I have a new book of short stories out. They are mostly urban fantasy with a bit of humor.
Currently, I am coming to the end of chapter two in a book I am writing. At least I think it will be a book. (I have been mistaken before.) I would be much further along if it wasn’t for Mercedes Lackey.
For Christmas, I received an eagerly anticipated trilogy of books. I knew I would get them. I had asked for them specifically when people inquired what I wanted for Christmas. Mercedes Lackey has been one of my favorite writers for a long time. I picked up one of her Valdemar books at a thrift store when I was too young to appreciate it and hated the book.
Then I discovered the Bedlam Bard books and fell in love. They were rare treasures I would search shelves for. That was how I discovered the Serrated Edge series. I loved those too but I hated them as well. Those books turned a flashlight on the dark corners of humanity. They absorbed you as you read them, immersing you in the story until you felt all of the horror and pain but also the hope. It was wonderful and awful at the same time. I read some of them over and over.
Years after my first introduction to Valdemar my sister started telling about this book she was reading. It sounded awesome. It had magic, adventure, and was written by one of my favorite authors. Then I found it out it was a Valdemar book. By then I knew Valdemar had quite a large fan base but I don’t like jumping on bandwagons. I honestly thought the Bedlam Bard series was better and that people were fans of the wrong series, even though I had never really given the Valdemar books a chance.
My sister can be quietly demanding when she wants to be. She gives you unspoken orders and you hop to, only later realizing what happened. I don’t think she even realizes that she does it. Which was how I was presented with a stack of Valdemar books from her collection and told to familiarize myself with this world she was always talking about. I devoured them all and came back for more. The storytelling was great. Later as I learned to read as a writer, I picked out a couple of things I thought could have been done differently and made a few of the books better. (In my opinion of course.) I was fool enough to mention these thoughts out loud.
Learn from my mistakes. If you are discussing books with someone who showers a story world with complete adoration, never ever ever suggest that there is something wrote with it. Ever. Not even if it is just saying that the ending felt a little rushed and you wonder if the author had to hurry through it to make a deadline. Don’t do it. You will regret it. (Unless of course, you are trying to start a fight or have odd compulsion to have the skin ripped from your body with words. If that is your goal then insulting a favored author or book series is an easy way to accomplish it. Even if the slight is only perceived, it will do the job.)
So after eight books or so I wandered away from Valdemar and on to something else. Then this Winter I was poking around on Amazon, looking for gifts for others when I stumbled across something called “The Herald Spy Trilogy”. I am a sucker for rogues and I enjoy Lackey’s writing so I asked for them for Christmas. I received them, eagerly sat down to read after the holiday craziness was complete, and discovered I had no idea what was going on. References were made to characters I had never heard of. Confused I contacted my local Valdemar informant, A.K.A my sister. She did some google-fu and produced a list of books that come before the trilogy I wanted to read. And to her surprise, she only owned three of the five and they were in storage. (Another long story.)
So I set out to acquire the five books that came before the trilogy I got for Christmas. Then I had to wait for them to be shipped because I bought them online. In the meantime, I got an idea for a book of my own after speaking to a friend and started writing. I managed to get a chapter and a half in when my books acquisitions arrived. I ignored them for a few days but then the person who got me the trilogy started asking questions about if I had read them yet and if I liked them. So feeling guilty for ignoring my gift, I started on the Collegium Chronicles and am now on the fourth book. However, I have only written a couple of paragraphs over the past few days since reading has taken over my writing time.
My writing is suffering from my lack of focus, concentration, and sleep. If Mercedes Lackey wasn’t such a hell of a storyteller I wouldn’t have this problem. The compulsion I feel to read and purchase these books because I enjoy them so much is fascinating. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could be like that one day?
(By the way, during the writing of this blog post I stumbled upon another book in one of Lackey’s series that I haven’t read and ended up buying it too.)
Out of the list of things I had planned to accomplish today, I managed one. It wasn’t a blog post. However, it is still Monday so by the end of this my daily accomplishments will be up to 2.
I had over a dozen topics to blog about just a few minutes ago. Then I sat down at the the computer and my mind went as blank as the page I have been staring at. It is a good thing that blog post aren’t viewed in the real time it took someone to write them or I would have lost you all after the first paragraph.
Okay, so here is what I am going to do. Last week I didn’t do a proper post and this week I am struggling. So how about some fiction?
I wrote this short for a writing contest in October but never got to use it because they closed submissions early. It’s not exactly my best, but the few people I’ve shared it with found it amusing.
It was a dark and stormy night. All I wanted to do was to eat my Hot Pocket before it cooled beyond room temperature but the rain and the full moon, hidden behind the clouds, drove people into the store. Some were on their way home. Some were stopping in before heading to work a swing shift. All had the wild look a full moon, visible or not, brings out. Eyes open too wide revealing more of the white than normal and pupils dilated dark and round.
I just wanted to eat my lunch, but the flood of people ridden by moon madness prevented me. Who really needs a pack of gum at two in the morning?
I felt a growl slip out as I handed the lady chatting on her phone back her change. She snatched it and her diet coke up without ever making eye contact. My hot pocket was growing colder, my stomach emptier, and my temper hotter with each customer.
I finally got rid of the line and sighed as a glance out of the dirty windows revealed no one in the parking lot. Once again I turned to my lunch. Just as I raised the food to my lips a car pulled up and sat idling in front of the building.
I paused before biting into my Hot Pocket as a couple of teenagers hopped out of the car. One stood in front of the door while the other rushed inside wearing tan pantyhose to disguise his face. Any other day I would have laughed, but I was hungry and I had dealt with enough people for one night. Then he did the unthinkable.
Brandishing a gun he slapped my Hot Pocket out of my hand. I watch the flaky crust of my lunch splatter and crumble on the stained tile floor, all of its cheesy goodness leaking out to join whatever people had tracked in on their shoes. I couldn’t hear what the robber was saying over the rushing roar of my anger reaching its peak.
My hands shifted as I reached for the desecrator of my Hot Pocket. My claws dug into his arm as I bent it backwards, bones snapping as the were forced to go in an unnatural direction. Then the idiot pulled the trigger, shooting himself in the chest. His buddy rushed in from outside, yelling profanity as he took in the blood joining my ruined lunch on the floor. I let him jerk his friend free from my grip when he grabbed for him and the two slipped and tripped their way back to the running car.
It spun out of the parking lot in a squeal of tires and I let my hands return to normal. When I was sure they were long gone, I washed my hands in the employee’s only sink, popped another Hot Pocket into the microwave, and went to fetch the mop.
I now have about three book length manuscripts under my belt.
Of the three, one book has a couple of sequels waiting in the wings to be written. One is living in dusty honor under my bed because I hate the main characters. (However, two of the side characters from that one have graduated to their own book, but it is still in the process of being written. They also have over half a dozen short stories because I can’t keep them out of my head.) And the last book is waiting for me to start the third rewrite/edit.
I’ve written a science fiction novel, a fantasy novel, and an urban fantasy novel. I am capable of writing in other genres, but I am writing books I would like to read. If I ever want to read a romance novel, a mystery, some regular fiction, or even non fiction book and can’t find what I am looking for, I may make the attempt to write those too. However, at the moment there are dozens of talented people much better at those subject than I am and I haven’t even made a dent in working my way through their work. (Not saying that there aren’t very very talent writes in my own preferred genre. It is what I read the most after all.)
I can’t say if my books are good or bad. A lot of that boils down to personal preference. To risk sounding a bit conceded, I know that I am a decent writer. I can slap down words down and form coherent sentences. My stories typically have the necessary beginnings, middles, and endings, but that doesn’t mean they are good books.
I like them even though they are not completely polished so to me that means they have promise. (Except for the one that lives under my bed. *shudders* Yeah, I know. I write my own monsters.) I have great hopes for the two that I favor and even greater hopes for the ones that are yet to be written.
I write what I like because it keeps my interest. I don’t get very excited over things I don’t like or don’t want to do. Yeah, I do them and sometimes I even do them well, but most of the time I just get them done. I don’t enjoy it and that shows. That is especially true with writing.
You can write what you think people want to see. You can pad the words and polish them up but they will be like cubic zirconia; pretty but obviously fake when set next to a real diamond. When you care about something it shows and your work has that extra shine.
There will always be people who don’t care for your type polished gems. They will see worthless quartz where you see treasures, but there will also be others who realize what you have. I write for myself and for those kindred spirits.
The big question of what I will do with my word treasures when I do have them shined up remains unanswered at the moment. I know I will want to share them. How I manage that, I will take on a book by book basis.