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Category Archives: Novel

I hit the ground running this morning, if getting out of bed at 10 AM can really count as a running start. You see, this is going to be a big week. After missing two days of work because of an amazing snow storm (and actually being snowed in for the first time in YEARS), I finally got things moving again. It seems that my repeated attempts to get a slight boost in hours at work have been noticed, and I’m getting a new schedule with more hours (okay, one more per week), and it’s enough to get me partial benefits and a work week that’s not completely insane.

Not pictured: the 45 minutes it took to dig her out.

Now that the weather has cleared up, though, and the creativity is going. And going strong. Maybe I’m just fueled by the Irish Car Bomb cake that I made the other day, but I woke up this morning after dreaming of Lovecraftian things. This means that I’ve now hit upon my next idea for a novel. Yes, the first one is still a work in progress, with around 32,000 words at present, but it’s not often that I’ve come up with ideas for something that I feel could be more than just a short story. In fact, if memory serves, this makes, well…two. So this is big. I’ve never had that feeling of “HOLY SHIT I HAVE TO GET OUT OF BED AND WRITE THIS ALL DOWN RIGHT NOW!” until this morning. It was glorious. Cue me running down the stairs, grabbing a Java Monster from the fridge, and hurling myself onto the couch to scribble out two full pages of random notes, details, and actual bits of dialogue that came out of something reminiscent of Rose Red meets Call of Cthulhu. Yeah. No more details at present. I’ve got characters to come up with soon.

So yeah, off to a good start, like I said. Jot down some notes, chug some coffee, eat some candy for breakfast, and jump on twitter to find this. That’s three major book retailers refusing flat-out to sell books published via amazon, which has been attempting to cut the middle man out of publishing in addition to book sales. This boycott started with independent booksellers, so bravo to those little guys who were brave enough to stand up to amazon in the first place. The online retailer seems to be in some danger now anyway, mostly due to rapid over-expansion. I’m intrigued to see how this plays out. Now, I’ve had it pointed out that some writers who had published through amazon would now be in trouble, but, well, “you dance with the devil…” I’m just glad that I didn’t go that route. I’m determined to stick by traditional publishing, despite the fact that it’s a long, difficult road. Maybe this whole situation just goes to prove that the easier path isn’t necessarily the best.

Anyway, I’ve got a couple of tasks to accomplish about the house today, and then I’ll delve back into the madness that is building in the back of my mind. Cheers!

Yes, it’s nearly 6 AM. Yes, I’ve been primarily subsisting on caffeine and alcohol today. How is this different from any other day? I’m at that perfect balance of booze-induced exhaustion and caffeine-induced insomnia that means that I’m ready to write. Here’s some updates, dear readers.

1.) NaNoWriMo. I tried and died this year, but I managed to get upwards of 30,000 words in the first three weeks of the project. I’m pretty damn proud of myself. I’ve proven to myself that I’m actually capable of sitting down and putting something cohesive and coherent together, outside of this blog. I’m quite pleased. In addition to said pride, I’ve gotten a damn good start on my first big writing project. The 30,000 words I wrote last month will serve as a springboard for me. I’m definitely going to try NaNo again next year. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish anything within the thirty day time frame, but I will find ideas and hope there. The motivation it provided was a much needed kick start. Thank you to everyone who supported me during November. I’ll keep trying. Arsus and Rime and the others are far too deeply buried inside my brain to let them go completely.

2.) The job hunt continues. Naturally. I’ve decided to try to branch out a little bit, and start applying for some jobs in Denver and the surrounding area as well. I would hate to leave the Springs, but at the same time, it’s hard  to limit myself when I know that there could be better possibilities elsewhere. I’m not planning to leave town any time soon, though. I would find it very hard to leave all of my friends behind (and, by the way, I feel closer to most of the people that I met in college than to any of the people I knew from preschool through senior year of high school, and I’m not sure if this is weird or not). I’m not trying to be picky about jobs. Especially not after reading this earlier today (or was it late yesterday?). Speaking of, I’m considering applying as a writer there. Supposedly, if you can write comedy, you can write anything. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I guess I’ll never know until I try. I’m sort of connected to a writing/editing/reading job now, but at the moment, it’s pro-bono, so it’s strictly for experience. It’s hard to remain focused on a job like that when it’s web-based and not paying off immediately. I’d say that’s a pretty rough choice for someone in a writing field, because it’s difficult enough trying to get a job that’s not just a crappy retail or customer service gig. Been there, done/doing that. I don’t know that I can justify NOT doing it, though, given my financial outlook at the moment. Conundrum? Maybe, but probably not in the long run.

3.) Christmas is coming. I love Christmas. It’s not my favorite holiday ever, but it’s still a pretty darn good one. I’m still not certain exactly what I’ll be doing in three weeks, but I’ll be with people who care about me, no matter what, and I hope that all of you are able to do the same. It’s a good time of year to be around family. I have a tendency to think that I’m going to be miserable when I go home, even though it’s rarely actually true. I can put up with my mother being upset that my hair is still long, and my ears are still pierced, and I’m not nearly as religious as I was ten years ago. I enjoy being around my relatives, but I’m also grateful that I don’t live in my hometown anymore. For the most part, it’s your typical small rural town full of small-minded people. Yes, that’s kind of an unfair blanket statement. There are plenty of people there who are more open-minded than others, but they’re few and far between in a town that boasts so many churches per-capita that I could attend a different one each month for a year and still not have completed the rounds. So naturally, I moved to Colorado Springs, right? Hahaha. Oh, local humor, how you amuse me in the early hours of the morning. I digress. I still like to see my family, and I know that they like to see me, and that my visits are far too infrequent and too short as far as they’re concerned. I’m happy with this. It’s best not to disillusion them just yet. 😀

4.) Aspirations are still at an all-time high. I’m optimistic. I’ve sent a short story in to another magazine, and I’m trying to write a couple more. The next one will probably weigh in a bit heftier than the one I’m showing people now, but we’ll see what happens. When inspiration strikes, you have to use it. I found this yesterday, and had to share it with you.

Seriously. That thing is awesome. That’s outside the main public library in Cincinnati. Who would have ever thought that I would have reason to go to Ohio? I guess I do now. I would love to see this thing in person. I’m fairly certain that the photos do not do it justice. I could spend the rest of my life wandering around old bookstores and libraries.

I’ve found some other awesome stuff as well. Like vintage clothing? Love old books as much as I do? Check out Out of Print Clothing. These people make some of the most amazing shirts I’ve ever seen, decorated with classic literary covers. And for those of you who like to read other people’s writing on other people’s books, check this out.

I think that just about wraps things up for now. I need to try to catch a few hours of sleep so that I can play more Zelda tonight, or finish A Dance With Dragons in the next day or so. Martin’s writing is still just as strong in this book, and I can’t wait to see how it wraps up and leaves things for The Winds of Winter. Here’s to hoping that we don’t have to wait six years. Peace!

I’m doing well enough. Better than my girlfriend, I’m afraid. She’s had a rough week of work, as her latest post will tell you. As for me, I’m behind on NaNo again, but I’ve got time today and tomorrow to catch up. I’ve got some pre-fabricated bits of story that I’m going to be able to drop in, so for those of you who’d like to get a taste of what’s to come, check out The Tale of the Sun and Moons Part I and II. The bonus of that is that it’s nearly 1,000 words in rough draft form that I can use to supplement whatever I get around to writing today. Good thing I have Rush to listen to.

I’m sore as hell. My arms are pretty toasted from yesterday. I had the opportunity to fire a handgun for the first time. Now I grew up in a small farming community, so I’m no stranger to firearms and general safety requirements for them. I first learned to shoot with a .22 Winchester, alongside my sisters, under the watchful eye of my father. Several years later, I learned how to handle a 12 gauge pump action shotgun, and eventually a 10 gauge bolt action shotgun built for hunting geese. This was a completely different world. I was using a 9mm Beretta, and it was incredible. I’m not the best shot in the world, and I’ll fully admit that right now. Using the .22 would have been another story altogether, but it was my first time ever using a gun that I could operate with one hand. I’ll get better with practice. At least I hit the target. 😀 I don’t own a gun of my own, and I would love to be able to avoid using one in self defense, but it’s nice to know that I could handle the kick and whatnot of something like that.

It’s difficult to maintain my writing level for NaNoWriMo when Westeros keeps calling me back. I’m now about halfway through the 4th book of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, A Feast for Crows. I want to keep reading until the end, but I know that it’s going to be a while before we see the 6th book, and I’m closing in fast on A Dance With Dragons. I know I’ve said it before, but seriously, this series is the best fantasy I’ve read in years. Words cannot describe how much I love these books. I’m not one who is often at a loss for words. I hope that I can come close in terms of the man’s ability to build characters that you’ll grow fond of and learn to understand. Honestly, even his villains get to be sympathetic at times. It’s crazy brilliant.

There may actually be something happening on the job side of things. I may be a step closer to Goal #1. My current job is 19 hours a week. This means, due to the joy that is human resources, I do not qualify for benefits. Not at all. I would need to work one more regularly scheduled hour/week to get that. That’s just the way things go, and most of the people who have worked or are working less than 20 hours/week are not pleased with it. However, one of my coworkers is currently employed 24 hours per week. She’s also around eight months pregnant, and will be leaving us shortly. It wouldn’t be ideal, but her position would be open, and I’d be able to apply, and it would be far better than where I am now. Additionally, another coworker was interviewing today for a position at another branch. If she gets this job, I’ll be applying for her 40/week position. *fingers crossed*

Last but certainly not least for the day, is this. I’m a huge fan of R.E.M. Additionally, I’m a big fan of Stephen Colbert. Today, I found something that I didn’t expect, considering that the band recently decided to break up. This. Anyway, I really should get going. I’ve got pumpkins to slice up in preparation for holiday baking, and a lot of words to crank out to catch back up for NaNoWriMo. Good luck, everyone.

Rime and Arsus just met yesterday. It’s been rough on both of them. All the same, they’re starting to put aside their differences so that they can survive the crossing of the Sand Sea.

Yes, that’s right, folks. NaNoWriMo is progressing quite well, if only the rest of my life were as on-track. 16,000+ words.

The job hunt is stagnant, as is the search for new housing, but my characters are moving forward! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a city to burn.

This just in, folks. My NaNoWriMo word count is up over 5,000.  This means that I’m on track with the goal for the first three days of November, and one tenth of the way through my requisite length. Wow. I just realized that means I only have to write nine more full chapters at this rate. I need to introduce some other characters, or make this book a lot longer than the NaNoWriMo goal… Hmmm…

Oh well. Either way, I’m making good progress, and I’ve already developed a bonus character! I’m actually quite pleased with the way things are going. I’ll keep you all up to date, fear not. In the meantime, work and the job hunt are keeping me just as busy as ever. I’m really looking forward to my next few days off. I’d like to be able to get a little ahead of the word count thing, so that I can slow down on a couple of days, if necessary. Like, you know, that holiday that’s coming up, what’s it called? Thanksgiving! Right, that’s the one.

I’ve got a decent strategy going right now. I’m carrying one of my little Moleskine notebooks, like I’ve been doing for the last year or so, and I’m doing my writing in that during the day. It’s a really convenient way to take notes and build on some things that I’ve had running around in my head since I first came up with the idea for the book back in January. I get stuff on paper, and if I feel pretty good about it, at the end of the day I type it up. I’ve still been using Word for this, despite getting in on the Scrivener beta. I think I’ll probably stick to Word for now, at least until I can get a full version of Scrivener, with a few less bugs. It’s a great program, and I’ll most likely actually even buy the software when it comes out. If you haven’t played around with it yet, I highly recommend it. The built-in tutorial is great. It’s thorough and includes as much dry humor as you’d expect from a British development team.

I’m still cranking my way through A Storm of Swords. Martin’s world maintains its grasp on me, and for good reason. Each chapter, for those of you who haven’t read any of A Song of Ice and Fire, is told from the perspective of a single character. This means that you only see little pieces of the overall action at any given time, but it compels you to keep reading so that you can get to that character’s next part. Of course, in between you have five or six other characters, all of whom are just as powerfully written. It’s genius, and I can’t wait to finish this book so that I can dive into A Feast for Crows.

Anyway, it’s early, but I’ve got an eight hour shift at work that starts in 45 minutes, and roughly 30 of that time is commute. Work work work, right? Well, I’ll be playing D&D for a few hours after that, and I have Saturday off. Best of luck to all you fellow NaNoWriMo participants out there. As the great Canadian sage, Red Green, always says, “Remember, I’m pulling for ya.”

I’m getting ready to say goodbye to my home for the last year. Since I started college, this has been the longest I’ve ever lived in any one place. Granted, I lived on campus for four years, but there was always shuffling around from one side of campus to another, usually after nine months, and then again after three. This time I’ve actually managed to spend a full calendar year in one apartment. It’s absolutely bizarre.

I’m torn on the whole moving thing. I like solidarity, or at least, I did. I blame living in the same damn room for the first nineteen years of my life. Now I’m staring at a two day period in which I can pack up my stuff from my first real off-campus home. Naturally, I am choosing to write something at the moment instead of actually packing. This doesn’t surprise me. I’m guess that maybe I’m waiting for last-minute panic to sink in. My walls are bare. That’s a start.

I can’t wait to get a fresh start in a new home. I can’t wait to find my footing. I can’t wait to be able to set up my makeshift desk and get to writing. I’ll keep you informed. In the meantime, I’m knee-deep in George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. I’m loving it so far. It’s some of the best fantasy I’ve read in a long time. I’m also still, as always, pondering the questions that are shaping Aurellis as a world, and the people who inhabit it. Of late, there is one pressing question. Who is Rhu? I’m not sure yet. I don’t know any details about Rhu, or who he or she may be, but I feel that, regardless of these questions, Rhu is important.

Today’s post is very special. It’s my 50th post on this blog! This is my entry for the July Writing Challenge, which asked us to write a piece involving moons. A few months ago, I presented my readers with this, a dialogue-only introduction to some of the characters in the novel I’m writing. Here, at last, is the initial draft of the second half of the story that Zach started to tell back in April. I hope you enjoy it.

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The Tale of the Sun and Moons: Part II

Zach quietly made his way back to the fire, full mug in hand, and a grin on his face. “Are you all quite settled and ready for me to finish my story now?” he asked.

“Yes!” shouted Rebecca.

“Very well. As I said, there were two tribes of giants that roamed our world, in the time before there was even night and day. Now of these tribes, D’ossa and his fire giants controlled the most territory, but were slowly dying off. Zalar and his mate, Arkosa, ruled the frost giants, who, though numerous, were rapidly losing ground to D’ossa.

“Now D’ossa desired a mate, so that he could produce an heir, and female fire giants had been extinct for a century. D’ossa became enamored with Zalar’s wife, the frost giantess queen, and vowed that he would make her his. He knew that Zalar would never give up his wife freely, for the frost giant was no fool. Only by killing him could D’ossa hope to have his dreams realized. He rallied the few remaining fire giants to him, as he had given them his word that the fire giants would live on, if he could only take Arkosa for his own.

“The fire giants began a fierce attack against the castle of Zalar, and he personally led his own soldiers into battle against a smaller, but more ferocious force. For time uncounted, the combat raged on, until most of Zalar’s forces were defeated, and D’ossa stood alone, the last of the fire giants. D’ossa took his sword and slashed his way through Zalar’s castle. It was at this time that Zalar confronted his wife, Arkosa, and told her of D’ossa’s intentions. Two of his bravest guards took their place at the entrance to Arkosa’s chamber while the king hatched a daring plan to escape D’ossa.

“All too soon, the fire giant king had slaughtered all but the two remaining soldiers on the path to Arkosa’s chamber, and they stood before the door, their own swords crossed. As D’ossa locked blades with them, Zalar spoke to his wife, telling her that no matter what, he would always find a way to be near her. At that moment, D’ossa burst through the door, the blood of the king’s warriors on his sword. He entered the room just in time to see Lady Arkosa leap into the sky, leaving her king behind. King Zalar stood unarmed, waiting for D’ossa to act. In a silent rage, the fire giant followed into the sky, but her lead was too great. She would ever outpace him.

“Zalar took the swords of his most loyal fallen guards and the abandoned blade of D’ossa, and placed them in the ground before the entrance of his castle. Then, he too took to the skies, eternally pursuing the fire giant who pursued his queen. So it was that D’ossa became our world’s sun, and Zalar and Arkosa became her moons, ever chasing one another across the sky, fire and frost.”

Some days, there are things that you just can’t get out of your head. When this happens, I like to share it with you, that way you can have these things stuck in your head too! Ain’t I just the greatest?

Number 1 on today’s link list is this video by Julian Smith. This video has inspired my desire to build a house with a secluded reading room even more than most of those library pictures I post.

Number Last (What? It’s a short list.) on today’s link list is this article from cracked.

On a story related note, I’ve been writing dialogue. As V has told me, characters will talk to each other far more readily than they will talk to me. This means that determining what situation they’re in at any given time is framed by their conversations. It helps me to get inside the characters’ heads, while still maintaining an outsider’s perspective on it. It’s fascinating to watch a world unfold in front of me. Arsus and Rime still bicker, but they’re getting more friendly with one another as time passes. I’m working on a really fun scene with the two of them right now, but they’re both a little shy to talk about it. I am taking it that this means it must be REALLY good. 😀 Landara’s relationship with Rebecca is shaping up very much like Ripley/Newt, as I predicted. I think that there’s going to be a twist here that they’ve not yet told me about. I’m still waiting. Miles is sitting over in the corner, sulking, smoking a little cigar. I can feel the heat of the matches and the burning tobacco as he inhales. Zach wants to tell another story, but everyone else is busy, so he’s sitting quietly, just gazing up at the stars.

I read a couple of books the other day. I finally finished Boneshaker, a steampunk novel by Cherie Priest, that’s a great adventure. I also sat down for an hour and read The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I set a new personal record for a book that’s over 500 pages, but don’t go calling Guinness or anything (the book people, not the beer people). It’s a great book, very deserving of the Caldecott it won. Those of you who know that the Caldecott is for illustrated books will be pleased to know that these incredibly intricate charcoal-style drawings make up over half of the book’s pages. They’re very reminiscent of the work of William Kentridge, a man whom I have attempted to emulate in my own drawings. The book is fantastic, a great read, and actually very historical. I can’t wait to see how the movie adaptation works out. I’m still working my way through Left Hand of Darkness, and then next up on the list is Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy graphic novels. Aww yeah.

Okay, friends who know me well enough to know my reading tastes. Why have I not read Ursula Le Guin before today? Seriously. Her work has been out for over 40 years, and I’ve not read them until now. This is ridiculous. I finally picked up “The Left Hand of Darkness” from the public library yesterday, and her intro alone was enough to hook me. It’s a rarity to find a powerful female writer in sci-fi of that era, and I’m sad that it took me so long to discover her writing.

Le Guin does something fascinating in her depictions of the planet Winter. She intersperses chapters telling myths and legends of the planet’s people with the chapters that tell the primary narration. I love this. I’d been considering having Zach tell some stories throughout the main narration of my as-yet-unnamed book, but now I’m considering utilizing Le Guin’s technique. This would mean that my narration would potentially be interrupted every few chapters as Zach tells the other characters stories of the world they inhabit. Thoughts?

“Sing in me, muse, and I’ll tell the tale of our sun and moons, and the tragedy that caused them to flee from their homes on this world…”

“Why do you always start like that, Zee?”

“Like what, young one?”

“The whole ‘sing in me’ bit. What’s that all about?”

“Will you let me finish the story without interrupting again if I tell you?”


“I suppose I have no choice, then.”

“Well, you just always start that way.”

“Very well, Miss Rebecca. I start my stories with ‘sing in me, muse’ because it is the classic opening for all great stories. It is a statement invoking the gift of inspiration, asking humbly for the spirits of the ancient ones to speak through you, to give clarity and meaning and power to your words.”

“Oooh. What’s a muse?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! It’s a spirit of inspiration. Weren’t you listening? Young lady, if you don’t pay attention, I’ll just go back to my tent and go to sleep.”

“No! Don’t, Zach, please finish!”

“No more interruptions?”

“None from me. Miles, Landara, will you be quiet too?”

“All I’ve been doing is listening, and watching the pyro over there torch things.”

“And I’ve told YOU, oh fierce warrior, that I am NOT a pyro. My inn burned down in a brawl that you and your friends started, so…”


“Thank you, Rebecca. Now, if you’ll all be patient, I’ll actually tell this story.”

“Landara, Miles, you guys listen too. Zee is a great storyteller. Oh!”

“Yes, little one?”

“Should I go find Mr. Rime and Mr. Arsus too?”

“No, that  won’t be necessary. Mr. Arsus should know this story as well as I do, and Mr. Rime needs some time to relax. It’s been a long trip thus far, and we’re only a little more than halfway to Dhe’laza. He needs this more than any of us. Now, before I continue, I will thank you, sir Miles, for your recommending of this hot spring as a respite from our travels.”

“S’nothin. Friend o’ mine runs the place anyway.”

“Well then, I shall continue. We are here at a very special time. As you can see, both of our world’s moons are full tonight, a phenomenon that occurs but once every fifty years. We call it Twinlight. Now the sun and the moons of our world are very old indeed, but they were not always our sun and moons. In  a long forgotten time, they were giants that roamed this world.”

“Giants? Pft.”

“Shush, Landara, it’s true. Giants once walked the land, and evidence of this still stands embedded in the rocks near Dhe’laza. We’re only a few days from being able to see them. Now the giants walked this world long before the humans did. No one knows for certain where they came from, but we do know this. There were two main tribes, D’ossa’s fire giants and the frost giants led by Zalar. These two factions were often at odds, with D’ossa being brash, and Zalar being gentle, fighting back only when forced.”

“That’s a good thing, right?”

“Yes, Rebecca. That’s a good thing. It’s an important lesson to fight only when you need to defend yourself. Now the hour is growing late. I am going to get a drink, and then we will continue this story.”

“Very well, Zach. We will wait for you here, and you can finish soon.”

(To be continued)