Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Of Plot Twists and Pen Names...

There's a meme going around on Facebook right now that says; when life throws you for a loop, just yell plot twist and keep on going. At first it made me laugh, but now it just makes me twitchy because life has thrown us several plot twists as of late, some good and some not.


Remember how I said that last week was really awesome? Well, this was promptly followed by a few days that were just so full of crap, that I was tempted to pull out the sage and smudge the house and myself and my husband to get rid of any bad juju that might be following us around. First I received a traffic ticket, then my husband was laid off, and now I'm suffering from a fresh cold that's currently in the 'nose is stuffed up that you can't breathe' stage.

However, unlike the last time life took a turn for the worst, I am not letting this affect my writing. In fact I am doing the opposite - I'm throwing myself into my writing in the hopes of getting something finished, beta read and approved, and published ASAP.

Since TUO is no where near completion and neither is the Descendants, I've been focusing on two of my other projects. Both are short stories that I plan to serialize. One has already been re-written three times because the first two times were just not working out. The other one was something I wrote just for fun, and originally took place way later in it's series. Now it's been bumped up to the beginning.

The only problem with these two stories is that they are very adult in nature, feature explicit scenes and language, and are so very different from TUO and the Descendants that any comparison is like night and day. As a result I'm wondering if I should publish them under my name or if I should use a pen name to prevent any confusion.

I remember reading a blog by another indie author awhile back who said she did that. She had one pen name that she used for her romances, and another that she used for young adult stuff. This was because she was afraid a kid might pick up one of her romances because they thought it was another young adult book. Another author I know through faire also has one name that she uses for her romances, and a second name she uses for her more intense erotica. And then of course there's JK Rowling and Stephen King, two of my writing heroes, who have both used pen names.

What are your thoughts on the matter, dear reader?

Well, it's that time again folks... time for WIPPET WEDNESDAY!!!!

WIPpet Wednesday is led by KL Schwengel. To participate, share a snippet of the WIP you are working on that somehow correlate's with the date. For example, since today's date is 9/25 you could share 9 paragraphs from chapter 25, or 25 sentences from chapter 9. You can also add, subtract, multiple, divide, or do any combination of the above to the date to come up with a number of words, sentences, or paragraphs to share. Then post the snippet you've chosen on your blog, and share the link to your blog at this linkie thingee, and you're good to go!

Since I haven't worked on TUO or the Descendants recently, I don't have anything new to share from either of those projects. I'm also not comfortable sharing anything from the new projects I've been focusing on just yet until I figure out what I'll be publishing them under. So I'll be sharing some more from my Dragonriders of Pern fanfic, Between Two Worlds.

This is 21 paragraphs from Chapter 11. As I explained previously, Domick has somehow ended up on our world, at a renaissance faire. The owner of the faire has taken pity on him, and is giving him a place to stay and work. Norah, the owner's niece, has been showing him all the ropes and teaching him what he needs to survive in this crazy world.

Norah woke Domick earlier than normal the next day. She knocked on his door, calling through it that it was time to get up and startling him awake.

He blinked at the ceiling in sleepy surprise. He was used to waking early at the Harper Hall, but he had grown accustomed to the later hours Pembroke favored; to suddenly have to wake up so early again was quite a shock. While the sun was up, the light it was casting through his windows was still dim. He watched for a moment as the dust motes danced through the rays in lazy circles, and, for a moment, they almost lulled him back to sleep.

The pounding on his door came again. “If you’re not up in five minutes, I will toss a bucket full of water on you.” She threatened. “And I will make sure it’s freezing cold.”

That threat got him moving. He started dressing in a clean pair of the jeans he had been loaned, but then he remembered that today was Friday. After days of reviewing prices and money he would finally be working at the Wharf stand today. He would need to wear the other clothing - garb, Norah called it - consisting of trousers, shirt, and a vest called a doublet. It was looser than the other clothing he had, made from more natural materials, and handmade judging from the stitching that held it together. While it was still different than what he wore on Pern, it was closer than anything else he had seen here, and he relaxed under it’s familiar weight.

Norah was in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee, waiting patiently for him to wake up. Her garb was far more somber in hue than his: her underskirt was black, the top skirt was a roughly woven beige and black striped fabric, and the odd laced vest she wore was a dark grey. Normally her chest was hidden by the t-shirts she favored, but today the collar of her shirt had been pulled open wide to display the decolletage her vest pushed up. To find her assets displayed so openly was quite a shock - a welcome one, but a shock nonetheless - and he found himself staring a little longer than what might be considered appropriate. He quickly glanced away and poured himself a cup of coffee from the pot brewing on the counter before she could catch that he had been gawking at her like an addle brained apprentice.

A bucket full of water sat in the sink - just like she had promised. He eyed it warily, “Surely you weren’t actually going to dump that on me.”

“Maybe.” He stared at her and she smiled and then shook her head. “No, I wouldn’t have, because then I would have had to help you move your mattress into the yard so it could dry, hang your sheets out on the line, and we don’t have time for that. But it was tempting.”

“Ah.” He sat down at the table next to her, pouring in sweetener and a spice labeled cinnamon until the coffee more closely resembled the klah he was used to. “Do you usually have to resort to such threats to get people up in the morning?”

“Sometimes - Mud can sleep through anything, and Marcus can be just as bad.”

“Marcus is your son, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s staying with my mother for Spring Break. He’ll be back next week.”

“Spring Break?” He asked, unfamiliar with the term.

“Um, kids here go to school until they are 18 or graduate the 12th grade. Some schools go from September to June with breaks in December and in the Spring to break up the monotony. Marcus goes to a year round school, so he goes for two months or so and then he gets a month off.”

“Ah.” On Pern harpers taught the children every day, except for rest days and gather days. He found himself wondering how the children did not forget their lessons.

“How are your hands this morning? Still cramping?”

“Better, thank you.” He took a sip of his coffee. “The ointment gave me was... interesting.” First it had been hot one moment, and then cold the next. And it had smelled strange too - sharp, cool, and oddly refreshing. While he had gone to Oldive in the past for various liniments to help with this ache or that pain, usually they did not smell nearly as nice.

“Good - just be careful to wash your hands off after you use it. Sometimes the... effects can transfer to other... parts of your body if you’re not careful.”

“I noticed.”

Norah snorted and choked on her coffee. Domick took a step towards her side but she waved him away. “I’m fine. I’m fine.” She coughed to cover her embarrassment and clear her throat. “C’mon. Enough talking - there’s work to be done.”

You can read more WIPpet Wednesday Posts here.
You can read more of Between Two Worlds here and here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Another Round of 80 words has come to a close...

Earlier this week I thought of something to discuss in this blog, but, yet again, I have since completely forgotten what said thing was. Was it casting characters in your head? Was it music that you listen to when you write? Was it a blog I stumbled across?

I dunno. 

I think I may have to begin writing down blog topics as soon as they occur to me. 

Despite that it's been a very good week and a good end to this round of ROW 80. 

I was able to do some writing over the weekend. Most of the work was done on the Descendants and one of the fanfics, though I did chip away at chapter 9 of TUO some more. I also finished up a Christmas short story that takes place in one of the fanfics. I had started it last year, and the story has changed since then, so the events that happen in the short story will never come to pass in the fanfic. A friend and I were discussing this, and her response was to blink at me, and say 'So, you basically wrote a fanfic for your fanfic?'

Yes, I heard you like fanfic, so I decided to put a fanfic in your fanfic.


But I'm happy that I finished it, because it proves to me that I can write something short, sweet, and wrap it up in a few thousand words. Since all my projects tend to explode and become ginormous monsters, I was beginning to think I couldn't write a short story or novella.

Maybe I'll share it when it gets a little closer to Christmas.

In addition to that, my husband's birthday was last week so we went and saw a taping of Hollywood Babble-on at the Hollywood Improv. It's podcast that's done by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman that's pretty freaking hilarious. Seeing it in person is even better, because then you can see what Kevin and Ralph are talking about. 

I finally saw a new doctor to get a second opinion on my PCOS and Fibroids. The appointment went really really well, but I'll share more on that in a later post.

Oh, and I finished up a couple of books: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson and Bared To You by Sylvia Day. 

The Madness Underneath was... interesting. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Name of the Star, and this picks up a few months later. Rory has left Wexford Academy and is living with her parents in Bristol while she recovers from the events of the first book. Her therapist decides that it's best for her if she goes back to school, so Rory heads back to London. She soon learns that her return to Wexford was something that the Shades, people who have the ability to see ghosts like she can, have set up. And even though Stephen, the head of the Shades, is adamant that she complete schooling, she soon finds herself skipping class to help them investigate a new series of murders that aren't what they appear to be. 

This book actually came out a few months ago, and readers who are fans of the series immediately freaked out. There were people cursing Maureen Johnson and comparing her to GRR Martin on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr - so even if I wanted to avoid spoilers I couldn't. As a result I knew going in that the book ends on a cliffhanger and that one of the characters doesn't make it. However, even though I was forewarned I was so not prepared for what happened. A character does pass away. It is the result of events that happen at the climax of the book, but it's not in the way I was expecting at all. 

God damn you Maureen Johnson. God damn you.

Other than that, it's a good second book that sets up the rest of the series, and I can't wait to see what happens next. Only problem is that the book comes out next spring so I have a while to wait. 

Now as for Bared To You. I was hesitant about reading this book because it seemed like another 50 Shades of Grey knock off, and I didn't really like 50 Shades of Grey that much. It is very similar, but it's also very different. Eva has a backbone. She stands up to Gideon repeatedly, denying him multiple times before she finally gives in and accepts the fact that they're supposed to be together. However, she quickly becomes annoying. She has a troubled past, and her answer to any problem is to run away from it. So Gideon does something to upset her, she runs away, he runs after her, reassures her that he is hers - rinse and repeat every other chapter. Regardless, it's still a fun read to pass the time.

In addition to that Sleepy Hollow premiered on Fox. I'm a history nut, and a sucker for 'fish out of water' stories - especially 'fish out of temporal' water ones - so the moment I heard about this show and saw the previews, I was all about it. It wasn't what I was expecting as the TV spots for it were a bit misleading, but holy crap was it fun. And WAY spookier than I was expecting. Seriously. I jumped a few times (Something I have a feeling my husband will not let me forget anytime soon) I'm looking forward to seeing how the show plays out, and I'm hoping that Fox gives it a chance instead of canceling it way too soon like they did with Firefly and Dollhouse. 

And now on to the WIPpet!

WIPpet Wednesday is run by KL Schwengel. To join in, all you have to do is share a piece of something that you are working on that somehow relates to the date. It could be 9 lines from chapter 18, or 27 words as 9 + 18 = 27. The more creative the math, the better! Then, once you've posted what you're sharing in your own blog, you go here and share the link. See? Easy peasy.

My own WIPpet Math is pretty simple today: 9-18=9, so I'll be sharing 9 sentences from Chapter 9 (I was tempted to do 18/9=2... but nothing I had available really fit that length.). This scene takes place after Mattie has returned to her rooms after leaving the King's garden. She's afraid that he might send his men after her because she upset him, so she's pushed several pieces of furniture in front of the door to barricade it.

Mattie spent the rest of that night, and the next huddled in her room. She flinched every time she heard boots in the corridor outside her door, convinced that it was the King’s guard finally coming to drag her away.
But they never came.
On the third day her stomach growled and cramped, reminding her that she had not eaten since she imprisoned herself. While the thought of trying to stomach more of the thin grey gruel available in the great hall was unappealing, she knew that if she didn’t want to become gaunt like some of the ghouls that wandered about the castle, she would need to eat soon.
Sighing, she pulled herself away from the wall, her joints creaking and her muscles protesting after sitting for so long in one place. She groaned in pain as she started dragging the furniture and rocks away from the door, but her body quickly loosened up with the exertion.
Once she was able to open the door, she peered into the corridor outside. She glanced up and down it, looking for men wearing red uniforms and chain mail, but it was empty.

To see more WIPpet Wednesday post, please click here.
To see more ROW 80 updates, please go here

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Progress and a Little Bit of Fic...

My writing mojo came back earlier this week, and so I've started plugging away at The Undying Ones again. I'm currently working on Chapter 9, which consists of rewriting a lot of old dialogue that refers to events that haven't happened yet or won't happen at all in this most recent draft. Oh, the joys of moving scenes around.

In addition to that, it occurred to me that two characters were were originally kitchen boys should probably be lords instead. And then it occurred to me that they should be cousins to the Queen who has been missing/presumed dead all these years. This would explain why they care so much about the Queen, and would smooth out the conversation that Mattie has with the King in chapter 7.

However, turning the characters from kitchen boys into lords means I have to go back and re-write some scenes, yet again.

*insert grimace here*

But on to happier subjects! It's Wednesday, which of course, means another snippet of a WIPpet I'm working on!

I was going to share more from chapter 9 of The Undying Ones, but I quickly realized that that wouldn't do, since a lot of the dialogue isn't relevant anymore. I would share more of the Descendants, but then I realized that I haven't worked on that in awhile, and I don't want to give away too much of chapter 1. The adult contemporary story is nowhere near sharing yet - especially considering that it might be undergoing yet another re-write soon. Ooof.

So, instead of all of that, I have decided to share a little snippet of one of the fanfics I play around with when I need a break from my other stories.

If you're a fan of Anne McCaffrey, you might have picked up one of her Dragonriders of Pern books. I'm a bit obsessed, so I have them all (except for her son's) and I reread them regularly. My poor copy of Dragonflight is so beat up that I had to reinforce it with packaging tape! However, out of all the books, the Harper Hall trilogy holds a special place in my heart, because I identified with Menolly so much when I was younger. As I've gotten older though, I found myself becoming more and more fascinated by Domick, who was the Master of Composition at the Harper Hall. He has a handful of scenes in the series, but he is so dynamic that he just pops out at you.

Since he only has a handful of scenes in the series, and there's only one other author out there that writes fanfics about him, I decided to give him his own story to shine in. Of course, my muse decided to let him shine in a genre of fanfic that I normally avoid reading and writing like the plague: the dreaded 'fish out of water' story where the character is brought to our world and times by some freaky happenstance.

To sum up the story, Domick is on his way back from a Gather (the Pernese equivalent of a county fair) when he finds himself in our world. A woman eventually takes him in and offers him a job at the Renn Faire she runs with her niece, Norah. Pern is a feudal society, so waking up in our technologically advanced world has been quite a shock for the poor harper. This specific scene takes place later in the fic when Norah is showing him a laptop and he listens to his voice for the first time

So, without further adieu, here is 24 (9+11=20, 20+1+3=24) sentences from Between Two Worlds.

Once they were back at the Stewes, Norah left him in the living room and disappeared down the hallway towards her room. A few short moments later she returned carrying a rectangular object. It was the size of a slate, but a bit thicker and hinged on one end. She sat on one of the couches, motioned for him to sit next to her, and opened the object. The black exterior hid a glowing surface and several rows of keys, that reminded him of the odd machines he had seen on the Healer's desks in the hospital. Norah slid her finger across the base of the... thing... directing a little arrow around. Suddenly, she pushed object on to his lap. “Say something.”

“What?”

“Whatever you want.”

“Fine. I am Domick from Pern.” He said. She smiled, and clicked something on the screen. Suddenly a voice from inside the rectangle repeated what his words. He glanced at her in surprise. “What was that?”

“You.”

“I do not sound like that.”

“Yes, you do.” She clicked the screen again, and the voice repeated. Upon listening to it a second time he had to admit that it sounded like him, but if it really was him, than his voice was deeper than he thought. And, as he listened to it a third and final time, it almost sounded as if he was talking into a bucket. He cringed and Norah laughed.

You can read the rest of the story over at Fanfiction.net or ArchiveOfOurOwn.org.

You can check out more WIPpet Wednesday posts over here.

And, finally, you can check out more ROW 80 updates here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Writer's Block of the Worst Kind...

I haven't felt like writing very much the past couple of days. The weather has been miserable, work has been busy, and I'm in a funk because one of my parents made a few upsetting comments when I went to visit them recently. All of these factors have put me into quite a funk and are preventing me from writing.

I like to think my family and I have a decent relationship. We certainly have a much better relationship now than the one we had when I was a teenager. However, we still have our spats from time to time, or may not see eye to eye on things, or may make comments that offend one another. No one is perfect. Thankfully these spats are far and few between, and they never really last long, but when they happen, man do they suck.

Maybe it's the weather that's making us crankier than normal though. It's been horrible lately, absolutely horrible. It's been in the 90s, which isn't too bad, but the humidity is high and that is what everyone everywhere is complaining about. In fact, it is so humid that whenever you move you are instantly dripping in sweat. It makes me want to run away to the desert. Sure it's hotter out there, but at least it's a dry heat, and that really does make all the difference in the world.

As for work? Well, it's the end/beginning of the month, so we're scrambling to get updates to the company website out, launch new products, update sales numbers, etc etc etc, and of course there have been the usual round of defects popping up that weren't there when we were testing these changes, so we're trying to get those fixed as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, I was able to finish up chapter eight of The Undying Ones before this recent round of writer's block hit. And I wrote about 1500 words on chapter nine of Collaborating Chaos before I had to turn it over to Kella (this is why I wasn't able to respond to everyone's comments last week, or comment on as many blogs as I normally do, because I was trying to get that chapter banged out). She finished it up for me after I realized that there was no way I was going to get it done in time. I was away from my computer for most of the weekend so even if I wanted to write, I couldn't. You can check out the newest Collaborating Chaos update and read the rest of the story over here

Even though I wasn't writing, I did manage to put more items up in my Etsy store. I now have two styles of peasant bodices that I am offering, along with entaris that can be worn with the belly dancing bodices I have available. Both bodices are very cute, and everyone who sees them likes them, but I think the entari is probably my favorite item. It's so comfortable to wear, and the gauze breathes so it's perfect to wear during hot weather like what we're experiencing now. I should have chemises, partlets, skirts and some men's clothing up next week. 

I've also started knitting again. It occured to me that my husband and I are planning a trip to Washington with our friends at the end of December, and it gets cold up in Washington, and I don't have a whole lot of cold weather appropriate accessories. I have my technicolor dream scarf and a cowl, but the scarf isn't that long, and the cowl doesn't really cover my head and my neck at the same time, and wearing both look very silly. So, I'm trying to get my ravenclaw scarf done as quickly as possible - I think I'm about halfway there. 

And now, for what you've all been waiting for - the Wippet Snippet. Here's 68 words from chapter eight of The Undying Ones. 9 times 4 is 36, times 2 is 72. 1 plus 3 is 4, 4 minus 72 is 68. 

He stripped to his waist, and washed off the soot from the fire as best as he could using the water from the rain barrel. It was icy cold, and made his teeth chatter and his skin break out in prickly gooseflesh, but pulling the tub from the pantry would take too long - especially when all he wanted to do was crawl back into bed and sleep.

You can read more WIPpet Wednesday posts here, and more ROW 80 posts over here.