Living Musically: Prepare Ye

D: What, pray tell, are we preparing for?

A: . . . um, May Day? Beltane?

D: Really? Because I’m pretty certain that Prepare Ye the way of the Lord has nothing to do with Beltane.

A: Not even if we’re going to Sing About Love?

D: . . . Still not going with it. In theory, perhaps. But in function? No.

A: Killjoy. Okay, then we are preparing to edit the now-completed first draft of the Changelings sequel, The Coming Storm.

D: Preparing to edit? Preparing?! What have you been doing all week, then?

A: Well, I put the two narratives together, but after that, I decided I really ought to play candy crush. And clean out my email folders. And then I did a fair bit of staring off into space lamenting the death of my iPod.

D: Overlooking your gross negligence, allow me to extend my deepest sympathy. Would you like a moment of silence?

A: Nice, D. Silence is the problem. There’s been altogether too much silence. And stop mocking me.

D (Hides grin) But you’re not music-less. You’ve been playing the same bloody dirge—

A: It’s not a dirge, it’s a drumming song.

D: . . .

A: Okay, so when it and it’s fellows are on repeat it may sound a bit dirge-ish.  I can’t help it. Florence and her machines, The Hobbit and Godspell are the only decent things on my backup Nano. Well, that and Christmas music. While I do love me a good Adeste Fidelis

D: Oh boy, do you ever – how many copies of that song do you have?

A: 10. What’s your point?

D: You only need 1, A.

A: In that, you are gravely mistaken.

D: So, is doing something about this musical wasteland one of the things for which you must ‘prepare?’

A: Yup. I’m taking steps (Yes, we are participating in Building Rome over at Green Embers. Check it out). The first of which is to quit my whining and take the Christmas music off the Nano. It’s cold enough out there without me singing Jingle Bells.

D: Can you stop linking people to the Christmas music?!

A: What? It’s what came on this week – which was really rather a kick to the head.

D: Oh boy. Is that your only goal for the week?

A: No – you can stop tapping your foot at me, Druid. I’m going to see if I can’t hit the half-way mark on editing The Coming Storm.

D: And . . .?

A: You just can’t let it be, can you?

D: Nope.

A: Fine – there’s also some research I need to do – mostly radio control room protocol in WW2, and herbal remedies used in the Highlands of Scotland in the mid 1700s. If anyone knows anything about either of those, and would be pleased as punch to let me pick their brain, drop me a line in comments!

D: You make that sound so appealing. . . you are essentially offering to turn into a zombie in exchange for information.

A: Well, that is how editing makes me feel, so however picturesque my cliché there was, it works.

D: . . .

A: Okay, so I have another goal, and that’s to write a review of About Time for Green Embers Recommends, and catch up on my favorite Bayou chronicle over at Helena’s.

D: Lovely. Now, may I suggest a little less conversation and some more action on your part?

A: I don’t think that means what you want it to mean, D.

D: I let you use “Let it Be.”

A: Point taken.

D: And so?

A: And so, we shall bid the blog a fond adieu for the evening – thank you so much for reading & have a great night!

I wanna rock!

A: I need the music loud and big tonight!

D: How about some panpipes? I have a lovely set somewhere over–

A: No, D – not any of your bard-y fireside music. I need big – it needs to be heard over a body of water – music.

D: Ah, pipes, then?

A: And drums.

D: Um, A. . . are we going to war?

A: War? Silly Druid, wars are for politicians. No, we are celebrating. You and TC are in charge of the music and probably the singing too, since I can’t carry a tune.

D: What are we celebrating – and what are you bringing to this hootenanny?

A: Me, of course!

D: Now you’re just being obscure.

A: Says the Druid. First, I’m bringing me to the hootenanny, and possibly potato chips and dip. Second, my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo has been validated.

D: How many words?

53,728

D: And the book?

A: Congratulate me first.

D: . . .That’s stupendous, A. Way to go.

A: With sincerity, and possibly enthusiasm, if you can manage it.

D: I never doubted you for a moment, A.

A: That’s better. The book is well on its way. They’re in 1745, they’re realizing that perhaps they were sent there for a reason, and Bonnie Prince Charlie is about to call the clans. All in all, good times. Word vomit, but good times.

D: I’m proud of you A.

A: Thanks, D. Me too!

D: Okay, that was nice. Get back to work, woman.

A: What about my hootenanny?

D: Don’t you watch TV? That always ends with crazy masks and zombies.

A: Right. How could I forget? No more Netflix for you, D.

A’s Telling the Tale Tonight, Baby!
IMG_0305

Ralph and the cat

The Creative Writing Challenge continues at the Community Storyboard. Today’s prompt: Pick an object in your room, and write a story. I have sleep (or lack thereof) on the brain with “Bed Head.” For the best story that popped up at the Community Storyboard, check out Ionia’s, “Polly wants a what?” Hands down my favorite of the day.

Also, huge congratulations are in order to Charles and Briana – thank *you* for letting us be a part of your respective book promotions. It was a lot of fun. Wishing you both a ridiculous amount of success!

Finally, here’s a little something from Part 3 of The Book, i.e. something I salvaged from the word vomit:

Silence.

It beat at her. Tiny movements bombarded her. Breathing hurt her ears, so complete was the absence of noise.

Maureen opened her eyes, slowly acknowledging that this was no dream – no nightmare to be avoided by deeper dreaming.

Nothing met her gaze. The darkness absolute. Her shriek rose from deep within her gut.

“Sean!”

Phoning it in

D: I can’t believe you’re typing this on your phone.

A: I know – watch out for autocorrect fails.

D: Auto-what? A it’s bad enough you didn’t listen to your intuition and do this at lunch. Must you add insult to injury?

A: Yes?

Anyway, this is supposed to be my first-of-the-month, Rome Construction Crew Update. I think, in light of the fact that I’m posting this in 3G, those updates and goals for the month shall be brief.

D: Can you actually manage brief?

A: With you? Not bloody likely! If you could refrain–

D: From being me?

A: I’d consider it a favor.

D: I suppose, under the circumstances–

A: Cheers, D. So, progress:

  • Part 2, first draft, is complete, as is the first read-through. I have some structural edits to make, but it’s decent.
  • Also have an outline for part 3 and wrote the first 500 words… The outline is on my google drive, and thus unavailable to me, but im pretty sure I haven’t trashed it.

D: Yet.

A: D!!

D: Sorry.

A: No you’re not.

D: Who’s wasting 3G bandwidth now??

A: You don’t even know what that is – but good point.

  • On a personal note, I’m doing better at the whole low-sugar, grain-free thing (paleo/primal), and resurrected my exercise regime. Weight is, for now, steady – higher, but steady.
  • Garden is in and flourishing. Late spring / early summer sucked weather-wise, but the potatoes are practically gleeful.

D: Can potatoes even be–

A: (Glare)

D: Right – oh look, a blue box.

A: Madman.

  • Finally, I’m waiting for the Part 1 beta readers’ feedback, but I think each “Book” in the Out of Time (working title) series, will a self-contained series. It feels more appropriate to Book 1 anyway, and means interesting things for Books 2 & 3.

Goals for July

  • Signed up for the July Camp (insert abbreviation jumble that means I’m writing 50k words in a month here). That will take care of Parts 2 and 3. 2013-Participant-Lantern-Circle-Badge
  • Develop and prep food/recipe cleanup project, which I hope to debut by month-end. D will not feature.
  • Start researching potential agents/markets. After much research, I know I haven’t the personal resources to self-publish in a way that would please my hidden perfectionist soul. Or impress enough people to at least make it pay for itself.
  • Complete my beta reading assignment – it has a deadline, so it’s a given (gotta have a few of those, right?!).
  • Set up all the delightful guest posts for my two-week child-free writing hermitage. All of you are fantastic. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
  • Read a book – preferably a frivolous, delightful book. I’m open to suggestions.
  • Also, I’m thinking of adding something along the lines of “The Story So Far” to this blog. It would be a road-map/synopsis of where I am in the Out of Time/Sean & Maureen journey and would introduce the players and the events a little better to give D and I a bit more context.

D:Make people feel a bit more welcome, perhaps? Help them understand the crazy universe that you reference willy-nilly as though we all had access to your head?

A: Says the character in my head.

D: Precisely. Are you done yet?

A: One more! I want to outline one longer piece of fiction and write two other short pieces that aren’t related to the Out of Time universe, and submit a piece I’ve been working on for the RCC.

D: Always have to have the last word, hm?

A: I learned from the Master, D.

Final last word (I promise): The time may be nigh (ok, in a year or so) for an adventure. If you could go anywhere, if things like Visas and Passports weren’t an issue, where would you go? How long would you stay? What would you do?

Ordeal by headache

A: Migraine, migraine, go away, and please don’t come another day.

D: You call that poetry, A?

A: Nothing I do is poetry, D – I’m bad at it on a good day, and today is not that day.

D: I tremble to ask if you did anything of worth this day?

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A: Watched the BBC’s new-to-me Agatha Christie’s Marple – which, overall, isn’t bad if I haven’t read the book they’re “re-imaging.” If I have, or if I’ve already watched a version of the story and it included Francesca Annis and James Warwick, then it’s bad beyond measure.

D: I think you should stick to your fictional British spies on days like today – you’re running a risk on that one, A. What about your goals?

A: (Whimper) Ask me again tomorrow – tomorrow is the 1st, i.e. official update day. Let’s just say that round 1 of editing for Part 2 (which may now be Book 2) is complete.

D: Well done, A.

A: . . .

D: I do know when to walk softly.

A: Occasionally. I also put a flash fiction piece up for the Electric Purple Prompt on the Community Storyboard. It’s called A Fairy’s Kiss. And, I’m working on a modern counterpoint to the love letters post I did a few weeks ago.

D: I’m just going to keep walking softly here, A.

A: Smart Druid.

Dame Christie Fan? Thoughts on the new(ish) Marple? Aren’t Tommy and Tuppence — I mean Francesca Annis and James Warwick the best, ever?! 

Celebrate good times

Sean thought he understood. Maureen – proud, fearless and free – had been captive to a crazed, driven man. She’d been unharmed, but alone and afraid in the dark. Now, she was bareheaded in the sun, a pistol at her hip, fighting back. Nothing he could say would ever change her mind, but he couldn’t participate.

“You know if you do this, the army will round you up with the rest of them – if you aren’t killed first.”

“No, I’ll get out before they do.”

“Where will you go? Jenny’s won’t be safe.”

“No, but other places will be, Sean. What about you?”

She was saying goodbye.

“I’m getting out, Maureen. I can’t stay here – I doubt I’d be welcome at Jenny’s anyway. The army is going to lock this city down and I don’t want to be trapped here when they do. I’ll telegraph Gerry when I get to Kildare, see if he can put me up for a bit. I’ll wait for you there.”

Maureen didn’t say anything to that, she just nodded and slipped her arms around him for a quick hug. And then she was gone, her message – her mission – clutched in her hand.

D: What does that have to do with celebrating, or good times?

A: Nothing, I just liked it.

D: I see . . . then what are we celebrating, exactly?

A: 100 follows for the blog, 98 of which are not related to me.

D: And the tweeting twitter bird, how many on there?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A: 125, and only 2 of those know me from the outside world. Plus, we’ve been doing this pretty regularly for two months now.

D: And you haven’t stopped writing in six months. That’s a record for you, A.  I might have to do an epic poem in your honor. In the original Pict, of course.

A: And I haven’t killed you yet, which is remarkable, all things considered.

D: I admire your restraint.

A: You should. I started this whole thing as a way to productively procrastinate, and begin learning and developing a platform for the book. I think that goal is doing pretty well – it’s a perpetual goal, of course, but I’m happy with the progress. It’s also Father’s Day – for a whole two hours yet here – so I wan’ted to send out Father’s Day greetings to all the Dads, Step-Dads, Grand-Dads, Moms-who-are-Dads: everyone. Even you get in on that love-fest, D.

D: How so, A? I was more the child’s sire, not the man who reared him. Circumstances.

A: Still, I think eventually you did well by him – or at least his many-times-great grandson.

D: That is a spoiler, A.

A: Indeed it is, but Happy Father’s Day, anyway, D. Now, if you–

D: Not so fast, A – speaking of goals?

A: Outline part 3. Add some pages to the blog and acknowledge some award nominations. Oh, and drag out the treadmill. We declared a truce over my birthday weekend, but it’s time to enter the fray again, I’m afraid.

D: Is there a war against the treadmill of which I am not aware?

A: No, the war is against my sagging–

D: I’m sorry I asked; I don’t want to know this. Go to bed, A – it’s well past time!

A: Cheers, D!

The Druid Tells the Tale

D: Head over to that virtual marketplace (the wonders of this modern world) and buy Charles’ book, Beginnings of a Hero, now for .99 cents.  It is a suitably epic read.

A: In honor of Father’s Day, I present to you a riff on the role of women in Star Wars: The Smurfette of Star Wars.

D: You have odd ideas about tributes, A.

A: I know, but it was funny and thought-provoking. Plus, I love Star Wars.

D: Fair enough.

Updates, or why I fail at goals

female-writer-sepA: Get in the box, D.

D: But–

A: Stop stalling, D, and get in the box . . . please.

D: But I am claustrophobic.

A: Not even that nice shiny blue one?

D: A, I am a time-travelling Pictish warrior-prince and Druid, not a time-travelling alien with two hearts.

A: Killjoy.

D: Crabby.

A: Okay, okay. Please just sit there and be quiet. Can you manage that?

D: If I must.

A: You must. Cheers, D.

I am going to chat about goals. And how I suck at them. Some of my big goals, which I posted over at the Rome Construction Crew, include finishing Part 2 of the book by my birthday, maintaining a more paleo lifestyle because it made me feel better, developing a platform online for the books, and ultimately finishing the Book 1 in the series by the end of the summer. On Monday, I posted goals about how I wanted to write. And be productive. And write. And organize this blog a little differently. And write.

And, none of that happened. My birthday was three days ago (and a great friend held a party last weekend – I asked Green Embers to do a dedication to her… ask him to do one for you!), and Part 2 is still in pieces. I love the white potato so much it makes paleo look at me in horror (but I still try, because I do feel better). Completing the book by the end of summer? I can still do that. Maybe. As for my weekly goals: they died.

The reasons why are frivolous: it was a short week, I covered for a sick co-worker and had a birthday dinner that lasted later than anticipated, because my mother and I forgot to turn on the oven (hello, sangria). So, I failed at my goals.

And I’m going to celebrate.

Yup. Celebrate. I – like many – can be a little hard on myself. I worry. I over-compensate. D gets ornery and things generally don’t go as well as they could. While frivolous, my week conspired against achieving anything of note. By worrying about it, I helped the conspirators.

I read a post at Critical Margins earlier this week, about how even excellent writers are bad writers sometimes. Because that is what it takes to get the words out on the page. I loved it and completely identify. On days when I’m just not feeling it, but I’m sitting at the computer anyway, this is what I tell myself. Just write it. It’ll suck, but do it anyway. Get it out there; it’ll be okay. Then there are those times where I hammer at my brain and expect excellence, thus becoming my own worst enemy, which isn’t unique by any stretch. This was one of those weeks.

So today, I’m celebrating failure.

Because even in my failure, I did get the following accomplished:

  • I typed up my notes and scenes that I hand-wrote last week. In doing so, I drafted the highlights of the rest of Part 2 and set the tone.
  • I came to grips with the fact that Maureen gets to face her demons and come out the other side now, and Sean can progress in his turn. That means it’s okay for this part to be ornery. (I like that word, and will use it at least three more times. Maybe not in this post, but in some post, some time. I could do a treasure hunt for the blog… find the word “ornery” and win a prize: grumpy cat meme. It could work.)
  • I killed a darling. Not a character, but an idea that I really wanted to work, but just didn’t. Not this time, not for Sean and Maureen. And possibly not for anything, unless I really get my Irish on and get all maudlin about something.
  • I helped my son prepare for his “Highlights from Hamlet” performance, and found a make-your-own karaoke track for Rock of Ages’ “We Built This City/We’re Not Going to Take It” for another group performance during the school talent show. I couldn’t go to the show, so I’m happy I was able to help him.
  • I learned more about marketing and developing a platform from this great series hosted by Ionia at Readful Things Blog. Hey, wait, that was a goal! Yes!
  • I have done more creative work in the last two weeks than I have in the last 10 years. Well, not true – all I have

    Hush – One of the best Buffy episodes

    done for the last six months is write, but it’s been all Sean and Maureen (and D as Dubh/Dubhal/Declan) all the time. Now, I have a granny skinny dipping, ghost merpeople, Claude – my first work of fan fiction – and a short story that may find a place in the beginning of Part 2. That’s a whole new world of crazy that just opened up in my brain, and for that I have all of you – the RCC crew, The Community Storyboard, my fellow bloggers, and my son, who doesn’t mind when I flash him signs saying “Bug off, writing” so long as they have pictures from the Buffy “Hush” episode – to thank.

There you have it. At goal setting, I fail, but at living life in general, I’m okay.

D: You are a beautiful loser, A.

A: Thanks, D.

Monday, Monday

Is this the true face of D??

D: Oh no. No, A – who is that?

A: What do you mean, D? Can’t you tell?

D: You must be joking. A, please tell me you’re joking.

A: Does this mean you don’t like it?

D: If you mean to tell me that this is m—

A: (Giggling) Sorry, D. I couldn’t help myself. (more giggling . . . now it’s laughter. . . minutes pass . . . still more laughter).

D: Thank heavens. Hello? A? You can stop that now, A.

A: I’m sorry, D. I needed that. No, that is me. With a mustache. At my birthday party.

D: Before or after the sangria?

A: Before. . . just.

D: . . . I fear for you.

A: Thank you, D. Your concern is touching.

D: I see you’re not writing tonight (ahem) . . . do you have a reason for calling me out of the ether?

A: Goal setting.

D: You? Do you have goals?

A: Lots – and most of them are none of your business, Druid! I mean writing goals. I failed at most of them this week. Holiday weekends tend to do me in.

D: Okay, I’m listening, what are your writing goals?

A: Well, last week, I wanted to complete Part 2 by my actual birthday (which is really this week). That’s not going to happen because I realized my entire mechanism for getting Sean and Maureen to Dublin from the west coast was flat-out wrong, and had to re-write two chapters to make it right.

D: I could have told you that.

A: No, you couldn’t; you weren’t even there, D. If you had been—

D: Okay, okay, I get it. So no Part 2 – did you do any writing this weekend?

A: I did; I wrote two small fiction pieces based on prompts and a short story about Sean and Maureen, that are on the Community Storyboard, fixed the two chapters and drafted two other short stories. It’s been very productive, just not in the direction I intended. This week I’m making focus my keyword, and perhaps moderation, too. I want to finish two more chapters, which will put Sean and Maureen in the heart of the conflict in Dublin.

D: And?

A: That not enough for you, D?

D: . . .

A: Fine. I have to update this blog with some added features to keep things organized and maybe write some more things that aren’t part of the Out of Time universe. Writing for the Community Storyboard was fun. I haven’t done that in a very long time.

D:  Congrats, A. Expanding your universe and reasonable goals that might not make you crazy . . . er.

A: Cheers, D!

D: Are we going to do our accolades tonight, A? Or are you still recovering from sangria?

A: Cheeky. Nope, I wanted to congratulate  Charles Yallowitz for the publication of his book of poetry, the Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale.  Fantastical creatures, beautiful poetry and incredible cover art – this book has it all. Check it out.

D: Since poetry is more my venue than yours, A, allow me to share the Community Storyboard’s poetry prompt: creature creation.

A: Are you sure that’s not my territory? I could call you the creature or monster of my mind.

D: Nice, A.

A: I do what I can. And that is all for today. I’m going to say goodbye to my long weekend with an hour of British spies. Good night!

“. . . When Eoghan confronted us – when he said his name – I knew where we were, Sean. It was a deep, complete knowing. I know this time, I know this war–”

Sean snorted. “Yes, you do.”

“Politics aside, Sean McAndrew, I knew what we had to do.”

“What’s that?” Curiosity overruled his frustration.

“Save him.”

“What? Maureen, you’re mad–”

“Hear me out, Sean. If I’m right, that boy out there goes to Dublin soon and gets himself killed fighting in the uprising on Easter Monday. He had a family here, probably a sweetheart. The Ballard farm doesn’t exist in our time . . . they—“

“Maureen, that happens. Say we convince him to stay. What is to stop him from joining the movements in Galway? He could just as easily die there, too. Besides, no one knows why he went to Dublin. I don’t think we should interfere . . .”