Saturday, June 30, 2007

June Writing Update / July Goals

June was rough with teething-baby/mommy-zombie, and pet issues. Still achieved a significant amount of writing.

June Writing Completed:
* The Crossing: Edited
* Treischan Strength: Edited
* Forgotten Star New Chapters B & C: Written
* Silver Griffin Crits: 3 completed
* Winter Warrior Worldbuilding underway

July is looking busy and will be a challenge, especially considering I'm taking a week off for vacation in sunny Florida. I am optimistic however, and will do my best. The editing (shorts and the novel) are priority.

June Begun Tasks Needing Completion in July:
* Forgotten Star: Chapter D (write)
* SG Crits: EST Crit (half done)

July New Goals:
* Forgotten Star Chapter Edit A - B (0/2)
* Edit Short Story "The Dragon's Bard"
* Edit Short Story "The Lonely Orchard"
* Silver Griffin Crits: 0/3
* Winter Warrior Worldbuilding

Bye Bye Baby Brakus

She was born on a farm and didn't fit in there, then was adopted by a pair of guys in a fraternity. She moved in with them and was named "Brak", after a space ghost character. As if it wasn't bad enough she had to live in the fraternity house. Brak even braved a triple tornado to travel home over a school break, once. Then, we all moved in together including two other cats and was that ever interesting - all Brak ever wanted to do was make friends, but there was always a hierarchy. Still, she made the best of it.
Brak had lots of nicknames: Brakwurst, (on sillier days) Brak-a-lak, Brakasaurus, Bracky-Wacky, Frat Cat.. among others.
The pictures above show all sides of her. The first, is the Tribble pose, on her favorite sleeping spot on the sofa. The second is on her daddy's keyboard tray (the only way to get her off the tray was to let her on his lap), and the third is on top of the much-loved cat tree. She held her own to stay at the top there - and the other two cats always competed. (She knew enough when to give in too!) All she wanted was to be loved and accepted. She was my cuddle-cat too -- when I was sad, she was the one who came to see me and cuddle with me. Very affectionate kitty, who didn't even have a real 'meow', just a chopped up attempt that sounded like "kkkkkey".
Brak's inspired my vidoe game character (her name's Braklara and she's short, with a wide berth, just like kitty). She's also supposed to appear in some of my writing, details of which haven't yet been worked out beyond a premise. (1) Braklara the dragon who is stealing knights who come to hunt her so she can force them to worship her - fantasy short story; and (2) Brakasurus Rex, something for kids about a cat that wants to be a dinosaur.
Saying good-bye was difficult, but after being sick for so long, I'm relieved that she's not suffering anymore.
Bye bye baby Brakus..

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rough Week

Writing has been slow this week due to baby related exhaustion, but I'm still on target for making my goals. My main goal has been to make reasonable goals, and so far it's working. The crit is taking longer than I anticipated, and bills are nagging at my while I *am* writing. I'll be doing those tomrrow to shut them up. Forgotten Star is going well - the new chapters are solid, and while I have veered off my outline, it's to tighten up the story. Winter Warrior has been dancing in my thoughts again, ever since I transcribed my notes, and I'm eager to get working on it, but that has its own time and place. Right now, Forgotten Star is priority. If I can get my minimum done on Friday and Saturday, I'll be able to start editing on Sunday.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Status 6/24

I've been rereading Forgotten Star and updating my outline to reflect changes in the last draft. I had forgotten (haha) some events that were included in this novel, so this was a good time to go through the entire draft. I'm shocked at how horrible some of this stuff is written (a testament to my improvement over the years), but the foreshadowing and hinting is done right.

The new scenes are going well. It's difficult to start in with the main character back in her days of innocence and ignorance, but I made the jump and it's going well. I'm almost done with the third new chapter (C) -- still need 2 more scenes --and should be able to start the fourth (D) soon.

I wanted to start the edit early, but I'm just not quite ready for it. I'm having one issue with the magic system's naming system (of skills/abilities), so I'm planning a brainstorming session for when the read-through is finished.

The critting is continuing, and I think it has sharpened my analyzing skills.

So far, it's been a good month of writing and I'm dangerously close to meeting my goals, desprite baby's teething these past few weeks. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The new name works. And I do feel the character changing a bit with the name, but not drastically. It might even help flesh her out a bit more.

I finished up Chapter B over lunch today, and outlined what needs to happen next. I have material for possibly three more chapters, and it's leaning heavily on threat and romance, so I have to decide if this is the direction I truly want to take. The only way to find out is to write it, and see how it feels.

In the meantime, I'm planning on starting the edit this weekend, regardless if the first chapters aren't complete enough.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Well, the crit's done and my reading of Forgotten Star is going well. I probably haven't read it in several years, and I was surprised at some things I wrote. My writing has definitely improved, so it's going to be a very involved edit, but I can't wait to see what the finished edit will leave me with.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Naming

Okay, here it is. It's unedited, so forgive any blunders. The sole purpose of this piece is to name the child and likely it will never appear in the novel itself.

Dego Whitewolf helped his wife down the steps of the healer's cottage, steps designed for protection from flooding, steps that hindered the pregnant woman.

"I'm keeping you from your work," Veisa said between huffs.

"The king will do fine without me, I'm here as long as you need me." The exertion of her never ending pregnancy was taking a toll, and Dego wished the child would make its appearance already. The intense summer heat didn't help, nor the drought that dried the nearby streams. It was a long walk to cooling water, but they made the walk together every morning, and hung about the watering hole as long as they could.

"It's pretty out here," Veisa said, her mind distant.

"I thought it best for you to relax these last few days."

She laughed then, a knowing laugh, and he smiled. "That's just a side effect. You wanted a natural environment for the naming, didn't you?"

At least she wasn't angry. "Tradition says I cannot create the name in advance, but it says nothing about manipulating circumstances to help widen my choices."

Veisa stopped for breath, one hand on her swollen belly. "The right name will come to you," she said when she recovered. "I believe in you."

Dego encouraged her forward, the watering hole wasn't far, but his thoughts lingered on the name. His father named him Whitewolf after the great wolf that heralded his birth thirty years ago. It was a promising, honorable name and he was proud of his father's choice. It lent him strength in difficult times, though it failed him now; worse it intimidated him.

There was little in the city to adequately name his child. The king's own sons were named 'Windstorm' and 'Ravenwing' simply because there was little enough happening. Veisa's name 'Starshine' was lovely, and truly matched the shine of her eyes when she smiled. It was here in the forest her mother had given birth to her, in the healer's cottage in the clearing where the stars shone down to lighten her birth. This is what prompted his idea to take Veisa here.

The day passed slowly for husband and wife as they awaited their child's birth, an the heat wore on. The forest remained parched and the trees wilted with them. Where was the rain? Veisa needed relief, if not in birthing this child, then at least in comfort.

Another two days passed, grating on their nerves when Veisa cried out. They had just reached the watering hole, the longest walk by far.

Dego panicked. "What's wrong?"

Veisa held her belly, and beneath her strong hands he saw the belly shift. She moaned and swayed. Dego eased her to the ground. "Veisa?"

She laughed painfully. "I have my name ready for her, do you?"

"Her?" Dego's mind whirled. What was going on?

"I dreamt last night she would be born today. She, Dego, and that she'll be a strong healer when she grows up. I thought it a dream, but--" she cried out again, "--no dream. Fetch Marianas, quickly."

The last thing he wanted to do was leave his wife alone, but he could not carry her, nor would she allow him in her condition. He sprinted back toward the cottage, but the healer met him halfway.

"Relax," she told him as she strode along, satchel over her shoulder. "I saw her this morning, I had a feeling the child would come today."

For all she told him to relax, his heart pounded. Labor took most of the day, and Dego felt useless. He could not spare his wife the pain, though Marianas did, somewhat. The pain was necessary, she claimed, lecturing about good pain and bad pain gauging the baby's progress. Pain was simply pain, and it wore on for Veisa.

Over her cries he heard the distant roll of thunder, and through the settling dusk saw the bright flashes of lightning. He knew the forest wasn't the safest place during a violent storm, and he silently urged the child to come forth. Raindrops fell as Veisa pushed the child out, mixing with the tears on her face. She settled down in relief as the child wailed into the night, announcing her arrival.

"Nerissa," the mother whispered.

Dego took the child, cleansed by rain, the same rain which cooled her mother, and would heal the withered forest. Veisa dreamt of a healer, but Dego could see nothing beyond the scrunched pink face that warmed his heart. He prayed his choice would honor her. "Rain, my daughter. Your name is Nerissa Rain. Carry it with pride."


I decided how to deal with this. In order to nail down the right name and to cement it into my skull :) I am going to write out the birth scene.

Additionally, I'm going to read through the entire novel today and update the outline (along with fix-it notes) so that should help as well.

If you're lucky, I might post the scene for reading. It won't ever end up in the book, so someone should at least enjoy it.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I've been working on the new chapters for Forgotten Star and it's been tough. This time, I'm really ready for the edit. I'm seeing everything that needs to be fixed, including renaming several characters. Renaming a character I've known for 10 years is difficult. I haven't had the same friends for ten years. The trouble is, each time I come up with a name I like, there's already a character in the novel with too similiar a name. So then I have to choose who to rename, and then that will domino into another name issue.

I'm wondering if I have too many characters in this novel. I do have a lot, but they exist in different tiers of importance. This tier will shuffle for the second and third book in the series, so I have to be careful who the main characters will be for each one so I don't end up with "Aaron and Arianna" or "Talana and Tarin", which is the trouble I'm experiencing.

I don't like using place holder names, they take just as much getting used to as the character's real name, so why go through it twice? I've also figured out in my writing that a name can influence a characters personality.

Part of me fears I'm putting way too much emphasis on this, but the other part of me says it's going to be less painful now than to do it when I have a looming book contract with deadlines.

I've further complicated the issue in this particular world by giving the naming structure some culture. The mother names the child with their public name, and the father names the child with the birth name. The birth name cannot be planned or created in advance, it has to reflect some incident with the birth itself. To celebrate birth, there are no birthday celebrations. In the spring there is a naming day celebration when everyone gathers toegher and celebrates and tells their birth story and their birth name. The importance of the birthname is to instill some importance upon the child of where they came from and where they can go.

Some examples:

Dego Whitewolf was born in his mother's cottage, where outside there was a serenade of wolves howling to the moon. The honor of being greeted by wolves is important in Dego's life becuase he has the magic of sensing animals.

Seth Windstorm was born during a tropical storm.

Eldar Wintermoon was born during the coldest night of the year, and strangely died on the coldest night much later in his life.

One man believed his daughter wasn't truly his cursed her with a delicate name to keep her from growing into a strong woman.

One of the main characters' birth name is Nightsword because his mother gave birth during an attack by (evil) beasts deep in the night. His mother ultimiately died because of the attack. Several men were injured protecting the mother. The father named the son Nightsword because he survived, and for the hope that he would someday cut down these beasts. And somehow, this child has grown into an aggressive man, strong in his beliefs with a temper as quick and sharp.

The island they live on only has about a thousand people living on it, so the naming conventions are workable. It might sound silly to you, but this is my world, my island, and my names. And apparently, my main issue right now. But I'll work through it. Sooner or later!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Updated Update 6/17

Completed the Treischan Strength edit this evening after all. :)

6/17 Update

Treischan Strength is still only half edited, it's been a busy couple of days. I completed a crit for my group, and have been thinking a lot about Forgotten Star. I'm implementing some character changes which makes a low level support character now very important. It really is important, because it'll explain some things about Crystal. I have to get to that this week.

That baby's birthday was a smashing success. She had a fun time and received cute gift. She really needed new toys so the timing was perfect. :) And today is Father's Day, so there will be little writing time...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More Editing

Treischan Strength is coming along. A friend provided some feedback that melted the hurdle blocking my internal editor from the story. No, it's not perfect yet, but give me some time. I'm halfway through the piece tonight, I hope to finish it up tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

6/12 Update

I'm working on the Treischan Strength edit, and while I'm cleaning up grammatical issues and word choices, I'm pretty satisfied with the way it turned out. My writer's conscience consists of my muse hanging over one shoulder saying "It's beautiful! It turned out just the way I wanted it.", and my Editor hanging over the other shoulder red pen in hand. She shakes her head and scribbles across the top of the first page. "You need more distance." I don't want to pass it on to my crit group without knowing that it's as good as can be. I need to give it a major edit before I use that kind of resource (crits don't come for free, so I try to use the groups carefully). So, I'm editing what I see needs fixing for now, and then I'm going to pass it by my first readers for some opinions. (If you want to help me out, drop me an email within the next week please!)

Winter Warrior keeps dancing on the sidelines, which is good. Forgotten Star is also coming along - I'm organizing the madness that use to be my folder of notes, and trying to put them to use. Katlana's new name is Talanna. I like it, but I haven't written with it yet. I'll be doing that later today. I completed Myrddin's crit, and moving on to another one. I think this is the last one I need to hit backstory (in the form of 3/4s of a novel in order to crit. So here on out, the critting should be a little easier.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

6/09 Update

Tons of complications this week, but I still managed to get a lot done.

* June Challenge: SF story scene Midnight Rainbow done (and it's got the potential to be a children's story)

* Winter Warrior: decent amount of "casual" worldbuilding, this character is talking to me while I drive.

* Forgotten Star: came up with a different name for Korin's sister, which is still holding me back from completing this chapter.

* The Crossing: two edit passes, doubled the story length; however I'm still having issues with the opening paragraph.

* Silver Griffin Crit: took a lot longer than I would have liked, but I'm almost done. I need to finish some notes and review my line edits before I can post it for Myrddin tomorrow.

Next week is going to be rough on writing, but I'll do what I can. Baby's birthday party is on Saturday, so I have tons of house cleaning and such to handle before then. :)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Edit: The Crossing

Thursday night was useless, I've been writing all week without a break, but it was needed. I had trouble getting started tonight, but managed to get myself in gear and got something done. I started and completed the second edit pass of The Crossing. Better dialogue, better action, and I hope the plot holes are fixed.

It's ready for crit now, so I'll just hold onto it for my crit group to get going. :) And now I get to start looking for markets to submit this.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Editing, Editing, Editing

The Crossing has been edited, I am happy to say. I think it's really improved now. I may have to touch up a little here and there, but the plot is sound. It was hard to keep everything to "just the short story" as this is the short that sparked Winter Warrior.

Additionally, Valora doesn't work for Korin's twin in Forgotten Star. I have to go at it again.


What is a hero? Someone who helps us, provides for us, who wants to see us succeed and is willing to do what is neccessary to get us there. They are the ones who don't ever ask for anything in return.

I've mentioned before how far I've come in the last 4 years of writing. What I haven't told you is that I've been writing for 9 years, and these last four have been astronomical in terms of my progress. I haven't done it alone. Today, I'd like to introduce you to one person who has impacted my writing and inspired me.

Lazette Gifford is the owner and administrator of Forward Motion, my writing home online. I found FM and signed up mid 2003. It was at this time that she took over managing the site, else it would have been abandoned. Zette didn't want this to happen, and took the reins which requires many hours of her own time which she previously spent writing, editing, and publishing.

Additionally, Zette doesn't just run the place, she loves this place, and she takes care of FM members. For instance, she has posted classes on short story writing (without which I'd never have completed any decent short stories). She schedules monthly challenges (inspiriation, she makes us write!). She has put herself in the role of teacher and mentor by writing and implementing a novel writing course that takes two years to work through. Zette starts a new class every year, which means she has two classes at once. I've taken this class, suffered through it (there were some very challenging lessons in there!).

My message to Zette today:

Thank you. Thank you for being my steadfast mentor, thank you for proving that a person can work like a dog and still make the time to write; thank you for loving writing and sharing that love; thank you for your everlasting patience; thank you for your professonalism; and thank you for believing.

My message to you, if you're a writer and you haven't been to Forward Motion: GO! Right now. See for yourself what this place is. For me, it's Writer Heaven!

Forward Motion -
Vision -
Zette's website -

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Writing Update

Winter Warrior: I made the right decision to worldbuild Winter Warrior. Ideas on this world, the characters, and their goals/obstacles have started flowing.

Forgotten Star: I also realized in reviewing Forgotten Star that some character names need to change. Too many K names for prominent characters in the story. Crystal and Korin work well together because the sound is pleasing but the words are visually different. Korin's twin Katlana is going to be renamed and I'm using the name Katlana for a character in Winter Warrior.

The Crossing: The short story edit is going better. I've decided to try another method and it seems to be helping. Previously I was printing, marking up the printed copy, then inputting changes. That's really duplciate work. I'm trying to edit right into the word document using the track changes feature, which I don't have much experience using. I used it last night, and made it through a severe edit with only a little elbow grease. Of course, it took me an hour to edit a single page, but it's much better than it was before.

Critiquing: I've read all the material (backstory and current chapter) for Myrddin's crit. A lot has happened and I'm not sure I have a good feel for his writing style yet, but I'll muddle through. I see some places where I think I can help, so at the very least he'll get something from me.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

New Novel Project: Winter Warrior

Winter Warrior is my new novel project. Yes, I decided. No, I couldn't resist. Yes, I know I haven't finished Shadow of Blood. No, I'm not giving up on it. I'm committing myself to worldbuilding and outlining the new novel, probably for July. In the meantime, when ideas pertaining to this world come to me, I'll record them. I don't know when the writing will start, but I typically worldbuild for several months before I begin writing a first draft.

Writing isn't just inspriation: it's blood, sweat, tears, lots of printer toner and paper, lots of daydreaming and research, oodles of doubt and self pity, and forcing yourself to continue the story because once upon a time you saw hope in it. When Inspiration is gifted my way, I am compelled to receive it graciously.

Friday, June 1, 2007


I feel like a kid in Toys R Us right now that ditched her mom to play in the plastic clubhouse. I've started editing The Crossing and am pleased to say that it is indeed a short story in completion, it merely requires editing; however the glee I'm barely containing here is that these two characters have leapt to life in my mind and are demanding a novel from me.

I wasn't planning on writing another novel until I either edited Forgotten Star or completed the first draft of Shadow of Blood. Shadow needs a lot of work, including some more worldbuilding before I move into the next part. This new project, I'll call it Armina's Tale until I work up a better title, will require worldbuilding and outlining, which is actually much easier than picking up the pieces of an old project. Furthermore, I have 4 short stories to edit and edit again before I start submitting them, and that's by the end of the year. I had one story making the rounds, but I decided to cut it apart, and it's still awaiting my attention as well.

For the moment, I'm going to jot down notes and ideas that come to me and stick to the plan for June. I'll have to decide within the next week or so what I want to do, just so I have a game plan. I'm all right with it changing, I just need to quiet down the plotting that's afire in my head. It wants center stage, and I need to let it know when that will come.