Sunday, February 17, 2013

Change of Venue

I will now be blogging over at Cedar Writes, and hopefully be keeping a more regular schedule. Also, you can find my blog on writing and self-publishing over at Amazing Stories Magazine. I appear there on Mondays. I look forward to hearing from you, so follow the links and don't be shy, I like to chat.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


My schedule doesn't give me a lot of play time. Fortunately, some of the things I do and call 'work' I also regard as play. This allows me to go off and "play" while still feeling productive. Which isn't to say that I don't occasionally goof off and waste time, too.

Yesterday was one of the most productive, creative days I have had in a while. It may not happen again soon, but I'm pleased with myself this morning. I wrote over three thousand words on the work in progress, a snarky little story about a pixie with a chip on his shoulder, and a very reluctant fairy princess. What I thought was going to be a short story is rapidly headed for novel status. Not that I mind too much, I am enjoying these characters.

When I finally shut that file down, (which doesn't have the same impact as firmly closing a notebook and slamming one's pen down, saying "enough! I'm tired, already!" to your characters), I moved on to my artwork. I've been learning how to paint on paper, which is a change for me, as I normally paint on skin. Watercolors behave totally different on paper, and I really enjoy seeing what I can make them do, how I can take the picture in my head and bring it to life. It is exciting, and I was so pleased to be able to do the art for the cover of Snow Angel. If you scroll down a bit in the blog, you will find the first parts of the story for free... and the rest of it will be available for purchase soon.

There it is, the cover for my short story about an innocent child, his discovery, and the mother who would fiercely protect her family against even the most unknowable dangers. 

I finished out my evening by editing the story one last time, and sending it out to beta readers. Just before I fell asleep last night, I got a message from one of them, telling me he'd done a first read through and found it "Sweet, and powerful." 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's Morning

I felt the strong desire to update the blog, but I've been putting it off because, well, there's nothing really to talk about on the writing front. I finished Snow Angel, and I plan to publish it, but I held off to do a cover. I'm writing a sequel to Memories of the Abyss even though it isn't published yet, because there is so much raw emotion in it I'm have trouble editing it. But for new words? Nothing much recently.

Partly, that is because I am back in school fulltime for the semester. Essentials of Algebra, Abnormal Psych, and Anatomy & Physiology, and later this semester Cultural Anthropology. Wheee... Yes, I am busy, why do you ask? However, last semester I wrote around classes. This semester, the only class I go to school for is A&P, the others are online. Which means I have more time to do things like work. Writing is taking a back seat for the time.

I did get Vulcan's Kittens finished editing, and out to my young beta readers. So far, the three teens that read it really like it, and I have been asked about the sequel already, which means I need to get cracking on that. My publishing and editing process I will be blogging about over at Amazing Stories, and you can find the first in the series Why Self Publish?, with more to follow every Monday. There are a lot of interesting topics being written about over there!

As for the other side of my writing, I haven't been reading much fiction recently. I'd gotten a couple of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files through the library, but I don't think I'll finish before I need to return them. I did, however, stay up late last night reading... I'd bought Kate Paulk's second in the Con series, ConSensual, and I pulled it up on the Kindle as I'd been having a bad day and needed to de-stress. I laughed out loud in the dark and didn't put it down until I was finished. Ah... I've missed that feeling of being sucked into another world. I highly recommend it!

You, too, can be amused and entertained, just click on the cover below...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Deeply Felt

Pregnancy is possibly the most intimate encounter you can have with another person short of sexual relations. And even those aren’t always a metaphysical experience. I have experienced sex that was not intimate at all. Giving birth to my children, however, was a deeply connected, wonderful experience. Finally meeting the people who had been growing inside me for nine months was awe inspiring.

My first child was delivered after almost 24 hours of labor in my own home. I was so tired, and must have been in pain, although I mostly remember being weary and deeply uncomfortable. The pressure of delivering her head was abruptly terminated by a slippery, wiggly feeling of the rest of her body sliding out of me.

My elation at the birth of my child, I didn’t know yet whether a boy or a girl, was abruptly dampened. Instead of placing my wet, new baby on my belly as had been promised, they took her down onto the bed, where I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t sit up to see what was happening, but pieced it together later from my father’s photos.

She had been born blue, kind of a blue-gray mottled color that indicated she needed oxygen in her blood. From a portable bottle the midwife administered the needed air, and my new daughter pinked right up. She was then placed in my arms. I remember laughing and crying all at once, completely and utterly overwhelmed in this first meeting with her.

All babies are beautiful in their mother’s eyes. This one was no exception. I still think she’s beautiful, and amazing, fourteen years later. Our relationship will last beyond a lifetime, and even though it will never be as intimate as it was in that first moment, we are joined by an invisible cord.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bear Kicker

Bear Kicking

Bears have a curiosity bump. I went for a walk early one morning, and took the camera with me to take pictures of dewy cobwebs. All the way at the back of the pasture I found a patch of lovely ones, and was bent over taking pictures when I heard a rustling in the brush. I immediately thought “Oh, Dad’s moose!”
See, Dad had been sleeping out in his tent for a week, and the day before this had awakened to a moose crashing through the brush in the ravine below his tent. He’d crept to the edge and watched the south end of the moose proceeding north up the creek. So it was a natural assumption on my part to think that this large crashing in the brush was also a moose.
I swung the camera up and took a shot from the hip, flash and all. The flash was my undoing. I might have gotten away with it, but Mr. Bruin saw that light and stood up to see what the light was over the brush. At this point I realized that he was bigger than I, and although not known to attack humans often, I am not going to trust a bear further than I could throw it. Dad got away with kicking one in Well, you know. But that one was a yearling, a lot smaller than he, not a big ol’ bruin looking at little ol’ me.
So I went. Toward the house, wishing that I were a sprinter, not an endurance runner (and that a decade ago!) I am pretty sure he went in the other direction, but I wasn’t really looking. All I know is that he didn’t follow me home!
Talk about adrenaline to start your morning - that was a little too much. Coming back to Dad’s bear, the yearling, I just have to tell that story along with mine. Dad keeps bees, and even with an electric fence, the bears just can’t resist all those delicious grubs and sweet honey. One warm summer night, Dad heard a ruckus through his open window.
He knew just what that noise was. I was awakened by the sound of his feet thundering down the stairs. I ran out of my room to see my mother in her nightgown, carrying a pistol and a handful of cartridges. Dad told us later what had happened.
Once he got out to the garden and could see by the moonlight that there was indeed a bear in his hives, he’d stopped briefly. Unarmed, wearing only his briefs and wellingtons, he then charged at the bear. He’d decided, in that split moment, that if he could be bigger than the yearling who was plundering his hives, he could scare it off.
The bear, oblivious, his head as far in a hive box as it would go up to his shoulders, munched on. Dad kept coming. The bear’s first clue was a size 12 foot, encased in rubber garden boot, making violent contact with his north end. He pulled his head out and ran, squalling like a baby, toward the edge of the garden. After a few jumps he stopped and looked back to see what had hit him.
Dad told us later: “he just had this look, like ‘What did I do?” All injured innocence aside, Dad raised his hands up over his head and roared like a bull. This did the trick, and the bear made for the woods, possibly leaving behind what bears are said to do in the woods.
My mother and I arrived in time to see the bear high-tailing it in the moonlight. Mom had grabbed the wrong cartridges, and was feeding .357’s into a .44 and wondering why they were falling out as fast as she put them into the revolver. So the bear escaped with only his dignity injured, and Dad earned the nickname Bear Kicker, which he will never live down.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Snow Angel Snippet 3

“You're hypothermic.” Sarah informed her. “Your core temperature is so low all the blood has left your extremities, that is why you have no dexterity.” 

She gently moved the child's hands away and finished unbuttoning the coat. It was oilskin over what seemed to be a down lining, and her torso was dry. That must be what had saved her, lying in the snow. Her boots had kept her slender feet dry, too. Sarah decided to leave the dry inner layers, but the jeans had to come off, they were wet from calf to thigh.

“Josh.” She looked at him, standing there with a pile of blankets up to his eyes. His gray eyes, so like her husband's, were solemn and she suddenly saw the man he would be, so like his father. Her heart throbbed. “Get my big orange kit.”

“The one I'm not allowed to touch?” His eyes were wide.

“Yes, honey. Right now, please.” She knew he'd needed to know it was ok, but she could still feel how fast this life was slipping away.

Sarah lifted the slight body away from the clothing. The duster was cut oddly, with slits for the wings, but it still took a little work to get it off her. By the time Sarah had the girl off the floor out of her wet things and onto the couch, Josh was standing next to them with the kit. Sarah quickly flipped it open and pulled out the trauma shears. By this time the angel was slowly becoming aware, and she tried to push Sarah away.

“You cannot stay in the jeans, and wet jeans are almost impossible to pull off.” Sarah told her firmly. The girl shook her head weakly.

The older woman sighed. “All right. I'll try it.”

She undid the jeans and started to peel them off inside out. The angel wriggled a little, but couldn't help. 

“You know, if you wore looser jeans this would be easier. Why does an angel need to look sexy, anyway?”

She grabbed the shear and was half way up one leg before the girl could protest. The angel went limp, which Sarah took as consent.

“Josh, go run a bath, honey.” The little boy had been crouched by the couch, having taken one of the angel's hand in both of his. Now he nodded silently and trotted off.

“I don't know how I'm going to get you in the tub with those wings...” Sarah sighed. “Wet feathers are part of your problem.”

The angel's deep brown eyes had closed again. Sarah felt for her pulse, which might be a little faster, but not a lot. Her top was tied on, it turned out, almost a corset with lacing up the sides. Sarah cut those, too, whispering an apology to the non-responsive girl. She'd done enough of this as a medic over the years that skin was skin, but this still seemed invasive every time.

Once the girl was down to her underwear and pale skin that was almost blue with the cold, Sarah lifted her off the couch and into a fireman's carry. The angel's wings were hanging limply, and Sarah bit back a curse as she tangled in them and stumbled. She really did try not to curse in front of Josh. Bad habits from years of working with rough men. Fortunately, that had also taught her to persist and endure. Which got her into the bathroom with her awkward burden.

Josh was sitting on the closed toilet, his feet dangling. The water was still running into the tub. Sarah slowly lowered the girl into the tub.

“Hold this wing.” She told her son. She didn't want to get the feathers any wetter. It was a weird situation. Normally, with a case of hypothermia this bad, she would have immediately called 911. Not with this girl, though. The lukewarm water would bring her core temperature up slowly.

The wingsoff to one side, Sarah crouched below them, holding the angel's face out of the water. With the girl on her side like this, drowning was the new danger. Now, arms trembling with fatigue, she finally had time to think. She'd never read anything about angels dying. Falling, yes, as in fallen angels from heaven. This one didn't strike her as that sort, though. So how had a very young looking angel wound up lying in her backyard?

Josh was patiently holding one wingtip, so Sarah risked letting go of part of her burden momentarily. The girl's pulse was much stronger.

“Hey... Hello, angel.” She felt awkward addressing the being. Was there a proper form of address for one? She'd read and giggled her way through Emily Post as a girl with her sister, but this situation wasn't covered.
She was rewarded for her efforts with a flutter of eyelids. She tried again. “What happened to you? What's your name?”

The girl jerked suddenly, and Sarah got a face full of wet feathers. Spluttering, she maintained her hold on the girl's face so she didn't submerge. Josh let go and retreated to the doorway.

“Hey! Calm down, it's ok...” Sarah couldn't see, but as the girl was thrashing now, she felt it would be safe to let go, and did so. She leaned back out of the way and wound up with her butt on the floor, looking at the angel. The being had managed to sit up, and her wings made an umbrella over both of them as she held them out of the water.

Her eyes were ice blue, and wide with what Sarah read as consternation. She clutched her arms over her chest and her knees were drawn up. Sarah held out her hands, palms up.

“Can you understand me?” the older woman asked softly.

Sarah glanced over at Josh, still standing poised in the doorway. His eyes were wide again. The angel looked at him as well, then back at Sarah. Slowly, she nodded.

Sarah left out the breath she didn't know she had been holding. “All right. You're safe. You had hypothermia, and I was helping you get warm. You understand?”

The angel nodded again. She looked at Josh. “I... remember you.” She whispered.

The little boy smiled, like the sun coming out from behind clouds. He ventured back into the room, putting his hands behind him shyly.

Sarah watched him. “This is my son, Joshua.” She looked at the being. “My name is Sarah.”

“You can call me... Sera.” the other whispered back.  

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Snow Angel Snippet 2

Lying on her back in the snow was a young woman. Already, she was dusted over with snow, which is why Sarah had missed her clothes. Dressed in a long duster jacket, jeans, and cowboy boots, she was motionless. Her face was pale... Sarah leaned closer over her, pushing Josh toward the house.

“Go home...” she told him distractedly. He didn't need to know death, just yet.

The girl's lashes fluttered, and then her eyes opened. Sarah gasped. “You're alive!”

Then her practical side kicked in. The child must be freezing. “Come on, are you hurt anywhere?” She held out her hands and the other slowly raised hers, eyes slightly unfocused.

“No...” she whispered. “So cold...”

Sarah took her forearms. They were like ice. “We need to get you in the house, right now.” She pulled and was surprised at the weight for a second, then almost dropped the girl as she registered the wings that were coming up off the ground with her. They hung slack off her back, and she could almost believe they weren't real, until the girl shuddered and they retracted up into a neat fold behind her, wrapping partly around her shoulders.

“Oh, my.” Sarah breathed. On the next breath she was back in charge of herself. “Up to the house, now.”

The young angel let herself be half carried, Josh romping around them like an excited puppy. Sarah got her up the two steps onto the porch with difficulty, the poor thing seemed to be slipping away. Josh pulled open the slider, and the two women half fell into the house.

“Joshie, go get us blankets.” His mother ordered. She was feeling for a pulse, and it was impossibly slow under her cold fingertips. She really wasn't sure an angel could die, but all her training was kicking in now. She started pulling off the wet clothing that was making puddles on her clean floor. The angel, girl, whatever she was, was trying to help but not able to move much.