Category Archives: Fiction

FLAFIWRIMO Flash Fiction Update

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Yes, there are two February challenges on my calendar; the FLAFIWRIMO flash fiction story-a-day challenge over at Wordsmith Studio and my write-in group’s annual February Writing Dash of 15K words new writing or thirty hours revision/editing work on previous material.

Each day is a sprint, especially when there’s also a six-member critique group in the mix working on something totally separate from the challenges. Today has been a major writing day for me.

Four flash fiction stories were done today because I got behind on that challenge. I still managed 2700 words on those four. This post will add a few more. Revision work will be for later and I’ll get an hour’s worth done before bed.

Tomorrow is critique work, another ff story, and more revision. On top of that is a study session to learn a new voice recognition program and time to put the finishing touches on my newsletter for the month.

Yes, I know it’s running a bit behind. It will get done and sent out shortly and then will come once a month, every month.

Just so that you’ll know that I’m really writing, I’m gone to give you tiny excerpts from the rough draft stories I did today. Here you go.

FLAFIWRIMO Day 5 Story

… I’m ready. Nothing can stop me taking my position in the middle of the pack. My teammates, helmets back in place, give me a small bow as I join them. The defensive players shake their heads and begin to laugh.

They don’t laugh long.

As the defense moves onto the scrimmage line, I wave at each player. That’s always my first engagement with the enemy.

It generally causes confusion. The action makes them wonder why I’m being so friendly. They don’t notice the slight air current rolling their way from my fingertips.

By the time my helmet is secured, the first rank of opponents have elbowed each other. The distraction gains momentum. Slurs and snarls begin to pass back and forth down the line ,,.

FLAFIWRIMO Day 6 Story

Being cursed isn’t the worst thing in the world. Believe me. I know.

About a year ago, I bought a lottery ticket. One of the big jackpots was up for the taking and I was feeling lucky that week. I bought only the one ticket. And it had all the numbers.

I’d signed an anonymity request to keep my name out of the media, as well.

To be honest, however, I think it was that request that did me in. I wasn’t worried about getting taken to the cleaners financially by friends and family. I worked for the IRS as an auditor. I knew about how much that agency would try to skim off the top and every year thereafter …

 FLAFIWRIMO Day 7 Story

The corpse lay, stiff and smelly, on the back porch of the Layton’s house. Mr. Layton had found it a half hour before. The man seemed most distressed about the situation.

“I can’t even salvage the meat,” the fisherman grated between clenched teeth. “Who, or whatever, stripped it, left all the fresh and took only bony parts and the scales.”

Sheriff Westle was known for being a stickler for detail.

“Well, Lester, I don’t think this has a high enough priority to warrant wasting my time on it.”

Three days after the fish carcass fiasco on the Layton- porch, Sheriff Westle was called to the home of Jasper Connors. In the Connors backyard were the remains of a large boar raccoon. The carcass had been expertly skinned, leaving behind undisturbed flash, supported by the entire skeleton …

FLAFIWRIMO Day 8 Story

Red-soled shoes—they’re all the rage, right? Okay, so they’re expensive and subtly ostentatious.  For some of me, though, they’re camouflage.

I can take my entertainment almost anywhere now without comment or suspicion. Especially, if I add a sleek briefcase to my ensemble. I’m in public relations during the day. I’m into self-gratification on my own time.

… Throughout dinner he laughed lightly at my witticisms, flirted undercover of his banter, and generally made me feel very female.

Of course, his flirtation was his downfall, too. I don’t get roused lightly, but he’d managed to rouse me easily and kept it up after his business partner left us for the evening. It didn’t take much persuasion on my part to convince the young man to escort me home.

When he left my place on the upper West Side, his memory had been cleaned of any unpleasantness. He would be a bit weak for a few days, but his contribution to my health would be replenished.

Now before you even think it, that last one has nothing to do with vampires and everything to do with those red-soled shoes. Okay, so there’s a bit more to it than that, but you take my meaning.

And that’s where I’ll leave you for today. Take a break. Write something totally outside your comfort zone. Me, I don’t often move into the macabre, but it’s refreshing when I do and recharges my Muse.

If you’d like to share an excerpt here from one of your own stories, drop it in a comment below.

Enjoy the rest of the week and I’ll see you again soon. TTFN

 

 

 

Which Comes First–Fiction or Life

Fiction writers all deal with the same obstacles, but also with the same basic reality.

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Each of us carries fantasy within us. Whether in daydreams, goals, or planning strategies, fantasy is at the heart of our lives. Without it, things would wither and die. So would we.

As children, we talked to ourselves and invisible friends. Come on–‘fess up, you did too. We found ways to entertain ourselves. Okay, so that applies mostly to those born before 1085. But the fact remains–we fantasize all the time.

We’ve had an argument with someone and afterwards, we go over the confrontation and rebuild it with what we would/should have said if we’d thought of it at the time. We’ve done something we think we’ll be criticized for and we’ll mentally audition explanations before the dreaded reveal of our “crime”.

See what I mean?

That’s why I say, which comes first–fiction or life? We talk about the chicken and the egg, life imitating art and vice versa. But can we really determine an answer without contingencies?

As writers, we pluck story lines from headlines. We use our experiences to form cores of plots. And along the way,  we learn about ourselves and human frailties.

One reason readers connect with characters and books are the built-in human qualities, good and bad, we put  into the people who inhabit our stories.

Classics are born because of those qualities and those imaginary friends and foes we’ve fantasized about and put on paper and electronic devices. And in some ways, those illusory human and non-so-humans are as real to us as any flesh-and-blood individual roaming this earthly plane.

We predict the future, recount and explain the past, and live in a present somewhere in-between.   

For us, reality is merely a word plastered on whatever time zone we’re working inside at the moment. We like it that way, and it doesn’t matter to us which comes first.

 

 

Ramping Up for NaNoWriMo

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Whew. Got Wisher’s World Launched and now it’s time to think NaNoWriMo.

October leaped out of the gate in a whirlwind of editing and formatting the first volume of Wisher’s World, which came out on Cot. 10th. Afterwards, I wrote two articles and  submitted them for columns on Working Writers Club. Wishers World CoverNext, I set up my editorial calendar for the next three months.

Now, I can take a deep breath and begin prepping for NaNoWirMo 2016.

If you’ve never tried NaNo, you might want to challenge yourself to do it this year. Be a rebel if you can’t think of an idea for a novel. What’s a rebel? Well, you’re reading from one of them at the moment. I seldom do a novel. I did one last year for the first time in several years. It’s in revision now.

You see, I’m a rebel. I work NaNo for other purposes than writing a new novel idea. I use the exercise to revise an already-written novel or something else. Trust me. That really does use your time well during the challenge month. I’ve done a book of poetry for the challenge, too.

Book Cover 02This year, though, I’m writing a collection of Flash Fiction stories for the event—one story per day, every day, including Thanksgiving. If you don’t think that’s challenge enough, consider this.

Each day I’ll be plotting, writing, and doing a light revision on a single story. The stories can run from 500 to 1000 words. Each story will be inspired from a single writing prompt. And some of those prompts are normally used for novel ideas.

I won’t be declared a winner at the end of the month. I know that going in. My nimble fingers won’t have churned out 50K words to snag a winner’s badge like I did last year. Instead, I’ll have written a collection of stories that will need little revision or editing for release before the end of the year on Kindle.

Work In Progress Sign Held By Construction WorkerI can pick up my own trophy if, and only if, I put in the back-end work to get the collection ready for a late December release.  That deadline is also a goal. I already have plenty of novels to work on. I don’t need to write another one for a long while.

And there you have it—my personal NaNo challenge. These are the kinds of things that NaNo Rebels do with their time in November and July. It’s not that we’re anti-establishment protesters. It’s that we have other goals and quirks.

I’m fortunate. I have a NaNo group year-round. Our group has expanded and contracted around a core of people for several years now. We write together a couple of times a month, nearly every month of the year. We support each other and even have a critique group of members, which meets regularly. Most of all, we have fun.

004-stock-photo-nRight now, I’m doing prep work to keep me focused on the goals ahead. I’ve chosen my writing prompts for the stories, including a few extra in case one of them doesn’t appeal after all.

I’ve set up my editorial calendar with article deadline dates, topics and titles for my regular column articles for WWC, as well as all the other deadlines that will come between now and the end of the year. Some of those include context deadlines,too.

And this weekend, I’ll put in the time to get my office lined up for the coming frenzy of activity. With more organization, I’ll be better able to make all of my obligations and still have time left over to do those other tasks required for a personal life.

Yep, it’s that time of year when preparation helps keep you sane.

That’s all for now, peeps. I’ll be back again in a few days with something more interesting. I think I may talk about a newsletter idea I’ve been rolling around in my mind. Think about what you might want to see in a regular monthly newsletter and drop your idea in a comment below.

Until then, adios, amigos.

 

Wisher’s World Goes Live

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My fantasy series on Kindle has emerged in the first volume. Today Wisher’s World, Vol. 1 Composing an Apprentice launched successfully and is available to readers everywhere.

Satisfaction fills me right now. It’s taken many months to get this novel ready for public display. The final hurdle came along when my computer system corrupted my final revision copy and I had to start all over again from a beta reader’s copy. The debacle added more than a month to its writing time.

But that’s all behind me. Here’s a brief excerpt from the book.

Wisher’s World, Vol. 1 Composing an Apprentice

“Strap in, Reibe.” He complied without comment. “Get your gloves on. You’re going to need them. And wrap your scarf around your mouth and nose.” Again he did as he was told. More cheers went up.

Waiting for their turn nearly undid him. And then, before he was ready, Cleone pulled the line to bring the sail taut, as she jerked another line to swing it slightly to the left. The wind caught it.

The boat leaped forward like a wild thing with a wolf on its trail. It picked up speed with every yard gained. The faces of cheering villagers passed in a blur. Reibe kept his eyes closed for a while as they left the compound. The swift turn onto the main road caused his eyes to pop open and, as swiftly, close again, against the swirling landscape of the maneuver. The three leagues to Reston had always seemed to him a lengthy distance. Now, he wasn’t sure.

Cleone held a line in each gloved hand, constantly pulling or slackening on one or the other. He’d finally resolved his trepidation to traveling like this when he heard Cleone’s muffled voice. “Macai’s family farm is coming up on your right.”

By the time he opened his eyes and focused, they’d already passed it. He raised a hand to wave just as Cleone swung the sail to make the gentle curve in the road a few yards beyond the farmstead. He grabbed for the right-hand rail. The tracks made by previous land-boats drew them too far to the left, but their speed didn’t slow.

“Hang on.”

Cleone yanked on a line, forcing them to make a quick turn back to the right. In the process, the boat’s left runner lifted from the snow. They hung suspended and listing to the right at a steep angle and raced forward.

Reibe tried to swallow the gulp he felt as his stomach lurched. His eyes lost focus on the rushing ground. He couldn’t swallow. His tongue got in the way.

Clamping his eyes shut again, Reibe missed seeing the finale. The boat suddenly righted itself with a jar; all three runners on the ground, snow flying in every direction. He peeked to see if they were still on the road. They were.

The eye protectors did their job. They caked with flying snow on occasion, but they kept his eyes safe and intact. His fingers were warm and his feet remained on the ends of his legs. If he could get his heart under control, he might be able to count this as an adventure. …

I hope all of you will get a Kindle copy. The paperback won’t be out for a few months yet. When you finish reading the book, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other review site of your choice and send a copy to me, if you’d like. I’m always interested in what you think and how well my writing suited the reader.

Also, be sure to stop in my author’s page on Facebook and say hello. Click the like button while you’re there, too. Would love to see you more often.

Thanks again for stopping in. I hope to see you again in a couple of days with a regular post.

3 Steps Fiction Writers Should Take

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Always take time to check these 3 steps before declaring a project ready for edit. They save so much time for the fiction writer.

  1. Whether you’re an outliner or not, create a list of all the major plot points which must be in place before the conclusion.
  2. Each time you finish a revision session, save the manuscript in at least two places.
  3. Always run your final copy through beta readers.

Let’s look at the logic behind each of these steps individually.

Plot Points

Outlines consist only of a story’s signposts; a series of events which must occur between the opening sentence and the last words of the story. It really is that simple. You don’t need details of how, where, why, etc. You need only those signposts in your outline. The list helps keep your story train on its timeline track.

director-chair-business-cartoons-vectors_GyG7my_OFor instance, the movie Ghostbusters was very simple from an outline perspective. Premise: scientists/researchers come together because of a flurry of apparition sightings in New York City.

Outline:

  • Researchers create special equipment for use at sightings if needed.
  • Scientists verify a sighting in a public library.
  • More sightings occur.
  • They hang out their shingle and go to work as independent contractors in ghostbusting
  • EPA steps in to control researchers’ activity
  • Situation with EPA devolves until the city’s government is involved
  • Researcher’s love interest is taken over by evil entity, along with another person
  • Researchers must discover identity of evil entity and devise way to dispel evil’s control
  • Researchers fight entity and entity’s minions in the Empire State Building, climaxing with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and win.
  • Possessed humans are released and rescued
  • Boy and girl declare their love
  • Everyone prospers

An outline can get even simpler, but doesn’t have to. You only need an intro, an middle with action development and a climax/conclusion. The twelve outline points above don’t take up much space on paper, but getting from the first point to the last gets filled with tiny details that take up two hours of viewing time.

Revising for Results

Once your rough draft is done, the fun begins. Mistakes photoRevising allows the writer to catch and fill in all of those amorphous details that color the story with rainbows and leave the scent of fresh-baked bread behind. And that’s what many readers look for. Unless, of course, you’re dealing in horror.

Before beginning your revision, make a copy of that rough draft, with a new title, to work from. Then, each time you finish a revision session, be it an hour’s worth or a day’s, save that baby in at least two places. Try on your hard drive and a flash drive, or the cloud and a flash drive. Whichever method you use, do it. Don’t forget.

It only takes one glitch to leave you with nothing but sunshine and a rough draft. It happens all the time to writers everywhere. You don’t want to have to begin a revision from scratch from the rough draft again. The frustration and lost hours aren’t worth the risk.

Use Beta Readers

Book and knowledge conceptUnless your story is flash fiction, send your baby to a solid list of beta readers for review. Try to get a mix of “strictly” readers and a few actual writers. You get something special from each side of the house.

The beta reader can find all those flaws that the writer misses during revision and edit. You can guess the ones; continuity errors, name changes, characters’ unexplained dialect shifts, timeline anomalies, word misuse, the dreaded word-of-the-day, and more. (Word-of-the-day refers to those common words we end to use unconsciously far more often than necessary.)

Once you get those copies back with comments, corrections, and suggestions, you’re ready to tackle the final edit and spell check. You editing task will take less time and be more accurate after having so many sets of eyes on it.

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The writer who takes these three steps to do each of these steps eliminates greater timewasters and frustration in the long run. A brief but pointed outline is your train’s engineer and keeps you on your time table. The revision conductor makes sure you always have a second secured, current revision copy to safeguard your work. Beta readers act as brakemen to keep you accountable for the quality of your work. Your manuscript is better for the steps taken throughout the process.

Launches, Dockets, and Lingering Projects

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Once upon a time there was a raw writer who dreamed of having a marvelously exciting and successful career. She took advantage of each lesson in the craft that passed her way (assuming she could afford it.) She toiled into the night writing stories, tales that would probably go nowhere.

In the daylight hours, she toiled at whichever job she happened to inhabit at the time. There was the ranch hand, the data entry specialist, receptionist, inventory controller and shipping supervisor, executive secretary and owner of a cleaning service. And all before the age of thirty.

Serious learning erupted later, interrupted by daily reality and financial requirements. Writing dreams found a surface vent only when circumstances forced a severe re-examination of a life destination. The result was a monolithic story book in two volumes. The publishing knowledge, however, didn’t exist for her.

As for all people, circumstances and situations are fluid in life. The writer learned through trial, error and networking with all levels of other writers. She became a researcher of her own future.

Book Cover 03Now, this emerging writer has a few small volumes published. She has articles on different aspects of writing published in several arenas, both online and in print. She also has her first novel nearly ready to launch; and not just any novel but the first in a fantasy series.

This handful of paragraphs describes my journey toward becoming a “real” writer. Along the way, my experiences created characters for later use. Scenery, rich and varied, was laid into a mental photo album to create settings that were vibrant and alive. Not until I looked back, could I see the many lessons and tools I’d squirreled away for my current time at the keyboard.

I believe that each of us carries within us a collage scrapbook of images and characters, scenarios and plots that spring from out past like daisies adorning a fallow field. We each carry the buds of ideas. I believe we each have a tale to tell; one as unique as our fingerprints and just as valuable.

Launches

Wisher's World Vol. 1In the next month, I will have two launches.  Wisher’s World, Vol. 1: Composing an Apprentice will be the first. It’s been a long road. I first outlined the original plotline in 2008. I began serious work on it in 2014. In between, I’d fiddled with story line, characters and little things. I was working on the rough draft of Dreamie’s Box, at the time.

Last year, I began working through Holly Lisle’s How To Write A Series: Master the Art of Sequential Fiction. Suddenly, Wisher’s World had far more potential than I’d ever realized. Only then was the first volume born.

As a result of this course, the original story line and plot has expanded into at least ten volumes. Some are novel length, like Composing an Apprentice, while others are novelette/novella length. All will operate in a sequential world or on lateral timelines. The whole experience is exciting and a great deal of work.

Another chapbook of flash fiction is also slated for release before mid-October. The next Short Tales book is ready for revision now and waiting for a few hours of dedicated work.

The Docket

In the meantime, other work goes on. There are small chapbooks of flash fiction, poetry, and memoirs to go out on Kindle. There are articles and short stories to be published in magazines, journals, and online news feeds. So much to write and, seemingly, so little time.

director-chair-business-cartoons-vectors_GyG7my_OThe daily docket is constantly full of projects coming in, going out and being developed. There are writing courses, marketing courses, webinars to attend to keep up with trends and all manner of new tools to learn and try out.

Lingering Projects

Dreamie Memior Cover (1)As for lingering projects, Dreamie’s Box takes center stage as soon as Wisher’s World is launched. The short memoirs are already out. Now, Dreamie will finally get her complete rewrite and edit so that her tale can go out into the world, full blown and ready to read. Scarred Love is another novel in rough draft now and going through a critique group. Three books—three different genres.

Behind those projects are ten to fifteen more, most of them already written.

I intended to use 2015 to revamp and submit much of my work already on the hard drive. I’ve discovered that it will take at least another year to pull off that miracle. But, I believe in miracles. My docket got expanded indefinitely, until I can clear all the present material from my files.

The only exception is November’s NaNoWriMo Participant-2014-Web-Banner (1)project. It’ll be a master stroke if I can pull it off, but I have to try—more on that later in October.

Until then, I’m winding up as much summer work as possible with Wisher’s World, and two chapbooks and scheduled articles for publication. October is already full. What is my plan of attack, you ask? Why, one bite and bit at a time, I say.

So tell me, what are you ready to launch? What remains on your docket for the rest of the year? And do you have lingering projects for which planning awaits? Tell us all about your work. I know I’m interested. Drop something in the comments and thrill us all with your coming fireworks.

Logic and Language

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Writing and logic are always paired. Oft-times wee, niggling logic puzzles run inside our heads like so many gears inside a box. They crop up in all sorts of locations, including our own work. Communication is, after all, a writer’s business.

I refer to the pesky oxymorons that test everyone’s logic. Army Intelligence is one of the best examples and one of the most widely used in a comedic sense. Here, though, are questions about a few frequently overlooked examples.

First one up–Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

Now think about this. Is it? Of course, you say. That’s its function–sucking up the dirt. But, that’s not the point. This is a description with two meanings. In the vernacular, if it really sucks, it’s not doing its job, now is it? Stated in an excited, enthusiastic tone of voice, it could mean that’s exceptionally efficient. So, which is meant here with the original question?

Second up–If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

This question takes some consideration. It asks a legitimate question related to the roots of language. If your dictionary has always spelled a word a certain way, with a specific definition, can you be certain it’s spelled properly?

What if the thesaurus spells it a different way? Isn’t it a case of tear and tier. The words mean entirely different things. Yet, how can we be certain that the word originally used for that meaning was spelled that way. Language evolves over time, after all. In effect, consensus tends to rule usage.

Next up–What is a whack and how can something be out of it?

Anyone know? Please, clue me in. I’ve always wanted to know what a whack looked like.

flash fiction picGoing on—Doesn’t “expecting the unexpected” make the unexpected expected?

Tongue twister time. Logic dictates that this is an impossibility, yet we use it, understand its meaning and its directive. Living by this motto, we also began our slide into nervous exhaustion, insomnia, paranoia, and assorted other disturbing conditions. If you’re always expecting something to happen without warning, aren’t you constantly in fight/flight mode?  Therefore, the very act of being prepared brings us to our knees with a variety of psychological problems.

And last for today–If all the world’s a stage, where is the audience sitting? This one is a real teaser in its own way. Its underlying meaning says that each of us is both actor and audience member in the same instant. How can we possibly criticize those around us, or applaud them, if we are being judged for each moment of our own lives in that same moment? Makes a person think, doesn’t it?

Analysis

Analysis

So, consider some of those oxymorons that have cluttered your brain’s logic center for a while. Question their meanings. Along the way, you may find a story that takes you to unforeseen horizons.

Revisions—You Gotta Love ’Em

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Years ago, when I began a serious push to get published, I heard a long-time writer say “Revisions are where the real work begins.” Brother, was he right.

Anybody can write a story. Just ask those who’ve gone through NaNoWriMo. Getting a story idea down in in loose form is easy. It’s the reconstruction that comes later that proves the writer.

Even after weeks of revision work, the writer—depending on her level of perfectionism—may sit back and say that more work needs doing. That’s common. Perfectionism is a bear of a problem.

The inner critic never sleeps, never takes a vacation. It’s always there to rap you on the knuckles and sneer at you while pointing out something else that could be made better. It can’t help it. Deep inside that drive for the perfect sentence, the perfect paragraph, the perfect twist, lies the heart of the tyrant—the dictator.

Yep, I’ve lived with that beast all my life, and it’s taken this long to get a handle on it.

Wisher’s World has floated around inside my brain for a few years now. The concept came long before. Now, I’m into my final revision of the first volume. In all, there will be more than ten volumes. That’s why it’s taken so long to put together the components of the story. It’s huge and covers a whole world.

Oddly enough, it didn’t begin that way. It began as a short story and went into algae bloom mode.

I have a few more weeks worth of work to do on it before it goes to the formatter. And I did promise you all a taste of the story with an excerpt. I’m giving you the excerpt today. Here it is, from the the first third of the novella. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be back in a week or so with something new.

Wisher’s World, Vol. 1—Composing an Apprentice (excerpt)

When their small group gathered, Reibe kept his eyes focused forward. Nine days wasn’t enough time to accustom himself with all the oddities of this incredible place and its people. This unexpected invitation might leave him more confused than ever.

They walked across the flagstone court and through the central arch to the second courtyard beyond. Cheerfully glowing lanterns cast their iron animal patterned shadows but kept the passage light enough. A pervasive, musty odor rose from the expanses of drying nuts on the courtyard’s stone floor.

“I’m happy to see so good a harvest this year, Marget. We can have nut pies for Winter Fest.” Willem put an arm around and hugged his wife’s shoulder. She only laughed and slapped the man’s arm.

Arches and CourtyardsReibe smiled to himself as the last of the sun ricocheted off the huge panes of roof glass. Will I always feel like a stranger here? “Why did they move here?” Reibe asked as they entered the next pass-through.

Willem stopped and turned. “You mean the Juton?” At Reibe’s nod, the big man looked away for a moment and then back. “You must understand their situation.” The big man didn’t frown, but his eyes bored into Reibe’s, his voice solemn and barely above a whisper.

Reibe gulped. He knew he’d stepped into something he shouldn’t have. “Of course, sir.”

“Last winter one of the younger Juton came from their home in the southeast.” Willem sighed, as if in pain. “By the time he stumbled into Theusa, he was almost dead.” He stopped and signaled Marget to take the next telling.

Both Macai and Jori lowered their heads. Marget kept her voice as soft as her husband’s. “His people were dying and needed help. Then he stopped breathing. He’d run all the way, during our first severe storm of the season. He had no cloak for warmth or shoes on his feet. The Juton are built for many things. Running distances in cold and heavy snow isn’t one of them.”

They were immortal. How could they die? Reibe’s eyes filled with tears.

Willem took up the story again. “Several of us went to their quarry. Only about half of them were still alive. They’d interred many of their dead but had become too sick to care for all of them and those still alive.”

“What sickened them?”

Marget shook her head. “A disease I’ve never seen. We took what precautions we could as we cared for the survivors. We knew we could get sick.”

Willem pulled her in close. “We didn’t have time to think. There were five of us to care for sixty-two survivors.”

“But–”

“Why did they come here?” Marget anticipated a repeat of Reibe’s original question. “We told them that staying there would be dangerous. The sickness could overtake them again. Their children wouldn’t be safe from it.”

“Is that true?”

Willem looked Reibe in the eyes and gave him a curt nod. “Yes. We don’t know where the disease came from. Their life is stone. Their dead are entombed in it, by custom. Those tombs are now full of the disease. If any of those tombs broke open…”

Reibe shuddered as he considered the man’s statement. Seeing the unasked question in his widening eyes, Marget said, “Yes, how to make certain that it wouldn’t follow them.”

Silence descended again. Reibe had heard legends of the giants and the magic they carried. Old tales spoke of how giants could pick up stone and mold it as a potter molded clay. “They did something to seal the tombs, didn’t they? So nothing escaped.”

Willem’s head came up slowly, eyes moist and haunted. “Yes. They performed one of their rarely used ceremonies and killed the place they’d lived in for so long.”

“Killed?”

“Nothing will ever live there again,” Marget added.

Willem shrugged. “We don’t understand all of their ways, Reibe. Far from it. They live close to the earth. They work with its bones. They have powers that can change it. It’s never done without great purpose. They would not allow such as killed so many of them loose in the rest of the world.”

The big man’s last statement hung in the air around them. Riebe’s heart ached for them all. So much sorrow and pain. He’d lost his parents, but not the whole of Riverton. How many children survived? How many old ones?

Now, we to a meeting with these strange people, who were capable of killing the earth, to talk about trade. What could they possibly want for trade? And what about me? I am only an apprentice. What can I add to these talks?

 

 

 

Chapbook Release Today

My new Short Tales chapbook was released today on Kindle.

Now, everyone will get to know some of the pivotal characters in my novel Dreamie’s Box, which will be coming out this autumn. I’ve lived with these characters for a very long time and still came to know them much better through these short memoirs than I ever would have believed possible.

I ask that you take a chance, check it out, and write a review when you finish. You won’t regret it.

Dreamie Memior Cover (1)http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011ZJVGBG

 

At Home—Reading for the Writer

Book and knowledge concept

These last two weeks were interesting in a number of ways. I rediscovered reading for pleasure—something I’d put on the back burner for too long. Every writer needs to read. If I think about it, someone always wants to know what a writer reads.

When I wasn’t working on stories for submission and a chapbook that will be released this weekend, I read. And before you ask, the books that come home with me are by authors I enjoy or who’ve been recommended by those I trust. The subjects and plotlines are varied.

Home from the Sea Mercedes Lackey 51lQj4cRM8L._AA160_For example: all four books of The Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts, Hangman’s Root by Susan Wittig Albert, Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey, Grammar Girl Editing Checklist (a very short read but worthwhile,) the Hay House World Summit ebook, How to Overcome Procrastination by Paul Newton, Market and Promote Your Book Checklist & Worksheet by Katie Davis, and several other short instructional pieces.

A mix of subjects and genres never hurts a mind’s flexibility. Between reading sessions, a few movies kept my interest—ones I’d never watched before, like Truly, Madly, Deeply. I really liked that one and not just because Alan Rickman was the male lead. I liked the quirkiness of the plot and the thinking that went into it.

You might ask when writing found a space on such a reception-only mindset. Well, I’ve slowed social media down to a crawl to concentrate on writing and all that goes with it. My time is being used more effectively. I hope. Playtime is being built-in again as well. Long days mean working into the night—a practice not unfamiliar to me.

Dreamie Memior Cover (1)My new Short Tales chapbook—Memoirs from Dreamie’s Box is finalized and will be available no later than Sunday. My novella, Wisher’s World, Vol. 1,Composing an Apprentice, is now through the beta reader phase. Now begins the final edit before it goes to the formatter. Its release is slated for the autumn.

There are also three short stories (7500+ words each) in revision for submission to magazines, a slew of poetry in revision for either a collection for competition or a release on Kindle. So you see—it has not been an idyll.

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the pun. I leave you to return to those pesky words that fill stories. I’ll be back in a few days with an excerpt from Wisher’s World. By the way, that series will go a full eight to ten volumes before it’s finished. The terrific thing is that I’m still discovering secrets about my characters that I would never have suspected before this last rewrite. Secrets that will deepen and intensify the overall story. That’s exciting.

Sailing

Sailing

While I dive into chapters and formatting, why don’t you all take this weekend to play, enjoy, and relish your ability to participate in life. Have a great time. It will never come around again, you know.