Saturday, September 11, 2010

Daughter of Botu

Lately I've been thinking about Eugie Foster a lot. In part because I want to steal her brain. I want that brain and those ideas, but I can't have them so I'll settle for reading what she writes instead. (And I'm very very sure that brain stealing is a crime).

In particular, I've been thinking about her story "Daughter of Botu" that is in her collection named Returning My Sister's Face and Other Far Eastern Tails of Whimsy and Malice. I read the story while sitting and waiting for my molasses, oil and conditioner treatment to get a good soak into my hair. (I'm not crazy, it works. My hair is softer now.)

But any way, back to the story. The ending, in particular, haunted me. I think it was because it is so antithetical to human nature (though apparently not to devout bunny nature). We're not good at giving up what we love or letting go of what we desire. In fact, Western thinking pretty much encourages you to run as hard and as fast as you can to get a hold on what you want and then never let go. I mean, isn't that at least part of this thing we call the "American Dream."

And that's not to say that goals or desires are bad (I'm not lecturing here). It's just that the idea of denial of self is so alien to most of us. In my own Christian theology there is the concept of "deny yourself and follow me" that Jesus puts forth. And a lot of Christians find it very fulfilling to follow that path. I've found it fulfilling in a lot of ways, but that doesn't mean that giving up what you feel you want is easy. It's watching a little part of you die--a dream, a goal, a desire, sometimes even a relationship.

So seeing another creature go through that process can be heart rending. And Eugie Foster does it in such a beautiful way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sleep Deprevation and My Funny Bone

I haven't been the most productive writer lately. That's not a secret. In fact, it seems to come up a lot. However, that changed a bit last week in a day of severe sleep deprivation. I had hardly slept at all because I was turning over a big flower clip project in my head for the. entire. night. I finished the clip and it was beautiful if I do say so myself. See.
But the curious thing was that I found myself in front of my computer pounding out the beginnings of a short story that was in a similar vein to my book. I thought it was pretty funny. If you've ever read Terry Pratchett, you know what I think is funny. So, now I just need to finish it, polish it, and huck it out there for the world to see. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fall is in the Air

Today, as I was making my way to the post office while trying to avoid collisions with parked cars (it's a real problem with me, I like to gawk at trees, houses, churches, etc, and it's what ended my very first attempt to ride without training wheels), I noticed that it was actually a...nice temperature outside.

This was great for me because it meant that I probably wasn't going to turn into a nasty little sweaty greaseball like I usually do when I'm on my package delivery trips. I deliver all packages for my little business on bike (unless it's the weekend, then I nab the car), so it's nice to think I'll get to look forward to cooler rides and fall colors.

Now here's hoping the weather doesn't pull a stunt like it did last year when it snowed early in the season and killed all chances of any nice fall colors down in the low lands. At least I got up to the aspens before everything went kaput.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Story

I've got a new story in the works, which is a good thing. The problem is that I don't know quite how to feel about it. I'm not as in love with it as I usually am when I start a story. Now, this doesn't mean I might not come to like it, but it does make it harder to make progress because there are always fabric flowers to be folded. None the less, I'll be taking a stab at it again tomorrow and hopefully something will click.

And hey, sometimes stories go into a folder to die quietly and eventually perish when there is no longer a program on my computer that can read them. I'm beginning to be ok with stories sometimes dying. It's a natural process of life. And who knows, sometimes I end up going back to a story and it comes out even better than I thought it would. And that always makes me happy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

15 Mildly Interesting Things About Myself

I figured I should make another post, and since I don't have the most to talk about writing wise (finished drafting another short story *cough*) I figured I would talk about myself a little. Since I like to flatter myself and tell myself other people want to know about me. Hah.

1. I was born in Deadwood, South Dakota. (And will subsequently never be able to paint my door purple because my mother has opinions on purple doors. Apparently it was a whore house thing there.)

2. My first memory is of the tree outside the home we were renting exploding. It sent glass and bark through the window due to a lightning strike. My crib was near that window and I have an image of a scared woman leaning over my crib in a white nightgown haloed in flickering light burned into my subconscious.

3. I have a stuffed bear called Blue Bear. Blue Bear has been with me since I was four. It is an obviously hand made creation with a face drawn on with permanent marker, but I love it.

4. I used to be pretty good with a throwing axe. I should find that axe. It was fun.

5. I've only ever dated one man. I married him. Love you honey!

6. I've got a birthmark looking thing that is supposedly a ingrown muscle. I don't quite know what this means or why it's important (other than apparently the thing I thought was a birthmark isn't). As long as it doesn't start squeaking or achieve sentience, it's all good.

7. I like to bake. I make cheesecakes for fun. I also eat them for fun, and this has a definite downside.

8. I learned to sew when I was 4. My parents still have some little beanbags hanging around the house with "I love you Mom" and "I love you Dad" written on them poorly. They are literally bags filled with beans. My sewing has improved since then. They still opt to keep the beanbags.

9. I hate rats. Really hate rats. I've had bad dreams about rats and other rodents as long as I can remember. Oddly enough, I can hold pet rats when they are foisted upon me, and do so without freaking out. But deep down, I still have this sensation that I am scratching the fuzzy ears of the enemy.

10. I used to surprise my parents regularly with breakfast in bed at 3 am. How I am still alive is still a mystery. I wonder if this is why my mom seemed so eager to teach me how to cook something other than cheerios and tea made with hot water (not boiling, just hot).

11. I had a cat named Frito. It's probably unadvisable to let a 4 year old name a pet. I also had a toad named Toady and a hamster that had as many names as there were days. I think Jupiter stuck for a while.

12. I played soccer for something like 8 years. I am somehow still not very good at soccer.

13. I'm not fond of ham or meatloaf. They are both edible when freshly baked, but their uses are very suspect after this point.

14. My eyes are greenish. Sometimes they pick brownish or bluish. They're fickle like that.

15. My hair is something like 42 inches long now. It's crazy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Busy Week

It's Thursday isn't it? It seems both highly unlikely and beyond plausible that it is. I feel like the week has been both too long and too short. Too long in that I've been standing, working and doing for more hours than seems just, and too short because there is still things to be done and none of them really relate to my small business or my writing. I figure if I'm lucky I might be able to squeeze in a few hours of kanzashi making, but that remains to be seen. I don't think I'm going to get enough coherent free time to really make anything of my writing. Though I did succeed on sending out a story for consideration.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Roll For It

Today I thought I'd share a custom set of hair sticks I made for a lovely lady. I liked them so much I have plans for a stick of my own in different colors. Now, one might ask why I feel like sharing this, and it's simple, because pictures are fun to look at and more interesting than a wall of text and dice relates to gaming which segues into my life and my writing.

I've played in table top games since I was 14. I'm 25 now so that's 11 years of weaving stories with other people. And I have to say that the old adage is true. It's really unadvisable to turn your campaign into a short story, novel, etc. Now, that's not to say you can't do it for yourself or because you want to, but I've found there is little to no interest in the publishing world for that sort of thing.

This is in part because you're borrowing someone else's world and that has a whole rats nest of copyright issues cropping up right there. No publisher wants to be sued by Whitewolf, Shadowrun or D&D. And in truth, stuff that may be super awesome while talked about over a table while the dice are rattling and the imaginary world is coming to get you may not be as awesome when committed to paper.

I know I've talked about this before, but it was what was on my mind since I have played in so many games. Now, even though I'm not one who is crazy about fanfic or borrowed worlds, I think that role playing can be a very good exercise for a writer. It helps you get out of your own head and into someone elses.

Your character may not want the same things you do, or have the same moral code. I would never even consider breaking into an office building to steal a document, but some of my thief characters would. I don't know if I could follow through with shooting someone who tried to kill me or the ones I love, but characters of mine have and most likely will again.

Role playing gives you the freedom to explore the "not you" or even sometimes what you could be if you believed differently, experienced differently, thought differently. And it's the opportunity to do so in a controlled environment where everyone else around you knows that it is all a game. So you don't have to freak out the mailman by coming to pick up the mail in your sweet new Gothic Lolita dress (I do that any way, but that's just because I'm strange).
Here's a couple more pictures for you longsuffering readers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Wish me luck everyone! I just submitted my story "The Green Song" to Drabblecast.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Seeds is now out in A Fly in Amber

My story "Seeds" went live late yesterday. I just received word that it's up for your reading enjoyment this morning. If anyone is interested, it can be found here.

And in honor of my plant based story. Have a picture of a wild rose.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Abyssal Wells

Just got an offer from Full Armor Magazine to publish my poem "Abyssal Wells". Woohoo! It's one of the poems I am the most happy with so I'm glad to see it get out there.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Latest in Rejections

I'm not usually one to post my rejection letters, but this one was something special. In a good way. It's rare for me to get a rejection letter that actually really encourages me. Sure, I'd like to hear "we love it, we'll take it", but I'll take this as a close second best.

I'm so sorry for the wait, the *awesome magazine* editors have been slammed with submissions.
Your story, "Morning's Light" was well received by our editors, and has been biding it's time here on our 'maybe' desk. Most of us here at *awesome magazine* are on the fence about your submission. I will say, as lead editor, that I found your characters well formed and the plot interesting. With that said, *awesome magazine* is not going to accept "Morning's Light", simply because it didn't awe us enough to make it out of the maybe pile.

We all agree that you are a good writer, and can tell a good story. We'd like to see more from you in the future.

It's hearing stuff like this that makes me keep working, keep trying, keep telling myself I'm going to kick this tiny folded flower habit of mine and spend more time writing. (I'm not really serious about kicking the folded flower habit, I love my crafts almost more than I love my writing, but I do need to spend more time typing and less time with the sewing kit.)

It can be brutal trying to get into the publishing world. It seems like I'm always prying at locks and hoping stories sneak in through the window, but when I hear encouraging stuff like this, I know I'm making headway. And hey, maybe one day the door will open and someone will invite my stories to come in and stop skulking in the bushes a little more often.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not the Most to Say

The simple truth is just that I haven't been very productive in my writing lately. I keep throwing it over for chores, cooking, my small business. Though I am proud of the things I have been crafting. They're more "hands on" than writing, but both are an exercise in thought and creativity .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Walk Among the Flowers

Plants have always held a special place in my life and my interests. My mother taught me how to find mushrooms and wild berries when I was younger. I worked caring for over an acre of gardens while I was in high school. I studied horticulture on the side while I attended university.

And now, I've found that plants can be an inspiration for my writing.

There was ample chance for inspiration and enjoyment on the hike I took with my mother and a close friend this week. The whole mountainside was in bloom, and even if no story ever comes of the sights, I've got a wonderful folder full of colorful little snippets of time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My First Short Story Sale!

Today I got news that A Fly in Amber is buying my short story "Seeds". It's a very exciting event for me since it's the first time I'll have had someone actively buy a story. I'm glad to be getting a start in the markets and I'm thrilled to have proven to myself that I can write and sell a story.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Birthday Braindeath

We had a huge crazy-awesome party celebrating my birthday last night. I'm still recovering a bit. No I did not get drunk. Yes, I probably ate too much (but won't face the scale). Fire was involved. So was ribs. And axes. I have been told it was the manliest party ever.

I'm a girl.

I think I'll still call it a success. Also, castle shaped bundt pans are awesome.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Remembering Light

Is the title of a story by Marie Brennan. And I must say, I'm all for any story set in the world of Driftwood-- a strange, mist-shrouded land in which all worlds come to die. How does one come up with a concept like that?

I mean, I have heard that we write what we know, but how does Ms. Brennan know such things (and why do I never seem to have such good ideas). I suppose it is not all that far off from concepts like the apocalypse and Ragnarok, but it is a very different way of addressing the end (and one I had not come across in myth before).

However, despite the curious nature of Driftwood and the terrifying crush, the most compelling thing about Ms. Brennan's writing is the way she addresses the lives of the people of this "world" and in particular the life of the man called Last. How does one survive the end of the end? How do you cope when your world becomes smaller and smaller by the day--swallowed up by the worlds crushing in around you?

One thing that had not occurred to me at first, but must indeed be a huge issue in a place like Driftwood is the language barrier. It sounds interesting, even fun, to run around in so many worlds and see fragments of so many places. But how do you keep from getting lost when the language a few miles from your fragment of a homeworld might be entirely different than the one you speak, and how do you find your way around when the landmarks are constantly being swallowed by the grinding of worlds?

Driftwood is a fascinating place to visit and that has not changed since the first time I became aware of its existence in her short story "Driftwood". In "Remembering Light" we learn a little bit more about Last, a woman named Noirin, her world of Surnyao and the nature of people who are not quite human in shape but very real and human in nature.

Remembered Light


Monday, May 31, 2010

Inspired vs Assigned

I've heard many people say that inspiration is everything. It's what takes a ho-hum story and turns it into something great. Without inspiration, the written word is nothing.

But is that true?

I admit, I've felt very inspired with some of the things I've written, and not so much with others. And it has had very varied results on both ends. I've ended up with inspired stuff that looks down-right stupid after I haven't looked at it for a few weeks and I've written some things that were "assigned" that have turned into my favorite stories.

So can an author produce something wonderful without inspiration. Yes and no. I think it depends on the person and on the piece. I personally find it very easy to work on something that someone hands me and says "here, include this this and this" (or that I assign myself). While on the other hand, I feel that much of my "aha moment" stuff is less than spectacular--not to mention harder to write. I imagine it's different for each person.

And in the end, what really matters? That you're happy with what you're producing and you can find a market for it. Or, I suppose that may vary too. After all, what is success? I imagine our definitions are all at least slightly different.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Natural History of the Pancake Badger

I like to read, quite a lot actually--Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Strange Horizons in particular--but this week I found a story in a different zine and I liked the story quite a bit. It is called A Natural History of the Pancake Badger and is published in The Town Drunk.

I can't really say much more about The Town Drunk since I haven't read any of their other stories, but if the others are like this one, I'll probably have to stop by more often. I thought it was funny, charming, and really intense (considering the reference to "pancake" and "badger"--though badgers are rather intense little animals).

I don't want to give away too much, but I liked the futuristic attributes of the story--though the humor and the weirdness are what really drew me in. Matthew Bey is a talented writer and I ended up finding this charming little story by wandering off to his blog from The Secret of Pogopolis which was published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It was also a good story though I admit I liked the pancake badger better. Who doesn't love pancakes and badgers--well not Mike Spiekle, but you'll have to read the story to find out more.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Results of Beads

Aannd this is the result of the bead buying Give-a-Mouse-a-Cookie-esque extravaganza.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This is why there are no garden pictures. Somewhere out there in that yard, my brand new little plants took quite a beating. Tomorrow I get to see who makes it through the night.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hold This Thought

Tomorrow is garden day. I'll be back then to tell you all about my plants and the atrocity I'm about to commit on some bushes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

If You Buy A Girl Some Beads...

She's probably going to come up with an idea of what to do with them, which will probably involve more beads, a pair of hair sticks and some beading line. At least that's what happens if you're me. So much for having some extra cash for garage saleing.

This isn't my picture, but they are the type of beads I got. If you'd like some check this out

Monday, May 10, 2010

Used Newness

Car acquired. Driving back on track. Woo!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Have at Thee, Writer's Block

I've been having hard time writing lately. So hard, in fact, that I've considered doing more housework just to avoid having to sit down and type. That's not exactly normal for me (though I do kind of like housework, especially if I can extend the definition out to the yard and mowing and weeding and taking care of my plants).

But today I made myself sit down and do some work, and I'm feeling fairly happy with what I hashed out, though it wasn't as much as I'd usually write. I think I may have a decent short story in the works, but honestly I'd just be glad if it went somewhere and didn't suck too much. I'm still not sure how to feel about getting back into editing my book. I know it needs work, but I think I'd much rather shove my fingers in my ears and do the "I'm not listening" dance.

Monday, May 3, 2010


The Landscape Photo Competition on Pioneer Woman ( made me think of how much I like landscapes and plants and flowers and more plants. So have a picture of my patio garden from a couple years back when I still lived in the apartment. Makes me sad, but I don't even think I took a picture of all the pots I did last year. The white geranium and black viola pot will eventually be lost to history. You know, except for the little black violas growing out of my patio in the back.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Totally Totaled

My car just got crunched. Totally smashed. A black BMW shot out into the intersection as we were entering it (we had a green light) and there was just no way to miss it. I had enough time to see it coming and say "woah" before my face hit the airbag. Fortunately my parents had another car we could borrow for the time being as we figure out what the insurance company is going to do. I miss my little car.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Got Cut

Well, I won't be moving on in the competition, but surprisingly I'm ok with that. There were the initial moments of willing my name to appear on the list, but then there was acceptance--and the realization that two of the people who I was so sure, sure, sure would make it didn't. And for some reason that makes it kind of better. I mean, I thought in my heart of hearts that one of them would win, but they didn't move on, so we're still in the same boat, and maybe if they got cut and could still get published then so could I. Time to break out the book and do some reworking. Just as soon as I get my last reviews from Publisher's Weekly back. I hope they're nice to me. This could get depressing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

So Much More Nervewracking This Time

I'm waiting to hear if I've made it to the next stage in the Amazon Competition. It was easier the last time, and for some reason so much worse this time around. I actually forgot to check in on things until a couple days after the verdict in the Quarterfinals round.

In the meantime, have a picture of me up to my knees in snow. The hike was a bit slushier than expected.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Farewell My Pretty

Today is the day I sold my very first hair stick set. Well, not my first sale of hair sticks, the very first pair I made when I took the plunge and invested almost all of my Christmas money in starting my itty bitty business. I'm so glad someone liked it well enough to want it to come to them. It has been over a month since my last sale, so it was heartening in that manner as well. Fare thee well little stickies. I'm sure you'll have a pleasant life.

Also, I have a weird little half-moon burn on my wrist from where I accidentally rested it against a pot that just came out of the oven. Apparently I haven't learned hot means don't touch--you think I would have grasped that when I was four and grabbed a cookie sheet. I will not miss it when it is gone.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Pause in Life

As of last Saturday, I'm done with any big events at the church until sometime in the fall or winter. Without all the work to be done on the (now over) spring brunch, it's almost like I've lost a chunk of my purpose in life. Of course, I could always fill that void with writing, writing and more writing, but I've run into a bit of a block lately. I can still spew words onto the page, but for some reason I'm more distracted and less happy with them, which in turn makes me more likely to go out into the yard and weed the nearly weedless lettuce patch. I'm hoping it's only a temporary thing and that burrowing through the remainder of my critiques will make it easier to get the writing back in gear, but that remains to be seen. In the mean time, I hear lettuce calling.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Reading of Critiques

I've been taking a new approach to reading critiques lately, and I think it may be more effective. Instead of reading them as they trickle into my inbox, I save them until I get all of them before reading any of them. (I belong to an online critique group--Critters--and critiques are received over a week long period most times). I'm finding this allows me to take it all in at once, compare them, and figure out just what exactly isn't working for anybody. This in particular is important because every little aspect will probably not work for at least one person, but if I can single out the big fish--the real glaring problems, I have a place to start. And honestly, some suggestions just wouldn't work no matter how well-meaning they are.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Laundry! Is! Exciting!

At least it is when you finally have the option of doing it at home. For the first time in two and a half years I will be able to do laundry in my own home. I think Mom is actually going to be a little sad I've stopped mooching. In any case, they look about like the ones in the picture. They are GE, a consumer best buy, and hey, they wash and dry clothes. Unfortunately now it means I'll have to venture into the wasteland of the basement more often. I'll get used to it. And my flipflops are probably going to live in the spider infested abyss at the bottom of the stairs just so I don't actually have to walk on the cement.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm Late Again, but There is Lettuce, and the R Key is Sticking

Yeah, that's pretty much it. I spent today brutalizing some cupboards in order to get them cleaned up and more presentable. Besides, loose flour can attract weevils and I do not like weevils. But in a non cabinet related note, my lettuce has sprouted! I have all these little 1/4 inch plants hanging out in my garden. The corn salad and the spinach are slacking though. I've only got a few spinach up and the corn salad is taking its sweet time, but since I don't know what it is or what it's capable of, I'm not going to get on its case. And yeah, I really have to smack the "r" key. A new keyboard might be a sooner rather than later thing at this rate.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm late, but aprons abound

Ok, not so much abound as there is another one and I'm currently relatively miffed at ruffles. They never turn out right the first time with me. So I spent three hours fixing them today *grumble*, but this was the result. I'm rather pleased with the final product even if the pictures came out way blurrier than I planned *grumble again*. So, it's tuesday, but you get to look at this black and white number. Other than the cake, it's the last big project I have for the silent auction event. And do please note that this apron is waaay too big for me, so that's why it looks a little frumpy with me wearing it. It was not meant for someone 5' 3" tall.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Egg!

Since it's almost Easter, I thought I would share my most favorite egg ever that I have dyed. It's a (very) interpretive take on the Rocky Mountain skyline at sunset.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blowing Off the Dust

Since Bernadette made it into the quarterfinals, I figure that all hope for that series is not lost. In fact, I have a good deal of hope. So much hope that I went back into my folders and found the half finished sequel to Bernadette (that I had stopped writing because I wasn't sure Bernadette was up to snuff and I figured there was no point in writing a sequel if the prequel didn't make it out there). I read through it, and to my delight, found out that I still really like it. A lot.

Maybe it's just vanity and the fact that we all tend to love our literary children, even if they're malformed, bad at spelling, and just generally a grammatical wreck--but I'm glad that I can still make me laugh with my writing. And hey, I've read this stuff so many times I can probably recite good chunks of it, and if not that then give you a very good overview.

If nothing else, I do know I've got a couple people waiting to read Ria the Odd. If nothing else, that's enough for me. And hey, I guess it's good practice even if it doesn't pan out the way I want (panning out being me finding someone willing to publish it without me kidnapping a purse dog and holding it for ransom).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Apron Induced Hiatus

Not much to report on the writing front since most of it is on hold until I finish some aprons I promised for a silent auction. These little buggers take up a significant amount of time since I am no sewing diva. Still, I think the first one turned out pretty well. I'd post a picture if blogger would let me.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I made it into the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I am happy indeed, though my reviewer did point out something I do need to work on--the dialogue with the townsfolk. My dad pointed it out too, but since I'm still suffering mildly from the deafness I acquired as a teenager I didn't pay enough attention. (I didn't really go deaf, I'm just referring to the tendency teens have of kind of ignoring their parents and doing their own thing--which is just kind of part of growing up, have to make your own decisions sometime). But seriously, listen to your parents if they tell you your dialogue is off.

Also, have a picture of another tree. I like trees.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Issue of Fan Fiction

Recently I've been thinking a bit about fan fiction or "fanfic" and what role it has in the writing world. Going simply by submission for publication requirements one could hazard a statement of--not much. I suppose it can be a fun exercise, and I have nothing against people who enjoy writing it, but I've always have to wonder how I would feel if I saw my characters used in that way. I know there are authors out there that feel it is nothing short of robbery and that the fanfic writer is essentially putting words in their mouths. Not such a great thing, and I know personally I would rather not make an author I like hurt or angry. I'm definitely not in the position of ending up with fanfic right now, but I do imagine if I ever was in that position I would probably end up putting my fingers in my ears and screaming "I'm not listening" if someone came to me and said "Hey have you seen that story where your main character *bleeps* Spock with a *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* rubber spoon."

There is more than one type of fanfic, though, and this one doesn't so much involve co-opting someone's characters as much as someone else's world. In a way you could call it "role playing". There are actually several successful authors that write in worlds that are not solely their own--Salvatore comes to mind for one (and I rather like him). But if you're not Salvatore, will this type of writing help you as an author? Well, character studies are never a bad thing, and if you have a background to work with it makes it quite a bit easier, but the problem that comes up with this form of fanfic is that most editors really do not want to see you write a story about your D&D, Shadowrun, or Exalted campaign. It's just that usually, those types of stories appeal far more to the players than anyone out wandering around the literary world. I suppose if you write it for yourself (as some people I know do) it can help you hone your writing skills.

I, personally, try to keep well away from fanfic in most cases. I figure that I can do my character studies in my own world (or this one) and that if it turns out I really super duper like it and want to try to get it published I don't find myself running up against the "do not want stories containing copyright material/D&D campaigns" wall. It's a personal thing, and I suppose some of it is due to the fact that I really want to get published and don't see writing something that is virtually unpublishable as very productive. But then again, even if I'm doing something just for myself I prefer it be useful--like a hairclip, so it's not so strange that I won't do something if someone (in this case me) isn't getting something out of it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Awaiting the Verdict

On the 25th I will know if I've progressed to the next level in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. Little bit anxious. Yep. That's all.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Big Compliments 'Round These Parts

Today my neighbor told me the cinnamon rolls I dropped by earlier were "better than the ones from Johnson's Corner". That's a pretty big compliment considering I know people who will drive a half hour out of their way just for those cinnamon rolls. I think this recipe is a keeper. Oh, and if you want someone to tell you your cinnamon rolls are better than your Johnson's Corner equivalent, give this recipe a try. Don't forget the glaze.
She took the picture too. Because, you know, she's a great photographer and I'm not.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

And It's Thursday

There goes my goal to update Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week. In my defense, I think I have a reasonable excuse.

On Monday I was packing care kits for Haiti with my church. I was helping people, that counts for something right? (Like it totally excuses not updating).

On Tuesday I saw my nearest and dearest friend from high school off to her plane headed to Mexico. I won't see her again for another 10 months. I'll miss her, but I know she's following her dreams.

On Wednesday I helped my friend orchestrate a St. Patrick's Day celebration. I spent my time cooking (and eating) more corned beef hash than is reasonable for one person (and cookies, and bread pudding, and stew). So now I'm stuck glaring at the scale lurking in the bathroom closet. I know it's watching me. It doesn't have eyes but it watches.

And today I planted the lettuce, spinach, and corn salad (don't ask me, I don't quite know what it is either) that I should have planted yesterday but didn't get around to. Then I went grocery shopping. Then I came home. Good times, good times.

P.S. chicken wings are kinda slimy

The lovely lettuce picture comes from I only wish my lettuce looks like that when it does finally sprout and grow in. I just hope it sprouts. Haven't done salad greens before.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Flight of Dragons

Flight of Dragons was possibly my favorite movie when I was younger. This despite the somewhat questionable animation and the fact I never got to see the ending since my grandpa had a bad habit of taping over the end of everything (even though he was great about editing out commercials).

I loved Carolinus, Gorbash, Smrgol and the others. Ommadon and his fierce black dragon Bryagh terrified me--as I suppose they should. But all the baddies, even Ommadon with his horrid teeth and twisted features, paled in comparison to the sandmirks. Yes, sandmirks--those little rat goblin things that were supposed to be on the beach but were magicked into the forest by Ommadon.

I don't know if my hatred of rats was solidified before or after the arrival of the sandmirks, but I'm going to go with both. Nothing reinforces the hatred of rodents quite as much as seeing their twisted little cousins try to cause the hero's brains to leak out of their ears. And the queen, oh the queen, she was an epic of horror and nightmares that would haunt me every time I watched the movie (including that time a year ago, and I was what? Oh 23 at the time).

And this, my friends, is why I will never be able to totally make my peace with rats. Thank you 1980's animated fantasy.

Sandmirks appear in earnest at 1:46.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Get Off Your High Horse Before Someone Kicks You Off It

Today I was going to talk about Flight of Dragons and how it has possibly forever shaped my psyche, but that is going to have to wait because a dormant, red-eyed monster is stirring in the back of my brain. And that monster is directly related to people, authors/writers in particular, who like to tell others "how it's going to be."

I don't know what it is about us writers, but it seems like we really like to tell those that are even one rung below us on the progression ladder just how their writing career will pan out. In particular, the people who like to talk about how they slave over their work, they suffer for it, it took them hours upon hours just to write this tiny article, and how you'll not amount to much if you don't realize that it's going to go the same way for you.

This, quite frankly, is so damnably arrogant that it really makes me mad. How can anyone know what it's going to be like for someone else? How do you know that they won't take to writing like a fish to water and burn us all up like a supernova hurtling through space? The truth is that some things just come easier or harder to different people. Some will pound out a poem and dash it off to the editors, others might spend years slaving over it. Why is one more valid than the other? Quite frankly, it isn't.

And yes, sometimes I resent that people who I feel don't write as well as me somehow are widely published and popular. But you know what? Good for them. They found their niche and they filled it and I'm not somehow more of an artist than they are because it has taken me more time or more effort. This life is not evenly stacked-- there are plenty of people who have had life experiences that just make writing awesome stories easier for them, there are others who just have insane talent, and then there are still others who happen to be doinking the editor. SO WHAT?!

Your path is particular to you. Talk about it all you want. Wax eloquent if you so desire, but don't start telling others that just because it took you years to finish and publish your first book that it will go the same way for them. Sure, warn them that it wasn't easy for you, but don't even start with the whole "maybe if you put in 100 more hours on this project it might be worthwhile" path. They're not you, they don't have to approach it the way you do, they don't have to use your method, just because it works for you doesn't mean it works for them. This isn't math people, where do we get off proscribing formulas for everyone else?

If you work for it, if you work really really really hard, be proud of yourself. If it comes easy to you. If you just throw it out there and the editors clamor over it, well then count your blessings because you have a gift. Just don't go tell someone else how it's going to be.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Cat is a Weird One

Yes, yes she is. For one thing, she's all of seven pounds and roughly shaped like a beach ball. Her legs would be better suited to a basset hound or a weinerdog. But it goes beyond the look. Far beyond.

For one thing, she likes to bite my shins. It's like some weird form of affectionate expression for her, especially in the morning when I'm doing my hair and only when I'm wearing knee length skirts--most every other outfit means my shins are covered.

I solved this problem by keeping the cat out of the room, but sometimes I wander to a mirror in a different part of the house and she'll follow me. I figured I was safe today since I was wearing pants. No dice. She went for my toes. It is indeed quite difficult to do a french twist when the cat is trying to tooth your toes. I must start wearing socks. That way she'll have to go for the elbows and I know for a fact she can't jump that high.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Importance of Reading When it Comes to Writing

Well, at least if you're me.

I've found there is one big thing that has made a lot of difference in my writing--creativity level, paragraph structure, word choices--and that is reading what other people have written. Not necessarily critiquing, that's good too, but just reading reading readingreadingreading. And I don't mean novels. I mean short stories.

Why do I like short stories? Because they can be read and analyzed easily in one sitting, and if you're me, you can read them by the fistful between killing things in World of Warcraft and watching the Food Network (what? It's a hobby, don't judge me).

Also, if you're reading things from a published zine, you know one thing about these writers--they're where you want to be. Now, I'm not saying copy someone. That's not the point. But read what they've written, see what they're doing, familiarize yourself with what that particular market wants (and if you can't stand the stories, move on to another e-zine). If you're like me, you'll see your writing start to change for the better.

Here are a couple of my favorite online magazines.

Strange Horizons
Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hobby Lobby is a Vampire in My Wallet

You see those things, right over there? Those are lobster clasps. They were what I was planning on buying today when I went to Hobby Lobby. That was it (ok, and some beads and elastic to fix some jewelry for a friend of mine). I was being disciplined. I didn't really *need* anything else.

So of course I walked out with lobster clasps, four tiny glass vials, some short hair forks, a length of jewelry chain, some beads, and the elastic. That's what, only three more things than I planned on getting? I am not a craft junky, I swear. It's not my fault I came up with something to do with the other stuff on the fly.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Wall of Red

I have a little folder on my desktop, it is called "submissions" and it is full of lines and lines and lines of red. Why? Because that's what I mark all the little folders of stories inside this folder when I get rejected. There is not one green mark to be found. Sometimes it's depressing.

However. Rejection, I have been told, is nothing new to an author. It happens. It just is. You just have to pick yourself up and keep going.

I've found telling myself that I'll probably get rejected helps. It's morbid, some of you would probably even find it defeatist, but it lets me bounce back up and get back out there. The rejection rate is enormous anyway, something like 97% of all stories get rejected. If a rejection puts you down and out, how are you ever going to get published.

I'm off to buy some bootstraps and pull on them. One day, one day, one day--I'll freak out and think an acceptance was actually a joke, then I'll hyperventilate because I'm not used to having someone say "yes, we want it", then I'll hide under the bed with the cat, and then I'll get over it and probably be happy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not a Bad Day

Well, I've officially made it into the second round of the Amazon Breaktrhough Novel Award competition Still a long way to go, but it makes me feel a little better about the query letter.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Has it already been a week?

Yes it has, yes it has. Where does the time go? Obviously into some parallel dimension where I can't follow so I stand on the edge of the abyss and scream for it to come back. It never does. Stupid time.

Anyway, this week has largely been consumed with making kanzashi for both my online shop and myself and the church auction. I seriously can't even remember what happened on Tuedsay. Monday was president's day, so my husband had it off. Tuesday was...tuesday. Wednesday was laundry day. Thursday I got to go out to eat after making a cake and more flowers. Friday was game day and more flowers.

Oh, now I remember what happened on Tuesday. I went to the zoo. How do you forget something like that? I blame my brain.

You see that gecko up there? My friend took that picture. I like it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Thoughts of a Week

Things have been pretty busy for me lately, and unfortunately it hasn't involved a ton of writing, but it has involved a lot of crafting.

I volunteer on my church's Women's Ministry Team and spring is always a busy time for us. We host brunches, for it is well known that all women love brunches, and we hold a silent auction to raise funds for our missionaries and sponsor various Women's Ministries events. This means I get to spend a bunch of time crafting, baking, and organizing things on various tables.

And I love it.

I taught myself how to make Kanzashi this year, which is the Japanese art of fabric flowers. I'm having a ton of fun with it. Unfortunately now I have a bunch of books I want to buy so I can learn even more.

And as far as the writing goes, I've got a few stories out bugging editors and right now I don't know what other markets I want to pursue, and there's only so much reading up on guidlines I can take in a month. I've done a couple short stories, but I'm not entirely happy with them so they get to lurk in a virtual folder until I figure out how to torture them some more.

Also, I have discovered I don't like lentils and lentils do not like me nor the ones I love. So I think lentils and I will go our separate ways. Lord knows I've tried more than once to make this relationship work, but it's just not meant to be.

The Kanzashi pictured are not mine. They were made by the very talented and far more advanced PetalMix of etsy

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Banana Boston Cream Pie (Cake really)

I made this last Friday. It came out really good, despite the fact I overcooked the pastry cream slightly. If you've got a bit of a talent for cooking or just aren't scared of trying more complicated dishes, I'd say give it a shot.

Also, don't get nervous if the pastry cream gets a little lumpy, if you cool it and beat it with a whisk it'll be fine.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Here's a tree. I hope you like it. I rather do. It's currently growing on the Twin Sisters in the Rocky Mountains. Unless it died. Then it's not. But I assume it is. I'll have to go check sometime.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Here's a picture of one of the things I've been working on over the past few weeks. For those of you that don't know, these are hair sticks (not just insanely gaudy chopsticks, though I suppose you could use em that way). They might raise some questions, so *ahem*.

Yes, I'm a geek.

Yes, I have insanely long hair (so long that the vacuum on one ill-fated occasion managed to suck it up and wind it around the drive shaft. I lost some length that day and am now paranoid whenever my hair gets close to where the tube attachment and the machine meet).

No, I don't mind advertising my bizarre love of table top games. These ones are for sale in my online shop, but I do have my own pair of purple ones. I wear what I sell, yo.

Friday, February 5, 2010

What I did today

1) apparently poured ganache on my husband's stirfry--they do not mix and I got questioned on just how bad I was feeling last night that I would end up chocofying his lunch

2) worked on hairsticks

3) tried to make a casserole

4) realized that I did not have one of the ingredients, thus necessitating a bike ride to walmart--second time in as many days that this has happened. I don't know if I'm getting forgetful or if God is conspiring to make me get more exercise

5) nearly ran down a grade-schooler on my bike because I didn't see the bus stop and it didn't occur to me that pedestrians getting off a bush might--oh--walk through a bike lane. She was very understanding though

6) arrived home and finished the casserole

7) swore at my word processor because it randomly decides just how I want to make lists

8) posted this

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Thoughts on Elric

For those of you who don't know, Elric is the albino sorcerer who stars in some of Michael Moorcock's writing. Moorcock is essentially one of the giants of early fantasy, like Tolkien.

What struck me the most about his work on Elric, is just how very cliche it all is. Which made me laugh because the only reason it's cliche is because everyone has been copying him for the last 50 years. There's nothing new and original in the Elric works because everyone else stole from it. We write what we know, right?

It was interesting reading and going "yep, that's Arthas" (if you don't know who Arthas is, go play some Warcraft you heathens), or "yep, that's just about every adventure story ever".

What I was not really prepared for was the forerunner of Emo. I was reading along and Elric broke down into one of his (I found out) rather recurring emotional fits. I was not prepared for a dark, evil, his-blood-is-so-ancient-you-like-couldn't-even-understand sorcerer to break down and cry. I remember actually saying outloud to the cat (because no one else is around and hey, I don't like admitting I talk to myself--which I do) that I couldn't believe that Elric was so freaking emo.

How could this happen to me? I made my mistakes.... ok I'll stop now.

But still, it's been fun reading one of the forerunners of the fantasy genre, and despite the fact the work didn't age the best, it's still an interesting read. If nothing else for the sheer perspective on the evolution of fantasy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More Thoughts About Critiques

I know earlier I said critiques are necessary, and they're helpful. That's all true. But it doesn't change the fact that I get knots in my stomach and try to slink away when I see a critique in my inbox. I get nervous. I get scared. And I don't want to read it because the world is nicer when I don't know what's wrong with my writing.

Funny thing, though, I usually feel glad I read them after I read them. Then why am I so afraid?

I think it's in part because I'm afraid someone is going to prove that my writing isn't good. And if my writing isn't good, then am I good, what does it say about my worth as a person? (Like I said earlier, nothing, but that doesn't mean I can take my own advice). Also, every time I re-write it's like I admitted something wasn't good enough (it wasn't brain, grow up already). I worry I'm losing something by turning it into something else. I'm frustrated that I wasn't good enough just on my own.

Some day I'll get over it. Until then I'll just keep slinking away from my inbox until I gather up the courage, read the critiques, and be glad that I did.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Faith in Writing

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the incorporation of faith in writing. I've read several stories from various faith perspectives--some of them were more historical, others more personal. I think it's interesting how our world view can influence our writing. I wouldn't doubt that some (if not most) authors frame characters around their perspectives of right and wrong, even if no particular mention of faith comes up.

As a follower of Christ, I sometimes wonder what place my faith has in my writing. I write largely science fiction and fantasy (mostly fantasy), and it just doesn't often times seem right to shove religion in. I have a deep fear of twisting my faith and turning it into something it isn't. I don't want to vet what I believe to make it fit into the story. I know allegory can be done well, I've seen it done well. I just don't really feel that it's my place right now. I've read The Chronicles of Narnia, and C.S. Lewis I am not. And I really don't want to feel like I'm sucker punching someone with a Bible. If I think that it feels fake, the people reading my stuff certainly will too.

I am a story teller that delights in fiction--the make believe, the unbelieveable, the untrue. I make up false worlds/events in interesting ways. Incorporating what I feel is truth into the made up just often seems strange. I approach fiction in general with the idea that what I am reading is under no circumstances real. I can file it all away in my brain as make believe. So when I start throwing my faith in there, I get uncomfortable. I also don't like feeling preached at when I'm reading fiction, and I have to imagine others feel the same way. If I'm groaning and going "don't give me another goody two shoes message about how doing the right thing is always best" then others are as well. And if I'm just writing a story for fun, it feels irreverent to throw my faith in with it. Like I'm making fun of God. Not really sure he'd be cool with that.

If and when incorporating large parts of my personal beliefs into my writing feels right, I'll do it. But until then, I'll just keep writing stories I find entertaining.