Jun 28, 2009

It's a Chain, Gang!

Yes, that’s right. I’m posting on a Sunday. And no, this is not going to be a habit, this is just a special occasion.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I signed up for the AW Blog Chain. To quote myself: "So far it’s kind of like that game of secret, where someone starts off with a secret and tells it to the next person, who tells it to the next person and so on around a circle. The first poster started off with a post about global warming and each person is writing their own take on the post that went before them. It should be interesting to see where this ends up."

My post is following Dnic at Four-Lettered Words.

Dnic posted about some really unique solutions to the whole global warming/save the environment issue. I think my favorite would have to be the goats being used to trim your grass.

It’s interesting that we’re posting about global warming and saving the environment when we’ve been discussing this in marketing class at school. Marketers are emphasizing environmentally friendly products these days and companies are looking to help out with environmental issues. Go green everyone! Reduce, reuse and recycle!

I remember when our town first got a recycling program. Every household was issued a blue plastic box (made, I’m sure, of recycled plastic) and we were given explicit instructions on how to bundle up our newspaper, and clean out our glass, plastic, and cans. And that was pretty much all we were allowed to recycle.

Then a spiffy new recycling plant was built to service the whole county. A new list of instructions was issued with an amazing array of things that could be recycled now. The best part was, we didn’t have to separate anything anymore. Just throw everything from the list into a clear, or clear blue, plastic bag and the plant would take care of the rest. At the same time, we started having to pay for garbage tags and were limited to three bags per household. I believe this was to encourage recycling.

A couple of years ago, things suddenly changed. Our bags of recycling were being left at the curbside. Apparently the recycling plant wasn’t making enough of a profit so we were back to having to separate things. Paper had to be shredded. Things that were recyclable previously were no longer included. The list got shorter again. But, just to make sure we kept recycling as much as possible, our garbage tags went up in price.

I have to confess, I don’t recycle as much as I used to because it’s become a real pain in the you-know-what. But I do have a suggestion . . .

Canada has something called the Young Offender’s Act, which personally, I find very offensive as it’s all about protecting the rights of young criminals, no matter what kind of laws they’re breaking. Anyway, instead of having these kids get a slap on the wrist or getting to choose some sort of cushy community service, put them to work in the recycling plants. Not only will it give them a taste of the real world, it’ll also give them something useful to do.

You can check out the rest of the chain by clicking on the following links. Next up is Truelyana and her Expressive World

Razib Ahmed: Hobby Economist
Fokker Aeroplanbau: I’m Always Right, Far Right
Bettielee: Far Seeing Fairy Tales
Bsolah: Benjamin Solah, Marxist Horror Writer
Forbidden Snowflake: Delirious
Rosemerry: Beyond Tourism: Florida’’s Yesteryear
Dnic: Four-Lettered Words
Lady Cat: Random Thoughts
Truelyana: Expressive World
Tika: Tika Newman
Bill Ward: Bill Ward, Genre Writer & Reviewer
Dancingandflying: Made of Carbon

Jun 26, 2009

Creative Friday

You know it's not going to be a good day when it starts out with a migraine. However, it seems to be under control for the moment, so I figured I'd better get some stuff done while it lasts.

I'd fully intended to start participating in the Fiction Friday started by the Write Anything site, but the migraine decided otherwise. Maybe next Friday.

Instead I have another oldie for you. At one time I'd thought about writing children's stories, but they all ended up with more of a Hans Christian Andersen feel to them instead of the more accepted Disney feel, so I finally threw in the towel. This is one of those stories.

* * * * * * * * * *

the Snow Child

Once upon a time there was a garden that was so beautiful that even in winter it was a wondrous sight to behold. When the snow fell it covered the trees and bushes in a soft blanket of white so pristine it looked carved from marble, and when the ice covered it, it was a garden of crystal.

Near the garden was a house, in which lived two children, brother and sister, named Ethan and Paige. The house and garden being far from any town or village, they had only each other to play with. However, since it had always been this way, they were quite content with things the way they were.

One day, after a fresh fall of snow, Ethan and Paige decided to go outside to play in the garden. They played tag and threw snowballs, even played hide and seek among the heavily laden fir trees. But it was not long before they ran out of things to do.

"I know," said Paige. "Why don't we make a snow child?"

"All right," Ethan agreed.

"It will be much more fun with the three of us," Paige said.

Together they began to fashion a child out of snow, and because it was Paige's idea, they decided it should be a girl too. She had an oval face, with long hair and large eyes and a little mouth like a bow. Paige and Ethan were quite talented, it looked just like a real girl.

"Now we need to bring her to life," Paige said.

"How are we supposed to do that?"

“Well," Paige said slowly, "in the fairy tales, a prince's kiss is usually magic. Maybe you should try giving her a kiss."

So Ethan went up to the snow child and kissed her, right on the lips. The children were not at all surprised to see her lips turn red and color suffuse her face. A sudden gust of wind blew from the north and the doll came to life. She moved, she smiled, and to the great delight of the children she began to play with them.

A while later, the children's father happened by. Though sunny, the day was cold. He decided it was time for the children to go into the house.

"But father," said Paige. "We don't want to leave our friend just yet."

The father looked startled. The child Paige pointed to seemed to blend right into the garden with her pale, pale skin and pristine white clothes.

"Well, by all means, your friend is most welcome too," he said, smiling.

The snow child shook her head no.

"Nonsense, my dear,"said the father, taking her by the hand. "It's very cold out, your hand is chilled. Come in and get warmed by the fire and then I can take you home."

"But father -" Ethan tried to protest.

"Now, Ethan," the father replied in a voice that brooked no argument.

Paige and Ethan looked at each other, Paige biting her bottom lip. The snow child said nothing, only sighed sadly. They went into the house meekly. Paige and Ethan were sent to their rooms to change into dry clothes, and the father took the snow child to the parlor where a fire was burning merrily.

"There you go," he said cheerfully. "You just stand close to the fire to warm up, and Ethan and Paige with be with you in a few minutes."

The snow child stared up at him sadly. Uncomfortable with those big eyes looking at him so silently, the father left the room.

The snow child went over to the window and stared longingly at the magical, white garden. Great, silent tears that rolled gently down her cheeks as she began to melt, until all that was left of her was a trace of white snow on the wet carpet.

Jun 25, 2009

And So It Begins . . .

We've gone from wondering if summer will ever get here to complaining about the heat. And it seems like it happened almost over night. People are firing up the air conditioners and dusting off their fans. Gardens are starting to actually need watering.

Check the time stamp on this. Yes, I'm composing this in class. Or rather on a break from class. I feel downright naughty!

Now I have a little story to tell you which may, or may not, have a sad ending.

On the weekend I noticed a cute little chipmunk skittering around the fence near our patio. Chipmunks are cute and are more than welcome in our yard. The only thing I had to feed him with were salted peanuts, so I rinsed the salt off of them and left him a handful near where I saw him lurking.

Despite the fact that this spot was between the two planters the daughter and her fiance were working on, the peanuts slowly but surely disappeared. A couple of days later I bought some healthier peanuts for him - the ones still in the shell and I've been leaving them out for him ever since.

I don't know whether he's been getting them or not, but they've been disappearing, so someone's been benefiting. Maybe it's one of the numerous blue jays hanging around.

Fast forward to last night. I went outside to leave a handful of peanuts in the usual spot and sweep away the shells from the day before, and I hear a banging from the back of the yard. WTF?

There is my next door neighbor, banging on a tree with a shovel and cursing up a storm. Apparently the squirrels had raided her garden and she was declaring war on them. I don't know what good banging the chestnut tree was supposed to do, but this was one angry woman.

Whist banging and cursing, she told me about the raids on her garden, and how her husband had trapped a couple of squirrels, an unusually large mole, a chipmunk, and a blue jay. He let the jay go, but the squirrels (one of which was just a baby apparently) and the chipmunk were disposed of (I'm not sure what happened to the mole, but I suspect the worst). I'm hoping he just took the squirrels and chipmunk for a long drive in the country instead of something more nefarious, but at this point I figured it was better not to ask.

By this time her arms had become tired so she'd stopped with the banging, and although we couldn't see anything up in the trees, something was pelting her with the just developing chestnuts. Never threw anything at me though. :-)

I say, go squirrels! Get that crazy woman. I just hope the chipmunk they disposed of wasn't my little patio friend. I guess only time will tell.

Jun 24, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Is it just me or is this week just flying by?

Time flies when you’re . . . um . . . . when you have no clue what you’re doing!

One of the great debates over on AW is whether the Twilight series is worth reading or not. On the one hand, we have the Twi-fans who think Twilight is the greatest thing since sliced bread. On the other hand, we have those who think it’s pure garbage.

Don’t worry, I won’t get into a great debate except to say I’m all for any book, whether it be Twilight, or Goosebumps, or a Harry Potter wannabe, if it’ll get kids reading. But I just wanted to explain what prompted the following video. It’s Wednesday, it’s funny, enough said.

In keeping with the vampire theme, I found a couple of quizzes for you. Every vampire needs a cool name, and you can discover yours with the first quiz. The second quiz will tell you what kind of vampire you are.

What is your Vampire name?
Your Result: Serenula Lonesomhel

You are a lonely person, you prefer to be on your own and like to think. You are clever but you have unrealised potential. You need to get out there and talk to people, make some friends and have some fun.

Namula Moonshine
Damula Advefret
Taranula Scaryns
Cherula Famana
Tubula Laaughstein
Karula Drifher
Eamanula Skiittzu
What is your Vampire name?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

What type of vampire are you ?
Your Result: unsure vampire

You are an unsure vampire. Afflicted with you condition for having mixed feelings about something, perhaps? You might use your powers to good or evil extent, quite possibly because you don't know whether to be good or evil. Prominent attributes are insecureness and fear.

good vampire
evil vampire
What type of vampire are you ?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Jun 23, 2009

Open Mind, Insert Brain - Take Two

Dang! Just when I thought it was safe to sneak out onto the deck for a little recreational reading, I remembered my promise to do a proper post. There’s only one problem. I still can’t think of anything to post about.

Okay, now this is annoying. Here I am, all set to make good on my promise and my internet is down. Oh, well. I guess I can compose just as easily in Word Perfect as I can in the blogger window.

I’ve started the outline for the first story in the Starlight series. At this point I’m still not sure whether it’s going to be a trilogy of stories or a trilogy of novels. To be honest, it’s not much of an outline, but then as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not much of an outliner. This is more to just keep me on the right path with the minimal wandering off. I’m sure no one’s noticed that my train of thought doesn’t seem to run on a proper track.

I’ve also got a few ideas down for a new poem. I’m a getting a jump on my “poemwork” for my poetry group. This month’s prompt is: Choose an animal, bird, insect or terrain which you feel that you are most like. Select at least 6 points of similarity between you and your chosen subject. And no, I am not comparing myself to a cat. :-p At least, not yet.

I also started going through my poems with an eye to picking out a few to submit to the Absolute Write anthology. Guess I’m going to have to do a little more digging in my files. I know I’ve got more kicking around that I have in my binder, the trick will be finding them. Or maybe the trick will be finding five good ones. :-)

Oh, look, the internet's back up.

A while back I decided to start skulking around the Share Your Work forum on AW and to my surprise I found my favorite was the Horror thread. Seriously! There’s some good stuff over there. I even commented on a couple.

It got me thinking of a horror story of my own. Something about a student who snaps during an economics class and stabs another student in the neck with a pen for blocking her view of the video they were supposed to be watching in class . . .

I’ve also signed up for the AW blog chain. I’m about halfway down the list so posting is imminent. So far it’s kind of like that game of secret, where someone starts off with a secret and tells it to the next person, who tells it to the next person and so on around a circle. The first poster started off with a post about global warming and each person is writing their own take on the post that went before them. It should be interesting to see where this ends up.

Open Mind, Insert Brain

Here's the thing. It's seven minutes to 8 and I have to pick someone for a ride to school. My brain is not awake enough to post a real post.

Come back after school (early afternoon). I'll try and come up with something coherent then.

Have a good morning!

Jun 22, 2009

Monday? Already?

Wow, that weekend went by fast!

All right, I’m crunched for time here so let’s get right down to business. First, how did I do on last week’s goals which were:

Writing: page a day, poem for group, settle on idea for summer challenge
Non-writing: sewing and embroidery

So, how’d I do? Did not get a page a day written, unless you count the review notes for my economics exam, which I think should count because technically it’s writing, just not fiction writing. Got not one, not two, but three poems written, only two of which were read to the group because I’m not sure the third one’s finished yet. And, with the help of my friends, it looks like I’ve got my idea for the summer challenge. The winner is the Starlight series. Thank you to everyone who voted!

In the non-writing I did not get any actually sewing done, but I did get up to Fabricland to buy the lining, thread, and zipper to sew up my mother-of-the-bride outfit. I also got another center-piece cloth embroidered.

This week’s writing goals: start summer challenge novel, get back on track with the page a day, write at least one poem. I figure that combining the first two will make things easier. :-)

Non-writing goals: more embroidery, actually pull out the sewing machine to get started on my outfit, start organizing the day-after-wedding-potluck.

I’m sure there’s something else I’m forgetting, but I was up until 1:30 a.m. writing my economics paper that’s due today. Yes, I’m a bad girl, waiting for the last minute. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be that time-consuming, but there was a lot of research involved and a lot of paring down of the research. It was supposed to be between three and five pages, and mine ended up being eight pages long, but I’m hoping to get away with it because I included a lot of awesome graphs.

Okay, off to school. We start Marketing today, which I’m actually looking forward to.

Jun 20, 2009

Got Muse? A Writer-to-Writer Meme

I am totally breaking with my tradition of not posting on the weekend here, but I saw this and couldn’t resist. The original post can be found HERE for those of you who’d like to join the fun.

1) Where do you write?
In my still-tidy-at-this-point home office. Well, mostly. Having a lap top means I can also write in the living room, dining room, or out on the deck. And when it comes to poetry, I’ll pretty much write wherever inspiration strikes me. Like driving home on the highway. :-)

2) When do you write?
I would like to have a regular schedule, but right now I mostly write whenever I have the time and energy to spare. Ideally I’d like to get back to writing in the afternoons or early evenings.

3) Planner or Pantser?
Both . . . neither . . . wait, what was the question? I’d have to say it depends on the story. I’ve had various levels of success (or lack thereof) with both methods.

4) Coffee or tea?
Both . . . neither . . . :-) I like my coffee or a half coffee/half hot chocolate during school and I like my Earl Grey tea in the afternoon or in the evening. Right now, however, I’m addicted to Starbucks’ Chai Tea Latte Frappucinno.

5) Pen and paper, or computer?
Both . . . neither . . . Oh, all right, I’ll cut it out. Mostly I compose on the computer now, but I used to always do my first drafts in long hand. I still compose much of my poetry using pen and paper, and I'll still use it for outlining and editing.

6) What gets you in the writing mood?
Thinking about writing, talking to other writers, sitting down and writing . . . Just having a few minutes to myself that isn’t crowded with a hundred other concerns is enough to get me started.

7) What pulls you out of the writing mood?

Stress, loud television - I’m sure there’s other things, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

8) What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever read/heard/received?
Stop thinking so hard and just write.

9) Got muse?
Check out the column on the left for my muse. He’s very inspirational! ;-)

10) Who is the biggest supporter of your writing?Hmm. That’s a toughie. I think I’d have to say my friends. My family puts up with my craziness, but I don’t think they really “get” how serious I am about it.

11) Sound or Silence?

How about the Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkle? Just kidding. I used to be so focused I could read or write no matter what was going on around me. Now, I likes me my peace and quiet! Right now I’m listening to the rain outside the window and it’s a very soothing sound. Nature sounds are great, but sometimes those birds need to tone it down!

Okay, your turn now! Come on, you know you want to!

Jun 19, 2009

Creative Friday

I had fully intended to take part in the Fiction Friday challenge that's part of the Write Anything site, but I had too much other stuff on the go. In fact, in just a few minutes I have an Economics exam that despite copious amounts of note taking I’m totally unprepared for.

Anyway, I mentioned earlier in the week about struggling with a poem for my poetry group’s monthly challenge (I believe I whined about it on both Monday and Tuesday). It’s been a while since I’ve posted poetry here, so I thought I’d give you a change of pace.

I ended up with two different versions. I started one that rhymed, got about halfway through it and got so frustrated that I whipped up a non-rhyming version. Then I went back and finished the rhyming one. Neither of them have a title, but I’m open to suggestions . . .

* * * * * * * * * *

The Challenge: Take any 3-5 consecutive lines from the index of Bartlett's Famous Quotations. Filling in the gaps with your imagination, expand on the thoughts and feelings you glimpse between the lines to compose your poem.

My lines:
Imagination, cold and barren
Imaginations are as foul
Imagine why or whence
Imagining fear in the night
Imagining the grave

Imagination, cold and barren,
a bleak landscape stretching forth
into a wasteland of empty dreams.

Imaginations are as foul creatures,
intentionally misleading,
inspiring hope that has no place here.

Imagine why or whence we came
into this space between realities,
the great void that enshrouds us.

Imagining fear in the night
surpassed only by
the waking dream.

Imagining the grave that awaits
Reality shatters, fragmenting,
a downward spiral into madness.

* * * * * * * * * *
And now the rhyming version:

cold and barren as the grave,
like a demon
darkly filled with things I crave;
thoughts and feelings of despair
like an omen,
a vivid fantasy to ensnare.

are as foul as phantom screaming,
sounds of terror
within your darkest dreaming.
raids the landscape of your mind,
a standard-bearer
of future curses intertwined.

Imagine why
or whence this inner madness springs.
What wrong committed?
What spiteful spirit to you clings?
Nightmare outcry,
sticky web of madness daunting;
a dread submitted
to a darkened inward haunting.

Imagining fear
in the night, time of darkest sin.
Fractured sanity,
your thoughts have let the chaos in.
You persevere
and hope to end this nightmare soon.
Begone humanity,
you’re dancing to the devil’s tune.

the grave in which your conscience lies,
dark illusion
holds you fast before it dies.
A fragile thing
this life you cling to valiantly;
while dark delusion
transmits your uncertainty.

Jun 18, 2009

To Outline or Not to Outline . . .

That is the question. I’ve been seeing a lot of action on AW and a lot of blog posts about whether ‘tis nobler to take one path or the other. Time for me to chime in with my two cents worth. :-)

This is one of those endless debates that no one ever really wins. On the one hand we have the outliners: these people have their charts and their character sheets and their index cards. They sacrifice many trees in the name of creating the perfect outline before they start to write.

On the other hand, we have the pantsters: these people prepare by filling up their coffee mug (or wine glass) sit down at the computer, and away they go.

I never used to outline, especially when it came to short stories. I’d get an idea and start writing. Sometimes it would work and I’d actually get the story finished. Other times I'd get about halfway through and then forget where I was going with it.

Then I started to do a brief outline, more just to make sure the idea would really work before I went to all the trouble of developing it. In most cases it worked out better, although I still have a few of these stories that never got finished.

My first novel, I did not outline, but I had character sheets and maps of the world and tons of information about the way magic worked there and the various races my character would encounter, and then I started writing. I made it about halfway through before I ground to a halt. I had two possible endings in mind and I couldn’t continue until I knew which ending I was going to use. Each ending would take the story in an entirely different direction.

The next novel I wrote down the whole idea from start to finish. I wouldn’t really call it an outline, it’s only a couple of paragraphs long, I’d call it more of a guideline. I’m still plugging away on it.

Next one was my very first Nano experience. I made a list of characters (whose names were subject to change on a whim) and in point form listed everything I wanted to have happen in the story. Unfortunately, when it came to the actual writing, I picked scenes to work on at random. I did finish the first draft but the editing is a slow and excruciating process.

This past Nano almost didn’t happen for me. My writing had ground to a halt and I hadn’t written anything in two weeks. But there was a story that kept replaying itself in my head and just wouldn’t go away. So on November 1, I grit my teeth and signed up. Not only did I finish Nano, I finished early and had 7,000 words over the goal.

Could I do it again? I’d like to think so, but I doubt it. The next story I work on I’m going to do at least a sketchy outline to keep me on track, and then I’m going to work on it in a linear fashion. When it comes to my other creative outlets I like to be organized, so why not with my writing?

But that’s just me. What about other people?

I have one writing friend who gets herself an idea, sets herself a page limit and then proceeds to start typing. She will type the story from start to finish, go over it once to make sure she’s said everything she wanted to say, and then send it to a proof reader to check for typos, nothing else, just typos. That’s all there is to it.

I have another friend who writes such a detailed outline I’d almost call it a first draft. She’ll write her first draft, tweak it, let it sit for a week or so, tweak it again and send it out to her beta readers. She’ll take any suggestions they have under consideration and then do the final polishing.

So which method is better?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. The best way is . . . . whichever way works for you and your story.

Jun 17, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Okay, I totally stole this. But to make up for it, here’s the LINK

50 Reasons No One Wants to Publish Your First Book
Author: Allan Mott

1. Being innovative doesn’t justify writing a Civil War epic entirely in texting slang and emoticons: “ts u hor! i dnt gv dam :< !”

2. There’s this thing called punctuation. You might want to look into it.

3. They’re afraid your author’s photo is going to alienate readers. That’s right, dude: You’re too ugly for literature.

4. Where are the vampires?

5. No, seriously, where are the vampires?

6. The world isn’t quite ready for an illustrated children’s book called SOME MOMMIES ARE INTERNET PORNSTARS: “Mommy and Daddy’s door is always locked and your online access is completely blocked! You asked them why and they say, ‘Don’t worry, honey, we’ve just found a fun new way to earn some money!’”

7. It probably wasn’t a good idea to base the main character on yourself, considering how much most people seem to hate you.

8. The market for IRON CHEF slash fiction isn’t quite as broad as you may have assumed: “’Oh, Morimoto,’ Chef Batali sighed, ’stuff me like a pepper!’”

9. Submitting a manuscript handwritten in your own blood does indicate your passion for the material, but not quite in the way you might have hoped.

10. They liked it better when it was called JANE EYRE and didn’t suck.

11. Iambic pentameter? Really?

12. Funnily enough, a detailed diary of five years’ worth of bowel movements has already been done. Curse you, Kevin Smith!

13. If you’re going to try and sell it on OPRAH as a memoir, you probably want to cut the chapter where you go back in time, kill Hitler and make Stalin admit that he’s your bitch.

14. William Burroughs was a broken-down beatnik junkie genius; you’re a wannabe-hipster asshole imitating a broken-down beatnik junkie genius.

15. It’s not technically a novel until you’ve written it down first.

16. Yes, enclosing a bag of flour along with your manuscript and causing an anthrax scare will get people’s attention, but it’s the wrong kind of attention.

17. You’re not just being paranoid; there really is a vast corporate conspiracy to ensure that your revolutionary ideas never leave your parents’ basement.

18. They can’t quite understand why you felt compelled to write such nasty things about Kenny Loggins in what is otherwise a fairly standard legal thriller. Kenny knows, but to everyone else, it comes across as somewhat mean and arbitrary.

19. Most good books aren’t created with the sole hope that they might someday be adapted into a Martin Lawrence movie.

20. You’re actually the 139th person to submit a conspiracy thriller involving the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, entitled THE MICHAELANGELO CIPHER.

21. And the 78th to submit a chick-lit manuscript about an attractive woman’s sweet tooth and affection for footwear, called CHOCOLATE AND SHOES.

22. You know the part where the protagonist stuffs those puppies into the wood chipper? It’s not quite as funny as you seem to think.

23. Truthfully, THE EVANGELICAL GUIDE TO GAY SEX is actually a great idea. The problem is that its target audience won’t want to buy it in a bookstore, and they’ll be highly reluctant to use their own credit cards to buy it online.

24. The alternative-history genre has lost its appeal. Everyone knows it doesn’t matter what else would have happened if the South won the Civil War and the Nazis won WWII: George W. Bush would still have been elected president.

25. A young-adult novel set in the behind-the-scenes world of network reality television featuring over two dozen characters, graphic underage sex and dead prostitutes? Are you fucking kidding me? No, seriously, are you fucking kidding me?

26. Remember the shit Salman Rushdie had to deal with after he wrote THE SATANIC VERSES? Chances are your XXX hip-hop reworking of the Koran — MO’ MONEY, MO’ PUSSY — is probably going to inspire the same reaction.

27. You know the talented creative writing professor who told you your work showed so much creativity and promise? Turns out what he really meant was that he wanted you to blow him.

28. Because they threw away their annual budget on the new Lindsay Lohan autobiography, BOOKS ARE RETARDED.

29. Everyone who attempts to load a copy of the manuscript onto their Kindle is found dead three hours later.

30. Four years ago, you wrote a post on your blog about how MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE sucks ass. Stephen King found it during a Google search and exerted his influence to ensure you never get paid a cent for your writing ever again.

31. There’s a fine line between writing authentic regional dialogue and making all of your characters sound like stroke victims.

32. Just be thankful they refused to publish it, since the common accepted response to a novel that ends with the protagonist realizing all the terrible things that happened were in a dream (or was it?) is some stern re-editing of your face with a pair of brass knuckles.

33. Writing a book about vegetarian zombies kinda indicates you don’t exactly know why people like zombies in the first place.

34. Calling your book OPRAH WINFREY IS A BIG FAT CUNT pretty much guarantees she isn’t going to select it for her book club.

35. Sure, you’re an amazing poet, but you aren’t a hot blonde pop singer with big tits, so who really gives a fuck?

36. God may have told you to write this book, but he didn’t tell you how to give it a decent ending.

37. You may want to revise the query letter you’re sending to agents so it’s more about the book and less about how much you love kittens.

38. For the first 20 pages, everyone who reads it is certain it’s the funniest book they’ve ever read. Unfortunately by the 21st, they finally realize you’re actually being serious.

39. Do you honestly not see the crucial flaw in writing a book intended for commercial sale that argues against copyright law and in favor of free unrestricted distribution of all forms of media?

40. It’s never a good sign when a manuscript’s first sentence is “’Are luck’s run out,’ said the Princess, ‘there unicorns are to fast!’”

41. When writing erotica, you want to avoid graphic descriptions of acne, cellulite and back fat.

42. Life-affirming poetry written by a 10-year-old with a fatal disease is inspirational; that same poetry written by a 47-year-old housewife with a trick knee and occasional indigestion is really, really lame.

43. Writing a 97,236-word thesis arguing the inherent superiority of Wolverine over Batman is intrinsically flawed since no intelligent person could ever take it seriously. I mean, c’mon, Batman would kick that midget Canuck’s ass every single time!

44. If you’re going to make your main character a forensic coroner, you’re obligated to know more about human anatomy than what you learned playing Operation as a kid.

45. A general rule to follow when writing for kids: If you could go to jail for saying it to them in person, you’re better off not putting it into print.

46. Historically, books written solely to settle a bar bet seldom make it to print, especially if they were written during a seven-and-a-half-hour period in the same bar where the bet was made.

47. The entire point of your book has already been more satisfactorily made in a single strip of Family Circus.

48. Because the printed medium is a dying art, and it would be a tragic waste to allow its last pathetic gasp be polluted by your bullshit.

49. Does anybody really need the complete lyrics to “One Million Bottles of Beer on the Wall”?

50. Again, I ask one last time, where are the freaking vampires? —Allan Mott

Jun 16, 2009

Too Many Choices!

Hooray! I’m all caught up in class. That means I don’t have to slave away over my economics text books all afternoon. Instead, yesterday I slaved away over that frickin’ poem for my poetry group tonight. It was almost as bad as that sestina for the PAD challenge, and you probably remember how much I loved that! *insert sarcasm emoticon here*

Do you ever think there’s such a thing as too many ideas to choose from? That’s the way I’m starting to feel about the Summer Challenge. I have too many ideas to choose from and I just can’t make up my mind.

I’m going to take a chance here guys. I’m going to list the idea contender blurbs and let you vote for which one you think I should do. The poll is on the right and you don’t even have to comment, so don’t let me down!

1. Space Faery
This combines magic and hard science, myth and reality. The Faery race is pure magic, but circumstances make it necessary for them to seek an alliance with one of the space faring groups that pretty much run things. In this story you only meet the female Faery. Eons ago (well, maybe not eons, but a very long time!) there was a split between the sexes for what I’m sure will be a very good reason. It’s believed that the male Faery have died out, so part of this will involve the process by which the females procreate. It’s not as bad as it sounds!

2. China Doll
This one is set in the same universe as Driving Into Forever, but it’s about two completely different characters. China likes leather and motorcycles, tattoos and piercings. and she’s not really as tough as she pretends. She’s escaping from some bad guys who are after her and rides right into the Myst. She accidentally knocks down a scientist who’s studying the Myste, and they end up lost together. Many adventures ensue.

3. Starlight/Starbright
Three women do a good deed and their reward is a wish made on a falling star coming true. Three different women, three different wishes. I’d originally thought three different volumes, but it might be interesting to try this as a three-in-one volume.

4. Space Jungle
A linguistics expert overhears the wrong thing and, even though she couldn’t understand what was being said, the bad guys are after her. She crashes on a jungle planet and ends up living with some native cliff-dwellers. There’s a whole lot of cloak and dagger stuff going on here with her not really knowing who she can trust.

5. Stupid Space Idea That Wouldn’t Leave Me Alone Until I Wrote It Down
Once upon a time, there were two people in love. Unfortunately, the man was a callow youth with a gambling addiction and the crime lord took his girl friend as payment for a massive debt. Fast forward 5 or 10 years where the callow youth has matured and needs help to rescue his young sister from the same crime lord. He enlists the aid of the only person known to have escaped from the crime lord, his ex-girlfriend. Only he doesn’t know it and she doesn’t want him to. She helps him because she’s not going to let a young girl suffer just because her brother is an ass.

6. Wizard School
In another dimension, three boys are not looking forward to their school holiday, because they’re stuck at school and the headmaster is rather the grumpy sort. One of them overhears the cook saying it would only take a good woman to change his attitude, so they decide to find him one. Since conjuring a woman out of thin air is out of the question, they sneak into the library and find a spell that is supposed to pull the perfect woman out of space and time. Much hilarity ensues.

So, please vote for your favorite and I promise to abide by the majority. I’ll give you until the end of the week to help me out.

Jun 15, 2009

Brand New Week

Let’s get the goal thing out of the way, right off the top. Last week’s goals were Page-A-Day, settle on a Summer Challenge story, and work on my poetry. Well, I managed the page a day, thought about the Summer Challenge, and attempted to work on my poetry.

To be honest, the biggest chunk of my time was taken up with school work. Missing Monday meant I missed a whole chapter and it took me the whole week to catch up because we’re pretty much doing a chapter a day. However, I think I’ve got everything under control now and I’m even sort of understanding what I’m doing. ;-)

This week’s writing goals: continue with my page a day; pick the idea for my summer challenge; and write the poem for my poemwork that was assigned by the local poetry group. We meet once a month for a private reading, and once a month for a public reading. Each month someone chooses a poetry prompt from a “bouquet” of paper flowers. Last month’s challenge was: Take any 3-5 consecutive lines from the index of Bartlett's Famous Quotations. Filling in the gaps with your imagination, expand on the thoughts and feelings you glimpse between the lines to compose your poem.

I also have a couple of non-writing goals for this week. The daughter’s wedding is in - holy cow! three weeks! I still have four more centerpiece cloths to embroider and I need to get my mother-of-the-bride outfit sewn up.

And if you haven’t been checking out my every day blog, I also have a cat that’s home on temporary leave from the vet. We noticed she was losing weight and was pretty lethargic - she’s a small cat to begin with and she’s normally the most active - so we had the vet check her out. It turned out her kidneys had shut down. Two weeks and $700 later, the vet okayed her to come home for the weekend. They were having to force feed her because she has to have special food and if you look in the dictionary under finicky, you’ll see her picture.

So, added to my daily routine is shoving a capsule down Panda’s throat twice a day and force-feeding her an entire can of food every day. I don’t know which of us hates this more, her or me. And even if she does all right at home, she still needs to go to the vet’s a couple of times a week so they can stick an intravenous into her and pump her full of water to keep her hydrated. The husband gets to take her in this morning while I’m at school so the vet can re-assess her.

So, because I feel the need for a little levity, here’s a quiz for your entertainment.

What mental disorder do you have?

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

You have a very hard time focusing, and you find it difficult to stay on task without your mind wandering. You probably zone in and out of conversations and tend to miss out on directions because you cannot focus

Manic Depressive
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
What mental disorder do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Jun 12, 2009

Creative Friday

This week’s creative offering is another excerpt and it’s going to require a bit of setting up.

First of all, I must admit that this is from one of my older works that was abandoned. Someday I may resurrect it, but not in the foreseeable future.

Jessica was accidentally sent into an alternate reality by her friend Howard who was experimenting with magic. He’s been offering magical assistance through an amulet which has just been stolen. To make matters worse, Jessica inadvertently turned a man into a dog and they’ve been travelling towards a Well, a magical reservoir, so Howard could help her change him back.

* * * * * * * * * *
Bandit barked sharply at her. Jessica looked up. "You don't get it, do you? I can still light a fire and do minor magic, but that's not going to get me back home, or change you back into a man for that matter."

He barked again and went over to the saddlebags. Jessica looked up as he started to tug at one of them.

"That's the wrong one if you're looking for something to eat."

The dog ignored her and continued to drag the saddlebag over to her. He nosed it open and dropped a cloth wrapped packet in her lap.

"Sorry, that's healing herbs, not breakfast." Jessica picked the packet up. "Oh, I get it. I can use my herbal skills to pay my way. Money's not the problem. I need to work magic."

Bandit gave an impatient bark, then upended the saddlebag.

"Now what are you doing, besides making a mess?"

The dog grasped a heavy book in his jaws and dropped it in her lap. With a resigned sigh, Jessica looked at it.

"It's a spell book! But where ... oh, I remember. I found it in the wizard's tower at Ghren. Howard thought it might come in handy but I hadn't got around to looking at it." Her voice trailed off as she started to leaf through it. A sudden thought struck her. "How did you know this book was in there?"

Bandit contrived to look innocent.

"You better hope I don't find a mind reading spell," she muttered.

The book kept her attention for the remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon. Sometimes she would absently gesture with her hand, or sound out a particularly long word, but for the most part she studied absently. Bandit grew tired of waiting and wandered off into the forest. When he returned Jessica was staring intently into the pool. He sat down behind her and barked.

Jessica nearly dropped the spellbook into the water. "Damn! Did you have to do that? I almost had this scrying spell working."

She sat back with a sigh. "This is hard stuff, Bandit, real hard. I don't know if I'm up to it."

Bandit nudged his cold nose under her arm and she automatically started to scratch him behind the ear. Suddenly remembering he wasn’t really a dog, she stopped and glared at him.

"Will you stop that! Now look, the way I see it we have two choices. From what little I could learn from the scrying spell, the thief went back the way we came. I think we should follow while the trail's hot and get my link to Howard back. The other choice is to go on to the Well and hope I figure out the reversal spell by the time we get there."

She looked at him seriously. "We have six days before I have to work the reversal spell or you stay a dog. So I'm leaving it up to you. On the one hand, we might not catch the thief in time. On the other, I've never tried magic on my own, I don't know if I can do it. And we don't know for sure this book even has a reversal spell."

Bandit got up and started to pace to and fro. Jessica empathized with him, either way he could loose. She wondered what kind of man he'd been, and why he'd been stumbling around her campsite that night.

At last Bandit came and sat down in front of her. "Well?" Jessica asked. "Choice one or two?"

Bandit barked once, twice. Jessica sighed heavily. "I was afraid of that. Well," she rose to her feet, "we'd better make tracks for that Well."

Two days of steady riding brought Jessica within close enough range of the Well to feel its pull. Freed from the necessity of consulting maps and watching for landmarks, she was able to concentrate on the spell book.

"You know," she said as they finished supper one night, "this has opened up a whole new world for me. According to this book, the more magic you use, the more powerful your reserves become. Theoretically, one could advance beyond needing a Well simply by using Wells for a series of powerful spells."

Bandit gave a confused bark.

"I'm not sure I understand it either."

Jessica sighed and closed the book. "Even the simple spells are hard. There's one for causing rain that calls for sixteen different hand gestures -- and even that won't work if there's no clouds to start with."

The dog whuffed softly at her. She fidgited under his scrutiny. I know what you're wondering," she admitted. "No, I haven't found a transformation or reversal spell. But I'm sure I'm getting close, they're getting harder."

Another day's ride close to the Well made Jessica more confident in her ability. Some of the spells relied soley on power, but others required little power, relying on incantations and hand movements. One love spell required nothing but dance movements.

"No wonder wizards guard their spell books so jealously," she commented. "With enough power and physical dexterity you can do virtually anything."

When they stopped for the night Jessica pulled the book out instead of preparing supper.

"I'm tired of trying to cook," she announced. "There's a real easy spell to conjure up a five course meal." Her eyes sparkled with delight.

Bandit backed off a few paces to watch, rather dubiously, as Jessica prepared the spell. She sat cross-legged in front of the fire, spellbook spread across her lap. After reading the spell over serveral times she finally nodded to herself and straightened her back.

Hands waving madly, she started. "Ip reel fela, shidd yib jev -- jev -- jev --" the fire snapped and flared as she paused and looked at the book, "crelna, isit sin gallow!" With a flourish she gestured in the air.

The blast from the fire knocked her over backwards. She could hear Bandit's high pitched yelp over the roar of the flames. An indistinct but enormous creature towered over them.

Jessica levered herself up on her elbows, gaping in shock. Bandit circled round to stand beside her. The creature was gaining solidity and let loose and awful scream.

"It looks ..." Jessica sat up better and gulped. "Holy Saint Christopher! It looks like a giant, flaming chicken!"

Bandit barked urgently and nudged her arm.

"What?" He pawed the book in her lap. "Right, a banishing spell. Good idea."

The chicken let out another scream. Jessica edged away from it as she leafed rapidly through the book.

"Banishing, banishing ..." Jessica looked up quickly and felt the first stirrings of desparation. She had the feeling that if she didn't find the banishing spell before the creature finished takling shape they'd be in big trouble.

It was a rooster, not a chicken, that was forming in all its flaming glory. It flapped transparent wings sending waves of heat in Jessica's direction. She coughed and backed away again.

"Here it is!" she exclaimed.

The rooster crowed, gaining substance. It swept its head downwards. Bandit started to bark, distracting it away from Jessica. A shower of sparks sprayed upwards as it spread its wings and swept around, following the dog.

Jessica raised her hands and started to gesture again. The words she spoke were lost in the roar as the rooster crowed again. Jessica finished the spell. With a whuff of displaced air the bird, along with their fire, disappeared.

"Well," Jessica said, dusting her hands off with a nonchalance she didn't feel, "that wasn't so bad for a first try, was it?"

Bandit bared his teeth at her in a snarl.

"I'd watch my language if I were you. It wouldn't do to antagonize someone of my awesome powers," she said, trying unsuccessfully to hold back a grin.

Her smile faded suddenly and she sighed heavily. "Who am I kidding? You saw what happened, and that was a simple spell. I could end up making matters worse for you, a lot worse."

Bandit looked at her and whuffed softly.

"Your faith in me is admirable," Jessica said soberly. "I just hope it isn't misplaced."

Jun 11, 2009

Post Fairies

The post fairies have let me down. You know, the little pixel pixies that swarm around your computer at night and come up with the perfect post, then all you have to do is post it in the morning? Well, I started up the lap top this morning and no pre-written post appeared. Looks like another day of having to come up with something on my own.

Unless you really want to hear all about my economics class . . .

Have you ever noticed that some days you can think of more posts than you know what to do with, and other days you wouldn’t recognize a good topic if it came up and bit you on the . . . uh . . . nose?

Sometimes I’ll read something on someone else’s blog that triggers a post idea, sometimes I’ll read an article that makes me go, “Hmm.” A lot of times I’ll get an idea for a post after wandering around Absolute Write for a while, although this hasn’t happened in a while.

Just out of curiosity, where do you get your post ideas from? Or is this too much like asking where do you get your story ideas from?

I’ve never had any problem coming up with story ideas. Honestly, I really don’t understand people who do. Ideas are all around us. I think my biggest problem will be living long enough to write all the stories I have ideas for. Especially at the speed I’ve been writing lately. :-)

Sorry for the short post, but I did warn you that June was going to be a busy month.

Jun 10, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Okay, yes. You caught me. I totally stole these video clips from other sites and I really can’t remember where. Colour me bad! Give me a break, it’s like 7:30 a.m. and I haven’t even had a coffee yet. Trust me, you’re lucky I’m even managing to get a post up before I leave for school, let alone a coherent one!

Before you watch this video I had to admit that I really loved this song when it first came out. Now, I think I love it even more. :-) This version is a hoot!

For you fantasy and adventure lovers out there, I give you the Middle-Earth A-Team:

And for you Science Fiction fans, we have Star Trek. I was actually looking for something else when I found this and it’s surprising how many other parodies with the same idea are out there!

Jun 9, 2009

Missed It By That Much

I had a plan. My plan was to write my Monday posts on Sunday, and then schedule them to appear on Monday morning. Only I got so busy with other things, I forgot. And what other things occupied me? *sigh* Believe it or not, it was housework. Yes, you heard me. Me, the anti-cleaner, got bogged down in cleaning up the house.

We were only going to be away for 24 hours, but I have this thing where I can’t go away and leave a messy house. It could be that’s just the way I was raised; it could be I just like coming home to a clean house; or it could be I have this irrational fear that we might get into an accident while we’re away and strangers will need to go into the house for some reason and I don’t want them seeing how slovenly I really am. I’ll let you decide for yourselves. :-)

* * * * * * * * * *

It’s a bit of a joke in my family that I’ve never met a disaster movie I didn’t love, with the exception of Perfect Storm, and I’ll give you the reason for that in a minute. Now some might suppose that it’s the violence I love, at least those who’ve witnessed first hand my somewhat aggressive driving style, but they’d be wrong. It’s not the disaster, it’s the survival that attracts me. This is why I didn’t like Perfect Storm, because they all die in the end. For me to really enjoy that movie, at least one of them should have lived.

What got me thinking about this was a post Isaac Espriu made yesterday about books he enjoyed as a kid. It got me thinking about the books I enjoyed, books like the Swiss Family Robinson, Mysterious Island, Day of the Triffids, Lucifer’s Hammer . . . And it dawned on me that whether these books were about a shipwreck, a natural disaster or an unnatural disaster, the one thing they all had in common was that they were also books of survival.

I don’t think I ever realized how much I was influenced by my early reading habits. Now, of course, I prefer watching disasters than reading about them, but I think that’s because there just doesn’t seem to be many quality disaster books out there. But even in my regular fiction reading, I still enjoy stories about characters who are fighting to survive the most.

How about you? Were you influenced by what you read at an early age?

* * * * * * * * * *

This week’s goals:

Write at least a page a day to fulfill my Page-A-Day Challenge obligation that I signed up for on AW.
Make the final selection between the half dozen story ideas that are all clamouring to be my Summer Challenge.
Work on my poetry.

Looking at them in black and white (or should I say green and black?) they don’t seem very significant. But I’ve got a lot on the go this week. Starting with my Economics class, which starts in 30 minutes.

Jun 5, 2009

Creative Friday

Here's another story from that story-teller collection I mentioned last week.

* * * * * * * * * *


Deep in the heart of the jungle, far away from anything that mattered, lay a village close to the banks of the slow moving river Omba. It was a peaceful place to live, mostly because they were so far away from anything that mattered that raiders seldom deemed the village worth the trouble.

In truth, the greatest excitement the people of the village ever had was when First Wife caught Chief Akanni with the Widow and chased him, stark naked, along the bank of the river Omba. He might have got away if he hadn’t tripped on a tree root and fallen into the river.

One day, First Wife went in search of her husband. “Akanni,” she said when she found him. “We have no meat. What are you going to do about this?”

Akanni, who was lying in the shade on the bank of the river, trying in vain to catch a cool breeze, sighed deeply. One of these days he was going to have to do something about First Wife. She made far too many demands of him.

“Well?” she demanded, foot tapping.

“Of course, my wife, I will see to it at once.”

She sniffed, once, then gave a sharp nod and departed.

Akanni sighed again and eyed a group of his warriors gathered around a game of bones. Who to send? He frowned slightly as he watched them, then a smile lit his dour features. Kamau, the perfect choice. Not only was Kamau winning at bones, putting Akanni in a favorable light with the other warriors for sending him off, but it was rumoured he’d been seeing the Widow.

“Kamau!” he called, his choice made.

Kamau looked up from the game, clearly irritated.

“You must leave the game and go at once into the jungle and find meat for the fire.”

“Ask another to go, I am busy.” Kamau turned back to the game. The other warriors drew back a little, muttering. Although Akanni was a good chief in most ways, he was known for his temper. It almost matched that of First Wife.

Akanni rose to his feet. “I am your Chief and I say you will go!” he bellowed.

Kamau rose as well. He eyed Akanni warily, then agreed. “Very well, I will go.” Without another word he picked up his spear and stomped off into the jungle.

Akanni made himself comfortable on the bank again, still glowering. The warriors returned to their game of bones. It was well known that Kamau thought much of himself. It was also known, but never spoken aloud, that Kamau thought he would make a better chief than Akanni.

Kamau gradually slowed his pace. He was on a hunt, best not to scare away the game. As he glanced around, seeking a game trail to follow, he tripped and fell. Regaining his feet he looked and saw that he had tripped over a skull on the jungle floor.

“What is this?” he exclaimed. “How did you get here?”

“Talking brought me here,” replied the skull.

Kamau jumped back in amazement. He looked around wildly. “Who said that?”

“I did,” replied the skull. “You asked, and I answered. It’s the usual way things are done.”

Dropping his spear, Kamau ran all the way back to the village. His arrival made quite a stir, caused no little part by the fact that he’d returned empty handed. So excited was he that he could hardly get the words out to tell everyone what had happened.

Akanni pushed his way to the center of the crowd that surrounded Kamau.

“What’s this? What has happened? Where is the meat you were sent after?”

“In the jungle,” Kamau gasped. “A wonder such as you have never seen. There is a skull that talked to me.”

There were a few snickers from the crowd and people began to drift away. This was not the first time Kamau had tried to pull a prank.

“No, it’s true! I heard it as clear as First Wife yelling at Akanni.”

More laughter.

Akanni was not laughing. He was growing more and more angry. “Kamau, you were warned about your pranks. Now go back and get the meat you were sent for.”

Kamau looked solemnly at his chief. “I swear on my life this is true. I can take you to it.”

In the end, a small party of warriors, including Akanni, followed Kamau into the jungle. Akanni was still angry, more so at having to trudge through the jungle in the hot afternoon. At last they reached the place where the skull lay.

“There,” Kamau pointed triumphantly. “Just as I said.”

“You also said it could talk,” said Akanni, unimpressed.

“Just listen,” Kamau said. “Skull, how did you get here?”

The skull said nothing.

“Skull, what brought you here?” repeated Kamau, a little desperately.


Akanni’s temper raged. “I have had enough of you and your pranks! Off with his head!”

One of the warriors, coincidentally the one who had been losing the most in the game of bones, struck of Kamau’s head before Akanni could change his mind. It rolled on the jungle floor, coming to rest beside the skull. Akanni and his warriors picked up Kamau’s body and carried it back to the village for burial.

When they were gone, the skull spoke to Kamau. “What is this? How did you get here?”

Kamu replied, “Talking brought me here!”

Jun 4, 2009


Yes, I’ve been making some. :-)

Granted, a lot of my progress can’t be seen, but it’s still something. I’ve been keeping up with my page a day, I’ve been working simultaneously on a couple of poems, and I’ve been editing Driving Into Forever. This is where we run into the progress that’s hard to see. Do I count pages? words I’ve changed? I’ve had to add a green pen to the red for when I make changes to my changes. :-)

I’ve made a couple of false starts on the Summer Challenge . . . Now that I’ve made up my mind to do it, I’ve got several ideas all clamouring for my attention. There’s a chorus of “pick me, pick me” going on in my head. I need to buckle down and choose one.

I’m also feeling the pull of all the reference material I’ve got in my office. Books and magazines I’ve acquired over the years with the plan to use them to generate story ideas.

I have an entire set of Man, Myth, and Magic, both in their original magazine format and in a hardbound format. Why do I have both? I like the hard backs for ease of locating information, but the magazines have really interesting trivia on their back covers.

For instance, there’s an article speculating on where Bram Stoker got his inspiration for Dracula. Surprisingly, the first source cited is Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who was said to have murdered over 600 young women and girls for the sheer pleasure of bathing in their blood.

Another back cover showcases Harry Houdini, and yet another quotes passages from the Book of Ezekiel in an effort to prove that he met up with men from space. These articles are not part of the hard bound editions, which is why I keep both.

I also have a handful of UNESCO Couriers, the magazine put out by the United Nations. These are thin little magazines, but they’re packed with world history and information. I just recently acquired several volumes of Horizon, a hard bound magazine of the arts. Each volume has articles on history, art, archaeology, ideas, and the world around us.

From Time-Life I have the Great Ages of Man series, the Time Frame series, the Planet Earth series, and most of the Enchanted World series. And let’s not forget the multitude of books bought through the National Geographic Society.

One of these days I might actually get around to reading them all. :-)

For now, I think I’ll just keep writing.

Jun 3, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday

Today, for your amusement, I have a selection of strange, but true, news items:

Torvald Alexander, 39, was able to chase away the unlucky home invader who hit his apartment on Dec. 31 in Edinburgh, Scotland, according to a BBC News report. The two men inadvertently came face to face just as Alexander was preparing to leave for a New Year's party, dressed in full regalia as Thor, the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder. Alexander said the burglar took one look at him, turned and climbed hurriedly out a window, sliding down a sloped roof and landing on the ground, where he took off running.

Nathaniel Johnson, 19, was arrested in March in Tampa on burglary charges when police produced solid evidence of his presence in a neighborhood that had reported several break-ins. Johnson was revealed to be at each crime scene because he was traced by the ankle monitor he was wearing from a previous court appearance.

In February, David Hampton, 23, was charged in Charlotte County, Fla., with robbing a BP gas station and became the latest such robber to run out of gas in his getaway car even though minutes earlier, obviously, he had been present at a gas station.

A masked man escaped in December after trying unsuccessfully to rob the Washman carwash in Portland, Ore. In the middle of the job, the man's gun literally broke apart and fell to the ground. As he continued to demand money, it became clear why robbing a carwash is tricky. The employee grabbed the nearest tool, which was the wand of a pressure washer (2,000 pounds per square inch) and hosed the robber, sending him fleeing.

Matthew Peverada was arrested in Portland, Maine, in December and charged with attempting to rob Dipietro's Market. His first attempt, at about 4 p.m., was rebuffed, but he announced that he'd be back at 11 p.m., and that they'd better have some money for him. He returned, and police were waiting.

Michael Reed, 50, was charged with attempted robbery of Eddie's Fried Chicken in Fort Worth, Texas, in December. He was armed only with a tree branch and was quickly neutralized by a 56-year-old employee, who grabbed a broom, and the men proceeded to duel until Reed dropped his branch and fled (but was arrested nearby).

A 49-year-old Leavenworth, Kan., man was hospitalized in November after (according to police) using a front-end loader to pluck an ATM from the Frontier Credit Union. He was hurt when he drove to the edge of a 50-foot embankment and tried to drop the ATM, imagining that the fall would break it open, but instead, he, the loader, and the ATM all crashed to the bottom.

William Jarrett, 38, was charged in Hempstead Village, N.Y., in November with swiping a necklace from a 32-year-old pregnant woman and running off. Despite her condition, the woman chased him, screaming, for six blocks and caught up with him just as a police officer was arriving on the scene

Jose Diaz Jr., 35, was arrested and charged with shoplifting from a Wal-Mart in Madison Township, Ohio, in October after attempting to run from the store with a digital camera. He first crashed into the glass front door (which looked open, but was closed), cutting himself badly, but then exited into the parking lot, where he almost immediately ran into a cement post, allowing security personnel to catch up with him.

What started as a "strong-arm" street robbery in Warren, Mich., in October, ended when the victim turned out to be stronger than the perp. When it was over, the victim had gotten his money back, plus $30 of the mugger's as the man fled, according to a police report in the Macomb Daily.

Jun 2, 2009

Insert Witty Title Here

Did anyone besides me catch the Discovery Channel program on the Crystal Cave in Mexico? Fascinating stuff. Even after watching all that scientifically based information I know there’s a story in there somewhere, something magical . . .

Here’s a link if you want to explore a little more about the Crystal Cave.

After careful consideration, I’ve accepted the Summer Challenge over on AW. This is kind of like an unofficial NaNoWriMo, only you have until September 1 to complete a rough draft. Why would I do this when I seem to be struggling so much lately? Because I’m a glutton for punishment, that’s why. ;-)

Well, that may be partially true, but the real reason is I’m hoping it’ll give my fiction writing a boost, the way the PAD challenge gave my poetry a boost. It may seem a little counter-productive to start a new project at this point, but there’s a much longer time limit than the 30 days of NaNo to complete the challenge, and there’s no word restrictions.

Of course there’s no official check ins either, which means I’ll have to set up a progress meter of my own to shame me, I mean encourage me, into producing more.

For the month of June I figure I’ll be lucky to get in my page a day, plus the occasional poem, but after June will be a different story (hopefully!).

So, new goals for June:

New progress meter for the Summer Challenge.
Not sure yet how I’ll keep track of the Page-A-Day, other than a simple yes or no . . .
At least one new poem a week (which can take minutes to write or days to write, it depends on whether one just pops into my head or I have to sweat over it using a poetry prompt).
Editing, hard copy only. I’ve been really uneffective in this department. I keep using the hard copy as a reference, but I’ve been doing my editing on the lap top as I go along. I’ve printed out a copy of Driving Into Forever, now I need to shut down the lap top when I’m in editing mode.

I’d just like to add that all this grey weather we’ve been having lately is really not helping. I can handle one grey day, two at the most. After that I start getting the headaches and the tiredness and it’s just one great big energy sink.

Okay, enough of that. Less talking, more writing!

Jun 1, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again

Here we are, another Monday.

It was a pretty uneventful weekend. Wasn’t on the computer much, which of course means I didn’t get much writing done. But I don’t feel guilty about it. I think sometimes it’s good to take a bit of a break . . . Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ;-)

I did think about writing a lot. I’ve got another space/adventure/romance that’s been intruding on my thoughts. The last thing I need right now is to start something new, but I don’t know that I really have a choice in the matter.

The last time this happened was right before NaNo. A story popped into my head and pushed everything else out. For two weeks I couldn’t even think about anything else, let alone write about anything else. No reading, no writing, just going over the story in my head and refining it. Of course the good news there was that once I started writing there was no hesitation at all and I even finished NaNo ahead of schedule.

We’ll have to see how it goes with this story. So far it hasn’t shown the same intensity as the NaNo one, so I might be able to just do an outline for it and leave it simmering on the back burner.

You might have noticed that my Progress indicator is under construction again. Yeah, I had issues with it. I’m working on a new goals/progress widget but probably won’t have anything up until later today.

June is going to be a busy month for me, what with the daughter getting married at the beginning of July. I’m going to have to go over that chapter in my text book about time management and put it to good use. I’ve got a lot of sewing and other stuff to get done, I’ve got school taking a chunk of time out of my day, and I want to set reasonable writing goals. I’ll probably have to allot a specific amount of time to writing, rather than wordage goals. And then of course I’ll have to learn to make the most out of my allotted time.

Is it just my imagination or am I sounding more like a wannabe writer than a writer these days?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.