Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I'm Back

For real, I swear. Until my next blogging hiatus. But with four works in progress, a volunteer non-profit charity biz, a new jewelry biz (very new), a new job for the first time in 3 years, continued chronic pain, exercises to keep up on, chronic migraines, two cats to try and get to stop killing each other, and a sick/dying parent, it's hard to keep up on the blogging. But I want to blog. I want to do all the things.

As is tradition for when I've taken a blogging hiatus, I will discuss my current writing projects. Because that's how it's done. More about all that other stuff later. And it's a lot.

Four works in progress.

My first priority: "Pieces" A contemporary mystery with light paranormal elements. It's in the final stages. I've gotten good feedback from drafts 2 and 3 from different sets of beta readers and am working on the 4th draft, which is more editing than rewriting. Finally! When you've moved from constant rewrites into actual edits, you've gotten somewhere. Because I said so. I think it may be done by mid-year, maybe sooner. It's hard to say. But I'm super excited. I plan to enter it into some contests and try to attend some writing conferences this year to meet with agents in person. I think this one is the most commercially-marketable of all my stories, so I'm definitely going to try the traditional route with it. I think I will be in fully querying-swing by Fall, definitely winter.

Priority 2 is "New Year's Revolution" (Formerly Bloody New Year and Vampiric Vanguard. Still thinking of using Vampiric Vanguard as a series title.) This is an urban fantasy/paranormal/post-apocalyptic novel. It's my first baby, and has therefore seen many rewrites/edits. Somewhere between 7 and 10. But I've discovered the solution: it's not a three book series, as originally planned. It's four. The first book needs to be cut in half. I feel confident about these changes. My goal is to have this ready to be queried (again) by the end of the year. It's doable. I've queried agents for this in the past and gotten roughly 30 rejections (go me!). I'm aiming for the 3 digits. When your number of rejections hit the hundreds, you know you've made it. I plan to query some agents, but mostly small/indie publishers.

These two books will keep me busy most of the year, but I have not forgotten my other two children. I began my fourth novel "Eternal" in November (NaNoWriMo 2017). While I got it past 50k, I did not complete the rough draft, but that's okay. I know where the story is going and felt like continued work on the sloppy rough draft wasn't productive. I don't know when I'll be ready to work on it again, but I feel like I'll be ready to write a solid draft two when the time comes. Oh yeah, it's a speculative romance. I know, I'm writing a romance. Who would've thought? While I won't be writing on it for a while, I will be reading in preparation: lesbian romance novels, stories that take place in the 80s, and stories that feature mixed race characters.

Last but not least is "Caribou Canyon" later called "City of Secrets". This is my second baby. I love it, but don't know where to go from here. It's a YA paranormal, and the story is too big. There are 3 MCs, and I fell in love with all of them and gave each character many subplots. The polished first draft rounded out at 250k words. Yes, you read that correctly. I started releasing it as a serial on Jukepop, but that didn't pan out. Then I started releasing it on my blog, but I'm not sure that's what I want to do with it. I think I'm going to remove it from my blog and set it aside in my mind, but I definitely want to continue it. At this point, I would likely polish it up and self-publish it, maybe in installments.

Okay, so those are my writing projects. I'm having a busy 2018, and that's just about the writing. So many other things are happening, many of them painful and trying and sometimes I just want to curl up and sleep, and keep sleeping, and keep on sleeping. But writing is my passion, my art, my life. I will take all of this crap and funnel it into my stories.

Get ready world. They are coming.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Box

The Box

We shared ten years of friendship
     The best four as lovers.
So how can it be that all I have left of you
     Fits inside one tiny box?

A single matchbook; silver and black
     Saved from our first date.                 
Heart-shaped earrings and a locket to match
     White gold and diamonds. 

A half-empty bottle of your cologne
     The scent of desire.
A stuffed pink and purple unicorn
     My favorite of your gifts. 

Stacks of paper: cards, letters, poems
     All written to me. 
More paper: bills, notices, threats 
     More gifts from you to me. 

Countless orange plastic bottles, all of them empty
     Having held the means to your end. 
Another bottle: rubbing alcohol 
     The scent of heartache.

A pair of nylons, tied and stretched
     That don’t belong to me.
All of the missing spoons, blackened and singed
     And not a single fork or knife.

How can so much fit in one little box
     Small enough to hold in my hands?
The fragile cardboard flaps open and I take one last look
     At all that is left of you: soft white flakes of ash.

The box turns upside down and the ashes are
     Sent into the earth.
A gust of wind comes to scatter them, freeing them
     And drying the last of the tears on my face. 


March 11th

I used to get depressed around February and March. Well, to be truthful, I get depressed on and off all year round, it's called dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder. But that isn't the point. Before 2007, Daylight Saving Time didn't start till after Easter. I got really restless in early March for the time change, because it always made me feel better to have that little bit of of extra sunlight. It helped.

In 2007, I was really excited that we were going to be changing the clocks forward about a month early. I remember March 11th 2007 very clearly. It was the perfect day for Spring Forward. It was nearly seventy degrees out. I was bored, but it wasn't really a bad kind of bored. I was feeling hopeful for the future, which was a big deal because the past few months had been shit-tastic and that is not an exaggeration.

I was trying to decide what to do regarding the fiance I was separated from due to lots shit-tastic fucking shit. I hadn't spoken to him since early December, before the bleeding shit hit the flaming fan and flung its shit-covered entrails all over my life. Despite those months of separation, I didn't consider us over. I didn't know what I considered us. I needed time to myself, time to focus on Becky because for so many years Becky hadn't existed. Josh existed. Josh and Becky existed. Every now and then Becky and Josh existed, but mostly it was Josh. So it was nice to focus on Becky. I thought he understood that. I thought he knew I loved him and just needed time. Now I know he didn't, because in his world, Becky still didn't exist. Josh and Becky existed. Becky existed as a prize for Josh, as something to covet and keep and hold onto and to worry would leave. Becky existed as someone who could make everything right, except that wasn't a fair thing to put on a person.

It was the morning of March 12th when Mom came home from work less than thirty minutes after having arrived and woke me up to tell me Josh had died of a heroin overdose. I remember those moments more clearly than anything. My Mom heard the news because her mother-in-law reads the newspaper regularly. Mom rushed around to find out it if was true before she told me. Josh's mom wanted to tell me herself, but my mom wouldn't let her. I appreciate that. Hearing the news from my mom, someone who wanted to comfort me instead of be comforted by me, helped.

March 11th was a Sunday, just like today. Because of that, the memories are more potent. It's been eleven years but it will never go away. To add to this pain, my mom, the person who's been there for me through everything, is in the final stages of COPD and not going to make it much longer. So now I just have to remember the strength she gave me and save it for the future. It's a gift. And I guess the sunshine is too, though it hurts, like antiseptic in a wound.

Sometimes I want to remind myself that pain is what makes me real, pain is what makes me feel love and appreciate beauty. Sometimes that's true, and other times it's a giant load of flaming horse shit.

The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

Friday, March 2, 2018

What the hell?

I was going through my poetry looking for a specific poem, when I found this one in my poetry folder. It's weird, because I only a vague recollection of writing it. It couldn't have been that long ago, but I usually remember more clearly the who what when where and why of poems I've written.

The Girl With The Books

She was always the girl with the books even when she was the girl without the looks
The girl with the
The eyepatch and the glasses
A funny haircut, a scar, and a gap in her teeth.
The girl without friends, the girl who cried at night when only one could hear.
She lived in her head—her own world or another’s
In her head she had friends, boys, adventures.
In her head she was like everyone else,
Only better.

Her books grew darker and so did the dream in her head
The girl without the looks became the wild one in the shadows
The one who shrieked with laughter and cackled at others;
The one who chose to cry through blood instead of tears.
The girl with the books got too many looks—
She was far too gone inside her head they said.
They worried and wondered and whispered and wept
While the girl with books dove into the story in head.

She escaped by a miracle, a blessing, or an angel
Or maybe just a mother who never gave up.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

NaNoWriMo Time

It's that time of year again already! I'm participating in NaNoWriMo for sort of the third year in a row, but really it's only my second time. The idea is that you write a rough draft of a brand new novel in November. Last year I began the 2nd draft of Pieces, which I wrote during 2015 NaNo. This year I'll be doing another new one, an idea that only just came to me in August. Usually my ideas marinate in my head for several years before I put them to paper, so we'll see how this goes.

Here's what I'll be writing this year:

Speculative lgbtq romance that takes place over the course of 30+ years. 
25 yo Vera is a wild, free-spirited bisexual writer who is celebrating one year of sobriety. She just moved to Bloomington with her best friend, savior, and sponsor, Stuart, who is starting medical school. Estranged from her family due to tragedy, Stuart is all Vera has. She spends time on campus, working on her first novel. 
18 yo Ember is the daughter of a white man and a black woman. Plagued by the question "what are you?" her whole life, she feels like she doesn't belong. Add that to the fact that she is an artist living in a family of intellectuals, and a closet lesbian, she doesn't know who she is or where she fits.  She is attending IU Bloomington and majoring in business, though it isn't what she wants. She pursues her art and sticks to herself. 
Ember and Vera witness a horrifying and uncanny murder on campus. Both women are drawn to the scene of the crime. Vera is writing a horror novel: she likes the ambience. Vera also likes the place to go and think. Stuart has unexpectedly relapsed, and Vera doesn't know how to help him. Ember likes the quiet of the place: most of the other students stay away. The two women meet and bond, sharing their lives with one another and falling in love. The more they get to know one another, they begin to realize that things they thought were quirks, might be more than that. Vera starts to realize that something isn't right: about Stuart's relapse or about Ember. 
The women are forced to make a painful decision that may affect the future of their relationship, and Stuart's life. 
And here's a little collage I put together in order to stop myself from cheating and starting early. 

If you're also a NaNo person, find me on the site here:
Happy writing! 

Happy Halloween!

More Halloween Poetry


The line is moving too fast.
  How happy you would be to wait forever rather than
    Enter this fabled mansion of ghostly horrors.

              Moving forward, you take the step that leads you
            Over a threshold where spine-tingling terrors await.
          Not knowing what’s to come is half the fun.
        Sanguine lights glimmer and glow and
      Trepidation fills your heart as it unites itself with the beating drums of hell.
    Exploring halls that fork and twine, you search until you find a nook in which to hide.
  Resting inside, you chuckle at your own fear until your chortles are choked by
Skeletal hands around your throat.

Instinct brings you strength and you crush your boney captors into dust.
  No more skeletons in this closet. No more, no more.

    Trembling legs carry you forward.
  Hellbound you go, though you don’t want to know what else is in this show.
Empty holes and hollow spaces begin to fill with the devils of your nightmares.

Heaven might lie in front of you.
  Angry blood courses through your veins as your blind eyes smash you into solid wall.
    Uneven terrain stretches to the starless sky; swallowing you,
      Never to spit you out again.
        The cold damp walls open to your outstretched hands,
          Entreating you to come forward, so you
            Double your speed with an intense need to leave.

        Heavy footfalls reverberate behind you, but it’s the
      Open grave that causes you to lose your footing.
    Underneath you lies empty eye sockets and
  Shriveled skin. Screams escape you only to
Echo off the hollow walls of your oubliette.

Ashes cling to your hands and knees as you crawl,
  Reaching your way upwards to the top and you vow to
    End this night of lies and broken promises.

                          Moving in circles you search for the entrance.
                        At least you know what lies behind.
                      Nothing is worse than not knowing what is to come.
                    Infinite possibilities of perilous pain lie ahead.
                  Fear is what those who taunt you with their laughter came for, but
                Escape is all you
              Seek as you
            Tell yourself you should never have entered this cursed place.
          Alas, the pain of the past is better than
        The uncertainty of the future.
      Illusions. Only illusions, you tell yourself
    Of the unfamiliar shadows you traverse.
  Nothing looks quite the same, but
Surely you turned back; surely you are on the right path.

Over discarded bones of broken souls you step,
  Feet treading carefully in fear of falling once more.

      You grasp what is masked as a doorknob,
    Only in your hands rests a still beating heart that pumps blood
  Unto the floor, pooling at your feet,
Reigniting your desire for escape.

Obscenely, the heart continues to beat,
  Willing you to relive the breakage it’s suffered.
    Never again, you swear, and run towards fresh air.

          Doors pass you by, doors that lead to the triumphant light at the end, and
        Emptiness sinks into your heart as you come to the entrance and find yourself alone.
      Madness was on that path you say, madness and sadness and nothing but badness.
    Outside again, it doesn’t look as it once did.
  Never, you whisper with lips that tremble as the truth begins to break you apart:
Surrender to the unknown, or forever suffer this endless twisted spiral of suffering.