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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Changin’

No, not diapers–don’t have any kids.  Clothes? Well, I tend to change those pretty frequently. At least daily, if not more often.

My mind? Heck yeah! I reserve the right to disagree with anything I have said in the past, or will say in the future. I’m always learning, and that’s how I like it.

I have definitely done a lot of changing over the past year, so if you’re like me and obsessively read people’s blog archives (ahem, Forever in Hell–honest, I’m not a stalker. I just like what you have to say.), just know that I’m not necessarily the person I was when I wrote some of these past entries. And I’m happy about that. Some things I’ve said and done in the past to try to fit in I now find cringeworthy. I actually thought about going back and deleting some things, and I may yet do that for certain posts, anyway. But except for that whole trying to fit in thing, I think I’ve been pretty honest here, and I plan to keep it that way.

That’s all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled life.

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Did you ever wonder what a literary work would be like if it had been written by another author? For example, suppose that Margaret Mitchell had written Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Perhaps it might read something like this:

The small round man, his whiskers quivering around his pointed ratlike nose, whimpered, “My lord, I don’t know nothin’ ’bout killin’ no more people.”

Voldemort slapped Wormtail hard across his face. “You worthless servant!” he hissed angrily.

Okay, so that’s a pretty lame example. But if you knew how zombified I am this morning after last night’s first dose of the new meds, you’d be pretty impressed, trust me.  The point of this is that a group of amazingly creative people asked themselves the same question. No, not what GOF would be like had Margaret Mitchell written it! Silly! They wondered what Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy would be like if someone else had written it.

Frankly, I think it might have been a lot more readable had someone else written it, seeing as how I haven’t managed yet to wade through the whole book. Of course, it could have been much worse. I mean, what if Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins had written it!  But I digress.

As I was reading the thread, and laughing so hard I snorted a few times, I came across the following gem. I immediately e-mailed the author requesting permission to post it here, and he graciously consented. So with no further ado, here is LOTR a la Geoffrey Chaucer, courtesy of rjk:

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
Old Hobbiton hath perced to the roote,
And Frodo drinken down in swich licour
Of which vertu he passeth happy hour;
Whan Gandalphus eek with his wise voice
Inspired hath in Frodo’s heart a choice,
(so priketh him nature in his corages);
To join odd folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And travel far to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from this homely shire’s ende
To Mordor, evil’s keep, to wende
To cast into the fire this One great Ring

— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Ring

Feeling creative? Leave a comment with your version of LOTR (or any other book) in the voice of another author. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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Allmost Asleep

Today was a marvelous day. I was off work with every intention of sleeping in. But my body clock and my dog had other plans in mind. The body clock woke me up at 3:30. It was 4:30 before I managed to go to sleep again. It was about 530 when Molly came to wake me up becase she had to go tinkle. I successfuly ignored her until her need grew so great that she put her paws on my bed and started licking my face. See, I don’t feel bad when I don’ ge up to let her out, becuase we always leave “tinkle pads” for her emergency needs. But sometimes she says, hey! That isn’t good enough, and I want to go outside right now. It’d just be nice if her immedite needs took place during dayligt hours. Not when I’m trying to sleep in.

Once up, however relucantly, I amused myself with emails and  blogs and hings fo a bit. And then I decided I couldn’t live with this soccer mom haircut for one more hour. So I got dressed and eaded out to the salon. i was very pleased wih the newsylist who did my hair today. It’s choppy enough o satisfy me bu tame enough to saisfy Joe. Plus he dude gave me a 10-minute scalp massage. Wha’s not to bliss out about that? Seriously!

Then I picked up the rember books for Amehyst, Jehara, Izzybella and L-Squared and met with my Daddy at his hoouse. Liz got there shortly thereafter. We viisited with Dad for a while. I was crurious about a memmory I have of a car that apparently gave him a lot of trouble. I remember it as “the son of a bichin’ Chevrolet,” and the particuarl memory ivolves a day he was drivin me to school and the car just sa dow and decided it would go no further. After trying unsucessfully for some time to resart it, Dad told me to get out my bag and we were walking the rest of the way. “But you can’t leave the car ther!” Apparently he could. I don’t recall ever seeing the sonofabitchin’ chevrolet again. Amusingly, I work for a GMAC company and drive a chevrolet. But it’s not an sob chevrlet. She’s the Grey Lady, and she’s very lovable.

And Izzybella and I went to get the bread and salad and (yum) fatatistic roasted red pepper hummus for dinner tonight. And we went back to my house and watched an episode of Dexter and did a little you-tubig, and had a frozen CPK pizza, and cleaned a tiny titch. And we shopped at a store and got some cute cheap junk jewelry and a lovely blue paisley handbag for Liz that I plan to borrow first chance I get. And we went to the mall to fid a coat for Izzybela. but she ultimately decied to borrow my spare coat for the rest of the winter.

And then we came back to my house long enough to pick up the food and then headed oer to Jeharas. We had just a truly delightful evening.   Anway, now i’m at home listening to Elaine Silver’s clear voice and falling asleep post Ambien.

Joe’s coming hom about noon tomorrow, ad has to leave Monday for a job hat could last a month. So we’ll celebrate his birthday (which was Thursday) and go out to Fogo de Chao for dinner in Addison. And ‘ll do his travel expense report for him, and we’ll get his laundry done and get him packed up for te next trip. It’s hard on him, bu the’ve promised him 7 days of comp time after the California job. He’ll be pretty near his brother’s famly, which will be nice. He’ll spend his weekends with L & J and the kids. He’ll enjoy that a lot.

Izzybella and i ae working on our book, and feeling like we’re truly making some progress. The plan is to have it finished by the end f hte year. We’ve had to revise our writing approach after finding that what worked beautifully for the first novel we wrote toegether works not a all for this one. And it’s got teheh creative juices flowing, and we can pull things together as they need o be puleld together. It’s going to be great bok. The characters are awesoome!

Okay, so I’m through typing now. If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you. I’ll try to fis errors, but you know ow I am after I take the Ambien. So don’t laugh if I’ve levft 50 rrors ‘caus I probably caught 235. Bisous, mes amies!

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Amethyst, poor innocent, said that she’d like to read some of my poems. And I love her, so I’m posting a few here. Just so you know–I know they’re terrible. I like what I felt when I was writing them, and I managed to catch a glimpse of what I was reaching for. But don’t expect good poetry.

Monday Morning 

I saw him today,

The little old man, bent with age.

He had a water hose,

And was  washing down the pavement.

Rivulets of water trickled between my feet

And the smell of dust pervaded my nostrils

As he carefully attended to his work.

 

I watched the people waiting for the bus.

They avoided him, stepping around him,

Noses lifted high in disdain.

The man wandered up and down the sidewalk,

Dragging the heavy hose behind him,

Impervious to everything but the water

And the dust. He paid special attention

To several clumps of dirt. His glasses

Gleamed with satisfaction as the dirt

Was washed away into oblivion.

 

The bus drove up, and in the rush to board

I forgot the little old man.

When I looked back, he was still there,

Still attending to his task. And then

I got busy with the incessant ringing

Of the telephone and the beeping of the

Computer and the humming of the fax

And the hordes of androids

Coming to me for information and assistance,

And life was back to normal.

 

But still I think of that bent figure

Washing down the sidewalk.

 

Masterpiece

 

The background of the canvas

                Was first painted an improbable blue.

The artist rapidly sketched in great pines,

                Leaning sideways, branches drooping tiredly.

Majestic mountains, great rocky crags,

                Towered behind the wave of trees.

Next a gauzy grey was used to

                Dim the sky’s brilliant blue.

Deepening swirls of grey and black

                Created a massive cloud cover.

As droplets of misty paint shivered off the brush,

                Frigid drops of rain spattered the canvas.

Large, moist flecks of white dotted the pines with snow

                And iced the ridges of the hills.

One tree branch, heavily laden with white, drooped too far,

                And its wet load slid fatly onto the ground.

A quick breath of wind,

                And the landscape was finished.

With an almost inaudible sigh,

                The artist put away his masterpiece,

                                Took another canvas, and began anew.

 

Still-Life

 

Still-life is a misnomer

Life is not

Still is not

Life

The gentle rise and fall

Inhale exhale in bed

In sleep next to me

The teeming of my mind

Through ethics and assignments

And what to fix for dinner tomorrow

He’s still breathing I place

My hand on his chest

To make sure

The fan is blowing

The flowers whisper in the breeze

Still-life

Fruit is rotting

Even while you paint it

Still-life

Life is not

Still he sleeps

Life is

Still is not

Wax fruit not life

Is still

Silk flowers still

Not life

Sleeping still he breathes

Good night

 

Cherokee Indian

 

High proud forehead.

Finely chiseled face.

Fiery eyes flashing.

 

I look at you and

I watch your mouth as

You tell me tales

That make me shudder.

 

My blood runs chill.

 

Sparks fly from your

Glowing eyes as you

Weave your enchanted web

Around my spirit

And hold me captive.

 

I try to escape.

 

Your sculpted face

Haunts my dreams.

 

Cherokee Indian,

Take me with you

Through the realm of your

Fantasies and half-told truths.

 

I live through your words.

Speak to me,

Cherokee Indian.

And I’ll finish off with one that I wrote for a class, and even though it’s awful, it delights me every time. I based it on a story my grandfather used to tell me about something that happened when he was a boy.

 

Chickens Under the House

 

Your mama looked mad when she dropped you off.

What’s wrong this morning?

Oh, you don’t have to say it out loud,

Come whisper in Granddad’s ear.

OH! YOU WET YOUR BED LAST NIGHT!

Now, there, stop your squirming.

What? It was too cold to get out of bed?

Well, there’s worse things than walking

Down a carpeted hall to the bathroom on a cold night.

When I was a little boy we didn’t have bathrooms—

We had to go to the outhouse.

That meant  putting on boots and a coat

And walking outside, just to go to the bathroom.

Well, honey, Granddad felt just like you do.

It was just too cold to go to the outhouse.

Well, our house was built on little legs,

So it stood about a foot off the ground.

Come winter, the chickens used to roost under it.

All us kids—all twelve of us—slept on the floor,

Warm and cozy, snuggled under Mama’s quilts.

Shoot, I didn’t want to go outside and freeze!

Then I noticed the knothole in the floor.

Well! Being an enterprising young boy, I figured out

Real quick that I didn’t have to go outside at all during the night.

It worked well. I moved my quilt over by that knothole.

When I woke up in the night, I’d just roll over and use the bathroom.

Then one night our ornery old hen, roosting under the floor,

Grabbed hold of what she thought was a tasty little worm.

Honey, she would not let go! I screamed so loud everybody woke up.

They were laughing too hard to help me get loose.

When Papa finally quit laughing, he told me it was my own fault

And I deserved it for being so lazy.

After that, no matter how cold it was,

I always went to the outhouse.

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Guest Starring: Kaza Kingsley

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I’d like to thank Chauceriangirl so much for hosting me today, on the last day of my blog tour. It’s been really fun! I’ve been asked fantastic questions, and here are some more that live up to the rest.

I’d also like to thank all the great readers who have followed the tour and have left wonderful questions and comments.

Below is a teenage picture of me. As this is the last day of my tour I am now “grown up!”

1.      How long did the process of finding a publisher take? Do you have the proverbial drawer full of rejections? If so, how did you handle those? And if not, share your secret! 🙂

The year that Erec Rex took from searching for an agent to finding a publisher was stressful, to say the least. I went into the details in a previous post on this blog tour, so I won’t repeat them all here. But I do have something important to say on the subject, that I hope your readers will take to heart!

At some point when I was writing The Dragon’s Eye, it became obvious to me that it was working as a book, and that I would have no problem finishing it. I was beyond excited, because I truly believed that if I just finished the book I would be completely happy and satisfied. I just wanted to have done it. To have written a book I loved. Then I could go on, life the same, whatever happened with it.

Well, I’ll never forget the night I finished Book One. I lay in bed, buzzing, unable to sleep. I knew my life had been changed, dramatically. It was like getting married, having a child. It was introducing something new into my life, something that would change everything.

So, when nothing happened for a while I got pretty bummed out. It took months to find an agent (which really isn’t too bad!) but it felt like years. And I kept telling myself that all I wanted was to get an agent. Once I got an agent then I could hand the project over to them. I’d be happy. Content. It would all be downhill from there. Wrong. After I got an agent all I could do was obsess, daily, about whether the book would find a publisher. That was all I wanted, then I’d be happy. Was that correct? Of course not! After the book was published, and on the shelves I didn’t feel content and finished at all! Happy? Yes. Thrilled and enthralled beyond belief to see my book on endcap at all the Barnes and Noble in the country over the holidays? Oh yeah. But content? “Done?” Not a chance. I wanted the book to sell well, so I could put out another! I was extremely lucky that Book One hit the fantasy bestseller list last year. But was I content? No! I was freaked out about how long it would stay there, worried about the future.

Suffice it to say, at some point, this process sunk in. I think it’s the human condition. We always are shooting for the stars. And that’s a good thing! But, it is SO important when going through all of this to remember to appreciate the little things, the day to day things, that are making up the reality of our lives. I can easily see how one could get caught up in what might happen next, and miss what is happening today.
So, my advice to your readers who may be writers (or have any other aspirations they are working toward!) is to try not to let it eat you up. It’s so true that the greatest part of writing is the writing itself – and later the readers reading it. All the in between junk – the waiting, the rejection, etc., – can really get in the way of living. Try and see it for what it is. The current phase in your life – that is also filled with some incredible other moments.

2.      Did anything trigger your idea for Erec, or did he just sort of spring into being? Tell us a little about your creation not just of these incredible characters, but of their worlds.

The idea behind Erec was structured from the Hercules legend – but that was more the framework for Erec (that he had to do twelve quests like Hercules twelve labors, etc.) But the details of his personality, who he is, sprung up quickly as I wrote him. I think a part of me made him into the older brother I never had. But then he grew into much more than that to me.

It’s an odd thing, when I invented some of the worlds, such as Alypium and the wilds in Otherness, I could picture them almost like I had been there in a dream. I didn’t sit and figure out the setting. But when I sat and figured out the plot the setting just jumped right in, as if it was waiting for me. I think the more visual parts of the writing are more automatic for me, somehow.

3.      I noticed a so not-subtle reference to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in book two. I love how you’re playing with the ideas of discrimination based on completely ridiculous factors, and the effects of prejudice based on forged writings. Any particular reason you made that choice?

I did have fun with that. When I was writing this segment of the book I researched what the Nazi’s did with their propaganda. They forced all of the artists in Germany to register with them and do free artwork for posters that made their enemies and scapegoats look evil, gruesome and distorted. But Germany was not alone – other countries did similar things!

The problem of isolating and persecuting people because they look or act different is such a global one. In Book Two, my thoughts on that had a lot to do with the place called “Otherness” where Erec found himself. I wanted to give him a taste of what it is like to be different. And, even more than that, to have to make a tough choice. What would you do if you could have everything you wanted, but at the expense of someone else? And what if that someone else was so different from you it was easy to not relate to them as well?

I just finished Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. It was a terrific book that talked about how our perceptions of what people are like are affected by first impressions, and things we get all in one glance. It was a great read, and even gave me more to think about on this topic!

4.      As a writer, I often find it very difficult to write the chapters where my characters are in trouble, or making decisions that will cause them a lot of pain. Do you experience this? How do you deal with it? (If this is a completely inane question, please feel free to ignore it–a book my sister and I wrote together has two sisters who are very loving and close, but for a few chapters they’re not speaking to each other. It just about killed us to write that!!!)

This is totally not an insane question – it just shows that you are really getting into your characters’ heads, which is great! Interesting – I find my heart pounding when I am writing really tense scenes. I don’t actually resist putting my characters through their difficulties. It feels at times like I am watching them in a movie, watching the scene unfolding before me. I definitely get affected by what happens to them, though! I’m sad when they are, thrilled with things work out. But I don’t feel myself stopping or pulling back … if that makes sense!

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I started a new blog today: Seduced by the Muse. I decided it would be nice to have a place to put my writing. And as a bonus, for any of you who might be interested, I put the chapter I wrote for the Leaky Cauldron contest there.  So go check it out if you’re so inclined.

Rehearsal was great last night.   I didn’t sleep well afterward, though. I seem to recall not sleeping well while I was working on the last show. I complained to Izzybella this morning, and she said that she doesn’t sleep well during shows either. Yay! Six weeks of having bags under the bags under my eyes!  I’ll probably crash on Saturday and Sunday, which is what I did during What Happened. I went like mad all week, and then did nothing on the weekends.

Of course, this Saturday night there’s something fun going on. Jane Espenson is going to be in town! Equality Now is sponsoring a showing of Serenity, and Jane Espenson is doing a Q&A. There will be door prizes, music, etc., and Izzybella and I are going. So I really hope I can crash on Saturday so that I’ll have the energy to be up late on Saturday night.

Hmmm. I need chocolate.

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I have a lot of things on my mind today, few of which have anything to do with anything else. So this is going to be a very choppy post.

The day didn’t exactly start auspiciously–I slept right through the alarm clock. Apparently Joe decided I must have had a doctor’s appointment, because he didn’t wake me up. So when I woke up at 6:14, I just about had a cow. I frantically threw on some clothes and ran out the door. As you might presume, I hit every red light between home and my office–some of them kept me sitting there for three minutes (yes, I timed it because I was just in that pissy kind of a mood). I made it to work on time, but then my computer took so long to boot up I was 53 seconds late clocking in.  And the very first thing was a manager calling me wanting something right then, so I had to take care of that before I could start doing my usual morning routine. And then I made a really stupid mistake on one of my morning reports.  I think I had quit cussing violently by 8 a.m., but won’t swear to the fact. 

Yesterday when I got home from work, I began researching and writing a scene for the Juarez show, based on Ramona Morales and her daughter, Sylvia. I had the brilliant idea of using El Dia de Los Muertos as the setting, and was delighted to find an interview with Sra. Morales that she gave as part of a Dia de Los Muertos celebration.  I’ll need to do a little more research and tweak it a bit, but overall I’m pretty happy with that scene. 

While I was working on that, I needed Joe for something. So I called out, “Hey, honey, could you please come here for a minute.”  Molly got there before Joe did! We experimented a few more times, and sure enough, every time I call for my honey or sweetheart to come for a minute, Molly runs into the room. She is one smart cookie.

I had called the surgeon’s office yesterday because the pain in my breast that started back up has continued, and even worsened a bit.  It was this morning before they got back with me. Apparently it’s just to be expected, and should gradually lessen. I feel like such a baby, but as soon as I hung up the phone I had to cry for a few moments. There’s nothing like having stabbing pains in your breast with every step you take, or just sitting at your computer and feeling those pains twinge.  I want so badly to get back to my normal life (well, as normal as my life ever gets, anyway), and it just is so hard to force myself to slow down and recognize that I can’t do everything I want to be doing yet. I’ve already had to push back my return to the gym. I’d planned to start back up this week, but with the pain had to recognize that I’m not ready yet. Joe reminded me that when Dr. W. was doing the biopsy, the tumor broke into bits, and she had to dig to get it all out. So that’s what I’m feeling, and I know it’s just part of the healing process, but it’s so frustrating.

I just went to the bathroom a few minutes ago. I’d been needing to go for a few hours but, typically, put it off until there was no way I could put it off any longer.  I was in there for a few minutes. Let’s just say that I’ve been eating more fiber again lately. And when I went to flush, well, the toilet didn’t flush. I walked out and very embarrassedly told L. that I couldn’t flush the toilet. Yeah, he said, they had to cut off the water because there was a leak in the men’s room.  I really feel sorry for whoever gets to go flush the toilet once the water’s back on. And I’m excruciatingly embarrassed that if it’s L., he’ll know it was me who left that mess there.  And we just got an e-mail from HR saying that there are no bathroom facilities in the building right now because apparently there’s a broken pipe.  Yippee. I was going to eat my lunch here, but maybe I’ll go out just so I can get another potty visit in before returning, just in case the repairs take longer than they anticipated.

Last night when I got home from the meeting I was, as I always am after the meetings, too wired to sleep. So I put in The Illusionist. Wow! I was really impressed with the movie. I figured it would be good, just based on what I’d seen in previews, but it was better than I would have anticipated. The cinematography was exquisite.  I liked the story and the acting. And yes, I saw the twist coming a mile away, but it was still well executed.  I gave it 5 stars.

As if I hadn’t already given you enough reason to know how incredibly dorky I am, I confess that after quite a long time of wanting one, I ordered a wand from Alivans today.  So when I go see the Harry Potter movie and go to the midnight party to get my book, I will not only be wearing my hot pink Tonks wig, but I will be carrying my wand.

Have I embarrassed myself enough for one day? I really think I have. So I’ll quit now. Except to add that I have to work late tonight to catch up on my beginning-of-the-month work. Not fun. I’d really rather go home and lay on the sofa and read and be petulant. I guess I’ll just have to be at work and be petulant.

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