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Archive for July, 2017

ART!

A dear friend of mine is an artist (well, a great many of my friends are artists, as are my children – one works in metal, the other in fiber), and she shipped me a print of a painting I had admired a great deal.

I bought several of her originals to grace my library.

Art from other friends hangs in my Snuggery and my kitchen. Once I get my workshop organized, more art will hang there.

I have sculptural pieces displayed on shelves, and jewelry displayed in frames when not being worn.

All of the art I possess was made by artists I know, purchased directly from them to help them keep making art.

Books and stories, from authors I know, are the same thing.  I buy the books of my friends – and read them! I feed them, I visit them at conventions and book signings and book readings.

I used to put up reviews on Amazon, but you apparently can’t be friends with an author and review their book. Le sigh.  I know so many authors. I’ve been buying their books for more than 50 years.

So I joined Good Reads and am trying to figure out how to post reviews there.

Supporting creative people makes life worth living. My own writing is mostly for fun – I don’t need the income from it as I have a day job that provides for my needs (and eats up a lot of my time), but I have so many friends who do need the income from their art to pay the bills and buy food and pay for healthcare.

I do my small bit, and spread the word where I can. Buy their books and their art – actually pay the artist. It will fuel them to keep producing more art to enjoy and love.

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As a late starter in Camp NaNo, I am just lurking in my cabin.  I am a fast writer, at least for the initial story, so I am confident I can end the month having met my goals.

Tossing out rough novels is easy peasy. I can easily write a novel a week.

I actually have written a novel a week.

With a backlog of dozens of novels that have beginnings, muddles, and ends, I should really stop writing more zero drafts and start polishing up the stories I have in hand. Ditto for the short stories.  I have dozens of those, too.

I even submitted one.

One.

It needs more work. It was declined. All of them need more work.

Is there a program for writers who write and write and write, but never rewrite and polish and edit? One that would slow down the stream of ideas and characters and scenes and actions long enough to turn the muddles into actual middles?

This isn’t an issue with my non-fiction. I can knock out a workbook, a training manual, an employee handbook, a reference article in a few days and then go through and tighten and tidy it up enough to pass Legal in less than a month.

Why can’t I do the same with my fiction?

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Home and transportation expenses this year reduced the amount of money I could spend on my daughter’s birthday, until a surprise royalty check from a workbook I wrote showed up!

I was able to give her $500 towards new glasses and a visit to a museum she very much wanted to see, plus give her a magnetic knife rack and a box of Little Debbie cakes. I chose the “S’Mores” Cakes in the camping theme, since she is participating in Camp NaNo.

We’re in different cabins – she writes and has been published professionally as a horror writer, and I write non-fic and am attempting genre fiction (mostly SF).

I’m tempted to get her the entire line of Little Debbie camping snack cakes as writing snacks. They have animal track brownies as well as the “S’Mores” rolls, and cabin tent cakes. Now I’m on a quest to find suitable camping snacks to give her.

I love getting royalty checks!

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Camp NaNo

I know.  I’m late to the game.

But at the urging of several friends and in support of the local ML, I decided to allow my word count to bolster their efforts.

I like NaNoWriMo for the support and camaraderie it provides, as well as the motivation to just get the words out. Editing can come later.

Camp NaNo is sort of like NaNoWriMo, only smaller. I’ve been in it for only 2 days though.

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Zoobervations

Baby Sumatran tigers were born at the zoo today!

No word on the hatching of the flamingo eggs.

The baby sea lion will soon be visible in the Aquaticus pools.

I hope to have time to get to the zoo this weekend to see the new additions. The zoo is one of my favorite places to write.  I have a number of places where I can sit in comfort, write, and observe both people and animals. I get a lot of character descriptions, clothing choices, and behaviors under stress. A lot of parents are very stressed at the zoo, yelling at their kids, dragging them along when the kids want to spend more time looking, or forcing them to stay in one place when they are thirsty, hungry, bored, or tired – and outright lying to them. This saddens me a lot, that parents publicly mistreat their children (I do sort of speak up when I am close enough, usually by sharing photos on my camera or telling them about a special trait. I direct my comments to the parents and invite their children in. It’s a brief distraction and sometimes it disarms the building stress and anger).

When I get too angry at the parents, I leave the zoo.

In my BuJo, I track the number of awesome parents and the number of stressed parents – and so far, the stressed parents outnumber the awesome parents 4 to 1. I work hard to find the awesome parents because my stories aren’t tragedies or moral lessons. They also aren’t totally goody-goody but the ratio will be flipped in my stories – the awesome will outnumber the stressed.

I’ve taken to calling the awesome parenting moments and the kind moments “kodak moments”, things I want to remember. Those get written in detail in my writer’s journal. The stressed moments are terser.

At our local zoo, I hang out at the Grandmother’s Pavilion, the flamingos, the Lion Overlook, the Elephant Pavilion, and Otter Pool as well as all the food courts. My other 2 spots are currently under construction and I am eager for them to be completed because they both overlook the lake.

I like the zoo better for writing journal observations because Security or the police don’t come and harass you for loitering.  It’s hard to find good public spots to go for observing people where a single person isn’t viewed with suspicion anymore – even if one is an elderly fat woman. Imagine if I were decades younger, especially a male! It’s only been the past year that hanging out in public spaces has become uncomfortable, too. Before that, people would smile, and sometimes stop to chat when I settled in a mall or a park to observe things and do some writing, or go to a festival and find a place to sit and observe and write. Now, they glower, and often threaten to call 911. A few actually do make the call (especially in parks and at festivals)!

But the zoo is still good. Still a safe place to sit and write and observe.

Yes, the library is also good for research and writing – but not so much for observing.  Ditto coffee shops, at least around here.

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Breathtaking Beauty

Whisper your words of honor in my ear.

Let me feel the deep pulse of your care.

I will be your first defense and your last.

Add my bright banner to your staunch mast,

For I am strong and my honor, too, is great.

Take me to wife; let me hate all whom you hate.

Let me breathe the harsh odors of your duty.

Let me share your burdens of regal loyalty,

For I must touch the man whose honor holds an empire

In his heart above all others, and still higher.

I will bear your children to honor’s gain

To share in this breathtaking beauty of pain.

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Friends shared a video with me because they said it reminded them of 2 stories I’d written:  Soap Bubbles and Sylvan Acres.

Soap Bubbles is a collection of stories tied by location and characters – It’s set in a themed shopping district where Wiccan, Druid, and assorted other neopagan and ethnically-derived religions own and run the shops. Some of the stories are cozy mysteries, some are conflicts with outsiders, some are rescues, some are quests. One story is a about a training class for the local law enforcement, and some stories involve those officers in the stories, directly or indirectly.

Sylvan Acres is about a gated community of magical people – either because they are werefolk, fae, demi-gods, or are wizards, priests, witches. They are gathered in the gated community because it’s a portal for assimilation into the non-magical world. There’s the law enforcement that straddles the 2 worlds, and the embassy that tries to educate and assist both magical and non-magical communities. The story follows the people who run the embassy, but the LE has a strong presence, and 2 of the officers play a large role.

Of these stories, Sylvan Acres comes closest to the video Wizard Cops.

Of course, Wizard Cops is based on the reality show Cops. The goal isn’t to tell stories so much as it is to titillate, to show vignettes that don’t even always have the same cops from show to show. The continuity is the action, the crimes, not the characters or the plot.

I hope that my stories have the titillating actions as well as strong characters and a plot, or rather, a series of smaller plots that contribute to the larger novel plot.

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