Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Makes Me Different from Everyone Else

This is from that list that Tambo pointed me to: http://biggirlblue.blogspot.com/2010/11/30-days-of-me.html

Normally, being the science type, I'd say my DNA.  But I've got this identical twin, so that's out.  Not that we're exactly the same.  She's shy.  I'm… not.  She doesn't cook.  I do.  And our fingerprints are different.  Even though fingerprints have a basis in genetics, how they're expressed/ formed is different for every individual.

But being a twin meant that we were often lumped together.  My form of rebellion, growing up, was pushing to be an individual.  So, everything that I do has some basis in that.  I want to be different from everyone else.

For example: I created my own undergraduate major (Science Communication).  I have a Masters in Museum Education.  I do a LOT of crafts and have a lot of hobbies.

I consider myself a Creative.  If I need a dish towel, I'll crochet it.  If I want pizza, I'll make it.  I make most of the gifts I give, if I can.  If I can't, I do *something* creative with it.  My sister tells me that it's my gifts her kids pull out on a rainy day.

So that's what makes me different from everyone else.  I look to create the most original thing.  Even me.

What makes you unique?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

My favorite Song

My favorite song would have to be Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon and Garfunkel.  Hands down. No question.

At the darkest points in my life, this song either came on the radio or I put it on the CD player.  I hummed it to myself in the dark when I needed someone to tell me that it would be all right.  I knew, in my rational mind, that it would be, but the emotional part of my mind doubted it.

When I was 19years old I went to the Concert in Central Park and, at dusk, Art Garfunkel sang this song.  And half a million people sang along, under their breaths.  We could all hear Art, but we also added our voices.  It was unbelievable.

Paul Simon once said that he hated the bridge "Sail on silver girl" part.  It had nothing to do with the rest of the song.  I must disagree – it makes the song so much stronger.

With that shift, that change of key, the song moves from "there, there, it'll be okay" to "you're okay now.  Go. Do."

I love this song.

What's your favorite song?

note: I took the photo.  In Australia 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

15 Interesting Facts about Me

In an effort to blog more, I'm working from a list.  This was harder than I thought.

1. I work in a museum.  It is the coolest place.  When I need a break, I can go down and look at the Egyptian sarcophagus of a court musician or a Tibetan riding desk.  We have paintings by Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargeant and sculpture by Andy Warhol. Oh, and dinosaur bones.

2. I have been square dancing for more than 30 years.  If anyone knows what I'm talking about, I have taken classes through the Advanced level.

3. I have a twin sister.  Identical twin.  We freak people out.

4. In Junior High School, I took a film-making class.  Our class made a movie called "Fangs of Death."

5. All of my nieces and nephews were adopted.

6. I have nine book cases in my one-bedroom condo.

7. I have cheated death twice: 22 years ago in a car accident and 2 years ago I had a blood clot in my leg and a small piece in my lung. I'm all better now.

8. My ring-finger toe (on both feet) stopped growing when I was six.  It's a mutation called Brachia Metatarsil.  My twin has it, too.

9. I have traveled to London, England, Moscow, Russia, Greece and Australia.  I have also been to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyons and Pike's Peak in Colorado.

10. I own the entire series of Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes series on DVD.

11. I was once in the chorus of the opera, Aida.

12. I have a black belt in shopping.  No, seriously.  I found my sister's wedding dress for $200!

13. I once owned a car and drove it until I couldn't. 174,000 miles and the engine went while I was in line to get it inspected.

14. There is a potter's wheel in my living room.  Yes, I can throw pots, though I haven't in a while. Still, I eat my soup from bowls I've made.

15. I am writing a book. (well, several books really. But you probably knew that already.)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blue Moods and Blogging

Life has been hectic and a bit sad.  A family member passed over (peacefully) this morning and it's been tough for my brother's family.  The kids are upset and acting out, which, while understandable, doesn't help.

I don't want this blog to be about my whining, though, so I was casting about for ideas that weren't depressing. And my friend Tamara Siler Jones linked to this post: http://biggirlblue.blogspot.com/2010/11/30-days-of-me.html

I'm not going to wait until January to do this, I won't do every post or even close to being in order.  But I like many of the ideas, so I'm going to grok the list.  Starting tomorrow.

For today, I have a question.  Do you write through your blue moods or wait until they pass?

For me, it's a little of both.  I'll work through them, to a certain extent.  Mostly as a distraction, I'll make jewelry or draw (although I draw like a science teacher).  Eventually, those emotions work their way into my writing, but not immediately.  They need to simmer, to marinate.

I'll try to blog more, but if I get swept away with stuff, Happy Holidays folks!

note: Photo is Japan, Blue Mountains by miykiutada under creative commons license

Friday, November 11, 2011

Research and Details

Golem is set in the real world, even if it is Fantasy.  It's also set in a day and time where a lot of the details were just not recorded.  And, sometimes, I get stuck.  I want the details to be right, but even with the research I've done, I don't know the details.

This is the biggest reason for blocks that I'm finding with this year's nano.  Other years, I didn't have enough conflict, so I made a conflict list.  The peasants from the interior of Russia came to Odessa looking for work.  The Japanese/Russian war created a recession, so there was no work.  The peasants blame the Jews.  Conflict.

The research that I have done shows that the different peoples met in cafe's.  Peasants had a beer beside University students and shopkeepers ate their supper at the next table.  That's a good place for showing that conflict.

But now the details come into play - what did they eat?  soup? sandwiches? pot pies?  What did they drink? ale? vodka? wine?

I have a friend who's been stopping as she writes to research those details.  It's taking her awhile, but it seems to be working for her.  I haven't been able to find the details, though.  I've just wasted time.

NanoWrimo's creed is "Just Write", so I'm trying to go with an educated guess and I'll fix it later.  At least I'm getting words.

Here's a snip:

"Everywhere you go, you trip over more Jews."  I glanced over to the man who was speaking.  He wore old trousers and the kind of tunic that peasants wore, stained and badly repaired where it had torn.  He was a big man with loose folds of skin hanging from his neck and big, beefy hands that curled into fists.  He was also looking at me, pure hate pouring from him.  It stole my breath.

Another big man, with a jet black beard, laughed.  "You trip over your own feet, Misha."

"I'm serious.  I can't find a job because they're all given to these damned Jews."  His eyes never left me and I took two steps away, backing into someone else's chair.

"I'm so sorry," I murmured and started to weave my way toward Yakov and Avrom.

"You can't find a job because you drink your paycheck."  I was still close enough to hear them.

"No.  It's because Jews, like that girl, have all the jobs."  It was easy to hear him - his voice got louder as he got angrier.  I wanted to curl into a ball and hide underneath the tables.

His friend with the beard roared with laughter.  "That girl isn't going to beat you out for a job hauling crates in the warehouse.  IF she works, she's more likely to work in her father's store and no one's ever going to hire you to be nice to customers.  Eat something and calm down, Misha.  I didn't come here tonight to get started in a fight."

Yakov had seen me, finally, and he stood.  I rushed over and wrapped my arms around him; I didn't care who saw.

"Rachel?  Are you all right?"  His arm snaked around my shoulders and he looked down at me.  "Babele?" he added in a whisper.

"I'm all right," I whispered into his chest.

"One of the peasants yelled at her."  Avrom had stood and was looking over my head toward the man called Misha.  When I looked, he was frowning, but digging in to a bowl of soup.

How do you handle the details?

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Dark and the Light

I almost scrapped Golem as my nano project.  Really, I almost tossed all the prep and started over with the Sci Fi Bunny.  And it's all the fault of the research.

I'm setting Golem in a very real place, with very real history and very real.  And very, very not Happy Ever After.  Anyone who knows me knows that I go more for the sweet and less for the horror.  But there are parts of this story that *has* to be almost if not Horror.

Because 400 people, 300 of them Jews, died in a riot where very angry people focused their anger on those people who were different from them.  Jewish homes and businesses were destroyed.  Jewish women and children were beaten.

I knew that *my* story would have a happy-ish ending, but it couldn't completely be very happy, because I won't be rewriting history.  I just didn't think I could spend 50,000 words with such a depressing story.

In talking things over with a friend, she suggested that I write the sweet part of the story for a bit and maybe I'd feel better about it.  I tried and she's right.

But I'm coming to the conclusion that the story is stronger because of the contrast between light and dark.  You care more about the dark because you care about the characters.  And I, at least, care about the characters because they're really very sweet.

A short snip:

Mr. Grabel walked into the study, twisting his hat in his hands. "I don't want to be any trouble, Rabbi."

"No trouble," I said.  Mr. Grabel was a large, imposing man, but with my father, he acted like a young boy.  "The kettle is on already.  Do you take milk?"

He smiled shyly, even though his middle daughter was my best friend.  He'd known me all my life.  "A little honey, if you have it.  Thank you, Rachel."


Nano – Three days (I haven't really written much tonight): 5,832 words

Plan for this weekend: Spiders!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Getting Ready for Nano

Nano starts next week.  And in preparation, I've put together the back-of-the-book blurb for Golem.  So, here it is:

Odessa, Russia in 1905 is a place where the future is being born.  Industrialists, artists and philosophers meet in smoky cafés and invent a better world.  Of course, the Tsar and his cronies aren't at all sure they want a new world.

Rachel Vainshel has one foot in each world.  She has a job in the factory and her father is the Rabbi of their Temple.  At 16, the word is full of possibilities, including those of Yakov Mueller, the jeweler's son.  Yakov has a talent and a trick – he makes exquisite little insects out of watch parts.  And can bring them to life.

When her father, Reb Kolya, finds out about it, he encourages Yakov to create a mechanical man, a Golem, to protect the synagogue from the anti-Semitic riots that are growing more frequent and more violent.

Rachel helps when she can, but she doesn't have the magic. She will do whatever she can to protect her family and her people, even as the world around them goes mad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where We Come From

I've been quiet for the past week because I've been working on a photo book.  Several years ago, I collected family photos, some of which go back more than a hundred years.  I finished it and sent it off last night.

So, as is my habit, I look at everything, and I mean everything, as what it can teach me about writing.  And this photobook has something to do with Backstory, with where we come from.

Every character has a past, hinting at that past can tell you a lot about that character, what matters to them, what motivates them.  For instance, my mother is a nurse, I have a master's degree (education, if you must know) and my father went to college.  Of course.

But my grandfather didn't go to college and my grandmother went to business school for a year, I think.  Most of my mother's family were farmers – not the intellectual elite that I'd assumed we were.  Because that's what we are now.  We have a slew of teachers: art, music, science and special needs.  And education IS very important to us.  But would I have had anything in common with my great grandmother if I'd known her at my age?

Probably not.  She had been married and had 7 kids (one of whom died of disease in the nursery) by the time she was my age.  And I'm not sure she graduated from high school.

So, back to characters.  One of my characters lost her parents in an accident when she was a teenager, another used to belong to a gang.  The romantic lead is more than shy, he's gun-shy.  His family has money and a gold-digger had him going before he figured out what she was really after was the money.  Knowing this about them is essential to how they react and what motivates them.  I may never say what happened to them, in so many words, but their past is there.

What are the pasts your characters have to deal with?

Photo: I'm not sure who took it, probably my grandfather.  It's my aunt and my mom, as kids.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not really a post

This is the icon/ cover I made for my nano wrimo story this year:

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Cheers to Writer Friends!

This weekend is a writers' weekend.  I'm going to Capclave with two of my writers friends and I will make more writer friends.

Whenever any of my writer friends are anywhere near me, I've got to get to them - we NEED to get together.  More accurately, I need to see them.

Because writing is a lonely thing.  I can write and live with my characters and I lose perspective.  My writer friends encourage me, are honest with me, and they're just really good company.  When I connect online, they're disembodied, but in real life (RL), they're, well, real.

So yay for the friendship, yay for the connection and Cheers for other people who just understand.

Thanks folks - huggs.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beautiful Betas

Okay, that's beautiful and he's a beta splendens fish, but I'm talking about Beta readers.

Beta readers are those wonderful people who can look at your writing and tell you things that you can't see clearly because you're too close.  They tell you when something's not clear, they tell you the theme of your story when you can't see it - they ROCK.

If you haven't connected with beta readers, find a writing forum and offer to read - it's polite to offer time and energy before asking for the same.  And I've learned as much or more from reading others' stories as from others reading mine.

Last night, a good friend who read Lawgiver in all its first draft glory let me bounce things off her and she nailed the quality I need to emphasize.  Thanks, Lisa!

For those of you who've read Lawgiver, thank you.  And here's a snip, so you'll understand what I'm talking about:

"What is it about the past?" asked Pel.  He took off his sweater and draped it over her shoulders.  Su pulled it close – it smelled like Pel's soap.  Just a hint of sandalwood.

"Thanks," she muttered, pulling the collar up to her ears.  "I'm not sure what you mean."

"Why do you spend so much time with the past?  You're as pure a Mercian as I've ever met.  But most Mercians look forward, worried about inventing the future.  Why do you look in the opposite direction?"

"Because it was better, more hopeful.  There was magic in the past and we've lost it."  Su had stop, to blink back the tears that were threatening.  "We're killing each other, Pel.  If it's not the bombers, it's the gangs in the cities.  So I look backwards."

He rubbed her back through the sweater.  She leaned back, relaxing a little.  "As I remember, there were wars and robberies back in Vidar's time.  They weren't very peaceful."

"But God did something about it.  He sent Vidar and D'Guerre to stop us from killing ourselves."  She thought of the three-foot high letters spray-painted on a ruined wall – God is Dead.

Pel pulled her close and laid her head on his shoulder.  "Give him time, Su.  That's where Faith comes in."

Su smiled and let him hold her.  Faith had never been her strongest talent.

Betta fish photo gakked from aquaristicsblog.com under creative commons license.

Monday, October 3, 2011

SF Plotbunny Snip

The dream has become a five-book series.  Sort of a Leverage meets Firefly SF Romance.  Five books, five couples.  And one giant conspiracy.

It's set in the near future, when Man has ventured into the solar system, but no farther.

In the first book, Marlowe (Helene Marlowe) is the FMC and Daniel Lyons is the MMC.  Enjoy.

Marlowe took out her glasses and held out her hand.  "Let me get a closer look at that."

Lyons glanced at Chan – he had no reason to trust her, she reminded herself.  Chan nodded.

Slowly, Lyons placed the orb into her palm and her fingers caged it.  Smooth, cool to the touch.  Practically seamless.  "Do you know where it was made?"

Lyons stared at her, his mouth slightly open.  Hadn't he heard her?  "Do you know where it was made?"

He shook his head, maybe he just shook himself awake.  "Sorry.  I haven't a clue.  It's not old, though.  Not hand milled, but not mass produced, either."

Marlowe nodded and touched her hand to the left earpiece.  First step in and the surface of the orb focused.  Still smooth.

At the far edge of her vision, she saw Jerry approach Chan with a whisper.  They left, leaving her alone with their client.

"I like the sexy librarian look."

Marlowe looked up at him, over the rim of the black plastic glasses.  "My eyes were corrected to 20/20, same as everyone else.  These are glassicals, not your typical glasses."

"Now I'm curious."  He took two steps closer and looked at her face, at the glassicals.  "What do they do?"

Of course he was curious.  But she didn't like how unsettled she felt with him looking at her face like that.  "They act like a 3-D microscope.  Nano lenses focus and enlarge, then the image is sharpened via computer enhancement."  She tapped the drive at her hip.

Lyons glanced at the drive, but before she could focus on the orb, he looked up, at her, not the glassicals.  He was too close.  But her breath had seized and she couldn't move.

He grinned.  "Can I see?"

And she could breathe again.  "No."  She nearly laughed when he pouted – that was the only term that could apply.  "They're keyed to my ID.  They're designed to only work with me."

He looked so disappointed, just a slumping of his shoulders, that she relented.  "I've got a non-keyed prototype in the office.  If we've got time, later, I'll show you.  Right now, I've got to see what I can learn about this thing."

"We should probably call it something else, don't you think?" He glanced at the orb.

"If you want.  The orb?"  She pulled out a small round tube, shrank the diameter and set it on the luncheon table.  The orb settled into the circle, not moving, and she braced her elbows on either side.  The computer still didn't compensate for the jiggle quite enough yet.

"How about Lyon's Orb?"  But she was already concentrating and he sounded miles away as she focused on the sphere in front of her.

Image:  Orb: Recursive by Giovanni Rubaltelli under Creative Commons License

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Dreams May Come

I had a really strange dream.

Some of my friends dream their stories – at least a couple have solved plot problems, for instance.  More than once, someone has come up with an idea for a story in their dreams. 

Not me.  I had a dream for a Science Fiction Romance series.  Sort of like Firefly, the TV series with Nathan Fillion.  Le sigh.

I have no idea if I'm going to even write notes on this idea.  It was disjointed, there were three or four couples and each book in the series was the Romance of their story.  And I usually don't write Science Fiction.  Nothing against SF, but I deal with science in my day job, so writing is for a different sort of dream.

I think it means that I need to write, just write something new.  I've been involved in editing, reordering and analyzing my wip to get it ready to submit.  Using the left side of my brain for the most part.  Paying attention to the internal editor and ignoring my muse.

Well, the muse isn't terribly happy about it.  And she's decided to tell me stories in her sleep.

I still have some analysis to do – a crit that I promised.  But when it's done, I need to sit down and just write.

Have you dreamed story?

Photo: Dream Interrupted by Robert Couse-Baker.  Used under Creative Commons license

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Telling Details

Today in chat we were talking about how to convey culture (Hi Eb!), especially one that alien, either in SF or Fantasy, but it could just be an unfamiliar culture in our world.

The general consensus was that the way to do that was through details, but you had to know your culture fairly thoroughly to be able to pick the right details.

What I want to say here is that you also have to know what you want the scene to do, to choose the right details.  For instance, you can choose to describe a garden.  It's a good way to set a scene and it can be either a formal garden or a wild meadow or just a bunch of flowers near the kitchen door.

But if you want to add tension, say something about your POV character (by the sorts of things she notices) or foreshadow something, zoom in on a specific detail:

Yes, it's the same picture, just changing what I'm focusing on.

I make these changes and add the little details when I'm revising.  That way, I know better what I want each scene to do.

And now, a writing example:

Vidar stepped between him and the girl, black fury darkening his eyes.  I'd seen him in many moods, but never like this.  He didn't quite reach for his sword, but the fingers in his hand flexed and twitched.  All he needed was an excuse.

And the fool gave it to him, drawing his knife first.  Vidar narrowed his eyes and pulled his knife out slowly, leaving his sword in its scabbard.

"She's my bride.  I want her back."  He would have sounded more intimidating if his voice hadn't been shaking.

"No."  Light from the fire glinted off of Vidar's knife.

What kind of details do you use in describing your world?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why Buy?

A friend and I have decided that we need to know more about how to promote our books and stories.  Well, I've decided – she and I just talked about it.  And I don't have any books to promote, yet.  She's got some awesome stories on Circlet Press called The Moonlit Path (go here: http://www.circlet.com/?p=3108)  Note: it is Erotica.  You need to be 18 or older.

So, thinking about helping people to buy books, I started by thinking about what makes me buy anything.  What have I bought lately?  Well, in the past year and a half I've made some major purchases.

1)      A Car.  I had to because a tree fell on the old one. (See above.)
2)      A Stove. The old one was, well, old, and I didn't like it much.  Plus, they were having a sale on stoves.
3)      A mattress.  It was time.

I always comparison shop.  The one time I impulse bought a used car, I bought a lemon.  People would shake their heads in sympathy when they heard what kind of car it was. 

So why did I buy the things I did.

1)      I bought the same car that the tree killed.  It was a good car.
2)      I checked a couple of places for the stove, after I realized that everyone had stove sales on.  I went with the place my mother has used for years, on her recommendation.
3)      I tried a whole bunch of places and went where I could get the best mattress for the best price.

In doing this, I realized a couple of things:

Quality – If something is good quality, I'll go back and buy from them again.

Recommendation – If someone whose opinion I trust recommends something, I'll look closer.

Something I need – I wouldn't have bought the car or the mattress if I hadn't needed them.

Something I want – While I didn't need the stove right then, I wanted it.  And I bought the stove I wanted, with the features I wanted.

I bought these things from people who appreciated me and who didn't treat me as if I were brainless.  If they talked down to me, I left and didn't look back.

What does this mean?  Still working that out.  But, for me, the first thing is to give the best product possible.  To write the best book I possibly can.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I went for a hike yesterday - 1.3 miles of woods in the nature center in town - and I brought my camera. When I look through the lens of my camera, I see differently. I pay more attention to details, I look for light and shadow. I try to find something interesting to show.

I do the same when I write.

This is a standard picture, kind of boring - a little critter on a big path through the woods.

Of course, I'm not done. I take it home, load it onto my computer and fiddle with it. I zoom in on some detail and I get this:

Kind of sinister, isn't he?

By zooming in, I can emphasize details - the odd light in his eye, the way he's poised to run.

And for me, this is like editing a story. Deciding what I want to emphasize and what tension I want in the image I'm describing.

I think what I'm saying is that writing and editing have two different kinds of perspective - one is the overall "what the story is about" and the other is honing in on the details.

How do you look at a story?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday Update on a Tuesday

I'm taking a few days off, so I put off blogging my update until I was actually on vacation.

Shake Down is read through - it's going to need a large chunk of time and a flow chart to work on the plot. I've got it penciled in for tomorrow afternoon. I need to introduce at least one villain much earlier than he is currently introduced, among other things. And one other villain is going to be much less villainous and more mysterious.

A couple of my beta readers came back with some really good points, so I'm tweaking Lawgiver some more.

I've done a bunch of cooking - committed paella last week - and I need to clean my bedroom and do some painting during this bit of vacation.

And that's the update, delayed though it might be :D

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Small Stones

My friend, Lisa Cohen (ljcblue) is a poet and, thanks to her, I've been thinking more about poetry than before. With that in mind, I bought a book Lisa recommended: Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen.

It's slow going, but I've been reading it bit by bit, working it out in my mind as I go. And I finally happened on Chapter 26: Small Stones. Note: I do not read or write in order. I just can't.

Small stones are little nuggets of specific observation jotted down during the day. The idea, as I understand it, is to keep aware of details throughout the day and hone the skill. Then use the skill in your writing.

To that end, I've been tweeting small stones - @suelder and using the hashtag #smallstones

Here are some examples:

  • The whisper of rain on the trees.
  • The scent of garlic and basil in my brother's kitchen.
  • Spider webs sparkling with crystal raindrops in summer sun.
  • Cotton clouds sailing through a deep blue sky.
  • Deep forests, dripping with fog. / Insects calling in lust. / A fawn walks onto our front lawn, his tail twitching at flies.
What kinds of small stones do you see during your day?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Blue Mosque

My sister and I visited Greece and Turkey in 1992. This picture was taken by my sister of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

I use pictures as writing prompts, sometimes, and this one lead to this passage from Lawgiver:

The guard led us into a vast hall. Great pillars rose from the floor to the ceiling, but the garden remained in islands of green. Light spilled everywhere, through windows in the ceiling high over our heads. "Is this the temple?" Daman whispered to Talleth.

"No," he hissed. "This is Grishon's court. The temple is half this size, but filled with windows. It fits Anath, but Grishon is ridiculously proud of his cavern."

I smiled slightly. "Is that what they call it?"

Have a good week all.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Update

Happy Monday.

With Lawgiver out to beta readers, I've picked up Shake Down again. That's the paranormal thriller with the young woman who feels earthquakes before they happen.

I like what I've got so far (about 35K), but there's a whole subplot thread that I've avoided working on. And the story really needs it.

I think the paranormal part is pretty good and I'm liking the romantic subplot. The MC, Lani Martin, works for the army, even though she's a civilian. The base is on a list of potential closures and she's working with the Colonel to create a Rapid Response Team to get to Natural disasters as quickly as possible.

The base-closing thread is what I need to work on. It's just really strange to pull off the editing/revising hat and put back on the plotting, story-thread hat. But you've got to start somewhere.

The picture above is from a trip I took to Alaska with my family three years ago. The flower is fireweed and it got its name because its the first plant to grow after a forest fire clears out an area. 'Cause that sort of what it feels like to pick Shake Down up again - like I'm starting fresh.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Progress in WiP (Work in Progress)

There are times when I want to get better. Now.

And I'm not alone. A lot of people get frustrated when they don't improve as quickly as they want to. Part of the problem is that once we start to improve, we can see how much we need to improve. (Okay, how much I need to improve.) The mountain looks taller, harder to climb. And I didn't even think to look up.

But that's looking forward, and it can be daunting, especially if we've got ambitions to be really good/ great writers.

But when you're on the mountain, you can also look down, to see how far you've come. This week, I finished one project and sent it to my beta readers. So, I opened up another project I wanted to work on – Shake Down, my paranormal thriller.

And I can see where I've grown as a writer, from editing Lawgiver. I want to totally rewrite Shake Down, or parts of it. And I will.

The point is that I've progressed, through work and practice and I've climbed further up the mountain. So often, it's a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, making small steps of progress.

Every once in a while, look down the mountain and see how far you've come. It makes the summit seem a little closer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Sometimes, you do the unexpected when you are writing a novel. Last week, as I was working on the latest iteration of Lawgiver, I realized that I needed to write a poem. I don't usually write poems.

But that's what the character needed to translate, so that's what I had to write.

This is a picture of a sunset taken at the door to my condo - run through Photoshop.

So, here's the snippet from Lawgiver:

"It's a poem, probably for the person in the crypt. And I'm also a translator, so I figured that I'd take an hour or two to work on it." With a smile, she settled at the table and lifted the parchment out, carefully.

The sun has set for me.

The last light has graced the world

And you are gone.

The breeze whispers through the trees,

The river rushes past.

And you are gone.

Our children cry

Their children sleep in peace

The stars wink into the dark.

And you are gone.

Su had to stop there, putting the parchment back into the box and closing the lid. She blinked back the tears and blew her nose.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Update

Because at least one friend has complained that I have abandoned blogging, I'm going to try to blog more. Monday updates, Wednesday images, Friday/weekend Writerly musings.

And being that this is a Monday - an update.

Over the weekend, I finally finished this draft of Lawgiver and formatted it for beta readers. Part of the motivation was a coupon for a free proof copy from Lulu.com that expired last night - so I got to play with cover art as well. I had fun with the art stuff.

I also formatted it for Nook - ePub format - to send to at least some of my betas. Took a little doing and getting familiar with Calibre. But I'm convinced that it's legible.

That's the monday update - Hope everyone has a good week.

What have you been up to?

Also found on www.suelder.livejournal.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

SteamPunk - What Defines a Genre?

One of the stories that I'm working on - researching, right now - is a steampunk legend called Golem.

But what makes it steampunk?

Set in Victorian times? It's set in 1905, but in Odessa, Russia, not part of the British Empire.

New-fangled Tech? Yes, the MMC is a jeweler and he makes little clockwork insects. It's also in the Industrial Revolution.

Magic? Heck yeah. I'm researching Kaballah magic as part of this.

But a friend and I were discussing this in chat this afternoon and that doesn't really address the "punk" in steampunk.

The jist of our discussion was that steampunk isn't purely escapist - it may not be all dark, but there's a dark side to it. The RDJr. Sherlock Holmes showed the gritty bits of London, for example. And there are classes and class tensions in steampunk, unlike, say... Regency Romance (my friend's example).

Steampunk does not really pretend to be literature, but it's more than escapist fantasy. It addresses social issues, or the best tend to. Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series deals with very disparate creatures living together in civility and how hard that is. Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke deals with winning freedom from oppression and how, even whe they're free, it's not easy. There are still consequences.

All of this is making me want to work on that steampunk story set in Odessa, before the Soviet revolution. But first, I need to get this other story ready for my betas.

What steampunk have you read? How would you define the steampunk genre?

Photo: A Steampunk Pendant by Vaughn & Sean Saball Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license/by Vaughn & Sean Saball

Slinking back into Blogging

I've shamefully ignored all sorts of blogging, both here and at LiveJournal. And a friend yelled at me, because that's how she kept up with my life.

I've been thinking about web presence and what attracts me to a blog - what keeps me coming back. But also what I get from blogging.

So, I'll try to blog more often. I'll even try to keep to some sort of schedule.

Mondays - updates. Personal, writing, whatever.

Wednesdays - Photos and images. Mine, no one else's

Friday/Weekend - Musings. Writerly, Bloggerly, Technical, whatever

Interspersed, there will be snippets. I like snippets.

Happy Writing everyone!