Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lost Inspiration, ROW 80, and WIPpet Wednesday...

Lately, when inspiration hits me, it always seems to hit me when I'm driving. And always on that portion of the road where I know a lot of cops or CHP officers seem to hang out, so I can't reach for my phone, turn on voice to text or whatever it's called, and let my iphone jot it down. Even though that would be perfectly acceptable to do since it's not texting and driving, I still worry that an officer will ping me for it. Generally I'm able to hold on to the idea, or the snippet until I can get to work and jot it down, but yesterday my brain failed me and the idea was lost as soon as I pulled in the parking lot.

Which is sad, because it was a gorgeous bit of imagery. It wasn't going to take place until much later in the Descendant's series, but still... I'm currently listening to Ben Howard's album Every Kingdom in the hopes I can get that scene to come back.

Where do you find that inspiration always visits you?

Anywho, on to the ROW80 progress report!

I was unable to write this weekend and on Monday due to illness. The cough from my cold made an unwelcome reappearance Friday night, and between that and helping my friend get ready for her reception, by the time Sunday evening rolled around I was completely sore and exhausted. I spent most of Monday curled up on the couch - which was nice because the boys came and curled up with me and I was able to catch up on my reading (I hadn't touched my Nook since early June).

I was able to get some writing done yesterday though. I plugged away on chapter seven of TUO some more, and whenever I hit a roadblock on that, I jumped over to one of the fanfics or the Descendants and worked on those. 

I also finally got my etsy store opened! You can check them out by either clicking on the links on the sidebar or at the top of the blog. Currently I only have two items available, but I plan to have more up by the end of the week. 

And now for WIPpet Wednesday (I really need to come up with a graphic for this...) Since today is the 31st, I'm going to share 35 paragraphs from Chapter 1 of the Descendants (1+3=4, 4+31=35). It seems like a lot, but most of it is dialogue. This scene takes place 13 to 14 years after the prologue that I shared here and here. Vivian is 23 and getting ready to go on a trip to Europe with her best friend. However, the day before she leaves she is stuck at her father's garage trying to teach her father's best friend's son, Matthew, how to keep the books while she's gone.


There were many things Vivian wanted to do before leaving for Europe. She had wanted to go and dip her toes in Lake Tahoe one last time and watch the sun set over it. She wanted to go down to Virginia city and eat a pulled pork sandwich from the barbecue there. Play a slot in one of the casinos on the Nevada side of the city. She also had some last minute packing to do, friends to say goodbye to, among other things.


Instead, she found herself sitting in front of a computer at her Dad’s garage and trying to explain, for the third time, how to use their book keeping program. To be fair, her student didn’t seem all that thrilled to be here either; Matthew chewed on the end of a pen while he leaned back in his chair, his eyes closed as if he were sleeping. Earlier he had been more focused on looking at her ass or chest, or the work happening outside the office door in the garage proper, where her dad was working on an old chevy, than paying any attention to what she was trying to show him.

Vivian sighed. Perhaps he was more of a hands on learner. She kicked the bottom of his chair as she stood. “C’mon - it’s your turn.”

His hand snapped out and grabbed her wrist before his blue eyes even opened.

“Where are you going?” He asked as he yawned.

“To get myself a cup of coffee.”

“Oh, are we done?”

“Nope,” Vivian jerked her head at the desk and the paperwork sitting there. “You have to enter all that. Receipts first.”

Matthew released her and rubbed his hands over his face. “Right.” He scooted forward to peer at the computer screen - maybe he had been paying attention after all - and Vivian watched as the little scar in his right eyebrow deepened as he frowned. “We should’ve started on this earlier.”

“Yes, we should have, but somebody was never here.” He was very rarely here, now that she thought about it. Sometimes he’d stick around for a couple of weeks, but then there were other times when they only saw him maybe once or twice a month. If he had been anyone else, her dad would have fired him long ago, but since Matthew was his partner’s son, he tended to be more lenient.

Matthew grunted, bringing her back to the present. “I was needed elsewhere.”

“Doing what?” She asked, even though she knew it was pointless. Michael never told anyone anything about where he had been or where he had gone, though sometimes he did bring back souvenirs for his young cousin, Andrew.

“Things.”

“Right.” Vivian snorted.

“So, what are you planning on seeing over there?”

“Hm?” Vivian stared at his broad back in surprise for a moment. Was Matthew actually asking her a question? Specifically a question that did not involve the garage? Usually he just ignored her presence unless he needed to know where her dad was or when a part might be coming in.

“Sights. What sights are you going to be visiting?”

“Oh, um. The usual I guess. Stonehenge, Harrods, Westminster Abbey... We don’t really have an itinerary or anything set up. We’re just going to fly by the seat of our pants, y’know?”

“No wonder Adam’s so nervous.”

“What?” She had known that her dad was unhappy that his oldest child was leaving the nest - what parent wouldn’t be unhappy about that? - but to learn that he was nervous was a shock. She was 23 years old... didn’t he have any faith in her?

“You and that girl, running around Europe without any plans. My old man is betting that you’ll be calling home in a week because you’re either lost or out of money.”

“Because we’ve run out of money?” Vivian squawked. “He should talk - I’m the one that handles the books-”

“Not because of you,” He interrupted her tirade. “Because of that girl.”

“Her name is Audra, and she’s fully capable of taking care of herself as well-”

“Really? She...” He opened his mouth to say something else, but then closed it and shook his head instead. “Nevermind.”

“What?” Vivian asked, her curiosity piqued.

“Nothing.”

“No, no, you were going to say something else.”

He sighed. “I was just going to say, that she doesn’t have the greatest track record in my book. Every time you’ve gotten into trouble, it’s been because of her.” His expression suddenly softened, and he smiled a little. “In fact, the first time I met you, I thought you would be the troublemaker - not her.”

“Oh.” It was surprising how that smile changed his looks from grumpy ex-soldier to boy next door. It was also surprising how incredibly attractive he became when he smiled. She blushed, and then immediately frowned to herself. She did not want to think of him like that at all. Especially after what had happened at that Christmas party a few years ago.

“So” He cleared his throat. “Why are you guys going over there anyways? Why not Cancun or the Bahamas?”

“Because of things.” Vivian replied dryly, smiling to herself when he shot a glare in her direction. Now he knew what it felt like. “Sorry - I couldn’t resist.”

This trip was actually a graduation celebration that Audra, her best friend, had been planning for years. She had initially wanted her boyfriend to go, but then they had broken up and Audra had asked if Vivian might be interested in going. If she couldn’t go with the love of her life, she said, she might as well go with her best friend.

Vivian had turned down the offer at first, but then her boyfriend, Josh, had started bringing up the future whenever they were together. He thought he was being sly about it; if they went out, he would stop in front of jewelry stores and point out the different rings, trying to gauge her interest in them. During dinner or if they were watching TV he would casually ask what sort of house she might want to live in someday, how many kids she could imagine them having together, and so on and so forth. Vivian had never really thought about the future much, but it had suddenly occurred to her that she wasn’t ready to get married and have a house and a family without seeing what the world had to offer. So, when Audra had asked again, Vivian had lept at the chance.

Matthew glanced over his shoulder at her. “Look, just be careful over there, all right? It’s not like when you guys drove down to San Francisco for the weekend, and you got lost and had your wallets stolen. There’s going to be a continent and a whole ocean in between you guys and us, so we can’t come running to your rescue if something goes wrong.”

Be sure to check out here for more WIPpet Wednesday posts, and go here to find out more about ROW 80 and see more progress updates. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pardon The Dust...

I'll be making some updates to the blog design over the weekend (changing backgrounds, banner, etc) so if you're stopping by and notice that things look a little wonky - don't mind me, it'll be back to normal on Monday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIPpet Wednesday and ROW 80 Update

This past week has been a good writing week, so far I've:

  • Finished my chapter for Collaborating Chaos
    • I was actually a few words short on the chapter. The minimum is 2500, and I think I came in at 2460. I probably could have added some to it here and there, but the others agreed that the chapter was fine the way it was, and it was added to the website on Sunday. You can read it here.
  • I finished and posted the next chapter in one of my fanfics. 
    • Sadly the other one may not be done until August unfortunately. 
  • I worked on TUO
    • A lot of Chapter 7 is already written. In the second draft (or that may be third... I've lost count) it was actually a much later chapter. All I'm doing is going through and editing out the parts that no longer fit in with this version of the story. I'm also adding some dialogue here and there (which is turning out to be far more cryptic than I was expecting). It feels a bit like cheating since there's very little writing actually going on. 
  • I also worked on The Descendants
    • Chapter 1 has been a bit of a plague in my side. One beta reader said it was fine. Another said I spent too much time going over accounting details and falling into the 'As you know, Bob' trap (More details on this type of info dump can be found here and here). She also suggested I start off in an action scene, like a party that's supposed to happen in the next chapter, but I was worried that doing that would result in another infodump. Plus not every story starts off in the middle, sometimes you have to build up to what's happening. I think I finally found a perfect balance. 
Getting the etsy store started is proving to be a little harder. I had to clean up one more picture, and then I thought I would be done. However, I read somewhere online that you should have more than one product available in your store when you launch, and they should be related to each other. Since the first product was going to be a Turkish or Belly Dance bodice, I think I'll also offer cowrie falls and belly dance belts. They're both pretty easy to make, and I already have a few floating around our home so I can take pictures of them for examples. Finding them to take said pictures however is proving to be another matter. In addition to that I've also come up with an idea for paper fans that I can sell as well! When I told my husband though, he suggested that I do it, but include them as a thank you gift for everyone who orders. I don't know how I feel about that. I may include fans in the orders, but not the fancy ones I want to make. We'll see. 

And now for the WIPpet!

KL Schwengel shared a post today that explains where WIPpet Wednesday all began. Basically the rules are that you mush share a piece of what you are currently working on (or a new project that you create for WIPpet Wednesday) that is somehow related to the date. So since today is 7/24/2013 you can share 24 words/lines/paragraphs from page seven or chapter seven. Or seven paragraphs from whatever chapter you want. Or you can add all the numbers in the date up, or add some of the numbers up and subtract others or... anything really. People get really creative with Math when it comes to WIPpet Wednesday posts!

Today I'm going to share 6 paragraphs from chapter 7 of TUO (2+4=6) Mattie is speaking with someone, but I'm going to be cruel and I won't say who:


“No! Of course not.” Mattie said quickly, lest she anger him again. “It’s just, we’re very close, sir. Very close. I don’t know why they wouldn’t tell me something like that.”
“Because I asked them not to. They’ve proven to be quite good at helping me keep my secrets.” He smiled. He stepped around her, still studying her, like one might do to an insect under a magnifying glass. “Don’t be too upset with them; they seem to have a fair share of their own secrets that they refuse to tell even me.”
She nodded, unsure of what to say next.
Apparently done with his inspection, he came to stand in front of her. “Do you have any secrets?”
She shook her head. “No, sir. Not that I can remember.”
“Mm.” He stepped close, and leaned down so his lips were next to her ear. “Can you keep one?” Goosebumps broke over her skin for the second time that evening and her heart seemed to pound even louder than before. However, this time it was not out of fear, but out because of a completely different emotion that was terrifying in and of itself.





Monday, July 22, 2013

Music Mondays: Home...

I have a confession to make - I'm a Hans Zimmer addict. I swear, there are very few songs that this man does that I do not like.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Finished Object Friday: Hawaiian Wedding Dress...

I am posting this blog with my friend's permission.

Two of my very good friends got married in Hawaii last week. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the wedding, but our friends who were able to go posted a lot of updates and we were able to be their vicariously through them. Based on the pictures we saw on facebook and from what others said, it was a really beautiful event and everyone had a good time.

Now that that's over with, Lala, the bride (who was my maid of honor when I got hitched), got lucky and found her dress online. It was a really cute dress! Tea Length and retro, and very very Lala. It had been worn once for the seller's own wedding, but it was in damn near mint condition, and the original owner was selling it for a fraction of the cost of what it sold for in stores.

See? Isn't it cute?

Originally Lala and I had discussed putting blue fabric that matched the her wedding colors between the under skirt and the lace overlay. Doing so would have required me to hand sew the blue fabric to the dress, because there was no way I was going to take a seam ripper to that dress. Seam ripping gauze is bad. Seam ripping lace? No, thank you. I didn't want to try it and possibly ruin the dress. 

About two months before the wedding, Lala mentioned that she was worried that the idea she had had wouldn't work out. I reassured her that it would, but that if it didn't, or it didn't look good, we could always do blue trim at the bottom instead, and a sash. After thinking about it for awhile, Lala decided to forgo the blue layer and just do the trim instead. We decided to go with a thicker blue trim at the bottom instead of a thin one, and a wide blue sash that was long enough for her to do a really big bow in the back. 

My husband modeling the dress before anything was sewn down. 

It's been awhile since I've sewn anything slick like satin. The bodice of broken teeth doesn't count, since it was velvet-ish, and while velvet can be slippery, it's a whole different animal. For the trim I had to pin it every inch or so, and even then it still shifted around on me a lot. Suddenly, where things had been flat and perfectly fine before, there would be all this fabric, and on areas where I thought there might be too much fabric, there was not enough. The seam ripper became my best friend with this dress. 

Satin also likes to fray and shed, so I'd stand up to take a break from sewing or cutting fabric only to find my shirt and pants covered in blue threads. I'm still finding blue dust bunnies floating about the house, and we've vacuumed several times since I finished the dress!

The boys, of course, helped out whenever they could.

Despite the problems I had though, the dress turned out beautifully. Lala was very happy with the results and everyone complemented her on her gown!


Though, the story of the dress doesn't end there. When she came to pick it up, Lala warned me that it might get a little wet. 

"Oh, are you going to do a trash the dress thing?" I asked. I think trashing the dress after the wedding is a pretty cool concept, and it makes for some beautiful photos. 

"No, no, we're just getting married on a beach, and we may take pictures in the water." She told me. "I don't want you to get upset."

"Pffffffffft. It's your wedding and your dress, you go on and do whatever you want." 

And then I saw the pictures from the wedding...

So cute!

And all I could do was laugh - because clearly my friend's definition of a little wet is very different than mine :)

Yup, it got wet all right.

It turns out that she decided to trash the dress after all (though it wasn't really trashed as it survived being dunked in the pacific) and they had an absolute blast doing it :)

So to Mike and Lala, our best friends who have been there with us through thick and thin...


Congratulations!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stretching the Mind...

I mentioned a few posts ago about how a friend, Kella, talked me into participating on this new project she had come up with called Collaborating Chaos. She, some other authors, and I would work together to create a story by writing round robin style. Each week one of us would write a new chapter and post it, and then, eventually, after we felt the story had run its course and all the loose ends were tied up, we would go ahead and end the story. Then we would take a break, wait for our readers to vote on what we should write next, and the chaos would begin again.

This week is my week to update the story, and it's been quite a shock. Not only am I writing in a genre I'm not familiar with, Sci Fi, but I'm also learning to let go.

I'm slowly getting used to writing Sci Fi. I actually read a lot of Star Wars in High School and the earlier Dragonriders of Pern novels have some Sci Fi elements in them. Plus the previous authors for this round have set up just enough bread crumbs for me to use in my chapter.

Learning to let go of what I've done and the characters I have created for this chapter is proving to be harder than I expected. When you create a character, you know who they are, what their backstory is, and you know where they are going (unless they decide to take control of their own story and completely surprise you). When you write in a round though, you only get to play with these characters that you create for a chapter and then you have to pass them on to someone else. They could have a completely different idea of who the characters are, where they come from and where they're going - and you have no say in what they do to them or where they take them. All you can do is pray that they can follow the bread crumbs you left for them - and that they don't turn your babies into ax murderers.

Kella, the girl who came up with this madness and started off the story, agrees with me that it's quite the learning experience. The story has changed drastically from where she saw it going when she wrote the first chapter - and we're only two chapters in!

My chapter should be up on Saturday. I highly recommend you head on over there and check it and the rest of the story out.

As for my other projects...

I haven't been able to write 1000 words a day like I wanted - but I'm getting pretty damn close!

I plugged away on one of my fanfics, and should be posting that over on FF.net next week (pending beta approval).

I went back through The Undying Ones on Monday and make some minor edits to it. I had an idea that occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that helps solve some problems I didn't even know where there until I thought of said idea. As a result I had to go through and make some very minor tweaks to the dialogue here and there. In addition to that I am almost done with Chapter Six.

In other exciting news, the artist I commissioned to draw two of my characters from The Descendants finally finished her piece...


I may have squeaked when I saw it. Co-workers may have stared/glared at me because I interrupted their work with said squeaking...

The girl on the left be Vivian, from the prologue I shared here and here, all grown up and ready to take on the world. The gentleman to her right is Gwalchmei/Gawain. He doesn't show up until the second book, but he is probably one of my favorite characters in the series.  

And now it's time for WIPpet Wednesday!

Unfortunately I don't have any more of Chapter 7 to share, so I'm going back to a previous chapter that I have not shared yet. Today is 7/17/13, I am going to share 26 paragraphs from chapter four (7+17 = 24-1=23+3=26... which has to be some of my most creative WIPpet math yet). 

This piece features Liam, a character we haven't met in The Undying Ones yet. He's a young man who lives in a village that's about a mile or so away from the castle that Mattie and her friends inhabit. While the village was hit by the plague at the same time that the castle was - it was not affected by the curse that afflicts the castle. People around Liam's village tend to go missing though, and his sister is the most recent one to disappear. However he refuses to believe that the woods are haunted by ghouls like the rest of the villagers - he thinks she's out there, somewhere, hiding from the marriage his father has arranged for her. He's spent the last few weeks looking for her, and is returning after having some weird experiences at the old bridge that leads to the castle...

“Young Liam, what are you doing out and about?” A gravely old voice called to him as he passed. Liam turned to find old Marley watching him from the porch of his house. Ancient, with tan wrinkled skin and white wispy hair that was almost translucent, the man worked a pile of straw by his feet into fantastic shapes and designs with his gnarled fingers. “Everyone is usually in their bed by now.”
Liam could ask the man the same question, but Marley was nearly a hundred years old and Liam’s mother would have his hide if she learned that he had been rude to a town elder. “Good evening, sir.”
“Have you been looking for your sister again?”
“Yes sir.”
“By the old bridge?”
“How did you…”
Marley pointed a crooked finger down the road. “Nothing that way except for the bridge and the castle on the other side, so where else would you be coming from?” He returned to knotting the straw. “You don’t think she’s hiding up there do you?”
“I don’t know, sir. She might be.”
“Bad place, that.”
“Letty’s a smart girl. She knows how to survive…” Liam leapt to his sisters defense but Marley shook his head.
“Your grandfather was a great hunter. I know he taught you both well, just like his father taught him, but there are things there and in these woods that aren’t human. Things your skills can’t protect you from.”
“I know about the Ghosts, sir.” After the King had killed his wife and his subjects, supposedly their spirits had lingered and still roamed the castle walls to this day. Letty had always shivered with delight when their grandfather had reached that part of the story. “But that’s just an old wives tale - they aren’t real.”
“I wasn’t talking about the ghosts, boy. There are darker things about. You’ve heard the stories about the things that go missing. How grain and other crops that disappear in the middle of the night?”
“It’s just rats and other pests...”
“Do you think rats made off with that barrel of dried fish that went missing from your father’s store last spring?”
“No, sir, but there had been that group of gypsies camping nearby.”
“Feh! Fine. Blame it on the gypsies... they always do... They said they locked them up over there...”
“Who? The gypsies?”
“No, the undying ones you daft fool! My father said his father and the others trapped them there, but I’ve seen things creeping about at night.”
Liam sighed.
“Still don’t believe me, eh? Do you remember, about five winters ago, when two of our men went hunting up that way and never returned?” Marley reached down to pull up another strand of straw and add it to his creation.
“Yes.”  In the spring another group of hunters had found their mangled and half eaten bodies. Liam’s mother had refused to let them leave the town until the bear that had attacked the men had been tracked down and killed. It’s hide now hung on the wall in the Two Stags. “They caught the animal...”
“If you believe that tale, you’re dimmer than I thought. A bear didn’t attack those men, something else did. I saw the teeth marks - they were human. If your sister did go out that way, then I guarantee that thing and it’s friends have gotten her.” He made one final knot in the straw and turned the intricate design around in his hands, ignoring how his young friend’s expression grew darker with every word he said.
“Letty is not dead.” Liam growled. “There was a girl out there, and if she could survive, then Letty can too.”
“What?” Marley looked up, his normally rheumy eyes suddenly clear and bright. “What did you say, boy?”
“There was a girl at the ravine. She had dark hair and a white face...”

And that's all for now! Be sure to come back this weekend - I'll have an update about my friend's wedding dress on Friday, and I'll be sharing some pictures from our trip to Red Rock in Las Vegas!

As always, you can check out more ROW 80 updates here, and WIPpet Wednesday posts can be found here!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Austenland


I read Austenland last year - and was immediately upset with myself that I didn't read it sooner. It's a fun book and I cannot wait to see what they've done with the movie!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bloglovin'

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Of Nook Press, ROW 80 Round 3, and other things...

Today, Barnes and Noble's PubIt! service shut down and was replaced by Nook Press.

Honestly not a lot has changed other than the website but they did add a cool new feature that piqued my interest...

You can write and publish your novel using the Nook Press website!

I use Google Docs to write most of the time. I do, however, have Scrivener at home, which I use to manage it all, and Sigil, which is what I will use to put it all together when it's time to format my novel into an epub file. However, other than those two programs I am completely devoted to Google Docs

But I may not need Google Docs or Sigil much longer thanks to Barnes and Noble! With Nook Press's Manuscript Editor, authors can now write, edit, share their novel with others, add a cover and a table of contents, format and publish the book when they're ready. It's a one stop shop for self publishing ebooks!

I've only played around with it so far, but it's really simple and easy to use... and I'm in love. So very in love. I am very tempted to move The Dancer over to it and try writing it, editing it, and publishing it through there just to see what it's like.

Have you checked it out yet? What are your thoughts on it?

Round 3 of ROW 80 started up last week. Between celebrating my birthday, the holiday, going out of town, and continuing our constant battle against fleas, there simply was not enough time to post my goals for this round or do any writing at all. As always I plan to continue working on my projects. I also plan to write at least 1000 words a day on my original projects (yup, I'm bringing back the word goal again) and I plan to update my two fanfics once a month (which will make those readers very happy).

And, this part is not writing related, but I plan to get my Etsy shop stocked and open by the end of the month. The Northern California Renaissance Faire isn't too far away, plus there's a Faire in Vegas in October, and a friend who runs a Belly Dance studio and I were talking about the possibility of her selling some of my items on consignment. We've even discussed going in together on a booth at the next big event. Anywho, I'll be sure to share the link here as soon as it's up!

Now it's time for what you've all really been waiting for - WIPpet Wednesday!

WIPpet Wednesday (or Wednesday WIPpet... either works!) is where you share a piece of a project you are working on that some how correlates to the date. So, since today is July 10th 2013, you could share 10 words from chapter 7, or you could add all the numbers together and share 40 lines ( 7+10+20+13=40 ) or you could just add some of the numbers together and share 17 lines from chapter 13 ( 7+10=17... and chapter 13 because it's 2013). There are a lot of ways you can work the math.

Since today is July 10th, I'm going to go with the first option and share 10 lines from Chapter 7 of The Undying ones. This picks up where the last bit I shared from The Undying Ones (which you can find here) left off:

Mortified at being caught intruding on his private sanctum, Mattie dropped to her knees and bowed until her forehead almost touched the ground, “Your Highness! I’m sorry, I was following someone …”
He stopped in front of her, the tips of his boots bumping against her fingers. She pulled her hands away from him. 
“This girl in the cape?” He asked.
She grimaced behind her mask. Here she had gone and told him the one thing she had not wanted him or the guards to find about. But there was still hope; he didn’t know who the red headed girl was or where she had come from. “Yes. I’m sorry, sir. I was following her and I didn’t realize where I was.”
“Mm. I see.” The King’s voice was growing softer, gentler, but Mattie knew that that did not mean she was out of danger yet.

You can find more ROW 80 updates over here, and you can see more WIPpet Wednesday updates over here!