Saturday, December 31, 2011

This is When I'm Full of Excuses

This post has been in the works for an entire month. I was full of excuses then and, as you can imagine, I'm still full of it. I intended to post of November 30th as a nice gesture to round off a rather rough NaNo, but I ran out of time. Besides, I had labeled my defeat far too well: the demise of this year's NaNo ambitions was nothing if not ignominious.

Shortly after November ended I had the harrowing experience of having some of my work reviewed anonymously by my fellow literary magazine staff members. Ouch. I will never own up to some of those entries. The discouragement put me off of fiction writing for probably a solid day and then I got over it.

It did, however, give me the impression that I should only spend time on writing projects that would produce impressive, sophisticated, earth-shattering results. While I remained under than impression, I turned out absolutely nothing. Then I realized I probably won't ever write anything earth-shattering and I decided to stop worrying about it.

Now I'm headed back to school tomorrow for a semester crammed full, but I've decided not to analyze my work before it's finished otherwise I'll never get anything anywhere near finished. I think I'm going to abandon my six novels/year plan in favor of returning to some of my most frustrating projects. Namely, the projects that I was obsessed with while I was working on them and have since given up and now detest. I don't know how long I'll last, and I may have to kill off a couple characters just to keep myself sane, but I have three days on the road and I've nothing else to do so I'm done being a boarding house for excuses.

New Projects:
  • Iron Shoes, last year's abandoned NaNo.
  • Clocker, this year's less than successful brainchild.
  • And, last but not least hated, the untitled story of Avonelle and Byron which I've been working on since 2008.

So, hedgehog people, clockwork people, and wolf people--oh my! I'd best get rocking and rolling.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is When I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is. Not.

Yes, it's true. I have written exactly no words in Clocker since my last post. I'm not sure what gives exactly, but I just realized that it's 11:30 on the 29th of November and there's no way I'm going to make it anywhere of import in my novel. It's kind of a bummer, not going to lie.

I'm not sure why, but I have had trouble feeling any sort of urgency about anything lately. This has causes problems because I'm a crisis manager--no crisis means I don't feel like I have to do anything. Trust me, I'm investigating the issue and intend to resolve it ASAP. I'm not a fan of being unproductive.

Not that I have been. Looking back (at the last couple days mostly) I have been surprisingly productive--I completed all but one of my Thanksgiving break homework assignments and I'm currently helping to found a club, not to mention functioning as Senate secretary and keeping up with all the homework that's been assigned since break--I just don't feel it. Wow, I'm such a whiner sometimes. I apologize. Life has actually been brilliant lately, I'm just disoriented with nothing concrete to worry about. It's wigging me out.

The good news is that I'm not stressed out about finals yet, Christmas is on its merry way and I can't wait to go home (though I don't feel anxious about that yet either). Tomorrow I'm going to make one last effort to get my word count over 15,000 (because anything less would be ignominious), but until then I'm just going to play Christmas music and not think about it.

Blog Christmas by Reilly Powell on Grooveshark

Monday, November 28, 2011

This is When I Put My Foot in My Mouth. Or Try To.

I tried to put my foot in my mouth, I really did, but I'm not that flexible.

Guess I should have knocked on wood harder. Or removed myself to a nunnery until NaNo was over. Or resigned myself to F's so long as my manuscript got done. As you can see over on the right hand side of the page I added a word count to make myself more accountable . . . Let me tell you right now, there is no way I'm finishing 38,728 words in two days. What a shock, huh?

The new goal, which may be just as out of reach, is 25,000 words. Except that's 4,000+ words every day this month so we'll see. Luckily for all involved, I have only a few weeks left of this semester and I left December project free. I'm going to attempt to finish last year's NaNo, Iron Shoes, put some serious effort into finishing Clocker and reevaluating my 6 novels/year plan and revamping or reorganizing it. Super excited.

Until then, I have finals coming up and no more wiggle room. I'm going to be cutting things close, but hopefully I'll finish the semester with my grades and health looking no worse for wear.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This is a Real, Honest-to-Goodness Glimmer of Hope

Two days in a row actually fulfilling my word count, what? And I am becoming more attached to this tale every day. I keep forecasting that someone will get kidnapped, but I'm having too much fun developing my main character's home life for that to happen yet.

No excerpt today as nothing thrilling happened, but tomorrow our heroine will venture into an open animal market and may (though I won't confirm anything) try to purchase a harpy. Yeah, this story has half-women, half-vulture creatures too. But, honestly, what did you expect when I said circus animals? Surely you didn't think I'd stick to lions, tigers and bears?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This is When I Wing It

Yesterday I was on sick leave, but I actually got 1,701 words typed out today (and it's not even 11PM!). Unfortunately, my handy NaNo stats inform me that at this rate I will finish on December 21 . . . Guess I should pick up the pace slightly.

I'm proud of myself (today at least), though I'm not so sure how I feel about my tale. I guess I don't do as well with friendly characters as I do with enemies, but today we were introduced to three different people who actually carry some importance in our heroine's life.

Oh, and there was finally some foreshadowing. Hallelujah. Unplanned foreshadowing, but it's better than none.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is When Everything is Outta Whack

You know how yesterday I thought I was going to have tons of time to NaNo today? It didn't turn out to be that much--even with an extra hour! I actually didn't get any writing done and, as you might guess, I am rapidly falling behind. I have come up with two possible options:

  1. I give up NaNo this month and work really hard between semesters and over the summer to get novels done. A rather depressing prospect if I say so myself. Or,
  2. I set aside a specific amount of time every day (say one to two hours) and write like crazy without letting that crazy bleed into the rest of my life and take over. Sounds like a better option . . . until I think about everything else that needs one to two hours allotted to it.
I haven't yet decided, but I'm definitely leaning toward option 2. I would much rather do option 2, however, if things stay as hectic as they have been so far this November, I may very well have to resort to option 1. Dun dun dun.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This is When I Knock on Wood

Today was good (insert knocking on wood here). I was not as productive as I have hoped and I have to double my word count (5,404) to get back on track tomorrow (goal-10,002), but it's Sunday so I should have time, it will just come down to the effort I put in.

I repeat, however, that today was good. There was a cage fight, a near-death experience, and (finally) an end to Chapter One.

Excerpt from the cage fight included below, as promised:

The snake-dragon had yet to take flight. Most of its sinuous body was still coiled along the far edge of the cage and its flicking tongue and venomous fangs could not quite reach her. Hink yelled, cracking the whip right before the beast’s snout, hoping that she would appear to be enough of a difficulty that the snake-dragon would not try eating her.

Then, before she could draw the whip back, it struck. The snake-dragon uncoiled in an instantaneous motion, throwing itself into the air. Tiny skin pockets along its sides rippled, functioning as wings as it darted at her. Hink tried to step back and get out of range, but she was trapped against the cage bars.

She saw the beast’s forked tongue before she threw her whip arm up to protect her head. The mainlanders cried out in surprise as one of the snake-dragon’s fangs pierced Hink’s hand, slicing straight through her palm.

Hink cried out, her hand lit on fire. She pulled down, trying to slip the fang from her flesh and get away before the venom paralyzed her, leaving her body at the mercy of the snake-dragon’s appetite.

She yanked convulsively, her whip dropping from her fingers and thudding to the cage’s wooden floor. The snake-dragon hissed, its hot breath enveloping her body in a cloud. The beast shook its head, irritated by the restraint of being attached to Hink by its mouth.

Hink hissed in return, hoping that the beast would respond to the basic calls of its kind—the cry of a young, vulnerable snake-dragon or hiss used to call off an attack—but the serpent did not seem to hear the noises. It shook its hooded head, throwing Hink to the cage’s floor. The forked tongue flipped in and out, curving like a heated leather whip around Hink’s face, scraping like sandpaper.

She hissed at the animal, its bitter-tasting saliva splashing into her mouth. It threw her into the air, her entire body weight hanging on the impaled fang. Hink felt as though she were drowning as the salvia dripped into her eyes and filled her nose and mouth. She hissed desperately, hoping to sound authoritative enough that the snake-dragon would pause in its thrashing.

Her vision blurred, blocked by the snake-dragon’s saliva. She blinked rapidly, but her mind was moving more slowly, dulled by the venom coursing through her system. Through the blazing pain in her hand, Hink felt the fang loosen with the snake-dragon’s head tossing. It slammed her to the wooden floor; the fang finally slid out of her hand.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This is When I Get Back on the Horse

Yay, celebrate, I actually got a reasonable word count in today and my muse has returned (hopefully for a more prolonged stay this time), however, I did not get back on the NaNo horse early enough in the day to write the almost 4,000 words required to catch up. Blah.

Today's final word count: 3,895. Word count for tomorrow: 8,335. Yes, I have to more than double what I have written so far to get back on track tomorrow, but I'm on a roll and I think if I don't make it I will at least get close. You see, our heroine is in a potentially lethal situation, which I will not reveal at this time, with her back literally up against the wall and the adrenaline is running high. Things are going to get rough and I'm stoked.

OK, I can't deny anyone this information--I'm just too excited! Hink is currently trapped in a cage with a 12-foot, venomous, flying snake-dragon that is supposed to be sedated and is not. Did I mention she is armed only with a whip? Yeah, it's about to go down in the snake-dragon cage. I promise to share the action--expect an excerpt tomorrow.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is When My Muse Decides to be as Useful as a Lead Balloon

Due to some unforeseeable circumstances, I ended up staying up until 4:30AM yesterday/this morning. And, I think due to that unfortunate turn of events, my muse has deserted me. She didn't even leave a note or any spare ideas. Of course, there are also several other possible explanations such as being busier than any 19-year-old has any business being or not making a novel outline BEFORE NaNo. Regardless, I am in desperate need of some sleep and without any inspiration so I'm making the difficult and absolutely irresponsible decision to call it a night with only 2,911 words out of 5,001.

Yes, that means being responsible for a whopping 3,357 words tomorrow, but it also means approaching that ridiculous amount of work with a solid night's sleep under my belt. I'd give you an excerpt, but nothing spectacular has come our heroine's way tonight.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This is When I Realize You Can't Make a Silk Purse out of an Hour and a Half

Today was my first Senate meeting as Secretary and the sheer logistics required for meeting preparation left me with no time before the meeting to work with and, as you can see from the time stamp on this entry, very little time after.

To be on track I needed to hit 3,334 words today. I made 2,707. However, I did create a working(ish) Senate agenda on incredibly short notice, finalize a newspaper article, and breeze through a Child and Adolescent Development Exam. With those accomplishments in mind, I'm going to try not to feel completely desolate about already being behind so early in the game.

That confession made, today was an eventful day for our heroine. A total of four characters who drive her totally crazy were introduced and she resisted the inexplicable urge to bite them. Here's a little taster of her interaction with her coworker, Brangen:

Brangen was sitting in front of the werekid cage, staring in at them. They were curled up together, sleeping peaceably, so there was at least that to be thankful for. Brangen’s blond head bobbed as if to a rhythm that only he could hear, his thin curls bounced dejectedly with the disinterested movement. Hink could not fathom what Antin had seen in the kid.

Brangen began rubbing his cheek against the cage bars, staring in at the sleeping werekids. Hink’s skin prickled unpleasantly. Werekids were cuddly enough, but she would never have allowed her face that near their clawed hands and sharp, short teeth, even while they were sleeping.

“Brangen,” she barked.

The teenager hardly reacted, turning slowly to face her, still leaning his shoulders against the cage bars, but the werekids woke. The weregirl jumped in front of her sleepy-eyed companion, snarling at Hink. She seemed to realize that Brangen was no threat to her or her new friend, but perhaps that was not because Brangen came off as harmless, but rather that she recognized Hink as female and, therefore, a challenge to her ownership of the wereboy.

“Get up, Brangen, she’ll take your face off.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This is an Historic Event

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to my NaNoWriMo novel for 2011 (sans real synopsis, but with an extra 10 words to its name):


Sky pirates. Kidnapped bride. Clockwork people. Circus animals. Flying contraptions (heavy steampunk influence). Cigar smoke and steam. Giant golden eagles and anti-romantically romantic romance. And BIG guns.

(Please note, Clocker is a working title and it, like essentially everything else in this introduction, is subject to change.)

Exciting, no? If you've read any of my upcoming projects you will notice that I have combined two separate ideas (sky brigands and clockwork people). We'll see how well that actually works. If you know me personally you may also recognize a slight correlation between the way clockers (clockwork or partially clockwork people) are presented and the way cyborgs (mechanical or partially mechanical people) are presented in one of my favorite Disney movies (no, I won't tell you which one--guess). And, because I really am super stoked for this project, here is a little excerpt (the first approximately 500 words of today's word count):

It was late afternoon, low tide. The jetsam that had drifted over from the mainland to beach itself on Hanwood’s shores stank. Steaming beneath the late summer sun the cloth wrappings of kilstca bales, the bodies of illegal exotic pets probably dropped in the water when the Land Rangers passed by and left to drown, and contraband literature written on parchment made from animal hide gave off a stench worse than when the cemetery had flooded, bringing cadavers floating up to the surface of the water.

But Hanwood always stank. If it was not the beach refuse decaying in the heat, it was the great black chimneys belching yellow and gray smoke as they burned heaven only knew what in an effort to heat storefronts or the fumes drifting up from the cracked open street-level windows of kilstca dens. Most of the island’s residents had lived with the seasonally shifting odors of Hanwood for long enough that they could ignore it; only the mainland tourists even noticed the reek of decay rising from every aspect of the tiny islet.

Hink walked down to the beach on her midday break, regretting that the break had not come until it was nearly evening. She loved to walk the broken, littered strand and stare across the channel at the mainland and listen to the whir of the tram lines above her, the light reflecting off the water so brilliant that it turned everything white and gold. But the sun had sunk too far to scald the crests of the channel waves so Hink sucked on the stump of a cigar and observed the debris of the beach beneath her feet.

She remembered venturing down to the shoreline as a child and playing in the cold, salt water waves. Taking in a deep drag of her cigar, which smelled almost as repellant as the beach itself, she wondered why she did not remember any of the children who must have come with her.

They had probably been orphans and island-born like the children she passed on the street in the morning—so covered in filth they had hardly and need to wear clothing and one could only guess at what they actually looked like. But she could not remember and of their names or faces.

Clamping the end of her cigar between her teeth, sucking cold air into her mouth around it, she bent to gingerly turn over a long, narrow wood frame. The sea water had warped the image in the frame, bubbling and crumpling paper, but Hink could see a pretty woman with dark hair, too dark to be a native mainlander, and a heavy upper lip, perhaps made heavier by the portrait’s sea journey. Hink scoffed in her throat. The portrait was probably of some Land Ranger’s son’s immigrant lover. Forbidden and so entrancing and then forgotten. The mainlander had probably dumped her into the sea along with the portrait and any other evidence of the affair.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

This is the Party Getting Started

You will have noticed that I have done absolutely nothing with Reah. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I hope to get back to her soon, but now an even more intimidating project is looming. National Novel Writing Month (NaNo and/or NaNoWriMo) is here and I am determined to participate despite my literature and creative writing classes, newspaper and literary magazine submissions which will be due during November, and my (brand spanking new) Senate secretary responsibilities. I'm determined.

Last year I participated in NaNo for the first time and completed about 65,000 words in my novel Iron Shoes (which, unfortunately, is still not complete) and I loved it. It helped organize my life and got me motivated so I'm hoping it will do that for me again (granted, this November it is a much larger task).

That being said, I am nowhere near prepared for to crank out my next novel. I don't have an outline, or even a summary. Or a title. That's my goal for my allotted 1667 words today-get this party started.

Here's what I do have: Sky pirates. Kidnapped bride. Circus animals. Flying contraptions (heavy steampunk influence). Cigar smoke and steam. Also giant golden eagles and anti-romantically romantic romance. And BIG guns.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This is the Long and Short of It

Here's the long of it:

Joseph Conrad said that "writing in English is like throwing mud at the wall." Of course, he thought that because his native language was Polish . . . That aside, right now I totally agree with him. As you may or may not have noticed, I have written exactly 953 words of Reah in the first two weeks of its existence. And I wrote those on the first day.

In case you have wondered or are currently wondering, no, that wasn't part of the plan and, yeah, I'm pretty ashamed of myself. I have a few good reasons for why this occurred though:

  1. I am currently taking two British Literature classes (hence the Conrad quotation) and a Creative Writing class. Believe me, I have been writing (and reading too), just not in Reah.
  2. This semester I'm working as a writer for the school newspaper. The paper is published every other week and, being the overachiever that I am, I signed up to do two articles for the first publication. Like I said, I really have been writing.
  3. My homework load is much much heavier this semester than I anticipated. I have two classes which, as 100 level classes, I expected to be fairly straight forward and neither of them are. Due to that wonderful surprise, I was forced to drop a class. And a lot of my time is delegated just to keeping up with my homework.
  4. I found out that I will not be able to graduate until December of next year which means that I will not be able to apply for my Master's Program until Fall 2013 (as they only take fall applications). This has cut down on my motivation substantially.
  5. I had intended to use Sundays as my catch up days, but this semester, in order to give the Sabbath the reverence I feel it requires, I have decided not to use the Internet on Sundays. I'm also not doing homework on Sunday, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.
However, justified as these reasons are, I don't think they excuse my negligence of this project. This project is a very important step for me to take toward my future goals. Regardless of the fact that my academic "next step" has been postponed a year, I'll still need to turn in a manuscript as part of my application. Now I just have more time to work the kinks out of it.

Here's the short of it:

No, I haven't been doing very well on this project so far. Yes, I'm going to work on it. No, you shouldn't expect me to suddenly be back on track. No, I don't expect to get right back on track. Yes, I will finish Chapter One very soon if I have my way.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This is an Hour Late and 194 Words Short

This beginning was not as simple as I had hoped it would be. However, that being said, I'm trying to keep the fact that this is a voluntary and flexible enterprise at the forefront of my mind. Some stuff came up tonight that prevented me from penning the last almost 200 words and even though nothing ever made my NaNo work a day late, I am a lot busier now than I was in November. I'm just going to keep reminding myself of that . . .

Anyway, without further ado, here is the first installment of Reah:

A heavy rain had fallen for endless days, an extension of the rain season which had lasted longer than any in memory. The woods, soil, even the rocks were saturated with rainwater. The animals insignificant enough to go unnoticed and undisturbed on goblin land – thrushes, grouse, squirrels – spoke in hushed chirrups about their small lives; the fledgling that had yet to leave the nest and what they could do for the next night’s supper though all the nuts and seeds were going rotten under the steady rain. Their little voices were tinny in the woods’ hollow spaces where they had tucked themselves and their offspring away, safe from the rain.

In a somewhat bigger hollow than those inhabited by any rodent or bird, a many-layered cave worn deep into the side of an ancient stone hillock by generations of sweeping brooms, a goblin dame was having contractions. She was well-prepared for the coming child; it was her first, an event she had spent her entire life in preparation to complete. The dame had swept the cave floor smooth, made up a whelp-sized cradle, and set aside swaddling for the whelp infant when it arrived. She even had cloths ready to clean up after the mess of birth.

The dame could hear the soft echoes of animal families, hidden out of sight beyond the sheeting rain, and for a moment she feared being alone, despite her hulking bull mate who reclined in a corner of the cave, dozing and awaiting the new whelp’s cries to awaken him. But a moment was all she was allowed and the next another wave of pain tingled through her body.

The pain of her contractions was greater than the dame had ever anticipated while seated before her dame-mother or dame-grandmother while they spoke of the torment of birth pains. Such proclamations had always been followed by a lecture on how it was the great duty of goblin dames to bear whelps stronger than their father so as to aid the goblin race. As a gangling, the dame had always focused on the purpose of childbearing and rearing, never feeling the slightest concern for the discomfort it would include. In her moments of fiery agony, far from her dame-mother’s instruction, she wished that she had paid closer attention to the details of distracting oneself from pain and the formulas for time-tested poultices that could stave it off.

The dame knew the pain would end after the child came, that was not her fear, but she kept glancing at her mate in his corner, tucked away like so many of the smaller creatures and snoring lightly. If she were to release a cry, to make any noise at all, she might waken him and by alerting him to her anguish, bring down his scorn on her own head. Goblin dames were not to feel pain; they could only make their offspring weaker that way, instilling in them the same cowardice. So the dame dug her serrated upper teeth deep into her lip when the next pain came, but she carried on with her preparations, never pausing.

Nothing paused for the whelp’s birth. The bull’s snoring continued unaltered as she emerged from her dame-mother’s womb and took a breath to scream. Her dame-mother’s pace as the dame felt the end near and moved nearer the cradle faltered, but never stopped. The dame breathed easier as she reached between her own legs to catch the whelp, cupping the tiny, fragile head in the hollow of her palm. The whelp screamed, wailing as cave air flowed into her lungs, but the dame continued at her pace, severing the cord that bound them together and laying the whelp infant in the cradle. Then she retrieved the extra cloths to clean the blood and afterbirth from the floor. Above all, the dame was relieved that her mate still slept; it would not do to have him see the cave that had been passed from his bull-great-grandfather in such disarray. Outside, it rained steadily, the chatter of lesser woodland things carrying just well enough for the whelp’s sharp ears to pick them up above the ceaseless patterning.

It was, in fact, several minutes after the dame had taken her from the cradle and begun suckling the whelp to quiet her down that the bull awoke. He snorted mightily, rising from his perch with a creak of his bones. The dame did not look up. She felt possessive of the still half-slimy creature in her arms, with its loud sucking and smacking, and refused to give any indication that she had noticed her mate. The moment she saw him and he knew that she had, she would be expected to surrender her new possession. The dame tightened her grip on the little thing, making it squirm, though not causing enough discomfort for it to stop feeding.

The bull stood over them. He blocked the lamplight, and the dame could hear his breathing, still rough from sleep. Still she did not look up. The bull extended a claw; she saw it out of the corner of her eye. He paused a moment. When the dame did not move to respond to his nonverbal command, he grunted.

“Give it here,”

The dame shied away, holding the whelp infant close to her breast and baring her teeth with a snarl.

“I’m holding it.” The blood pockets created when she bit her lip in pain overflowed down her chin.

The bull glared.

The dame’s mouth relaxed; she looked away. What her dame-mother would have said if she had seen such a display of attachment. It was well within her rights to refuse her mate, but never for such a sentimental reason.

Monday, August 22, 2011

This is Long Story Short

Today I got a somewhat spammy warning about the nature of the site where the vast majority of my online writing was posted: WEbook. After some thought (and a reading of the site's Terms of Use) I have decided to delete my account. The grand deleting will take place on September 3o, 2011. Until then, my profile is host only to my reasons for termination (So, if you are curious, look there).

As of today, this blog is the only legal place to access my writing. However, this does not change the fact that I will only be posting excerpts of my work. I have decided that it is simply wiser all around not to expose my work to potential thieves and/or borrowers. If you read an excerpt and would like to see more, please feel free to message me personally. I reserve the right to refuse manuscripts to anyone, but I'm not as mean as I look so do feel free to ask.

Please also note that this means a change in my tabs and link list, though not one you need to be concerned about. The only major difference is that now only the first chapter of The Plague Master will be available through its tab.

Monday, August 1, 2011

This is the Tip of the Reah Iceberg. Reader, Iceberg. Iceberg, Reader.

A little introduction to my September/October project, Reah:

Living among the men responsible for her family's murder, forced to act as one of them, an orphaned goblin girl must play her part or risk her life and the existence of her species.

Goblin dames are built to be strong. It is their duty to raise bulls worthy of taking their father's place and dames capable of bearing and raising their own bulls to do the same. Reah has been trained from the moment she fell from her mother's womb in preparation for just that, but no training and no instinct can tell her how to survive after she witnesses the brutal murder of her parents.

Her training contained nothing on human politics or tricks to play from tender human sympathies. She never learned disguises and melting into the fabric of her surroundings. Her father gave her no ancient wisdom on how to live in the same house with a human man without losing her connection to the woodland. Her mother did not teach her how to bear delicate, slow-witted half-human boys and raise them up to be stronger than their father. And no one can tell her the right thing to do when her inexplicable attachment to her human host's son threatens to reveal her for exactly what she is.

The inspiration for this story came from three main sources:
  1. The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy by Clare B. Dunkle - This incredible folklore-based trilogy of books presents a take on goblins that I had never considered before. Her personal brand of goblin is both fearsome and sympathetic. Her prose is lovely and her characters unique and wonderful. In the middle of the series I began thinking about the possibilities that were opened up when you wrote goblins that way.
  2. I recently met a little girl whose features totally captured me. I've never had a person's physical appearance strike me the way hers did - it was spooky. I kept trying to fit her in as a character in something. I knew that she had to be a magical creature, probably attached to the woods, but her features were a little too masculine for a fairy or elf. When I stumbled on the thought of making her a goblin character, it just fit.
  3. I went through a phase of extreme fascination with the Salem Witch Trials. I love the setting provided. It's not just the tiny, provincial town, but also the feeling of standing in the doorway of an all-wood home and feeling like your entire life is burning down and that it's likely to take the very walls down with it.
What follows are some basic character sketches. Let me emphasize the word "basic". I don't always do sketches, but Reah is very much a visual character. The second sketch down is probably the most accurate representation of how I see her, but it's not perfect which is why the other pictures have been provided for reference. The last two sketches depict some very general characteristics of my personal brand of goblin.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

This is the Whole Enchilada. Seriously.

First, an update on re-formatting. You may notice that there are a bunch of beautiful new tabs in a neat row along the top of this blog as well as a nice little list of links in the right sidebar beneath my muse. If you haven't noticed them yet, feel free to take a moment and look them up and down. I am hoping they will make navigation through this blog and its attached projects a bit simpler. Here's a list of what they do and why they're special:

Home - You are here. This is where posts like this one are filed and you'll find the most recent updates.

Upcoming Projects - This tab contains a tentative list of, you guessed it, my upcoming projects.

Companion Project - This links directly to this blog's twin. I won't be able to put the entirety of each individual novel on this blog, only excerpts, however, all (or almost all) of them will appear in this WEbook project.

Muses - This tab is an archive of things that inspire me. As the quotation in the sidebar changes, the removed quotation will appear beneath this tab. I am also compiling a playlist of writing music which will take up residence here as well.

Current Project - Right now this tab links directly to my WEbook project The Plague Master because that is the project which is my highest priority at the moment. As that changes, the tab will link to whatever project takes its place.

And basically everything that isn't included directly in those tabs is present in the sidebar linklist - my NaNo profile, my 2010 NaNo project, my WEbook profile, etc.

Second, something to look forward to: I've decided to introduce a project the month before I officially begin work on it which means you may expect and introduction to Reah on August first. These introductions will include a tagline and synopsis (such as you would find on a dust jacket) as well as any notes I have on the origins of the idea and/or any character or setting sketches I have done in preparation for the project.

And finally, I have to thank my mom really quickly. I know that she likes blogs that showcase crafters and creatives, but I really appreciate her taking the time to follow mine as well as recommending it to all her friends. Thank you for your support, Mom. I know I don't usually seem to be grateful for it, or to even like it, but I really am. Thanks for all you do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This is Me Going Whole Hog

So I've resisted all social networks except Facebook, WEbook and YouTube (which I don't think counts anyway) up to this point. I'm not sure why exactly . . . Maybe because I feel technology-illiterate some days. Maybe because I'm pretty sure my life isn't interesting enough to sustain more than one website at a time. Maybe because I got some sort of self-righteous satisfaction from believing that I didn't believe I was interesting enough to sustain multiple websites. Who knows, really?

But I really want this blog to get a little attention. The point is to produce some work that I can really be proud of, that I can really submit with the label "My Best Work" attached to it, and for that I need feedback (or at least encouragement). So, with that goal in mind, I have created a Twitter account to serve this blog/me/my WEbook AND I added a little "Follow" button under my "About Me" which I think means I have more than fulfilled my technology quota for the day.

The Twitter account will (should) be useful for anyone who wants to be notified about what's coming up and what's been served up. So if that applies to you, you'd best get yourself over to Twitter because the first Tweet is up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This is Where I Toot My Own Horn

Here's the deal: I'm currently working on my Bachelor's Degree in English with a minor in Creative Writing and hopefully I'll be finishing within a year to a year and a half. That means - fanfare, please - I need to start looking into Master's Programs. Holy scary, no?

So I started looking into Creative Writing Master's Programs and happened upon the Iowa Writer's Workshop (cue link: The Workshop is exactly what I want out of my Master's Degree - I mean, coming out at the end of two years with a novel-thesis that is polished and publishable, plus being qualified to teach Creative Writing at a university level (aka, the ideal job for a person, such as myself, who is working on a PhD. and whose final goal is teaching English at a university).

The issue I've run into is that I don't have a manuscript that I feel comfortable applying to University of Iowa with. I've written a lot of short pieces, but I feel that my only current manuscript which meets the length required for the application process is not quite up to par. That thought is what prompted this novel idea of mine.

I participated in NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated) for the first time last November. The goal with NaNo is to complete a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. My novel (my longest manuscript to date) was 65,000+ words on November 30th. From that experience I know that I have the drive and ability to churn out word count.

Thus, I have decided to give my best effort toward turning out as many manuscripts as possible in the next year in order to give myself the best opportunity to produce a novel worth submitting to the Iowa Writer's Workshop. As NaNo is the most strenuous schedule for this process and I will be taking 18 credits during the upcoming semester (including two English Literature classes and a Creative Writing course), I have decided to allot two months to each project. As novels are generally 50,000-100,000 words apiece which means I'll be writing approximately 834 to 1667 words a day. This blog will serve the purpose of keeping anyone who would like to be updated updated. I will post sections of the novels on this blog, but they will be available in their entirety at

All this craziness will begin on September 1, 2011. Until then, updates will consist of work on completing two of my current projects, found here: and my NaNo,

If you're interesting in keeping up, keeping tabs, or just poking around, my next six tentative novel projects are outlined on the "upcoming projects" page (tab at the top). You can also follow this blog by clicking through the "join this site" link at the bottom of the right hand sidebar or, if you don't have a blogger account, you can email subscribe using the box at the top of the right sidebar.

There, I've done my tooting, now I guess I had better get to writing.