Monday, December 11, 2017

MOVED BY MUSIC

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.” Ludwig van Beethoven

I'm trying to post on my blog more often. Its an early New Years resolution.

I was sitting in a motel room this weekend, bored and freezing (freezing only if I left the room), and decided I needed to write something. Woah! Bet that comes as a shock - a writer wanting to write.

Well, after much procrastination - in the form of laundry, packing my suitcase, rearranging the crap in my car, and a very short walk - I sat down to tweak/write my WEP post for Dec 20. While waiting for the mid season 8 episode 8 final of The Walking Dead to aire. Very long day.

Got that post written and scheduled (pats self on back); plus a Dec 15 Battle of the Bands, watched THE WALKING DEAD on my computer (oh FUCK!!), cried a little, and kicked myself cuz its late and I'm not snoozing.

But nothing inspires me like orchestra music. Now, I love the music; but sometimes I think its the co-operative event that inspires me more than the music itself. Each artist practices alone, perfects their art alone, listens to the nay-sayers that want them to hurry up and make a name for themselves. But only within the group does the artist truly shine. How many solo artists play, sing, write, produce, market, and perform on stage alone?

Makes me think of writers; who sit in their caves to listen to the voices in their head, bash out the story on virtual paper, then send it out to critic's, agents, publishers; and eventually readers. It takes a community to bring a great story to life.

So I'm sharing my fav music with you for the night, then going to bed.

I'm still visiting around from the IWSG, and planning some posts for 2018 that actually have writing related content. Imagine that, huh?

So here's to getting a jump start on 2018. Listen or not. Comment or not. I'll be seeing ya around.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG: LOOKING BACK


I'm still having some computer problems. I took that new tablet-computer back and got a refund, and I'm still using my old slow Inspiron. It turns on if I keep it plugged in, and I'm used to all its quips and delays. Can't say I'm enjoying any conveniences of the computer age at this moment. The more improvements they make, the less reliable the services become.

Luckily we can always count on the monthly meeting of the  Insecure Writers Support Group. We get together the first Wednesday of every month to share successes, failures, worries, tips and general musings.

This month's optional question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

  Well that's an easy answer. I'd write more, lol. And submit more.

I did not write much during 2017- not even editing/revising already completed stories. I've seriously slacked off this year. It seems every year I slip more and more away from writing and blogging. I worry that the last about 10 years has just been a phase; I'm not really cut out for writing as a career.
I love it when I'm writing out a story idea, bringing the world and characters to life. Editing/revising is more exciting than the initial drafting because that's when I can really flesh out the characters, the world, the plots and intrigues. But nothing is more fun than researching settings, names, character careers and personalities, the ups and downs of relationships and traumatic life events.

But then its time for submission. Finding somewhere to send off the story to a publisher for the wide world to view. Coming up with tag lines, synopsis, pitch. Writing and tweaking to fit a specific niche (anthology or publisher/agent preference), finding just the right Agency to submit to, then hoping I'm one of the few that hit the appropriate voice and theme.

Writing comes easy when I let go of the publishing aspirations. But if I don't submit, why write at all? Two of the three stories I submitted this year were accepted, but neither were accepted by the anthologies they were written for. I am pleased and amazed at any publishing success, but the time and energy it takes to submit, and resubmit, and anxiously wait, is the most discouraging part of writing.

Yes, I should write more, but I should also submit more. I can't really complain about the lack of publication if I don't put out the work in finding publishers. And readers.

Thanks for stopping by today. Please be sure to visit IWSG host and creator Alex J Cavenaugh, and this months co-hosts: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Gwen Gardner.

Monday, October 16, 2017

SLOW BOAT FROM DELL

Electronics just don't work like they should for me. And not just computers. Toilets that are supposed to flush when you stand up; sinks that sense your praying hands and dispense water; motion sensor doors; the touch screen on every device of convenience. I can drain a D cell battery in 6 minutes just by letting it touch my skin.

I spent nearly a year researching and pricing just the right computer to replace my old DELL laptop and finally had the money purchase the DELL Inspiron 11. A two in one tablet computer, Intel possessor, Windows 10, 4 gigs RAM, 500 gigs memory. I will never fill a quarter of that memory, but too much is better than too little. Right?

And I paid $60 for the Office Depot tech to remove all the advertising and start up junk. Four days after purchase I got to take my new electronic baby home to play with.

I was seriously disappointed with how slow it is (even slower than the laptop I replaced), but my Bug assured me I just needed to get used to the Windows 10 desktop. In my opinion XP was  the best ever operating system, but Window 7 was a good upgrade. After two weeks of attempting to load my programs and games, getting no writing done as I'd planned, I returned to the store intent on returning the ffff thing.

Of course the Tech talked me out of it by agreeing it was slower than expected, but could be fixed easily by opening task manager and closing any unneeded programs running in the background. Just don't end task on anything Windows or McAfee programs. Ok . . . .

Now it's frozen, sort of. Never mind. It's useless. I'm posting from my Kindle Fire, and I really dislike typing anything on this limited space. Yep, I'm not ashamed to say I'm attached to a full keyboard and mouse. That aside, the new computer is fubar. My best hope is that I can return it for a refund. Or one of my kids will take pity on me and figure out what's wrong. At the least I will need to buy another laptop (anybody use an Acer?) or continue using the old one. At least it still turns on!

So I'm out of here for the rest of the year. Too many stresses in my life right now that are more important than blogging and writing or a defunct computer.

Congratulations to all the IWSG anthology winners; good luck to NanoWriMo participants; happy New Year.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

NO IWSG


NO IWSG post today. I've gone writing, and don't have the time for return comments. I have three short story projects I want to submit before end of year - and yay! one of them is off on its internet way.




  




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: Something New



I don't normally jump right into the Insecure Writers Support Group post, but today I've really not got much else to talk about. My choices were to not post for September IWSG, or just fly by the seat of my pants and see what farts out.

I don't have any bragging to do as I've not really been writing, and of course since I've not been seriously writing I don't have any complaints. You know the old cliche: nothing ventured, nothing gained . . . .

This month's question is: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??

My writing has surprised me from writing anything at all, to writing in a genre that I don't typically read in.  I've written flash fiction in category romance, children's, YA, Urban Fantasy; even some mystery, Noir, and sci-fi.

I've always thought I would become a horror/thriller or dark fantasy author. I consistently read in those genre's. I prefer horror and fantasy by authors such as Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Dean Koonts; Anne McCaffrey, Ann Rice, David Eddings, Stephen R Donaldson.

Zombies from The Walking Dead don't scare me nearly as much as a barbie doll with a grudge that has spent the last ten years languishing under my child's bed; or the possibility that my cheese and yogurt are plotting total annihilation of the potato salad and bacon in my fridge to save me from excess carbohydrates.

Books by authors such as Danielle Steele and Debbie McComber insult my intelligence as a human being, not just a woman; Nora Roberts/JD Robb make me feel as if I'm not living in the real world; and the tendency to anthropomorphize everything from a toaster to a hot dog has left me disgusted and paranoid of leaving anything organic or inanimate in my house alone in the dark of night.

So why was my first novel trilogy a Women's Fiction? Well, its actually four books; I was writing a character profile for my MC Amy and it sorta turned into a prequel, and there is actually a fifth novel start. But this is not a genre I typically read in, so why is it the only completed, full length novels I have been able to write?

This month's question haunts me because for several  years I've considered myself nothing more than a "hobby" writer. I've not been able to complete a story in any genre unless it was a short story or flash fiction. If I'm the only one to ever say so: I'm pretty awesome at creating worlds and characters that draw the reader into my vision; but put that into a full length novel with both overall story and character plot? Nah.

Have you written in a genre you don't read in? Do you think an author can be successful if they are an eclectic reader?

Please be sure to read posts from other IWSG participants on the linky, and also visit creator/host Alex J Cavanaugh and this month's minions: Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant,  and Beverly Stowe.

Oh, and have you got your submission ready for the next IWSG anthology titled SHOW US YOUR WRITER INSECURITY? Deadline is quickly approaching.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

WEP: REUNIONS



Ok, I'm late with my Write..Edit..Publish Reunions excerpt. I started this thing about three weeks ago, and the more I write/edit it, the longer it gets. I think dear old Isaiah thinks he should be a short story; I've been reading (listening to) lots of detective novels. Isaiah, a really bad guy, sort of developed from my book and movie preferences. Aargh!!

My submission is nearly 1300 words, unedited. I just ran out of time to fix this. Blame my MC for being such a needy, impatient brat. If his story feels like an unfinished prologue, it probably is. If I'm lucky, my muse will stick around long enough for me to find the time to work this into a Noir short story. I know what comes next, just don't have the time to develop it. Yes, I do hate that writing is not my priority at this moment.

WEARY

“Welcome back Mr. Harvey,” a young man in gold and crimson cheerfully said. “Please, step this way so we can expedite your registration.”

Isaiah stood his ground in line. Twenty years in maximum security prison had trained him to distrust special treatment.

“Sir. If you would follow me. Please.”

The fresh faced boy looked distressed as he motioned for Isaiah to step out of line and follow him.

Isaiah looked left, right; up and down the lobby. He made a production of checking out all the angles. His eyes lit on cameras on the ceiling, ornate columns, fake flower pots and fountains. His gaze lingered on this man, that woman, a trio of foreigners. He looked everywhere.

“Please Sir. We have been expecting you. The Management wishes that you not linger overlong in the lobby.”

“I am weary, and have come a long way,” Isaiah intoned.

“For sure, Sir. This way, if you please.”

Not the response Isaiah had expected. “Lead on,” he agreed, and grabbed the handles of his suitcases.

The concierge led him to the right, and then the left along a brightly tiled path through the casino. Isaiah huffed and sighed, letting his guide know his bags were heavy as he fell behind.  Another right brought him to a set of elevators.

“The bell hop has your key Sir,” said the fresh faced boy.

A Cuban appeared, his oversized attire garish in white and yellow. Isaiah frowned, looked back the way he’d come. “I am weary,” he began.

“Yes sir,” the Cuban bell hop interrupted. “Shall I attend to your bags for you, Sir?”

Isaiah nodded and allowed the Cuban to take control of his luggage. He loaded his two bags onto a wheeled rack, then pushed the button for the elevator to arrive. Isaiah wondered if all his preparations had gone awry. Years he’d planned this reunion. He’d called in all his markers, promised money he wasn’t sure he still had access to. Now he was free. But, had his patience paid off?

The elevator arrived and he stepped in. The suite was more sumptuous than Isaiah could have imagined, even at the height of his nefarious career. He’d climbed far, risked much, and when finally cornered by the FBI he’d kept his mouth shut. He’d expected support and special treatment for his loyalty and silence. His position had guaranteed him certain considerations. He’d been wrong.

After inspecting the three rooms, paying particular attention to areas that might logically conceal video and listening devises, he was surprised to see the bellhop still standing near the door.

“Oh, uhm,” Isaiah started, hands in his empty pockets in embarrassment.

“No need, Sir,” the disheveled man assured him with an ingenuous smile. “I’ve been generously taken care of.” He stuck a hand into his back pocket, pulled out a wad of papers, and offered them to Isaiah. “For your entertainment, Sir. Address is on the coupons.”

“Thank you,” Isaiah said dubiously. Entertainment was the last thing on his mind

Alone in his rooms, Isaiah sank to a knee and let his emotions overwhelm him. Where had he gone wrong? No one had appropriately responded to his carefully crafted codes. Were any of his old contacts still viable? Had everyone been bought, killed, or just been dormant so long they’d forgotten their allegiance?

No, he decided. He would not despair. He would shower, shave, and dress as if he still had a plan for his revenge. He had hoped all the players would be together in a spot of his choosing. But he still had his patience, his most valuable skill.

He stood, and angrily tossed the papers into the waste can. They fluttered as they fell, and he recognized a slash of writing. Retrieving the two slips of paper, he noted one was a prepaid entrance to The Right Spot night club. The other, the one that caught his eye, was a hand written note stating, “See you at ten. Don’t be late.”

Isaiah checked the ornate wall clock and noted he had an hour and a half before his appointment.
***
He entered the club amidst angry cat calls and profanity from the head of the waiting line.  By the time he ordered his second whiskey he was getting antsy. Crowds still made him nervous. The waitress that delivered his drink was not who he expected.

“Hello Darling.” She set his drink on the table; kissed him softly on his left cheek, right cheek, lips; then flopped into the empty chair opposite him.

“Helen,” he said, hoping his monotone conveyed displeasure. In truth, he was delighted to see this dark and deadly beauty.

“Don’t be rude Darling,” she admonished, draping her overlarge and voluptuous form into the chair opposite him.

He waited while she sipped her white Russian. He’d learned not to rush her. But he was growing impatient, the noise of the Club grating on his delicate nerves.

There was a lull in the music. The DJ announced a break and the crowd shifted and cleared around them. Helen leaned towards him. “Your network has been compromised.” Her voice was a husked whisper.

“Compromised,” he repeated, looking desperately around the room.

Helen flicked a manicured finger under his chin. “You’re safe here, Sweetie. You know I adore you?”

Isaiah leaned back and picked up his melting drink. Helen wasn’t his type; he preferred his women natural born, petite. Race wasn’t important, but gender was.

She laughed again. “I adore you, Isaiah. Your honesty, in this depraved business.” Her eyes remained on his, though he wanted to look away and assess the crowd.

“You’re safe here,” Helen assured him. “For now. Maybe not tomorrow though.”

“What happens tomorrow?”

“I don’t know,” she said, sadness pursing her red lips. “I had control of today, and you were late.”

“Well,” he began.

“Never mind,” she interrupted. “Someone leaked your codes, and they were prepared for your scheduled reunion.”

Isaiah choked on his whiskey. “I’ve been very careful,” he sputtered.

She raised her hand again. “You’ve been gone a long time, and your payments are suspect.”

“I’m good for it,” he grumbled.

“I know. Which is why I’m still here,” Helen said, her smile somehow sadistic.

Isaiah glanced around, knowing the gesture was fruitless, but unable to help himself.

“You’re safe here,” she said. “But everyone that knew your intentions are dead.”

“Except you,” Isaiah said, working hard to keep the dread out of his voice.

“Except me, yes,” Helen agreed. “As I said, I adore you.” She slid a bulging envelope across the table to him. “Had you shown up to your ‘reunion’ tonight, you’d be dead too.”

He eyed the package skeptically, then seeing no reason not to take it, he snatched it up and quickly perused the contents.

“Walter Cronin,” he asked.

“I owe you,” she said.

“And – “

“Nothing,” she said, sipping her drink and looking into the milling crowd.

The DJ had returned to his kiosk. Looking closely, Isaiah realized he was the shabby bellhop.

“I, ah,” he began, looking through the lavish documents.

“I hope never to see you again Isaiah,” Helen said, carefully dabbing tears from the corner of her eyes. “But, knowing you, I will.”

“I hope not too,” he said with a smile he did not feel in his heart. “Thank you.”

Click here for the linky to more WEP Reunions participants.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: PEEVISH

Hey Y'all

Well, its been over a month since I last posted, or visited. And here I am, multitasking, trying to upload work pictures on the tablet, place orders, and blog all at the same time. Yeah, not cuz I'm so good at balancing all that, but because the internet is soooooo slow. I'm impatient and just want it all to just get done. Like those idiot drivers on the road in slow traffic, darting in and out of lanes to get one more car ahead. Ack, like that helps you get any closer to your end destination!

I'm working really hard at getting everything done the last minute due to poor planning (yeah yeah, laziness). I remembered I was co-hosting IWSG this month, I just kept putting off writing the post. TIME is the villain here, lol.



August 2 Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I guess my pet peeves are the same as peeves with drivers and tasks: impatience and laziness. Even in my own writing. Sometimes I get impatient to get to certain scenes or concepts in a story I'm writing and I narrate through action or relationships, or use those dreaded cliche's (rolling eyes, furrowed brows, clenched fists) to make the writing faster, easier. Or use a bunch of modern day swear words in an off-world fantasy cuz I'm too lazy to make up story-relevant verbiage. I hate that kind of writing in books I'm reading.

And if you've ever received a critique or editing from me of your work, you know I'm just as hard on m writing friends as I am on myself, or a published work. Anything that seems an author was too lazy, or too impatient to get through a story - either writing it or getting it published - to write a developed story line, is my pet peeve. I want to read - and write- something original.

Even if that author is myself.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 2 posting of the IWSG are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

So . . . ready to test out those original writing skills? How about entering the Writer's Digest, Popular Fiction Awards contest with a grand prize of $2,500.

Categories:

  • Mystery/Crime: Mystery and crime fiction focus on the dramatization of crimes, the detective work and procedures in solving said crimes, and the criminal motivations behind them.
  • Horror: Horror fiction is a genre which intends, and/or has the capacity, to frighten, scare or startle readers. This genre may induce feelings of creepiness, horror and terror, and is generally unsettling for the audience. Horror can be supernatural or non-supernatural.
  • Romance: Romance fiction can encompass and draw themes, ideas and premises from other genres and can vary widely in setting, dialogue, characters, etc. Generally, however, romance fiction should include a love story involving two individuals struggling to make their relationship work and an emotionally satisfying ending.
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy: Science fiction and fantasy are genres that take place beyond the boundaries of “real life.” In the case of science fiction, this often involves futuristic settings, science and technology, as well as space travel, time travel, extraterrestrial life, and parallel universes. Fantasy fiction touches on similar elements such as world building, magic and magical creatures, and generally does not include the scientific themes.
  • Thriller/Suspense: Suspense fiction uses the threat of personal jeopardy and tension to dramatically affect the reader. A thriller can provide surprise, anxiety, terror, anticipation, etc., in order to provide a rush of emotions and excitement that progress a story. It should generally be based around the strength of the villain and the protagonist, as well as their struggle against each other. This category might encompass several other genres, including horror, science fiction, and crime.
  • Young Adult: Young Adult fiction is generally fiction meant for readers age 12-18.
Dead line to enter is October 16, 2017

Or perhaps you want something a little more (blog) local?

Check out Write..Edit..Publish August flash fiction blog hop. 1000 words or less, posting date August 16, story concept is REUNIONS. Click here for prompt details and to link your blog to the hop.

OK I'm outa here for now. My laptop battery is dying, my wine glass is empty, and I gotta hit the pillow to work tomorrow and have the energy to bop around and visit everyone.

Patience my Precious- I'm slow but steady in getting there.