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Explaining the world

I was watching a news piece about the shootings in France on youtube last night and my son wandered over and asked me “Why did they do it?”

That’s a big question, with a bigger answer. I tried to explain it: They drew cartoons criticizing their religion and they didn’t like it. Then my son asked what the cartoons said, and then he had extra questions.

questionmasterMy son is the Question Master. When he focuses on a subject he starts asking about every little thing, and if you let him he will have  you there for a couple hours just answering more questions about the same original subject. He doesn’t understand that it’s frustrating for other people to have to answer 15 MILLION questions about the operation of a stick shift Subaru. (Except for Gregg, he loves Subaru.) Usually once he gets to a certain point I will point him toward Google and say “have at it.”

But this time he wasn’t asking about aerodynamics, or cakes, or tensile strength of a bridge (yes he’s really asked those things. My kids WAY smarter then I am.) This time he was asking about religion, extremism, cultural differences and censorship. Things that are a little tougher to understand. Things that you can’t simply say “this is right and this is wrong.” No, these subjects are more nuanced.

We take for granted this “freedom of speech”, except that it is our right, and then rally against those who would try to silence or control it. At least sometimes.

But not everyone believes in freedom of speech. Not everyone thinks “everything” should be allowed. And I’m not talking about just certain religions or certain cultures. EVERY culture has issues. Even the USA that prides itself on this freedom has groups that ban books, like Harry Potter, or Christian groups that try silencing other groups because they aren’t christian.

When you feel that you belong to a specific group you tend to want to help that group. You might show it by wearing your teams colors on Sunday, or singing a hymn in church. You might wave a banner, or spend a month camping out near Wall Street. And some people take that idea that their group is right and yours is wrong to new heights. Just ask the parents at the last game who started a brawl in the bleachers of their kids school.

How do you explain the world and all its intricacies? Why did they shoot a cartoonist?

We can say it was fear, or pride, or anger… but I think there are some people in this world who hold the idea of being “right” over the idea of life. When a human life is less important then being right then things start happening. Things that sometimes end in deaths.

And I’m not talking about just this incident. Look at any mass shooting, every war, every violent act. Someone believed that they were right, and it was more important then the life they took.

Wikileaks_cantstopsignalI’m not a religious person, and I have anything against anyone who wants to practice a religion. But I do have a problem when your religion infringes on my right to a happy, and healthy life. That includes information. You can’t stop the signal! You can never stop the signal!

Knowledge, science, and progress aren’t going to stop just because someone, or some group are afraid of it. It didn’t stop Galeleo, or Rhazes, or Domagk. If the KGP and Gestapo couldn’t stop it then neither can the NSA or ISIS leaders. We will endure. Knowledge will prevail.

And life will find a way.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in News, On Writing

 

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Writing a Novel

The last year finally paid off. A novel that had been stewing in the back of my mind for the last several years. The novel, Mermaid’s Curse, started out as a simple thing. The name, actually. A cursed mermaid, never allowed to fall in love least she die, and Brother Hawk, a man cursed to be a hawk, and suffer the will of the priesthood who visited inhumane tortures on him for centuries.

I finished the first book of the trilogy today. The last stubborn chapter that kept whispering that it needed to be there, but wouldn’t tell me why it needed to be there until just last week. It is the third novel that I’ve completed. It actually has a few threads in common with the first book I wrote (the one that died in the computer crash.) I subconsciously picked out the best parts of that novel and used it in this one.

With each novel I’ve learned something about myself, and my writing habits. With this particular completion I learned quite a bit more then ever before.

Mermaid’s Curse: Book 1 is just over 50,000 words. It took almost a year to complete. Keep in mind that I started Mermaid’s Curse as a single book and it has since become a trilogy. Book 2 is now just over 50,000 words, as well, and should be about 52,000 words when finished. Book 3 is currently 5000 words of plot. It’s going to be at leas 50-60,000 words when finished. That’s a lot of writing. 50,000 of which was done just last November during NaNoWriMo.

What I learned: 

You can’t force the story sometimes. I had everything finished for Book 1 except for one small chapter. I agonized over that chapter for a while, added a few words, added some notes, deleted them, and wrote some more. But the chapter sucked no matter how I wrote it. Something was missing, and I didn’t know what.

So I skipped ahead, wrote some other chapters, finished whole scenes and gave up on that one chapter. I even tried cutting that chapter out because if it was that horrible and boring it probably didn’t need to be in the book, right? Wrong. Without that chapter linking the rest of the book together the story kind of had an abrupt shift that felt ungainly and… just wrong.

So that chapter sat in the back of my mind for months while I polished off other chapters, rewrote sections, and decided the novel was actually a trilogy. Then one day I was taking a shower and think about another problem chapter and it was like magic. All the pieces slid into themselves.

Oddly enough the pieces fell into place because I started plotting the third book. As I plotted the third book I saw more of the world, saw new characters, and realized what needed to happen at the end of Book 2 to make Book 3 carry on. It was always the end of the books that gave me the most trouble. Once I figured out the end of Book 3 the chapters for Book 2, and that one stubborn chapter from Book 1 just snapped into place. I wrote 2000 words that night just trying to get down all the plot points so I knew what to write the next day.

Really, the thing that did it in the end was just keeping the story in the back of my mind while I went about the rest of my day. Jotting down ideas helped a little, but when it finally snapped into place it had nothing to do with forcing it, and everything to do with just letting it happen naturally.

Scheduling

The next thing I learned was about time. You only have so much. Use it wisely.

I can’t tell you how many times I sat down to the PC and my daughter would suddenly need to use the computer, or my son would need help with homework, or my boyfriend would just need attention. Families take a lot of time and energy, and they are so worth it. But this means that taking those moments you get to write, pouncing on them and using them to your advantage means EVERYTHING. Even the few minutes you have on a car trip to think about the story and come up with a plan to jot down on a note is better then nothing at all.

Finishing

Finishing feels SOOOOOO GOOD. (Yes, read that however you want.)

When I finally completed that chapter that I had been stuck on for a year I was so excited. I almost wanted to dance for joy. I texted four people and told them I’M FINISHED! I was that happy.

Whatever you’re working on, finish it. Doesn’t matter if it’s terrible, if you have to throw it out and start over, or if you just want to burn it in a fire. Finish it. That sense of completion will give you more inspiration and perseverance then all the self help and uplifting posters with kitties hanging in there that you will ever see.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in On Writing

 

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Frustrations

Life has a tendency of getting in the way.

Today was suppose to be an awesome day for writing. My daughter had a “thing” scheduled, and my son had school so I had the house all to myself today. YES! I haven’t had the entire house to myself since last June.

So I drove my daughter to the college for orientation. Then I had to get my car fixed. A water hose busted a few days before so but it only took about an hour to get that all squared away.

Back home, quiet house, and some music.
My kitchens a mess and I need to have maintenance up to fix my stove, lets clean that really quick. 20 minutes.
Couple things to clean up in the living room, but that only took five minutes.
Sit down at the computer. Oh, email. Let’s answer a couple things, and check my messages on G+. 30 min
I open up my scrivener file, and the chapter I was working on last night. Read a few lines. Hear the sound of a light saber as my cell phone goes off.

“I’m bored, can you come get me, mom?”
Sigh.

It’s now noon and she’s been there three hours. I go pick her up.
Take her to the store since we’re already out. We need cat food and kitty litter after all. Finally home. 60 min
We sit down on the couch for a few minutes and watch a little youtube. Another 40 minutes pass.
It’s now time to take her to her therapy session. Take her there, drop her off, come home. 15 min
I sit back down on the couch feeling tired, and drained. The day is more then half over and I’ve done nothing… well… the house is clean.

Another text, she’s ready to come home just 45 min later.

It’s now 4pm. Everyone is home. Say goodbye to the nice quiet house.

It took me a couple hours to finally get settled in front of the PC and actually get a few words out. But it wasn’t easy. This is why I usually write after 10pm. That’s when the kids are in bed, the TV is turned down, or off, and the boyfriend is busying himself with something else.

As I’m writing this, it’s 8pm. Dinner is over, the kids are settling into their own little things, and I finally… maybe… have a chance to go write. Maybe I need a shower first.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Personal Notes

 

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Behind the Scenes

Some days I wish I could just go the traditional route. I mean then someone else gets to do the cover art, formatting, updating all the back matter, and trying to get my book on all of the different platforms. It’s a lot of work. And that isn’t even the editing, which I started paying someone else to do. then there is setting up Gumroad so I can sell direct through my website, and then…. finally…. some writing.

And let’s not forget marketing, social media and… ARRRGGG!!! It’s enough to make me want to pull my hair out sometimes.

I am not a full time writer. I write when I can, which isn’t as often as I’d like sometimes. Some days I struggle to get the words out, or rather good words out, especially like now when I am sick and my brain feels a little fuzzy. (Hint, I write anyway, even when it’s hard.) But I do have work, and children, and now I have to take my daughter to her job every morning. But I still write. I keep at it, keep hacking away until I have something worth while.

So, today I did some editing, reorganizing of some files, updated the back matter in a couple books, experimented with Gumroad, and I did THIS!

thisI thought I needed a little bit of a break from “Mermaid’s Curse” to feel like I accomplished something. And boy did I. I love the way the scarab came out. And I’ve already worked on the plot enough to actually sit down and write it. A short story, maybe I can finish it and have the third book in the series out eventually.

But, “Mermaid’s Curse” is still my priority. I want a full length novel on my wall of books, and it is coming along nicely. Just so, I’m off to finish another chapter in that one before I go work on “The Scarab Necklace” for a bit. Let’s see if switching back and forth (like I use to do) will give me the inspiration I need to actually finish something new.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Updates

 

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Things that didn’t happen

Life is filled with firsts. The first kiss, first time riding a bike, first date, first time driving a car. It’s really easy to see those firsts, look back on them and remember them with joy, and sometimes pain.

As I get older I realize there is another part of life. The things we never did, and can never do. Time has passed us by and there is no longer a chance for those things to happen.

Our culture has grown insistent with the idea that “it’s never too late.” And, in a way, they are right. People get married and have children later in life. People start new careers, get collage degrees, or write novels well into their 50’s. For a lot of people there is still time. But that isn’t the case for everyone.

I will never have a picture perfect family consisting of husband, wife, and 2.5 kids living in a little house with a white picket fence, a dog, and a garden out back. It just isn’t in the cards. I had my marriage, I had my children, and I love my children dearly, but that idea of a picture perfect home just wasn’t in the cards for me. My children will never have the dad that comes home from work, gives them piggy back rides, and rough houses on the floor. My children are starting to move out.

Realizing certain things are out of reach for you isn’t a bad thing. Maybe at first it was a little sad for me, and I tried really hard to make up for it. To make my own version of the perfect little family in my own home. For a time I even found something really close, but it wasn’t to be.

With realization came acceptance. And finally it was time to make new dreams. New goals. New achievements in life that I could complete.

Life isn’t a video game. You can’t reload your previous save and try to complete that achievement again. Life is a story unfolding before you, and sometimes paths will break off, and sometimes they will end. Sometimes they will be so far out of your reach that you never even saw the glimmer of hope to achieve them. That just means it’s time to find a new path. A new goal. And strive for something more.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Commentary

 

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Other People

Sometimes you find some rather profound thoughts while going through the forums. Like today:

 

There’s that thing called something, that’s basically a realization that every person you see on the street lives a life as complex and unique as your own.

Look outside your window. All those moving lights coming from cars, all those lights in apartment buildings, behind every one of them are humans who are just extras in your life, but they all have their friends, families, problems, successes.

In a way it helps me not give a fuck about what people would think about me, because I know I don’t think about every single person I see on the street, and I know they don’t think about me either.

[This song](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4g0kFlS9lM) kinda gets it.

Said by Whydoyouhefftobemad

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own troubles…. in the things we have to live through and deal with, the boring minutia of the day, and we forget to just take a breath and remember that right now.. right now life is pretty amazing, because we have it, and it’s beautiful just to be able to breath, and eat, and sleep, and watch the sun rise, or listen to new music, or read a book.

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Commentary

 

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Sunshine and Roses

Now that “Osiren’s Tears” is at the editors I realized that “Small Bites 1” is also ready to go up. SO! I will have two new books out by the end of the month.

I also have two fellow writers helping me iron out some kinks before I put out my next couple books. And my boyfriend who has been helping me when he can, mostly with encouragement, sometimes with editing and advice.

I went through everything I have ready, or near ready, and I actually have 15 books that I should have out by June! (Including the two already out.)

After such a slow start, and months between books, the fact that I will soon have 15 of them is amazing.

Couple things that helped me get this far:
1. Getting organized.
I literally had hundreds of story ideas, so many it was overwhelming. So I started by pairing it down to “What is a solid, complete, story idea”, then “what is almost finished” and was able to narrow it down to just a couple dozen stories. Much of easier to deal with.

So however your creative side isthe finding expression, narrow it down to what is most important now, finish those, then come back for more.

2. Track Yourself
I loved NaNoWriMo. Watching the little graphs go up as I wrote each day. Having a goal. Competing against friends to see who could finish first.

It took me a month in June of trial and error to finally find a system that worked best for me, but now I have it. It tracks all the important things. Words written, chapters finished, blog posts… everything at a glance with a running tally for each month. And because of it my word count is going up every day.

3. Annoying Friends
I have the guys over at SPP and STP, especially Garrett, that keep writing and publishing thousands of words every month. And I keep thinking… I’m going to catch up to you dang it! And by golly I am going to catch up eventually!

It’s the whole idea behind the competition part of NaNoWriMo. Comparing yourself to other people isn’t always a good thing… but for this I’m making an exception.

4. Don’t be Satisfied with the Status Quo
I want to do better. I want to write more, write better, edit more, and have TONS of books out there. That drive to push myself… in the end it’s really what keeps me at this.

So… GO CREATE SOMETHING! No more excuses.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2013 in On Writing, Updates

 

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