NaNo Excerpt Week Five

alcatrazI’ve just come home from my the Christmas party at my husband’s work, and I’m sleepy and my head is a little foggy from wine, but I was reminded that I haven’t posted my excerpt for this week for the NaNo Excerpt Blog Chain. So now I’m doing that. And just because I feel like celebrating the fact that first drafts are supposed to be shit, I picked this excerpt. Yeup, this is how I write LOL

“Well,” Sevren laughed. “I’m not sure we can go that far, but I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Just like you gave me back in grade two when I was sure SOMETHING WAS SOMETHING INSTEAD OF SOMETHING ELSE.”

Morgan laughed and pushed Sevren back by his shoulder. “This is not like that.”

“This is exactly like that,” Sevren said. “And do you remember what you did back then?”

Morgan did. They’d hidden in the cloak room of the classroom every recess for a whole week DOING SOMETHING TO DISPROVE WHATEVER IT WAS THAT SEVREN BELIEVED. EVENTUALLY SOMETHING EXCITING HAPPENED THAT PROVED TO THEM WHATEVER HE THOUGHT WASN’T REAL AND THEY’D BEEN FILLED WITH RELIEF AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED. OR SOMETHING.

“Perhaps, but do you have a better plan?”

“No–” Morgan admitted. “But that’s not much of a plan.”

“Sorry Scoob, but we’re going back to the haunted mansion.”

“Rut-roh, Raggy,” Morgan said in a terrible impersonation of Scooby Doo. “Rut-roh.”

Wheee! For the record, I write my NaNoWriMo novels almost exclusively with the Write or Die desktop app. I turn it on Kamikaze with the tolerance level set very low. That means if I stop typing it starts erasing my words. It’s motivating, but it does mean I haven’t time to sit there and think about things like this so I rely on a lot on placeholders. Whatever gets the words on the page, right?

Sale: Hereditary Delusions

Every Day Poets LogoGreat news!

My poem Hereditary Delusions, which I wrote after being inspired by a NaNoLJers prompt from Beth Cato, has been accepted for publication by Every Day Poets. I will definitely update again once I know its publication date and one of the great things about EDP is that you can always read it for free.

One of the most amazing things about this poem’s acceptance is the timeline, I have to say. I submitted it yesterday and received a response today. EDP is always a quick responder, but that is pretty amaze-tastic. I must now submit something else there to find out of this is a new trend or an aberration. I’ll let you know πŸ˜‰

ETA: I don’t actually have a poem appropriate to submit to EDP today. I’ll have to write something. So I’ll get back to you about the response rate thing whenever that happens. Regardless of how that turns out — I’m a happy camper today πŸ™‚

November Desktop

Remember back in August when I shared a screenshot of my desktop, just because I could? Well, I’m doing it again. Because I can.

Hawt Desktop

(Click to make bigger)

I saw that picture when Wil Wheaton blogged about it and it took my breath away, so it became my desktop (Google image search is not being super helpful in telling me who the photographer is >_<). I know that the image you use (or not) is probably the primary focus of any desktop, but I also really like looking at the icons on the desktop, the things in the quick launch bar.

Mine, for example, includes Internet Explorer which I *never* use but can’t freaking get rid of, and then the things I actually do use regularly: Firefox, Thunderbird, World of Warcraft, Dropbox, Write or Die… I’m not sure why Chrome is on there, since I don’t use it either, but maybe it’s from when Dani borrows my computer (it’s hooked up to a printer, hers is not). Steam is a much more recent addition to my quick launch bar, it’s there primarily for the Batman game I bought the other day. I really ought to play that more…

What does your desktop look like? Last time a few people shared with me and I really liked looking at them — show me more πŸ™‚

Grrr Rawr Argh!

alcatrazMarcus Romer tweeted this:

The Creative Process

1. This is awesome

2. This is tricky

3. This is shit

4. I am shit

5. This might be ok

6. This is awesome

β€” Marcus Romer (@MarcusRomer) October 23, 2013

And yeah… that pretty much sums up my freaking creative process. Right now I’m at #3 and sliding pretty quickly toward #4. This is actually happening much earlier into this book than it usually does. I usually hit the ‘This is shit’ point when I’m about halfway done something, and ‘I am shit’ follows behind that. Things turn around into ‘This might be okay’ somewhere around 2/3rds done… usually.

Right now I’m about a third of the way through and already eyeball deep in ‘This is shit’ which freaking sucks. *sigh* I’m still writing, I’m still plugging away though, because if I quit this story never gets told. If I quit I never get to move past ‘This is shit/I am shit’ and I’ll sit there and wallow indefinitely. If I quit I never get to make it back to ‘This is awesome’. And ya know, I’m a pretty big fan of ‘This is awesome’.

So I’m gritting my teeth (so hard I’m halfway scared they might break) and I’m putting one word in front of the other. Even if they are shit. Because I have to. Because it’s what I do.

…but I also had to take a break to vent/whine a little bit.

Because apparently, that is also what I do.

:-p

I also share excerpts from this novel on Fridays because I signed up to participate in the NaNo Excerpt Blog Chain. This week’s is pretty short, but I like it…

Alone in the white Varenous forged an object from thought and fear. Summoning all his available power he pushed against the walls of his existence, tearing a small hole in the fabric that separated his reality from Morgan’s.

The hole healed itself almost immediately, but not before he shoved the camera from his world into hers. Then, spent, he waited.

Sale: Share

fb-logo-300pixel-revIf you’ve been following this blog for long enough you may have heard of my story, “Share”, before. “Share” is a short story I wrote in 2009 about a flesh golem*. The story was inspired by a fantastic photograph of one of my Facebook friends. Her name, as you may have guessed, is Share and I wrote the story with the intent of submitting it to an anthology edited by David Sklar and Sarah Avery. The anthology, Trafficking in Magic is actually one of two anthologies which would be paired together. The other was Magicking in Traffic.

My story was accepted in early 2010.

I was *so* excited.

Then life got in the way. To make a long story short, the original publisher had to close down because of health issues. The good news, though, was that David and Sarah were shopping the anthologies around to other publishers, and so there was hope.

That hope was realised a while back when we all signed contracts with a new publisher. Fantastic Books. I held off on announcing this development because after all that this project has been through, I’m a wee bit gun shy, however we now have a release date. A release date! That’s concrete and exciting πŸ™‚

So I can now announce, with confidence, that my story, “Share” will be included in the Trafficking in Magic / Magicking in Traffic anthologies, edited by David Sklar and Sarah Avery and set to be released during Balticon May 23-26th.

Yay!

*My auto correct wanted me to change that to Google. Flesh Google. That’s a great story title, don’t you think? Hmm…

ETA: To be super, duper, extra clear, NONE of what happens in my story is based on Share (the real person who was the model in the photograph which inspired it). That is alllll fiction.

 

Tesseracts Interview

Tesseracts 17Recently the amazing Ms. Colleen Anderson interviewed me about my story, “Bedtime Story” which appears in Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast.

I probably shouldn’t admit this but… I was playing World of Warcraft with some friends when I got Colleen’s email with the interview questions in it. I alt-tabbed from my game when I got the email notification and read them, then popped back into the game and wailed to my friends, “The questions she’s asking are smarter than I am! Or, at least, they assume I’m smarter than I am!”

I was so intimidated. You have no idea. It fell to poor BD to talk me down (the other friends aren’t writers so…). The thing was, once I got all my insecurities in hand, Colleen’s questions really made me think. Hard. Not just about “Bedtime Story” but about all my writing. Thinking that is sure to make my work stronger in the future, and for that I thank you Colleen.

Tesseracts Interview: Rhonda Parrish

(Did I mention she compared “Bedtime Story” to Peter Pan? ZOMG)

Our Super Villain

A friend of mine, Michelle (who is the brains and the body behind Busy Weekends) asked people on her twitter feed if they wanted to do a fun project where they would create super heroes. I said I’d participate if I was allowed to recruit my family into the process. She was okay with that, and so we began.

Meet Perish:

CherNobyl1CherNobyl2We decided to create a super villain instead of a hero. Partly just to be contrary, but also partly because we wanted to do a play on our last name, and Perish works far better as a villain’s name, don’t you think?

Both of these images are linked to larger versions of themselves so, as Kyle Cassidy would say, Clickenzee to Embiggen!

As a family we settled on a concept for her, discussed the details of her back story and abilities and talked about her costume. Then Danica drew the picture of Perish and I coloured it (because colouring is cool!)

~*~

Name: Perish

Alter Ego: Cher Nobyl

Super Powers/Abilities:

  • Can generate focused beams of electromagnetic radiation.
  • Can see outside normal visible ranges (x-ray, ultraviolet, etc.)

Special Weapons: There is a gem in the center of her hood which she can use to super concentrate her radiation beams, effectively making it a ‘death ray’.

Costume: In addition to what you can see, Perish is always armed with irradiated throwing knives which she keeps in her boots.

Enemies:

  • Tundra, the Canadian Super hero
  • Pirot Guy, the Ukrainian hero of comfort

Background: Perish was born at Chernobyl during the core meltdown. Her mother was far enough from ground zero that Perish, though irradiated, was not killed. Her mother, however, was.

~*~

We had a lot of fun creating our super villain and I’ve already got a story in mind that she figures in. Even if I never get around to writing that one though, this was still time well spent doing something creative as a family. Thank you Michelle!

 

NaNoWriMo Friday Excerpts: Week Three

alcatrazIt’s Friday again, which means it’s time to post another excerpt.

I’m a fair bit behind on my novel right now (about 5k) and we’re heading into the weekend which is usually a really bad writing time for me. I’d planned to write 5,000 words today to get caught up before the weekend hit but that’s not happening so far. I am locked in my (small) bedroom with three cats and a dog while there are people using jackhammers in my basement. Not exactly an ideal work environment LOL

Anyway, I’ll see what I can manage. The construction ought to be done by Tuesday or Wednesday next week so if all else fails I’ll do 5k days on both Thursday and Friday. It’ll suck, but *shrugs*

But you aren’t here for my whining, are you? Time to bust out another excerpt from this years NaNoWriMo novel, with the working titled of Hollow Children:

Suddenly she wasn’t sure this was such a good idea. Morgan didn’t believe in ghosts. Not anymore. Not really. But she did believe in rusty nails, crumbling supports and unstable vagrants. Perhaps it would be a better idea to just go home and face her parents now. She looked over her shoulder, out at the neighbourhood she’d grown up in. She couldn’t see her house from here, it was on the other side of the prison, but all the streets around her home were as familiar to her as her own block. All safe. All boring. Maybe what she really needed to deal with Barry, and all the other troubles in her life, was to learn to be braver. Maybe that was what this trip would teach her. Maybe. She looked back toward the prison.

“Twenty seconds,” she told the boarded up window. “I’ll give you twenty seconds to start.” If she was too frightened after twenty seconds she would leave, but not before.

“One one thousand…”

Morgan pushed the board out of the way and peered down into the darkness.

“Two one thousand,” she whispered. She could see a table pushed up against the wall beneath the window. It was filty from the passage of countless feet but very welcome as it saved her from a substantial jump down into the prison’s basement.

“Three one thousand,” she said, putting her left foot down carefully, testing the table before putting all her weight on it. Though it looked sturdy enough there was no telling how long it had been in there, nor how many hundreds of kids or vagrants had tromped across it. Better safe than sorry, as her mother used to say. The table wobbled a little beneath her weight, but it seemed stable enough. “Four one thousand.”

She pulled her other leg through the window, followed by the rest of her. The plywood over the opening swung shut behind her, taking the light with it. Suddenly it was dark. A new flutter of fear flitted in her belly and her voice shook a little when she whispered, “Five one thousand.”

Her mouth was dry, and the familiar taste of fear filled it, tangy and bitter. She strained her ears against the darkness, slowing her breathing to minimize its interference and searching for any sound. Any proof she was not alone.

She waited, her back pressed against the cool concrete wall, for her eyes to adjust to the difference in light. Nebulous blobs of color floated across her field of view and she imagined a dozen sets of eyes on her. Eyes belonging to rats and spiders and other creatures unhampered by the darkness.

“Six one thousand,” she said as the darkness bled away into a grey half-light and shapes began to become visible. A filing cabinet leaned in one corner, three of its drawers were missing completely and the remaining two stuck out at drunken angles. Obviously this had been some sort of an office back when the prison was still in operation. Nothing to be afraid of.

Morgan sat on the table, dangling her feet over the edge before making the tiny hop to the floor. “Seven one thousand.”

She scoured the ground with her gaze as well as she could in the dim light, making sure there were no hazards waiting to trip her up and make her break a leg. Or worse. All she saw was water stains and tracked-in dirt.

“Eight one thousand,” she said after much more than a second had passed with only the sound of her heartbeat heavy in her ears.

“Nine one thousand,” she said, though the more time she spent in the shell of a prison the more comfortable she became in it, and despite her count she’d already been there substantially longer than nine seconds. “Right,” she said, looking around the room once more before following the tracks of hundreds of other adventure-seekers deeper into the old jail.

Other people are sharing excerpts from their work over at the Absolute Write NaNo Excerpt Blog Chain. Check ’em out πŸ™‚

Sale: Their Closet Existence

Every Day Poets Logo

My poem, “Their Closet Existence” has been accepted for publication at Every Day Poets. This poem was based on a prompt from my 2013 April Poem-a-Day challenge. Because of how I work it took me a long time to get around to revising it, but happily not very long to find it a new home. It’s always a pleasure to be published at Every Day Poets and I will be sure and let everyone know when this piece goes live. πŸ™‚

Weekend Writing

Haunted Hospital, a photograph by Rhonda ParrishDudes. I can’t write on weekends. Seriously. I keep trying and I keep failing.

During the week when I have the house all to myself (well, me and our pets) I’m golden. I can write 1,600 words in half an hour. Zip zip zip. The biggest obstacle there is getting my ass in the chair and keeping myself from being distracted by shiny things. On the weekend though… ugh.

It’s not like it’s Jo or Dani’s fault either. When I tell them I’m going to write they both respect that and don’t interrupt me… but just having them here in the house, that’s all it takes to keep me from being productive. Maybe it’s that they provide too much shiny to resist. Maybe it’s the sound of World of Warcraft being played behind me (or, when Jo uses headphones it’s just the knowledge it’s being played behind me) or maybe that I’d rather be doing stuff with Jo and Dani instead of writing.

Or maybe (and this is really the most likely) they just provide a handy excuse for the procrastination I’m so very good at.

Whatever it is? It’s really not good for my word count.

I’ll make it up starting Tuesday when Jo is back at work and Dani at school, but in the meantime I’m counting 500 words an evening as a victory. Because I can.

NaNoWriMo Friday Excerpts: Week Two

alcatrazIt’s Friday again, and because I’m participating in the Absolute Write NaNo Excerpt Blog Chain that means another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, Hollow Children (which I think I’m going to re-title. Possibly to just ‘Hollow’). This section has a whole whack of issues, but I promised myself I wouldn’t start editing before the first draft was done, so I’m swallowing my ego and sharing it warts and all.

Enjoy.

Running helps. As long as Morgan keeps her eyes straight, her right shoulder to the old prison and focuses all her attention on the sound of her shoes on the sidewalk, running helps.

It’s quiet. The only sounds are her feet hitting the pavement, her breathing loud in her ears and an occasional bird. The sound of traffic is a dull hum in the background but she hasn’t seen a moving vehicle in several minutes while she’s run laps around the four city blocks that contain the decrepit prison. It’s getting late enough that the sky is bruising and the streetlights are coming on, but their light is dim and there’s still more than enough sunlight to see without them.

The leaves are still on the trees but she can smell autumn’s bite in the air. She’s too warmed up from her exertions to feel it though. Her hoodie is tied around her waist and its hem slaps against the back of her knees as she runs.

Her body knows what to do, the movements are automatic and her mind is empty but for the one-two count of her feet on the sidewalk. One-two, one-two, left-right, left-right. She focuses on those numbers like she never does in math class, letting each one grow to fill her mind and push everything else out.

Usually she doesn’t have to count. Usually she just has to run. Usually, but not today. Today she walked in on her mother crying, so if she stops counting, Morgan knows the birdsong around her will be lost in the remembered sounds of twisted metal, screams and shattered glass.

As she rounds the northwest corner of the prison grounds something penetrates the barrier she’s put up around her thoughts. A voice. A very specific voice. Barry’s voice.

“Shit,” she whispers as her eyes flick one way and then the other, trying to discern where it’s coming from. Acoustics are weird around the prison grounds, the old prison and its outbuildings catch them and toss them around like a SOMETHING, and to make things worse the wind has chosen that precise moment to pick up and rattle the leaves in the trees.

The last thing in the world she wants is to have to deal with Barry. Especially f he’s with his friends, and if he isn’t, why would he be talking?

Finally she catches sight of him, he and his friends. They’ve just turned the corner and are walking toward her. That leaves her two choices. She can turn around and run back the way she’s just come from, or she can keep going and hope they leave her alone. She anticipates no joy from either choice. If she runs away they will know she is avoiding them and as soon as they sense any weakness they will be like a shark with chum in the water. History has shown her that. Still, the chances of them ignoring her as she runs straight at them are slim to none.

Well, if you’ve gotta go down, go down fighting.

The novel is going okay. It was really, really fighting me at first, but I feel like it’s developed a little bit of momentum. Which is good, I’m going to need it heading into week two since I don’t have a buffer like I usually do. Also, I haven’t written yet today, so I really ought to get on that…