Monday, November 6, 2017

#NaNoWriMo





In which @StoryBy_Sasha writes a blog post instead of adding to her WIP's word count...

 Did I mention that I have TWO WIPs...?
Image result for falling leaves gif

Happy November, Lads & Lassies! So many fun things are happening this month. Let's see...

1. The humid weather in Savannah, Georgia has cooled down considerably.
2. It is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!
3. Authoress, aka Miss Snark's First Victim, is anonymous no more! Gasp!
4. YALLFEST
5. Did I mention NaNoWriMo??? Oh, I did? Okay...

"Georgia is very green," Wyatt Earp.

That is a Doc Holiday quotation from the film Wyatt Earp and it is very true. We don't get the whole spectrum of amazing colors down here in Savannah, but autumn is my favorite and I will take as much of it as I can get.

How green is it here? Well, I'll show you.


I am indeed participating in NaNoWriMo 2017. I have two young adult fantasy novels in the works and the nice thing about being in the unfortunate predicament of having two WIPs is variety. If I'm stuck on one, I can always work on the other.

I think the only reason I'm not completely insane yet is that both novels are in third-person present tense. Present tense is new to me as a writer (not as a reader), but I've decided I really like the immediacy of it.

UPDATE (11/7/2017 - I had the great honor of participating in the USVIPubFund auction to benefit the storm-torn US Virgin Islands and was the highest bidder for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have an incredible award-winning author critique some of my pages! She questioned my use of third-person present tense for one of my WIPs, which has me questioning it, too! Ruh-roh. )

So, have I made any progress with word count at all? Sure. It is day 6 of November and I have about 26,000 words in the WIP that seems to have the most of my attention this month.

If you know anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo, please ENCOURAGE them. Writing is a very solitary endeavor. It is full of rejection. For every best seller an author writes, there are countless manuscripts in their closets that didn't make the cut.

Speaking of encouragement... Have you been to the Miss Snark's First Victim blog lately?

I began writing for publication in 2009. It all started with the short fantasy story THE PHOENIX CROSSROADS. I sent it out for four months. I believe I got 3 rejections and a rewrite request. After four months I was ready to quit. The fifth market was Silverthought online, which gave me my first acceptance, my first paid publication, and went on to publish my second short story as well.

You know in your gut when a re-write request is valid. Often they are, but sometimes you just have to hang in there and keep the faith.

I say all that to say this:

...Since my journey began in 2009, there has only been one blogger I've followed consistently and that has been Authoress over at misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com Authoress is a wealth of encouragement. She provides us with a community. She allows for us to critique each other, strengthen each other, and even find our "happily ever after" with her great contests that often end in representation for some authors.

If you haven't visited her blog for a while, you're going to want to remedy that. Authoress is anonymous no longer! Her real story (parts two and three especially) had me in tears. What a journey!

UPDATE (11/8/2017 - I love getting to know Jill the Authoress better. She's active on Twitter and sharing so much on her blog this month. During the reveal I've been dying to ask whatever happened to her WIP about dragons. Today, without my asking, she answered this unspoken question. I'm dying with glee. Dragon WIP a.k.a. Jillian Boehm's GATHERING STORM is a book-baby at long last! Her due date is Summer 2019. Jill has a two-book deal with Tor Teen! *screams*)

During the Authoress Reveal festivities I even won a critique! That means I'll have solid feedback on each of my two WIPs this month. I'm feeling quite blessed.

*ahem*

My last bit of news is also encouraging in a way. I will be at YALLFEST for the second year in a row. This year I'm dying to meet Laini Taylor and Stephanie Garber! I am very excited. I get on the road with two of my best friends in three days. All my books are packed...but none of my clothes are. Teehee.

I can say this with certainty -- My nails are ready for YALLFEST.




CURRENTLY READING:

I am reading CROOKED KINGDOM the exciting sequel of SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo. I love Kaz Brekker. I think everyone does. But my book boyfriend is definitely Matthias Hevlar. If you know any spoilers about him, keep them to yourself!!! The lovely Ms Bardugo will also be at YALLFEST, but the line for her autograph was easily the longest of the festival last year. I'm not sure what to expect this time!

TBR:

I'm a slow reader. Its a curse. But I'm hoping next to tackle SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley and THE LAST NAMSARA by Kristen Ciccarelli.


CURRENTLY PLAYING:

I'm a big gamer. My former addiction was PARAGON, but lately I can be found as my human rogue, Ash, on DRAGONAGE: INQUISITION. Maybe next year I'll consider jumping on the DESTINY 2 bandwagon. I played the Beta and enjoyed it very much.   


CURRENTLY WATCHING:

STRANGER THINGS 2 was everything I wanted and more. I'm intensely proud of the little Netflix series that could. I can't wait to catch THOR: RAGNAROK. I also recently binged the Norwegian series: OCCUPIED.


CURRENTLY WRITING:



Bakar throws a fleece blanket at him. It hits him square in the face, then falls around him, draping him completely. Enclosed thus, Imperious feels his clammy breath bounce warmly back onto his bearded face.
Footfalls retreat.
Bakar has left him to die.
Drinking may by dying by the drop, but abstaining feels like dying, too.
Footfalls regress. Bakar pulls the blanket away from Imperious’ face, swaddles his shoulders in it, and uses it as leverage to heave the heavier man into a sitting position. Imperious is still gently shivering.
“I suppose you’ve had nothing to eat, too,” Bakar complains. “I see vomiting in your future, you reckless cad.”
Bakar has something in his hand, something that smells of fire. Fire and sugar. Hell-juice, Bakar called it before. Pacha. While Bakar cradles Imperious’ head, he guzzles several sloppy swallows of the distilled brew, wetting his beard and chest, licking his lips.
When the flagon is empty the shaking subsides into a mild tremor.
“Soup,” Bakar says, rising to his feet, a hand on his hip. “You’ll need a belly-full before I let you have anymore.”
Imperious doesn’t have to look up to see the disappointment on his friend’s cursed face.
“Stay here,” Bakar commands. He drops a metal pail on the floor loudly. “Try not to miss if you empty your stomach.”
Where could I go?
Imperious intends to say this aloud, but doesn't hear his own voice. He's too weak to speak. Too weak to move. 

             

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Artists and Monsters - Get thee to Amazon!


There's nothing quite as exciting as finding dozens of little pieces of yourself on your doorstep. 

I'll explain...

In Laini Taylor's delicious new fantasy, Strange the Dreamer, Chapter 16 is titled "A Hundred Smithereens of Darkness." It is one of the many hundred things I adore about Taylor, that she titles each of her Chapters in the most scrumptious ways. These titles aren't just poetic, they are teasing little morsels, always directly referenced at some point during that Chapter as it unfolds.

Now, I wouldn't exactly describe bits of myself as "Smithereens of Darkness," but there is an element of the dark in much of my work.

Before we get to the subject of my work, I simply must tell you more about Strange the Dreamer

Those Smithereens, they belong to Sarai, Taylor's new female protagonist. Sarai is Godspawn, blessed (or cursed) with a magical gift. She is the Muse of Nightmares and every night she yawns one hundred tiny, beautiful moths made up of the stuff of bad dreams. The delicate creatures light upon the brows of sleepers, allowing Sarai's consciousness entrance to the sleepers' dreams. During the nightly yawn, Sarai is omnipresent, seeing through each moth as he flies, peering into each dream the dreamers dream. She can manipulate these dreams into something sweet or into something terrifying. But each moth, each Smithereen, Sarai recognizes always as a tiny part of herself.

..."salt and soot."

It is that way, seeing for the first time dozens of copies of your work, bound and neatly ordered, baring your printed name. 

The book, my book, is called Tributaries: An Anthology of the Savannah Writers Group. And while my dream is to one day birth a fantasy novel that might sit on the same shelf (or at least some shelf very near) as the work of Laini Taylor, it is still pretty fantastic self-publishing a volume of stories and poetry from local authors.

...and seeing so many of them looking handsome all in a row.

The title Tributaries was partly inspired by the wickedly curving arms of the salty, marshy rivers in the Savannah area, which snake like lightning through landscapes painted by the sunset. They're reminiscent of the bundles of tangled Spanish Moss, which hang from creeping boughs downtown, casting shadows deep with history and intrigue. 

The Anthology is packed with fifty pieces, all penned by authors (over twenty of them) who call themselves members of the Savannah Writers Group. Many of the pieces pay tribute to a person, a memory, a mystery, a genre... Thus carrying a double meaning.

Tributaries: An Anthology of the Savannah Writers Group is on sale now in soft cover and e-book format on Amazon and the Savannah Writers Group is working on plans for a formal book launch this autumn. 

The role I played in the conjuring of this volume was mostly as an organizer and point of contact. I stumbled along, gathering hard workers to help me, creating a process, a method for collecting, curating, and editing the works we ultimately published. 

I have one poem and one short story in the Anthology. My "Smithereen of Darkness" is called "The Artist." 

Here is an excerpt:


It was Ahmed’s turn, and he had been giving very serious thought to which was his favorite animal. A guinea pig would not do. When Peaches appeared and sat down beside him; however, wearing a grin, he couldn’t speak. Ahmed, usually prone to arguments, was sure he was going to marry Peaches Blair some day and always gave the girl her way.
“Hello, Sydney,” Peaches said brightly.
“Hi, Peaches.”
“It’s my birthday tomorrow. Can you draw my name with some butterflies all around it?”
Sydney glanced at Ahmed. His lips seemed glued shut. “Okay,” she agreed.
Peaches placed a pack of colored pencils on the lunch table. “I brought you these to work with.”
“Thanks,” replied Sydney, who began work right away.
Cursive was not Sydney’s strong suit, but she rigidly scrawled Peaches’ name in loops at the center of a page. Then she drew butterflies all around the letters and colored them in. Peaches was in Sydney’s class but was not among the artist’s best friends, who were Ahmed, Colin, and Stacie. Peaches didn’t know what Sydney could do with her animal drawings.
Stacie recognized the look in Sydney’s eyes and smiled knowingly, stealing a glance at Ahmed, whose silent face held gentle anticipation. They both knew what would happen next.
Sydney was coloring one butterfly black and gold and began her mental chant. I wish you real, I wish you real. Without delay, a golden butterfly outlined in black floated down to the lunch table. Stacie and Ahmed made small smiles. Peaches laughed like the trickle of a fountain.
“Wow, look at that! A real butterfly. Cool.”
Peaches no doubt believed the incident to be a simple coincidence.

"The Artist" is about dueling child-artists in the third grade. It is about a gift and how it can be used to bring light or to bring darkness. When I wrote it, I thought it would make a lovely episode of The X-Files.

If you find you like my short speculative fiction you will also love "Snakebit," which re-imagines the Greek hero Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa as a modern day criminal profiler and serial killer. Snakebit takes place in the south and pays subtle tribute to the work of filmmaker Michael Mann. You can find it also on Amazon in an Anthology called 9Tales From Elsewhere.

...Now that I think on it, Snakebit would also be a spectacular episode of The X-Files.