Small Fires, Little Pools

I did it, you guys! I finished the whole darn book in one month!

The initial goal was 50 thousand words, but when I reached that and realized a) the story wasn’t done, and b) there was still five days left, I decided to try and really push myself- I wanted the rough draft of the entire thing done by the end of the month.

Last night, or this morning, rather, at 12:07 am, I typed the last of 74,612 words and hit save.

I think I’m drunk on satisfaction- or exhaustion. Either way.

i think sometimes that’s really why we create- to bring joy, beauty, happiness, into the world, yes, to excite and entertain our readers, make them believe in magic or perhaps question belief itself, true. But also because there are innumerable treasures along the way.

The one truly lovely sentence you wrote. The first sentence. The last. Finding out who the characters are, what they want to say. Discovering a hidden motivation. Understanding why a particular name has haunted you. They don’t come easily, but these wonderful moments are found nowhere else.

So maybe, every now and then, even when the going is rough, we should take a moment and just bask in the deep satisfaction of creating and knowing. Because it is a delight, indeed.

Tell me: what have you created lately that brought a smile to your face?

Bringing Home the Light

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Niche and the Lack Thereof

First of all, I confess freely that part of the reason this post has the title it does is because niche is simply a lovely word. Sound it out, say it a few times- doesn’t it just sound like a cozy corner beckoning, or a chair before a fire, all prepared for you to curl up and settle in?

I did actually have bigger plans than inducing happy dreams of comfort and slumber in you, though. I’m thinking niche in terms of your career or hobby- whichever place your tuck your art form into. Does everyone just have one that seems right? Do they come naturally, or only after years of writing, or drawing, or singing, or what have you?

From what I’ve seen, most of the creative universe seems to settle in fairly quickly. Writers seem to just know they always write first person or third, fantasy or suspense, YA or adult. Artists seem to know their mediums- clay, graphite or oil- and their style, be it Art Deco or pointillism. Singers and dancers, even actors, know their range, style, and preferred venue.

When I was first thinking about this post I thought I would share the happy news that I seem to have found a settling-in of some fantasy and some historical fiction- but alas as the days move, so do my ideas. I scribble down each bit of inspiration that wiggles through my mind and, while most of them do fit a sort of fantasy-like land or into a historical setting, others take me for a turn into middle grade detective stories or new adult tales of reunion and buried pasts. And yes, I do also stand in front of the canned peaches for five minutes on a given shopping trip wondering if I should buy halves or slices, the kind I always get or off brand, and if I should really go for mixed fruit instead.

You see my quandary.

So, tell me: is niche important, or is flexibility, following the elusive muse, the key? If you’ve settled comfortably into one place or another, what sort of journey brought you there? Do you think you’ll stay?

Let the Sunshine Chase the Shadows Away

Who could really go on with anything without pausing a moment to think on yesterday’s events? Such sadness and pain certainly deserves not just our awareness, but our silence. Our honor.

And yet, we can’t remain silent too long without giving darkness power, which is exactly what it seeks. Hope is stronger. Love is greater. What your response really ought to be, not just to yesterday’s events but to each sorrow that greets you on the path- and there will be many, life is at it’s essence pain and joy mixed so closely together that we can scarcely tell them apart sometimes – is to ask what you have done with your day, with your time – and what you will go on to do, with your “one wild and precious life”.

If we remain silent too long, it is surrender. If you are like me, it’s easy, even if personally your life goes on unchanged by a tragedy, to feel more like hiding in the comfortable arms of television, pop culture, and other much easier things to be involved with – or, conversely, to dwell in that place of sadness, helplessness, and fear, remaining focused on the questions of why them, what about me, and why innocence is so easily lost.

Not us. Not the dreamers, the creators, the artists and writers and believers.

The gifts you have been given don’t come lightly or cheaply. They are both your treasure and your responsibility. Speak, for those who cannot. Breathe life into people worn by the sadness of the world. Replace silence with music, doubt with beauty, fear with resounding courage. Your art, your abilities, they are your duty to give to the world. You don’t have them without reason.

So yes: mourn with those who mourn. Be silent, cling to those you love, and be thankful you’re alive. But then face yourself and decide – what will you do with this life in your hands?

Never be content to remain as you are. Give until you have nothing left to give.

A Bit of a Teaser

I don’t consider myself a tease- I’m actually quite terrible at flirting. Unfortunately, my life could actually BE one of those horrible stories about the awkward, blushing, clumsy girl that trips on things and spills all over the place. Equally unfortunate is that nobody in real life seems to find it particularly charming

All such faults aside, I thought I would share a bit – but only a bit – about the novel I’m currently working on.

The sequel to Paper Moon on a Crystal Sea, The Sea Between Eternity and Time opens as Padgett attempts to understand the Sight, a gift that is more burden of strange mysteries than revealing visions. Penelope, the woman he loves, has been captured along with her mistress, Lady Rivah, and is under the control of Decca, the only person she’s ever met who can play the fiddle the same way she can. Only, Penny has just learned that her music can bring people back from the dead…but not at her own behest.

Padgett’s Sight has told him that she holds the key so some kind of great power, though he does not know what the power is, or how she figures into the impending war between Alamore and Zelindra – all the Sight has told him is that he must find her, or darkness will take hold.

All Penny knows is that Decca is hiding secrets of his own, and that they have something to do with a legend of harnessing power. And when he plays, something beckons her with a promise that she, too, can perhaps harness the power in her music.

That’s all I can tell you,I’m afraid – but I leave you with these:

“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is weakness; the truth more first than sun, more last than star” – e.e. cummings

Moon

Ship

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You Were Warned

I did, after all, tell you in the last post that I was writing, writing, writing, and so I was.

in the past two weeks I’ve also contracted a deathly virus courtesy or a sibling at Easter, had to start an essay exam for school, and most importantly,

CAMP NANOWRIMO HAS STARTED!!!

Which also means I am in the throws of drafting the sequel to Paper Moon on a Crystal Sea. I’ve never written a sequel, as I think I’ve mentioned before, and am finding it absolutely thrilling.

Did you know that there are depths lurking in your work – be it your dance, your design, your painting, or your writing, over which you could easily skim, thinking you’ve plumbed all the goodness and revealed it?

I’ve always been a stand-alone person; both of my two previous works are stand-alones. But spending more time with Padgett and Penny is showing me there is much more to the story. New characters are springing up. New legends have been born. And the villain I’ve been striving so hard to make human…well, I at last know his purpose. It’s summed up in a quote I find around the Internet here and there – “Everyone is the hero of their own story”.

You guys, this is exciting.

so, do tell- what uncharted wonders have you discovered in your work lately?