Monthly Archives: January 2015

Chapter Two will be hitting inboxes in a couple of weeks!

Just a reminder that the second chapter in A Marriage of Land and Sea will be going live on February 1st! If you signed up and didn’t receive your first chapter, I hope you’ll let me know. I did switch to a different email account for this, and there were a few (operator caused) snafus in the process. (My apologies!)

If you missed chapter one, it’s not too late! Just send along a request as well as your preferred format with your payment choice, and I’ll send that out to you within 24hrs. Also — and this is for chapter one only at this point — if you’re signing up for chapter two and you’ve got a friend who you think might be interested, send their email and preferred format along and I’ll send them out chapter one, at no cost to you or them! My thanks for your contribution already and, yes, a desire to get my work to more people! (I’ll be honest: currently staring yet another big vet bill in the face, and I don’t like the looks its giving me.)

Spread the word, talk my writing up, get to send a sample chapter to a friend! And, of course, have my gratitude, because you already do.

Writing takes work — writers should be paid.

So, my day job is not exactly a high paying day job. I watch the controversy (?!?) over minimum wage being raised, and over workers being paid living wages (again I say ?!?) and how some assholes think that just because you’re doing a menial job that it’s okay that you work full time and still have to resort to governmental aid to be able to have a roof over your head, have healthcare, and be able to feed yourself and your family. I don’t actually make minimum wage — but I do make less than a dollar more than my state’s minimum wage, at a job I’ve been doing for a decade, and at a place where people have been hired to do the same job I’m doing off the street making a dollar more than me, if not more. I frequently do the “what if” game. What if something happens to Beth? Could I maintain the apartment and the needs of the animals and still feed myself? (the answer? I’d be biking a lot more, because bye bye bus pass, and I’d be eating a lot less, because, you know. Food.) I’d be able to swing it if I was eligible for food assistance. But it would be tight.

Now, imagine we had children instead of cats and a dog. (I’d rather the cats and the dog, but they don’t need as much in the way of food. They don’t need clothing. They don’t need school supplies). This is what I think about when people bitch about people getting paid to do their jobs.

And that brings us to art, to artists and makers and creators and writers. Doing work. Artists and makers and creators and writers are just as important to a healthy, thriving society (oh, wait) health care professionals and teachers and trash collectors and service workers and people who flip your fucking burgers. Basic needs are the same. People need shelter. They need security. They need food.

So, this post? Shouldn’t infuriate, because it’s not a new thing at all, that writers are expected to get paid crap to write. Asking for $11 an hour to live on? Not. Rolling. In. It. Depending on where in the country you are, that’s barely a living wage. Why the hell should any be criticized for asking for that much? People, she wouldn’t be having $11 an hour of profit, of free money. That’s bills and rent/mortgage, that’s groceries and gas and car insurance. It’s people wanting to get paid to do their job. And, you know, you’re not obligated to pay authors or artists whose work you don’t enjoy. That’s fine. I want people who enjoy my writing to read my writing. But, if you are going to enjoy the art of others to the point of owning copies of it, support your artists. Don’t expect to get it for nothing. Not being able to afford it and not* going through authentic channels (like libraries, or used bookstores/not pirating) is utter shit and is, in a nutshell, a good example of what’s wrong with our culture. We lack empathy. We lack a willingness to humanize our fellow humans. We are taught to act as consumers with everything, and we follow as we are taught blindly too much.

Pay your artists, damn it.

edited because oh my gods did I forget a very important ‘not’ there. Libraries rock. Use your libraries. Don’t pirate. Do proof read your posts before hitting post.

Poseidon: a Narrative, excerpt

(in part just to keep this on the frontmost of my back-burners. This editing project is my dangling carrot to get through the trilogy, lemme tell you)

I knew I was being watched as I stood, dripping sea water and shivering in the night. It felt so bizarre, to be in air rather than water. My limbs felt heavy, and my muscles quivered from the effort standing took. My skin was over-sensitive. Maybe that’s why the weight of her regard felt so . . . prickly. I found her standing up the shore, her back pressed to the cliffs, her features cast in darkness. I stood, and I’ll admit, I was confused. The need to leave the watery depths faded like the ghost of a memory now that I was on dry ground, and I wanted to simply turn and dive once more. Why should I leave the ocean that cradled me? Why should I stand upon land, exposed, when I could be submerged, when water could fill my ears, my mouth, my nose with its low sounds and briny taste? In my time below I’d known stillness, I’d known calm, I’d known solitude the likes of which I’d never experienced before. What care did I have in this world?

Still, I stood, waiting. Something held me in place. Perhaps it was as simple a thing as her regard. Unlike with Hekate, this woman felt . . . akin to me, in some way. We had yet to exchange greetings; I could barely see her, but there was something about her that Meliboea lacked, something that Hekate could never hope to match, something familiar and compelling. Something that held me still while she approached.

The shadows slid from around her like veils, parting in her advance as though they were clouds and she was the sun whose luminescence could not be contained. The very night seemed to rearrange itself so that it was an adornment for her, rather than the atmosphere around us. Vision was not a problem – by the time she paused in her advance I could see her clearly. Plant life clung to her form in a riot of greens, yellows, blues, and golds. Moss framed her face and provided a second layer of covering beneath the vines and flowers that created the embroidery. She wore moss, lichen, and plants around her as though they were fabric. More plants twined through her hair. I saw eyes peeking out from under her locks that did not belong to her, but she did not seem bothered by them.

“The ocean suits you,” she said in lieu of a greeting.

Her voice. I closed my eyes to savor the sound of her voice, the power in her voice, the promise . . .

I hadn’t intended to kneel. My knees hit the sand, and I fell forward, awash in . . . I still, still have no words for what I experienced. Around us the whole world went still. I knew the solitude that I’d experienced in the seas for the lie it was, the quiet, the peace – they were nothing compared to what she could provide. Everything ceased to be, ceased to matter, as I knelt before this woman dressed in earth.

First weekend of 2015 — 9k words!

While it’s true that I still have to go through the earlier chapters of A Marriage of Land and Sea to polish them up, I can say with confidence that as of today I have seven chapters written in this book. My goals, as I’ve talked about elsewhere, is to finish this trilogy up by the end of June, to get back to the edits on Poseidon: A Narrative, and to get a few more stories written. Those of you who’ve signed up to get A Marriage of Land and Sea via the subscription service will receive the second and third books at no charge — because, damn, do I appreciate you.

I’m excited, because this weekend was my first weekend implementing my plotting and chapter mapping, an idea that I came across in 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron. Oh, I’d already sat down and figured out where I needed to go with the whole series — the end goal, the signpost stops along the way, the overarching plot along with the individual, building the story up as we go plots of each book. I even figured out my typical chapter word count range (4k-5k), figured out how many chapters the book would have, and outlined what needed to happen in each one, for the first book, to keep the pace going. Much of Rachel’s advice was stuff I’d heard before, though I’ve been clinging to the idea that I am a Pantser, not a Plotter, all these years. And, yeah, maybe I am, but I’ve said again and again and again that I want to increase my output — so, maybe that had to change.

What really floored me in Aaron’s book — which should really be so obvious — was the idea of sitting down during each writing session and planning what your goals are for that specific session. In any other job, this would be your work list. Your tasks for the day. Why wouldn’t I do that when writing? Why would I sit staring at a blank page without any idea of what I need to accomplish beyond some vague notion? Why would I be willing to write thousands upon thousands of words, only to realize at the end of it all that they were all of them utterly wrong? There’s this idea that there is not such thing as wasted writing — I’ve said this mantra time and again over the years. It’s true, in that sitting and writing hones your skill as a writer, and in that having  the dedication and discipline to park your arse in the chair and write is never wasted, no matter the wordage you end up with. But, it’s also wrong — or, at this point in my life it’s wrong for meI work full time, I write part time, and I have another part time job besides that. I cannot give my time to words that aren’t going stick if I want to increase my output beyond the story subscriptions.

Er. I digress. The point is, this weekend was the first weekend that I was producing new material, rather than getting chapters two and four straightened out. It was the first time that I sat down, spend fifteen minutes jotting down what needed to happen where, and going along that list. It wasn’t perfect — chapter six came out of nowhere once I realized I needed to fix my pacing and give Roern another pov chapter before what I had planned as chapter six could take place. So, yesterday I sat down with a surprise! chapter, and did I take the time to plan that out? Did I take advantage of my new day off home alone to fly through writing?

Ha! HA I tell you!

I managed just over 2k yesterday. Frustrated, I went to bed, then mapped out the rest of surprise!chapter six. I finished it off (it’s awesome!!), mapped out chapter 7, and wrote it. It’s taken me all day, so I’m still slower than I’d like to be (I started around 11:30 today, and it’s 5:10 as I write this, which clocks me at just under 1k an hour. I want faster than that, but not at the quality’s sake) My hands are killing me, so I’m stopping. But, I’m pleased with this week’s work, with the result of taking the time to sit down and figure out before I start where I want the writing to go.

I think I’m going to like plotting out chapters.

Neech the Anti-Muse does not approve of the Plotter method. He will use his powers of Chaotic Neutral to thwart your progress.

Neech the Anti-Muse does not approve of the Plotter method. He will use his powers of Chaotic Neutral to thwart your progress.