Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Plan

So when it comes to this blog, I'm not being nearly as productive as I'd hoped. My posts seem to be few and far between. I am determined to fix that. One way or another, I am going to start posting to this blog on a regular basis.

For now, I'm going to try to make themed blog posts five days a week. So far this is what I've come up with
Monday Musing
Teaser Tuesday
Writer Wednesday
Friday Five
Sunday Shorts

For the past several years some friends and I have a standing lunch date where we de-evolove from mature human beings and return to high school. For some reason these lunch dates always trigger at least one random thought that I spend a considerable part of the week musing over. I'm going to post the results on Monday evenings, hence the Monday musing

I've already been an infrequent participant in Teaser Tuesday so that shouldn't need any explanation.

Writer Wednesday is going to be a day when I write about anything and everything, provided that it is somehow connected to writing. With a lot of luck, I'll eventually be posting about my own adventures towards publication, but that might just be wishful thinking.

Friday Five is simply going to be five random thoughts about whatever seems important at the time I'm composing the thought.

Short Sunday is making me a little nervous. I'm going to attempt to post a short story, something completely unrelated to my novels on Sunday. I don't know how good the bits are going to be, nor do I know if they will make any sense, but I'm going to try.

Hopefully having a plan will be all the incentive I need to actually use this blog.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Yikes, I knew it had been a while since I've posted a Teaser Tuesday, but I didn't realize it had been a month and a half. Today, well tonight, seems like a good time to get back into the habit.

This is another excerpt from Dwarfed. To clarify, DWARFED is a YA, coming of age novel (which keeps trying to turn into a romance, despite my best attempts to dissuade it). This particular scene is one that I finished writing this morning. I've read through it a few times, but I am sure there are errors that I've missed. I apologize.

Any and all comments, criticisms, and critiques are welcome and appreciated. Oh yeah, I couldn't decide, when someone is listening to a voice in their head, is it considered dialog or thoughts?


I hit the ground with a teeth cracking thud. A second later my shoulders slammed into the concrete, followed by my skull.

Lying there, the damp steadily seeping into my clothing and a headache thumping against my temples, I closed my eyes, blocking the tears. Suddenly everything seemed like to much to bear. How had I come to this? A little over a month ago, my life had been perfect. I got along with my parents, I had great friends, and I was making lots of money while working a job I loved.

It was like my life was one giant sweater with a loose strand My parent's decision to go to Asia was the equivalent of pulling on that strand and now everything was unraveling.

I sank my teeth into my lower lip, trying to stop its trembling.

“Stop it!“ a voice inside my head snarled. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. So what if things have changed, and your life isn't going exactly how you thought it would, that isn't any reason for you to loose it. Maybe things aren't going the way you thought they would, but so what. What is the big deal? Unexpected change leads people down some pretty amazing roads, causes them to experience things that otherwise might have eluded them otherwise. You're Grace Sullivan, court jester. Isn't part of being a successful court jester always being able to see the silver lining?“

Sniffing, I tried to think of a reasonable counter argument. It wasn't easy. The voice inside my head intimidated me. Closing my eyes, I breathed through my nose. Dampness seeped from the floor and into my clothing. Ignoring the discomfort, I quickly sorted through memories of the past few weeks. Images of Willow, Maggie, Caleb, and the rest of my new friends flashed against the back of my eyelids.

I sighed, the voice had a point, not everything about moving to Michigan had been bad. Lots of good things had come out of the move. My palms suddenly started to burn and sting, reminding me of my current situation and that not everything about living in Michigan had been a bowl of sunshine either.

“So what,“ the voice snapped impatiently. Clearly it wasn't going to let me have the upper hand, not even for a second. “Life isn't supposed to be easy. Life is all about overcoming obstacles, dealing with adversity, and using challenges to become a better, a stronger, person.“

I really hate it when the voices inside me head see things more clearly than me.
The voice sensed victory. “You're supposed to be sensible, witty, and smart. Now act like it and stop feeling sorry for yourself“.

Lifting my chin, I tugged on my metamorphic bootstraps. The voice was right. I could handle this. As long as I kept my wits, I could handle anything.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks offering. I'm hoping to be a more regular teaser Tuesday participant.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dear Frankie

A tumble from a horse I'm starting left me sore and just a little cranky. The biggest problem is that I somehow managed to jam my right shoulder and my left pinkie. (I also bruised both knees which is the real mystery). If the injuries weren't on both sides, they wouldn't be a big deal, but they since they are I'm finding that writing is challenging. I'm typing sans left pinkie (which is only marginally challenging). The bigger problem is that I can't seem to find any position that doesn't put strain on my poor shoulder.

Since the last thing I want to do is create more problems, I've resigned myself to watching movies, a lot of movies.

Something, a sense of foreshadowing, must have been lurking, because not only did my instructor have a bag of movies ready to go, but I'd also rearranged my Netflix queue so that I actually got a couple of movies I've been wanting to see but putting off.

Now I wish I hadn't delayed. One of the movies I just watched is a cute little movie called Dear Frankie. I think it has just become my new motivational movie. I'm the first to admit that the movie isn't the greatest I've ever seen. It certainly isn't my new favorite movie, but there is something about it that whispered to the writer in me. Not only is it a lovely story about the love between a parent and a child, but for the romantics out there, there is a small hint of romance. Most people would probably complain about the ending, which simply stops, but for me it worked. It isn't the type of ending that leaves you with the sense that the world is at peace, but rather the type of ending that lets the viewer know that the story is far from over. The next time I find myself in the position of starting a new project and not having a single idea of where to begin, I think I might use the ending of Dear Frankie to springboard a free writing session and see where the words take me.

To me, the most intriguing part of the movie was the character who was simply called the stranger. Gerard Butler played this character and if I didn't already admire Mr. Butler, this movie would have made it happen. He did an amazing job. Best of all his character was a writers dream. Throughout the movie you have no idea what his motivation is, what he would be doing if he weren't hanging out with a little boy, or even what his future holds. It is the type of character that allows the viewer to dream.

If you haven't watched this movie yet, you should. It really is a sweet little movie that is full of hope and love.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Changing my Standards

Until last night, I thought I could write about anything. Even topics that I find offensive, I can usually spin in such a way that I am content that I haven't offended my personal moral standing. I also thought I would try anything once. Now I can say I've changed my stance. There are some foods that not only will I not try, I won't even write about. Chocolate covered insects, no problem.
Some of the eggy treats that are popular on islands not going to happen, ever. Head cheese, it wouldn't be my first choice, but I'm not completely saying no, fermented fish paste, never. By the way, that fermented fish paste is the extent of my disgusting food writing, anything more disturbing than that, I won't write about it, I don't care if I am getting paid.

My new aversion to certain foods was triggered by two pages of web content I was hired to write last night. The project was to write about the World's Most Bizarre Foods. I did some research, gagged for a while, and then wrote the paper. When I turned it into the client I let them know about my new found limits and told them if they wanted content about the more disturbing foods, they were going to have to find a new writer.

In the end, the foods I wrote about were

1.Escargot-Not only have I tried this, but I actually like it.

2.Jelled blood-I can barely stand the sight of blood, so this was tricky. I only included it because I was able to tie it into the whole Twilight craze. The only problem was I couldn't figure out what it is served with. Does the host just plop a jelly mold of blood on the table and every one digs in, or does it get served with something.

3.Birds Nest Soup-The first time I ever heard about this expensive delicacy was while watching an episode of Bones, so now I'm constantly thinking of it as bird spit soup. Also I keep stumbling across information about the harvesting of swiftlet nests. Even though the idea of making a meal of bird's nest seems ridiculous, someday I might just try it. Of course since its really expensive, a kilogram of swiflets nest can cost $2000+ it will probably be awhile before my budget lets that happen.

4.Head Cheese-I'm not in a hurry to try this, there are other foods I'd rather eat, but maybe someday. I do seem to be becoming bolder as I age.

5.Fermented Fish Paste-Yuck, gross, unsanitary. I'm pretty sure I would rather starve before eating this.

6.Fufu-this was my vegan contribution. Personally, I think this West African dish, which is made out of potatoes and yams actually sounds kind of good.

7.Fugu-This falls into the category of why would anyone even think about eating this. The Fugu (Puffer) fish is toxic. It naturally produces tetraditoxin which is a very lethal poison. On badly prepared fugu fish will kill a human. I've looked up tetraditoxin, it's a horrible way to die. Before eating fugu, check and make sure that the sushi chef is very experienced with Fugu. On a less scarey note, there has been a great deal of success developing a non-toxic pufferfish, at least no one has died after eating this hybred.

What about the rest of you writers out there, are there any topics you refuse to write about?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

As always any and all comments, thoughts, criticisms, and critiques are welcome. Also, thanks for stopping by and checking out this weeks selection for Teaser Tuesday. Oh yeah, for since it might make a difference DWARFED is a YA,contemporary fiction, work-in-progress.

I was so focused on getting back to the farm house, I didn't notice the guy moving towards me with long strides until I literally ran right into him.

Bouncing off the guy, I fell back, landing on my butt.

”Sorry,” the word fell out of my mouth more out of habit than any real sense of contrition. I didn't really care about the person I'd just run into. Since I was the one who'd ended up on my butt, I figured I couldn't have done much damage to him. I was more concerned about Adelaide. Looking down, I scanned her, searching for new injuries. She looked exactly the same as she did when I first found her. Blowing out a relieved sigh, I glanced at the person I'd bounced off of. ”I was in a hurry. I guess I didn't see you.”

Bending,the guy wrapped an enormous hand around my elbow and tugging me to my feet. ”Are you okay?”

”I'm fine.” I stepped sideways to step past him. The guy quickly blocked my maneuver and placed a hand on my shoulder, his long fingers gently but firmly cupping the joint.

I jerked my shoulder from his grasp. ”Excuse me.”

”Who are you and what are you doing with that duck?”

”I'm Grace.” I shifted my arms, showing him my battered duck. “This is Adelaide.”

The guy's hazel eyes widened. ”Your Grace? As in Ray Bob's niece Grace? Wow! You, you're, well I guess your not quite what I imagined.”

I floated an eyebrow. ”Why, because I don't have Etna's eye patch or Ray Bob's Roman nose?”

The guy slowly shook his head. ”Nobody told me that you're a midget.”

Narrowing my eyes, I glared up at him. There was no way I was going to let this particular insult slide.

I spoke slowly, carefully enunciating every word. ”Do I look like a small, blood sucking fly?”

A look of pure confusion crossed his face. ”What are you talking about?”

I kept my gaze locked firmly on his hazel eyes. ”A tiny fly, do I look like a tiny fly?”

”Um, no.”

I was a little surprised at how satisfied the guys obviously growing discomfort. Normally I hated making people nervous or uncomfortable, but today simply knowing I had the upper hand, even over such a superficial comment. Today the knowledge that I had the power to make him squirm thrilled me. ”So why did you call me a midget?”

The guy looked totally befuddled. ”But you are,” he sucked in a deep breath. ”You are a midget.”

I rolled my eyes. ”I just got done explaining that a midget is a small fly. I am a human being.”

”I know you're human, but you're a ...” He waved a hand at me, indicating my stature. ” You're also a ...”

I glared up at him, daring him to say it.

”... short.”

”If you absolutely must use a word to describe me, stick to dwarf or little person. Midget is an offensive term. Munchkin isn't any better.”

A wide grin slowly spread across the guys face. The movement was stiff, like he didn't smile very often and the muscles were atrophied. ”You're defiantly related to Etna, you inherited her sass.”

There were a lot of I words I would use to describe Etna, but sass was not one.

The guy extended his right hand towards me. I slipped my much smaller hand into his. His calloused skin scrapped and caught at my softer skin. It was a pleasant sensation.

“I'm Caleb Searc. I work for your aunts and uncle.”

”You're a farmer?” Caleb didn't look at all like what I'd assumed a farmers looked like. His too long hair was the exact same color as newly minted gold. The way it curled would be feminine but for the fact that the guys face was heavily boned, with high cheek bones and an arrogant mouth that made me wonder if his ancestors hadn't been a part of the Roman army. His lips were full and oddly sensual, the kind of lips I imagined Chaucer had. His nose was crooked and a bump on the bridge made me think that it had been broken at least once, maybe even two or three times. His long fingers reminded me of a guitar player. A stained ash gray t-shirt clung to the guys pectoral muscles and torn black jeans rode low on his slender hips. Caleb looked like the typical all-American boy.

”Now you look surprised. Do
I want to know why, or are you just going to start yelling at me again.”

My braid brushed back and forth across my back as I slowly shook my head. ”I thought that farmers wore overalls, always had a piece of hay in their teeth, and had huge beer guts.”

”I guess we've both learned something tonight.”

I nodded, ”it looks that way.”

Caleb didn't answer, he just stared down at me. His face and eyes completely devoid of all emotion. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. Being stared at by Caleb wasn't an unpleasant sensation, but it was ... strange, like nothing I'd never experienced before. Before I could stop myself, I reached up and touched my hair, checking to make sure it was laying flat against my skull.

I needed to do something to get things back on track. I glanced at the duck in my arms. ”If you work here, you must know where I can find a veterinarian. Adelaide is hurt.”

Bending, Caleb lightly touched a deep gash on the side of Adelaide's neck. ”You should take her to Maggie.”

”Aunt Maggie? Why?” Even though she called the farm home. Maggie was always so well groomed and put together that I couldn't imagine her spending anytime with the animals.

”She use to be a nurse. It's not the same thing as a vet but she's still pretty good at shots and stitches.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

It's another from DWARFED.

I watched the truck slow as it approached the mouth of the Cheseboro driveway. Several large butterflies beat their wings against my stomach as the truck slowed. “Don't turn,“ I murmured under my breath, “keep going.“ If there really was a higher power, surely they would take pity on me and have the truck continue down the road.

All of my hopes and prayers died as the truck swung onto the long driveway. Cheer up Grace, I silently told myself. There is no reason to assume that the truck is for you. This is a working farm, they probably get visitors all the time.

“If you keep scrunching your face up like that, you're going to get horribly wrinkled.”

The words made me jump. Maggie had been so engrossed dead heading the large hanging pot of flowers, I hadn't realized she was paying any attention to me at all.

”What are you so worried about?”

I pointed to the truck.

“Is that Caleb?”

Maggie glanced down the driveway at the cloud of dust following in the truck's wake. “It's certainly Caleb's truck.” She looked at her watch. “He's right on time.”

I stared at her while my stomach dropped to the floor. This had to be some cruel cosmic joke.

Maggie arched a well groomed eyebrow. “What's wrong?“

I stared at her. “What's wrong!“ I waved a hand at the approaching truck. “What's wrong!“ With each word my voice rose to a higher pitch. I could feel sweat beading on my upper lip. “There's no way I can go to school in that truck. That's what's wrong.“

Maggie head tilted and her eyebrows knitted together. “I don't understand. It's just a truck.“

Just a truck! That was like saying that the Black Beard was just a pirate, that Goliath was just a giant, or that Michaelangelo was just another artist. By itself the blue and white Ford 250 was an impressive vehicle. But for some insane reason, Caleb had opted to install a huge lift kit to the underside of the truck.

I backed up several steps. “You're going to have to give me a ride, there's no way I can go to school in that thing.“

“Why not? I know that Caleb is an excellent mechanic and a careful driver. You'll be perfectly safe.“

“It has a lift kit.“ The biggest lift kit I'd ever seen outside of a monster truck rally.

“I know it does.“ Maggie's lips curved into a soft smile and her eyes got a weired dreamy expression. ”I've always liked Caleb's truck. They didn't have lift kits when I was growing up, I wish they would have. One of these days I need to talk him into giving me a ride somewhere.”

I felt my jaw drop. Maggie wanted a ride in a truck that could easily crush every other vehicle it encountered! The wish didn't seem appropriate for a woman of nearly eighty years old.

I didn't have time to wonder about my great-aunt's strange, inappropriate fantasies. I had bigger problems to deal with.

Maggie poked her head into the house. “Etna!” she bellowed. I couldn't believe the windows didn't rattle in their frames. “Etna! Get out of the bathroom! Grace is getting ready to go to school!”

I heard Etna bellow a reply but I couldn't make out the words, but Maggie must have. It only took her a second to bellow her reply.“ 'cause she's your niece and this is a big day!”

Turning, Maggie placed a hand on my shoulder. Together we watched Caleb slam on the brakes, halting the truck with less than an inch of space between the front bumper and the porch.

It didn't seem possible, but up close the truck looked even bigger.

Maggie squeezed my shoulder. ”Tires that big aren't practical but they sure do look like they would be lots of fun. Caleb is eighteen years old, he's entitled to some fun.”

”How am I suppose to get into the thing? The tires are taller than me.”

The driver side door opened and Caleb dropped to the ground. He landed softly on the balls of his feet. He looked at me, his hazel eyes were clear and bright. ”You ready?”

My fingers tightened on the straps of my brand new pink and gray backpack. ”Um, I really don't think that this is going to work out. I, I'm very sorry but I really think I'm going to have to come up with an alternative solution.

Caleb's eyebrows rose. ”An alternative solution? You actually talk like that?”

I stared at him. "What's wrong with the way I talk?"