Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Challenging

I have this tendency to tackle the hardest thing first. Seems that's not normal. Most people do the easiest thing first and move up to progressively harder tasks.

The Turtle is not most people.

When learning a new skill, I choose the project most professionals would hesitate to tackle (because they know what's involved) because that's the one that looks fun.

First time I built a dollhouse, or anything out of wood, for that matter, I chose the three story row house instead of the one room cabin. When learning to crochet, I made a blanket instead of a potholder. When starting cross stitch, I picked the two by two foot flaming dragon picture with no guidelines instead of the dish towel with the smiley face. 

Problem with this tendency is two-fold. One, if I've bitten off more than I can chew, I don't finish. The blanket got crocheted, along with several more, but the dragon and the dollhouse rest dusty and half-done because I banged into the place where I need mentoring and I have no mentor. Two, if I do finish, I tend to stop using the skill. I mean, I've done the hardest thing, right? Why continue?

I fight this with writing. The first book was challenging because of size and storyline. I hadn't finished a novel before. It was new.

The first book was so easy, I had to make the second more challenging. Two MCs, four viewpoints, and two separate story lines that converge at the end. Months of hair-pulling and head-banging saw it done. Yes, I had some rough spots, but I did it.

Book three wants to play rough. Without realizing it, I've created at least two MCs, five viewpoints, four potential story lines and a definite failure to converge at the end.

Part of this stems from how I started the book, with a non-MC viewpoint to set the stage and get me "started." Part of it stems from the fact that due to certain issues, I can't stay in the main MC's head like I normally would. You'd have to read the book to understand why. Since she changes surroundings so frequently, I have to change POV characters to keep the focus on her and that complicates things since each POV character has his or her own motivations. Just writing it down this way makes me want to bang head on keyboard. This is the story I want to tell. I'm just having trouble telling it. 

My goal today is to write down these extra story lines and see whether I can make them play nice or remove them for later short story fodder. 'Cause they're driving me crazy.

I have only today to do this because "in earnest" edits on Star of Justice start tomorrow. The official release date is May 1, the unofficial release date is April 15, and the Turtle needs to get moving.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Digging Rocks

Should have titled this better, but I was a little brain-dead at the time. Find out why over at



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unexpected

I sat down to write a brief post comparing my garden to my writing and accidentally wrote Monday's NAF post. Meaning, I can't publish it here and now. Meaning, I wanted to let you know why I didn't write something this morning.

Since I've not been blogging consistently for a while, I don't know why I think you'd care, but I do, so I did, so you know.

Later.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Refresh

Sitting here on a Wednesday, trying to dispel the foul mood I went to bed with and woke up with, realizing I haven't read any of the "Blogs I Follow" in I don't know how long and trying to make up for it.

NAF Newbie Heather Titus takes on literary vs genre fiction with a middle-of-the-road take and a wonderful reference to 7 layer cookies. 

I took the F-Score The Lioness recommended over at Factotum Rostrum. Pretty sure I answered something wrong because I completely disagree with my dormant trigger, but I may not know enough about it yet to judge.

Enjoyed Kat's take on cover art and fairies. You're right, Kat. There are way too many girls in flowery dresses on book covers at the moment. That's all I saw in my last walk through the Barns of Nobles.

Shook my head at Vaulter hunched over her computer screen clicking "refresh" at Amazon to see the most current book sales results. I never, never, never, never want to do that. I probably will.

In case you haven't heard, dear readers, Vaulter's book I Am Ocilla is now out and proud of it. I helped edit, and I am happy to say it's worth money, so go buy a copy, either print or ebook version. Both are available.

Vaulter says I may claim that if she gave birth to Ocilla, I slapped her butt and made her cry. I intend to claim it at every opportunity. 

Happy Wednesday, people. I need chocolate.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shying Away

Had one of those conversations with a co-worker that results in the surprised query, "There's blood in your book? You write bloody stuff?"

Yeah. Yeah I do. Love doing it, in fact, as I've mentioned before.

What I seem to have trouble writing is torture. Not deliberate torture scenes. I've never tried writing one of those and I don't see me doing so in the near (or distant) future.

TT: I guess there is that scene in the furnace room of Manarot in Star of Justice but that wasn't torture for torture's sake, so I'm not counting it.

No, I'm talking about the sort of heartless experimentation on living things that ultimately qualifies as torture. Think the Alchemist's laboratory in The Dark Crystal. It bothers me. I don't mind outright killing in battle. I don't mind dismemberment that results in swift death. What I seem to mind is dismemberment that doesn't result in death.

Not sure why I draw this distinction. Perhaps it's my middle-American upbringing. I'm not used to interacting with maimed creatures. You won't find them in Ah'rahk simply because most people have access to magical herbs or spells that negate crippling injuries. About the only things not curable are death and stupidity, and they're working on death.

Perhaps I've stumbled across one of my own phobias. Watch me scramble to get away from it!

I can't get away from it. This WIP has a villain with an interest in biology and it leads to nasty, heartless experimentation that makes my skin crawl and gives me nightmares. I can't shy away, no matter how much I want to, or the book doesn't get written. I will limit it, though. I've already cut way down on scene-setting because I don't want to imagine what it would look like. I should take a hint from H.P. Lovecraft's early works and stick with "unimaginable horror." 

The non-writers out there are saying, "Just make up another villain."

My dear readers. If only it were that simple.

The Price of Justice is becoming a much different book than I imagined it would be. Internal demons are far nastier than external ones and far harder to battle. Never fear. I will provide that happy ending I demand from my books. You'll just want it to happen sooner than it will. 


Monday, February 20, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Spring Fever

Why does it always hit too early?

It's February! I can't go outside and work in the yard. Not most years, anyway. This is not most years.

It's supposed to be the upper 50s today. Unable to help myself, I went out last night - in a dress and dress shoes, no less - and dug around the maple stump just to see if I could.

There's a very real chance I'll be out in the yard tonight, tomorrow and Sunday, moving dirt from the top of the yard to the bottom one wheelbarrow load at a time.

The probability of bringing in a load of dirt presses on my brain. At this point, my dirt is so compacted and ground in with clay (thanks to the first arborist's misuse of a slipskid), I don't know that I'll ever get it back to what could be called "level" without some outside assistance.

I placed my first online plant order last night, too. Sometime in April, I'll come home to a dwarf peach tree, blueberry bushes, sedum ground covers, hosta and a bi-colored butterfly bush, among other things, for under $100. I'll be posting pics on FB, no doubt. This is by no means the end of the plant orders, but the very, very beginning of a long process of transformation.

I hope my enthusiasm is up to the task.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Homeostasis

Yep. It's me, freaking out again, over at

You'd think I'd get tired of it, wouldn't you? Not yet.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Impatience

The old saying is "Patience is a virtue."

Nah-unh. Patience is a muscle. You have to develop it. You have to practice it. Sometimes, you just have to lump it.

Winter has finally arrived in Kansas and I'm resenting it just a little bit. It would be one thing if The Swamp were blanketed in snow and I couldn't see all the work needing to be done for years to come.
Alas, in typical Kansas fashion, we are cold and dry, or cold and just wet enough to prevent me from going outside to move mud around. I can't plant. I can't dig. I can't even really lay bricks because I need the ground level and that involves the digging I can't do.

So I stand at my kitchen window, sip hot tea and practice patience. When I can't stand anymore, I go write on The Price of Justice.

Frustration fuels the muse on this book. Good thing. I have plenty to spare.

Monday, February 6, 2012