Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: Scheduling

HAPPY NEW YEAR Everyone!!

Do you feel like you are living in the future? It occurs to me that  we are now living in  "the future" that so many movies were set that I watched as a kid. Or at least young person. Not 2018 necessarily, but we are entering the era. I'm thinking of the movie Soylent Green, the first post-apocalyptic story I was exposed to. It aired April 19, 1973, a futuristic crime mystery, and depicted life in New York City in 2022 where overpopulation and the Green House effect has led to overpopulation and starvation. I was eleven years old, and very likely saw this movie at the Drive In Theater.

Not that I'm eager to live in any of the post- or pre-apocalypse worlds that consumed my reading or viewing time in my younger years. Or any that I have written myself recently. I can't even imagine a STAR WARS type future though.

We have already passed the 2015 date of the still popular BACK TO THE FUTURE II setting. I don't know about you, but I'm highly disappointed that flying cars are not an every day purchase. Time, and the years, do not seem to be flying by for me; its more like its standing still. Technology seems to have reached the same point as Hollywood: consistently remaking the same merchandise, calling it "improved" without stepping too far away from developments within the last 20 years. Before we know it, it will be 2089 and no closer to colonization of planets within our solar system than we were at the 1990 release of TOTAL RECALL.

One of the more realistic events I'd like to see in my near future involves publication. Lots of it! To obtain that, of course, I need to write and submit more. There's a unique idea for January's Insecure Writers Support Group post. Right?!?



Not only is this my first post for 2018, but its also the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group. This month's question is appropriate for the New Year, and actually got me seriously thinking about my writing schedule as well as goals for 2018.

What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I've very good at making and keeping a work schedule. Its how I get paid. Scheduling writing time though, nah. I only disappoint myself when I fail. Now, if I had a literary agent, a publisher that has given me a deadline, then you bet I can write to their schedule.

For many years I've not put any pressure on myself to stick to any kind of writing or blogging schedule. I'm determined to change that in 2018. Not with "resolutions" but with goals, just as Michelle Wallace suggests in the Dec 2017 IWSG Newsletter:
So when you sit down to plan for next year, instead of making writing resolutions, why not create a few specific, attainable, and measurable goals?
I've thought long and hard (through many long, boring hours of driving) about some reasonable writing goals for myself for this year, and this is what I came up with:

 - write three new horror short stories to submit to random anthologies between August and December
 - FINISH, edit, and submit three of the incomplete short stories in My Documents
 - rewrite chapter 1 of my novel NOT HER MOTHER'S FATE
 - revise and submit query and synopsis for FATE
 - write and schedule six book review posts

And yes, reviewing the above list, I'm already feeling anxious about how I'm to accomplish all that. I do have a plan, a sort of writing schedule. Writing on the road is not easy for me; I mostly "camp in my car" and it uncomfortable to juggle a computer in the car or even at road stops (never know what the environment will be like). But I should be home every weekend, and at least one week (up to nine days) each month. Weekends are good for blog posts (and comments), and that solid week is excellent for actual writing - including revision.

The incentive to stick to this schedule - lax as it is? Well, I do love being published! And starting 2018 with a publication is an awesome ego boost.

My short story LAUGHING AT BUTTERFLIES, an Urban Fantasy, is scheduled to publish on January 8 in issue 744 of the ezine Bewildering Stories.

offers a home and an audience
to speculative writing.
All genres are welcome
in prose, poetry, drama and non-fiction.

Thank you all for stopping by today. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's 2018 goals and scheduling triumphs. This month the IWSG crew is announcing the winners of 2017 Anthology contest. Be sure to stop by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanuagh and his co-horts: Tyrean Martinson, Ellen the Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane and Rachna Chhabria.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

WEP: THE END IS THE BEGINNING



Today I'm posting an original writing for Write..Edit..Publish (WEP) bloghop. This months prompt is  THE END IS THE BEGINNING.

DETAILS: Can be written as a flashback – or as a cascading change, any branching off point can be an end and a beginning.

It’s also the end of the year and next month allows for a new start.

So, the last WEP prompt in October was DARK PLACES, and I was kinda working on a concept, but I did not have time to fully develop it. What I've posted below is the finished and tweaked version for December's prompt. I'm hoping I've satisfied the concept for THE END IS THE BEGINNING. If not; well, at least I wrote something, lol.

Check out the prompt details HERE, and click on the linky list to read more interpretations of the end of year prompt.


 TITLE: NANCY
word count: 1014
Full Critique Acceptable: note that this is an original writing for WEP and not intended as a prologue, excerpt, or other publication.

Jerome leaned close over the chest of the linen wrapped body. The first he had been allowed to fully tend to on his own. 

“This one is nearly ready, Master.”

Down in the crypt below the mortuary, Dr. Khalid preferred his students call him Master. There were three others besides Jerome; though none had progressed in their training beyond the cleansing and embalming rituals. The oldest Brother had taken the initiative to impregnate one of the chosen girls without permission last year. Jerome had been granted the pleasure of drugging the errant youth and burying him alive.

“I believe you are correct,” Master said over Jerome’s shoulder. He finished buttoning his tuxedo jacket then glanced at the monitors around the table.

Jerome was shaking, he could hardly contain his excitement. The next steps would be the most important to preserve the physical self for afterlife for both the girl – Nancy – and his offspring. He stroked Nancy’s dehydrated fingers with a gloved hand. Tears stood in his eyes, and he wiped them away on the sleeve of his lab coat so the moisture would not drip onto her body.

“She’s so perfect,” Jerome said.

Master put a hand on Jerome’s shoulder and smiled. After a silent moment he sighed, straightened, and strode to the mirror before the crypt door. “I am sorry, Jerome, but you need to prepare Mrs. Daughtry for viewing tomorrow. The family will be in at 8am sharp to insure she is presentable.”

“But –“ Jerome stuttered, gesturing to Nancy. “I should witness her final breath. And I still have to paint her death mask.”

“I know. But the grieving family did pay a ghastly amount to have the funeral expedited.” His face took on a shrewd look; mouth pinched to a line that made his cheeks puff and pulse. “Their haste paid for the casket for Nancy.”

Jerome’s shoulders stiffened. An expense he could not afford as yet, which would have drawn out the eternal process for Nancy and his child. Had he not agreed to the demands of the family, his beloved would have a much longer between-time than necessary.

“I thank you for the reminder, Master,” Jerome said. “I shall attend to Mrs. Daughtry immediately.”

Master placed his palm on the keypad then entered his pass code.  The door chimed to proclaim access granted to the elevator that would take him up to the preparation rooms of the mortuary.

“So close,” he mumbled to himself, not sure if he meant Nancy’s final breath; or his defiance that would make him Master over his remaining Brothers.

After kissing Nancy’s shriveled, dry lips and replacing the resin tea infusion, Jerome headed to the shower alcove to wash the stink of death off his own body. He bathed with the same sodium carbonate, cedar oil, and cinnamon elixir he used to cleanse the cadavers, then dressed in green scrubs and a fresh white lab coat.

Upstairs, he immersed himself into the work of painting Mrs. Daughtry’s purple face into a semblance of the young woman in the provided portrait. Even in his distraction, no other artist could rival Jerome’s lifelike, death makeovers. His skills were in high demand, and more than offset the exorbitant mortuary fees.

Nancy was still breathing when Jerome returned to the crypt. He sat vigil for two days before her chest fell for the last time. He was pleased with her endurance. She had fought for survival every step of the way; from abduction by Dr. Khalid, to rape and torture and final impregnation by Jerome. The rapes and torture had ended on the day Nancy had a positive EPT; but the next phase of starvation and the diet of nuts, berries, tree bark, pine needles, and a resin tea to cleanse the body of decaying bacteria had been as much a battle of wills as the rapes.

Swiftly he started the embalming, adeptly inserted the hook through her nose to liquefy her brain, poured out the contents of her skull, then expertly sliced her left side and removed all her vital organs, except her heart, and filled her empty cavity with sand and rags.

He loved Nancy, and the embryo that would accompany her into the afterlife. Jerome’s immortal legacy was assured with this offering to Ament: lady of the underworld who restored the bodies of the dead so they could live with Osiris in his Kingdom.

The final leg of Nancy’s journey was witnessed by Master and Jerome’s two Brothers as he wheeled her into the chamber under the incinerator. His brothers were dressed in the traditional colors of Osiris; green with white stockings, holding ceremonial hook and flail. Jerome distrusted the dedication of his twin brothers, but dared not brooch the subject with his Master. At least not tonight, as Master slit the beeswax from Nancy’s mouth and eyes, and beseeched Anubis to watch over Nancy and her unborn child, and speed their passage into the afterlife.

Jerome, secretly, prayed to Ament. He hoped the Goddess would see his sigil branded into Nancy’s left foot and reward him for his sacrifice.

“You have done well,” Master told Jerome after the interment was over.

“Thank you,” Jerome acknowledged with a bow of his head. He was so giddy he wanted to happy dance; but restrained his urges to gloat. Master had imbedded within him the lessons of control, and Nancy was his testament to success.

“Your next offering should be a woman of your own choosing,” Master stated without preamble. “You have progressed far within our ranks, and you are ready for your next step in the succession. Brother Ahmed is in need of a dedicated tutor, and I’d like you to take over his tutelage.”

Jerome stopped walking and considered for a moment. Ahmed was impetuous, disorganized, a brut of a man who considered women beneath his attention. Ahmed was more likely to bed a man than implant his seed into a woman. Yet, he had his uses when it came to brutality.

“As you wish,” Jerome agreed, already contemplating the demise of his Master.

******
Well, tell me what you think in the comments. And if you'd like to read the interpretations of other participants, please click here.

Friday, December 15, 2017

BotB: THE BOXER

For Saint Mac



cuz he's sweet, when he's not paying attention.

"The Boxer" is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel from their fifth studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970). Produced by the duo and Roy Halee, it was released as the lead single from the album on March 21, 1969. The song, primarily written by Paul Simon, is a folk rock ballad that variously takes the form of a first-person lament as well as a third-person sketch of a boxer. Simon's lyrics are largely autobiographical and partially inspired by the Bible, and were written during a time when he felt he was being unfairly criticized. The song's lyrics discuss poverty and loneliness. It is particularly known for its plaintive refrain, in which the singer sings 'lie-la-lie', accompanied by a heavily reverbed drum. (wiki link)

Now, I gotta tell you, I'm a dedicated Simon and Garfunkel fan. Oh Baby, play anything by them and I'm gaga for it. Talk about getting the fan-girl on! I'm a Paul Simon fan also, but not so much Garfunkel solo. Wierd huh? Since I think Garfunkel makes the duo great.

But, I love love love the folksy/blue grass sound of Mumford and Sons. Can you say country boy-band crush? They truly do this song justice.

So I'm playing Mumford first cuz I know a lot of people vote for the first version they hear. I'm torn in this battle. I need y'all to tell me which is best.




or





Vote for your favorite, and visit others on this BotB linky.

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.