acceptance!

Julius+Caesar+1

Woke up to a happy email this morning–sold a sword and sorcery story! :)) I love sword and sorcery! I once spent an entire summer reading Fritz Leiber, Ffahrd and the Grey Mouser, Michael Moorcock, Elric of Melnibone, Robert E. Howard, Conan the Barbarian, stories by Clark Ashton Smith, and Lin Carter, didn’t shake the clash of swords, barbarian yells and wizard’s magic out of my head until school started that year. (And oh yes I watch Game of Thrones!) So my story sold to one of my favorite online magazines. Details to come when it’s published.

I’ve been busy writing A Fall of Diamonds. Lots of deleting, revising and restructuring going on, but it’s coming along and will be at least two books, maybe three. I’m trying not to over-complicate the story so I stopped my crazy quilt pantsering and did a beat sheet and a detailed outline. I finished Book One, that is Part One of the first novel, and this week I’m tackling Book Two (Part Two) and trying not to drive myself crazy. I felt a slump coming on so the short story acceptance really made my day.

Trying to stay on target this quarter, although I did let one anthology deadline pass without submitting the story I’d written for it. The story wasn’t good enough. I’ll wrestle with it another day.

Happy writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

falling down, not getting up

waterhouse_destiny.jgp

Abandoning a manuscript always makes me feel guilty, but some stories fall to earth and won’t fly again no matter what. Yet I’ll spend considerable time–months, years–trying to mend a failed manuscript. Because it’s my fault it failed.

A faulty premise is sometimes at the root of a failed story. And I don’t know what to do about it, but I’ll try to do something. I’ll keep working on it, re-visit, re-shape, re-do, never getting anywhere–like to the end. The rainbow remains the color of mud and the pot of gold is full of rot. Ugh!

Then comes the moment when I must decide–leave it and move on or slog through it regardless because there is something to learn from failure. Well yeah, I guess. So far I’ve got 4 failed novels–3 slogged to a finish, 1 sliding down the precipice–and I think I should let them be and kick the guilt demon in its teeth.

Thank the Muse A Fall of Diamonds is not failing. I tossed about 20,000 words on the junk heap and as of today the manuscript stands at 65,874 words and I’m making progress. waterhouse_my_sweet_rose

afternoon, mid-winter

surrealist-art-7

55,575, Possessed. Tuesday was warm and sunny. After writing 638 words on a new scene in Possessed, bringing the Chapter 18 scene to 1,219 words, I took a walk to visit a recently met neighbor, a local artist who grew up on my street and only lives a few blocks from me. She’d invited me to drop by any time. The sunlit street beckoned and I had not been out of the house for days.

My street has old family homes built decades ago, each house different from its neighbor, lots of trees–the neighborhood is carved out of what was once mostly forest and pasture land, paved lanes whiskered with grass wind off into cul de sacs. My street runs straight into town, a less than fifteen-minute walk from my house. Arriving at the dark red bungalow home of my new acquaintance, I stepped up on the porch and rang the bell. Turns out she wasn’t home, but my walk wasn’t for nothing.

Now that the dust from my Great Move has settled, it was time to get a  library card. The Andalusia Public Library, a modern brick building that used to be the post office, sits at the end of my street, couldn’t ask for a more fortuitous location. The library used to be my home away from home in pre-Internet days, and I still like to have a library card. So got my card and did something I hadn’t done in a long time–browsed the fiction shelves, inhaling the scents of pages bound in cloth and cardboard.

I spent a few minutes reading half a dozen pages of Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear, which I’ve never read, and considered checking out. I tucked it in my elbow and wandered the aisle, looking at big-name writers, meeting certain titles like old friends. Coming across Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, I traded Auel for Waugh, the rhythm of Waugh’s prose having left an inspirational impression on my mind from a prior reading, and considering the stack of thick books on my living room lamp table, Auel’s book intimidated me in its length and I decided to let it be for another time. I could tell by the pacing of the prose it would be a slow read and I wasn’t ready for it quite yet. I walked home with Waugh tucked in hand.

On the way home I passed a tree heavy with lovely hanging droops of black berries, its branches flush with glossy green leaves. Don’t know what kind of tree it is but it was striking in its berried splendor, a boon to the many birds in the neighborhood.

I’m gradually getting the measure of place.

disembodied

waterhouse_destiny.jgp54,939 words, Possessed. Thunderstorm last night, the flashing of sheet lightning startled me and Loki more than the sky-cracking thunder. Rained for maybe an hour, then the night quieted. First thing this morning, finished my manuscript review of Runaway Heart and moved onto getting words for Possessed, but only wrote 583, a new 3-page scene, something to build on. I would love to complete the novel by January 31 although I have the whole first quarter of the year to finish it. It will be a mess of course but writing is rewriting.

Finally understood how to structure Runaway Heart, so I’m feeling better about it, but Possessed has priority right now. I’ve set A Fall of Diamonds aside for a bit, but I want to get back to work on it as soon as I can.

I’m doing my best to maintain focus.

 

 

the dull sorrow of reeds

Ohwhat'sthatinthehollow.edwardroberthughes

Struggling my way toward the end of Possessed. Wrote 1,165 words this morning, hope for more in the afternoon. Have a vague sense of how the end goes, but trying not to fall into a hole of mediocrity. The novel right now has many weaknesses, but it is a first draft and I’m determined to finish it, warts, blisters and all. I’ve reached 54,356 words, not sure how long it’ll be. I’m not even sure what kind of book it is–a horror novel crossed with a romance? There’s a ghost and a tragic relationship, but can’t call it a paranormal romance because it’s nothing like what’s published in that sub genre. It is, I think, a dark fantasy, the story goes from a tragic love story to a horror story. It has taken some unexpected turns, a good thing, and I hope to find the end by the end of this month–word by word.

We’ve had some beautifully warm days here in southern Alabama for the past week. Today’s overcast, but it’s a warm 73 degrees outside. I have a short story to go out by month end, received a rejection on another short story last Thursday. Soldiering on.

 

cadavers of thoughts

nightmareocean

 

 

A week ago in the hollow hours before dawn I had a nightmare that I’ve now come to terms with. It was a dreadful nightmare of the sort I had not had in a long while. The night it occurred I could not imagine what brought it on. I was dreaming pleasantly, can’t remember what now, only that it was peaceful. Then the nice dream turned in the way of dreams, flipping me into the icy grip of the restless tide of ocean waves watching a clipper ship sink.

The ceaseless waves were loud, the sea itself roared all around me and I was alone in dark and terrible water, rolling lap upon lap in relentless rhythm. Off to the left something bright red and tentacled hung on the surface, most of it submerged. I was afraid the waves would sweep me toward it and I despaired. When the ship was going down, I’d glimpsed a rim of land some distance away I thought I could possibly swim to, but when I struggled close, the land became no more than a rock, already sinking beneath the wash of waves, disappearing, leaving me with absolutely no hope.

There was nothing but inky ocean and dark sky and me with no hope of rescue. Despair overwhelmed me. I woke up, thank goodness.

I’ve read that the subconscious mind will break you out of nightmare when the terror becomes too great for the mind to bear. That might be true or it might not, but nightmares can be far more vivid than simple dreams and more real. They are the virtual reality of the subconscious.

It was such a strong nightmare I spent the following days obsessing about it, unable to not think about it. I finally recognized it as a reflection of the deep feeling of isolation I’ve had since moving from southern California to rural Alabama. Now that I know what it meant, I can deal with it. loweringsky