A Current Endeavor – Jell-o Brain

June 27, 2013 at 2:01 am (Sam, writing) (, , , , , )

This posting will be brief thanks to having a heavier workload at my day job. Not that I’m working over-time hours (yet) – but when I’m maintaining the pace I have to set to keep from being totally overwhelmed by the growing to-do pile, my brain just turns to goo by day’s end. That does concern me a little bit when I consider the fact that part of chapter 9 is being written when I’m not all there, but at least this is just the first draft. There will be room for repair later.

What I can do when my brain turns to goo is play around with artwork, so that is what I ended up doing. Here’s a rough draft of drawings inspired by Endeavor. We’ll see if I can turn them into anything exceptional.

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Solutions not Resolutions – Shortly

January 18, 2013 at 11:40 pm (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Excuse my absence for the past couple of days but I was on an art break (see my latest project to the left). I like to work on art when I’m feeling disgruntled and anti-social – winter does that to me.

Anyway, I recently read an article wondering why many new writers seem to focus all their efforts on writing novels. I was guilty of the same, and the reason for this was that the shorter the story, the harder it seemed to be to write it. With time and some nudging from my hubby, I got better at writing short stories, but it is still very hit or miss. From time to time I try my hand at flash fiction (only three flash fiction acceptances to date) and when I really want to challenge myself I write drabble. Here are a couple of samples of my horror drabbles (that means “expect them to be disturbing because they are limited to 100 words”.) The second one received a very awkward rejection from Drabblecast. What can I say – it’s not my forte.

Watch Me Bleed

I was never a fan of confined spaces. I didn’t ever like elevators or tiny meeting rooms. They always made me feel too constrained, sort of claustrophobic. They don’t seem quite so bad anymore, in comparison.

It was a really bad accident. Here I am immobile, boxed into a space smaller than any I’ve been in before. I can hear the jaws of life, but I know that they won’t reach me in time. I’m dizzy and fading fast – so I watch my blood trickling away like sand in an hourglass.

Don’t get any ideas about this second one. I share none of the character’s inclinations. It just seemed like a really horrific concept to me when I wrote it.

A View From the Attic

The rafters creaked overhead as Angela gazed out of the attic window. The sight of Andrew playing happily in the backyard brought tears to her reddened eyes. She wanted to call out his name, but the tightness in her throat limited it to a slight whisper.

Andrew was only six and still existed in a world of innocence. He was afraid of the attic, so he was not likely to venture up there. Angela was thankful of this, as Andrew would not likely be the one to find her. Her body sagged in the noose as her world went black.

Considering the only writing I’ve done lately are rewrites, I’m thinking about dedicating March to a drabble dare. I’ll write a drabble a day and I’ll take suggestions for topics between now and the end of February. Post any suggestions you have in the comments section.

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Genre for the Holidays – Celebrating 2012!

December 11, 2012 at 11:56 pm (dark fantasy, fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

The Blog of The Year Award

I am grateful to receive The Blog Of 2012 Award from a fantastic blogger/storyteller, Cheryl Moore. Cheryl is an amazing artist and a fascinating raconteur and you can find her brilliant work on her site, Unbound Boxes Limping Gods. I will now award this to three very deserving recipients, who are all talented and prolific.. Their names will be revealed after the rules.

1. Select another blog or other blogs who deserve the ‘blog of the Year 2012′ Award.

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Awardhttp://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/
and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘join’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

7. There are stars to collect! Yes, there are stars to collect! Unlike other awards, which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different! When you begin you will receive the 1 star award, and every time you are given the award by another blog, you can add another star!

8. There are a total of 6 stars to collect. At which time your “badge” will look like this:

You can check out your favourite blogs, and even if someone else has already given them the award, you can still award them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

Now for my nominations and the criteria for my decision:

To go with my genre theme, and because I think he deserves all 6 stars, I’m voting for Ren Garcia, who writes the best steampunk space fantasy out there (IMHO). His blog, The Temple of the Exploding Head, offers details from his well-integrated world-building and samples of the artwork from his books. A must see!

I’m also voting for the blog of the talented Bruce Blake who writes incredible fantasy and urban fantasy (although he grabbed me with his short stories – wicked good). He’s heavily involved in the indie writing scene and celebrates writing and genre fiction on his blog.

Lastly is Blood Skies, the blog of Steven Montano. He is a fellow creative accountant who also writes dystopian dark fantasy. He has some holiday content from December 8 – another way he fits my theme. Maybe it’s something in the water that makes us this way…

Anyway – I highly suggest check their blogs out. If you do, you’re in for a treat.

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Adventures in NaNo-land – Details…Details…

November 6, 2012 at 3:12 am (fantasy, writing) (, , , , , , , )

One of the fun things about setting a fantasy tale in the mythology of an existing culture is being able to enhance the tale with the particular flavour of that culture. One way to do that is by interweaving details into the story from fashion, religion, social structure or lifestyle from ancient times. For “The Trading of Skin” the Sami culture provided me a lot to work with

The Sami have a vibrant fashion that has not changed significantly from the past. Both men and women still wear the traditional gákti, a longer coat-like robe for the women and a shorter jacket-skirt for the men, adorned with bold trim and beading. (Some Eastern Sami also have a hooded jumper from reindeer skins with wool inside, like this picture.) They also wear ponchos, large mittens and ear-flapped hats, ornamented with ribbon-work and geometric shapes in colours that represent their households. Including these details adds another dimension to the story:

Oaván glanced at the growing light on the horizon again, stopping long enough to straighten his hat and gákti. Both were ill-fitting, the hat’s earflaps barely covering his ears and the gákti’s skirt barely reaching mid-thigh, but he could not blame his mother for those failings. Jaská wasn’t a bad seamstress, but she was uncomfortable with delicate needlework, awkward and slow as a result, and Oaván had always grown more quickly than his peers. It was a stretch for Jaská to keep up with his burgeoning and bulky form, Oaván outgrowing his clothing faster than she could make them. She did not bother with any decorative additions, his clothing plainer than the average outfit in Anár. She simply did not have the time for them.

Another fortunate quality of the Sami is that they believe decorative items should primarily serve a purpose, so most artistic creations had a use as well, like knives, drums, baskets and cups. This means these items add colour to the story as well:

Oaván was sure he had found his lucky white reindeer. Slipping his bow up over his shoulder and drawing his duodji knife, with its antler handle and scrimshawed blade, he advanced upon the animal to put an end to its suffering.

It took only a few more paces forward for him to realize that this was not the reindeer he was looking for, or at least, based on the naked feminine human form before him, he assumed it wasn’t. Only, he could definitely identify the arrow jutting from the young woman’s bloodied thigh as his, the fletching dyed to match the colours of his household so nobody other than Dáidu could possibly lay claim to his prey.

More tomorrow J

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Someday…

May 12, 2012 at 1:44 am (writing) (, , , , )

I’m hoping someday I won’t have to tell people that I write. It would be wonderful if they would just know, at the mere mention of my name. I know that’s a lot to hope for, but I really hate telling people I write. Even if you can confirm that, yes, I have been published, many folks will still look at you as if you had just told them that you eat babies.

“What did you write? Have I heard of it? Can I buy it in *fill-in-the-name-of-some-chain-bookstore-here*?”

If you can’t say yes to these questions, you then get that look that suggests that not only do you eat babies, but you just asked them to eat babies with you.

It’s hilarious, in a sad and pathetic sort of way. If I tell people I do artwork, I get a completely different response.

“Wow! You’re an artist? Can I see some of your work?”

No cold stares like I’m some sort of leper. No demands if any of my work is hanging in the Louvre, or the Met, or even the local art gallery. They are interested, in a positive way. When I show them my work, despite the fact that I’m not a particularly good artist, I usually get an equally positive response, unless the person is a professional artist. Rarely will I get any comments like “I don’t think that’s the appropriate medium for that piece,” “I think you used the wrong perspective for that one,” “how come that woman isn’t positioned at the centre of picture with a powerful pose? This is sexist.” They look things over with a hint of admiration in their eyes and say: “These are really nice. I particularly like this one and that one.”

On the other hand, if I give them a story to read, along with being less than receptive because I’m a “nobody” writer, everybody becomes an expert and a critic. “I think this would have been better written in first person,” “this isn’t descriptive enough – I wanted to know exactly what the chair in the far corner of the room looked like,” or “the story ends too abruptly…yes, I know it is horror and the main character just died, but you should have found a way of extending it.” Few people respond the way they would have if you had just showed them a drawing of equal merit. The focus is almost always on exactly what they think is wrong with your work.

I have to say I am grateful for folks I know who have buckled down and forced themselves to read my work. Many of them don’t look at me like I eat babies anymore. Some of them are even eager to read anything new I have to offer. This along with the fact that I have publishers who have been willing to invest effort and money in publishing and promoting my work does give me some sense of validation. It still doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t have to prove myself over, and over, and over again. And I can guarantee you that I will slip up from time to time. Everyone does.

Someday, I hope my work and name will stand on its own, and readers don’t spend the majority of their reading time scrutinizing every corner for the negative. They’ll just take it at face value and enjoy it for what it is, the way they would with one of my drawings. That’s what I long for.

Someday…

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