To write a book…

charlie-chaplin-392926_1280When I was in school I hated American History. I thought it was boring. I thought that since other countries had been around so much longer, they were obviously much more interesting.

Now that I am older, I am no longer so excluding. For the past few weeks I’ve been focused on the American Civil War. My attention was peaked last year when I did some family history research. It was more recently that I received a book of local ghost stories that pinged that interest again.

Then I spoke with another writer who I greatly admire. I told him that I had been thinking about writing a book that takes place during the civil war. I recounted what I had found out about my family, and he said: That sounds like a good place to start. Why don’t you?

That “Why don’t you?” Has been echoing around the empty cavern of my skull for weeks.

I tried to use the excuse, “Well, life has so many changes going on right now, with the new job and going back to school…”

My inner writer answered with, “You don’t work on the weekends and part of your degree is going to be in History anyway.”

Then the dragon of self doubt raised its head and said, “Do you really think you can find anime_dragon_1024x768-634320the time to write a book? Look how well that has worked in the past. You have three unfinished novels sitting on your computer right now. And remember that rejection letter. The one that hit the mark so well.”

The dragon almost got me. Then I remembered the rejection letter it was reminding me of was the catalyst I needed to pull up my boots and march back to school. The three unfinished novels reminded me that my current way of writing isn’t working very well and I need to try something new. (Not that those three will never be finished. Two are honestly in a rewrite stage but I changed things and got stuck in the muddle in the middle. Then proceeded to wallow in the muck.)

So now, with so many things already on my plate and with so many new challenges to face, I find myself stacking yet another task on top. I’m going to write a book. Sanderson Quote-800wi

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Bits of thoughts

A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_wordsI don’t know if it is because I am a writer or just because I am naturally curious, but I tend to pick up a lot of useless information. I kind of seek it out. Saddly, it isn’t organized in my brain at all, but kind of shoved together like an over full closet that you try to fit just one more thing into.

Right now there is a show on talking about Oracles of the dead. Just that thought is fascinating and will probably have to have a story at some point. I also learn about psychometry and animals in Australia. I am sure it will come in handy some day.

Psychometry actually solves the small pause I just came up against in a current work in progress. The problem is that I can’t read about it right now to see if I can tweak it to work with my main character. I’ve tried but my eyes just glaze over the words.

I see the letters but the words aren’t making it through and my brain isn’t really paying attention. It is days like this I need someone to sit and read stuff to me. My ears are working fine but my eyes and brain are refusing to work together.

I guess I will go work on that scarf I have been crocheting for my son, then try it again. If that doesn’t work, I may just take a nap. Naps are like rebooting a computer, only you are rebooting the person.

Mooch-in-the-Morning…Yeah, a nap sounds good.

A bit of Fiction from a tired writer

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.

 

tink's moonlight pic

Lunch Break

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.

 

Awkward Introductions

Remember how I said you will probably be hearing from me a lot this week? You had a two day gap. I hope you enjoyed it, because now that the paying the bills job is over for the week, I can concentrate on that writing thing I do. Part of that is to tell you all about the awesome from LibertyCon 28, possibly the best convention I have ever been too.

So on with my Con Tales.

You meet a lot of interesting and talented people at conventions in a variety of ways. Sometimes other people introduce you. Sometimes you just fall into conversation at a panel or you ask the right question at the right time.

However, I do not recommend having your phone tumble from your pocket into the next occupied stall over, while you are in a public restroom. True story. To make matters worse the camera turned on when it hit the floor.

Fortunately, for all parties involved, it wasn’t set for selfies and instead the screen showed a blurry black view of  the tile. After apologizing and retrieving my phone, I made a hasty retreat before the other person came out of their stall. Yes, I am a coward but I thought it best to avoid any more awkwardness. The fates disagreed.

Later in the day my friend Ernest Dempsey was signing autographs in the dealers room. I stopped by to say hi and to thank him for listening to me whine earlier. (You didn’t think I would tell my stories in order did you? Yeah, I should have, but this is the one on my mind so it is getting told first. Ranting about schools and talking to random Australian tourists will come later.) He was just finishing up and told me about the man who had, moments before, been seated to his left.

Jacob Holo is an author of science fiction and also has a young adult book that looks really interesting. According to Ernest, the man was just as interesting as his fiction. He is one of those rare individuals who seem to be happy in all their lives: personal, professional, and even day job. He suggested I talk to him because I like to meet interesting people. (By the way, you can check out some of Ernest Dempsey’s books for free if you follow the link to his website.)

I caught up with Jacob outside of the women’s restroom where he was waiting for his wife. (Yes, the same one.) I asked him for an interview for my blog to which he graciously agreed. Once his wife returned ,we all three moved outside in order to be able to hear each other better.

I introduced myself again and took a look at the people I was about to interview. Jacob was a well dressed young man in a bow tie. His wife was a bouncy woman with sort of a pixie hair cut and a happy smile. I also noticed she had good taste in shoes. In fact I had already seen that exact pair of shoes once already.

As many of you know, sometimes my brain is connected directly to my mouth with no stops in between. So of course I blurted out, “I know you!” And then proceeded to introduce myself as the person of the awkward phone fall. I could have let the whole thing remain unspoken and only something floating around in my head, but no. My brain doesn’t work that way. Instead I outed myself as the odd phone woman and we all had a laugh.

(She really does have good taste in shoes. I was wearing the same ones, only mine weren’t as clean and were trimmed in blue instead of pink. But back to Jacob. )

I found Jacob Holo to be accommodating and well spoke. (He also recovers quickly from odd conversations.)  He writes Science Fiction, Fantasy, and YA. The book covers are absolutely stunning and I greatly regret not picking one up for him to sign. I did purchase one of them in ebook on Amazon and so far it is fantastic. I think I may have found another favorite author. If you are looking for something new to read, I suggest you check out: The Dragons Of Jupiter, Time Reavers, and Bane Of The Dead.

Bane Of The Dead is the first book in his new Seraphim Revival series. It is also the book I am currently reading. If you like mechs done right this is the book for you.

Also keep your eyes open in the future for Heather. She writes under the name H.P. Holo. Her first book should be out by late 2015/early 2016. It is a steampunk fantasy novel filled with murder, wizards and a talking pug butler. (Yes, you read that right. The butler is a pug, as in the dog breed.) I am really looking forward to it.

Hands Down

I owe you guys a post or two. I still have more about Wizard World Comic Con in Raleigh to write about and I am trying to get the last of the editing done on a book of short stories. I had a formatting snafu that I am trying to straighten out.

Unfortunately, I have also managed to injure both of my hands. I pulled a tendon in the right on and did something painful and unpleasant to the left, probably from over use. Typing or writing is causes me more physical pain than usual at the moment. (I often get headaches while writing, but that is usually from banging my head against the key board when things aren’t going well.)

I have been told that in order for my hands to heal that I need to leave them alone and not use them. Which means no writing. Which means I am slowly going crazy with the work piling up and the unwritten thoughts in my head.

I read a book once, where the main character was a thief and the woman he loves cuts off his dominant hand. To this day, that scene still effects me. I was horrified.

I was really into the character’s head and he was devastated. I completely empathized and went around for days telling people about the scene. Most of them just looked at me funny and I heard, It’s just a book, quiet a few times.  That one scene made me deeply consider what it would be like to lose a hand and how useful the things are. (He ends up stealing the whole kingdom afterwards, btw.)

I have a lot of respect for people who have lost hands or fingers in accidents or were simply born without them. I had an uncle who lost his arm from the elbow down in a rock crusher. His hand got stuck and it was lose the arm or lose his life. He pulled his upper body free, tearing off his own right forearm and hand. Then, in later years, he velcro-ed a guitar pick to the stump and taught himself how to play.

So right now I am currently using my hands more than I am supposed. But it is in order to let those who read this know that I am not supposed to be using my hands. (Yeah, that made more sense before I wrote it down.) The book release I promised will be delayed as well a few other things.

Also, when I finally get back to work, it will probably take a while for all of the thoughts in my head to condense into a form where they make sense. Right now after just a few days of little to no writing, I have all of these words making a stampede for the exit provided by my fingers. I am going to stop now before my common sense is over ruled and I write more than necessary. I will be back, but don’t be surprised if my usual Monday blogs are delayed for the next week or so.

Unburden

I know you are supposed to be careful what you post online because it will be there forever and possibly the whole world can see it. If you wouldn’t say it in a crowd of strangers then you shouldn’t say it online. However, at the moment I feel a little heart sick.  I think that if I were standing in a crowd of strangers that if they would listen I would talk.

It isn’t exactly one thing that is weighing on me. In fact things should be looking good in my life right now. Tonight is the last night at my, to pay the bills, job for a week and the kids have a long weekend. I am up to date on the bills and while I do still have to buy groceries, I should have a little left over to do something fun with the kids while they are out of school.

So why do I feel like crawling under my bed, building a blanket fort, and staying there?  Well, I a sure part of it is the anxiety depression talking. I know that and yet I can’t just make it go away by simply knowing that it is causing problems.

Another part of it is that I got into an argument at work and thoroughly lost my temper. It has been a stressful week. The boss was on vacation, the pharmacy practically imploded, and there has just been one minor crisis after another. Then one of my co-workers decided to confront me because another co-worker told him I got upset because he left an hour early the day before. It was true. I did get upset. Instead of sticking around for his assigned hours, I felt like he pushed the whole mess into my lap and left me to deal with it alone. There was a ton of work to be done and from what I could see he hadn’t even attempted it.

From his point of view, it had been the day from hell and he just wanted out. I do understand that. It has been that kind of week. However, I still do not think it was wise to pull me to the side the next day and attempt to give me a lecture over why I should not have been upset.

People are entitled to feelings. Yes, I was upset. But I continued to do my job, had a good rant while in the office, and then tucked it away because there were more important things to do. By the next day I was over it…until the lecture began. Then it was all new and fresh, no sleep with a side of pissed off.

The fact that he tried to justify himself by bringing up my own faults was just gasoline to the fire. Shaking and teary-eyed I had to turn and walk away before I did something that my boss would have had to fire me for. (The fact that the co-worker in question is over a decade younger than me and over a foot taller didn’t help matters.)

The boss was back the next morning and took care of matters but she had a sudden death in the family so she is off again on bereavement. The death happened around the same time as the argument with my co-worker.

I talk to customers at work, turn on the t.v. at home, or pick up a paper, and all I see is a world gone mad with too many people hurting themselves and others. I hate it. I want to fix it but I don’t know how. All I can do is write about it. I can write out my hurts, that are so insignificant to the larger ones like losing a loved one. I can unburden my heart with words on paper.

It doesn’t really help the world, but it does help me deal with it and keep moving. Maybe if more people could unburden themselves in a similar fashion the world wouldn’t be as tied in knots as it is.

Good Review Monday

Open book magic on blackI thought a lot this weekend. My throat was sore and I had two sick kids to take care of so there really wasn’t much time for writing. I did manage to do a little but not as much as I would have liked.

I read a few writing articles and blog posts, played too much candy crush, and watched way too many cartoons. The couch became our sickly nesting ground. Even the cats joined the pile of blankets and tissues.

This post comes from those hours of sitting there with kids and cats piled on me. I couldn’t move much so it left time to think. The articles I read were about book reviewers and how there are some people out there that write bad reviews on purpose, sometimes without even reading the book. That didn’t really come as a surprise but some of the lengths gone to did surprise me. I’m not talking just one bad review here, I am talking completely trampling the author through the mud.

I really don’t understand it. I mean if you read something and it is completely awful, you should be able to express your views. However, never reading more than the blurb or the sample on Amazon and then going to every site you can to trash the book…why? Just to hurt a random person you’ve never met? Isn’t there a better way to spend your time?

*sigh* Seeing what I see on the news and at night at work, I guess humanity should surprise me anymore. I guess I’m just naive. I don’t leave many bad reviews. If I like a book I am usually more enthusiastic than if I don’t. I am also lazy.

Reviews are important to authors. They are each particular book-baby’s life line. If there are a lot of good reviews more people will read the book. If there are a lot of bad reviews then only the morbidly curious will touch it.

I would like to encourage everyone reading this post to take just five minutes and go over to goodreadsamazon, or wherever you prefer. Find a book that you have read and enjoyed and leave a review. I don’t care what the book is, it could be an edition of Alice in Wonderland that you particularly liked. Go leave a few kind words.

Feel free to leave me a link in the comments too. I am always looking for new things to read. 🙂