Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sorry for the Delay --

-- but my second story, "Ashes", is going to be pushed back.

But then again, I think I'm the only one who reads this blog anyway! :p

I'll keep you updated.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Review!

Okay, I got my first review. I admit it -- I clapped and giggled and bounced around and sprained something. Even the dog looked at me like I was a dork, and considering he's a rather not-to-bright puppy, that's a special kind of censure.

Mood: giddy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wordle Wordle, I love you

Because I love to play with words, and I love pretty pictures, and how is this not awesome?

Wordle: Mermaid+Landsman

I suppose it's very self-involved of me to paste in my own story just to see what came up, but I did, and here's the results. Words that are large were used a lot, versus ones that came up small. I was very surprised that "Sulineis" came up as huge as it did -- my beta reader actually scolded me for not giving the characters names at all, so I had to go back in and insert names. And Sulineis came in so huge, about as big as the word "water" I think.

No, nothing really of import here. Just passing along the goofiness.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sondheim is my Patron Saint, and Thalia my Muse

I'm a funny person. It's not even a matter of thinking I'm funny -- I know I'm funny. I have a great sense of humor. I won't go so far as to say I'm a master of comedic timing (I'm not!) but previous to my career as an old lady, I was a theatre major. I've done comedies. Neil Simon especially. I'm also fond of Shakespeare. Shaw. Moliere. Granted, I've never performed Shakespeare or Shaw or Moliere, even back in high school, but we did our share of comedies. Our drama teacher had a penchant for them.

I started out trying to write a comic piece, after "The Grieving Mermaid" and "Ashes", which were quite dark. And concurrently writing "Worn Soles," which is still percolating along on the hard drive. Since "Soles" was going to be so dark -- again! -- I thought I'd try countering it all with a bit of light comedy. Something about 5,000 words long and funny. Joke's on me, thank you Thalia. That little comic short has hit 8,000 words and no end in sight. I can barely see the half-way mark. And it's got funny bits, but it isn't a comedy. What the hell happened?

And another thing too: I started writing the Fairy Tale Afters as a way to explore what happened after the "happily-ever-after-THE-END!" in fairy tales. Instead, what started out as a passage of backstory has swelled, uncontrollably, to pre-story, and I'm now edging into during-story. What happened to after-story?

I blame my characters. They talk too much. Because it really isn't my fault. Honest. The bastards.

So right now, I'm faced with the choice of:
      (1) stopping what I'm doing and starting all over again,
      (2) finishing what I've got and lopping off huge chunks of it to try to make it a short funny, or
      (3) finishing what I've got and THEN starting all over again.

That last option seems most likely, because I'm kind of fond of the characters and the situation, and I kind of want to see what they'll do. But then I'll have two stories, on nearly the same subject matter and quite possibly the same characters.

This is the part where I cuss and cuss and cuss.

Yeah, comedy tonight, baby.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Smashwords Learning Experiences

Things I have learned when uploading my book to Smashwords

*It's really pretty easy. Just follow their little guide on formatting, and that's a piece of cake -- but then, I'm not putting in all sorts of pictures and diagrams and lists and weird formats . . .

*That little blurb they ask you for? it's shapeless. My blurb that I created for Grieving Mermaid depends on a sense of visual timing that occurs with the proper formatting, as follows:

Once upon a time, a little mermaid fell in love with a landsman prince. Through great trials and tribulations, she traded her voice for legs and went forth to make the prince fall in love with her.

She died.

And her family misses her very much. So much, in fact, that they're willing to make their own dark deal for her life.

A short story of what takes place after the fairy tale.

However, even when entered as above with the lovely little line breaks, the whole text gets compressed into a single little paragraph. Had I known this, I would have altered my blurb.

*Also on the blurb: 400 characters. I didn't know that beforehand. Now I do, and can anticipate for it.

*Again, on the blurb: I recall reading somewhere that the front page is a great place to put a little summary so that people who've bought your book but haven't read it yet can recall what it's about. After all, it isn't as if you can flip the durn thing over and read the back. As a matter of fact, this is frequently done in YA books printed for an American audience: if you look at the copyright page of a YA book, you may find a section on The Library of Congress. In that section, there's a Summary of the book, and I think they tend to be one sentence long? Anyway, I have a copy of Sabriel by Garth Nix close to hand (highly recommended if you haven't read it) and its summary states: "Sabriel, daughter of the Necromancer Abhorsen, must journey into the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead." Succinct, no? and accurate. Just a little refinement to consider.

I'll certainly be keeping all this in mind when I do it all over again later this month!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday, Sweet Monday. The Bastard.

Oh. It's Monday. I've decided that I should post here every Monday and Thursday. The theory behind that is that I'd have all weekend to come up with something to write. And here it is, Monday. Um, didn't write anything bloggy-related over the weekend. Yay?

So, it's Monday, rather like Manic Monday, except it seems that this particular Monday is ubiquitous in its bastardry. I thought it was just me! I suppose I could whine about the litany of how rough my Monday was, starting with having to rescue my roommate from a pack of aggressive dogs, nearly getting into a car accident on the way back. and coming home -- finally! -- to make a pot of coffee, because coffee is the life.

Coffee pot was broken. Lucky I had a French Press; lucky my roommate was able to get a hold of me, lucky that my ride didn't break down, lucky that I was going slow enough around the corner to not hit or get hit by the truck coming down that way . . . So many things that could have gone wrong if one small factor had changed. I mean, really -- if I hadn't had the French Press? I'd've been SCREWED. Seriously -- if I want a decent cup of coffee 'round here, I have to make it myself. It's half an hour to the nearest Starbuck's.

But then I heard about some of the crap my nearest and dearest had to contend with this Monday: A car that didn't start; the news that it isn't pre-eclampsia, but it's the crap that's going around and it's driving her blood pressure up; a myriad of things that make me think about how fortunate I am.

I guess that's why I write fiction. Schadenfreude. Sort of. I have to feel Schadenfreude about something, and it really isn't cool to rejoice in other people's misery, so I have to make up people who are miserable just so I can giggle about it, guilt-free.

Now it's time for me to get back to my coffee -- I got Almond Joy flavored creamer for it, and it requires my attention.

(Okay, now I have to figure out what I'm gonna say on Thursday . . . let's hope it's not as exciting as today was!)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cinderella, Dressed in Moolah

I subscribe to far, far too many blogs/websites/timesuckers in my RSS feed. Sometime I cull them; most of the time I lose time in them. Some of them are what I call "industry-specific" -- blogs I read because they're pertinent to writing and publishing. Some of them are blogs that feed particular areas of interest for me, feeding my soul, so to speak. And then there's kottke, which linked post featured a nifty little video, Vonnegut on the shape of stories.

I loved that last little bit, where he's illustrating that third story type, which we all know and recognize as Cinderella. How many different cultures have a Cinderella story? I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons, and one of those shows that adapts children's books into a TV episode (or two) had one based on a Chinese Cinderella. I remember being very amazed that there was a Chinese version of Cinderella, and thought it was way too cool, and I think that was my first introduction to how related we all are through stories (yes, I have Campbell on my shelf, two feet from me, in my "to-read" pile). But I digress. What I thought was interesting was where Vonnegut says, at one point, it'll make you a million bucks.

He's right. Look at Harry Potter. If that isn't something of a Cinderella story . . . .

Think about it. Kid loses his parents, is orphaned, and ends up a virutal slave to the family he does end up with. Granted, the Dursleys aren't a stepfamily, but I don't think that really mattered to poor Harry, not while he's scrubbing the floor. Granted, he wasn't sleeping in a bed of cinders, but I don't think the Aga has one of those, so off to the cupboard with you.

I suppose I could go on and point out all the corollaries between Harry Potter and Cinderella, but except for pointing out Hagrid as Fairy Godmother (can anyone else see Hagrid singing, "Bippity-Bobbity Boo"?), that's probably not necessary. But I will point out how Ms. Rowling did make a gajillion bucks with that little Cinderella story of hers. So when I watched that Vonnegut video and thought about Rowling and Cinderella, I wondered if I should make a go of writing a Cinderella story. Except I already wrote one, and it's not so much a Cinderella story as it is a story about what happened after the events of "Cinderella". Honestly, I don't think I have an honest-to-goodness Cinderella story in me, so I'll have to make do with "Ashes", which will be out soon.

(Okay, and you know what should have been in the NEWT level exams? transforming mice into thestrals. That would have been awesome.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

"The Grieving Mermaid" is up!

Yay! I have my first story published at Smashwords, and arriving soon at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble!

Here's what the cover looks like:

(purdy cover by Pat Hemmert

 What it's about: mermaids! because "The Little Mermaid" was one of my favorite stories growing up.

Okay, seriously, it's about the hole left in the lives of the people who survive a loved one's death, and how they cope with it. Wow, that sounds like it could be anything, so specifically it's about the hole left in the lives of the survivors of the "Little Mermaid" fairy tale. Not the Disney version. It took me years before I was willing to see the Disney version because I knew she'd survive in the end. Disney's not exactly famous for maudlin endings. Good music, though. Anyway, the two people most impacted by the Little Mermaid's death get to meet, and grief has influenced them in two different ways.

"The Grieving Mermaid" is the first in a series of short stories that explores what happens after the "happily ever after" of fairy tales. Some of the stories examine the fates of the protagonists; others deal with peripheral characters.

 I had a great time writing "The Grieving Mermaid"! And I hope everyone who reads it finds it enjoyable!

My next short story is forthcoming, and should be out in a few weeks, barring the unforseen. "Ashes" deals with the aftermath of the Cinderella fairy tale, specifically with the fates of Cinderella's wicked stepfamily. It really isn't a nice story, but I really like it as a story. I wonder what that says about me as a writer?

ETA: I uploaded it to and they sent me a notification that I forgot to put the author name on it. Doh!