This year, I decided I would write every day – and it didn’t matter if it was 5 words of fiction or 5,000, as long as it was every single day. No, I didn’t decide this on January 1st; that would have been far too convenient. I decided to do it on January 18th, right as I was in the middle of working on the pantry turnover project.
(Every year, I put a sticker on each and every item in the pantry. This way, I not only go through the entire thing, but I also get to see exactly what is still stickered from a year ago, and hasn’t been used yet. It leads to a month+ of interesting one-off meals, using up oddball ingredients, along with much lower grocery bills for the duration, organized pantries, and the sincere but unkept vow not to have so much “Oh! I want to try that!” that I never got to next year.)
This is relevant because this year I got a pack of gold star stickers for the pantry, and ended up with almost 500 excess gold star stickers. Having them right there, I resolved there was no time to start like the present, and put up the gag-gift wall calendar (shirtless men in kilts, with sayings like “Once you go plaid you’ll never be sad”), and started giving myself a gold star every day I managed to write at least 5 words of fiction.
For those of you rolling your eyes or laughing at the mental image, hey, writing may be serious business, but no one said we had to take it seriously!
We also serve Martians!
We welcome free-spending apocalyptical looters and overlords with green skins. Come in and get a little something for the lovely tentacle-haired one in your life and your little bloodthirsty spawnlings, so you can go next time again! Tasteful multi-armed T shirts in many charming garish colors inscribed with ‘Martian, go home’ in several now-extinct earth languages. Well-tuned decorative nose-flutes, with a full range of delightful nails-on-blackboard shriek tones. The spawnlings will love them. Models of artistically dismembered of earth-native life-forms, commemorative ray guns and other humorous nick-nacks like the ever-popular exploding Sydney Opera House.
Please leave your war-machine outside. Anything you incinerate or vaporize, consider it bought by you. Read more
I see panic, doom-n-gloom, ranging from ‘we’re all gonna die!’ to ‘they will take away our civil liberties, forever’ all over the place. Well, who knows? But honestly, I doubt either scenario. I think we’re in for a rough ride. People will die, and economies will suffer. Whether any of that is as bad as those panic buying TP think… well, dudes, I’m relatively high risk (underlying condition), and I do work in a high risk environment (I’m a Volunteer Ambulance Officer- on a small island where we are all they have) and am married to and live with someone who also works in the front line. I don’t want to die, but I’ve had one hellva life, if God thinks it is my turn. I’m not giving up my Ambo work, nor stocking up on TP. I think governments loathe giving up control of anything. But… well, once a genie has been out of the bottle, it’s not that easy to push back – or once the scare is over, to keep back. Yes, it may require hanging or shooting a few politicians, but, think of it as pour encourager les autres.
And we’re in for turbulence, bad bits, lots of human stupidity… but there might be some upside as well as downside in the medium to longer term (and I may be dead –so serious upside for the worms. Until they get unhappy gastrointestinal tracts, because I would disagree with anyone. I hope they stockpiled TP). Read more
I’m baaaack! Actually, sleep will come shortly.More on that in a minute.
With Risen from Ashes now out, it’s time to turn my attention to the next project. Night Shadows is the next entry in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series. I am really excited about this book and the plot is all but screaming to be let out. This is a good thing.
The bad thing is that every project seems to have its own idiosyncrasies that seem to slow down the actual writing. It might be needing to find a new place in the house to write. Sometimes, it means changing which machine I write on–the Mac or the iPad Pro or the PC laptop. Usually, within a chapter or two, I can move back to the Mac. Usually being the operative word. Read more
At what point do you cease having allergies, and allergies have you? Three years after moving to Texas, I’d gone from living in a happy, healthy environment to having a wide range of local things I’m allergic to (including mesquite, cedar, cottonwood, and pecan pollen.) I’m running out of biomes for living.
I’m posting this in advance to be published Thursday afternoon, because I don’t expect to be in a position to do anything useful that day. My second knee surgery is happening just before that, and based on the last time, I will still be totally doped up on pain medications come Thursday. Seriously, that stuff sucks my brain cells out. The hospital might as well be a hygienic opium den with really boring decor.
And before then? I’m on the verge of finishing Tangled Magic and my blasted characters are on strike. I really, really want to get the requisite HEA written before surgery, so that after I get out of the opium den I can start proofreading and editing without worrying about the ending pages. So, sorry, unless Elspet Rattray and Lord Kinross manage to communicate with each other today, I won’t have any brain cells to spare before the operation either.
See you guys in a few weeks.
So, on with our stories.
Story 1. “Magic in the Darkness.” When we left Imre and Csilla, we had established a broad setting (Budapest, modern day), and two characters – Imre the mage, and his Familiar and seeing-eye dog Csilla. Csilla is a Hungarian Kuvazs, weighs 45 KG (100 pounds) and will herd her charge whenever the opportunity arises. This could be good or bad, depending on how the plot develops.
The story begins with Imre working, repairing a piano. Blind piano tuners are not all that rare, so this fits his character. It is assumed in the Familiars universe that one cannot make a living from magic alone, so he has a “regular” job. More setting, and a reason for him to go places, with tools and with a seeing-eye dog.
This is a short story, so we need a story-problem or plot driver early on. Imre is not a shadow-mage, so he does not go looking for trouble. That makes things a little more difficult. Trouble has to come to him, or he has to stumble onto it (metaphorically speaking, if Csilla is doing her job). So . . . What if we have a person with an unusual instrument that needs to be tuned. A person with something odd about them? He is working on a spinet piano that has seen better days as the excerpt begins. (Maria is his wife). Read more