really should have a degree in folklore rather than science, with a focus on history and literature. I certainly research folklore enough.

In The End, Everything Is A Tale

Watson Story Quote-800wiI love to learn new things. I think that is why I like to read so much. Even in fiction, there are truths to cherish. History and Science fascinate me the most. One is a story of what was and the other is an unraveling tale of what will or could be.

History and Science don’t always give us happy endings but there is still the encouragement to keep dreaming. We know if things didn’t work out well in the past when we did this or that, then that thing is to be avoided in the future. If we experiment and the experiment doesn’t do what we expected, well that experiment failed but what else can the end result be used for?

Shakespeare said:  “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;” 

This is true only because a play is another way to spin the yarn and tell the tale. Sanderson Quote-800wiWe are made up of words and colors, but that is just the medium used to impart meaning. Storytellers are amazing people because not only do they share stories but, because on some level. they realize that we are all connected by the tale.

Writers, poets, artists, actors, playwrights, historians, scientists; they could just as easily be called monks or priests. History tells a story. Science tells a story. We are all just one paragraph in a giant universal tale.

…And that is my deep thought for today.

Reading

iwdayala0240cI love to read.  I read a little of just about everything.  One reason I like to read is because I grew up with parents who liked to read.  My mom read to me when I was little.  My dad constantly had books and science fiction magazines laying around.

Another reason is because of a show called Reading Rainbow.  It was amazing.  As a kid I was introduced to a much wider variety of books than just the ones at home. Science, science fiction, mechanics, fantasy, fairy tales and mystery novels are awesome but there was a whole…well, Rainbow of topics that were not readily available at home.  (My parents were never big on the classics for example.)

reading rainbowI would have missed out on so many wonderful stories if not for Reading Rainbow. And now there is a kick starter to bring this story strong resource to more kids.  True it seems mostly to be an online thing,  but so many kids have internet access today that this is probably the best way to reach the most kids.  It will also be available in classrooms and free to those schools that could not otherwise afford it.

Reading Rainbow still has the magic to encourage kids to read. While I was watching this kick starter video my son was playing loudly in the other room.  As soon as the music started he went quiet and was stand next to me seconds later.  The gift of books and knowledge of the written word is a powerful thing.  With it, you truly can “go anywhere”.

So, I have this story…

girl-cant-find-her-lipstick-coloring-pageI recently found a short story I wrote a little while back.  I re-read it, took a look at it upside down and sideways, and decided it wasn’t half bad.  So I polished it up a little and sent it off to my beta readers.  The last person I sent it to was the first to get back to me.  She thought it wasn’t half bad either.  I waited another week or so on the other three people.

Then I poked at them a little about it and got another response from the surly one. (Yes Grumpy-Cat-Memeyou know who you are. And yes I am thankful that you even read it. Still isn’t going to stop me from picking on you about your grumpy response. lol)   The grudging reply summed up was: it wasn’t bad but I needed to learn how to spell.  (Dyslexia strikes again.)

So a little more spit and polish (not real spit. it would leave coffee stains on my computer screen.) and I decided I needed to do something with it.  So I thought it couldn’t hurt to send it out there and see if anyone wanted to pay me for it…or at least put it where someone else can read it.  (I am not ready for amazon yet and this story isn’t my usual type of stuff.)

Finding-an-alternative-to-toilet-paperMy problem is finding a place.  It’s kind of an odd little piece.  Sort of reminiscent of Charles de Lint or maybe a tiny bit America Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Anyway I have been searching duotrope.com for over an hour looking for the right place and now I have a headache.  I am pretty picky I guess, but I don’t want to be one of those people that just sends their stuff anywhere that looks like they pay for writing.  I want to send it somewhere where it will actually fit with whatever the place publishes.

In high school, (many many moons ago) I was one of the leaders in a group called Scribes.  high school snickerIt was a club for poets, writers, and artists.  Once a year we published an anthology, and it had a little bit of everything in it.  There were very few works turned away.  That was high school and usually back then if people went to the trouble of writing something outside of class then writing was something they did all the time anyway. (With one notable exception.  My friend Lacey was publish without her knowledge by yours truly.  She made up song lyrics on occasion and I was determined to see some of them in print.)

300px-EscribanoThe point is, most of the stuff was pretty decent.  Some of it was even good.  Now taking that experience from high school, where we even had to type up most of the submissions, and putting myself in the place of the people who have to wade through the unsolicited submissions for magazines and such….I am going to do my best not to add to their WTF? pile.  I know a little of what it must be like and besides that I want to behave in a professional manner…even if I am not getting paid for it yet.

(High school doesn’t count right?  Or elementary school?  I won a ten dollar gift card when I was a kid for a mother’s day essay, and $250 dollars my senior year for another essay contest…)

Anyway, I’ve had enough of a break.  Time to get back to the hunt. Wish me luck. 😉

 

UPDATE:  I sent it off. Now my stomach feels all queasy.  Sending an email isn’t such a big deal.  It shouldn’t make me feel ill but I worry. *sigh* nothing to do now but wait…sometimes that is the hardest part.

…a tale gone cold

The house was cool despite the sun shining through the window. By late afternoon it was usually warm enough to turn on the air conditioning but today I sat at my computer bundled in jeans and a sweatshirt with a cup of coffee to warm my hands.

My fingers felt numb, but that could be because they had been posed in the same position for almost an hour and my screen was still blank.  Ideas flashed through my head in a never ending kaleidoscope yet I hadn’t written a single word.  I had my current book to finish before I could give in to the temptation of new untarnished ideas.   Sadly, finishing my novel was proving more difficult that it should be.       My inner perfectionist was getting in the way again. I had already wasted days trying to fix the mess I had made of the plot and now that I had a clear view of where the story was going I was having trouble putting the words down. What if I was mistaken?  I didn’t want to spend another week untangling story threads.  I wanted to get it done, but I also wanted to get it done right.

With a sigh I picked up my coffee cup, gulped a mouth full of caffeine, and frowned.  It had gone cold.

Just thinking

Last night while at work I had a lot of time to think. (About 10 hours.)  We were getting ready for a big visit from someone so far up the food chain that anyone with even a hint of accountability scurried around like the field mouse in the hawk’s shadow.  Most of it was very tedious simple work that didn’t involve much thought, so my brain preoccupied itself with other things.

My thought processes aren’t always liner but they usually eventually come to a point of connection.  Three things swirled around my head repeatedly for most of the night.  One was this poem:

http://www.thedontquitpoem.com/thePoem.htm

When I was thirteen my mom signed my brother and I up for Tae Kwon Do.  She had to work a part time job to pay for it but we were ecstatic. We had wanted to take martial arts for a long time thanks to Asian action films, comic books, and kid’s shows.  (At the age of twelve I had a firm belief I was going to grow up to be Catwoman.)

Our teacher was named Terry.  He worked construction during the day and taught martial arts at night.  To me at the time he was the ultimate Jedi Master.  My very own sensei. If he told me something then that was just the way it was, no questions asked.  If anyone else had told me I could break boards with my hand I would have looked at them like they were crazy.  When Terry said it was possible. I hit those plastic practice boards over and over until I did it.  It wasn’t easy that first time.  In fact, my teacher was worried that I might hurt myself with my own determination, but it paid off with success.

My mom’s part time job only lasted about six months and when it ended so did our lessons. I learned a lot those six months and during that time Terry gave my brother and I a poster with the poem printed over a background of a rising sun. I taped it to the back of my bedroom door and read it whenever life got tough.  (When you are a teenager that is just about everyday.)

The second thing on my mind was this post: http://stephanie-osborn.blogspot.com/

Mostly I thought about rank on the author totem pole. I thought about those high up that have earned their places and those that consider themselves high up.  I thought about how little I know and how likely it would be for me to unwittingly offend these people if I ever met them.  (Everyone has heroes. I don’t want to annoy mine.)

(I still haven’t figured out an answer to what I would do beyond be as polite as possible and try not to be a dork. Also I wouldn’t try to pretend I am higher on the totem pole than I am. I know I am somewhere near the bottom.  I am not on the very bottom because I am pretty sure I out rank my seven year old. Maybe. He writes some pretty good Super Mario and Luigi stories. )

The last thing that kept popping up in my head was Halloween when I was in forth grade.  My teacher, Mrs. Driver, read us half of a story.  She put the names of everyone in the class in the story and we had to write the second half.  She would pick a few really good ones, read them to the class, and we would pick a winner.  The winner would get a pumpkin ink pen on a necklace and some candy. (To a fourth grader that was a prize worth more than gold.)  I had a lot of fun writing my entry and I thought my teacher would like it, though I doubted she would read it out loud.

We had to wait until after lunch for our teacher read the finalist. I was excited when I realized mine made it.  I was even more excited when the class voted and I won.  The best part however, was Mrs. Driver reading my story and listening to my class mates giggle.  It was the first time people (who weren’t my parents) enjoyed something I made up.  Winning the contest only solidified that they liked it.   (My mom still has the story somewhere.)

The point where these three things connected for me was :  No matter where you are on the writing totem pole respect those that are also on it, no matter where they are. Don’t give up on your writing. Don’t Quit. And if a fourth grader could do it then, then I can do it now.

These dots may not seem to connect to anyone else but I guess that’s okay. They connected for me while I was thinking so that’s enough.  Maybe others have their own dots that come to similar conclusions.