a concert of birdsong

Seeking a way to make aspects of the plot for A Fall of Diamonds work together. The ideas I’ve got are good but the edges are jagged so I can’t get a smooth joining yet I feel they can work together. I found this article inspiring, and the points made me think, https://tinyurl.com/mjrwbma. The first point the writer, Betty Krasnik, makes, “Take the risk and choose the bolder choice, even if it seems there is no way it will work.” certainly applies to what I’ve done already by trapping one of my main characters between a rock and a hard place where he has no control over the rock and the hard place can ruin him. I’m trying to combine that particular idea with another “between rock and hard place” idea. I have a resolution but my resolution throws a monkey wrench into the logic and continuity of the plot and I’m trying to blend the rough, raw edges so that it all works out, but still causes more trouble. My characters are not out of the woods yet.

Spring in southeast Alabama is lovely, dulcet weather, occasional rain, and everything is blooming. Yesterday I did my writing in the backyard beneath the pecan tree. Might do that again today too.

april already!

Today’s the official start of my garden as well as Camp Nano. I’ve been busy, busy all day and I’ve not written word one. Went off to buy plants–Marvin’s is having its Spring Black Friday Sale through the weekend, offering 6-pack veggie plants at 2 for $5.00. Couldn’t miss that plus great deals on garden soil and wood planks, and I needed compost too. I bought heirloom tomatoes, spinach, yellow squash, watermelon, a strawberry plant, and bell peppers. Found a sunny patch near my shed and planted the tomatoes this morning. The potted thyme and oregano have sprouted  and the cantaloupe and arugula need transplanting to the yard so April is going to be a mixed bag of writing and gardening. Yes!

It’s also time for the quarterly progress report, but don’t have it together yet. The month just started and already I’m under the bus. Have to do my April spread bullet journal too.

Spring has turned my backyard into a meadow of all sorts of wild blossoms–lavender bells, little pinks, miniature yellows, and a violet lily that seems to be everywhere–don’t know the names of these various pretties but they are a delight to the eyes.

I was so pooped after planting the tomatoes that gathering one creative word brought on a fainting spell. :)) But I’m rested and ready now so let’s see if anything new happens in the book–A Fall of Diamonds is my Camp Nano project. I’m aiming to write 20,000 words during April. I slashed more than 20,000 words during March, started to rewrite it in first person, went back to third person, apart from having pulled out my hair, I’m okay.

Happy writing!

 

the ghost stone

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My story, The Ghost Stone, is up at swordsandsorcerymagazine.com. It’s my first time appearing in the magazine. For fun, just for this post (not online), I made a cover for the story. I plan to write many more Kamau of the Edanye stories.

Nice way to begin a Monday!

 

 

Starting a new sequence of scenes in A Fall of Diamonds today. I’ve been giving myself the weekends off from the novel so that I don’t become overwhelmed. I’ve done a lot of cutting and redeveloping of the story, but I’m on the right path and I’m excited about what’s to come for my characters.

I was invited to do a guest post at Black Fox Literary Magazine. So nice of them. My flash fiction, Crossing San Antonio, was published in the Summer 2015  edition, Issue 12. I’ve drafted the post and it’s cooling off so I can take a look at it with fresh eyes and tweak it if necessary.

Over the weekend I did some gardening, planting mixed hot peppers behind the pecan tree and lavender near the front steps. Can hardly wait until it’s blooming. It’ll be such a nice fragrance to step out and breathe in when it’s finally in full flower. I’ve got arugula started in a big pot planter at the front steps and I’m going to plant beefsteak tomatoes, cilantro, spinach and lettuce next month. Growing my own vegetables will definitely keep the grocery bill in check. I’m going to get a wood planter box and grow a selection of herbs too–basil, marjoram, rosemary, mint and sage.

Time to get to work!

Happy writing!

acceptance!

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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

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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

the eaves drip

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Rained last night. This morning the grass is damp, the eaves drip, desiccated leaves stick to the soles of my ballet slipper flats. I walked around the yard hoping to spot Loki’s red tag but no luck.

She caught the bracelet collar on something, managed to pull free but it unhooked and her tag fell off somewhere. Luckily I’ve got the tag from her first vaccinations with the National ID number on it so I’ll keep that one secure.

I’m in that empty head state that descends once I’ve finished a major writing endeavor like Nano but I don’t like to drift so last week I did setting development work on A Fall of Diamonds and yesterday I read over the short story I finished in October to see how to improve it.

Alabama’s winter weather shifts every day. Some days are cold, a roustabout wind hisses about the house, some days a thunderstorm shakes us and furious rain beats down, and some days outside is humid, no breeze at all, just warm, still air.

Saturday frost slicked my car’s roof and Tuesday dawned warm and misty. The pecan tree is just about bare of leaves and the squirrels have moved out for the winter.

Today I’m going to run that short story through my mind again. Maybe it doesn’t need much more work, but I’ll see. There are a few things that need doing. It has a January 31st deadline for the anthology so I expect to have it ready to go soon.

I’m planning 2017’s writing agenda. I have two stories out right now and my fingers and toes are crossed. They’re both good pieces. I’ve got a personal essay to submit too but have to go over it, make sure it’s properly polished before winging it to the chosen publication, and in January for sure I’ll be back working seriously on the second draft of  A Fall of Diamonds.

My Christmas gifts are all mailed off, 12 more days–Merry Christmas!