Friday, December 2, 2016

So I won this year......

 As if you had to ask won what? Won Nanowrimo, of course. November is the month that everything explodes for me, working retail. That, my friends is the worst time to promise to write 50000 words. Like, if I get to work and my underpants aren't on my head its a win. Plus this year my computer died, and, well,  we accidentally elected a Nazi thug to the White House. I mean, this year November was just like living all the other months of this year in four weeks. Right? I know I'm not the only one that felt like.
Yet, it turns out, in spite off all these things, I made my word count. I wrote in my notebook, because my computer was out of commission--though it's fixed now, thank gods. And Brian. But for a couple of weeks there, I was scribbling fragments of things. Just a little bit here and there. I couldn't see my novel,because it wasn't backed up---stop yelling at me! It is now, for sure. But since I couldn't refer back to what I'd done, I think it forced me to think in different directions. It led me places I hadn't planned on going. This was amazing. I began to see the characters as new people. I got interested in what would happen next again. 
I started to type in all the bits the last week, and I was amazed at how many words I had. I realized not only could I make it this year for the first time in years, that I had more things to say now that I had more things down on paper. I had a whole middle part of the novel. 
So I made it. The novel isn't finished, but it's on the path. And while the last month of this year doesn't look like much fun, I have this one small piece of life that is moving forward. And it's headed somewhere that I'm looking forward to going. The bad guys will be punished, the good guys will live happy. I can see it coming, and it's something I can look forward to. The world's still a mess, but my world, the one that lives behind my eyes? It's keeping me okay again. Giving me a reason to get through work, and get to the notebook. I'm grateful for that. 
So what happened with your Nano's? Even if you didn't make your word count, what's the thing you're most happy with? Wanna talk about novels? 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Without You I'm Nothing

I've been working on non fiction for the last few weeks, which is strange for me. I'm not sure how to do it. One the things I depend on when I'm writing fiction is music. Lots of music. There are soundtracks for all the stories I write. Sometimes I make them, sometimes I use actual soundtracks. The neo-Victorian novel I'm working on now is in turns Pan's Labyrinth and Cowboy Bebop. Yes, jarring, I know. But it works for me. Black Light was full of David Bowie music, especially live recordings, but also it boiled down to two of his songs in particular: The Bewlay Brothers, from the Hunky Dory album, and Lady Stardust--not the version on the album, but a demo that I heard much later.

Many writers I know don't work well with other peoples words in their ears, in fact, I think I'm in the minority. Writing is lonely, and I do better with voices around me.

Which leads me to my point. I just finished a novella called, "Speak My Name." It's the story of a demon, who tends bar. He falls in love one night with a man who can see him in all his aspects. It's out in the world, looking for a home now, so it's been on my mind. This morning, in my facebook feed someone shared a video of Frank's(demon) and Mica's(not demon) song.

What music do you need to finish your stories? Does the music you listen to shape what you write in any way?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

September already.

Well, so I owe a few page a day posts from last month stillI . Oh, I've written them, I just haven't posted. Why? Well, I got a little distracted in the last week and a half. Not from writing, but from the novel. My plot to have Adella meet a vampire and come up with a master plan hasn't turned out exactly the way I exspected, because, of course, being Adella, she befriends the vampire and suddenly he's gotta be part of the master plan too. Thanks, Adella.

So I left that alone and decided to pull out a couple of half finished novellas. How many half finished novellas do you have in that virtual drawer, you might ask? Well. Two. Okay, three, if you wanna count Drifter. So, my friend Loren Rhoads is doing this thing where her goal is to have one hundred rejections in a year. I am in awe of that. I haven't sent anything out in forever. So last week I pulled out one the the novellas, and found that instead of half finished, it's really NEARLY finished. I spent a while poking around the ending, and then sent it off.  Then I found a place to send the second one to. But, of course instead of NEARLY finished, this one really is half done with moments of the complete SUCKAGE. And the call's deadline is September 20. O....kay. I've been sneaking up on is sideways. But I think I can have it finished in the next couple of weeks.

I don't know if I'll post pages from this, because mostly they will be rewrites and not rough draft stuff. But as soon as Adella tells me the plan.......

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dispatches from the porch: Did you miss me? Day 21

So, you may have noticed that I silent last week. It was a matter of real life overwhelming me. Yes, II know. I keep saying I won't let it happen, don't I?  but it does, and so the writing suffered. But it really was me that suffered. Why can't I remember that I feel so much better when I'm writing? Can you guys remind me?

Anyway, today it's 70 degrees, and rainy, and my cat and I are sitting on the front porch, and it doesn't even feel like I'm on the surface of the sun!. I'm wearing a sweater! Weird, right? But it's all very pleasant, and I'm going to try to catch up. To prove I'm serious, here's a bit more with Adella and the vampire. I thought he was going to be awful, but maybe not. Maybe Adella can reform him......

"You were as much an oddity then as I am. A woman with that pack of thug medical students. You didn’t notice me, because there iron bars between us.” He move from behind the counter in a flash, to stand inches from her. He reached out to trail a blacken fingernail down the side of her face, scraping it over the crow’s feet at the corner of her eye. “You’re older now, of course. Same brassy girl in there somewhere, though, I expect.”
He inhaled again, and seemed to savor. Adella gave an involuntary flinch.
“You are not here to inquire after our wares, Missus.” His eyes narrowed. “No. You are not here to buy. You weren’t then, and you’re not now.”
Adella jerked out of the creature’s gasp. She pulled her pistol free and leveled at the vampire’s face. “Did you divine all that from my perfume? You’d be shocked what I’d do, for the sake of science. Of curiousity. For example, I know this shot wouldn’t kill you, but I’m not clear on how painful it would be, if I say, hit an eye. How long would it take to heal?”
She saw a break in his expression, a flicker. He said, “It would be horrible painful. And it would likely disfigure me.”
Beneath the menace he wore, Adella saw a flash of a creature caged.  She eased the gun back. “You’ve obviously won your freedom.” She said. “Why do you allow this all to continue?”
He laughed at her. “It is put others on the block or suffer it myself. That is how this world works.”
Adella took her finger from the trigger. She shook her head. “If you’re alone, that is how it is.”
He only laughed again.  “We live in two very different ones, Missis.”
Not anymore, she thought. Not for the moment. “Tell me, does the man Vicktor Lemnus have a stake in the auction? Or do you simply pay him your protection like all the other shops?”
“What business it is of yours?”

Friday, August 12, 2016

Day 12, One More

And, we're back to the novel. Remember last week when Adella was talking to the vampire? Sure you do. Here's the last part of that scene. Almost the last part, anyway. I think this chapter will be really fun when it makes sense as all, but for now, I'm just sticking everything together so I can move on. I am trying to learn to move forward, as much as I can, which is hard for me. But I can't wait to see what happens next in this bit. And I can't wait until I can come back and make it all pretty-like and you know, readable....

“We both know that’s not true.” Adella insisted. “I’ve only just arrived in Tenbrous, and your auction is the worst kept secret below ground. I’m in need of live specimans, and those poor creatures on the block out there won’t do. I have the cred, I just need to know when. Why are you so coy?”
“Well Missus, one can’t be-“
“Doctor.” She correctly him firmly once again.
“Doctor, if you must.” He acknowledged. Then he leaned forward, hands flat out on the counter. He inhaled, sampling the air between them. It brought the image of a snake to Adella’s mind, and she took a step back involuntarily. She was halfway to pulling her pistol free, when his eyes narrowed. “Ah,” He spoke again. “But I know you, do I not?”
“I…” The realization that he’d just processed her scent struck her speechless a moment. “I can’t think how.”
But she had been here. How could she have failed to remember a vampire had been running this place? Had she simply not recognized the creature back then? She straightened her spine and gave him a smile. “I was here, years ago. I fear it was before your time.”
The return smile displayed his stark white fangs. Adella’s heart hammered. Leslie would be angry if she allowed herself to be killed because of a faulty memory.
“You were as much an oddity then as I am. A woman with that pack of thug medical students. You didn’t notice me, because there iron bars between us.” He move from behind the counter in a flash, to stand inches from her. He reached out to trail a blacken fingernail down the side of her face, scraping it over the crow’s feet at the corner of her eye. “You’re older now, of course. Same brassy girl in there somewhere, though, I expect.”
A shudder wracked through her before she could stop it. She pulled away from him. “This can’t be an effective way to do business.”
She insinuated the pistol between them, pressing it to his chest.  “I require information. If you don’t have it, I’ll speak to your master

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Day 11: a tiny bit more of Drifter. It's the pages that matter!

So here's more of my Page a Day Challenge. I have another scene from Drifter. Remember people, this a rough draft. You'll notice that I've left big holes for the things I can't figure out, because, let's face it, if I didn't I'd never get to the end of anything.

So again, this starts at the tail end of another scene. It's really about three pages, but who's counting.... It starts off with Skylar and Tarik talking about Raena. This happens before the scene you read previously. Skylar isn't human, and he's worried about Raena's xenophobic up-bringing. He's also worried that the ship is effectively dead in the water. There might be three different scene changes in this--the double drops. And also the POV changes as many times as well..... So...Welcome to my Brain. Um, don't touch anything. You don't know what it attached to.

Finally when he couldn’t stand the feeling of Tarik’s disappointment sting the air around him, Skylar said, “Why doncha get something to eat? I got the rest of this.”
The kid left with no further comment. How, after everything this galaxy had thrown at him, could Tarik still be so young? Skylar sighed. He hated that he might have to be the one to break all that. But he would do what he had to. Better Terik be disillusioned than dead.
Skylar tried to let the work ease his mind. The Panacea was a rust bucket that barely limped at the best of times. But Skylar loved her.  Almost as much as Doc and Tarik.
But she wasn’t co-operating just now. Skylar knew the only way they would be safe was to put a jump between them and the Noose’s debris field. If he couldn’t get the Panacea moving again they were dead.
The bypass wiring was easy. Skylar finished what Tarik had started, and within minutes had the atmo cycling at one hundred percent again, and rerouted power to the com. But the jump drive was the real problem. He turned away from the circuit panel and scrunched himself farther into the engine compartment. Fixing the drive was hands on, and everything down here was made for much smaller hands.
He squirmed his way passed the (repulsor thingie, or something) to the cradle the drive sat in. Skylar felt dread creep along the ridge of his spine. The smell of metal that was too hot to touch separated itself from the sharp of the burnt wiring. This was bad. (I need some help with the hardware here!) This was damage that he couldn’t fix or patch with his spanner. They needed replacement parts, and even a short detour was going to take too long now. Skylar stayed where he was, looking at the melted hunk of junk that was had been the thing that was going to save them, until he heard Doc’s boots on the deck above him.
“So.” She began. “Is this a good news/bad news situation?”
Skylar untangled himself from the machinery and ducked his head up from the hole. She looked down with a faint half smile on her face. She held a bottle of ambersi in one hand and two plasteel tumblers in the other. He tilted his head and flashed one fang to return the expression. Doc had been a spacer for too long to hope for the good, and he knew it. “Nope.”
She laughed, “Drink, then?”
“We must be desperate, if you’re sharin’.” Skylar levered himself up onto the deck to join her. “The jump’s fried.” And so are we, he thought.
She nodded. “How far are we to help?”
He gave a shrug and sat in the pilot’s seat, swiveling in so he could face her when she took the passenger’s. “There’s Gallherger brother’s, on (one of the planets). They maybe got what we need. At real time, that’s….”  The rough calculation clicked in his head. “Thirty hours?”
“Not bad.” Doc handed him the tumblers and cracked the seal on the bottle. “Then we’re not desperate at all. Just movin’ at cruise speed for a day or so, yeah?”
“We’re…..” He paused as she poured. “We’re as good as drifting until we get patched up. Anyone can find us out here.”
Doc took a drink and said, “Not much different from any other day, now is it?”
“Except…” Skylar didn’t finish.
“There’s something else, isn’t there? Besides the diplomat. It’s the girl herself.” Doc narrowed her eyes. “What are you not telling me?”
A soft growl escaped him. He looked down at the ambersi but didn’t drink it.
“You can’t think she’s still working for him.” Doc protested. “She’s been running from him all across the Border Worlds. It’d be hard to believe how many times she’s escaped, if for the damage recorded on her body. She’s serious about not wanting to be put back in his hands.”
Skylar didn’t dispute that. Instead he pulled the medallion from his vest pocket. He held it out for Doc to see.
“Human’s First?” She lifted her lip in her version of a snarl. “You don’t know it’s hers.”
“It’s got a recording on it, calls her by name.”
That seemed to slow Doc’s defense. She took a drink. “Sky, she’s so young. Maybe she started with them, but she’s seen enough of the rest of the galaxy to know how misguided they are.”
“They’re terrorisst.” He countered flatly. “And where’d she learn any different? From Thallian? Because he’s such a proponent of live and let live?”
“If you’re afraid of her--”
“It’s not that.” He growled. “It’s Tarik. He doesn’t need her puttin’ that poison in his head.”
Doc laughed. “I don’t think you gotta worry about that. Maybe you don’t remember being fifteen, but I’m pretty sure Raena’s the first girl Terik’s never even seen sleeping. It’s possible he hasn’t heard anything she’s said to him yet.”
Skylar looked at his drink. Wasted on him. It didn’t do a damn bit of good. “I don’t want her talkin’ to him.”
He took the bottle from where Doc had set it on the com, uncapped it again and carefully pored his back in. “You need to save that. We got parts to buy, so the budget’s gonna be tight around here.”
“You don’t think Tarik would listen to any of that shit.” Doc said. “You know that boy thinks of you as his father. You’re lookin’ at this wrong. Maybe he can take some of the poison out of her head.”
“Just keep an eye on him, then.” Skylar pushed to his feet. “I’m going to gonna grab some sleep.  Wake me for lunch.”

Doc watched him leave. Chaperoning teenagers. Sure, cuz that never went sideways. Still, she had to admit, if only to herself, that Sky was not wrong to be freaked out. Humans First! Weren’t just a boatload of crazy xenophobs, they were a well-armed and moderately organized boatload of crazy that weren’t interested in keeping up sane appearances. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Day Eight: Two. More. Pages. Of something completely different.

So, here's this week's first page. Well, it's two pages, but you know.... So it's from a space opera I've been working on... Sorta, with Loren Rhoads, who is the Queen Of Getting Me In Trouble.

So the story is called Drifter, and it's about the crew of the Panacea, who come across a derelict ship, just floating along in space, the middle of relative night. Well, the crew are pretty honest when they can be, but how can you just let all those perfectly good parts go? Of course they find more on the ship than parts..... And new boots.

This scene is towards the end. Tarik is a member of the crew and Raena is on the run from the Empire. You may remember Tarik, and certainly Raena from Loren's trilogy, In the Wake of the Templars. (If you don't, start with the first one, The Dangerous Type. they're awesome and you won't regret it!)  Here they are teenagers, having just met. Poor Tarik is younger, and has barely spoken to a girl before.....

“I gotta a buncha brothers and sisters.” Tarik said before he thought it through.
Raena gave him a half smile. “A bunch? Where are they now?”
Tarik looked out the port, habit from left over from home, when he could tell time by the slant of the sun. It was the only thing he missed. Almost. He’d been on the Plague for only a year, but he already knew he never wanted dirt under his boots again. “There…. Were seven of us. All working the Coalition base on APLANET . We were loading the Panacea when the Imps hit the port.” He rubbed his eyes. “My sister gave me her blaster and sealed me into the hold with the supplies. She said one of them would find me.”
He left off the rest.
“I have a sister.” Raena said. “She would have done that for me too.”
“Yeah.” Tarik stuck a smile on his face and put his siblings to the back of his brain. “Even if you wished she didn’t.”
Then they were both silent. Tarik wanted to apologize. Instead he said, “So do you play-----?”
Raena snorted. “Can I win credit off you?”
“Shaa.” Tarik scoffed. “You c’n try. Like I have any credit.”
The game they play here, and then:
“Do you think your sister survived?”
That caught him off guard. Sky and Doc didn’t talk about the past much. Not theirs, not his. Tarik had picked up the trick. Somehow Raena made him want to feel like he’d come from somewhere again. He shrugged. “Well, she didn’t have a blaster.”
There was a pause. Tarik really hoped Raena wouldn’t tell him the odds or worse, call Taryn a traitor to the Empire. Tarik knew that Raena might think it, but saying it would ruin his chance of making her into a friend. “No. I don’t think any of them survived the attack.”
That wasn’t what he told Doc. Not ever. Doc would never forgive herself for not saving all of them. She needed him to be hopeful, but Tarik wasn’t stupid. His family was dead. The Empire didn’t take grunts prisoner, why would they? No. Tarik knew that they were just extra weight.
“I’m sorry,” Raena said.
Again, he shrugged. “We grew up in the cause. We knew the risks. I just never thought I’d be the only one left.”
She smiled at him, and Tarik wondered if she understood. Who had she lost? Her sister? What about her parents? He hoped, if he talked, she might tell him something about herself. But she revealed nothing at all. So he smiled back. “I guess I just think now that I’m living on borrowed time. I should dead, like they are.”
“Then I’d be dead too.”
His smile widened. “Hope you don’t hold that against me too much.”