Nov 29, 2013

NaNo Week IV - The End is Here!

One more day left and NaNo is done for another year.

For some reason I always do well with a deadline, and NaNo is no exception. I've been putting my nose to the grindstone this week and it's paid off. As of the writing of this post (late Thursday night) I'm only 1500 words away from the 50,000 word goal. I think it's safe to assume I can manage 1500 words over the next two days.

So . . .what are some of the things I've learned from this year's NaNo?

First, and most important, DO NOT start book three of a series before you have book two written. It will cause much floundering as you try and figure out the starting point for your characters.

Second, an occasional pajama day can really up the word count.

And three, it is possible to write an entire novel while sitting in a recliner - even if you do have a home office. :-)

This, the final week's excerpt, is a little on the long side, but I really couldn't figure out where to cut it and I'm too lazy to find a different scene. Ellen, Howard, Sebastian, and Kaelan have reached their destination, the Wild Woods Elven Realm. Here they meet Kaelan's brother, Diarmad who's a bit of an ass hat. In this scene, Diarmad has just sent Kaelan off to do the washing up after supper.

Once again I would remind you that this is NaNo and the idea is to write quickly, not prettily. So this excerpt is totally unedited. ;-)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Ellen started to rise. "Maybe I should go help him."

"Nonsense," Diarmad said, taking her hand to stop her. "He'll be fine on his own. While I, on the other hand, would be desolate at your loss."

"You don't even know me," she said, amused in spite of herself. He really was pulling out all the stops.

"Ah, but that can be easily mended. You have only to tell me about yourself, beautiful Ellen. What brings you to the Wild Woods Realm in the company in such a poor guard as my brother?"

Ellen shot a glance towards Howard and Sebastian. The bard shook his head slightly at her. Right. Charismatic as Diarmad was, he was still an unknown.

"We're here as a favour to a friend, and Kaelan came highly recommended."

He offered her the wine skin again but she shook her head.

"And what do you do, when you're not roaming around in ghostly elven realms playing pranks on your brother?"

Diarmad threw back his head and laughed. "You have to admit, he is an easy target. His lack of magic makes it so simple. Like my little brother, I'm a guard. But I'm one of the king's guards."

"Kaelan mentioned he has more than one sibling," Sebastian said curiously. "Are all of you guards or soldiers?"

"Not at all," Diaramad said. "Our brother Aodhfin is a trader, while Eoghan and Brogan follow in father's trade. Something else poor Kaelan lacks talent for."

Ellen was sure that last comment was tacked on for Kaelan's benefit. He'd just returned to the clearing and was hovering on the edge. It broke her heart, but she wasn't sure what she could say that wouldn't make things worse for him.

"I'm pretty sure Kaelan mentioned as sister as well," Howard said, having not noticed Kaelan standing in the shadows. "What does she do?"

"Iana?" Diarmad gave a dismissive shrug. "She need do nothing. There are servants for that."

Something of Ellen's opinion of that must have shown on her face, because Diarmad quickly changed the topic.

"Wild Woods is considered one of the most beautiful of all the elven realms," he told her. "The full moon is very bright tonight, perfect for a stroll along the water."

Ellen smiled. "I believe you're right, Diarmad," she said. "A walk would be perfect. Kaelan, would you care to join me?" She rose gracefully to her feet and held out her hand.

"But --" Diarmad seemed taken aback.

Kaelan was better at hiding his surprise. His smile was slow, but one hundred percent sincere. "It would be my pleasure to be your escort."

He took her hand and together they disappeared down the path to the stream.

"But --"

Sebastian handed Diarmad the wine skin. "There's no divining a woman's mind," he said. "Might as well have a drink."  

Kaelan and Ellen were quiet as they followed the path to the stream, but Kaelan did not stop there. He led her along the bank until the stream widened into a waterfall fed pond. The waterfall itself was only a few feet high, the source lost in a rocky outcrop. A handful of night blooming water lilies bobbed gently around the edges of the pond while the moonlight sparkled on the water.

"This is so beautiful!" Ellen exclaimed.

"My grandmother used to bring me here for picnics when I was young," Kaelan said. He led her over to a stone bench that was half-hidden by ferns.

Once they were seated, Ellen said, "Your brother is really something, isn't he?"

Kaelan's expressive face grew still as he shrugged carelessly. "Yes, many are drawn to him."

She turned to look at him. "That wasn't meant to be a compliment."

"I don't understand."

"Was he born that big of a jerk, or does he have to work at it?" He looked back at her, eyes wide. "Kaelan, are you so used to the way he treats you that you don't even notice it any more?"


She took his hand, cradling it in hers. "I hate to tell you this, but your brother is a pompous ass and the way he likes to belittle you makes me want to thump him with one of our ironwood staffs."

Kaelan looked searchingly into her eyes for a moment, and then leaned in and kissed her. He'd only meant it to be a light, friendly kiss, but at the first touch of her lips under his, all his good intentions evaporated.

Ellen melted into his arms. It just felt so right. Her hands seemed to have a mind of their own as they slid up his arms, across his shoulders, and buried themselves in his hair.

When they finally broke apart, they did not loosen their holds on each other.

"I did not intend for this to happen, but I cannot seem to help myself when I am alone with you."

"This really isn't the time or place for something like this," Ellen said. "Well, actually it's the perfect place and time, but you know what I mean."

"Yes, I do," he agreed, and began kissing her again.

When they returned to the camp they were both a little dishevelled looking, much to Diarmad's irritation. The fire was burning low and it was decided that they should all turn in for the night.

"Are you so fearful of my brother's intentions that you need to sleep with your sword?" Diarmad asked with a bark of laughter.

Ellen raised an eyebrow as she gave him a quelling look. "How sad that you know so little about your own brother."

At least he had the grace to look abashed.

"We're in a place where something catastrophic must have happened. Add that to the fact that the barrier's been weakened to the point where I don't believe it can prevent those with ill intentions from entering, and I think precautions are warranted. Better to be paranoid than sorry."

Bedroll arranged to her satisfaction, she laid down to sleep, the sword beside her.

Nov 27, 2013

Hump Day Hunk

Winter is here, it's cold outside and the snow is gently falling. Seems like a good day to just lounge around inside the house. Don't you think? ;-)

Nov 26, 2013

Signs of the Zodiac - Virgo

Quick facts:
You were born between August 23 and September 23
Your sign is the Virgin
Your planet is Mercury
Your element is earth
Your metal is quicksilver
Your birthstone is the sapphire
Your flower is the aster
Your color is dark violet/navy blue
Your body part is the stomach
Your descriptive phrase is: I analyze, therefore I am

Virgos can be picky and critical, but they are also industrious, methodical and efficient. They are usually modest and can be somewhat repressed. They enjoy indulging in their practical and logical nature. Good at fact-finding, they can usually be counted on to get things right the first time. A true Virgo is usually a bundle of energy, both mentally and physically.

This is the sign of caution, discretion and logic. Those born under this sign have a strong impulse to be of service to others. They are changeable and adaptable, and quiet and undemonstrative in affairs of the heart. They tend to be genuinely affectionate, but not fully involved with their partners, they tend to shrink away from close relationships. Unassuming, retiring, modest, prudent, and possessed of considerable cool charm they are also intelligent, and have excellent communicative abilities, possibly a knack for languages. They are logical and tidy-minded, suspicious of abstract ideas and emotional attitudes. Sensible, reliable, busy, and cautious, they are careful with money. They make good doctors, teachers, accountants and secretaries.

Your best matches, whether as friends, lovers or partners, are those born under the sign of Taurus and Capricorn, and to a lesser degree those born to Cancer and Scorpio.

Famous Virgo include: Queen Elizabeth I; William Howard Taft; Leonard Bernstein; O. Henry; Sean Connery; Greta Garbo; Jesse James; Mother Teresa; and Stephen King.

Nov 25, 2013

Meleagrine Monday

meleagrine ~ of, like or pertaining to turkeys

In case I forget, Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends on Thursday!

You know, I sat down to write this post thinking I had a bad week last week, but then I ran the report for the TraxTime, and added up my weekly words, and you know what? I didn't do too badly.

It was a strange week. Wednesday I had to get up at the insanely (for me) early hour of 5:30 a.m. to drive someone to the hospital in another city for an outpatient procedure. Once he was checked in I went down to their cafeteria and got over a thousand NaNo words in. Not bad on just a couple of hours sleep.

Unfortunately, that lack of sleep really messed with me big time, but I still managed to get close to 2,000 words in every day last week.

I got some reading in when I was at the hospital too, starting a fantasy book on my Kindle that I want to get back to. I also started re-reading the Swords and Sorceress anthology series, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Good stuff.

And thanks to the Dr. Who anniversary shows, I got a good seven inches done on sleeve number two of my second Fair Isle sweater. I might get it done in time for Christmas yet. ;-)

Blog Stuff For the Week:
Tuesday: The sixth sign of the Zodiac is Virgo.
Wednesday: A new hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)
Thursday: This is the last week I'll be posting the chapter links for the draft version of Water so you'd better catch up now before I pull the whole thing off for editing. And as I did last week, I will be including an entry or two from the journal that's going to be included in the finished version.
Friday: This is the last week of NaNo, and I will be doing a wrap up post with a new excerpt here Friday.

Other Stuff
This week's TraxTime report runs from November 17 through November 23.
Crafts - 5 hours and 53 minutes ~ up from 3 hrs and 35 min
Emails - 4 hours and 20 minutes ~ down from 5 hrs and 48 min
Games - 4 hours and 52 minutes ~ almost the same as 4 hrs and 32 min
Reading - 1 hour and 45 minutes ~ up slightly from 1 hr and 10 min
Non-fiction - 6 hours and 53 minutes ~ down from as 7 hrs and 07 min
Fiction - 24 hours and 35 minutes ~ almost the same as 24 hrs and 17 min
Total Words - 23,626 this week ~ up from 20,096 last week

My Fiction time wasn't all just NaNo this week, I actually made the time to work on a new idea that wouldn't leave me alone. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a short story, which I haven't written in a while.

I was a little more consistent with my words for NaNo and I'm almost caught up (even if I haven't updated my NaNo word widget on the left yet. ;-)

This is the final week of Nano, and barring any unforeseen circumstances there's no reason I shouldn't finish the 50,000 words on time. The rest of the story is another matter. ;-)

Nov 22, 2013

NaNo Week III

Well, we've made it to the end of Week II.

I've been a little more consistent in the daily word counts, but I've slipped back into my habit of writing mostly at night.

To be on track I should have a word count of 36,674 and as you can see I a little shy. Okay, I'm a lot shy. But there's still a week to go and anything can happen. So don't count me out yet. ;-)

And even if I don't make the 50,000 word goal I'll still have a good start on book III of the Moonstone Chronicles.

This week's excerpt comes from after Ellen, Howard, Sebastian, and Kaelan have started their journey towards the Wild Woods Elven Realm. Howard is feeling a little left out because if they are attacked he's going to be pretty useless. He hasn't had time to learn any defensive magic and he's pretty inept with anything with an edge to it. So Ellen offers a solution.

Once again I would remind you that this is NaNo and the idea is to write quickly, not prettily. So this excerpt is totally unedited. ;-)


"I've been thinking, Howard . . ." Ellen said as they finished their lunch.

"Uh, oh. This can't be good," he said with a smirk.

"Ha, ha. No, seriously. I know that an edged weapon is out as far as you're concerned, but what about a staff?"

"A staff?"

"Yeah, like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Don't all wizards carry staffs?"

"Gandalf's staff was magic, I don't think it works that way here."

"I was thinking more about you carrying a staff to defend yourself with."

"You really think a wooden staff would be any use against a sword?" Howard asked skeptically.

"One of my brothers was part of an exchange program with a student from Japan. Akiro was really good with the bo - a staff used for fighting in the martial arts - and he taught us all to use one. And Jack, my brother, picked up some pointers when he was in Japan. During a sparring match between my father and Akiro, Akiro was able to disarm my father using his bo. You should have seen my father's face." It was one of her fondest memories.

"Do you really think you could teach me?" Howard asked hopefully.

"I can try. We can practice during our breaks." She grinned suddenly. "At the very least, it'll keep our muscles limber."

"Could you teach me as well?" Sebastian asked suddenly.

They looked at him, surprised.

He shrugged. "Sometimes I find myself in situations where a weapon is needed, but a sword is a little . . . "

"Overkill?" Howard suggested.

"Exactly. At times it needs only a show of strength to ward off an attack. With a sharp sword a person can become injured for no good reason. I have seen staffs being used for defense in the west. In some cases they're even used for attack. I've just never had the time to learn. Or anyone to teach me."

"I don't see why not. And it might be easier for Howard to have someone his own size to spar with," Ellen said with another grin.

It was on the tip of Kaelan's tongue to ask Ellen to teach him as well, but when it came to fighting, he preferred a weapon with an edge.

"Where are we to acquire these staffs with which to fight?" he asked instead.

Sebastian pointed to a spot downstream from where they were gathered. "There is a stand of ironwood trees just over there."

"It takes a special axe to cut into ironwood. The wood itself is not good for burning so we have no such axe with us."

Ellen looked thoughtfully towards the grove of trees.

"You have an idea?" Kaelan asked.

She nodded. "Maybe we don't need to cut them. Howard, come with me."

Mystified, he followed behind as she led the way to the grove. The trees were perfect for their needs. The trunks were squat and thick with a bush of leaves at the top, but the limbs were long and straight. They wouldn't even need to trim excess branches or leaves off of them.

"Okay, do your thing, Howard."

"What thing?" he asked, completely baffled.

"Your magi thing. Use your earth magic to ask the trees nicely if we could have three of their straightest limbs - about six feet long."

He looked at her dubiously. "I think you've been out in the fresh air too long. All this oxygen is affecting your brain."

"There's no harm in trying," she insisted.

"Your success in Lady Aracelia's garden does suggest you have talent with the earth magic," Kaelan said.

Howard looked helplessly over at Sebastian. "This is crazy, right?"

Sebastian grinned at him. "It's only crazy if it doesn't work."

Huffing a heartfelt sigh, Howard walked into the grove. When he reached the center he stopped. Closing his eyes, he reached inside for his magic spark, separating out the green thread. It was much easier this time. Feeling foolish, he began to speak.

"Uh, I don't know if you can understand me, but I need a favour. If three of you ironwood trees would graciously allow me to have three of your straightest branches - about as long as I am - I would greatly appreciate it. And in return, I'll give each of you a drink of my earth magic."

For a long moment, during which Howard projected peaceful intentions towards the trees, nothing happened. Then there was a sound like branches rattling together, like a shiver went through the grove. There was a gasp behind him. Howard opened his eyes and just about gasped himself.

Lying on the ground, where there had been nothing before, were three long limbs. "Those are perfect!" Ellen exclaimed.

"I, um, thank you," Howard stuttered. He went to each of the three trees that had shed a limb and placed his palm on their trunks, concentrating on transferring earth energy to each of them in turn. After the last one, he staggered slightly. "Whoa!"

Sebastian hurried over to steady him. "After all those times you scolded Jessica for over-extending herself, here you do the same thing," he scolded. He helped Howard back to where they'd sat for their lunch.

"Sorry," Howard said. He looked up at the concerned faces surrounding him. "Really, I'll be okay in a minute or two."

"At this stage his magical energy is tied to his personal energy," Sebastian explained. "He's depleted his resources."

Kaelan went over to the supplies and returned with a water skin and a handful of dried fruit. "Here, these will help."

"Thanks," Howard said. Although his stomach turned at the thought of eating anything, he knew the elf was right. His blood sugar was probably dangerously low. He nibbled on the fruit, alternating it with sips of the water.

"This wood is amazing," Ellen said, holding one of the limbs in her hands. "It's the perfect weight for fighting - not too light, not too heavy. And it's so unbelievably dense!"

"It's ironwood," Sebastian said by way of explanation. "It's not particularly rare, but it's so incredibly difficult to work with that items made of it fetch incredible prices. It is said that only earth elementals are able to create designs in ironwood."

Howard brightened at that. "That will be my first goal when I learn elemental magic properly - embellishing our staffs."

Nov 19, 2013

SIgns of the Zodiac - Leo

Quick facts:
You were born between July 23 and August 22
Your sign is the Lion
Your planet is the Sun
Your element is Fire
Your metal is gold
Your birthstone is onyx and ruby
Your flower is the gladiolus
Your color is orange
Your body part is the heart and spine
Your descriptive phrase is: I will, therefore I am.

The fifth sign of the zodiac, Leo loves to be the center of attention. They're ambitious and their drive allows them to accomplish a great deal. They're also creative, and have a flare for the dramatic. Their desire to be in charge will sometimes ruffle a few feathers, but they will see a project through to completion. They are outgoing, self- assured, and enthusiastic.

The lion is the natural symbol of kings and rulers. Those born under this sign often have a lordly bearing and expect to be treated with respect. Impossible to bully, they're only over awed by people of higher status. They are brave in an emergency, but otherwise very casual and do not easily believe they are vulnerable to danger. They are usually generous, but only to boost their own reputation. They tend to respect those in power and authority, and are often interested in politics. They like to delegate to inferiors, are self-confident, and obvious leaders. Sometimes they can be mentally and physically lazy, and may also be somewhat insensitive.

Your best matches, whether as friends, lovers or partners, are those born under the sign of Sagittarius or Aries and to a lesser degree those born to Gemini and Libra.

Famous Leo include: Napoleon I; Alexander the Great; Aldous Huxley; Alfred Hitchcock; Woody Harrelson; Mick Jagger; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Antonio Banderas; and Bill Clinton.

Nov 18, 2013

Mnemotechny Monday

mnemotechny ~ system for improving memory

The mega-death-cold-from-hell finally left, but it appears to have taken both my energy and ambition with it.

It was sunnier last week, which should have meant I had more get up and go. However, the sunshine was offset by a series of headaches. And I was still pretty darned tired. Go figure.

I did, however, get more writing done during the day, which was one of my goals, so it wasn't all bad.

Unfortunately, my plot is not becoming any less twisted. A few of my characters want to have sex, and I have to keep telling them it's not that kind of story. They don't really believe me so they keep trying. And then I have one character who seems to think her horse is a sentient being, judging by the way she keeps talking to it.


I got a fair amount done on the sweater sleeve I'm working on and only have about five inches to go before I can start the next one. I did the increasing a little differently than I did on the first sweater and it turned out much nicer. I'd really like to re-do the sleeves for the first sweater, but that would require me ripping out the yoke and I'm not sure I'd have time to re-knit all of that.

Blog Stuff For the Week:
Tuesday: The fifth sign of the Zodiac is Leo.
Wednesday: A new hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)
Thursday: I will continue to post the chapter links for the draft version of Water the rest of the month before I pull the whole thing off for editing. And as I did last week, I will be including an entry or two from the journal that's going to be included in the finished version.
Friday: I'm still behind in NaNo, but I will be posting a new excerpt here Friday.

Other Stuff
This week's TraxTime report runs from November 3 through November 9.
Crafts - 3 hours and 35 minutes ~ up from 1 hrs and 29 min
Emails - 5 hours and 48 minutes ~ up from 2 hrs and 38 min
Games - 4 hours and 32 minutes ~ down from 5 hrs and 05 min
Reading - 1 hour and 10 minutes ~ down from 4 hr and 10 min
Non-fiction - 7 hours and 07 minutes ~ up from as 4 hrs and 50 min
Fiction - 24 hours and 17 minutes ~ way up from 18 hrs and 05 min
Total Words - 20,096 this week ~ up from 15,490 last week

Again, about half my time last week was spent on NaNo. And I must be doing something right because where I was behind by about 7,000 last week, I'm only behind by about 5,000 this week. LOL

I'm actually surprised I didn't fall further behind. I'd have a 2,000 word day, and then a day I'd only write 400; a 3,000 word day, followed by 600. Can we say inconsistent?

Too busy writing to get much reading done last week, but I'm hoping this will change this week because I want to start riding the stationary bike again. Last time I did I read on my Kindle while I rode, which made it more like reading time than exercise time. We'll let my reading time speak for the amount of exercise I get this week. ;-)

Once again, the main focus this week will be on catching up on my NaNo. While I'm still pretty sure I'll be able to reach my 50,000 word goal, I can already tell the finished novel will be much longer than that.

Nov 15, 2013

NaNo Week II

So . . . here we are at the end of Week II.

Wherever the mega-death-cold-from-hell went, it appears to have taken my energy and ambition with it.

While I have been getting more writing done during the day (so I can be getting to bed earlier) it's still rather sporadic. One day I'll do a couple of thousand words, the next it'll be a couple of hundred. Today is the halfway point for NaNoWriMo, which means I should be at 25,000 words.

As you can see by my little word count widget on the left, I'm no where near 25,000. But the month's not done yet and anything can happen. So don't count me out yet. ;-)

Again, my NaNo excerpt is pretty self-explanatory. Ellen, Howard, Sebastian and Kaelan are about to undertake a quest for the Lady Aracelia, an elf of great power and influence. But first they need a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, sleep is not coming easily for a couple of them.

Once again I would remind you that this is NaNo and the idea is to write quickly, not prettily. So this excerpt is totally unedited. ;-)


That night, Ellen had trouble sleeping. The bed was more than comfortable enough, but she kept tossing and turning anyway. Finally, she gave up. Putting on the too-long robe she'd been given (which matched the too long, silk night gown), she went out into the garden hoping the fresh air would make her sleepy.

Not that she saw the logic in that really. Fresh air should actually make her feel more wide awake, shouldn't it? But it was better than laying in bed, staring up at the ceiling.

A cup of tea probably would have made more sense, but she wasn't really sure which way the kitchen was and in any case, she didn't really feel comfortable rooting around in someone else's kitchen. Or worse, waking one of the servants up who would then insist on making it for her.

She wondered if Aracelia often had trouble sleeping too. There were a great many night blooming flowers in the garden. There was just a hint of a breeze, but the evening was surprisingly warm. She had to wonder if it was really that warm, or if it was some magical aspect to do with the garden.

Coming to a spot where there were stone benches surrounding a small pond, Ellen sat down. There was a life-like statue of a satyr like creature in the center of the water, legs poised for dance, a pan flute held to its lips, ready to play. Was it taken from Earth mythology, or was Earth mythology based on this figure? For all she knew this could be a real satyr, turned to stone by magic.

Magic. Here she was in the magical world that was Jessica's true home. Her friends, because over the last few months Howard had truly been her friend, both had magic coming out the ying yang. But what about her? What was her place in this world? Not that she even wanted one. Hopefully Jessica's family would be able to figure out how to send her home. If they could make it there. Just how far was the southlands from where they were now?

There was a full moon tonight and beneath its light she could see multicoloured fish swimming amongst the water lilies. Apparently they didn't have racoons here. Or maybe there was a magic spell in place to keep them away. The thought made her smile.

Her mother had persuaded her father to put a koi pond in their back yard and every year she fought with the racoons to keep her fish safe. Last year she'd finally discouraged the racoons from coming back but a heron discovered the pond and three nights later the fish were completely gone.

A slight scuff on the path made her turn her head. It was without surprise that she saw the elf Kaelan approaching. There was something about him . . . it wasn't just that he was so beautiful, or that he seemed to find her fascinating. It was something else. Something she couldn't put her finger on. Or maybe the truth was she didn't want to put her finger on it.

"I'm sorry," he said as he drew next to her. "I did not wish to intrude."

Damn. Even his voice was beautiful.

"It's all right," she told him. "You're not intruding. And actually, I'd kind of like the company."

He sat down beside her on the bench leaving just the right amount of space between them. Once seated they were on more of an even level, so to speak.

"Are you having trouble sleeping too?" she asked.

"Yes," he answered honestly. "I cannot help but wonder what has happened to the elves of the Wild Woods Realm. Different possibilities keep running through my mind."

"And each one worse than the last," Ellen finished for him.

"This is true. I thought perhaps some time in the garden might clear my head."

"Then perhaps I'm the one intruding," she told him. "If you'd rather be alone . . ."

"No!" The flush on his face was apparent even in the moonlight. "That is, I would much rather talk with you than be alone with my thoughts. But tell me, Mistress Ellen, what thoughts were you thinking that had you looking so serious?"

"It's just Ellen," she told him. "And I was thinking it seems that everyone else is just dripping with magic - everyone except me. I feel the odd man out."

"Ah," he nodded. "I know the feeling. I, too, have been curse with a lack of magic."

"Really?" She looked surprised. "I thought elves were magic in themselves?"

He smiled at her. "Alas, no. And it is this lack that has made me the odd man out as well. I have three brothers and a sister, all, as you say, dripping with magic."

She thought about it for a moment. "It must have made it very hard, growing up in such a magical household."

"You have no idea."

Nov 12, 2013

Signs of the Zodiac - Cancer

Quick facts:
You were born between June 22 and July 22
Your sign is the Crab
Your planet is the Moon
Your element is water
Your metal is silver
Your birthstone is the ruby and the pearl
Your flower is water lily
Your color is turquoise
Your body part is the breast
Your descriptive phrase is: I feel, therefore I am.

Those born under the sign of Cancer take great pleasure in home and family. They're both maternal and domestic and love to nurture others, sometimes to the point of smothering them. But like the crab representing their sign, Cancers can be somewhat crabby, if not downright moody. They're tenacious and strong-willed and not above using emotional blackmail to get their own way.

Cancer is the sign of inspiration, sensitivity, and evasiveness. Those born under this sign tend to be ambitious, unstable, easily corrupted and changeable in their opinions and loyalties. They often fear ridicule and criticism and tend to over-analyze themselves, worrying about what other people think. They are easily led to exaggeration and can be a good source for stories which are too good not be true. Sentimental and sympathetic, they also are versatile and possess constructive imaginations.

Your best matches, whether as friends, lovers or partners, are those born under the sign of Pisces and Scorpio, and to a lesser degree those born to Taurus and Virgo.

Famous Cancer include: Julius Caesar; Diana, Princess of Wales; Helen Keller; Nelson Mandela; Pearl Buck; Louis Armstrong; and Harrison Ford.

Nov 11, 2013

Macrocephalous Monday

macrocephalous ~ having a large head

As you can see, I'm still alive. The mega-death-cold-from-hell has been reduced to plugged sinuses that tend to affect both my hearing and my balance, and the occasional hacking-up-a-lung cough.

What I need is an infusion of sunlight to get back on track. On top of the mega-death-cold-from-hell, the weather has been pretty much cold and overcast. And anyone who's read this blog for any length of time knows how well I do with any kind of grey weather - which is not well at all.

Worse than the cold was the all but total lack of energy and focus last week. I spent a lot of time napping during the day. A LOT of time. Which is probably why I found I was getting most of my writing done in the wee small hours of the night.

The story itself I'm working on for NaNo is well named. Wandering Wizards is truly wandering . . . all over the place. Part of the problem is that I haven't finished the book that comes before it. And without knowing where that one ends, it's hard to know where this one should begin. Or what should happen in it.

I think I might have too many characters to deal with, and a couple of them haven't quite decided how they're going to react to the situation they find themselves in, while two others won't shut up long enough to go do what they need to do.


Blog Stuff For the Week:
Tuesday: The fourth sign of the Zodiac is Cancer.
Wednesday: A new hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)
Thursday: I will continue to post the chapter links for the draft version of Water the rest of the month before I pull the whole thing off for editing. And as I did last week, I will be including an entry or two from the journal that's going to be included in the finished version.
Friday: I'm still behind in NaNo, but I should have enough to post a new excerpt here Friday. ;-)

Other Stuff
This week's TraxTime report runs from November 3 through November 9.
Crafts - 1 hours and 29 minutes ~ way down from 5 hrs and 29 min
Emails - 2 hours and 38 minutes ~ down from 5 hrs and 47 min
Games - 5 hours and 05 minutes ~ way down from 11 hrs and 11 min
Reading - 4 hour and 10 minutes ~ about the same as 4 hr and 23 min
Non-fiction - 4 hours and 50 minutes ~ about the same as 4 hrs and 43 min
Fiction - 18 hours and 05 minutes ~ way up from 10 hrs and 19 min
Total Words - 15,490 this week ~ up way from 10,777 last week

Did I mention I was sick last week? As you can see by Trax Time, what little energy I had was channeled mainly towards NaNoWriMo. And even at that I'm still behind by . . . as of today, almost 7,000 words. Yikes!

Guess what I'll be focusing on this week? ;-)

Nov 8, 2013

NaNo Week One

Week One of NaNoWriMo is officially over and as usual, I'm woefully behind. I truly thought this year would be different and I was going to stay on top of things, but I should have known better. :-)

However, I seem to be over the worst of the mega-death-cold-from-hell and I'm slowly catching up on my wordage. Unfortunately, I seem to be the most productive after 1 a.m. Oh, well. Sleep is for the weak!

This excerpt comes from the very beginning of Wandering Wizards, so it's pretty self-explanatory. Just bear in mind when you're reading that this is NaNo and the idea is to write quickly, not prettily. So this is totally unedited. ;-)

* * * * *

Howard stared at the object that rest dead center on his work table. It looked like an adder stone, or hag stone. He'd awoken to the sound of a thunderclap and the vision of that very object. It had hovered over his bed and then floated slowly out of the room. He'd followed it, and only when it settled gently on his work table did he realize he wasn't dreaming.

"Howard . . ." a disembodied voice said. "Activate your scrying bowl."

A few months ago, Howard would have been horrified at objects floating around his apartment and disembodied voices talking to him. He would thought seriously about getting some psychiatric help.

But that was before he'd learned that magic was possible. Before he'd accidentally sent his best friend into a magical realm in another dimension. Before he'd talked with wizards from this other realm and they'd leant him some of their power. Before he'd learned how to work magic himself.

With a yawn he went over to the book case and pulled down the bowl he'd been using for scrying. It had been several days since he'd last used it - when he'd finally given up on being able to contact his friend Jessica.

He fingered the moonstone pendant hanging around his neck as he waited for the oil in the bowl to settle. The pendant had been his only means of verbal communication with Jessica. It was actually in two parts, but hers had been lost somewhere in the magical realm. At first he'd been able to use the scrying bowl to keep tabs on her - even if they couldn't talk he could at least see that she was all right, but it was getting harder and harder to do so.

The oil in the bowl churned and then cleared to show the face of a beautiful woman with brilliant blue eyes, silver hair, and slender, pointed ears.

"Aracelia!" Howard said in surprise, then added, "Ma'am."

The Lady Aracelia was Jessica's fairy grandmother, or to be more precise, her Elven grandmother. Jessica, it turned out, was not a native of earth, but of the magical realm. She'd been sent to earth as a baby for her own safety and had grown up not knowing she was adopted nor her magical heritage.

"Howard, you are looking well, my friend."

"Ah, thank you. You're looking well too. How may I help you?"

"Paran has told me what a promising student of magic you are, but that he find's your world's lack of magic most frustrating."

"As do I," Howard admitted. Truthfully, he found it far more than just frustrating.

"I have sent you a talisman imbued with elven magic that should aid you in your lessons. It should last for several months, at which point you have only to contact me and I will re-energize it for you."

"I don't know what to say," Howard said, astonished. "Your generosity humbles me."

She smiled gently. "You have been a good friend to my granddaughter and I feel responsible for the loss of your ability to do more than spy on her through the bowl."

It had, in fact, been totally her fault. She arranged for Jessica's half of the amulet to be stolen in order to draw Jessica into the Elven Realm to test her magical abilities. Unfortunately, the amulet, along with the young elf who'd been drafted to steal it, had been lost.

"It is my hope that you will once again be able to communicate with Jessica."

"Right now it's probably just as well I can't," Howard said with a grin. "I think Jessica and Dominick are still in the honeymoon phase of their relationship."

"Honeymoon phase?" Aracelia asked with amusement.

Howard searched for the proper words to explain. "It's a custom here that after two people get married they take a trip together to get away from everyone else and just enjoy each other's company. It's called a honeymoon and the term was extended to mean that period of time in a new relationship when two people are pretty much so wrapped up in each other they're oblivious to anything else."

Aracelia laughed, the sound like crystal bells. "A most interesting phrase to be sure. Yes, I can see that it does indeed apply to my granddaughter."

"Have you thought of making contact with her yourself?"

The elf shook her head. "I promised Thackery I would not. Not until she has been told of her parentage."

"He doesn't trust you to keep his secret."

"No, he does not. And he is probably right in doing so. I do not believe it is wise to keep the truth from her."

"I don't believe it either," Howard agreed. "He doesn't know Jess like I do. She's not going to be happy at all when she finds out what's going on. And she's going to like it even less when she finds out everyone around her knew the truth and never told her."

Nov 6, 2013

Hump Day Hunk

Today seems like a good day to lounge around in bed. Don't you think? ;-)

Nov 5, 2013

Signs of the Zodiac - Gemini

Quick facts:
You were born between May 21 and June 21
Your sign is the Twins
Your planet is Mercury
Your element is Air
Your metal is mercury
Your birthstone is the pearl
Your flower is the lily of the valley
Your color is bright yellow
Your body part is the arms
Your descriptive phrase is: I think, therefore I am

Those born under the sign of Gemini have the ability to communicate effectively and think clearly. They love to talk! And it's not just idle chatter, Geminis are intellectually inclined and love to gather information, sharing that information later on with those they care about. They can see both sides of an issue, which gives them a wonderfully practical quality. However, they can sometimes be somewhat fickle and restless. Their mood can change on a whim and they can sometimes fall short in the following through department.

Gemini is inclined to more intellectual pursuits, they usually succeed at school. People born under this sign are often attracted to professions such as the nursing of young children and teaching, also academic careers. They are often talented writers and frequently succeed as authors or journalists. They have a reputation for not taking things too seriously and certainly seem to enjoy life. They hate loneliness and enjoy parties. Although they can be somewhat high strung and excitable, they are also sympathetic and sensitive. They are quick-witted, good at repartee, and easily able to change from one type of business to another. They never take themselves too seriously and have a love of playfulness which is never far below the surface.

Your best matches, whether as friends, lovers or partners, are those born under the sign of Aquarius and Libra, and to a lesser degree those born under Aries and Leo.

Famous Gemini include: Queen Victoria, John F. Kennedy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prince Philip of England, and Bob Hope.

Nov 4, 2013

Murrhine Monday

murrhine ~ clear glassware containing pieces of coloured glass

This post is coming to you from beyond the grave . . .

Okay, not really. But it felt like a close call over the weekend.

It started with the sniffles that might have been the sinuses acting up or might have been allergies - sometimes it's hard to tell. But as the week progressed I got more stuffed up and then Friday I developed a sore throat and dry cough as well.

Saturday I stayed in my jammies and robe and camped out in my easy chair and pretty much napped, watched TV and drank tea and chicken soup all day.

Sunday my sore throat was gone, but the dry cough had moved down into my chest. In addition, today I'm achy and my head and chest hurt.

It would be nice to think that this mega-death-cold-from-hell is just running its course, but I guess only time will tell. Needless to say, I didn't get a whole lot accomplished from Friday on.

Blog Stuff For the Week:
Tuesday: The third sign of the Zodiac is Gemini.
A new hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. Sorry I missed last week!
Thursday: The draft version of Water is finished but I'll post the chapter links for the rest of the month before I pull the whole thing off for editing. And maybe to sweeten the pot I'll include an entry or two from the journal that's going to be included in the finished version.
Friday: It's NaNoing time and as usual I'm woefully behind. But I should have enough to post an excerpt here Friday. ;-)

Other Stuff
This week's TraxTime report runs from October 27 through November 2.
Crafts - 5 hours and 29 minutes ~ way down from 14 hrs and 29 min
Emails - 5 hours and 47 minutes ~ close to the same as 5 hrs and 28 min
Games - 11 hours and 11 minutes ~ way up from 4 hrs and 31 min
Reading - 4 hour and 23 minutes ~ down from 5 hr and 13 min
Non-fiction - 4 hours and 43 minutes ~ about the same as 4 hrs and 35 min
Fiction - 10 hours and 19 minutes ~ up from 8 hrs and 54 min Total Words - 10,777 this week ~ up from 8445 last week

There are two reasons my craft time plummeted last week. First, I finished the daughter's scarf on Tuesday. Second, I finally reached the point in the Fair Isle sweater where I could start the sleeves and I was feeling sick enough that didn't feel up to dealing with the double pointed needles. And it didn't occur to me until late Sunday that I probably could have got a few inches done on my Christmas afghan. *sigh*

And yes, I am truly ashamed that my gaming time almost tripled. Apparently, while I couldn't stay focused enough to write, I could manage to play games. ;-)

I would expect Fiction time as well as Total Words will rise again this week. After all, NaNo has started. You can check the little widget on the left of the page to see how I'm doing with my NaNo words.

Believe it or not, I got off to a great start with NaNo. I stayed up until midnight on Thursday and knocked off 1500 words before I went to bed. Then the mega-death-cold-from-hell hit and I only added to my document sporadically after that.

So needless to say, this week will be about catching up on my NaNo with time out for knitting, crocheting and reading.

Nov 1, 2013

It's NaNoing Time!

Seriously? After all this time and you don't know what NaNo's all about?


My husband describes NaNo as "The month where I probably shouldn't try to talk to my wife at all. The month where husbands should be seen and not heard. The month where husbands cower in a corner in the basement, waiting for December to arrive."

The official website, however, says:
"National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel."

There are thousands of participants all over the world and every year the number increases. I tried to find the numbers, but I couldn't find the link. But trust me, there's a lot of us out there.

If you're interested in learning more, click here: NaNoWriMo. And don't forget, it's never too late to sign up. Take it from someone who changed stories one week and 12,000 words in one year. And yes, I went on to win with my new idea. :-)

And if you think you'd like to give it a try, here are some great Tips For the NaNoWriMo Newbie by my friend and fellow NaNo participant, Jamie Debree.

* * * * * * * * * *

For the rest of the month, I'll give you an update on how I'm doing each Friday, and maybe an excerpt to keep me honest. ;-)

Of course since this is the first day of NaNo I really don't have much to offer yet, but I do have a brief description and my NaNo cover.

The third in the Moonstone Chronicles, Wandering Wizards continues the tale of Jessica O'Connell as she stumbles her way through the magical realm her best friend Howard accidentally teleported her to, accompanied by the ex-prince Dominick and the bard Sebastian. They're on their way to the Southlands where Jessica's father and grandfather are awaiting a family reunion. Too bad Jessica doesn't know they're family. She thinks they're going there to get help to send her back home.

Meanwhile, Jessica's faery grandmother (literally) sends a powerful amulet to Howard who uses it in a spell that will allow him to travel to the magical realm. Unfortunately, Jessica's roommate Ellen stops in just as he sets the spell in motion and she's caught up in it as well. With the help of half of a moonstone pendant that once belonged to Jessica's mother and an elf named Kaelan, Howard and Ellen journey southwards in hopes of meeting up with Jessica.