28 December 2012

Book Revisions, etc.

This morning, a strange thing happened when I was opening my file.  Something unexpectedly quit working in the program I use: "auto-save copy the next time I used the program.  Note to self: remember to make backups.  I don't have the good folks at NaNoWriMo to remind me of this important to-do.  Luckily, I had printed out a copy, I have the copy at Smashwords for another copy.  I will be backing up files once a week from now on.  To continue...

WC Goal 750 Seekers are coming to take Tallulah (POV) to the Temple where she will learn how to use her power to see the future.  A horse from her dreams for two weeks shows up at her door. She thinks the horse is sent to change her destiny, so she rides the horse.  She stops for the night at a Temple.  (Subplot)

Chapter 1

Tallulah stood at the edge of the cave looking out over the canyon.  The air was filled with the scent of sage burning.  She hadn't wanted to go to the school and now...she was being forced to go.  The best of the clan's elders were sitting in a circle behind her.  Now, The scent of tobacco filled the air as she straightened out her bag.  She had shoved things in them when running from the building.  It was then she saw the little horse.

It was standing on the trail leading to the house where she was born.  She shook her head astounded at the sight.  That horse had appeared in her dreams.  She didn't want to acknowledge that horse.  There was a sense of finality about this appearance.  She took a deep breath, let it out slowly.  She looked back at the elders, studying their movements.  She looked to the horse and sighed.

She had taken a tentative step out when the faint movement caught her eye.  There, over the ridge, was a cloud of dust.  That was the Seekers come to get her.  She stiffened.  Gathering her courage, she ran to the horse.  Yes, it was real.  The horse of her dreams was real.  She reached out to touch its nose, to let him smell her scent.  The very second that she got on its back, it raised its head and looked to the sky.

She hung onto its long flowing mane as they moved away from the edge of the canyon.  She Sensed the Seekers thoughts and Felt the energy as it changed direction around her.  How had they known?  Or was it something they always did?  The horse's muscles tensing was all the warning she got; she closed her eyes when it jumped.  Mere moments later, she opened one eye to discover that she was far from home, even further from the Seekers. She laughed at her new found freedom.

The horse was tireless.  He galloped for half the day. She began to feel aches and strain in muscles she didn't know were there.  Her hands had gone past numb, her legs were little logs that kept the fire going all night, her neck and shoulders were frozen blocks of ice when the horse stopped.  He walked to the edge of a lake and it was here that she discovered the true extent of her misery.

The horse drank gallons of water.   He turned his head and winked at her.  Her eyes goggled.  He nudged her leg.  She cried out, clapped her hand over her mouth and moaned at the pain that throbbed from every part of her body, especially her head and legs.  She managed to slide down and lay on the ground next to the horse.

She wondered if her grandparents were getting into trouble.  Guilt had begun to edge its way into her thoughts.  She pushed them away.  She felt the horse breathing on her face and looked up to see his great nose.  Oh no, more riding.

This ride wasn’t as fun and she started to cry.  She wondered where she thought she was going and what was going to happen.  She’d had dreams of this horse taking her somewhere and she didn’t know where because she’d never dreamed the ending.  She’d thought anywhere was better than being where she was.

The horse was slowing to a walk.  She had been trying so hard to stop crying that she hadn’t paid attention to where she was.

A great hill rose before her.  Trees and flowers, lots of them, leaned over in the wind that was blowing much harder.  The sun had gone behind the clouds. The moment they stopped, she got cold.  Goose bumps prickled her skin.  There weren’t any people.  The silence was unnerving.  Tears threatened once again.

“Why have you come?”  A woman in a hooded coat waited for her answer.

“I wanted to ride the horse.”  She clearly didn’t believe her.  Fine time for worrying about it or the Horse.  She was glad to have someone to talk to, even if she was in trouble.

“Now, what will you do?"

“I don’t know.  I’m, I don’t know.”

“First thing you’ve said that makes sense.”

The hooded lady beckoned, Tallulah followed.  Having to wonder about what was going to happen now had begun to bring up some fear along with the guilt.  They walked to a small lean-to where the lady’s finger pointed at the feed bags hanging on a hook near the stall.  She got the food ready and waited for further directions on legs gone numb from sitting.  The lady cleaned him.  She looked for signs of how to address her.  No markings, no decorations on her person.  She should have stayed home.
Stats Scene 1196 words.   This is about a third of the scene.  The total word count includes the subplot.  Future posts will be broken down for shorter posts.

Questions:   I want to change "Seekers" to something else.  What exactly, I haven't determined.  This word is a placeholder.

Same thing with the placeholder "Temple."

Comments:  I've highlighted parts I think should be changed.  This was originally going to be written in first person.  Changed to third person.

(Subplot) is a note to remind me where I have subplots in the scene or chapters.

27 December 2012

Back to Basics

The recommended away time for story revisions is close enough.  The synopsis is posted on the page appropriately titled "Synopsis - Storm Clouds" for quick reference.  I've allowed comments on this page: the usual reminders to keep it constructive.

ZUKALEE (POV) has a vision while she is trying to collect a rare plant for one of the spells she needs.  When she is prevented from doing so, she is furious when she realizes that she had been tricked with this vision.

The dawn star was crystal bright in the purple of the morning sky.  Another star blazed in a bright white light as it streaked for the western horizon.  On the plateau, night shadows were still in the slight wind.  The moonlight shone on a bush near the center of a meadow.  Silver flowers released a sweet scent as their petals waved in the dance they had danced since the beginning of time.

One shadow waited at the edge of the meadow near the path to the lake.  The Windigo held her bag for the proper moment to pick the night blooming flower.  She came a long ways since the night her brother died.  She tracked the edge of the star’s flight.  Silence, perfect silence, reigned in these last moments.  The culmination of her long, long life researching the Book of the Dead was in reach at this very moment.

She glided over to the bush, circled it, stood facing the west.  There! The Grandmother’s Flower.  She reached out. A flicker in the trees.  Her hand trembled just the tiniest. The Flower closed its’ petals. Her lips tightened. Her shoulders tensed.  She turned.

A woman was coming toward her in the early morning light. When she was a few yards away, she stopped, looked around the ground and searched the treeline. She raised her hands for a moment.  Zukale’s heart beat in an unfamiliar fear. She raised her own hands and prepared for battle. Then a child walked into view.  She looked directly at Zukale.  Her eyes widened and she spoke to the woman who turned in Zukale’s direction.  Their eyes met.

Zukale was disconcerted at the intensity of the hatred she saw.  She started the chant for Spirit Walking.  The other woman was equally amazing with her reaction.  They started fading before she could finish the chant. All that remained behind was the woman’s eyes.

Zukale stood for a minute, let the power drain into her amulet.  She was cold inside with the knowledge that she’d have to wait another hundred years for this particular flower to bloom in this particular moon.

She took a deep breath, let it out very slowly.  She took another. Finally, she turned her eyes to the moon.  A slight shimmering.  She tightened her lips.  The leaves rustling in the wind that had come up was the only sound for long moments.  The wind tugging at her dress became an insistent reminder of why she was still standing here, empty.  Empty hands, empty mind.

Slowly, oh so slowly, the rage built until she vibrated with its intensity.  Once, once only, had she felt rage this intense.  She needed to calm herself.  Daylight was mere seconds away.  She turned to the path where she had seen the woman and followed that line of sight.  

Her rage intensified when she could find no tracks.  No use to check for the child’s  tracks.  It had been a vision.  A test of her concentration, her commitment to the path she had chosen so long ago.  She would find this woman, this child.  How had this happened?

Zukale rode the wind back to the Vale of Comfort.  Once there, she sat in her library and contemplated the books sitting neatly on the many shelves.  She had a long day’s rest to consider her moves.  She had a long night ahead.  A long night of preparing her mind to face that hatred that still lingered in her mind’s eye.

She gazed into the water clock, then readied herself for her rest.  A movement in the corner of her library.  Already the sunlight was creating long shadows.  Her eyes fell on the reflection in the silver plaque hanging by the desk.  It had been placed there to capture and reflect the sun’s light while she read and studied.  It had been a gift, a wedding gift, from her brother.  She hadn’t thought of him in so long that she was amazed that she remembered him at all.

Aaiiee.  His eyes.  Her eyes.  They were the same.  And the child’s eyes were familiar.  She moved to study her reflection in the plaque.  Oval face framed by long black hair with black eyes under eyebrows plucked after the fashion from the old days.  A long nose over full lips.  A long slender neck held her head with a grace that covered great strength.  She compared the child’s face with her own.  Her eyes narrowed.  She would find these two who carried her father’s eyes.
Stats: 750 words for the prologue.

Edits: Highlighted areas changed.  Corrected spelling.
Questions:  Does the plot match what I've written?   Is this a good beginning?

19 December 2012

Social networking?

I've been reading comments about social networking sites and how one prefers one over the other.  I use both Google+ and Facebook.  How I use them is very different.

Facebook is, in my opinion, a social site.  My family and friends are the ones I want to interact with on that site.  Our idea of socializing is a bit different from that of the owner(s) in that our social set does number in the hundreds, and in the case of a few, thousands.  One thing that algorithms don't take into consideration is cultural norms.

We've settled into our traditional ways of visiting, socializing.  Family does include "third, fourth, and fifth" cousins.  And it does include clans, though those won't always be mentioned, and is intertribal.  In one way or another, our villages are connected on that particular site.

On Google+, I have pinpointed those who share my interest in writing and reading.  I follow a great many more than follow me, because those circles include people, bloggers, which is what I was looking for when I started my blog.  I wanted to read what other people had to say, I wanted to learn more about my chosen craft of writing.

When I first looked at both sites, I liked the idea that I could keep personal and professional separated.  I spent a great many years learning to do that and didn't care to change my outlook at this late date.  Thus, I've settled into a particular way of doing things.

I have a Twitter account.  I don't use this account because Twitter is linked to a phone.  I'm not spending my life tied to a phone.  Bad enough, I'm on the computer a great many hours of the day.  I invested many hours, as some of you are aware, in learning to use that machine.

Some of those hours were spent in learning to code as my blog, and soon, my website, will be the meeting ground between my Facebook and Google+ circles.  I needed a way for both sets to communicate with me, if they so chose to do so.  I don't particularly want my email posted in too many places.  I figure if someone really wants to get in touch with me, they will take the time to look at my profile and go from there.  Not trying to be difficult, I just want it to be a bit more difficult for spammers.

11 December 2012

Writerly Activites-Encouragement

I take my encouragement where I can find it.  Like a couple weeks ago, I was in a Chinese restaurant.  You know, the little piece of paper that comes tucked inside the Fortune Cookie?  Yes, the ones printed on thousands of other papers just like it.  I've kept a few cause they seemed to fit my frame of mind.

"Your curiosity may mean success." and "A goal is a dream achieved."  The latest "Laughter shall fuel your spirit's engine."

Hmmm.  Hmmm.  taptaptap.  Hmmm.  Lightbulb clicks on at last.

Those are generic words of wisdom.  And they can mean so many different things.  Like, I could use them for character traits, I could use them as words to live by, or topics for discussion somewhere.  I could write a few of my many words for each and every one and have a short story in there.  Or write even more of my many words for a full length novel.  I could even write a poem or song.

What I chose to do was fit them into my way of thinking in regards to my writing life.  Curiosity, dream, goal and humor.  All from enjoying a bit of fried rice at the buffet table with my friend in the middle of errand days.  Now, I shall be able to revise my novels using the same bits of wisdom that someone somewhere decided to write on a bitty piece of paper and tuck inside a Fortune Cookie, casting it out among the billions of people on this earth.  That same someone probably was just fulfilling their days quota of wisdom and getting their few dollars worth for the day.

Well, I, for one, appreciate these words of wisdom and salute those who have earned their living from writing, printing and making sure that Fortune Cookie was out there for me to find.

06 December 2012

More thoughts reference Life after NaNoWriMo

The past week has seen a few changes to my novel, scene additions, names for a couple more characters, plot taking off in directions not considered in my mission of 50,000.  I have discovered that I have trained my brain during the past 30 days.  Yep, thirty days of writing to CCR has become a habit.

I've tried listening to Celtic Thunder and my plot goes wandering off in unforeseen directions, or "Galway Girl" has me dancing in my chair with no writing done at all.  One or two of the other songs ("Seven Drunken Nights" in particular) change the character of my characters and adds dimensions that I hadn't considered at all.  You'd think I might have been prepared for such shenanigans considering the amount of such goings on over at the forums.  Nooo.  I wanted to have the bare bones of my draft finished, leaving about 25000 words to play around with.  Celtic Thunder has changed that.  Ahh well, back to CCR.

And one or two of my characters got into a fight scene with descriptions of, well, creatures of some sort that defy naming so far.  I am discovering there is much more to this world that I created in 2003.  How that affects the rest of the books still in revision, I have yet to contemplate.

I joined a critique group yesterday.  I had joined this so long ago, that my user profile has been sent off to that Black Hole somewhere in the center of CritiqueLand, that galaxy many of us dread to board our manuscripts for.  What did I discover whilst scouting out the current Landscape called SF, Fantasy and Horror?  Short stories only.

Well, I could have visited that Landscape a few months ago.  Unfortunately, my radar detector thingamabobby has been on the blink for several...ah years.  Moving from world to world, galaxy to galaxy, can be daunting at times.  I confess that I may have been one of the few who were dragged, kicking and screaming, off to Self Publishing one or two of my books.  Now, on second, fourth and thirtieth rethink, I may drag one or two to this world.

Well, the day-to-day reality intrudes once again, so I'm off to seek shelter from the messiness of my landing in CritiqueLand yesterday.  Have to consider some other angles.

01 December 2012

Post NaNoWriMo thoughts

When I started the month, there was a lot that I didn't plan on.  The synopsis helped a lot.  I wrote one that ended up being about 4 pages long.  Transferred those, worked out a plot line of sorts and commenced writing.

Working from that helped me to concentrate on the story line.  I did get a bit distracted with a couple of the characters.  And having the subplot cards helped.  I made notes whenever I had an idea, and went back to typing the main story.  I was able to just pick up some quick names using the SSA's popular names list for 1890.  Tried to pick some that sounded more like our names are pronounced.  May go back and just use our nicknames.  Most likely.

A lot of the writing didn't make it into the final count because I have to work the MC's story into it.  It's not back story, more a side story.  Well, life doesn't go in a straight line, is all I can say.

The best thing is revision isn't going to be as nerve racking as past ones.  Taking some of those apart and putting them back shows me how much back story was there.  Man, the more I write, the more I appreciate the work that went into the novels I read.  Would you say I'm not an "armchair novelist" anymore?

I've posted, geh, uploaded the rough draft at Smashwords.  I have a coupon code posted at my Facebook profile.  Not sure if I posted it on my Goggle+ page.  If you download a copy, you can get the ebook without paying.  Course, if you want to buy the final copy as well, I won't object.  The code is good until 27 December 2012.  Storm Clouds.

I've been doing a bit of catching up with friends, got a phone call from the newspaper editor.  Seems I didn't write an article for December and she wanted to make sure I wrote one for January.  ;D.  {Like doing that, those little expressions learned on the NaNoWriMo forums.}  Anyways, people like reading them and I'm sorry I didn't get one to her, though it is sitting on my computer in the lonely file marked 'newspaper articles'.  Mayhap I'll have to add that to my Goggle sync file.  Keep forgetting that handy dandy little program.  And had to look up the pics for my dad's interview that's going to be on TV in a couple months.

Enough for now, though I would like some critiques from a few later.  I'm not posting the whole book for about another week.  It'll be around 75,000 words.  And I've got to talk to someone about doing a cover for me.  Going back to "not rambling" is going to take some concentration.  Bear with me.  I have lots on my to-do that now need to get-done.

20 November 2012

NaNoWriMo - in progress

Over the past few years of blogging, I've found that my posts run about 500 to 750 words.  With my handy dandy new program (Writeway), I have acts broken to chapters broken to scenes.  I started with a mandatory 3 chapters per act, 3 scenes per chapter.  There are there in my outline, which is visible.  I can go back and forth, up and down.  The only thing is when I work on the synopsis, I need to break that down into the plot notes. So I started with 27 scenes.  I also write articles that are limited to 250 words.

27 x 500 = 13,500  750 = 20,250 words that are pretty much taken care of.  Then I have subplots that added another 27 scenes.  I added location descriptions=9 more scenes.  Prologue and Epilogue adds another six scenes.  Total = 69 scenes @ 750 words = 51750, @500 words = 34500 words (15500 short).

Because I know I can write my blog post in about two to three hours, what with editing and all, I know I need to write 3 scenes per day.  As I've fallen behind due to other commitments, I need to write four or five scenes per day to catch up.  Being able to see my outline as I write, which at this point has mostly blank spaces, is a great motivator.

So knowing the above breakdown, if I made my scenes level off at 750, I'm at my word goal.  @500 words, just need to add another 250 words to 62 scenes or add another subplot making 27 more scenes and add 250 words to 8 scenes.

Because this is the first year I've actually taken time to plan, I had a short synopsis to start with. Again, thanks to my handy dandy new program, I was able to write the synopsis while at the same time being able to look at an outline.  What I did in the past was use this outline to write my story.  Then didn't take time to look at my synopsis as I felt that was editing.  {Actually, a little laziness was the culprit as I didn't want to keep looking back and forth, then having to search after accidentally closing the documents.  Then, didn't like my desktop being cluttered-accidentally clicked open documents I had no interest in looking at.}

This year's synopsis is right there and I've fleshed it out.  And the little note cards are there, although I've only used one or two of them.  The character sheets are where I've filled out the things I need to remember.  And I actually imported one of the character sheets from my short story collection.  And any new stuff is entered right on the character sheet.

Gone are my spreadsheets, my documents for different parts of the story.  I have story ideas that will be transferred to this handy dandy program as soon as I find the time.  And there is a place for photos and such.  Not sure about this one.  Alas, I learned to my great disappointment, that I can fill up an 80GB storage device pretty fast with the pictures I take. {Currently, 4000 pics plus a couple full system backups.}

Well, aside from the fact that I'm started to ramble attributable to NaNoWriMo's shushing of the inner critic, inner editor, I'd like to say that I'm no longer a pantser.  My English teacher's words of wisdom all those many years ago have finally sunk into what my father affectionately calls my "little bird brain."

ChiMiigwetch to my fellow bloggers and authors, my faithful supporters among my family and friends.  And now, I'm off to NaNoLand once again.

18 November 2012

Native American Month 2012


Jingle Dress - I am a Jingle Dress Dancer.  I grew up with an older woman teaching me.  I started by Fancy Dancing/Shawl dancing.

The Gathering of Nations has some links for the "contest" style of dancing.
Indian Country Today had a video featuring Fancy Shawl and Jingle Dress.

There are a variety of links for contemporary style and old style dancing.  There are some other links for the traditional powwows.

Minnesota Historical Society - Ticanaga or cradleboard picture.  Methinks I posted a picture of one at some point in the recent past.  I linked this one to show items hanging from the headbar.

Here is a link to poet, Al Hunter's website.  He has published three books, "Beautiful Razor: Love Poems & Other Lies," released this year by Kegadonce Press. "Spirit Horses" and "The Recklessness of Love: Dreams & Regrets."  Listen to "The Diet" from his latest book.

I had hoped to post more links for this month.  Still about 10,000 words short of where I wanted to be with my NaNoWriMo novel.  Forgot how busy it gets when Halloween starts.  I have worked on the synopsis, filling in the story I wanted to write.

One thing I'd like to caution anybody who tried one of the tips I posted here and there on my wanders in, near and through various sites on the net: If you use a family tree program to track your characters, do not, I repeat, do not name the in-between generations with the same names.  My stories are widely separated in centuries.  I foolishly switched between first and middle names from one generation to the next, just so I could figure out how many generations as this was a requirement for one of my characters.

Hmmm.  Now, I spent the better part of November writing about someone who was in the wrong century for the storyline I had my heart set on.  Alas, my whole timing was made clear to me when I looked up solar and lunar eclipses.  After figuring out how to read the tables, math and making sure an eclipse would be seen or at least felt, I discovered that I had to move two different characters in my tree program.  Which, of course, threw the program out of whack.  And then I had to make sure all my notes on the characters transferred and....  I feel like I could be one of those cartoon characters that throw the whole kit and caboodle out the window and then, magically, have it brought back in good working order bopping me on the head. Well, if wishes were dollars, I'd be able to...I don't know what.  Have a lot of dollars, most likely.  Ahh well, back to the writing board.

01 November 2012

November is American Indian Month

I will be posting links to American Indian sites, events and history during the month.  Many of these are organizations that I personally attended meetings, conferences.

November is Native American Heritage Month.  The link goes to The National Congress of American Indians established in 1944.  There is a variety of links and resources here.

Indian Country Today  has an article about the current policy on Eagle feathers.

WaSaa-Inaabida -- We Look in all Directions

An Anisinabe series in the words of our People.

Military links:
US Navy

List of Tribes at IHS - List of the Federally recognized tribes.

Smithsonian Exhibits

Arts and Crafts links:
Indian Arts and Crafts Board Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.
Directory of Arts and Crafts- link is on the page as there is some info

31 October 2012

Halloween-Countdown to NaNoWriMo

Well, this month has certainly been busy and gone already.  A few of those days, I wasn't even on the right day, usually two days off either way.  Most of my month has been planning, plotting, playing {a CCR cd that I recently unearthed, no doubt thanks to the brownies.} I have a new appreciation for published authors who manage to live a life as well as write.

The synopsis I posted for NaNoWriMo has been updated.  I've found a few more ideas to use and my map has disappeared. Back to the drawing board.  I have the quick one I printed out using my sister's printer. My email has been nutty lately. I get repeats of ones I've read and a bunch came through that I hadn't seen-from 2 weeks ago. I cleared it out on Sunday.  I'm not as organized time-wise any more. Well, that's due mostly to the handy dandy program I downloaded.  Now, if I'd been on the forums more at NaNo last year, I'd have seen another one.  Ahh well, live and learn.

My synopsis has grown to 7 pages-more editing?  As the synopsis for each of my novels was entered into the program, I realized that some of them contained mostly backstory= revision.  The only thing I don't like about this program is that I'm finding myself doing a lot more writing, researching and plotting.  Days and nights are blending together.  I see how some people can write up to 100,000 words during NaNo.  I'm easily doing 800 wpd {words per day} without half trying.  The other thing I'll have to do is break some of the scenes down as I just wrote while the writing was good. teehee.

Angela Ackerman had an interesting guest post that I read just today: Your Blog As A Promotion and Branding Tool-Nina Amir. One point that struck me was: "Writers write. That’s what we do. That’s what we are good at. And that’s why we balk at promoting ourselves and our books."

Sales experience is one thing I don't lack.  Gift shop-operating in the red to breaking even in two months to operating at a profit in three months.  It was simple how I accomplished this: I determined how much sales I'd need to do to cover my wages, then the department wages, then total department expenses.  Each day I worked, I had three goals to reach.

Minimum was my own pay and max was the whole department. As an added incentive, my son soon joined the department along with my niece.  Course this was after one expansion. The GM came in one day and looked at the space.  He said expansion could take place if we kept the revenue up for three more months.  Three months later, we had the expansion.

My take on promotion is don't worry about the huge numbers. Keep your goals simple and before you know it, your sales will soar.  And you'll have fun besides, if you allow yourself to have that fun.  Most people are happy to buy something when it's presented as a great benefit to them.  Just make sure you have a great book.  Self-promotion will become word of mouth promotion before you know it.

A simple formula I use is annual living expenses divided by 365 for the minimum sales.  Most expenses you'll encounter is simply a percentage of the gross sales of your book.  I understand industry standard is around 30-40%. Taxes will roughly be dependent on your tax bracket; you can get this from tax tables at the IRS, say roughly 35%. I use that figure because it kind of builds in a safety margin. So roughly 60-70% for expenses. So: $100 - $70 = $30 left for your use.  Yeah, there are deductions and so forth. This is simply the minimum that you would aim for. If you price your book at .99, you know you'll have to sell at least 100,000 copies of your book to get $30,000.  100,000 people out there in this land of 308.7 million people - 2010 USA census - who would be willing to buy your book. US & World population 7 billion worldwide.  {edit-works out to about 275 copies a day}

My plan-earn enough to pay professionals for the marketing stuff I just don't have the time for. When I worked in the gift shop, my boss took care of the day-to-day operations which left me free to concentrate exclusively on sales.

All the little hobgoblins, witches, vampires, spooks and other creatures of the day and night have now gone home to bed and I can relax til next year.  And now, I'm off to NaNoLand to procrastinate til midnight.

28 October 2012

Vision Quest II

The days have been busy, busy, busy since my last post. I had a request to hear about my Vision Quest. This post will be a partial summary of what happened due to the personal nature of that quest.

Once I worked past the anger, the hurt and even past the rage that blossomed when matters were contemplated. Much of the emotional facets were laid to rest and what is left from that Quest is the knowledge that I have grown, I have overcome an obstacle. I have been writing, rewriting, editing and researching furiously these past couple weeks.

One benefit has been my writing. I feel a difference when I write. Very rarely do I have any hesitation about what I want to say, how I want to say. I have a clearer vision of who I am, where I came from and where I want to go.

One reason is that I have faced an inner demon or two and no longer fear these. What is that, you ask? Ahhh. That is between me and my Creator. I will say a weight has been lifted from my shoulders that I had forgotten about during my journey to get where I am today.

Because of this fact, I am taking advantage of the energy that courses through my mind, my body and my soul. My stories are taking on an added dimension that wasn't present before. I have experienced this elation before, so I know that it may not last as long as I'd like it too. Life, as is said, does go on. And it has a way of bringing more questions with more Vision Quests. Therefore, I am enjoying the days, the nights and looking at the world with clearer eyes. {I used to wear rose-tinted glasses when that shade became available. Teehee. Now, my lenses are clear. Forgot to order the rose.} Miigwetch. See ya.

21 October 2012

The Vision Quest

Four Directions Teachings is a website that has some basic teachings, explanations for a way of living from the perspective of one of four First Nation tribes in Canada. Native Art in Canada is another site that explains a bit more about our way of life. The Vision Quest is explained in a manner that I recognize from what I was told. I haven't looked at the whole site, enough to know this person, this artist, is truly of the People.  Much of what she described and talks about I have similar memories. I've been on a Vision Quest to deal with anger and hurt.

The concept of the Vision Quest has been romanticized, even among the People. This is where I noticed a similarity among cultures. Prayer and meditation is common among all peoples, all cultures. Church congregations observe a moment of silence for certain things, they teach that one must meditate on Bible teachings in a quiet place. When I taught my sons about religion, I explained my belief regarding this: there are "true Christians" and those who call themselves "Christians." I don't remember the exact Bible verse that explains about false teachers even among the church members. I do remember that there is a test involved. Actions must match your words.

The same is true for traditional People. Actions must match your words. There is a way provided to guide one back to the People if one gets lost. The Vision Quest. In the old days, women did not go into the sweat lodge. Sweat lodges purify your Spirit. Women were purified every month; because of the connection to the moon and childbirth, women were already conscious of their purpose in life. Men did not have that connection and so they had the Vision Quest, the sweat lodge. Today, limitations on sites available must be taken into consideration. Women elders are holding sweats for women as traditions are being lost. Many women don't know or are confused and so must make that connection.

I make comments every once in a while about my cigarette habit. Once, a woman told me that she quit after she considered the People's reason for tobacco: Talking to the Spirits. She thought about the things she thought, the things she said while smoking a cigarette. How the Spirits were listening to her "talk about her boyfriend." She told about how women who step over men's things would be "read the riot act" because of the fierceness of her love for her sons, her willingness to protect them.

I thought about what she said. In order to fit in, I, too, smoked cigarettes. I'm not a pipe carrier. I don't smoke to fit in anymore. I watch my thoughts when I smoke that cigarette. I'm aware of the Spirits when I smoke. I say prayers for guidance, or change the direction of what I think. If I can't change the direction, I put out that cigarette. I'm more conscious of what I talk about, what I say when visiting with people. I don't go to negative places anymore because the Spirits are with me when I smoke in those places. So, when I make comments about smoking or buying them, it's because my dad isn't traditional. He's church, he thinks about health reasons among other things, which is fine. We agree to disagree. And he still buys me cigarettes once in a while.

I think of the fierceness of that woman's love for her sons. I have that same fierceness. I think about the women who don't know what they're doing. I also think about the men who don't know and leave their things in the path where a woman walks. I think about the matched sets of dishes that are so popular now. In the old days, each had their own eating utensils. Now, one can't tell what belongs to who. Men and women drink from the same bottle. At feasts and such, the food is served directly into each person's hands and eaten, thus no need for worry. I thought about why would that woman have to "read the riot act" if she taught her sons to keep their things out of the way.

I check the influences children and young ones watch and listen to. I'm hoping that they won't have to walk a difficult path because of those influences. Not because I hate those things, it's because some of those things are not teaching what I want the young ones to learn. It's hard to watch them stumble, fall, hope they have the strength to pick themselves up. Sometimes, it's hard to offer help and have it rejected. I think about the reason for that rejection; when it means they do have the strength to walk their own path, I'm glad. That is what I taught my sons; sometimes, one must walk a lonely path to do what is right.  We talk, each respecting the other's feelings, even if there is anger and hurt. We think about it and tell why we agree or disagree. The feather is always in our thoughts, it hangs where we can see it. Thus we show respect for each other's thoughts on something.

That particular spot has feathers on the ground, there is rice in the bay, there are cedar trees there. A fire was lit, tobacco was smoked, food and drink were shared. What did the Spirits think when they arrived?

I don't go to negative places, where there is no respect, no honor. When negativity spills out and touches others, a Cleansing must take place. Thus, my Vision Quest.  Where can one go that the Wind does not touch, where there is no Water, no Animal, no Tree, no Feather, no Tobacco? Where can one go that the Creator does not go? Miew.

16 October 2012

Gwen Gardner/Angela Brown "Characters Support Self-Publishing"

The ParanormYA Blog Tour has arrived at this stop. I've enjoyed getting to know the authors and their creations in following along on their tour. And now for the people, characters, I've been waiting for:

Characters Support Self-publishers

Indigo Eady (Givin’ Up The Ghost) sits at her bedroom desk at PIP Headquarters. Soft morning light filters through the window across the paper she’s scribbling on.

Abigail Bishop (Neverlove) enters the room. “What are you doing?”

“I’m making a list of pros and cons of self-publishing.”

“Oh? What does it say?” Abby leans over Indigo’s shoulder and reads.

Pros of Self-Publishing:

In charge of project, start to finish
Control over cover art
Control over editing
Be your own boss

Pros of Traditional Publishing:

Join the New York Pub Club
Feel validated, earn respect
Want the same things, be accepted
Be the same as “real” authors

Abby leans over and points at the last sentence. “Hey, what’s that supposed to mean? Real authors?”

“It means,” says Indigo, “that some people think because you don’t go for the big publishing houses that your writing sucks. That you’re not a real writer because you’re not traditionally published.”

Abby snorts. “Well, we know that’s not true.” She sits down on the edge of the bed and leans her forearms on her knees.

“We sure do,” Indigo agrees, twirling in her chair to face Abby. “I mean, we wouldn’t be sitting here, house-sitting PIP Headquarters if Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner weren’t real writers.”


“And the truth is, neither of them even queried our - I mean their - books.”

“No.” Abby shakes her head. “Look at the Pros of Self-Publishing list. It’s all about in charge of and control over. They’re control freaks. That’s why they self-published.”

“Yeah,” Indigo agrees. “Control freaks.”

Abby gasps. Her hazel eyes widen.

Indigo’s hand jumps to her heart. “What? What is it?”

“I just had a scary thought.”

“Crap. Don’t scare me like that.” Indigo shakes her head.

“No, seriously. Listen.” Abby catches Indigo’s gaze with her own.

“Go ahead. I’m all ears,” says Indigo.

Abby continues. “What if they aren’t real writers?”

“Yeah. That would suck, but...”

“ Don’t you see? If they’re not real writers, then that means...”

“...we’re not real!” Indigo finished.

The girls stare at each other, blue eyes locked with hazel.

Indigo pulls out a drawer and riffles through it, spilling the contents out haphazardly.

“What are you looking for?” says Abby, coming to stand beside her.

“Markers. Aha! Here they are.” Indigo spreads the rainbow of colors across the desk.

“What are we going to do?” asks Abby.

“First, we’ll make posters, then...”

“...we’ll protest! They’ll be forced to admit we’re real.”

“Exactly,” says Indigo.

Are you a self-publisher? What do your characters think about it?

 Purchase Angela Brown’s Neverlove at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Amazon FR,and Amazon DE.

Angela Brown's Bio

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home.  She's a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness.  Steampunk, fantasy and paranormal to contemporary - mostly young adult - fill her growing library of books.  Mother to a rambunctiousdarling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: "you may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result." ~ Mahatrma Gandhi

Purchase Gwen Gardner’s Givin’ Up The Ghost at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Gwen Gardner's Bio

Running, writing and reading are my favorite things. 

I am also a dreamer. 

Have you ever told yourself that "some day" I'm going to travel or write or whatever it is that you are passionate about but can't do right now for whatever reason? You can go for years and years and keep telling yourself that "some day" you'll do it. Too often "some day" never comes. But mine did. I am a former Administrative Manager and Vice President of a successful swimming pool plastering company - until I woke up one day and realized that my "some day" had arrived. I quit my job, moved to the mountains and began to write. Crazy, I know. But even crazier? Is when you get to the end of your life and realize that your "some day" is too late. Life is much too short for that! So the adventure has begun. 

And there are two giveaways! Visit Partners in ParanormYA for the Big Swag Giveaway and for theWeek Two Giveaway 

13 October 2012

What's in it for me?

What's in it for me? I've thought about that question a few times. I've gotten that question a few more times. In relation to writing, thoughts have clarified a bit in the last year or so.

When I first started seriously writing, I looked at a lot of places on the net. I joined a few sites for writers, I bookmarked a lot. Research, you might say, is a hobby of mine. And the net, as I've said before, is one big library that I can get lost in for days.

I always wanted to write a book, then the inner critic would strike. Especially the image of a person who unknowingly put the kibosh to my poetry attempts. "Poetry should come from your soul, with the words already formed. Revising means you're not a writer." Silly me. Now that I've managed to wrestle that image down to the black hole, I'm actually enjoying myself, enjoying the hunt for the right words to describe what I think, what I feel and what I hope to accomplish. They may not always find their way into print. That's okay though. I know they're there for me and me alone. Well, my Creator has a bit to do with it.

And that's what's in it for me. Even on the days when I don't like what I've written. I come from the old tradition, where words have power. The written word is more powerful. I remember being shushed when I'd say something an Elder thought I needed to be more careful with saying. I remember the books being passed around the village. My mom would save reading material, anything, even the "Enquirer" for people who were looking for something to read. I paid attention in English class, even though I thought some of the books were "booorrriinnng." Ones like Chaucer, Shakespeare, Hemingway.

And not for the reason some may think. It's because they were describing a world I knew nothing about and couldn't relate to until I left the rez for a time. My world was, and is, different from those descriptions. Parties and balls, Cinderella and Prince Charming? Always someone unreachable. I had Nanaboozhoo, the little people, the lady in the lake. I had Spirit Island, powwows and ceremonies. I had treaties, constitutions and school plays. I had the BIA, IHS and MCT/RBC. I couldn't see the difference then, being the literal minded person I am. Those books were just something to get a passing grade in.

Now, I know that viewpoint is important and mine has broadened. Writing has helped me define the differences. Writing has sharpened my wits, dulled the bite of history. Writing has helped me find the similarities. That's what's in it for me.

11 October 2012

"Stories of the Past" by Mildred R Holmes

Stories of the Past, a short story collection to be self published November 15, 2013 on Smashwords.

A collection of short stories told by the Storyteller of the People. This collection tells the origins of the Windiigo-Zukale  Joselyn Oakes in "Tales of the Windiigo" and the battles of two legends who rose to fight the Windiigo with the establishment of two Orders, Aedan Oakes in the "Order of Vigilance" and Tallulah Nokomis in the "Order of the Midnight Moon".

The saga contains the tales of three people who know the influence of the Windiigo is not over; Victorios “Victor” McLeod who has fought the Spiritual being in "Dreams of the Midnight Order", Dr. I.R. Graham who found the manuscripts in "Written in the Long Ago" and Viitah Tallulah Nokomis who was lost in the "Valley of Shadows."
# # #
I just recently got the names of the two orders from a participant at NaNoWriMo who graciously allowed me to use the names: Order of Vigilance and Order of the Midnight Moon, which title immediately captured my attention in the Adoption forums.  I asked for help with the other one and received it promptly.

I originally intended the above picture for my NaNo novel from last year. As happens so frequently with writing, titles and whatnot, I decided to use this for my cover.  When I took this picture, I was only intending to get a shot of the repairs that needed to be done.  Hmmm, did not use it for its intended purpose. Shadows of things to come?

09 October 2012

Oh, happy am I

On Sunday, I got the 250 word challenge from Debbi Ridpath Ohi at inkygirl.com/inkygirl-wordcount-challenge/. I set up the word counter from writertopia and posted the first word count on it. I used my blog post as the writing.

I did some writing yesterday and forgot to get a word count. So, today, I did some writing during odd moments and just now posted-1346 words. Now, why does that seem amazing? I try to get the recommended word count of 1667 words during NaNoWriMo. And there were days when that goal was too far for me. Yet today I did 1346 without even thinking about it.

It's that handy dandy new program, I tell you.  I tried other software and it was to much work to transfer because I didn't know how.  When I analyzed it, it comes down to the scenes, the notecards.

The way it's set up, it seems like I'm just writing here on my blog. I have done the plot and have added scenes. I don't ramble as much as before. I had the habit of putting research notes right in the story. And now, I put them right on the plot card or one of the other ones without worries. I spent about half an hour transferring those notes down to the scratch pad when I was finished. Oh and to the Revision notes, as well as being able to read just what I have written and make any corrections right then.

I might have to revise the writing challenge to the 1000 word one and get a total year count. I am working on many different projects, so I don't think I will have any problems with making the 1000 word a day.  On the other hand, maybe I should do the 500 word challenge instead?

And that is the real reason I am doing the happy dance.  I write more than I think I do. And here I was feeling like a slacker when I see everyone else's WIP's and the counters. Oh, happy, happy, happy.

07 October 2012

NaNoWriMo progress check

Reference: the update yesterday, I inadvertently put an ending to my synopsis. That's what happens when one is in a rush. Too excited about the new program. First rush is now officially over. Have figured out the characters I need for the most part.

I've come across some interesting posts on the forums and one was about Phase System. I checked out the link and discovered that this is somewhat what I do.  Only, I start with a synopsis, or rather a copy and fill in from there.  Numbered each sentence or two and worked from there. Somtimes, I'd forget to highlight a piece of research when I didn't want to open a new doc.  Other times, I'd forget what I named something. Mostly, it worked, cause when I edited, I'd move things around. Still doing this now and it's working.  I think I can delete my spreadsheets and make more storage. teehee.

Have been adding some things that I didn't want on my original blog-niiganab. Some of the links will need to be checked again before I post that page.

I sure am glad I joined the Platform Building Campaign. I met a lot of interesting people, writers and this has led me to other interesting designers, illustrators, editors. I just now looked for the Platform Builders campaigners logo and methinks the grem...uhh imm... are laughing their fool heads off.  I lost the logo somewhere in my mad experiments with the layout of my blog template. Well, that explains their increasing quietness the last few days. They must have been nudging each other, wondering if this was the day that I'd notice their little escapade.  Well, I hope none of them have won their little bets.

06 October 2012

NaNoWriMo Storm Clouds Synopsis (w/update)

I've been happily playing with the new program I have several of my stories entered and have most of the Notecards finished. I've been working on transferring the characters. This is the handy part because a few of my characters show up in more than one novel.

Here is the synopsis I've come up with for what I will be writing in November. My word count is linked in the sidebar. Yea for all those frustrating months of coding.
# # #
Storm Clouds Synopsis

Tallulah Zultanah Nokomis, a First Born, grows up knowing she must marry and have a child to keep the line unbroken so the Pact between two Peoples can be upheld. The first of her line to marry for the Pact had a child who used the Knowledge of the Old Ones to her benefit.

The First Act is the story of her childhood and ends with the birth of her first child. She has to go to school. She doesn't want to do this because she knows that the path of her life is not going to be easy. She will never have the freedom to choose as her brothers and sister do.

In the opening scene, The Seekers are coming to take her to the Temple where she will learn how to use her power to see the future. A horse that has been in her dreams every night for two weeks shows up at her door. She thinks the horse is sent to change her destiny, so she rides the horse.  He takes her to the Mountain of the Old Ones where she learns the full story of what her ancestress has done. She accepts the responsibility and decides to go to school, not knowing the Old Ones haven’t told her the whole story of her part in the the legacy-she is the catalyst for the Balancing.

The Second Act is the story of her struggles accepting the future she sees in which her First Born dies in a battle that concludes the Balancing-the death of Zukale*. Spiritual beings start surrounding both of them in a protective circle. The visions are confusing when she starts to see a different outcome and she decides to prepare for that outcome.

She has a tiny bit of Protective magic that she learns can be used to heal. Healing energies can be used in many different ways and she figures out a way to protect her child.

The Third Act is the story of training her child in the use of the Healing. She does this against the advice of the Old Ones. When she meets Zukale, who has been sending dreams to Zultanah, she realizes that it will take more Power than she has to protect her child. One of the Spirits shows her that there is one who is also struggling with Zukale. She decides to keep an eye on her to learn what this will mean for her and Zultanah. What she doesn't know is that this one has been given Protection and Power from a future she cannot see.

Just before the final battle, she learns the price for her protection of her child. It is one that she rejoices in gladly for her child will live. She dies not knowing the result of her interference. 
# # #
I see I forgot to delete ending #one. I have three different endings for stories I write. I let the main character head toward one of three endings. It depends on what happens in the rest of the story. I wasn't going to post the ending.  And it might just be that a totally different ending will happen. The battle is the determiner between the two visions.

Ending sentence #2:
It is one that she rejoices in gladly for her child will live. She becomes the first of the Dream Walkers as her Healing was tied to a living person.

Ending sentence #3:
It is one that she regrets: her daughter must become a Seeker and she, herself, must make a long overdue sacrifice for the use of her Power: Banishment to the grey fog of the half-world.

*Zukale is a character that was put up for adoption in one of the forums at NaNo. Unfortunately, the year was wiped and I don't have the person's name anymore.  Might still be in one of my original notes from that year.  May even do a forum thread, looking for that person. Generally, Zukale was an undead with other characteristics and I added my own interpretation. I kept the name and a few of the statistics. 

04 October 2012

Writing the next novel

It's that time of year once again.  Sign ups for NaNoWriMo started yesterday. I've been over to the site and checking it out. It's been redesigned.  I've titled my novel "Stormclouds" with the idea that it will be fantasy.  I thought about trying a historical fiction. May try that yet. I have 29 days to make the choice.  I think I will do some plotting, synopsis, research.

I have all that family history research on my computer, so that might be a place to start.  Most of it is in the late 1800's, early 1900's.  Might even ask my dad to help with plotting. The historical fiction might be doable after all.

I'll see what comes up as I plot this book.  This will be the first time that I will plan it out before November 1. I'm planning on self publishing some short stories right in the middle of the month. Why did I not remember I'd be doing Nano?

Yesterday, I saw Stephanie Allen's comment about NaNo and that reminded me. A good thing too, as the wipe at the site meant there wasn't as much to hunt though for the threads I wanted to read. I came upon the sponsor for NaNo. One is the Write Way program which is free for NaNo participants with a code and a 50% code to purchase.

I downloaded it and spent the rest of the day looking through it. It does have places for everything that now is in several folders and flash drives.  I'm slowly transferring my stories over and putting my notes and ideas into their proper places. Doing this has freed up quite a bit of storage space. The only thing I still have to check out is if I can access it through the Drive. Hmmm. I'm already plotting for NaNo and it's easy, now that everything's in one place. And my other stories are being organized and I've made some changes as I've entered them. Easier to edit, so far.

I found the badge and widget which I had no problem posting to my sidebar. Yea, all those hours coding and getting my blog back to working paid off. Trial and error, even through I read the directions.

Now, I'm off to play with my new program. Thank you Stephanie for the reminder yesterday.

02 October 2012

Award received, miigwetch

 I received the Daisy Blogger Award from Gwen. Miigwetch. Thank you very much, Lady Gwen.

Photo origin unknown
Seven weird things about myself? Let's see. I have to pick and choose seven things that are weird.

1. Dance all around the living room, the kitchen and down the hallway.  Have to wait til everyone's sleeping first.  There's no room. 

2. Magic, sorcerers, witches, and other arcane/mundane subjects are apt to enter into my conversations at any moment. I have received some very odd looks from people.

3. Talk to myself so much that those I live with have to see if I'm actually talking to them before they answer, questions in particular.  I have received some very good answers for plotting problems if they answer without thinking.

4. I like to vacuum.  At least til the vacuum got the best of me one day.  Now, I get one of those little duster types, or leave the vacuuming to someone else.  I'd use a broom but the witticisms delivered by family and friends pertaining to...well, hauuh.  

5. Walk into doors, walls and such other hard to miss items that I'm surprised I pass the peripheral vision test.

6. I can make frybread, but can't make yeast bread.  Don't understand it, they are both leavening agents. By the way, I use baking powder, flour and water or milk when I make fry bread.

7. My doctor once told me I had an allergy to wild rice.  Not sure how that could be, I've been ricing since I was 13, 14 years old.  I had gone on the lake with my son and within an hour, we had to land as my face and hands were swelling.  That was the only time I had that reaction. Weird is all I can say.

I received this award last week. Had a time coming up with weird things about me. I had this image of people telling me I'm weird. For the life of me, I couldn't remember why I was weird.  Even asked my sister and brother, who were probably too polite to give me any answers.  Could it be the fearsome repercussions if they did answer faithfully?

Now for the five bloggers who've helped me in one way or another with my writing skills:

mark koopman
Jessica Mckendry
David Powers King
Ruth Berge

I know I'm supposed to let them know I've given this award. Not totally sure what the award is for. And from my search, I found this entry. The Reader Appreciation Award which has different picture.  I saw a couple other references.

The above award apparently is an award for the most comments.

"Here’s the rules:
Award your top 6 bloggers who have commented the most.
Be thankful.
You cannot award someone who has already been awarded. And you cannot give the award back to me.
Don’t forget to tell the bloggers you’ve awarded.
If you don’t want to pass on this award, that’s okay to. Just admire it."

Well, most have commented on one or the other of my blogs.  And each of those comments has sharpened my writing skills, either observation, thinking or taking my plotting off into another direction.  I enjoy reading the comments on these blogs and have occasionally followed others on the basis of the comments they've left.

I'll just leave off the letting the bloggers above know. There are more I read regularly and in an upcoming post, I'll mention them. In fact, I must clean out my bookmark as they're now on my reader list having learned how to operate that handy dandy tool.

Again, thank you, Lady Gwen.  

01 October 2012

Giveaway -copy of Chippewa Customs winner

Each comment published since 23 Sep 2012 and all fanpage likes were entered into the drawing.  The winner.... Valencia.  Thanks to all who participated.

One copy of "Chippewa Customs" by Frances Densmore is going to the winner.

Stayed tuned for more giveaways as I figure out my way around the publishing world.

*Edit" Winner was drawn by an independent person. (The unforeseen circumstance-had to find someone not related to me, my blog or my page.)

23 September 2012

Chippewa Customs - Book Giveaway

Announcing a giveaway for one person: Chippewa Customs by Frances Densmore.  This is a reprint by the Minnesota Historical Society Press of her book first published in 1929 by the Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology as Bulletin 86.

This book was a must have for many people in our village when I was growing up.  The people who had copies lent them out until they weren't returned.  Thereafter, one could only read this book in the presence of the owner.  I read the book and was lucky enough to have people who could answer my questions.

Some of the patterns for beadwork were used with new materials, new colors.  They were the basis for creating more.  The birchbark basket was another thing I could watch as they were being made.  There was a round house, lean-tos and other buildings used for storage mostly when I was growing up.  

I remember my grandfather having snowshoes in the house. There were traps which kids weren't supposed to touch until they knew how. Rabbit snares, a metal contraption that held beaver hides on it to dry out. Reading this book brings back so many memories.  

I am interviewing Rosemary Berens who is the Executive Director for the Bois Forte Heritage Center & Cultural Museum, *Atisokanigamig or Legend House, which is where I bought this copy. The time for the drawing will be on Monday, October 1, 2012.

Entries will be from the comments on this post or on my Facebook Fanpage link on the sidebar.  Good Luck!

18 September 2012


My friend and I ate at a restaurant featuring a buffet a while ago.  I noticed this lady moving chairs at a set of tables.  An elder man was sitting in the chair at the end of the table. A bit later a couple more people sat down.  Lastly, two more sat. Then, the waitress moved a wheelchair out of the aisle.

I didn't think much more about it until the lady came back with a plate for the man. His demeanor was quiet, not wanting to call attention to himself.  His head hung down, his hands were in his lap and he slouched. A cursory glance at the rest of his family showed them settling in for their meal.

I happened to look at that table later and there was a change in the man.  His face was lit up, he was smiling, he sat straighter.  It was like a light had come on.

I stared far longer than needed. I was that amazed at the change in this elder.  The rest of the diners at his table were looking at him.  I shook my head, then paid attention to my own table companion.  I told her of my observation.  I was still amazed.

A few minutes later, I glanced at the table. The man was back to the original demeanor, a bit more tired.  The lady across from him was getting his food. I know, because I looked for her.  This intrigued me.  I began to wonder what was happening to cause this change. It wasn't an isolated incident.  Our meal lasted about 45 minutes.  In that time, the man's face changed three times.  I watched him eat, normal.  He didn't put himself forward though.

My companion and I left the restaurant before I could observe their leave taking.  There were other details: one of the females, the youngest, had her meals served to her also, as did one other woman at the table.  I noticed their physical characteristics, the limits of their physical boundaries.

My companion was too polite to ask me if I was planning a scene around this incident; she had that puzzled look which meant she was thinking.  I hadn't thought of it at the time. In my reading over what I wrote, there did happen to be a scene with some of the elements of my observations.  I hadn't realized how deep an impression it made.

Thinking about this has made me realize that I could plot at least three different story lines. Hey, I think a light bulb has just clicked on, 45 years late. I look for writing prompts on the net, when I have a great deal of my own already.

11 September 2012

Mapping and Attendant Quest

I've been busy, busy, busy the last two days tracking down a missing something for an essential part of my software needed to run a program called paint.NET which is going to help design a map for my world.

Being one of the dangerous sort who only knows part of what is needed and then allowed to run amok in the world, I found out I needed to check a lot of the tech support blogs around the net.  I started my search with cartography and joined a forum of cartographers because of a free program, GIMP, which couldn't be downloaded.  When I checked the bug discussion, there was a scrap of dll I would have to hunt for involving something in the system32 which I was horrified at messing around with having just gotten a flashback to the time of "no computer" due to a motherboard being fried. {Another adventure which I think I've referred to elsewhere.}

Searching for maps was taking a little long as I wanted to get my descriptions matched up in my stories.  One can't really have someone(s) going in circles, even though people have been known to do so in "real life."  And one can't have two or three groups being on the same route or the same place without sounding totally lost.  Just makes for a lot of revising and hunting for where one went wrong. {as in trying to find out why certain somethings won't work on my computer.}

I came across a couple maps after going through a process of elimination for ideas on what to use for a map.  This problem has been plaguing me since I started my first book.  Finding aids for my creation process is akin to that which I use in working on traditional arts and crafts.  And having little storage for such aids since books, beads and cloth are taking up a lot of the space in the house, sewing machines are here somewhere as there are four of those,  I tried to find something I could use on the net. Google Earth {and finding my way to Google and Blogger} have been great for some of the process. Now I need specific points in my world. The above maps had been posted on DeviantArt and the maker's use of paint.Net and satellite pics.  Lucky for me was the fact that my search history hadn't been cleared. Unlucky, "application not found."

All of this led to my deciding to use the Microsoft Paint program already installed. Eeyii, what a mess.  I don't draw as my stick figures tend to look like something out of a nightmare which caaaan have its place in a novel.  Just not this time.  The hunt for tutorials to use the program was on.  Enter Paint.Net. and days looking for the missing something on my hard drive.  Weeelll, two days.

The two days were well spent as I know a good deal more than when I started the hunt for a map that looked a little like what I had in mind.  And having this map has aided my imagination so much more.  Reminds me of the exploration and discovery we all study in school, though geography was never a strong point as I barely know mountains, valleys and plains.  The difference between seas and oceans is still hard for me to grasp.  Ridgelines and other such technicalities will have to wait until the light bulb goes on and I don't have to rely on someone explaining such concepts to me. Or til a character takes it into their head to further my education on such things.

07 September 2012

The Dreamcatcher

A teacher used to read us a book in class every morning-"Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White.  A chapter a day got me to school as early as I could so I wouldn't miss anything.  Out of everything I learned that year, I remember the spider talking to the pig.

The spider's web is important in my culture.  It's where we got the design for the dreamcatcher basically for babies, a mobile on the ticananga {cradleboard} that catches bad things and lets good things come through.  It's so much more than that.

Now, imagine what a book about the spider talking to a pig did for all of us in that class.  Here was the dreamcatcher helping a pig with his problems.  And the emotion evoked when the spider died was akin to when we'd sit and listen to the storytellers in the village. When the spider's babies flew off in the wind leaving us behind we were sad. And then the voice spoke to the pig; hope. The thing I remember most was the spider's web in the barn door.

That image has stayed with me through bad times and good times.  I make dreamcatchers. I remember learning how to get the web portion just right.  I remember going out with my mother and sister to gather the right kind of wood.  Then we'd get the sinew ready.  It had to be just the right length, the right thickness.

Learning to start the web was the most frustrating part for me.  The circle had to be divided just so to get the required amount of strands.  I'd look at my mother, hoping she'd take pity on me and start the web.  After the first time, it was nothing doing.  To this day, she still shrugs her shoulder, grimaces, then tosses her head whenever I look like I'm going to get that "help me" look.  My heart sinks.  Then I carry on with whatever I'm doing.

Writing is like that process for me.  Gathering the words, the images, putting them together in just the right way and then satisfaction with the finished product.

I've gathered words, mostly by myself in the beginning.  My son started on this particular path with me. We each started gathering our words and now we've gone on our separate paths.  I've met others while traveling along that web who've helped or hindered.  Glad to say that those who hindered proved to have helped me become a stronger person, able to appreciate the help.

The final portion of constructing a dreamcatcher is the selection of the ornaments.  Some are dictated by tradition, others with a special meaning to the maker and some are intended for the recipient.  Some of these are worked into the strand while the web is being made, the rest are attached when the web is finished.

Constructing my books has those same elements: tradition, meaning for the maker and intent for the recipient.  Getting those words into the proper shape has been an experience I'll remember each time I look at the dreamcatcher, my books, the words and images I use in that construction process. Even the image of my mother shrugging her shoulder and tossing her head whenever I get stuck and have to find my own path.

My own dreamcatcher hanging alongside the original in the barn door.

03 September 2012

Writer's Dreams

This is the culmination of several years of dreams, along with a little procrastination while my characters danced in the world between sleeping and waking. Of course they were intent on having the time of their lives while my world building skills were being put to the test.

I've had a bit of trouble with a few of the characters as they wanted to step through the portal to my world before theirs was ready.  It's been an adventure most of the time, a hard day's work sometimes, to keep them in their proper place.  Hopefully, they have learned the same lessons I have as their world unfolded in fits and starts.

Some of them have pushed their way to the forefront, making sure I knew they were there and ready to tell their story.  Others are still hanging back and need to be coaxed to tell me a few tidbits about their lives.  Still, I stand at that portal and can see others in the background that I'd dearly love to talk to and get their stories.

A bit about the process and the people who have inspired me to continue on this journey through another world, another time and other's lives.  This is by no means a comprehensive list.

The first to give me that "aha" moment was, of course, my high school English teacher.  Amazing what those little notes in the margins can sprout in the mind of a student. That one little seed has given me a whole new appreciation for "faith like a mustard seed."

A few years ago, when I set out to write a book and found the Nanowrimo site, my niece bought a book "Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy" by Crawford Kilian.  I've read that book though many times when I got stuck on something.  I've fav'ed a lot of sites that offer writer tips and strategies-I keep grabbing this one book when I need to think something through and that couch looks very inviting.

Another set of people who have encouraged me one way or another are my sons and their friends.  At the turn of the century, (heehee), my computer skills were next to nothing and my sons and friends patiently taught me enough to run through the "big library in the sky" on my own. {I have me own ideas on the 'Net and where it is.}

Another part of the education was listening to them as they created their own worlds in the rpg's they enthusiastically engaged in.  I even participated in a few of the games until the XBox came along with its many, many buttons. That still defeats me. Arrrgh, one of these days, I'll advance past Hexic D. My son downloaded Peggle for me and I've looked at it, even tried one or two of the buttons.

Some of the other ideas for my world came from answering the questions I had about the world when I was growing up in my own fashion.  We'll just have to see how that turns out when I finally get my first book published.  Dream, dream dream. Work, read, work.

A few of the bloggers who have contributed to my world building and character sketches through their various posts may agree to do a guest post.  My way of saying thanks for their contribution.  MiiGwetch, many thanks.