When art imitates life

I’m not doing so well at Camp. I’ve not been editing or writing as long as I should, or even any time at all during the day. Too much on my mind, really. Housework, being the agony aunt for both the in-laws and the parents, trying to get some estimates on fixing up the house (and daydreaming about how my kitchen might look). There’s a lot swirling around me and writing has been put on the back burner.

However, I’ve been rereading a lot of my previous works-in-progress to see where I might pick up and finish the stories. So far Moonstrike! is the favorite; I have a lot of that written already and I even got a chapter edited and posted at fanfiction.net. (I have it here; I just need to format it.) But I picked up a previous story, one I have mostly done but not published anywhere. It’s called Brainstorm and in the second chapter, I found I’d written in a situation that’s part of my real life right now. One of our family members is determined that their spouse is going to pass at home and has asked for home hospice. I can’t believe I was writing about such a situation back in 2011 (which is when I first wrote this story), but there it is. A very surprising situation and one that took my breath away.

That’s all I want to say for now. Just have to find the quiet time to maybe edit and finish some of these stories.

Another character excerpt–Siobhan Shaunessy

This particular character is from a middle-grade novel I wrote several years ago–the one NaNoWriMo novel I came closest to actually finishing. The story itself takes place in an alternate history, one where much of the Americas were still under colonial rule into the late 1800s and the sciences were just beginning to supersede magic in some areas. I liken it to a mixture of Harry Potter, X-Men, and the gaslamp fantasy Girl Genius with a soupçon of steampunk stirred in. I’ve been editing and rewriting to change the point-of-view from third-person omniscient to third-person limited.

Siobhan is an orphaned girl from Eire, brought to New Anglia by her great-uncle, Father Liam O’Keefe, according to the terms of her grandmother’s will. She is a seer; she literally “sees” things from the past or future of those who touch her skin-to-skin. She also sees ghosts and spirits. Her grandmother enrolled her in a school for mages like herself where she is expected to learn how to control what she can do. At first, she is shy and unsure of herself. Her manners need work and it takes time for her to get into the routine of the household. But as she becomes accustomed to her surroundings, she learns of a plan to use her classmates for profit and insists on acting, even when those around her feel she is too young to help.

Here is an excerpt from Bellecourt Chronicles: the Seer

Continue reading “Another character excerpt–Siobhan Shaunessy”

Fall is here, or is it?

That’s what I keep asking myself every time I go outside. Yes, the calendar says, “Autumn!” My outdoor thermometer says, “Summer!”

One good thing about autumn is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). Jo, my co-Municipal Liaison (read regional volunteer), and I will be making plans and setting dates for the various write-ins and parties that go with “30 Days of Literary Abandon!” This year we have four branches of the Greenville County Library System offering our members space to write as well as plot-planning events before NaNoWriMo even starts. Last year it was three branches; next year, who knows? I’m certainly looking forward to November, even if I don’t have an idea for a new novel. Yet.

However, that gives me just a smidge over a month to get some of my older writing finished. I’ve already sent a chapter of Moonstrike! off to my betareader, and I found a partial chapter from Overtures lurking in my works-in-progress file. To help me with the latter story, I may start editing the first novel in my “Friends of the Family” story arc and post it along with posting more chapters of The White Winds. (Chapter 15 went up tonight; I’ll slap it up at Archive of Our Own in a few days.)

All of this would be easier if our house was in some vague semblance of order from a number of projects (including a full bathroom remodel) and if I hadn’t broken a rib from my second fall in as many weeks. My doctor said no driving while it heals and my kids are talking about Mom-proofing the house. My poor husband is really feeling the pressure, I’m afraid.

More later as I work on edits and wait for the temperatures to fall. I really do love autumn; I just need it to stop feeling like summer!

Camp NaNoWriMo starts…

In less than half an hour. I’ve set my word count expectations low at 20K so I’m more likely to reach the goal. I can’t bring myself to write it all over again, but I’ll make sure I only count those words I actually write and nothing from my previous drafts.

Here’s a little excerpt from my first chapter. You can expect these every couple of days. Feedback is much appreciated!

Continue reading “Camp NaNoWriMo starts…”

It’s here!

My mother-in-law’s book has arrived, a full week and a half ahead of schedule! I think it looks great and I’m so excited, almost as excited as if I’d written it myself! Now I have even more impetus to write my own book! The 14-point type is really readable, even for those with vision issues. The cover is pretty simple, black and white with a light gray background. (I found the picture at freeimages.com and I give credit to the photographer on my acknowledgements page.) I’m really pleased with the quality of the printing! What looks like a smudge on that one page is actually the shadow of a wire.

Soooo excited to send it off to her!

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Back in the saddle, so to speak.

Over the past few weeks, as a gift to my lovely mother-in-law, I’ve been proofreading and gently editing some of her completed short stories. At first, it was supposed to be a surprise for her, but someone in the know inadvertently spilled the beans, so she knows all about it. Last night, I uploaded the seven stories I had to Blurb, where I have a gift certificate for $20. Turns out, I really didn’t need to use it. The softcover trade books came in at $5.01 apiece and Blurb sent me a 40% discount code. I ordered one for her and one for each of her children’s families. However, I don’t intend to set the book up for general sale and distribution. This is for her, and her alone.

This wasn’t something she would have asked for as she’s keenly aware of her own literary shortcomings. She’s dyslexic, which affects her writing in many interesting ways. She also writes the kind of stories she likes to read, mostly Westerns with a goodly dollop of romance added in. Her stories are light on description and heavy on dialog. As a Christian, she adds in elements of faith and prayer–just so the reader knows just why good triumphs over evil, which it does, every time. She writes them for an audience of one: herself. But, having seen how my brother reacted to the printed copies of two novels he completed during NaNoWriMo, I thought she should have that same experience. He was excited to see his work in print. I hope she is, too.

Since I haven’t used my gift certificate yet, my family is pushing me to do the same to one of my own stories. My husband says I should just whack off a part of something unfinished and print it up–after all, that’s what happened to Douglas Adams (who had massive trouble meeting deadlines). I wouldn’t do that, but I do have a story I could finish and edit. The gift certificate has no expiration date (though the 40% sale does). I guess I’ll try for it. I’ll also post some snippets as I go along if only to whet your appetites. More to come, I promise.

Found a shortcut!

With the HTML function down at fanfiction.net, I’ve had to find a different way to upload and edit my chapters. Up until now, I would load my HTML to An Archive of Our Own, edit it there, and then replace the original copy in my .txt file with the edits. This worked fine, until suddenly there was no more shortcut at fanfiction.net.

Continue reading “Found a shortcut!”

One step back

Well, not me taking one step back but fanfiction.net. They added new formatting tools to the user profiles and forum posting windows–including a “source code” button, but removed that one function from the actual document manager. (On the doc manager it was labeled “HTML”.) Do they really think we’re going to want the HTML versions of our forum posts? What were we going to do, post them at live journal? At WordPress? Facebook? Twitter? I can see the possibilities for the profiles; a user could conceivably make their profile standard across boards and archives they frequent. But not the forum posts.

Unfortunately for me, that “source code/HTML” function in the doc manager was one I used a lot.  It made posting my stories in other places (including here) so much easier! I’m not saying that posting here is now totally impossible; I’ve found a HTML converter which works from my Dropbox account. Converting ten files at a time doesn’t take very long. Neither does cleaning up the superfluous code when I use my free HTML editor (from CoffeeCup software–consider this a plug for them). The editor allows for find/replace through all open files, a time-saver to be sure.

Still, the HTML generator at fanfiction.net was easier still. Just export a chapter, toggle the generator, select all, copy, paste into an open Notebook file, and then save. Even with the neat features of my HTML editor, stripping the coding down to the bare formatting essentials still takes time I could use doing other things–like proofing said chapters for undetected SPaG issues. (That’s spelling, punctuation, and grammar, for the uninitiated).

Yeah, I realize Xing and company probably don’t want to facilitate an author’s move to another archive, nor do they have any obligation to offer such a function to the disaffected  (or to those who just want to spread their stories around, like I do).  But they have bigger issues to deal with if they want to keep their unsatisfied clientele–such as deleting plagiarized or copyright infringing stories. Better they focus on those than tweaking a relatively minor section of the entire site.  (I wouldn’t mind them reinstating the source code function for the document manager, either. In for a penny, in for a pound, as it were.)

I really wish I knew CSS!

Or actually thought before I acted.

First, my primary menu disappeared again. I have no idea why; I’m working in a child theme and all but just like the last time, it went poof! I’ve had to rebuild the verdammt thing all over again! Maybe styling it would help? Might have to try that.

Then I stupidly did a bulk action of delete spam to some comments that a non-functioning Askimet dumped in with the real comments. So now I have only two comments which I’d imported over from my WP.com site. I’m probably going to nuke those, too. Hopefully I’ll start getting comments here–if I ever get this site fully operational!

Waiting on one more beta for the newest chapter of Burning Muses. I’ve been told to make it more lyric, like a dance, but this is Scott Tracy’s voice and, like his father, he’s not given to flowery sentiment. Still, I’ll think about it. This will be the first place I post it!

Camp NaNoWriMo Redux

I tried working on my novels and other works-in-progress during April’s Camp session but quickly got behind. So, I gave up. April is just not the best month for me to write. This may change next year with no kids in high school. I guess we’ll see.

However, July is usually a good month for me, so I’m signed up and ready. I plan to work on my fanfiction WIPs, probably starting with the shortest, Resolution Redux. I’ve imported most of Moonstrike! into Scrivener and am debating whether or not to do the same to Overtures and Resolution Redux. I’ve also edited two of my original works, The Dare and A Possum Tale for posting here, updating with clean copies at FictionPress as well. I can see where my writing has improved; I’m a lot less formal these days!

More updates as July starts. Enjoy the new short stories!