06 December 2014

Portland Journals

Day one in Portland. I kinda wish I had a local with me right now*, despite my desire to explore alone right now.
I got so lost trying to find this one coffee shop** that Google Maps said had breakfast burritos, which sounded yummy.
So here I am, finally. It's a cute little shop.
I dunno, when I travel, I usually have a couple destinations in mind, but mostly I want to live like a local ... and maybe this is a good place for a Saturday morning when you don't have a lot of groceries in your house***.

Anyway ... my destinations include Powell's City of Books (of course), SockDreams' brick-and-mortar, and Twisted, a yarn store with tea bar and knitting lounge ... looking forward to that.
And of course, tomorrow, the main event: Erika Moen's book release party at She Bop.
Anyway, that's it for now ...


* My host is working, my friend who moved here from SLC is going to meet with me, but a little later.
** Floyd's Coffee Shop
*** Apparently, my host doesn't know how to cook, but just eats sandwiches and cereal. I'm going to pick up a few things that can be microwaved, just so I don't have to eat out for every meal ...

14 November 2014


Today, instead of writing at least 1,667 words**, I've been reading about rape, because I'm in too much pain*** to concentrate on writing.  
After you follow those links, I suggest a nice healthy dose of baby animals.  

Okay, let's talk briefly about NaNo.  Because, although I'm ahead of par, and can take a break from actual writing today, I'm still going to work.  It just may not be word output.  
So, I had an idea for a novel.  It was the sequel to last year's NaNoNovel.  And in fact, I had hoped to finish that around the 15th, and start on book three, and write a trilogy.  
BUT, that didn't happen.  There are reasons, but I don't feel like going into them at the moment.  
So, I'm writing some short stories, instead.  I'm really hoping to write 50K words worth of short stories, but so far I've finished two stories, one of which I will send to an anthology at the end of the month.  Both will eventually go on my website and on my Patreon page for people to read for free, especially the one for the anthology (which doesn't yet have a title), because I'd like to write other stories set in the same world.  

Anyway, I may post some excerpts here and at Patreon, but later.  For now, it's time for me to take a nap (because I'm really tired), and then work on other stuff, like covers or learning to format ebooks or whatever.  
Love you all.  


* Despite my best efforts, there are probably typos in this post.  I apologize.  Please just deal with it.  

** Novemer is National Novel Writing Month^, which means I'm trying to write 50K^^ words^^^ in one month.  
^ NaNoWriMo or NaNo, for short.  
^^ At least.  I was trying for 100K, but ... 
^^^ Ideally, I'd be writing a novel, but this year ... I'm doing something a bit different.  

*** Due to being female^.  
^ In case that doesn't make sense, I'm menstruating, despite my IUD.  I'm in a lot of pain+ and that or painkillers or both is making it hard for me to brain.  
+ I got my IUD to stop or decrease the heavy bleeding and the debillitating amount of pain that menses brought me.  It became debillitating when painkillers stopped doing their job.  This is not as bad as it was before, and this is the first time in months it's been anywhere near this bad, so I'm still okay with having the IUD.  

 1667 words x 30 days = 50K, so 1667 words x today's date = today's par, aka, where I should be if I'm going to be writing 1667 words every day for a month.  

03 May 2014

Kale Smoothie Secrets

I love smoothies. We also have a shit-ton of kale in the backyard. So I've been looking into recipes involving kale recently (first was the kale lentil soup, and I'll keep making that), and this morning, I experimented with kale in my morning smoothie, and I want to share the two things I learned.
Pineapple is Edible Gold.
I can't taste the kale in my smoothie, because of how sweet pineapple is. I use canned pineapple chunks, and because of how juicy they are, I usually don't need to add any liquid (milk, juice) to my smoothies when I toss in half a dozen chunks.
Use a Unified Color Scheme
Normally, I don't have to worry about this: my normal smoothie fruits are bananas, pineapple, and oranges, with usually one or two brightly coloured berries (usually blackberries or raspberries) thrown in, and it always comes out looking gorgeous.
HOWEVER, when one of your ingredients is a strong color like green, you have to think about color.
My smoothie this morning is made of (bananas and pineapple, of course--those are my smoothie staples) raspberries, blueberries and kale. It's kind of a muddy color. Next time (tomorrow morning) I plan to use blueberries and blackberries together. Or raspberries and strawberries together. Or if I felt like it, I could go get some kiwis, and go for a green smoothie.
The first secret tip is essential for great taste, and should never be ignored. The second tip is mostly for aesthetics, and while that's important, it's not vital. My smoothie this morning, while strange-looking, was yummy and filling, and I'd drink more if I had any left ... alas.

27 March 2014

To be nobody but yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.  -- e. e. cummings

A thing happened today.  Though it inspired me to sit down and write this blog post, this post isn't about the thing that happened, which was frankly triggering for me.  Instead I want to talk about what this thing triggered, why it's a trigger for me, and then probably my general thoughts for a bit.  

From probably the day I was born, I have felt as though who I am, who I want to be, and what I want have been never enough, unacceptable, and/or not real.  I have been told that what I suffer isn't real; I have been treated as though I am worth less than people who made different choices than I did, or who were physically different* from me; I have been ignored; my voice has been overridden or trampled over; I have been ridiculed and abused because of my gender; my wants and desires have been ignored, or twisted for someone else's purpose, or used against me; I have been called disgusting, whore, bitch, merely for being true to who I am.  
I have been searching my entire life for who I am and where I belong, and it shows in my writings and the stories I tell myself**.  

I have fought all my life to be myself and nobody else.  It has been the biggest struggle of my life, and so when the choice is to be myself or to please someone else, my answer, every time, needs to be: be myself.  (It isn't always, of course, old habits being hard to break--but it needs to be.)  For my own sake, but also for the people around me: being happy makes it easier to make others happy, and I am never so miserable as when I'm repressing parts of who I am.  

That is what goes through my head anytime I see something that from the outside looks like someone repressing parts of themselves to make others happy.  Of course, it's likely more complex than that (I understand conflicting desires), but this is still my immediate reaction.  


* Mostly, they had penises.

** I'm a changeling, stolen from my home, taken to Faerie, then left in some other human family after the Fae got bored with me.

06 March 2014

Fiction Magazines

This week I've spent some time sending stories to magazines.  It always amazes me how quickly some magazines can tell you they don't want your story.  Alas.
I've got four stories that I'm currently sending out ... Two came back after one day; one of those I sent out again.  The other, I saw the email right before breakfast, so I'm about to send it back out somewhere else, but first I had to eat breakfast and watch an episode of Buffy.
Anyway, I'll be getting on that now.

I don't know why it's a difficult, emotional thing now, when it hadn't been a couple of years ago, when I was doing this regularly.  But it kind of is.  Ah, well.  It's part of being who I want to be.  I just hope that someday, I can sell a story to a magazine, because that would be really awesome.

Wish me luck.  

27 February 2014

I need your help!

I'm actually working on TWISTING FATES today (yay!), and I need help.
The Gods-tongue is the language spoken by the Gods, and if mortals could speak it properly, then they'd have basically magic.
What I need is: what do you call the written language of the Gods?  I'd prefer the format of the word/phrase to be the same, like Gods-alphabet or Gods-syllabary, only punchier, the way Gods-tongue is only two syllables.  It's an important concept, so the name for it is important.  (Also, alas, I don't yet know if the written language has an alphabet vs a syllabary vs heiroglyphs vs whatever.)
It's really annoying.  

26 February 2014

Doll Bones, by Holly Black

A progress report, rather than a review.
According to the book trailer, I think it's supposed to be scary--I haven't gotten that far yet.  Well, there have been one or two hints--like "the Great Queen", a bone-china doll locked in a cabinet, whose eyes flutter.  And I think I'm about to get to the scary part.
But, what makes this such an important book for me is the beginning.  The three main characters, Zach, Alice and Poppy, have this thing where they "play" with action figures.  Except I would call it "role-playing".  They are clearly role-players who haven't yet discovered RPG books.
This is a book for gamers.  Also for writers, because my experience with writing is very similar to my experience with gaming, especially if I haven't got idea one about what I'm about to write (like every November): the characters do have a life outside you if you let them, and they will make decisions you never would have.
This is also a book for people who don't understand writers/gamers: Zach does an excellent job of describing what it's like.  (Or even for some gamers who have never let their characters live outside of them.)

My first major experience with this was with what I tend to call "my first real character"--Aidan.  I had played a lot of D&D before that, and my experience with D&D is that it makes it very hard to have a real character--you don't usually think about why your character is killing creatures and collecting gold--that's just the point of the game.
But Aidan--she was a real, breathing character with wants and desires and goals and a worldview.  And one day, I sat down to write a brief story about how she was coping with something traumatic; I'd had an idea of what would happen, but partway through, Aidan just tapped me on the shoulder, and said, "Let me tell you what happened."  Then I continued writing the story, a completely different story from what I had planned, because Aidan let me know that what I had planned would never have happened.

I had similar experiences with TWISTING FATES.  Every so often, I would be writing along, no real clue what was going to happen, and I would realize that the scene was dull.  Every time I realized that I was bored writing a scene, something would start happening.  Someone would start acting dodgy, or someone would say something that didn't make sense, based on the pages before--and the thing is, I had no idea what was really happening.  When someone was acting dodgy, I had to find out along the way, maybe just a step ahead of my characters, but sometimes at the same time (depending on how important to the plot it was--if it was major, I'd have to make a decision, but if it wasn't ... ).
The Deadlands, a major feature of the geography, and also a pretty big plot piece, were born out of a statement that they would need to buy supplies, when up until that point, supplies hadn't been an issue--villages were close together, and there was plenty of forage/hunting.  

24 February 2014


In my dream, the world burns. Angry red light washes over everything, and I hear yelling, screaming, other sounds I cannot identify. A woman stands over it all, watching. I cannot see her clearly, but she stands at the heart of the world on fire, and I do not know if she set the fire or is trying to put it out.  
I pushed on long into the night. The dream I had woken with haunted me, and besides, the temple was close enough that it made more sense to push on than to stop and make camp.

I smelled the fire before I saw it--a forested hill hid the glow from me. But when I rounded the hill, I faced the scene from my dream: the world on fire.

For a moment that felt like an eternity, I took it in: Vemzhanvimyimzhyu's temple burning, priests everywhere trying to save scrolls, books, parchments, but hindered by soldiers--not uniformed; they must be mercenaries--the sounds of fighting I had not recognized in my dream. Then I dropped my bundle, running towards the temple. I needed to help the priests save the burning knowledge.

Close to the burning building, two men grabbed me. I tried to fight them off, to get away, but the larger of the men, with long braided hair, held me fast, his grip painful. I screamed, and the other man laughed. "Hold her down for me, will you?"

I struggled uselessly as the braided man puled me to the ground. I tried to scream again, but nothing came out. 

The other one, wiry and short, unlaced his trousers and let them drop, grinning at me, before a strong voice cut through the sound of screaming, of fighting, and the great roaring of the fire.

"Leave her alone! We're done here!" There was a loud, ululating cry, and the soldiers all over the temple grounds moved away. The men standing over me did not move. "Aww, captain! We was just having a little fun!"

I looked up to see, silhouetted against the fire, a figure standing on the steps of the burning temple. "You'll have to pay for your fun in the next village, Yimve. As for you, Wenyi, you've had your fun for the night. I'm not letting you kill that girl. Go on. We're leaving."

The soldiers gathered around their commander, who gestured ahead, to the forest. The soldiers--the mercenaries--streamed into the forest, but I watch the man surrounded by flames.

When he turned his head in my direction, though, I gaped. The firelight revealed the woman from my dream, her features seeming carved from ebony and gilded.

Without entirely understanding why, I got up and staggered over to the woman. "Who are you?" I had to shout over the roaring of the fire.

"You are not a priest," she said, eyeing my travel-stained garb impassively. "Where did you come from?" Her face and voice betrayed no hint of emotion.

I shook my head, and gestured to the grounds, and the burning temple. "Why would you do something like this? By the Gods, why?"  
She shook her head, then pulled a small sack from her belt, and tossed it down to me. "See the priests get this. I--will do what I can." Her voice broke, and for a moment, I saw despair in her eyes. Then she ran down the steps and after the mercenaries.

I looked down at the sack in my hands, confused. It was not heavy, and felt filled with lentils or barley.  I wondered what was in it. But only for a moment; then I rushed to the temple to save what could be saved.  

22 February 2014

Cultural Memory

Turns out, I don't have enough time today (at least, not right now) to post an excerpt from TWISTING FATES--I could just copy and paste the super-rough first scene, but I'd prefer to apply the fixes that I've already done on paper, which means a lot of writing.
So here's what I'll do instead.  This is a thing I've been thinking about recently: cultural memory, or the cultural unconscious.  It's different from Jung's collective unconscious, because it only exists on a cultural level, rather than a universal level.
I'd love to get into more detail, but for now, I have this:
I don't think I've ever seen Psycho.  But I don't actually know, because I have memories of scenes and knowledge of the storyline.  Knowledge of the storyline by itself isn't enough for this theory.  But I have memories, in my head, of visuals and sounds, and my theory is they come from the culture itself.  Because I have no memory of actually watching the movie; I have no specific memory of being shown clips from it; yet I have memories of the film itself.
Cultural unconscious.
That's what I believe in.  

21 February 2014

Twisting Fates

Hey, all.  I'm currently working on my newest NaNoNovel, TWISTING FATES, which I hope will be super-cool.
I wrote it in November, and now I'm working on editing it, which is going to be a kinda long, hard slog, because I'm attempting to do one pass, to go from super-rough draft to something I can hand to beta readers/writing groups, and say, okay, does the story make sense, with the hope that people will say, 'yeah, it's great!', and then all I need to do is make sure everything's spelled right, and then I can publish it.  So, super-rough draft to practically publishable, one pass.  That's my hope.
(Of course, if I'm seriously missing a plot hole, or something, then I'll need to go over it again, but I'm just hoping that won't happen.)

Anyway, I think I'd like to post an excerpt sometime soon, probably just the fist scene or so.  Possibly later today, maybe tomorrow.  Not sure.  Soon, though.  Maybe after breakfast.  

09 January 2014

Unf#cking My Office

Only the after photo, because no before photo could accurately portray the level of mess and stress represented by piles of paper scattered throughout my entire office.
1) Mostly chapters of a novel that has been critiqued by my writing group.  I need to go through and make digital notes of changes suggested, etc. (and then use the blank side of the paper for printing the next run of chapters for critiquing).  Also some original hand-written copies of stories.
2) Important Papers That Must Be Filed: paystubs, medical bills, warranties, etc.  Needs to be filed.
3) Ideas, notes and bits of writing, all hand-written, awaiting being entered into a word processor file so that I can lessen my paper junk.
4) RECYCLING!!!!!!!!!
5) Recent receipts.
6) Notebooks and blank paper.
7) Everything Else: full-sheet edition.
8) Everything Else: small-paper edition.
9) Non-paper things found while sorting through  papers.
10) Because no cleaning can get done without a massive amount of tea.
The Everything Else boxes will be stored under the futon* for the nonce, until I've unfucked enough of my office to have an idea of where I'm going to store very sentimental things like old character sheets and greeting cards, and all the rest of what's in those boxes.
*At least, that was the plan.  Truth is, the big paper box won't fit under the futon.  On the other hand, the box that currently holds my recycling (and is overflowing) probably DOES fit under the futon, while the big paper box would hold all that recycling and probably more ... problem addressed and solved.